Imagine, if you will, a starving crew aboard a lost ship. A basket of food that eluded them previously is found and the entire crew goes berserk, attacking one another for this last bit of sustenance, intent on getting their share. The premise holds true for the discoverers of the New World, as each group of settlers was determined to discover and conquer as much of this beautiful rich new landscape as possible. Conquest of the New World: Deluxe Edition puts you in control of one of these factions and leaves their fate in your hands.
This game is much like a virtual history lesson. After each turn, you see the Colonial Gazette which lists historical facts and stories of the approximate era you're experiencing. Some of these were completely new to me. For example, I never knew that when sailors traveling to the New World ran out of water, they used their own urine to wash their clothes. A daunting prospect to say the least but a very interesting bit of information. Facts about Columbus' popularity are also given and provide a new perspective to the history of Columbus. Not only do you learn in this game but it's also a lot of fun.
The game has many natural wonders just waiting for you to discover. Wheat and cornfields, gold and iron veins and medicinal herbs are just a few of the examples of what you'll find while exploring. The many different discoveries you encounter make the game very intriguing and keep you playing for hours on end. I found myself playing Conquest of the New World: Deluxe Edition for a very long time due to its addictive nature and the need to discover "what's out there" while waiting for the next great battle.
Gameplay can be very slow paced and for that very reason, makes you want to keep playing. Having said that, from the beginning to near the end, you won't fight that many battles and not a whole lot of action will occur. Your colonies only get raided every so often. When this happens, you must battle the raiding party with your troops but this is a rare occurrence and usually not a huge threat. You find yourself playing the middle part of the game only as a means to witness the action at the end. This can get very boring at times and the designers could certainly have enhanced this portion to make it more exciting. The climax of the entire game occurs when you declare independence. It's here you finally fight a lot of battles (or a final one).
The diplomacy in the game is nicely detailed and brings another level of interest to gameplay. Once each nation discovers your colony, they will establish diplomatic relations. Depending on the country, the relations will be good, bad or neutral and are rated on a scale of 1 to 8 (1 being the worst). Occasionally, you'll notice the Colonial Gazette reporting that "France and Holland have decided to form an alliance" or some similar pronouncement. This happens from time to time with each of the different colonies and what once was peaceful can turn into all out war!
Another very nice feature in the game is the ability to perform espionage or sabotage on another settlement. The option to spy on another country's settlement is very interesting and when you pull off a successful espionage mission, you gain knowledge of their defense, something that comes in handy if you're considering attacking them. Not only can you spy on other countries but you can also sabotage specific facilities of each colony. For example, want to weaken the mining profits of a settlement for your benefit? Simply click on the sabotage icon and choose one of the metal mines of the selected colony. This brings up an important aspect of Conquest of the New World: Deluxe Edition -- building your settlements.
When you create your own colony, you have the option to build any one of nine separate buildings. If you wish, you can develop your colony manually, which requires close attention to detail and some work, or you can choose the Auto Colony function and let the computer develop it for you. The latter is the easiest option to use since it allows you to focus your efforts on your explorers and leave the colony to develop on its own. However, just because the colony is on auto-build doesn't mean you'll never have to do anything to it. For example, it's wise to manually develop your army and take an active role in deciding which units to create. Often the computer will not make a cavalry or artillery unit and these are very important factions of your army.
Conquest of the New World can be a very long and detailed adventure or a short and ferocious battle. The Deluxe Edition adds more detailed diplomacy, natural wonders, lets you preset colonies and create your own populations. If you love long games that you can really sink your teeth into (so to speak), then this is a game you must own. You can create your own New World regardless of what history dictates. Gameplay is incredibly addictive and you'll not grow tired of it due to the numerous options available. By playing the game, you can get an idea of the excitement, wonder and fear that settlers must have felt when first traveling to the New World.
Graphics: From a distance, the graphics of the different people and buildings are fairly detailed. But, if you zoom in on the settlement, you can witness finely detailed graphics of the different characters moving around and working. The only problem is that when you zoom in, the buildings and people look good but the grass and surrounding area is just a blur.
Sound: The realistic sounds of hammers pounding and people talking in the town square are nicely done. Also, when you're in the battle mode, the screams and gunshots are excruciating. Although there is no music, the sounds alone really support the game well.
Enjoyment: This is one of the most addictive games I've ever played. The mystery of what will happen next keeps you playing for hours on end! Also, it's fun to go into battle with the other countries and the battle mode at the beginning of the game lets you fight a single battle to your own specifications!
Replay Value: Once you conquer the world with one country, you have five more to master. On top of that, when you've beaten every aspect of the solitaire game, you can play over the Internet with up to five opponents. The game has so many possibilities it should last a very long time.
How to run this game on modern Windows PC?
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