A strategy game with cartoony graphics and an innocent line in humour. At the start of the level you choose a starting point, the intention being to get lots of flat land as well as resources to mine and ideally existing sources of trees, stones and water (for fish). Your people are vying for supremacy with up to 3 others.
The gameplay focuses on resource management. Each building requires a certain amount of wood (and stones for some of them) to be constructed and requires particular resources to perform its function successfully. Food must be produced (either fish, bread (requiring a windmill, grain-farmer and baker) or pork (requiring a pig-farmer and butcher as well as the grain-farm) to feed the people working in mines to produce the iron, coal and gold (as well as additional stones).
Huts and Watch-Towers are built to expand your territory, sometimes at the expense of an enemy's land (clever play involves targeting an area where your opponent has a crucial building, thus compromising his production).
To finally win the level, you must defeat your opponents. Combat is fought one-at-a-time by the little soldiers and a victory results in all surrounding buildings being lost.
The game features 30 preset missions. 6 tutorials missions will help beginners to learn the game mechanics. The game also offers the possibility to play semi-randomly (based on a 16-number key) generated maps. The map size varies from small maps, for quick matches, to large maps to, depending on how much RAM is available, huge maps, for very long matches as the fact that the in-game statistics can be displayed on a 50-hour scale illustrates. These semi-random maps can be played in single-player mode but can also be played by 2 players on one system, if you have 2 mice, in which case the screen is vertically split.
The Settlers also known as Serf City: Life is Feudal is a game about settling land, and expanding through conquest. But the focus of the game is rather on the actual building your empire than conquest.
When the game starts you have to place your palace. This will be your first step towards settling the whole map. The palace will serve as a storage depot, but also as shelter for your subjects. There is also a limited supply of resources stored within its walls, just to get you started. The next step is to gather basic resources which are stone and wood. Also, a very important and basic resource is food. It is needed to feed your soldiers and miners. As a general rule, the more you grow the more types of resources you will need. But the game is more complex than just gathering resources. For example, there are options like the order of item distribution, which sets the order in which items will be transported. But raising your empire by cutting wood and gathering stone still seems pretty dull... However, as I have stated before, there is more to this game than that: expansion and conquest. How do you expand? By building a military structure next to your borders! The closer to the actual border the building is the more land you will acquire after your soldiers inhabit it. As you expand you will have to battle your enemies. This is done with soldiers (duh!), which will be recruited as you build more military structures. They are recruited from the pool of peasants (or workers as they are called in this game). As more and more peasants get recruited, the stock of weapons from your castle diminishes. When it reaches zero, no more soldiers will be available. You will have to forge weapons at a blacksmith to be able to make more soldiers. In order to have a good army (quality wise), you will also have to feed them, and deliver gold coins to their garrison. By delivering gold, they train, and become better and more fearsome killing machines.
The graphics are very nice! The sound is nothing exceptional and there is an intro movie, which is very nice as well. An interesting feature, this game offers the "two mouse" mode. This is a kind of split-screen hot seat. Other game modes are: campaign, 1 player skirmish map, 2 players skirmish map, a tutorial, and a demo. You can play with up to 3 computer controlled players. Except for that, you can also set the map size, by choosing a figure in between 1-8. But beware because the bigger the map size, the bigger your RAM figure has to be. So, for example, to play an 8 size map, you would need 8 MB RAM minimum. However, I don't think this will present much of a problem today.
In closing, I would like to say that this game is a simply great, and that it fully deserves the 5 mark, although it has a hilarious fighting system (I'm not going into this because this is a review and not a walkthrough... if you want to witness it, you'll just have to download it and see for yourself)
Sidenote: The Settlers uses an isometric perspective for display. This means that the playfield is technically two-dimensional, but drawn in an isometric view so that the game looks three-dimensional. Other, more modern, games which also use isometric perspective include: Red Alert 2(2000), Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura(2001), and even Never Winter Nights(2002), as many more other games.
This is the game many people love very much. The purpose of the game is to create your own territory, with your own houses and other kinds of buildings. You achieve this by mining resources as stones, water and trees. The creatures you play with look very funny and cartoonish. To complete a level you have to destroy your opponents houses and stuff. Top game!
People who downloaded Settlers, The (a.k.a. Serf City: Life is Feudal) have also downloaded:
Settlers II Gold Edition, The, Settlers 3, The, Settlers II, The: 10th Anniversary, Settlers 4, The, Warcraft 2, Populous: The Beginning, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Rise of Nations
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