Reviewed: January 23, 2005
Released: November 23, 2004
Alexander the Great: Man, myth... game? Yes, gamers. It's true. Another historical figure (and movie) game tie-in. Does Alexander live up to its brethren? It does and more. This Ubisoft game gives games like Populous, the Sims (if they brutally killed each other) and even ActRaiser a new life. And if you know what ActRaiser is, then good on you!
Alexander gives you many options from the beginning. Campaign mode for those who want to live the entire experience of a world-changing sim such as this; Skirmish mode for the warriors at heart; Mission mode to live out adventures not related to any of the campaigns; or Multiplayer mode to pit your vast army against someone else's.
Campaign mode allows you to build a colossal military (up to 64,000 units) from just a few peasants. You start with a group of peasants. You have to build yourself a town first and then your economy (this is beginning to sound like politics... heh). After you build your economy up, it's time for the recruiting to begin.
During this stage, you fight! As easy as it sounds, it's not. This is the part with the strategy. You have to decide to send which units where, which units to keep and which formation looks cooler. You can create formations of 36, 64 or 100 (which I call the “Death Squad”) units. At this point, you can give orders to your men, whether to strike or chill out. Alexander's mere presence can make or break a battle. Morale and experience can be gained or lost, dependent on your actions.
There are a variety of ways to win battles as well. You can use cunning to destroy the town's government, get the higher score in a certain time limit, capture the most territory in a certain amount of time or kill an enemy hero. And with four campaigns, it'll be a while before you're bored with battle.
In Skirmish mode, you can go up against a random computer opponent. You select the number of opponents, difficulty, resources and so on. This is a fun escape from Campaign mode, if you just want to fight. Mission mode works in pretty much the same manner, except you'll have to do a little more.
I personally thought the multiplayer mode was useless. I couldn't find anyone willing to battle. This kind of game just doesn't suit well for a multiplayer game. It's not a bad concept, just not suitable for this game.
The graphics are little less wonderful. The units are not very detailed at all, but the game can display up to 8,000 units on a battlefield. The locations are pretty well detailed though, but there is monotony to these locations, as many places look the same. Also, the graphics (facial pictures) for the units look like they belong on the Super Nintendo.
Thankfully, camera control is not an issue in this game. You can pretty much see everything you need to in this game. Thank you Commander View. CV gives you a larger viewing area so you can see possible strategic positions you could set up against your enemies and other combat decisions that require you to see to good portion of the screen.
The sound quality is good when it comes to sound, but when it comes to the soundtrack of the game; it gets less satisfying (excluding the included Vangelis soundtrack from the movie). The clashing of steel and bone is a truly awesome sound effect, but less so with the music. The sounds and music clash greatly in this game, which hurt it in the process.
You could play this game for many, many, many hours and still not be done having fun killin' (Yes, I know I sound like a redneck. Gimme a break, I'm from Missouri!). Strategic game players and history nuts both will enjoy this game. Heck, I'm not either, and I liked it! You can't hate this game, but you can hate some of its features, but I guess that's unavoidable in any game.
Ubisoft's spin on Alexander the Great is going to be hit-or-miss with many players, especially with that multiplayer mode. I guess it's the Marine in me that likes the combat aspect of this game, and the wannabe leader in me that likes to lead massive numbers of soldiers to glory or a combination of the two, whichever.
The gameplay is excellent and offers a lot for players to do in the ancient days of the world. The multiplayer kind of detracts from the game a little bit, but not much. The sound and graphics could have been improved greatly, but are sufficient for a game of this caliber. Overall, the game has good appeal and is fun to play. A good gift for the Alexander in your family or circle of friends.