Reviewed: October 13, 2002
Released: September, 2002
Well, if you love 16-17th century Real Time Strategy games, then you are in the right place. Cossacks Gold is a combination of two games of the Cossacks series published by CDV Software. The two games include the original Cossacks European Wars and Cossacks: The Art of War, which is the official expansion pack for European Wars.
Cossacks represents the good and the bad and everything in between with real time strategy games. Without the Art of War Expansion, I would have been completely disappointed. For starters, the game is just to hard. You are facing an unbelievable amount of foes with just a few units in your army. Fortunately, the expansion pack does include a difficulty setting, but you are still stuck with levels only God could beat in the original European Wars. I found that really disappointing because I enjoyed a lot of the historical campaign settings for European Wars, especially the Caribbean Pirates campaign.
Another part of the game play that drove me crazy was the ability to keep up with your units. Itís really cool to see those armies with 1,000+ troops going at it, but you will have your hands full trying to keep up with everyone. You can use the CTRL + number to select the units, but there is no real way to focus in on them. That brings me to another point; there is no zooming in this game. The only way to zoom is by changing you resolution and you cannot do that in the middle of a gigantic battle.
On the positive side, Cossacks is an extremely epic game. Itís really something to see thousands of units going at it. This is when you really need to have your strategies together. That was where I had the most fun, trying to determine different strategies for different situations. One that I found worked really well was to have two separate platoons of riflemen and when the enemies attacked have the two platoons shoot each others attackers.
The graphics are definitely quite spectacular in this game. In fact, they are so spectacular, that at 1600x1200 you will need the Death Star computer to run this game. You can forget about epic battles with that much resolution. I was playing these two games on my P3 laptop with a GeForce 4 Go card and 256mb of ram. I was lagging big time and all I was doing was moving the units around.
Speed issues aside, the graphics are definitely something to behold, with the way the grain flows in the wind and the awesome special effect explosions from cannonballs. The landscapes are all modeled in real 3D and add to the strategy such as line-of-sight attacks and placing rifleman on hilltops for greater fire range.
There really wasnít that much in-game sound effects for this title, but the sound track was great, and it was almost as epic as the game. I was listening to one piece that almost sounded like a score for a Hollywood film. The only down side to it was that it never changed. You got the same thing during a battle, but there was a horn doing the charge every time units collided.
In case you didn't figure it out from the impressive features list above, this game offers some tremendous value. You can easily expect well over 100 hours of gameplay with these two titles, and that's not even taking into account the random mission generator, map editors, or multiplayer online gaming modes. This is one of those games that will probably wear you out before you ever finish it all.
Multiplayer is available with plenty of modes including a new Territory Capture mode in the expansion pack. Basically, you can customize your game to suit your needs, whether it be a historical battle or a death match. Whatís really cool about Cossacks it that you can dish it out with six of your friends for a seven-man bash fest all in one game. But, be prepared for some lag.
Cossacks Gold Edition is a very good combination of games at a really good value. I have seen the price averaging at $30, which is a great bargain considering either one of these titles alone is worth that. All of the goods outweigh the few minor flaws, and if you are into historical simulations or just real time strategy games in general, Cossacks would be the game for you.