Civilization for DOS

The Title Screen

The Title Screen

Civilization was made by Microprose back in 1991, and is one of the first very popular turn based strategy games. Back on our 386 Civilization was one of the staple games that everyone played, and played a lot of at some point or another. In fact my older brother played it so much that we have photos of him in front of the computer playing it, and he occasionally used to talk about it in his sleep! The main reason we played it so much was because of how deep the gameplay is, and it was always different every time we played. We had many different strategies that we used when playing. Dad would typically tried to conquer the world as quick as possible, avoiding the need to be super good with technology as long as he won before someone got enough technology to beat him easily. My older brother typically tried to develop his economy and build up his cities and technology faster than his opponents, then after he was ready he would either build a space ship or go to war! This would sometimes fail if someone came along with enough weapons to kill him off before he could get his economy running. The enemy AI is relatively strong on harder difficulty levels, but above prince level accomplishes this difficultly by cheating.

The main gameplay screen

The main gameplay screen

The graphics are very good in the VGA mode, and if you had enough memory extra graphics for the terrain would look a bit smoother around the mountains and hills. There are many animations like the palace, and when building are built. This can slow down your game a bit, but you can turn all the extra animations off if you like. The EGA graphics are also fairly good for the mode, but obviously nowhere near as nice as VGA. Tandy and MCGA mode are also supported but I’m guessing that they look very similar to EGA and VGA respectively.

City List

City List

We never had a sound card in our 386, or any of our other DOS machines either, so we used the PC speaker for sound. It was quite reasonable for PC speaker, and let you know what was happening effectively. Adlib, Tandy and MT32 sound is also supported,  but I’ve only tried the Adlib sound. The Adlib mode is quite good, most of the sound is better than the same effect on the PC speaker. For myself  (and my Dad) I like to use the PC speaker mode, partly because of nostalgia for the original 386, and partly because I like some of the sound effects better on PC speaker.

A more advanced Civilization

A more advanced Civilization

The gameplay is of course the main attraction with Civilization. It’s simple enough to understand easily (even if you’re a kid), but also deep enough to keep you playing again and again. There have been a few sequels to the first one, the one that me and my Dad like the most being Civ II. My brothers have both played and seem to prefer some of the more recent versions of the game, but I’ve some of them a bit overcomplicated for my tastes. In any case, all of us sometimes come back to the original for the gameplay. I think the original appeals to us because of its comparative simplicity to the newer ones. It lets you get down to the tasks that you enjoy doing, whether it be waging war, or growing an economy. You aren’t bogged down in being forced to deal with other issues. Not saying that the new ones are bad, just the original has a special appeal all of its own.

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