Of all the games I missed during the 90ies, PowerMonger is probably one of the most representative of an entire era. Derived from the Populous engine but featuring a 3D map PowerMonger, a real-time strategy game, was developed by Bullfrog from the Amiga and Atari ST in 1990 and published by Electronic Arts.
As a matter of fact, I was never good with real-time strategy games to the point that even today I’m not interested in the genre but, like’em or not, there are games that you just can’t miss since they actually create and/or define a new standard for the industry. one of them, for example, is the recent Death Stranding and the same can be said (IMHO) for PowerMonger in October 1990.
As said, this is a game I never have the pleasure to play, so I will refer to someone else’s words to describe it.
The game features a 3-dimensional game map, although camera movement is limited to rotating the map by 90 degrees or small discrete intervals and 8 pre-defined levels of zoom. Only the map topography itself is 3-dimensional; people, trees and other game objects are 2-dimensional sprites. The game features a fairly advanced (for its time) “artificial life” engine. Each person seems to have a mind of their own and will go about his or her job, fishing, farming, shepherding, collecting wood or making items without any input from the player. The player can also use a query tool to view the name, sex, age, allegiance, vital stats, hometown and equipment of any given individual. [Source: Wikipedia]
Finally, as reported in Issue 109 of Computer & Video Games of October 1990 (that awarded a game a remarkable 96%): The graphics are simply amazing. The weather conditions of each season have a fabulous visual effect, be it showers of rain or swirling snow-storms. The sound is better still. Birds sing, sheep baah, carrier pigeons coo and after successful combat, your army even shouts “hey!” a few times in celebration. The depths of gameplay in PowerMonger is simply unsurpassed with plenty of awesome effects. Watching your men cart a newly invented boat to a river, climb into it and paddle across is just one effect that’ll blow your mind! Guaranteed to last months, PowerMonger is the best strategy game this year – and you can quote me on that!
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