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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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Ups: One of the best city-builder games out there; great economic and trade models, excellent graphics.
Downs: Unrealistic and awkward combat system.
System Reqs:
Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, SVGA video card

Everything seems to be going well in this city.  The Gods smile down on me.   The people adore me, and so they should with a working Hippodrome, three Coliseums and enough wine to drown away any sorrow.   My purse is fat with trade receipts, and the full warehouses ensure an even better return next year.  It's great to see my hard work pay off.  Caesar ought to move me to a greater province any day now.

Caesar III is the third game in Sierra’s classical city-building series. Often referred to as the SimCity of the Roman world, Caesar III is actually more complex and requires greater strategic planning. Unlike SimCity, where you can just sit on your haunches waiting for your city to build itself, Caesar III demands much more active—and addictive—gameplay

Caesar III also looks great. The graphics are interesting and active, and your city really bustles when you are prospering. Industries are working. Trading docks are active. Charioteers are cruising through the streets. Caesar III also has great sounds, from squealing pigs to wine presses. The people of your city all have voices and they will talk to you when questioned, though sometimes you’d like them to be more original. If your city has one problem, they will all tell you about it. The best change from Caesar II to III is the removal of that obnoxious advisor telling you "Plebs are needed!" fifty times a minute for the entire game. Your advisors are now just a menu click away, and they give you more useful information than in Caesar II. Now if everyone is moving out of your city, you aren’t simply told that you need more workers. You can look at each advisor and determine the problem.

Which brings me to strategy. The biggest change in game strategy is the removal of the province screen. The entire game is now played on the ‘city screen’ level. Within your screen you must budget your land for farms, residences, barracks, temples, industries, everything. On top of this, your people have more demands than ever; they need every conceivable product to advance and if you don’t give it to them, they will devolve or move out. Building a better Rome is terribly expensive, so you’d better have a strong industry to foot your bills, especially since Caesar is not very forgiving of financial transgressions. And build those forts and barracks early. Even in the peaceful missions it seems as though someone is out to get you. Take, for example, the mission in Lucetia (modern day Paris, France) with its wolves. Who thought wolves could eat an entire city in less than three minutes?!

You, as governor, have all the control. Caesar has sent you to a province with a mission, and you know that once this mission is done, the next raw province awaits. You have the option to focus on peaceful missions, warfare missions or a mix of both. During each mission Caesar asks for certain things, like a culture rating of 65 % or 10 bushels of wheat. Don’t ignore Caesar; he doesn’t like it. You also can’t ignore the Gods: Ceres, Neptune, Mercury, Mars and Venus. Each of them controls certain city factors, and if provoked or simply ignored they will punish you in particularly nasty ways like destroying crops, stealing goods or infesting your city with diseases. If pleased, they are equally generous with their acts of kindness.

You must pay attention to everything in this game—from housing, to entertainment, to Gods, to industry. You control everything and a successful city can only be built and maintained through serious strategic planning and careful attention.

On the downside, Caesar III has problems with combat. The interface for controlling your cohorts is tedious and troublesome. You can direct them, but only as a group. This leads to difficulty since your enemies don’t fight this way. Though your warriors claim that they are well trained--at least if you build them an academy--they sure seem battle stupid to me.

It is also difficult to find your cohorts on the map. Once you finally track them down, you can try to tell them where to go, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem like they want to get there. Once you have told them where to go, you lose control of them. If you decide that you’d rather they flank instead of intercept, you’ve got to scroll around the screen of your map looking for them, which is slow and cumbersome.


I was able to play this game all day without realizing I was hungry. That’s a good sign, I think. The strategy keeps your full attention, particularly since you can choose the type of mission you’d like to take. The graphics and sounds are great, and eventually your city really starts to look like a place where you wouldn’t mind living.

This is a game of considerable complexity, and the difficulty increases with each succeeding mission. If you think getting a culture rating of 65% or defending your city from numerous elephant attacks is easy, then you’re probably a God yourself. Sierra made it tough, baby. So fight hard and build that city. It will take days of well-spent fun time! Caesar II was itself a great game and Sierra has successfully improved its heir. From redesigned graphics and sounds to a more fully developed strategy, Caesar III surpasses it predecessor.

cheat.gif (1707 bytes)-Erin Ogden