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    Empire Earth - Page 3

    The graphics quality looks fine when zoomed out, and handles well over 1000 units on the map at once surprisingly well, but when zoomed in the characters start looking blocky, with unantialiased diamonds for limbs, and faces that look like they were stuck on from a painting. I also noticed on high hills some of the aircraft actually went right through the land instead of going over it.
    While the developers made an attempt to cosmetically upgrade all units every now and then, such as spear fishing Stone Age boats, to fishing trawlers of today, there are some features that are not done well. For example your civilians are still using pitchforks to harvest wheat 200 years into the future, and using wheelbarrows to transport resources that they extracted using hand tools. The same forage patch feeding your clubmen could also be sustaining your modern day army.

    There are some very nice bits of eye candy added into the game which make up for the bugs in realism elsewhere. For example you can actually see the fisherman in early fishing boats stick a spear into the water and then flick a fish over their shoulders into the boat. When dropping bombs, a highrise is hit much sooner after the bomb is released, compared to a building or unit on ground level. There are a vast range of animals, including seals and giraffes, as well as more aggressive types such as the rhino - all of which regenerate and will spawn baby animals with time, which means that you can have an endless supply of game to hunt if you don't overdo it.

    Another fun part of the game is the inclusion of cybers. As with their older ground unit counterparts, cybers also have different attack types and strength/weakness interrelationships with other units. Some cybers are good anti infantry, or anti tank, while others can walk underwater or fly, and there are also spell caster units that can even teleport or infect other cybers with nano viruses.

    The sound effects of units in the game are excellent, including explosions and swords clashing, or a volley of arrows or gunshots being fired in rapid succession. The sounds of deaths of your troops are particularly effective. The voices of the units also update over time and change depending on the epoch rather than the type of civilisation. For example the Atomic age epoch has distinct military like responses, while the vocabulary in the prehistoric age is restricted to random grunts. This comes at the cost of having civilisation specific accents that were available in AOE.

    The AI of the game was particularly impressive, not only with the computers guaranteed ability to be able to instantly micromanage their troops, but with the size of their attacking armies and the timing of the attacks. More than once I was caught off guard by a backdoor attack on my base. Even the computer as an ally managed to coordinate attacks on enemy units or send backup to places in need.

    Overall there are many mixed reactions to Empire Earth, with many aspects of the game excelling or failing badly. Given the ambitious nature of the game, many of the flaws can be overlooked in light of the huge scope of both time and units involved. There are historically accurate units for all ages for history fans, as well as a sci-fi component for others. Will you attempt to advance through the epochs in an attempt to overpower your enemy with superior technology, or mass current day units and overwhelm the enemy forces? Are you more interested in nuclear bombers and submarines, or a army of archers and phalanxes? The gameplay features great variety and depth that makes up for the less impressive graphics.
    Final Score: 81%

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    Zalman: ZM-DS4F Headphones

    An affordable, ultra-portable headphone set.

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