Age of Empires is a historical real-time strategy game created by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft on October 15, 1997, for Windows. Later it was also published for Mac OS on August 22, 1998.
In this famous game, you control an ancient civilization through four different ages, from the Stone Age to the Iron Age, with each age providing access to new units and technologies. Age of Empires quickly gained a reputation as a classic with its combination of solid gameplay mechanics and engaging features.
The game has four resources: food, wood, stone, and gold, which must be acquired by hunting, foraging, fishing, farming, logging, mining, or trade. The game's emphasis on resource management is key to victory, and players must gather, preserve, and allocate these resources to build units, buildings, and advanced technologies. You can command your tribe to build houses, docks, farms, and temples and advance your civilization through time by learning new skills. You can progress through the Ages: The Paleolithic (the Stone Age), the Neolithic (new Stone Age, or the Tool Age), the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. If you would instead get away from the historical aspect, the game offers a random terrain generator and a custom scenario builder.
The original Age of Empires game allows players to control one of twelve civilizations, overseeing its development from a hunter-gatherer society to Iron Age sovereigns. It also features four single-player campaigns focusing on the Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, and Yamato civilizations. Ensemble Studios would later release the Rise of Rome expansion pack, which focused on the trials and tribulations of the ancient Roman Empire.
Age of Empires has 2D isometric graphics that is somewhat dated but still offer an immersive experience for the player. The Genie Engine, the isometric engine used in the Ensemble's title, was also used for other games, such as Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds and Close Combat III: The Russian Front and its sequels.
The game's sound design is also excellent, with a fantastic soundtrack that captures the essence of each civilization. The game offers a multiplayer mode where up to eight players can participate, and the overall mechanics of the game provide an enjoyable experience.
One of the game's major criticisms is that resources do not grow: for example, trees, once cut down, do not grow back, so the game only offers a limited number of resources. Anyway, this is part of the design; it's a precise choice. Thus, players must be very strategic in how they manage their resources. Considering that Age of Empires is generally regarded as one of the best video games ever made, we can't complain too much about this choice.
Upon its release, Age of Empires was reviewed positively. Many defined it as a sort of Sid Meier's Civilization in real-time, although the two games are pretty different. Age of Empires is one of the most popular video game franchises ever created. The series, made of 4 main titles and spinoffs, has sold over 20 million copies.
The game you can download here is a shortened version. If you want to play the best version, we suggest purchasing Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on Steam. Check the link on the right.