Master of Magic

Developer: Simtex
Publisher:  Microprose

Taking the Sid Meier's Civilization formula and giving it a fantasy spin is nothing new, but Master of Magic was arguably the game that set the standard. 

Choosing between an assortment of pre-made wizards and races (or if you prefer you can create your own) your objective is to quite simply, explore, expand and extinguish all other factions, sounds easy enough, but depending on the difficulty setting the A.I. can really give you a run for your money, it's just a shame that the game's limited to four A.I. factions per game, this not only limits its scope, but as I later found, it also greatly reduced the need for diplomacy (and to a degree, it's complexity as well).

Still, what the game lacks in diplomacy options it makes up for all the city improvements you can build, spells you research and later cast or military units you can train.

Battles are fought in a tactical map, where each factions will move their units by turns, however, the maps themselves are usually little more than flatlands with few strategic options, so I felt that in most cases, the side with the most powerful units (or magic) would inevitably win, this isn't to say that combat isn't fun or engaging, but I felt it was handled better in Master of Orion 2 (to be reviewed) or Birthright: Gorgon's Alliance ( Score: B).

Despite a few minor flaws, Master of Magic is still an incredibly addictive game, giving that "one more turn" feel and before you realize, it's 3 AM, you have to get up early to work tomorrow and you forgot to have dinner.

Pros:
- Great depth while still being relatively easy to pick up and play
- Hundreds of magic spells to research
- Building up your cities and armies is great fun
- Creating your own mage is fun
- Addicting to the point where you might lose the track of... wait what day is this?

Cons:
- You can only play against 4 nations at a time
- Diplomacy options are limited

Final Score: B+


The Packaging for this game is definitely amongst the best I've seen, I miss the days when you'd get cool stuff in games without having to pay extra for these so-called "collectors editions".

The cover is very eye catching (no pun intended) and stands out from just about any shelf, I love the colors and mystic feeling it emanates, though I do chuckle at the yellow sticker, warning you that this game requires 28MB of hardisk space for installation, how times have changed.

But the best part is without a doubt the documentation, you get a whopping 160 page manual, giving you tips, instructions and descriptions of just about everything in great detail, as if that weren't impressive enough, it also comes with a 48 page spellbook manual covering all the intricacies of the massive list of spells this game offers (I didn't count how many of them there, but I'm fairly certain there's over 200 of them)

Truly this is one of the best packagings I've seen, low on the eye candy (no maps or pin-up posters) but it has enough optional reading material to satisfy any gamer

Packaging Score: A-

3 comments:

  1. Nice review, I love the package.

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  2. I love Sid Meier's stuff. This game seems a little more military based than the "build your empire" feeling of Sid Meier's games... but I might have to try this game out.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, this game is a lot more combat focused, I felt that there was little point to diplomacy in this game other then the typical declaration of war/peace treaty bits

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