Review: World Empire III (Windows 16-Bit)

By Drew Wilson

In this review, we check out the turn-based strategy game World Empire III for the 16 bit Windows operating system. We find out if this third installment is worth checking out.

Note: This review covers the demo only.

This particular game was released in 1994 and is a sequel to the game World Empire II Deluxe.

Since this game is very similar to World Empire II Deluxe, we’ll simply cover the notable differences in this game.

One of the biggest difference found in this game is the fact that the demo is more limited than the previous version. Instead of having up to two computer players, you are only limited to just one – the infamous General “Chip” Silicone. This, I felt, really limited the experience of the game as you wouldn’t know just how dynamic this game can be with just the one computer player.

Another notable difference is the new art. There’s a new splash screen and new pictures for all of the characters that are available. While some of the art does nicely replace the text on buttons, some of the images have that stock clipart feel to them. In addition, the photo’s of the characters, I felt, were actually slightly worse than the previous game. I don’t know if they were intended to be better, but it was as if there was an attempt to make them better, but the compression mangled the art much more than the previous version. Some of the art, such as the end game pictures, were a slight improvement, but the intro splash screen could have been left to just stylized fonts. I think it would have been better that way. Another graphical thing to note is the fact that the mashing together of small countries was left as-is. So, a problem in the previous game wasn’t fixed in this updated game. The circles also seem to come with a new drop shadow which actually made this problem slightly worse. To add to this, the graphical interface of the world map was glitchy. At one point, the watery areas turns a strange green and never reverted back to the classic black. The countries also do not fill in on the world map as you take it over, making the game a little harder to figure out. One county did fill out with my red color, but it was the only one that ever did fill in. The most notable improvement, in my opinion, is the close-up maps where the shorelines contain a blue glow and the fact that arrows were added to denote countries that bridge continents. Very good thing to add.

The sounds also contained a major facelift. Gone are the default Windows sounds which is a very good improvement. The blasting sound was even more pleasant than the windows “ding” sound. The popping noise of some of the windows wasn’t bad either. When you go to attack and when you take over a country, there’s even new music to compliment the intro music. Unfortunately, when you take over countries that are friendly to your ideology, there’s music that has an excessive resonance. I get that this is MIDI music, but some of the notes could have been toned down a little. The music itself seemed to come from some sort of repository, though I can’ say for sure if that was the case. Reason I suspect it is because the dreary music of taking over a country whose population would resist you is substantially different. Admittedly, I was very motivated to take over countries that would resist me because the music was far better. Eventually, I just went ahead and shut off the music part way through because it would prove to be irritating. It wasn’t worth keeping it on to hear the music when the computer player took a turn. So, half way decent sound effects, and a few good tunes, but the bad tunes overpower the good tunes.

In the end, the biggest improvement, I found, were the arrows added to countries to denote which country bridges continents. The addition of music was a nice attempt at an improvement, but some of the music proved to be overbearing, forcing me to switch it off. The sound effects were a nice addition. The graphics were sometimes glitchy on the main world map area. Some of the graphics were an improvement, but more of the graphics were either resembled stock clip art too much or was a step back from the previous version. The demo was much more restrictive than the previous version as well. In the end, considering how decently put together the previous version was, I found this particular game to be a disappointment. The mechanics are more or less all there, but I would say that if you had a choice between World Empire II Deluxe and World Empire III, I would say, “Stick to World Empire II Deluxe”.

Overall

Furthest point in game: Beat the computer player.

General gameplay: 19/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 3/10
Audio: 2/5

Overall rating: 64%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85



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