Colonization puts you in the role of Viceroy of the New World. You are sent by your King and country to establish colonies in the newly-discovered Americas that lie to the west. You face many of the same challenges that faced colonial organizers of the time-competition from other Old World powers, strange native cultures, the problems of establishing profitable trade programs, and the problems of organizing an army from a rag-tag band of colonists.
The game begins with the European discovery of the Americas (1500) and continues until approximately the time of the American Revolution (1800). In the beginning of the game you are given a trading/exploration ship and a small group of colonists. You have no knowledge of what lies ahead of your ship, so you must explore until you find a suitable spot to lay down your first colony. As your colonies grow larger and larger, you inevitably encounter native populations and are confronted with competing imperial powers from the Old World. To be successful in Colonization, you must balance your need for military might with your need for essentials. You must decide early what your strategy is and pursue it relentlessly, but be flexible enough to adjust to a changing situation. It is very important to have a consistent policy with the natives, because your handling of those relationships are critical. Finally, you must build a colonial society that has the infrastructure to survive a test by fire-the War of Independence.
In Colonization, you have the chance to change history. As a colonial power, you decide the policies, you make the plans, you choose what is important and what is insignificant. Finally, you will be called upon to decide when to declare independence from your mother country.
-----Review-----[Review by DSimpson over at GameFAQs]
"A fun game, but not quite as well made as Civilization"
Sid Meier's Colonization is extraordinarily similar to Sid Meier's Civilization. Graphically these games are almost twins. There are a lot of small key differences in the games, in that Civilization was a great game, while Colonization is a good game that flirts with being a great one. Yet there are a lot of things in Colonization to make it a worthwhile game, but it is missing that extra spark that made Civilization great.
As the name implies, your job in Colonization is to colonize, in this case, you are to colonize the America's in the 1500's to the 1700's. You start this endeavour with exactly one ship, and two "colonists" (a colonist is assumed to be around 50 people, each Colonist has a specific skill at which they excell, such as Blacksmith or Lumberjack), a Pioneer and a Soldier. You have to land your ship, and build a colony. This element of the game requires a great deal of though and micromanagement. You must place your Colonists in places to maximize not only Food production, but the production of other such cash crops as Tobacco. And to truly make money in the game, you have to build factories and convert these cash crops into end products, like Cigars. To make the economics of the game even more complicated (although not so much as to remove the fun from it), every once in awhile, your Monarch will decide to raise your taxes, giving you the choice to hold a "Tea Party"--after which the Monarch will boycott your product from being sold in Europe. (of course, this can be solved by building a Custom House...)
Warfare is also integral to the gameplay, although the dynamics of the warfare aren't as fluid as in Civilization. Not only do you have to contend with the various other European powers, but also with the natives of the land as well. How you treat them largely determines how they treat you, but they also react with hostility to your colonies when they grow too large. The main problem I have with the warfare in Colonization, is that it is very small in scale. You can, at most, control one unit, and can only attack one unit. Not only that but there are only 2 basic units in the game, a Soldier, and a Dragoon (mounted soldier). There are also "artilleries" but those are mostly for defensive purposes, and are only really useful in cities. (you get a -75% penalty if your artillery is left out in the open) One interesting thing you can do with your warfare, is to attack the natives when you have established a Mission in their village (with a Missionary Colonist of course), you will then forcibly "recruit" their people. Which brings up a question, why did the developers include the European atrocities against the natives, but leave out the black slaves? Both were horrible things, yet they only included the former.
In Civilization you built Wonders of the World, but in Colonization you get Founding Fathers to join your congress. However, Founding Fathers doesn't work as well. Firstly, if you get Sir Francis Drake (+50% attack bonus to Privateers), there is nothing to stop your enemies from also getting Sir Francis Drake. What is he, a double agent? Also the Founding Fathers tend to bring about small changes, whereas the Wonders brought a giant sweeping advancement. I think you can tell where I stand here.
To win the game, you have to Declare your Independence from your mother country, and fight them in a war of independence. All of your units will be "upgraded" to a Revolutionary Fighter. All you then have to do is to survive the onslaught of your former countrymen, and you win!
Graphics -- 6
One step forward, two steps back. Colonization improved on one area of the graphics from the basic design it inherited from Civilization, it prettied up the map a bit. Instead of Civilization's rather blase forests, you get lively vibrant forests, and multiple types of forests as well. There actually is a difference between a Rain Forest, and a Conifer Forest in Colonization. However, Colonization took a great leap back when you look at the "Colony" screen. Civilization represented its cities beautifully, but Colonization represents its colonies as a rather bland set of buildings, which don't really seem to be connected at all. The other graphical thing that bugged me about Colonization goes back to the Military aspect discussed earlier, the units are very dull. As I said there are only 2 basic types (plus artillery), and beyond that there isn't much difference between the basic types and the Revolutionary types. This just isn't very creative.
Controls -- 7
Everything is controlled via the mouse and the keyboard. The interface is clean and well built, if un-inspiring, and a little confusing at times. In particular your "advisor" screens do have a bit of information, but it isn't organized in a particularly effective way.
Sound -- 8
The music in Colonization took a step up from Civilization. Now there were multiple themes playing constantly in the background, plus as you meet Natives, you hear their own distinctive theme as well. The variety of the music is also top notch, with military themes, slow songs, and fun happy songs. The sound effects here are also good, as you hear horses running, and guns blaring in battle; or trees being cut down when you first build a colony. This is all very well done, and is one of my favorite parts of the game.
Fun -- 7
There can be a lot of fun in Colonization, if you master its quirks. Once you can accomplish that, the game takes on a life of its own. However, about half-way through any game, it gets tired. The gameplay simply doesn't evolve from the first half to the last half--like Civilization did. Since you are using the same essential units, technologies, and skills in the last half as in the first half, there isn't much reason to continue onward. However, once you get to the Revolutionary War, any such feelings quickly dissipate as you have to defend yourself from a strong and wily foe.
Final Score -- 7
Reviewer's Score: 7/10, Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
# Windows 3.1 or higher
# 80286 CPU
# 640KB RAM
Box arts from the Amiga version of the game since the Windows ones weren't good looking :P
Also, not 100% sure on the requirements, especially since the only one for Windows listed is Windows 3.1, so the rest is for the DOS version (This is the Windows version), but you can safely assume this will run on anything, unless your trying it on something from the early 80s xD
Another amazing 4X Game, great game and don't let it's age keep you from playing it ;)
Also, will be seeding on 128Kbps for maybe an hour, before I switch to the almight 256Kbps :P So please bear with the speeds =]