Tyrants - Fight Through Time

a game by Sensible Software

Platform: Sega GenesisGenesis

Genre: Strategy/War

Ever had a craving for power, a yen for omnipotence, a need to control vast armies of human beings? If so, read on. In the tradition of Populous and similar simulation strategy games, Tyrants allows you to direct the evolution and progress of your own little horde of humans as they attempt to conquer the world.

Survival of the Fittest

Tyrants is a port over from an Amiga game that puts you in the shoes of one of four would-be demigods who are out to evolve their race of human creatures faster than their three competitors. The game stretches over nine Epochs, beginning in 9500 B.C. and ending in the distant future with the Mother of All Battles. Your view of the action is from a 3/4 overhead perspective (where else would a god sit but on high). The point and click interface features nice graphics. Digitized moans, groans, and very British voices highlight important happenings and add a combative atmosphere to the game.

In each Epoch, your task is to conquer three different islands. Each island is composed of a varying number of squares or sectors. You stake out your sector, and then try to wipe out settlements of enemy populations in the other sectors. The last remaining survivor wins. If it's you, you become King or Queen of the Epoch and advance to the next set of territories.

ProTip: You can continue endlessly from wherever you leave off in the game. No passwords, though!

Go Forth and Conquer

Sounds simple, right? NOT! The game's complex and its detailed strategy require an almost intuitive style of game play. Reading the lengthy manual is a necessity.

Your little bands of humans do not come pre-equipped for fighting and conquering enemy populations. You must direct their evolution by helping them develop new weapons, telling them when to mine for natural resources, showing them where to search in other sectors for further resources, telling them when to build mines and laboratories, tell them when to attack... and the list goes on and on. In other words, these demigods know nothing about the concept of free will. So, as the all-powerful being, success or failure is completely up to you!

In each Epoch, you're allocated 100 human beings. Your first decision will be how many humans to use to defeat each island. Once you and your happy little band are settled into a sector, you've got to immediately begin working towards progress. In Tyrants, progress equals more men, better weapons, and better fortifications. Without these, you cannot destroy your fellow human beings before they destroy you.

  • Try to use only 20 men to wipe out the islands in the first Epoch.
  • Remember that any men left over from conquering an Epoch are passed on to the next Epoch. Use your human resources appropriately.

In order to build better weapons, you must first design them. Depending on the natural resources in your sector, you have access to different blueprints that you can command designers to use to develop offensive or defensive weapons.

Whenever you allocate humans to work on any project, a clock indicates how long it will take them to accomplish their task. When your humans have finished with their designs, you decide how many humans you need to arm as soldiers to guard your tower with defensive weapons, to send out to the mines, or to do any number of other tasks.

  • The more humans you allocate to a task, the quicker they accomplish it However, you'll have fewer humans for other tasks.
  • If the natural resources in your sector are limited, send a small band of lightly armed soldiers into an adjacent sector to establish an additional stronghold. Your soldiers are safest if you send them to a sector that is not bordered by an enemy sector. Scan the sectors first to seek one with abundant resources.

The strategy element in Tyrants lies in two areas: the sectors you choose, and your use of the existing resources to develop your army quickly enough to defeat your opponents before they defeat you. The initial weaponry is simple -- rocks, sticks, and spears. As your civilization grows and advances to different tech levels, the weapons become more and more sophisticated. The game's culminating battle reaches a frightening level of sophistication, complete with nuclear weapons and Star Wars defense systems.

A Big Game for Big Heads

Tyrants is an absorbing and complex game. It's definitely not for gamers who want their games down and dirty, or for those who have a thing about not reading game manuals. Renegade Tyrants will find this game exciting, challenging, and thought provoking, as well as frustrating, aggravating, and annoying! However, if you enjoyed Populous and you've got another couple of eons to spend conquering new worlds, Tyrants might just be your kind of ego trip.

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