Caesar 3

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a game by Impressions Games
Platform: PC (1999)
Editor Rating: 7.8/10, based on 3 reviews, 5 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 11 votes
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See also: Sandbox Games, Open World Games, Crafting Games, Merchant Games

Caesar 3 was a fantastic city-building strategy game from the folks at Sierra. Sierra were the kings of PC in the 90s and this game was released towards the tail end of the decade. It is a game that I feel for those that remember it is remembered with great fondness. Whereas there are tons of people who have not heard of this game or have forgotten completely about it!

The Rise of Rome

Caesar 3 is set during ancient Rome which is kind of obvious when you think about it. Even though this period of time has been done before in games and in all honesty with more depth and more personality. I still think that Sierra managed to capture the look and feel of ancient Rome very well, not that I have ever been there of course. However, the story of the game where you are trying to become the greatest Caesar of all time as you build your vision of Rome up to the grandest ever is really cool.

The Charming Roman’s

The presentation of the game is pretty solid in my opinion. Now, you are not getting a Rome as you would get in a modern game. However, for an isometric viewpoint from 1998, I do feel that things are far more detailed than most people will probably expect. The different buildings and even many of the people have more little details that do help bring them to life. I am not saying the game holds up amazingly well, but for a 20 plus-year-old strategy game, Caesar 3 is not bad at all.

Speaking of not bad at all, the voice acting has aged better than many other games of this era. We were getting into the “Dreamcast” era here and I do not know what it was, but voice acting during this time went through a 2-4-year period where it was laugh out loud bad. Thankfully, while the voice lines do repeat a great deal they are of a decent quality. Also, the music is good and if quite fitting in every regard.

Sim Roman City

I have always enjoyed city building games and I probably always will. The main game mode sees you having to take over this great city and then build it from the ground up into something that is truly epic. You do this by taking on various missions that will result around you doing things like building a structure, ensuring your people are happy, and dealing with any barbarians who might want to take your city and kill your people. The game always keeps you on your toes and I do like how there is a nice variety to the different missions. It is far from easy, but that is something I like about it.

If you do not care for story in your city building game, you can play the game without any kind of story. I really did enjoy the story that the game told, but this mode feels more like a traditional city-building sim. I would say you are best taking on the story first and then jumping into this mode as if you start with this mode, you will probably not want to do the story.

I know that this may look “old” however, I had a great deal of fun playing Caesar 3 and I would probably class it as one of my favorites in the city-building genre. The game is a lot of fun and it provides you with a very hard challenge, but it never feels unfair. There may be a bit of trial and error, but everything you do in this game even when it goes wrong can be a learning experience. If you like city building games, you owe it to yourself to play this.


Final Score


  • I thought the story they told was great
  • They try to be very authentic to the ancient Rome setting
  • They give you many different ways to build your city
  • You can play the game without a story if you want
  • The presentation holds up fairly well


  • I liked the voice acting, but it does say the same things over and over again
  • It is not as “in-depth” as what we have with many modern games in this genre

Download Caesar 3


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Back in the 90s Sierra released hit after hit and Caesar 3 was one of their hits. Originally released in the late 90s this was part of their series of games that were all about city building. This is a genre I have been a fan of since my old man picked up a copy of Sim City back in the day. This is a great city building game and one that does not get the attention it deserves if you ask me.

Hail Caesar!

The game as you have probably guessed already is set in ancient Rome. I love this time period and while more modern games have done it better. Caesar 3 manages to capture this time period really well. You have all the things you would expect from large Roman cities, the coliseum and angry barbarians to go to war with. The “story” of the game sees you trying to become the next Caesar as you build a wonderful and prosperous city.

Hot For 98

The visuals of the game may not exactly look amazing by today's standards, but Sierra was known for making good looking games. I like the isometric viewpoint as I feel it gives you a great view of the city and from this viewpoint, the different locations, buildings, and people do look fairly detailed. I do wish you could move the camera around more freely, but perhaps if we could do that the visuals may not hold up as well?

The sound design for the game is great. For a game from 1998, Caesar 3 has some pretty damn good voice acting. It can get a bit repetitive after a while, but at least the quality on offer is good. It has a very fitting soundtrack and some of the tracks, especially the battle music is pretty awesome.

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

If you have played a city building game before then you know what to expect here. You can play the game in a couple of ways. The main way has you doing various missions and building this great city pretty much from scratch. While you need to have a good infostructure so that money is coming in and your people are happy. You also have to watch out for invaders and disasters as well. It is a delicate balancing act and one that is pretty darn tough. You can also play the game without the confines of a story or anything like that. I actually preferred this mode. While it may not be as “epic” I liked how you had freer reign to build the kind of city you want and this is the mode I can see people spending most of their time with.


While there have been a ton of city building games released over the last 30 years. I really do think that if I were to do a top 20, maybe even a top 10 that Caesar 3 would feature on this list. It is a very well-made game and one that is a lot of fun. It captures the feeling of ancient Rome very well and it is a game that is super easy for me to recommend to you guys.


  • Has a real “ancient Rome” feel to it
  • I liked how the game looked
  • You have lots of ways you can build your city
  • Two ways to play the game
  • It features impressive voice acting for the time


  • It might be a tad basic compared to modern city building games
  • While the voice acting is good, some lines do repeat more than others

Maintaining their sinister three-year cycle, Impressions are currently in the closing stages of Caesar III, the latest instalment of their in-depth Roman resource 'em up. Their inaugural effort first saw the light of day way back in 1992, and compared to the games of today, it looks about as appealing as a pound of raw pork, with primitive graphics deterring all but the most committed would-be emperor.

The second effort was a vast improvement, proving revolutionary for the time and paving the way for the likes of Microsoft's universally acclaimed Age Of Empires. Intricate buildings were available, and elaborate cities could be fashioned as the player strove to ascend the ranks of the Roman government, with the ultimate goal of taking the position of Caesar himself. In principle, Caesar III doesn't differ drastically from its predecessor. Starting with nothing but shrubbery, the idea is to construct a majestic Roman city and ensure a harmonious existence for its citizens. The player begins as a lowly citizen and is set certain tasks in order to achieve promotion, be it increasing the population, gaining prosperity or currying favour with the emperor.

In the previous game, combat involved convening to a field and playing at war like backward children. In Caesar 111 it is more realistic, taking place within your city as you attempt to repel hostile pillagers. There will also be far more variety of gameplay, with new buildings and so forth brought in at regular stages. Furthermore, Caesar veterans will no longer be haunted by the irritating cry of More plebs needed! which was barked with tooth-grinding regularity, having been erroneously recorded too loud. Mercifully, it has now been dropped.

That's a start, at least.

There's a scene in Monty Python's The Life Of Brian where members of the indigenous populace are railing against their Roman oppressors. Their contribution to society is examined in depth, and eventually it transpires that the supposedly malevolent Romans have provided the plebs with roads, aqueducts, irrigation, education, housing, sanitation, security, fire prevention, the walls, and of course peace.

So what? So this. Caesar III features all the above and more in a frighteningly detailed simulation of life in Roman times. Starting from scratch, with little more than shrubbery for company, the idea is to construct a majestic Roman city and ensure a harmonious existence for its citizens. To the layman, this could potentially sound like the dullest thing on earth. But it isn't, it's great. It's immensely addictive, proves ruinous to your body clock, and can steal entire days of your life.

There are essentially two ways to play, depending on your ambitions as a Roman Emperor. A career path is offered where you start out in charge of some godforsaken one-horse town and progress through larger urban sprawls until you eventually covet the position of Caesar himself. Alternatively, you can simply build a city and attempt to remain there for the rest of your natural life - something that isn't beyond the realms of possibility.

Make A Build

So what makes it so addictive? It all starts harmlessly enough: you need some people, so you clear some land for them to build homes on. They need feeding, so you knock up a couple of farms. Wheat needs to be stored, so you build some granaries. Food needs distributing, so you install some markets. Buildings can collapse, so you bring in engineers. Houses need water, so you build wells. Wells are shit, so you build fountains. People get sick, so you build hospitals. People need to bother gods, so you build temples. None of this comes cheap, so you set up trade routes. You need something to sell, so you set up industries. These new buildings require employees, so you sort out some more accommodation. The new employees require more food, so it's back to the farms...

Before you know it, thousands of people are dependent on you and you have a fully functioning city at your disposal, with all the problems that this entails. The citizens can clearly be seen going about their business, and indeed clicking on them reveals their state of mind and their current needs, their thoughts delivered in a comedy voice.

Every building created has a knock-on effect, and eventually disparate areas of town become apparent. For instance, it's possible to set up a small fishing community in a distant corner of the map, proving largely self-sufficient while constantly supplying the city with their wares. Other areas become more salubrious, with people living in villas, attending the theatre and dangling grapes into their gobs at the local baths.

The city takes on a life of its own, and distinct class statuses become evident, with naive notions of social responsibility soon eschewed in favour of harsh financial realism. Why waste money on lowly farm hands when you can furnish your more upmarket citizens with the bourgeois trinkets they yearn for? After all, those in the big houses pay the most tax. Let the proles eat pies and live in shacks, while the chattering classes lounge around discussing the merits of balsamic vinegar and watching lions tearing men apart in the name of sport. This vaguely fascist policy can work in the short term, although the denizens of more run-down areas may start rioting, in which case you can either tend to their needs or simply employ some heavies to give them a slap.

Tin Soldier

Once your city is in full effect, it may be at the mercy of barbarians who drop by for the odd urn of wine, not to mention wanton destruction on a mammoth scale. To this end, defences are required and troops must be trained. The combat in Caesar 3 is purely defensive and, in contrast to its predecessor, the skirmishing actually takes place within the confines of the city. The marauders can be a tenacious bunch, more than capable of wiping out entire armies, in which event the local populace has to steam in, attacking the invaders with sharp sticks. The damage to the city is often tangible, and it can take years to absorb the effects of a skirmish. In order to keep the bastards out, vast city walls can be constructed, and before you know it you're living in a vague approximation of Chester, albeit with fewer pubs and a better football team.

Ultimately, you effectively take on the role of a troubleshooter, constantly tending to the needs of various areas of the city. Caesar III is a latter-day incarnation of the old cabaret trick of spinning plates on sticks, and there's never a moment's rest. Your mind is constantly racing, to the exclusion of all else. Natural save points fail to present themselves, and hours merge into days. Food remains uneaten, cups of tea go cold, and cigarette ash tumbles to the floor under its own weight. Unless you are in prison, unemployed or a student, be warned: Caesar III will screw you up.

What we thought

"Caesar 3 is a latter-day incarnation of the old cabaret trick of spinning plates on sticks, and there's never a moment's rest. Your mind Is constantly racing, to the exclusion of all else."

What you think

People say:

  • "Why does Caesar 3 warrant classic status? It could hardly be described as either original or innovative. Apart from the fact that it is part three in the Caesar series, it is one of hundreds of real-time strategy games available. Personally, the only compulsion I felt was to remove this hateful game from my hard drive as fast as possible. It has worse graphics and more tedious gameplay than Settlers II, which received the same score some two years previously. "How will the games industry ever move forwards if such tired old reworks are greeted with critical acclaim? Better games than this one are already available on budget."

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