Conquest of the New World
Conquest of the New World allows you to play the part of one of Europe's great conquering leaders. It's the 1500s, as you bravely set off to the ends of the known world with your faithful crew, to compete with other European countries, to be the first to explore and colonize the uncharted regions of this New World. With God on your side, you hope your people will survive and prosper until you have developed many thriving colonies. Along the way, you will encounter settlers from other countries, in addition to the indigenous population, who may or may not be friendly to you. How you choose to react to others in this new world may very well determine your very survival. Expand too quickly, attack the wrong colony, break a treaty, and you can soon find yourself the center of the other colonial powers' attacks. The only way that your fledgling colonies will survive is to use a mixture of diplomacy, trade, exploration and warfare.
As the leader of these brave colonists, your immediate goal is to locate an area suitable for building your first colony. You should scout out an area that has as many of the following features as possible. You will want to find an area that is relatively flat but bordering the ocean (so that you can build a dock and establish trade with the Motherland), has grasslands near a river (to improve your farming), forests (for mills and wood) and mountains (to mine gold and metals). The flat terrain will allow you to build and expand your colony ... adding housing (so your colonists will have a place to live), churches (to increase immigration to your colony), forts (to defend your fledgling colonies), taverns (to recruit new explorers), and other vital necessities of your colony. Each of these buildings can be upgraded, like those in, up to a maximum of four levels (fewer in certain circumstances), which increases their output.
Once your colony has become well-established, generate a settler and find another site conducive for a colony, then found a new colony. Repeat these steps until you have developed a strong presence in the new world. Then try to pick off your weaker neighbors or declare independence from your mother country. It's up to you how your society develops.
CNW boasts a very sharp SVGA real-time 3D model, which displays the New World in a scrolling texture-mapped polygonal perspective. Quicksilver, the developers of the game, built in the ability to zoom out so that you can take in the rich terrains of vast green forests, snow-capped mountains, wide expansive plains and deep winding rivers or opt to zoom in, so close that you can even see your colonist chopping lumber or going to church.
The computer AI was created with a lot of savvy in this colonization simulation, allowing it to dynamically make adjustments based on what type of actions you take. Depending on how you play your colonists, you will either set up positive relations with your neighbors and establish mutually beneficial trade arrangements, or you can get a little too aggressive, causing the other colonies to treat you with increasing hostility. If you do manage to anger any of the other colonies, you will soon find yourself in combat. Here is where it gets really fun.
For the strategy lover, Quicksilver has tried to give you the best of all worlds. In the exploration phases ofCNW, it is almost like Civilization, where you move around in the main map view. When you get into the actual warfare, the view changes dramatically. You are taken immediately to the combat grid. Here you will see each member of your troops. Usually, you will have leaders, infantry men, cavalry and artillery. You swap turns with the computer (or other players in the multiplayer games), moving your men around the various squares and shooting upon the enemies' troops. You can attain victory by achieving any of three goals: You can either kill everyone, force the enemy to retreat, or occupy the same square as the enemy's flag. To do this you will try to advance on the enemy without exposing your flag.
The warfare is realistic, in the sense that if you go into the combat outnumbered, there's a good chance that you won't walk away from it. The combat animation is very cool, as your men advance and attack with the sounds of gunfire and the outcries of the dying ringing in your ears. It may take you a while to figure out what the most beneficial way to approach the enemy is. Keep in mind that you do gain advantages if you flank the enemy, or if you attack with your cavalry on the same turn that you have moved them. They get an attack bonus for charging. The developers of CNW were nice enough to actually let you practice your combat skills at the beginning of the game, before you actually have to put your men's lives on the line. Reminiscent of Star Control II, you can practice the combat element of CNW without actually having to play a game. They have included an option off the first screen that allows you to hone your combat skills by allowing you to pick any of the nationalities to fight with against any of the other nationalities in the game. This is essential if you want to be prepared to take on the computer, or better yet, your buddies in a multiplayer game. Even when I didn't have time to sit down and play out a whole game, I could start up a mini-war and practice my troop movements. One thing about the combat in this game: if you enter into it unwisely, the enemy can easily decimate your troops. So play it safe ... if you are outnumbered, it's better to run and live to fight another day than be slaughtered.
Installation was pretty much trouble-free, except that I had to mess around before I could play CNW inside Windows 95. Playing in DOS worked fine, but each time I tried to run it in Windows 95, I kept getting an error. Finally, I right-clicked on the Conquest icon and selected properties from the drop-down menu. Then I selected the program tab. At the bottom I selected "Advanced" and then made sure that only the top check box was selected that said, "Prevent MS-DOS-based programs from detecting Windows." Then I found that CNW would play fine.
If playing against the computer just doesn't cut it for you, Conquest of the New World has network capabilities built into it. Up to 6 players can compete over a network or modem as England, France, Spain, Holland, Portugal, or even the native Indians. In addition to this, they have also just released a patch that makes playing via email another possibility. These multiplayer options, as well as the ability to dynamically create new worlds by specifying what percentage of land, water, etc. they contain at the beginning of the game, ensures good re-playability.
Conquest of the New World will dynamically generate different worlds for you each time you start out a game, but it also allows you to select what percentages of land and water that you want the computer to use when it generates the new world. This allows for a great diversity of worlds to conquer. While this was a nice feature, I was kind of bummed that they didn't include the actual North American continent, with historically accurate Native Americans and landmarks! That would have been a nice addition to this game.
Another nice customization that you can make with CNW is that you can define what is victory. You can win Conquest of the New World in several ways. Not every game is to the death, where whoever is left standing at the end is the winner, although you can certainly play that scenario. You can set the victory conditions at the beginning of the game. You can set the maximum number of turns allowed and the winning score. You obtain a "score" by accruing victory points. Victory points can be gained by exploring and discovering important landmarks. Bonus points are awarded by discovering the longest river, highest mountain, or other record-breaking landmarks. Victory points are also awarded for founding and developing colonies, winning battles, establishing diplomatic relations with other players, and altering your diplomatic status (becoming independent, establishing a commonwealth, or federating).
You also have the option of playing not only one of the European conquerors, but the Native Americans. This offers a whole new aspect to this game. Native Americans come with different building options and resources. For a definite challenge, try playing the Native Americans.
486/Dx2 66MHz, 8 MB RAM, 2X CD-ROM drive, VESA local bus/PCI SVGA, mouse, SoundBlaster or compatible sound card, MS-DOS 5.0 or better or Windows 95 (not as a native application)
Reviewed on: P-133, 16 MB RAM, 6X CD-ROM drive
Conquest of the New World puts together several different gaming subjects into one clean, sharp package. They have combined the best elements from several games of this genre -- exploration, colony founding and management, and board-game style tactical combat -- and have neatly integrated the entire package. The graphics, animation, multiplayer capabilities, overall playability and the ability to customize and define victory in several ways, make CNW a nice surprise for those of us who love a good strategy game. If you are serious about getting into a game that may take you a while to master, check out Conquest of the New World. Exploring and conquering a new world never felt so good. Quicksilver and Interplay score an 86 for this above-average strategy game!