NINTENDO DS REVIEW: AGE OF EMPIRES: THE AGE OF KINGS
Conquering new territories will earn you more money and help you to "Age-up" your civilization to the next level. This will make you stronger and allow you to develop new technologies in a variety of disciplines such as chemistry, ballistics, siege machines and spying techniques, all of which can be applied to your war efforts. You will also earn points which can be used to unlock new units and new maps.

The turn-based system allows you time to plan out your strategy since there's nothing to immediately react to. You can position your units, create structures, harvest resources and research new technologies. Then your opponent takes his or her turn.

There is a multi-player mode in which up to four players can take part in using the wireless system, or you can choose to play against the AI which does a good job of keeping up with you and trying to trap you into changing your strategy. The good thing about the turn-based strategy system is that you can play against other players by passing the DS around when it's their turn to play. This only requires one copy of the game and allows you to play with friends that can't afford their own DS. I call these unfortunate kids, moochers.

The bottom screen shows the map while the top displays the various units, buildings and terrain. Things can get a little crowded on these small screens so you'll probably have to consult the interface more than you normally would on the PC just to keep track of things. Fortunately the menus are heavy on the icons and short on the text which makes things easier and faster to locate. The top-down view is perfect for seeing most of the battlefield but you'll have to do some scrolling on the larger maps.

The armies animate smoothly as they take to the battlefield. You can hear the clashing of swords, the battle cries of the victorious and the screams of the defeated. Each faction is accompanied by their appropriate music but it does get repetitive and that can be a bit of a pain since the replay value is incredible.

Age of Kings is one of the smartest games on the DS. It's highly recommended for gamers of all ages and intelligence.

Features:

  • Command one of five different civilizations: the Britons, Franks, Mongols, Saracens or Japanese
    Control special 'hero' units such as Richard the Lionheart, Minamoto Yoshitsune, Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan whose special Hero Powers affect the battlefield
  • Lead over 60 different types of units into battle--from archers and monks to hand cannoneers, battering rams and samurai
  • Construct and upgrade buildings to create resources for your civilizations and provide access to new units and technologies

By StewXX
CCC Staff Writer

Rating out of 5
Age Of Empires: The Age Of Kings (DS)
4.3
Graphics
As good as one could expect on a small handheld, but of course we have to compare it to the PC in which case the screen it too small.
4.4
Control
The interface is easy to navigate thanks to the use of more icons and less text. Did I mention this game is turn-based?
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
You can hear plenty of war noises but the music becomes repetitive.
4.5
Play Value
Play against the CPU and one, two or three other players. With such addictive gameplay you'll lose this game before you stop playing it.
4.5
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
2

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best