Build An Empire
In Your Spare Time
Imperium Romanum is an empire building sim that cuts to the chase with simple commands and lots of gameplay variety. It eschews the tedious micromanagement elements in favor of a more streamlined gameplay. It all adds up to a game that lets you spend less time fussing and more time ruling.
In Imperium Romanum, you are able to start with a small village in hopes of turning it into an empire. Of course this happens one step at a time, but Imperium Romanum has the right ingredients that make a game like this more accessible to newbies, while maintaining a level of depth that can be exploited by vets. It’s a fast-paced game that gives you plenty of options, allowing you to create and manage the greatest empire the world has ever known. And you run it the way you want to run it. After all, you’re the deity.
Ah yes, the glory days of the Roman Empire. Some of you may recall the game, Glory of the Roman Empire, which preceded Imperium Romanum by a couple of years. But don’t be expecting a sequel or a continuation. Imperium Romanum is essentially a new entity unto itself. It shares the same streamlined interface and graphics, but from beginning to end, it’s a stand-alone game that doesn’t require any experience from the game that inspired it.
Maintaining as much historical accuracy as possible, Imperium Romanum includes popular battles, weapons, buildings, monuments, currency, food, and the government structure of the period. There is also a military component in which you will command units to attack and defend various installations and territories. It ventures into the RTS realm but not too deep, which is the game’s only real fault. The combat could have a lot more depth to it without being overly complex. As it is, you just make a few simple choices from the menu and let it play out.
Select from one of four modes: Tutorial, History, Scenario, and Rome. In the tutorial you’ll be shown around the menus and given a few exercises to strengthen your knowledge. Virtually all of the commands can be accessed by the interface, which is well positioned on the screen, allowing you a clear view of your empire. The key commands are almost the same as Glory of the Roman Empire. The Scenario and History modes are similar in that they offer various goals and objectives, although the History mode is more structured. Some of the tasks involve conquest, revenue generating, structure building, and resource gathering. In the Rome mode, you will be in charge of the already grand metropolis and the rest of the empire. The challenges here are more specific, mostly of a financial nature as you attempt to maintain the infrastructure while expanding the city. Regardless of how much money you have, how big your city is, how many resources are available, and how powerful your military is, the bottom line is that you have to use everything in such a way as to make the masses happy.
Attending to your population base is the single most important element in this game. A happy population is a stable population, which will ultimately become a profitable one. The more people who live in your town or city, the more money you will be able to collect through taxes. Denarii is the form of currency used in this game, and it gives you a real sense of structured economy. With money, you can produce more dwellings to accommodate more people. You can also put these people to work by creating industries that process raw materials. You can manufacture and process various foods such as meats, grains, and fruits. These commodities can also be traded at trading posts, essentially bypassing the need for currency.
To keep your population happy you will have various temples for them to practice their religions, and places such as taverns, theatres, and the Circus Maximus for entertainment purposes. As your population grows, certain neighborhoods will become more prosperous over time, starting out with simple wood structures and culminating in elegant villas. Neglected neighborhoods will see deterioration not only with the structures but also with morale as some of the more destitute turn to a life of crime. These are problems that you will have to solve, but they are interesting in their scope.
Building is as simple and click, drag, and drop. In fact, most of the commands are all that easy. As long as you have the resources and denarii, you can build just about anything you want, wherever you want. The center of the city is the Forum, which acts as a hub. It’s where most of the action takes place. The larger the city grows, the larger and grander the Forum becomes. It’s a flagship haven, complete with fountains, statues, monuments, stores, government buildings, and temples. It’s also home to the slaves that do most of the work for you. Eventually you will upgrade to more slaves and structures. Building costs will be reduced, and the hugely increased population of Rome will give you control of untold wealth from which you can purchase more commodities.
Military installations are important for defense, as well as the acquisition of new territories. There are three main units: Archers, calvary, and infantry. Each denote a separate building for training. Putting the units into battle is as easy as placing an icon on the screen and having the unit move to that position. Once there, you can command them to attack. To add a little more depth to the combat, you can assign various formations to each of the units. This gives some depth to combat where a particular srategy is required such as increased range at the expense of strength. Other lines of defense include structures such as walls, towers, and gates to deter or slow enemy attacks. Some of the enemies will use weapons such as catapults to destroy your physical defenses, causing the enemy to breach your city.
Imperium Romanum is very well detailed. You can zoom in and zoom out of any scene, viewing it at almost any perspective you desire, from a bird’s eye view to ground level. The buildings and monuments are well detailed structures that leave little to the imagination. Natural environments such as forests, deserts, and lakes are equally believable. It’s only the people that don’t appear natural. They animate stiffly and predictably. Ambient sound effects respond almost perfectly to your viewing perspective. The closer you get to people, the louder the sounds of their activities and conversations. The music is well orchestrated and triggered to the onscreen events. It’s never too loud or obtrusive.
Imperium Romanum offers tons of replay value, with different modes and virtually unlimited ways to play each scenario.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.7 Graphics
Well detailed graphics at all perspectives. Zoom in and out, up, down, and around. 4.8 Control
Simple interface makes issuing commands a breeze. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music is light and unobtrusive. Sound effects generate fitting ambience. 4.8 Play Value
Plenty of modes. Lot of gameplay variety. Tons of replay value. 4.7 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.