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  • Greetings and today is an LGR thing I’m covering

  • largely as an excuse to immerse myself in it again.

  • This is Empire Earth, developed by Stainless Steel Studios for Windows PCs and published

  • by Sierra On-Line in 2001.

  • And back then, I was quite the fan of Microsoft’s Age of Empires games by Ensemble Studios.

  • I mean, I still am, but back then dude?

  • That series was my own personal messiah of real time strategy games.

  • So Empire Earth appealed immediately due to its aesthetic similarities, being a history-based

  • RTS where you begin in an ancient era and progress through time by harvesting resources

  • and researching new technology.

  • Then once I learned development was helmed by Rick Goodman, one of the co-founders of

  • Ensemble Studios and a lead designer on Age of Empires,

  • I was 100% ready to give Empire Earth a chance.

  • It certainly impressed on the packaging level, with a large gatefold box flaunting its art

  • assets and strategically-quoted praises from the press.

  • And inside it gets even better, with an inner cardboard box

  • holding an assortment of physical goodies.

  • Including a sizable technology tree that folds out to reveal a massive number of upgrades

  • over fourteen time periods, rightfully inviting comparisons to Sid Meier’s Civilization

  • in addition to Age of Empires.

  • The box also contains a convenient quick reference card covering the game’s dizzying number

  • of hotkeys and shortcuts.

  • And then there’s the instruction manual, a 240-page opus of information, with fifteen

  • chapters, multiple appendices, and craploads of subsections dutifully covering each individual

  • facet of gameplay. Fantastic stuff.

  • It’s almost anticlimactic seeing that the entire game is packed onto a single CD-ROM

  • holding less than 600 megabytes, but y’know, the early 2000s.

  • Speaking of which, ya gotta love this ad for those classic Alienware Area 51s.

  • Seems you got a hundred bucks off a Pentium 4 build, not bad.

  • Hehe, and my copy in particular also came with this printout from the previous owner,

  • revealing they’d had problems getting the game to run at all on their Dell Dimension 4300.

  • Sierra’s just like, “eh, shut down everything and check DirectX or whatever.”

  • Dude whatcha gonna do, you got a Dell.

  • Anyway that’s enough paperwork, let’s start up Empire Earth and explore half a million

  • years of human history.

  • It begins with the usual assortment of animated logos and intro cinematics, with the main

  • video showing a leader throughout multiple periods in time, each having something going

  • on with his right eye.

  • This guy, this guy, this guy, this guy.

  • Apparently depth perception is not a requirement for military leadership, so that’s encouraging.

  • After this is the main menu with options for single player, multiplayer,

  • game tools, settings, and [exit!]

  • Unfortunately Empire Earth’s official multiplayer lobbies were taken down years back, though

  • there are still ways to play online through fan-made servers like NeoEE.net if that’s

  • your jam.

  • But yeah, for this video let’s jump into the single player, which admittedly looks

  • a whole lot like Age of Empires.

  • Youre presented with choices for playing a random map, four campaigns, custom scenarios,

  • saved games, and learning things.

  • That last one supplies new players with eight tutorial maps guiding you step by step through

  • the most important systems and strategies.

  • Citizens construct all the buildings and gather all the natural resources that are necessary

  • for a civilization's survival and growth.

  • It’s good stuff, with fully-voiced narration and maps purpose-built to ensure that you

  • don’t get too far ahead of the tutorial by accident.

  • However, if youve played Age of Empires, or even like Command & Conquer or Warcraft,

  • then youve already got a general idea of how itll go.

  • There’s a central building acting as a base, you send out units to collect resources from

  • the map, construct more units and buildings using those resources, and progress things

  • by dedicating resources to upgrading tech.

  • Whether youre playing a random map, custom-made scenario, or the main campaign, the core formula

  • changes little.

  • What does change are the individual goals for each map, ranging from basic survival,

  • to building wonders, to forging alliances,

  • to complete and total domination of everyone on the map.

  • Personally, I prefer playing randomly-generated maps and duking it out against AI players.

  • Even if the AI leaves, eh, a bit to be desired considering how much it tends to cheat, it’s

  • still an undeniably fun time for me.

  • There’s something sensationally appealing about beginning with a few basic units, an

  • unseen map, and a massive tech tree just itching to be researched.

  • No story, no waypoints, nothing getting in the way of me and my own individualized path

  • towards real time strategic world domination.

  • And Empire Earth is a prime choice for that kind of gaming, with its mixture of world

  • history and the game mechanics popularized by both Age of Empires and Sid Meier’s Civilization.

  • An RTS game where youre allowed to advance yourself so far ahead of the competition technologically

  • is wildly captivating to me.

  • Where the enemy is still floundering around in a prehistoric era while youre rolling

  • up in a squadron of tanks, helicopter gunships, and atomic age bombers, ready to nukeem

  • back to the stone age.

  • [nuke ferociously detonates]

  • Except they were still technically in the stone age anyway

  • so you haven’t really done much except glean some kind of twisted catharsis

  • by way of technological overkill.

  • Whatever man, that stuff’s precisely my brand of enjoyment.

  • Taking real life history and coming up with your own alternate timelines through gameplay,

  • it’s pretty much the best.

  • And it’s one of the biggest reasons I continually return to the classic

  • AoE and Civ games, again and again.

  • But with those, youre stuck choosing between two very different approaches to the same

  • idea And that’s where Empire Earth comes in.

  • Let’s start with the passage of time itself, which functions a bit more like Age of Empires

  • than Civ despite spanning 500,000 years.

  • There are no individual years stated, but rather multiple ages to progress through representing

  • sections of history, referred to here as epochs.

  • Each epoch provides the opportunity to utilize a distinct set of buildings, units, and technologies.

  • And you progress to the next one by accumulating the proper buildings and resources from the

  • current epoch and selecting it as an upgrade from your capitol building.

  • Of course, the effectiveness of each unit, building, or technology depends on your chosen

  • historical civilization, with each one boasting their own strengths and trade-offs.

  • There’s also the option to roll your own through the built-in civilization editor,

  • as well as opportunities to upgrade stat bonuses at certain points throughout time, a fun departure

  • from the classic Age of Empires formula.

  • Another one is the population system.

  • Not like, number of units, I mean the ability to populate certain buildings.

  • For example, placing citizens inside of a settlement will upgrade it to a town center,

  • and placing more citizens inside a town center will upgrade it to a capitol.

  • Same goes with granaries, which will improve the resource output of its resulting farms.

  • And once citizens are inside, they stay inside, making it a kind of upgrade as opposed to

  • the garrison system seen in Age of Empires II.

  • Populating buildings is especially important when expanding your empire since you can’t

  • simply plop down a fully-formed town center anytime.

  • You need at least five disposable citizens nearby to make that happen.

  • This means that sometimes, the more effective strategy is to accumulate and send in a bunch

  • of priests to convert enemy citizens instead.

  • They may not have the iconic AoE wololo going on, but they still have similar types of mystical

  • conversion powers at their disposal.

  • And religion goes further than that with the addition of prophets, which may be slow to

  • move and even slower to regenerate energy, but are massively powerful in their ability

  • to cause calamities.

  • Earthquakes, volcanoes, firestorms, malaria, plague, hurricanes, it’s awesomely crazy stuff.

  • Kinda feels like a precursor to what we’d get in 2002

  • with Age of Mythology, now that I think about it.

  • That is to say, it’s supernaturally ballbusting stuff

  • if you fail to adequately prepare yourself to handle it.

  • Which in this case means placing your own temples to counteract

  • any powerful prophetic nonsense.

  • Another world-changing addition arrives in the form of the world wonders, which serve

  • more of a practical purpose compared to the original Age of Empires.

  • Theyre more in line with Civilization, where wonders provide stats bonuses to the

  • player that constructs them.

  • A few examples are the Library of Alexandria that reveals all buildings on the map, the

  • Temple of Zeus that allows your population to self-heal instead of relying on hospital

  • buildings, and the Pharos Lighthouse that lifts the fog of war from waterways.

  • Then there are hero units, available in both strategist and warrior types.

  • Who they are changes with each passing epoch, but they both provide extra oomph for your

  • armies by doing things like healing nearby units, performing battle cries, doling out

  • powerful attacks, and generating positive morale.

  • Yeah morale is a key component for boosting unit effectiveness in Empire Earth, so if

  • there’s low morale units die more quickly in battle and fight less effectively.

  • Certain buildings generate and boost morale as well, much like the citywide happiness

  • seen in Civilization games, only here it’s a nearby area of effect.

  • In fact, it’s the main function of houses in Empire Earth.

  • They don’t increase the population limit.

  • All of this comes together to create a game that feels like a hybrid of both AoE and Civilization

  • in terms of gameplay and aesthetics, while not becoming as complex as either one of them.

  • With so many epochs to go through and less time spent in each of them, you don’t get

  • as many unique buildings, units, and attributes for each civilization

  • as you do in the Age of Empires games.

  • Likewise, with the real time strategy focusing on individual units and buildings, you don’t

  • get the world-scale viewpoint of Civilization with its emphasis on city-states, diplomacy, and trade.

  • Rather, Empire Earth is a compelling in-between that felt downright refreshing back in the day.

  • The amount of time it covers is vast without being overwhelming, and the strategic systems

  • in play are simple enough to quickly understand

  • but complex enough that it takes a while to fully grasp them.

  • And I’ve largely only been talking about the randomized maps thus far, the campaigns

  • are a wholenother thing!

  • Like I said earlier, I’m often one to head straight for the randomized deathmatch mode

  • or create my own custom scenario, get all comfy with a coffee, and simply play around

  • with the systems till I’m satisfied.

  • Empire Earth, on the other hand, has enough of a captivating single player campaign to

  • pull me away from the random seeds for a bit.

  • I’m sure youve noticed by now, but Empire Earth is rendered in 3D instead of the 2D

  • sprites that were still in use by both Age of Empires and Civilization back then.

  • It wasn’t the first strategy game to go 3D by a long shot, but Empire Earth was certainly