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FreeCiv Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Shigamoto   
Wednesday, 01 June 2005
The Civilization series is perhaps one of the very foundations of the PC-gaming industry. We have all wished for that we could somehow get a free version of Civilization; we tested a free alternative to the Civilization series.

FreeCiv is an open-source project to develop an equivalent to Civilization. You can download the game for Windows, Mac OS X or Linux (you have to compile it yourself). We tested the Windows version of the game.

What struck me instantly is the level of detail in FreeCiv, it’s almost more detailed than the original Civilization series. There are a ton of options and it seems that you can tweak every little thing in the game, the question is if it’s desirable.

Sure I love options, but sometimes you just don’t want to go through a number of options, you just want to play the game. Fortunately the developers have thought about this and you can skip lots of the options.

The number of civilizations in the Civilization series was limited. Finally you are able to play as a lot of existing nations on earth as well as historical. Personally I think this is great, finally you can play as Belgians, Bosnians, Danes, and yeah even Martians and Hobbits.

Many gamers think that Civilization is a fairly complicated game, and it is. FreeCiv is even more complicated thanks to a more complicated menu-system than the original games have. Here you navigate with tabs and when something happens in the diplomatic field or a new tech is available the text changes colour to red.

This can be extremely hard to spot, especially when you are moving around armies and maybe focusing on another tab at the time. Thanks to the interface you often have cities that falls behind in production just because you don’t know that they are falling behind in production.

Also I miss some diplomacy interactivities. In the original games you got to see the opponent during the diplomacy meetings; here you just work it out through the tab system. This type of diplomacy meetings causes the game to loose the personality factor that the original series had.

Graphically I think the game is much better than Civilization and Civilization 2, the graphics are a mixture between Civ 2 and Civ 3. However the developers has chosen to mark the units and cities with the flags of the nations instead of colours. This means that you not only learn different nations flags, but you also get a better overview of the game map.

The technology, battles and city management in the game is pretty similar to the original games and doesn’t really need any descriptions.

Overall I think that FreeCiv is a good effort to bring Civilization to other platforms such as Linux and Mac OS X. The game itself is a bit too complicated for people who never have played Civilization to get into. But there are definitely some upsides, and the game actually beats Civilization in some instances, for example the ability to play the game in a network.

As the game comes in new versions it will constantly be improved so with time this game will be big.

Developer: (with various contributors)
Website for Game:
Publisher: N/A
O/S: Win 95/98/ME/2000/XP, Linux, MAC OS X
Cost of Full Game: Open Source Download Here

Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card

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