LTI Gray Matter (PS1)
|Programmer(s)||Brian Reynolds |
Jason S. Coleman
|Artist(s)||Michael O. Haire|
|Composer(s)||Jeff Briggs |
Roland J. Rizzo
Kevin Manthei (Fantastic Worlds)
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Sid Meier's Civilization II is a turn-based strategy video game in the Civilization series, developed and published by MicroProse. It was released in 1996 for the PC and later ported to the PlayStation by Activision.
Civilization II was a commercial hit, with sales around 3 million units by 2001, and has won numerous awards and placements on "best games of all time" lists.
Civilization II is similar to the first Civilization, with some changes to the various units, civilizations, world wonders, tile "specials" and technologies. The graphics were changed from a top-down view to an isometric representation. Rivers no longer occupy the whole of each tile along their length; instead, they are part of each topography square through which they flow, adding productive value, defensive bonuses and movement ability. The AI was improved as well, including the elimination of most random events by now making the computer player go through the same production requirements as the human player.
The game features entirely new concepts, such as firepower and hit points, and changes to some units' abilities and strengths. For instance, engineers and settlers can be automated to improve surrounding areas, but do not ignore enemy zones of control. Damaged units can now retreat to cities, where their hit points are restored. Some new units are added such as stealth aircraft.
The player has the ability to consult the 'High Council' for advice (as long as the player still has the CD in the drive). The council consists of film clips of actors portraying advisors in the areas of the military (a brawny man, often drunk, angry or both; he becomes a stereotypical American general when Modern Age is reached), economics (a smooth-talking merchant, later a snooty and suave businessman), diplomacy (in the Modern Age, a saucy femme fatale with a vaguely Eastern European accent), technological progress (a nerdy scientist), and the people's happiness (an Elvis Presley caricature, wearing sunglasses even in the Ancient period). They often argue with and insult one another, as each advisor's department demands a different set of priorities. The counselors' costumes change with each new era. In many ways, the 'High Council' constitutes a bit of comic relief, especially from the expansionist military adviser, who will insist on more troops even when the player has 60 battleships, or during the Medieval Period will sing the last refrain from the 18th Century English traditional song "Down Among the Dead Men", punctuated with a hearty "No complaints, sire!". When the player is experiencing anarchy, the characters begin talking and shouting unintelligibly at the same time, interrupting each other, and finally beginning to fight, with all counselor windows shutting down and turning into the "Ⓐ" symbol of Anarchy.
There are two paths to victory (and bonus points to the score) in this game: to be the last civilization remaining or to build a spaceship and reach Alpha Centauri before any of the other civilizations. The space race can be much more difficult because there are a limited number of turns in the game, which ends in the year 2020. If the spaceship does not reach Alpha Centauri by then, the game will simply end with the current score. The player can continue playing after all civilizations have been conquered, the spaceship has reached its destination, or the year 2020, but there will no longer be any scoring. The sooner a player conquers every other civilization, or the space ship arrives, the higher the player's score will be. This allows a player to play the game endlessly.
The scoring system measures the player's performance in the end of each game. Population is a major influence on scoring as each happy citizen contributes two points, each content citizen contributes one point, and each unhappy citizen contributes zero points. This means that higher population yields better scores. Additionally, each wonder of the world owned by the player will also add 20 points to their score. Each wonder of the world can only be built once per game. Each wonder adds different bonuses so the Player must choose carefully which one(s) they want to work on and try to build them before the computer opponents do. Each square with pollution deducts ten points. The length of time there has been peace (no armed conflict or war) up to the end of the game also adds three points per turn, up to a maximum of 100 points, and if the player won using a spaceship, additional points are rewarded, based on the number of people who reached Alpha Centauri alive. The final score will also give a civilization percentage, based on the difficulty level the game was played at (chosen at the very beginning of the game). The higher this percentage is, the better. Finally, a title will be given to the player. Particularly good ones include "Lion-Hearted", "the Great" with the greatest obtainable title being "The Magnificent".
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2013)
Civilization II was designed by Brian Reynolds, Douglas Caspian-Kaufman and Jeff Briggs. Development was carried on in secret for years, with the game only being publicly announced when the team had reached the point of final tweaks and balancing. The game's working title was Civilization 2000.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2013)
The game was re-released in 1997 as Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition, which bundled both prior expansion packs and added options for networked and hotseat play, and features tweaked AI. All of the music tracks that were in the original release of Civilization II had been removed, however - only some of the "new" ones remained. The tweaked AI is also perpetually unfriendly, rendering most diplomatic functions useless. The Multiplayer Gold Edition was included in the Civilization Chronicles box set released in 2006.
There were two expansion packs that slowly added more features to the game. The first, Conflicts in Civilization, included 20 new scenarios: 12 created by the makers of the game, and eight "Best of the Net" by fans. It also added an enhanced macro language for scenario scripting with advanced programming features such as variable typing and network features, which was considered widely unnecessary. Due to a programming bug, the Encarta-style Civilopedia was disabled from the game.
The second expansion was Civ II: Fantastic Worlds (a legal dispute arising from Sid Meier's departure prevented the use of the full word "Civilization"). It also added new scenarios that had many unique settings such as one scenario dealing with colonization of Mars, and one scenario called Midgard that had Elven, Goblin, Merman, and other civilizations from fantasy. There are also some scenarios based on other MicroProse games such as X-COM, Master of Orion and Master of Magic "Jr." scenarios. Fantastic Worlds also contains a new scenario editor that allowed users to edit the statistics and icons used for units, city improvements, terrain, and technologies, as well as creating event triggers and other enhancements to the game.
Civilization II placed second on PC Data's monthly computer game sales chart for April 1996. The game secured position 3 for the next four months, before dropping to #5 in September. It exited PC Data's top 10 in December, after remaining there for an additional two months. In the United States, Civilization II was the third-best-selling computer game of the first six months of 1996, and the fifth-highest seller of the year as a whole. Worldwide, its sales surpassed 400,000 copies by August, reached 500,000 in September and topped 600,000 by November. In the United States alone, it sold 482,522 units and earned $21.1 million by the end of 1996.
By mid-January 1997, global sales of Civilization II had surpassed 720,000 copies. It finished 20th on PC Data's monthly chart for March, and was the United States' 17th-highest-selling computer game of the year's first half. The game had topped its predecessor's 850,000 sales that August, and continued to sell "over 20,000 units a month" by November, according to Microprose. Civilization II reached 1.2 million units sold by April 1998; Terry Coleman of Computer Gaming World wrote that sales were "still going strong" at that time. In the United Kingdom alone, the game sold 160,000 units by 1999. It also received a "Gold" award from the Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (VUD) in August 1998, for sales of at least 100,000 units across Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Civilization II Gold alone sold 171,495 copies in the United States by September 2000, according to PC Data.
On release, a reviewer for Next Generation ventured that Civilization II "may be one of the most balanced and playable games ever released." He especially praised the added depth of the combat, diplomatic relations, and trade over the original Civilization, which he said was one of the best games ever released for PC. Computer Gaming World gave it the Strategy Game of the Year award, and PC Gamer US named it the overall game of the year, calling it and its predecessor "perhaps the finest strategy games ever made." Civilization II was nominated as Computer Games Strategy Plus's 1996 game of the year, although it lost to Tomb Raider. However, it won the magazine's award for the best turn-based strategy game of the year. It also won a Spotlight Award for Best PC/Mac Game. Macworld's Michael Gowan wrote, "Hard-core strategists will enjoy this game's complexity."
Next Generation reviewed the PlayStation version of the game, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that "Overall, Civ II remains one of strategy gaming's finest hours and is a welcome addition on PlayStation. For those who are willing, it's a game of limitless possibilities."
In 2007, Civilization II was ranked as third in IGN's list of the 100 greatest video games of all time, having previously rated it at number 15 in 2003. In 2012, G4tv ranked it as the 62nd top video game of all time. Polish web portal Wirtualna Polska ranked it as the most addictive game "that stole our childhood". The journal article Theoretical Frameworks for Analysing Turn-Based Computer Strategy Games deemed it "significant and influential". In Ted Friedman's essay "Civilization and its Discontents: Simulation, Subjectivity, and Space" from the collection Discovering Discs: Transforming Space and Genre on CD-ROM, he argues that the game "simultaneously denies and de-personalizes the violence in the history of ‘exploration, colonization, and development". Computer Shopper deemed it a "worthy successor" to Civilization, and "arguably the finest multiplayer game ever created". In anticipation to the launch of Civilization III, New Strait Times described Civilization II as "the best turn-based empire- building strategy game". Baltimore Afro-American was "obsessed with the game". Tribune Business News deemed it an "old favorite". The game was the fourth bestseller in October 1996 and the 3rd bestseller in December 1997. PC Games argued that the game "cemented the franchise’s place in videogame history."
In 1998, PC Gamer declared it the 2nd-best computer game ever released, and the editors called it "intelligent, engrossing and entertaining beyond compare, it's one of the finest artistic achievements of the last decade".
A study found that "a linguistically-informed game-playing agent significantly outperforms its language-unaware counterpart, yielding a 27% absolute improvement and winning over 78% of games when playing against the builtin AI". Another study found that "non-linear Monte-Carlo search wins 80% of games against the handcrafted, built-in AI".
A remake called Civilization II: Test of Time was released in 1999, following Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Test of Time has a new palette and user interface, and new features such as animated units, a playable Alpha Centauri to settle, and new campaign modes.
In 2011, researchers at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and University College London presented a paper at the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics which demonstrated the ability to improve the ability of a machine-learning system to win at Civilization II by using the text from its official game manual to guide the development of a game-playing strategy.
In June 2012, a Reddit user named Lycerius posted details of his decade-long Civilization II game, since dubbed "The Eternal War". This garnered a great deal of interest from users of the site and the story quickly went viral, spreading across the web to many well known blogs and news sites. The game, which had been played since 2002, closely mimicked the regime found in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with three superpowers all engaged in perpetual multiple-front total warfare.
The sound effect used for the combat between two infantry units is sampled from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
- "Civilization 2". Next Generation. No. 16. Imagine Media. April 1996. p. 66.
- "Man Spends Decade Playing Epic PC Game". News.sky.com. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Interview with Brian Reynolds". IGN. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1997-04-19. Retrieved 2019-07-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Apolyton site, Civ II expansion scenarios". Apolyton.net. Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- Staff (June 29, 1996). "Top Software Best-selling Titles: Games". Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018.
- GamerX (August 8, 1996). "June's top 30 games". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- GamerX (September 27, 1996). "August's top 30 games". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- GamerX (October 29, 1996). "September's top 30 games". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- GamerX (November 27, 1996). "October's top 30 games". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- GamerX (January 10, 1997). "November's 30 best-sellers". CNET Gamecenter. Archived from the original on February 5, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Staff (April 1997). "PC Data Best-Sellers". Computer Gaming World (153): 32.
- Yoshitake, Dawn (September 14, 1996). "A whole new ball game". News.com. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Kilborn, Robert; Hanson, Cynthia; Hodges, Debbie (February 27, 1997). "News In Brief". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018.
- "The Destiny of the World is in the Hands of Game Players Everywhere with Microprose's Strategy Hit Civilization II" (Press release). Alameda, California: Microprose. August 14, 1996. Archived from the original on December 21, 1996. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Staff (September 21, 1996). "Happy Spectrum Hits Million Mark". Next Generation. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- "Microprose's Expansion Disc Extends Strategic Game Play with 20 New Challenges and Worlds to Conquer" (Press release). Alameda, California: Microprose. November 5, 1996.
- Miller, Greg (March 3, 1997). "Myst Opportunities: Game Makers Narrow Their Focus to Search for the Next Blockbuster". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 18, 2016.
- Bauman, Steve (January 15, 1997). "Ch-ching - Westwood cashes in". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on June 15, 1997. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Lee, Helen (May 1, 1997). "PC Data Releases Monthly Numbers". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 6, 2000. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Staff (September 12, 1997). "Game Sales on the Rise". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 7, 2000. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Coleman, Terry (August 1997). "Cover Story; Hallowed Ground". Computer Gaming World (157): 66–68.
- "Microprose Unleashes a Whole New Dimension for Fans of the Award-Winning Sid Meier's Civilization II Series" (Press release). Alameda, California: Microprose. November 11, 1997. Archived from the original on January 20, 1998. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Coleman, Terry (April 1998). "READ.ME; Will the Real Civ Please Boot Up?". Computer Gaming World (165): 40.
- Wright, Andrew (April 1999). "Civilization: Call to Power; The Story of Sid and Civ". PC Zone (75): 70–73.
- "Uhr TCM Hannover – ein glänzender Event auf der CebitHome" (Press release) (in German). Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland. August 26, 1998. Archived from the original on July 13, 2000. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- Horn, Andre (January 14, 2004). "VUD-Gold-Awards 2003". GamePro Germany (in German). Archived from the original on July 18, 2018.
- Jones, George (September 2000). "Call to Power 2; The Numbers Racket". Computer Gaming World (194): 54, 55.
- Staff (August 22, 2001). "Firaxis Interview". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on August 28, 2001. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- "Sid Meier's Civilization II for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- "Sid Meier's Civilization II for PC". Gamerankings. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- Sutyak, Jonathan. "Sid Meier's Civilization II - Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Civilization 2: Control Your Destiny". Archived from the original on October 3, 2000. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "PC Gamer Online: Civilization II (July 1996)". 1999-10-08. Archived from the original on November 13, 1999. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "PC Gamer | Civilization 2 (Issue 28)". 2002-02-19. Archived from the original on August 28, 2002. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Landmark". Next Generation. No. 19. Imagine Media. July 1996. p. 83.
- "Finals". Next Generation. No. 52. Imagine Media. April 1999. p. 90.
- Gowan, Michael (February 1999). "Name Your Game; From Goofy to Gory, Macworld Reviews 48 Ways to Play". Macworld. Archived from the original on August 10, 2001.
- M., B. (May 1996). "Sid Meier's Civilisation 2". PC PowerPlay (1): 48–51.
- Brenesal, Barry (June 1996). "Civilization II". PC Games. Archived from the original on October 18, 1996. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- CGW 154 (May 1997).
- "PC Gamer Reveals Its 1997 Award Winners". Business Wire (Press release). Brisbane, California. February 6, 1997.
- Staff (March 25, 1997). "Computer Games Strategy Plus announces 1996 Awards". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on June 14, 1997. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
- "Spotlight Award Winners". Next Generation. No. 31. Imagine Media. July 1997. p. 21.
- "IGN's Top 100 Games". IGN. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- "IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time". Uk.top100.ign.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
- "Top 100 Video Games of All Time #62 - Sid Meier's Civilization 2 –". G4tv.com. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "1. Civilization II - Gry, które zabrały nam dzieciństwo - najbardziej uzależniające produkcje sprzed lat - Imperium gier". Gry.wp.pl. Archived from the original on 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- Caldwell, Nicholas (2004-02-01). "Theoretical Frameworks for Analysing Turn-Based Computer Strategy Games". Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy. 110 (1): 42–51. doi:10.1177/1329878X0411000107. ISSN 1329-878X.
- Friedman, Ted. "Civilization and its Discontents: Simulation, Subjectivity, and Space".
- "Civilization II. (MicroProse Software) (Games) (Software Review)(Brief Article)(Evaluation)". 1996-10-01. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: New World, New Battles.(Firaxis Games' simulation game)(Product Announcement)". 1999-06-01. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "Building empires". 2002-01-21. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "The Great War in the Classroom". Academic Exchange Quarterly. 2004-03-22. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08.
- "The Philadelphia Inquirer Games Column". 1999-04-14. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "Bestsellers". 1996-10-21. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "BESTSELLERS". 1997-12-15. Archived from the original on 2016-10-08. Cite journal requires
- "The most important PC games of all time: Civilization". Retrieved 2016-09-01.
- The PC Gamer Editors (October 1998). "The 50 Best Games Ever". PC Gamer US. 5 (10): 86, 87, 89, 90, 92, 98, 101, 102, 109, 110, 113, 114, 117, 118, 125, 126, 129, 130.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Branavan, S. R. K.; Silver, David; Barzilay, Regina (2011-01-01). Learning to Win by Reading Manuals in a Monte-Carlo Framework. Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies - Volume 1. HLT '11. Stroudsburg, PA, USA: Association for Computational Linguistics. pp. 268–277. ISBN 9781932432879.
- "Computer learns language by playing games". Web.mit.edu. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "Learning to Win by Reading Manuals in a Monte-Carlo Framework". Groups.csail.mit.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "I've been playing the same game of Civilization II for almost 10 years. This is the result. : gaming". Reddit.com. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- Jordison, Sam (2012-06-13). "From Civilization to Big Brother: how a game recreated Orwell's 1984". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-07.
- "10-year-long video game creates 'hellish nightmare' world - CNN.com". Edition.cnn.com. 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2013-11-07.