Zeus: Master of Olympus

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Zeus: Master of Olympus
Master of Olympus - Zeus Coverart.png
Developer(s)Impressions Games
Publisher(s)Sierra Studios
Producer(s)Ken Parker
Designer(s)Chris Beatrice
Programmer(s)Mike Gingerich
Artist(s)Darrin Horbal
Writer(s)Lisa Gagnon
Composer(s)Henry Beckett
Keith Zizza
SeriesCity Building
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Mode(s)Single player

Zeus: Master of Olympus (Zeus) is a single-player strategy game developed by Impressions Games [1] and published by Sierra Entertainment.[2] It is considered to be an additional installment in the City Building series of games.[3] Like previous titles in the series, Zeus focuses on the building and development of a city in ancient times. The game features a number of changes from previous titles in the series, including being set in Ancient Greece as well as changes to certain gameplay mechanics; however, it is considered to be in most aspects very similar to its predecessor, Caesar III.[4][5][6][3]

Game setting and mechanics[edit]

Zeus is set in a mythical version of ancient Greece and features many of the gods from the Greek pantheon and legendary monsters from ancient Greek mythology. The game chooses not to accurately portray the historical setting in which it is based, choosing instead to include elements based on mythology and anachronisms.[7][3]

The player is in charge of building up and governing a city state which requires managing infrastructure, farming, industries, commerce, religion, entertainment and education, as well as wars with rival cities.[4] Monsters from Greek mythology feature in the form of natural disasters which must be managed by the player, typically by hiring the correct hero.[8] Sufficiently worshipping the Greek gods will cause them to bestow blessings on the player's city which provide a material benefit.[2]

The game features 2d graphics and offers an isometric view of the game world.[4] A side panel and a number of menus allow the player to more easily navigate the map and to micro-manage various aspects of government, such as tax rates and wages.[2]

Zeus grants players the choice to play either a series of episodical, story-based adventures, in which a set of unique objectives must be attained in order to progress,[2] or to play the so-called "sandbox mode", in which the game's objectives are more open-ended and less objective-based.[5]


TJason Samuel reviewed the PC version of the game for Next Generation, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "Overall it's simpler, the gameplay is finely tuned, and most importantly, it's fun. Do not miss."[16]

Zeus: Master of Olympus received generally favorable reviews with a rating of 87 on Metacritic.[9] IGN reviewer Stephen Butts stated that he "had to tear [himself] away from [the game] to write the review."[11] The game received criticism for its combat and war mechanics.[5][4][7]

In May 2012 the game was re-released on GOG.com together with its expansion as a part of the Acropolis bundle where it holds a 5-star rating.[17]

In 2018, Alice Bell of Rock, Paper, Shotgun included the game in the site's "Have You Played" series, describing it as "the perfect balance of beauty, difficulty, detail, and puns."[18] The same publication later listed the game in its top ten management games for the PC.[19]


The cover art for Poseidon: Master of Atlantis

As with Pharaoh, an expansion pack was released, named Poseidon: Master of Atlantis.[20] The expansion includes new adventures based on the stories of Atlantis by Plato. An adventure editor was also included, although it had already been freely available on Impressions website.[21]


  1. ^ https://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/zeus-master-of-olympus/details
  2. ^ a b c d https://web.archive.org/web/20051220020954/http://gamepro.com/computer/pc/games/reviews/7184.shtml
  3. ^ a b c https://web.archive.org/web/20020601190422/http://www.pcgamer.co.uk/games/gamefile_review_page.asp?item_id=6202
  4. ^ a b c d https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_zeus
  5. ^ a b c https://uk.ign.com/articles/2000/11/04/zeus-master-of-olympus
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20010406003947/http://www.zdnet.com/cgw/stories/main/0,11529,2669153,00.html
  7. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20040815172149/http://www.cgonline.com/reviews/zeusmaster-01-r1.html#
  8. ^ https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/09/24/have-you-played-zeus-master-of-olympus/
  9. ^ a b "Zeus: Master of Olympus (pc: 2000): Review". Metacritic. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  10. ^ nach0king (December 21, 2000). "Zeus : Master of Olympus Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Butts, Stephen (November 3, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus Review". IGN. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  12. ^ Wright, Brian (October 30, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". GamePro. Archived from the original on December 20, 2005.
  13. ^ Price, Tom (January 9, 2001). "Her-cu-les! Her-cu-les!". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on April 6, 2001.
  14. ^ Oxford, Adam (December 2000). "Colossal". PC Gamer UK (90). Archived from the original on June 1, 2002.
  15. ^ Markell, Dave (November 13, 2000). "Gods and Monsters and Fun". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on August 15, 2004. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Samuel, Jason (February 2001). "Finals; Zeus". Next Generation. Lifecycle 2, Vol. 3 (2): 84.
  17. ^ Zeus and Poseidon bundle on GOG
  18. ^ Bell, Alice (September 24, 2018). "Have You Played… Zeus: Master of Olympus?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Smith, Graham (November 24, 2020). "The best management games on PC". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  20. ^ Dulin, Ron (July 3, 2001). "Zeus Official Expansion: Poseidon Review". GameSpot. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  21. ^ "Zeus Official Expansion: Poseidon". IGN. July 3, 2001. Retrieved February 10, 2019.

External links[edit]