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
Release
  • NA: October 17, 2000[1]
  • EU: November 17, 2000
Poseidon: Master of Atlantis
  • NA: June 25, 2001
  • EU: August 24, 2001
Genre(s)City-building
Mode(s)Single player

Zeus: Master of Olympus (Zeus) is a single-player strategy game developed by Impressions Games and published by Sierra Studios.[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 worshiping 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]

Reception[edit]

Zeus: Master of Olympus received "generally favorable reviews" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[9] IGN reviewer Steve Butts stated that he "had to tear [himself] away from [the game] to write the review."[5] The game received criticism for its combat and war mechanics.[5][4][7]

Jason Samuel of NextGen said of the game, "Overall, it's simpler, the gameplay is finely tuned, and most of all, it's fun."[16]

The game was a finalist for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' 2000 "Strategy Game of the Year" award, which went to Age of Empires II: The Conquerers.[18]

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.[19]

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."[8] The same publication later listed the game in its top twenty management games on PC to play in 2021.[20]

Expansion[edit]

The cover art for Poseidon: Master of Atlantis

As with Pharaoh, an expansion pack was released in 2001, named Poseidon: Master of Atlantis.[21] 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.[22]

Reception[edit]

Poseidon received "favorable" reviews according to Metacritic.[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fudge, James (October 17, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus Ships". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on May 25, 2003. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wright, Brian (October 30, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". GamePro. IDG. Archived from the original on December 20, 2005.
  3. ^ a b c Oxford, Adam (Christmas 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". PC Gamer UK. No. 90. Future Publishing. Archived from the original on June 1, 2002.
  4. ^ a b c d e Macdonald, Ewan "nach0king" (December 21, 2000). "Zeus : Master of Olympus". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e Butts, Steve (November 3, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Price, Tom (February 2001). "Her-cu-les! Her-cu-les! (Zeus: Master of Olympus Review)" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 199. Ziff Davis. p. 102. Archived from the original on April 6, 2001. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c Markell, Dave (November 13, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Strategy Plus, Inc. Archived from the original on May 25, 2003. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Bell, Alice (September 24, 2018). "Have You Played... Zeus: Master of Olympus?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Gamer Network. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Zeus: Master of Olympus for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  10. ^ David (December 5, 2000). "Test: Zeus: Herrscher des Olymp". 4Players (in German). 4Players GmbH. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  11. ^ Walker, Mark H. (November 6, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". Gamecenter. CNET. Archived from the original on December 3, 2000. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Brogger, Kristian (January 2001). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". Game Informer. No. 93. FuncoLand. p. 131.
  13. ^ Ferris, Duke (March 2001). "Zeus: Master of Olympus Review". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on October 12, 2015. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  14. ^ Dulin, Ron (October 30, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus Review [date mislabeled as "May 17, 2006"]". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on December 11, 2000. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  15. ^ Haumersen, Lee (November 6, 2000). "Zeus: Master of Olympus". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on March 15, 2006. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Samuel, Jason (February 2001). "Zeus [Master of Olympus]". NextGen. No. 74. Imagine Media. p. 84. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  17. ^ "Zeus: Master of Olympus". PC Gamer. Vol. 8, no. 1. Imagine Media. January 2001. p. 148.
  18. ^ "Fourth Interactive Achievement Awards: PC Strategy". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on November 6, 2001. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  19. ^ "Release: Zeus and Poseidon Bundle!". GOG.com. CD Projekt. 2012. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  20. ^ Smith, Graham (November 11, 2021). "The 20 best management games on PC to play in 2021". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Gamer Network. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  21. ^ a b Dulin, Ron (July 3, 2001). "Zeus Official Expansion: Poseidon Review". GameSpot. Red Ventures. Archived from the original on July 7, 2001. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  22. ^ a b Butts, Steve (July 3, 2001). "Zeus Official Expansion: Poseidon". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Poseidon for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  24. ^ David (October 4, 2001). "Test: Poseidon [Herrscher des Atlantis]". 4Players (in German). 4Players GmbH. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  25. ^ Markell, Dave (July 25, 2001). "Poseidon". Computer Games Magazine. theGlobe.com. Archived from the original on November 21, 2001. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  26. ^ Price, Tom (November 2001). "Poseidon: Zeus Official Expansion" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 208. Ziff Davis. p. 108. Retrieved December 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "Poseidon: Master of Atlantis". Game Informer. No. 101. FuncoLand. September 2001.
  28. ^ Harms, William (July 24, 2001). "Poseidon". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 7, 2006. Retrieved December 5, 2021.

External links[edit]