on Sunday, January 11, 2009
As with others games in the series, the player must build a city in an empty plot of land of variable size and resources. The percentage objectives were replaced by direct goals - treasury, trade profit, production, slaying a monster or conquering a rival city among others. Food resources in this game are urchins, fish, pork, cheese, carrots, onions and wheat. Raw Materials include wood (for triremes and monument building), bronze (armor and sculptures), marble (monument building), grapes (wine), olives (olive oil) and fleece (which can be directly sold to citizens). For the first time, it became possible to coin currency - if a silver mine is available, the player can build a mint and have a limited yearly output of currency. Another new feature is how goods are distributed. A large plaza-like road named agora is built on a road, and goods stands are placed on top of it. After the first goods are available (as the owners of each shop pick them from the nearest supply), a peddler will start roaming around in the roads distributing available (and required) goods. Other services must be provided to the city - culture require colleges to train philosophers, gymnasiums for athletes and drama schools for actors, which in turn go (respectively) to podiums, stadiums and theatres to entertain the city. Every four years the Olympic Games are held, the chances of victory being changed from the number of facilities, and by the help of Apollo. Additional services are provided by water bearers from a fountain, healers from an infirmary, watchmen and superintendents. Tax collectors levy a charge based on how well evolved a house is. Religion plays a larger part than in previous games, as Gods or their monsters can protect or attack the player's City. Heroes can be called to slay those monsters or to complete a quest abroad, given the player is able to build their homes (some require culture access, other high desirability, others a wall surrounding the house) and call for them (which require a modest to large amount of goods). If the player builds a large temple any of the Twelve Olympians (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Demeter, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes and Dionysus, in order of importance) - Hestia is not included, and Hera was featured only in the expansion) they can be seen wandering the city occasionally blessing buildings. If the city is invaded, Zeus, Poseidon (by the Kraken) Hades (by the Cerberus), Athena, Artemis (by an unit of Amazons), Ares (himself and by his pet -as he treat him as such- dragon and a unit of Sparti) help defend the city, giving a clear edge over the invaders. If the city is at issues with a god which attacks the city, and the city has a sanctuary to a god of a higher importance, he or she will defend the city (except Aphrodite, which defends against Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes and Dionysus). Monsters can be slain by the according hero, by Apollo or by a large army.