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Tin Soldier's Julius Caesar PC Review - -

Gameplay 8.0
Graphics 8.0
Sound 7.0
Value 8.0
Distributor: Matrix Games
Review Date:
September 2005
Edwin Millheim


Tin Soldiers: Julius Caesar

Matrix Games produces, markets and publishes several historical war games, sci-fi games and various other computer game products. If the products are at all a pulse of Matrix Games then it tells the tale of a group of people that love playing games, and of people that really love historical battles. The products geared towards these types of games reflect it all in their historical research and information they relay to the player and also the unit tactics. Matrix Games is one of those rare gems in a sea of eye candy, they may note always have the look of today’s more popular first person games, but the depth of game play is a mental stimulation that is rather satisfying when all is said and done.

Tin Soldiers “Julius Caesar” is a board game only it’s in electronic form. People that enjoy table top style strategy games may just love this game and the Tin Soldier series from Matrix Games, the game has all the turn based strategy only it’s without having to worry about hundreds of little plastic pieces or counters.

It’s pleasing to see a historical miniatures game that does in fact give the player the experience of playing a table top game. TIN SOLDIERS JULIUS CAESAR is the second title in the Tin Soldiers series and gives players the chance to re fight some historical battles during the Roman Republic’s reign.

While there is another game out there that covers the same time period, “Rome Total War”, that is where the similarities between the two cease. Tin Soldiers Julius Caesar bows down the path of a true turn based style game capturing the table top miniatures feel with the bells and whistles of a computer game all rolled up into one addictive package.

The games interface is simple; all the commands are there in various bar menus. Giving orders to units is fast and a mouse click away. The action as noted takes place in a kind of turn based play. The player and the computer opponent issues orders around the same time and then once all is said and done the action then unfolds. In the middle of it all there is a reaction phase where there is a chance to react to what is going on during the battle.

The computer AI is a bit tough at times but can be beat. The game system giving that extra feel of a table top game makes use of strategy cards that can be played on a unit to enhance them, or even heal them from some battle damage. It’s a good balance over all and will please the hard core historical strategy gamer and the casual gamer alike.

Smash and grab and go for the win gamers may not like the game, as the games execution of orders to units does tend to take some time and the battles do tend to last a bit long. Again this is not necessarily something that is wrong with the game, but part of the design for that strategy board gaming feel.

The only complaint I would have, and again this is not a game breaker problem mind you…is that it would be great to be able to tell which units have already gotten commands. I had a little trouble with knowing what was done already or who was given orders as the game progressed during a battle.

I hope to see other additions to this series and I am sure any war gamer will enjoy the series as well.

There is depth of game play as well as some historic information to be bestowed. I always enjoy such games as this that are not only fun to play but also sneak some history lessons in as well, weather or not that was the intention is beside the point, its there and its done pretty well.

The game itself has a wide section of scenarios to keep the player very busy for a while, include this with the different battles thrown in during campaign mode and there is a lot to come back to again and again for this game. The scenarios lasts a certain number of turns or until all the objectives are met, or if one of the armies is beaten. During the campaign mode after any battles or scenarios the player gets to replenish their resources in either man power, train units, dismiss leaders that did not do well, and also purchase strategy cards for the next or future battles during the campaign.

On a graphic level the game is simple and to the point. Everything is well represented in the same style of art. Animations are also along that simplistic looking style and again the feel of playing on a table top comes to life. Everything moves smoothly, coupled with the sounds the game really sells itself well. The roman sounding music in the back ground and game sound track put you in the mood for some large battle action, and is sprinkled throughout the game. Other sounds included are unit movements, the sounds of the soldiers marching and in battle. All the sounds are pleasing and lend itself well to the game mood.

The games menu system is simple to learn. Once the player gets the feel for what buttons do, and even more important when to use some of the games more interesting aspects such as the strategy cards, they will have a much more enjoyable experience.

The strategy cards are a rather interesting kind of a port over from standard role playing and table top gaming. The cards can be played on a friendly unit or on an enemy…depending on the card. The strategy card can hinder or help a unit. There are ten different cards and these include…Barrage, berserk, fear, fire arrows, health, initiative, poison, rally, scout and turtle formation. Use your imagination; the names of the cards are pretty self explanatory.

Head to head gaming is available via an IP connection. For this game one of the players must be the host for the game. The host makes the choices of scenarios and the player sides for the game. Including even a small aspect of head to head play is a good idea in this day and age. Multiplayer gaming adds an extra edge to any game. Rather than just going against a games built in AI, going against another living, breathing, and thinking opponent makes things that much more exciting. Better yet, all the more pleasing if you triumph against the opponent.

The system requirements are not all that high and people with lower end systems can run the game with no problems, all in all a darn good game. For those that do not like strategy style games with a sometimes slower pace…you may want to steer clear. If on the other hand strategy turned based games with some rather interesting battles is your cup of tea, then “Tin Soldiers Julius Caesar” is just the thing for you.

Like what you see in this write up? Just itching to command the legions of Caesar? Well then, just type in your browser and check some of these games out for yourself.

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim


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