Games From the Grave: Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is a turn based strategy game and the technical successor of Civilization II. What separates Alpha Centauri from Civilization most obviously is the heavy science fiction influence and the inevitable deemphasis on reality. There are a slew of new features in this game, which all add to the already high level of engagement.
You start a match by choosing a faction to play as or creating your own based on one of the standard political groups. There are a few to choose from, and they all differ greatly in ability and aesthetics. Like Civilization, every society has a leader who you can help, hurt, or manipulate. You can place military vendettas on those who you dislike, coordinate a defense with those you do like and grease palms with money, technology, or might.
There are elections for planetary governor, bills which can be introduced and voted for, and U.N. Sanctions for unorthodox and atrocious behavior. Military capability is based on research and resources, like most strategy games, but unique to Alpha Centauri is the ability to create your own vehicles and infantry based on your society’s knowledge, which can also be traded between factions.
Warfare is based on attack and defense points, where two troops match up and effectively trade numbers. Troops are constantly outdated as your faction grows and ages, and must be updated or recreated least you fall into severe military vulnerability. The combat is almost identical to Civilization, the only difference being a technological mask.
Also in Alpha Centauri are the detailed political systems from Civilization. Individual towns have Nutrient, Mineral, and Energy needs which must be fulfilled by you. The workers of a city will starve if there is a lack of food, and will grow restless without diversions and police supervision. The land around a city may be manipulated by “Formers” that can create roads, mines, forests, farms, and other types of enhancements.
The graphics are classic. Personally, I am a big fan of the 2d look and this game does not disappoint. The sound is also classic, and adds a very pleasant ambiance. Overall, the game has a dark, brooding, lost in space atmosphere, which I deeply adore.
This game is a personal favorite of mine. It incorporates a lot of my loves into a single game. The only thing missing? Zombies. But I’m willing to look past this gaping error and suggest it to anyone who likes space simulators, or strategy games in general.