Against my better judgement, I've been playing some more of Civilization 2: Test of Time. One really baffling design choice in the "extended game" is that if you don't reach Alpha Centauri before 2020, that's it. The game just ends like it normally does.
But you always had the option of playing past 2020 "for fun". You can do that in Test of Time too. But...if when you reach Alpha Centauri, nothing happens. Just like in the original Civilization 2.
However, if you reach Alpha Centauri BEFORE 2020, a whole new game mode opens up. You're able to send people to this planet in Alpha Centauri, fight the alien civilization there, research futuristic technology, build crazy futuristic military units, all kinds of shit.
WHY DOES IT MATTER IF YOU DO THIS BEFORE 2020???? WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT THE YEAR 2020??????
It's absurd. Why couldn't they extend the game whether or not you get to Alpha Centauri before 2020? Let me tell you, the way I play, it's very difficult to build that spaceship and get to Alpha Centuri before 2020. And the AI never does it. I play on "King" mode, by the way. That's the most fair difficulty setting. No advantages or disadvantages for the AI.
What horse shit. And I remembered how I used to play this game. At first, I thought, "I'll just build one super city. This will be fun."
Then the year 1900 is coming along and I still haven't discovered horseback riding and the super aggressive (and super stupid) AI is destroying my pikemen with modern battleships.
So you can't play as a one city country. But that's how I like playing. So what I used to do is build one city and then turn the cheat mode on to give this city all the wonders of the world. Or give me all the technologies. This is the only way you can have any fun at all with just one city.
Playing the game now, I've discovered that it's not actually very good. But I must have spent thousands of hours on this game. How could it not be good?
It's simple, the AI is terrible, and it's just not that fun. When was this game released? 1996? Really? As late as that. So I was already in university when I was playing this thing.
It was Computer Gaming World's Strategy Game of the Year. Gamespot gave it a 9.2.
Take a game like Super Mario Brothers. This is a game released in 1985. Over a decade before Civilization 2. I can still play Super Mario Brothers today and enjoy it. And I wasn't even playing it then. I wasn't a console guy.
What other games were released in 1996...nothing really.
No wonder Civilization was so acclaimed. There's Duke Nukem 3d but I can't really play that today. There's Super Mario 64 but I hated that. Never played past the first level. Super Mario RPG. I don't know. Maybe I could play that today. Fire Pro Wrestling: Six Man Scramble. No real reason to play that since subsequent games improved on it.
Metal Slug. That's very much playable today. You're not going to play for hours but...30 minutes maybe.
Anyway, Civilization 2: Test of Time is hugely disappointing.