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Many people have been waiting for a killer app. to appear on the Nintendo DS. Something that spurs the individual to spend $150 on a handheld gaming unit; in Japan, Nintendodogs was such a game. Around these parts of the world, potential buyers are still seeking something that really influences them into buying a DS. For many, the wait will soon come to an end. Age of Empires: The Age of Kings will make its debut on the DS latter this year sometime during the Fall.
When I first got my hands on the 30% done game, I had absolutely no idea how to control the units and buildings. I essentially had no clue what to expect; I didn't even know that it was a turn based game. But this is what makes this game so appealing. I was captivated after a short five minute learning curve, and was grinning ear to ear as I marched my British troops against Saladin's army.
The bottom screen of the DS is used to show you the normal map with all of the units and pretty scenery. The upper screen displays the information of anything that you click on. Say you tap your screen on a mounted knight, you will get the stats on that unit along with a little picture of him rearing up his horse. Or, if you click on the university, then you will be able to decide which technology you wish to research and the potential technologies that are available to your race.
Within each turn, or day,? you have the ability to move your units specific distances, build certain buildings and units, and advance your society through the dark ages and on through the middle ages. Combat is sort of like the old Risk game, you basically control where your units go, and where they fight, but the fighting is basically like a paper, scissors, rock type of system. You never control the units individually, but the unit that you see on screen is essentially broken up into many more units when you go into the top screen battle view. On the top screen, you get to see a little rendition of your troops coming together and exchanging weapons blows. After that there is the death toll, and the number of troops that survived on both sides out of a hundred.
All in all there will be over 40 different and unique characters in each of the five different civilizations: the Japanese, Franks, Mongols, Britons, and Saracens. Within those societies there will be different heroes that benefit your troops in battle and are specific to each race.
I have hope that Age of Empires: Age of Kings will be a great hit among the armchair strategists that own, or are looking to purchase, a DS. Multiplayer will also be a big selling point, with up to four different people battling it out over the DS wireless system. The year ahead looks bright for Nintendo and the DS.
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