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Age of Empires: The Age of Kings is a turn-based strategy game produced by Majesco and released February 14, 2006. The game allows the player to take command of one of five different historical civilizations (Britons, Franks, Mongols, Saracens, and Japanese). The game has a single-player campaign and a Scenario mode, as well as multi-player wireless and hotseat modes. While this may share the same name, it is unrelated to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, released on Microsoft Windows.
The gameplay is turned-based and similar to Advance Wars in movement and combat, but as a derivative of a real-time strategy series it incorporates several features more commonly associated with RTS games (particularly technology trees and resource/building management).
The playing field is divided into a grid. Units can only move and attack in the four cardinal directions (with the exception of ranged units, which can attack diagonally if the target is in range).
Units are divided into four main categories: Infantry, Calvary, Archery/Ranged, and Siege Units, although some units do not fall into these categories. Normal units can only attack an immediately adjacent square, while ranged units can fire over several squares (depending on the unit's range and the terrain). Each unit has movement, attack, defense, range, and vision values. Some units also have bonuses against certain types of enemy units or other special abilities.
Each civilization has a Hero, a strong and powerful leader. The importance and effectiveness of a hero in battle is reflected by increased attack and defense as well as special Powers unique to each Hero.
Four Ages exist through which the player may advance to improve and strengthen his or her nation: the Dark Age, the Feudal Age, the Castle Age, and the Imperial Age. Each age (except the Dark Age) has requirements: a specific number of Town Centers and a certain amount of research. Additionally, the player must pay both food and gold to advance to the next Age.
Advancing in Age unlocks new subjects for research, makes additional buildings and units available, and upgrades existing units to their equivalent in the new Age.
The player can pay for research to improve his or her civilization and move towards advancing to the next Age. Each research subject has two prerequisites, the player must have reached a certain Age and built a specific type of building (the most basic research requires only a town center). No research subject requires another specific subject to be researched first, but a certain amount of research is required before the player can advance to the next Age.
Age of Empires: The Age of Kings includes a campaign divided into five sections (one for each of the available civilizations). Each section of the campaign follows the story of one of that empire's most famous leaders (for example, Joan of Arc for the Franks), who serves as the Hero unit. The first section of the campaign, following Joan of Ark, is also a tutorial section and informs the player about the basics of the game as he or she plays.
The Campaign missions vary widely in characteristics; some contain fog of war while others do not; in some missions the player starts out with some buildings while in others the player may start without any (in some missions the player cannot build anything). Each mission also starts with the player in a different age and amount of subjects already researched.
Some players have experienced technical issues which may impair gameplay or even damage the data on the cartridge. The game data may become corrupted during a Save and Quit operation, preventing the cartridge from booting afterwards. The game may sometimes freeze after the end of a mission. Majesco is currently investigating the cause of these issues.