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Sid Meier's Civilization II is a turn-based strategy video game designed by Brian Reynolds, Douglas Caspian-Kaufman and Jeff Briggs. Although it is a sequel to Sid Meier's Civilization, neither Sid Meier nor Bruce Shelley were involved in the development of Sid Meier's Civilization II. Sid Meier's Civilization II was first released in 1996 for the PC and later ported to the PlayStation on January 20, 1998 as Civilization II. A version with multi-player support was later released as Sid Meier's Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition.
Sid Meier's Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition was included in the Civilization Chronicles box set released in 2006.
Sid Meier's Civilization II is similar to Sid Meier's Civilization, with some changes to the various units, civilizations, world wonders, tile "specials" and technologies. The graphics (greatly improved with clickable links and movable windows) were changed from a top-down view to an isometric representation. The artificial intelligence, or AI, was improved as well, including the elimination of most random events (such as the situation where Wonders of the World were built spontaneously in the original Sid Meier's Civilization) by now making the computer player go through the same production requirements as the human player.
Rivers no longer occupy the whole of each tile along its length. The river is just part of each topography square it flows through, adding productive value, defensive bonuses and movement ability.
The game features entirely new concepts, such as fire-power and hit points (thus preventing phalanxes from beating battleships), and changes to some units' abilities and strengths. For instance, engineers and settlers can be automated to improve surrounding areas, but no longer ignore enemy zones of control. Legions cost more to produce but have greater attack and defense values; some new units are added such as stealth bomber and stealth fighter.
One memorable game element is the ability to consult the 'High Council' for advice (as long as the player still has the CD in the drive). The council consists of film clips of actors portraying advisors in the areas of the military (a brawny man, often drunk, angry or both; he becomes a stereotypical American general when Modern Age is reached), economics (a smooth-talking merchant, later a snooty and suave businessman), diplomacy (in the Modern Age, a saucy femme fatale with a vaguely Eastern European accent), technological progress (a nerdy scientist), and the people's happiness (an Elvis Presley caricature, wearing sunglasses even in the Ancient period). They often argue with and insult one another, as each advisor's department demands a different set of priorities. The counselors' costumes change with each new era. In many ways, the 'High Council' constitutes a bit of comic relief, especially from the expansionist "military" adviser, who will insist on more troops even when the player has 60 battleships, or during the Medieval Period will sing the last refrain from the 18th Century English traditional song "Down Among the Dead Men", punctuated with a hearty "No complaints, sire!". Amusingly, when the player is experiencing anarchy, the characters begin talking at the same time, interrupting each other, and finally beginning to fight, with all counselor windows shutting down and turning into the "A" symbol of Anarchy.
There are two paths to victory (and bonus points to the score) in this game: to conquer every other civilization, or to build a spaceship and reach Alpha Centauri before any of the other civilizations. The latter can be much more difficult because there are a limited number of turns in the game, which ends in the year 2020. If the spaceship does not reach Alpha Centauri by then, the game will simply end with the current score. The player can continue playing after all civilizations have been conquered, the spaceship has reached its destination, or the year 2020, but there will no longer be any scoring. The sooner a player conquers every other civilization, or the space ship arrives, the better as far as scoring is concerned. However, there are many things that can be done to gain points, so it occasionally is better to hold off victory to gain more points by, say researching extra 'future technologies'.
The scoring system measures the player's performance in the end of each game. Population is a major influence on scoring as each happy citizen contributes two points, each content citizen contributes one point, and each unhappy citizen contributes zero points. This means that higher population yields better scores. Players may increase the luxury rate to the maximum (depending upon their government type) right before the very end of the game in order to increase happiness, maximizing their scores. Additionally, each wonder of the world owned by the player will also add 20 points to their score. Each square with pollution deducts ten points. The length of time there has been peace (no armed conflict or war) up to the end of the game also adds 3 points per turn, and if the player won using a spaceship, additional points are rewarded, based on the amount of people who reached Alpha Centauri alive. The final score will also give a civilization percentage, based on the difficulty level the game was played at (chosen at the very beginning of the game). The higher this percentage is, the better. Finally, a title will be given to the player. Particularly good ones include "Lion-Hearted," "the Great" with the greatest obtainable title being "The Magnificent."
Civilizations in Civilization II
In Civilization II each civilization was led by two leaders- male and female. All the civilizations from the original game returned along with six new civilizations (Japanese, Celts, Vikings, Spanish, Carthaginians and Sioux), for a total of 21.
There were two expansion packs that slowly added more features to the game. The first, Conflicts in Civilization, included 20 new scenarios: 12 created by the makers of the game, and 8 by fans. It also added an enhanced macro language for scenario scripting.
The other was Civilization II: Fantastic Worlds. It also added new scenarios that had many unique settings such as one scenario dealing with colonization of Mars, one scenario called Midgard that had Elven, Goblin, Merman, and other civilizations from fantasy. There were also some scenarios based on other Microprose games such as X-Com and Master of Orion scenarios. Fantastic Worlds also created a whole new scenario editor that allowed changing units, city improvements, terrain, technology trees, placing triggers, and vastly enhancing the game.
Later, the original game was re-released as Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition, which bundled both prior expansion packs and added options for networked and hotseat play, and features tweaked AI. However, all of the music tracks that were in the original release of Civilization II have been removed - only some of the "new" ones remain. The tweaked AI is also perpetually unfriendly, rendering most diplomatic functions useless.
Civilization II: Test of Time, an unrelated game by a different company, was released in 1999. It was a stand-alone game with new features, such as redrawn, animated units, support for multiple maps in one game, and some new campaign modes.
In 2007 Sid Meier's Civilization II was placed on IGN's 100 greatest video games of all time, coming in at #3. This list also included console games, and Civ II was the second highest-ranked PC game behind Tetris.
Sid Meier's Civilization II' music is in the Red Book CD-audio format, the same as that found on normal music CDs. The songs are quite varied; some are from the 19th century classical era, such as the Blue Danube Waltz, while others have a tribal, tropical sound to them. The music can be played back through any CD-ROM drive. Over 200 MB of space on the Civilization II CD is taken up by the music, 280 MB is occupied by the videos (many of them are historical footages), whereas the actual program data takes up less than 30 MB.
The five different releases of Sid Meier's Civilization II have added and subtracted tracks from the mix, with Fantastic Worlds containing the largest number of tracks of all releases.
Wonders of the World Music
Whenever a player builds a Wonder of the World, a short video with music is played. The music is often taken from other sources:
- King Richard's Crusade - Dance of the Furies, Christoph Willibald Gluck
- Leonardo's Workshop - Cantaloupe Island, Herbie Hancock
- Michelangelo's Chapel - Credo, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
- J.S. Bach's Cathedral - Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Johann Sebastian Bach
- Shakespeare's Theatre - Taken from the prologue to Henry V
- Statue of Liberty - El Capitan March, John Philip Sousa
- Isaac Newton's College - Concerto For 4 Violins & Strings in B minor, Antonio Vivaldi
- Adam Smith's Trading Company - The Entrance of the Queen of Sheba from the oratorio Solomon, George Frideric Handel
- Pyramids - "The Feeling Begins"
- Great Wall of China - "Gethsemane"
- Sun Tzu's War Academy - "Gethsemane"
- Colossus - Main Title
- Great Lighthouse - "Elk Hunt"
- Marco Polo's Embassy - "The Kiss"
- Magellan's Expedition - "Promontory"
- United Nations - "The Glade Part II"
Or various other sources:
- Oracle - Theme from Harry's Game by Clannad
- Women's Suffrage - Swinging at the Daisy Chain by the Count Basie Orchestra
- Hoover Dam - A remix version of "Arkam Bridge" from the soundtrack of the PC game Mechwarrior 2 Ghost Bears Legacy by Gregory Alper & Jeehun Hwang.
- Manhattan Project - I Had My Chance by Morphine
- Apollo Program - Telegraph Road by Dire Straits
- Civilization Fanatics Center
- Apolyton Civilization Site
- Sid Meier's Civilization (series)
- MechWarrior 2 Soundtrack