Roman Empire Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

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Roman Empire
By Lothlorien
Spectrum 16K

Published in Personal Computer News #010

Augustus Ascendant

Augustus Ascendant

If you're not quite ready to conquer the galaxy in the latest arcade game, why not start small, and conquer the ancient world first? Roman Empire is set in the first century BC - so you're not likely to meet anyone you know - and is a game for the thinking megalomaniac.


The game gives you ten legions, six enemies, and sets you the problem of adding them together to come up with the answer, World Domination. You can do it at three levels of difficulty.

In Play

If you've any notions of being Julius Caesar and fending-off countless numbers of Gauls with one legion tied behind your back, forget it - your trusty veterans may be twice as efficient as the enemy, but they only get results if there are twice as many of them. That, unfortunately, is your problem. You need to bring superior numbers to bear on each of your enemies in turn, with the ultimate aim of wiping them all out. Making a desert and calling it civilisation, as Tacitus put it. You also have to cope with the fact that fighting tires out your legions, and as there are six of the enemy and only one of you, your men tend to get tired six times as fast. You need to manage your resources so you don't end up weeny, weedy and weaky. On top of this, barbarians breed if you leave them alone, whereas the Romans don't. Battles take place at the end of every game-turn, and after a period of shilly-shallying and beeping, the computer flashes up the result, thinks for a little longer, and tells you to press a key. It then thinks for even longer - heaven knows what it's up to - then takes you back to the main menu for the next go. Once you've killed off everyone else, or been killed off yourself, the program gives you a percentage rating for your generalship.


Roman Empire doesn't really use the Spectrum's colour capabilities, and has only one "battle" graphic which is sandwiched between game-turns (the Atari, Dragon and Tandy versions are apparently better from a graphics point of view). You are also forced to press Enter after keying-in instructions, and this, together with the slowness of the program, is tiresome. But the game is an interesting challenge, and you keep going back to it to try different solutions to the problems. And all this in the comfort of your own Rome.

John Lettice

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