Settlers 3 – Let’s go back to the beginning…

Settlers_III3

Back in the good old days of Windows 95 and 98, when you had to dial up to get access to the internet, my fascination for civilisation building games began and I remember the first game I ever played was Settlers 3; you built woodcutters, stone masons and bakers and then build up your army to defend you little settlement or to go on a massive rampage around the neighbourhood. It was really good at the time when it came out, and when I was 10 – 11 years old, I would spend hours building up gold mines and castles, all of which add to how awesome your town is.

Since then I’ve been told that I’ve grown up and I’ve played all sorts of civilisation building games and town and city simulators on consoles and pc. Most recently playing the new Sim City and Sid Meirs Civilization V; these are in depth looks into how to build civilizations or cities and the problems that come with doing that. These games are all level upon level of detail, allowing you to manage every aspect of how you town deals with human waste and gambling all the way to choosing which of the 7 wonders to build next. But what if you go back to those early days of my first strategy game, if I replay Settlers 3 do I get that same feeling or is it all nostalgia that’s built up over time?

So I managed to find a copy of the game on ‘Good Old Games’ and downloaded it, installed it and immediately started a game, eager to experience the same game I had over 10 years before. Skipping over the tutorial (I don’t need a tutorial, I’m a veteran of this game) and diving head first into the gameplay of the campaign; and gladly, like a soggy sleeping bag I slipped right in, feeling that I’d never stopped playing.

The game is simple and easy to grasp, here is the most difficult series of events… building a grain farm to get grain, milling the grain into flour in a windmill, and combining that flour with water from the watermill to make bread in the bakery; it using four different buildings to make a loaf of the good stuff which then goes to feed your miners who tirelessly dig away for coal, iron and gold. Other such fun combinations are the pig farm and slaughterhouse or the winery and the temple; the ultimate challenge building a large enough army to wipe away the scum that lives next door.

Some of the quirks that I forgot about until playing it again, the use of geologists to search around the mountains, they place up little signs detailing how much of a particular resource is in a particular location; the best bit is that every sign is coupled with a little woo! and a cheer! The fact that every miner has a flat cap, the stereotypical flat capped northerner settlers down the mine just makes me chuckle; I never chuckle as much as I used do, sad times.

This game isn’t amazing I’m painting it as a masterpiece but in fact that what it lacks in some respects it picks up in others, the graphics are a bit hit and miss, but what do you want in 1998? The gameplay is what you look at, it does what it does well, it’s not a battle simulator full of gore and blood, it’s not really a deep strategy game either, there aren’t really any tough decisions to make; if you have to choose between two buildings, whatever you don’t build now you can build in 5 mins time once you’ve amassed some more resources. Playing this again is fantastic and I can guarantee you that I’ll be playing Settlers 3 into the early hours of the morning; it’s simple, almost too simple but what I would recommend is that it’s a brilliant game to teach you civilisation basics but these new games offer you a much more detailed and I don’t whether I’ve now been spoiled for choice?

It’s a great game nostalgia and all, it’s clear and simple, lets you build up a settlement and then duke it out over territory and then expand across the map, this is well worth the money for reliving those long lost memories. ‘Settlers 4’ is also awesome, but that’s the latest game I played in the series, I think they are up to Settlers 7; I’ve got a long way to go if I want to catch up.