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When Mad Doc Software developed Empire Earth II, it continued the vision set by the previous company, Stainless Steel Studios. In doing so, the game became extremely complex, with no less than 14 civilizations, 15 epochs to progress through and 10 different resources to collect. It sometimes felt that playing through human history took about as long to live it, but with Empire Earth III, Mad Doc takes a step back and, similar to its own game, goes back to the beginning to rework everything from the ground up.The next game is unlike any Empire Earth before. About the only thing this newest installment shares with its predecessors is that it encompasses the history of human civilization and catapults players into the future. Things were scaled down considerably, with only two harvestable resources and five epochs. This time around, the game features three factions that cover the Eurasian continent: Western Europe, Middle East and the Asian empires. Developers divided each of the three sides so players can choose between nations like Britain or France when playing the Europeans. Sub factions have different starting technology, but the regional benefits remain the same. Western Europeans specialize in technology and produce expensive but tough units. They will also have powerful walls and guard towers to give them an overall edge in defense, leaving players free to build up their forces and unleash it in one massive attack. Middle Eastern nations rely on stealth and mobility, so their whole base can be transported to keep opponents guessing, and employing hit-and-run tactics will keep them on their toes. Lastly, Asian nations rely on mass producing weak but inexpensive units to overwhelm their foes.

Empire Earth III also uses a new World Domination mode for its single player campaign. Players use a 3-D globe that divides the world into provinces. A player or a "native tribe" either occupies each province and selecting an area to invade determines the direction of expansion. Or, empires can play nice with their neighbors by setting up trade and diplomatic relationships. World Domination plays much like a game of Civilization, where players manage their economy, research and military according to a clock. Each turn advances the clock a certain number of years, starting at 500 years per turn in the early stages, so players must carefully make their way through the epochs or quickly end up surrounded by technologically superior enemies.

No one wants to be caught using muskets when the enemy has tanks. The future technology of the European countries will center on using advanced devices and computers, including an earth quake gun to rock enemy bases. Middle Eastern nations will capitalize on stealth and mobility with vehicles equipped with heavy weapons, but that doesn't mean that they won't get their hands on a few weapons of mass destruction. Asian nations, however, will perfect biotechnology and grow giant, living tanks.

Scheduled to release this fall, Empire Earth III will seek to deliver the same depth of strategy using a significantly scaled back game. Come back to GameDaily to see how the next stage of human development turns out.

by Steven Wong


Empire Earth III - The Story
Sierra has officially announced that Empire Earth III will be released this November on PC. The second sequel in development at Mad Doc will also be treated to a pre-order campaign, offering early purchasers three exclusive unlockable units in the game.

Machine Mortar (Far East Region, Future Epoch) ? A genetically engineered soldier that launches a devastating, area-affect salvo of shells.

Persian Mercenary (Middle East Region, Ancient Epoch) ? An ambidextrous warrior armed with a pair of lethal blades.

Urban Special Forces (West Region, Modern Epoch) ? A highly disciplined, well-armed Urban Special Operations soldier.


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