Civilization II: Test of Time
Windows - 1999
Description of Civilization II: Test of Time
One of the inevitable facts of today's computer gaming industry is that success breeds clones...lots of them! It's also true that most of these efforts result in poor knock-offs of the original, rarely risking making attempts at offering anything that resembles originality or inventiveness. Fortunately these rip-offs are usually easily identifiable as they rarely carry the name of the original success but often go through great pains to tout just how much they are like the game they are attempting to clone.
It's also fairly common knowledge that Civilization and Civilization 2 have managed to break most of the conventional rules that the industry held so dear when those games were released. Anxious to ride on the coattails of success, other companies launched their own adaptations, which ranged from the majestic to the disastrous. Most though, fell somewhere in-between. By most people, the Civilization name was highly revered and some even thought it held some magical properties with the fans. This could explain the epic conflicts that broke out about the ownership of the name. Companies like Activision, Microprose, and even Avalon Hill fell into ugly legal battles that risked ruin for the combatants, all in an effort to lay claim to the name and the rights of future Civilization titles. Strangely, the ultimate victor to this heated license war was the massive financial power of the toy giant, Hasbro, who in the end purchased both the Avalon Hill and Microprose companies.
For the fans though, the fallout of this conflict would continue to be a muddled affair where finding the true offspring of the Civilization name was at best, hit or miss. Microprose did release several expansion type titles to Civilization 2, of varying quality. These releases offered a range of enhancements which included (some very well designed) custom scenarios, an editor, and even multiplayer capability. Activision even nudged its way into the fray with a release that had authorized use of the name. Activision's Civilization Call to Power valiantly attempted its own unique spin on the popular series, which ended with a somewhat muddled mess of highs and lows. Even the original Civilization creators themselves came out with their own spiritual successor, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Oddly, up to this point, this game came closest to being the heir, with a design that captured the spiritual feel of the original, while embracing a creative evolution to the series vision. Sadly though, even this tile was hampered by its own best intentions and abstract interpretation.
The Test of your time...
So this brings us to the present and the release of Civilization 2 Test of Time, a title which intends to update the original Civilization 2 with updated graphics, interface tweaks and the best of the best Civilization 2 variations, including multiplayer capability. The result, while largely on target, somehow still manages to flounder for a number of reasons. Still, there is a lot to commend in this newest Civilization namesake title.
Test of Time actually offers many interesting refinements over Civilization 2. The most blatantly obvious of the enhancements is the update to the graphics. The graphics are now improved and more animated. Units now each have their own movement and attack animations (for instance, ship sails ruffle in the wind as they travel) and the even the map characteristics themselves come alive. Deer prance back and forth and rivers flow. Players also have great latitude in zooming in or out on the primary map screens, to fit their personal tastes and viewing preferences. Of course, this type of change is purely cosmetic but it does tend to add a fresh feel to an old favorite.
The more meaningful additions are the updates to the interface that make the micro-management aspect of Civilization more manageable. The interface as a whole has been updated to a much stronger game ambiance feel versus the dated Window 3.1 application design that Civilization 2 had. For the most part, this is a positive change, though sometimes navigation or action options can now require a little hunting to find. In particular, updates include the ability to scroll through your cities in the city view screen and a new mini-map that can be changed from flat to a more practical 3-D rotating globe. These updates only nominally improve play control, but are still a welcome addition.
The AI in some cases seems to have been improved. In several games, allies have been more vehement about protecting alliances. In several instances, this included substantial allied troop movement through my empire to reach hostile civilizations on the far side, this new level of protectiveness from allied AI players was pretty impressive. The odd downside to this is that too often an allied army would finish capturing a hostile city right after my forces had softened it up! Not really a flaw, but something players will likely have to adjust their strategies for.
The game also sports some of the better offerings of the post Civilization 2 releases. It includes multiplayer capabilities (hotseat, network, Internet, and dial up; note, no play-by-email though), allows Civilization 2 editor created maps to be used, and offers 5 unique game environments. Another distinctive feature of Test of Time is the ability to play games where Civilization is played across four separate maps. This unique feature is handled somewhat like play in Masters of Magic where traveling from map to map is usually restricted by some sort of in game particularity. The concepts are certainly compelling, and depending on the game chosen, adds a lot to the feel of play.
Worlds, and worlds within worlds...
Test of Time actually includes five distinct campaigns to choose from. Like the recently released Civ 2 Fantastic Worlds, each campaign has it own unique range of units, technologies, wonders, and map terrain schemes. While Test of Time clearly uses just the core Civilization ruleset, each of the campaigns does a good job of offering its own individual ambiance. The addition of multi-map features allows players to explore a range of locales in a single game, from underground caverns, deep sea floor beds, worlds of magic to even the distant binary system, Alpha Centauri. Admittedly, the quality of each campaign varies slightly but the overall value is definitely enhanced by the range of playable experiences.
Original game- This campaign offers players the chance to enjoy a traditional Civilization game with the enhanced graphic animations and interface tweaks. Several units in this game have been modified for better play balance. For instance, the attack strength of the cruise missile has been reduced to 18 while the strength of most aircraft has been increased slightly.
Science Fiction game- This game is actually the weakest offering of the bunch. To its credit, the scenario is well balanced and enjoyable, and offers a completely redefined environment to explore. The multi-map aspect is represented by three planets and an orbital environment.
Sadly, the sci-fi theme has some holes in its theme presentation if you examine the campaign too closely. For a futuristic setting, units oddly start out armed with only swords, and require further research just to acquire even the basest of technologies like Woodworking. As the game progresses, civilization advances quickly rocket ahead into speculative theoretical knowledge. Occasionally, the scenario wanders into some disturbing 'Barney the dinosaur ' romper room motifs that really make immersive play a challenge. Terminology phrases like 'Blue Willie', 'Feephi', and 'Collapsatron Q' and a few others definitely seem out of place in a self proclaimed sci-fi world. Still, this campaign can be an enjoyable romp, if not scrutinized too closely.
Midgard game- This game is a lot like the fantasy game but includes a lot more subtleties. Midgard is actually a carry-over of a scenario on the Civ 2 Fantastic Worlds title. However, the design has been enhanced and includes some very interesting events, quests, and plot devices. There's no question that this is hands-down, the best variation of the Civilization design to surface. Clearly, the best offering Test of Time provides..
Extended original game- In theory, this is a merging of the classic Civilization design with a pseudo Sid Meier Alpha Centauri variation. The game follows the original game's path until the players ship reaches the new Alpha Centauri system. Here the game breaks as the player explores the New World (all the while managing his cities back on earth simultaneously). Interestingly enough, many of the technology types are quite similar to Sid Meier's offering, including the ability to discover Transcendence, which ends the game when the player evolves to the higher evolution form.
While the idea is compelling, the result is sometimes less than stellar. The game has an alien race that will be encountered once your colonies have reached the new world. Oddly enough, when you finally engage the aliens in diplomacy, their ambassador looks strikingly like an American Indian ambassador you may have encountered back on earth. Another lackluster aspect is that it's all too easy to bypass nearly any direct interaction with the new planet once you've reached it. Certainly an interesting theme to explore the first time through, but it also lacks the staying power for repeated visits.
Fantasy game- This game offers the closest approximation to a Master of Magic theme, without having to resorting to fiddling with old DOS configurations. The world is spread across four maps with magical and fantasy elements. The entire campaign is steeped very heavily in a fantasy feel, where each of the races that can be played has a very unique and diverse feel (the Merfolk Civ was a personal favorite for me).
A wrong turn on the mega-hit express
This brings us head on to the hiccups of this title. Hiccups that come perilously close to making the Exxon Valdez accident look like a half empty glass of spilt milk! The deadly iceberg of disaster first comes into view when you start up the game for the first time. The system requirements state that a minimum of Pentium 166 is required, and recommends a P200 for optimum performance. On the three test systems we ran it on, only one ran it with acceptable performance. Our P166 with 32 Meg of RAM wouldn't even run the game...period! The P233 with 64 megs of Ram did run it but the delays were pronounced and the starting "loading game" warning would often take five minutes or more processing before beginning the actual game. Even our P300 with 128 Megs of RAM sometimes took almost a minute to load before beginning. On all of the systems the movie animations (what few of them there were) either didn't run or were very choppy (in case you're thinking the video card was to blame, one was a 16 Meg Banshee and the other a 32 Meg Riva TNT). For a game whose predecessor used to run on a 486 machine, the performance drop is catastrophic, especially considering the improved graphics, while good, are not as dramatic as the resource drain.
A festering complication of Test of Time being such as a system hog is the problem of the late game pauses, as the computer processes the opponent's turn. This is exacerbated sometimes to a level where you could take naps or go for a dine-out meal while waiting for turns to process (particularly on slower systems, the P300 handled them in a semi-reasonably 6 minute time frame, even under the worst intentionally induced conditions). So while the concept of exploring up to four maps is compelling, memories of late game turn processing in Civilization 2 should remind you what a headache this added feature could become.
Test of Time also disappointingly chops out some of the enhanced immersion elements. Gone are the movie styled advisors that were a kick in the original Civilization 2. Gone are the Wonder mini-movies, eyecandy city view screens and the animated ambassadors. Sure, these were only frills that added to the feel, and which over time more often than not got ignored, but they also represented an integral part of the immersive feel of the original title. Enhancing animation graphics while ripping frills that helped to make Civilization 2 popular was not the kind of trade up I imagine many gamers had in mind.
Another disappointment was that other than hotseat play we were unable to get any multiplayer games going reliably. More snafus occurred when we tried to move a premade earth world map from the Test of Time original scenario to the extended game (the extended game doesn't have a world map available). The game not only crashed but also managed to corrupt files so that Test of Time actually had to be removed and then reinstalled from scratch!
The game also still suffers from a lot of the problems that plagued the original (to Microprose's credit though, these have been greatly reduced). For instance, automated Settlers still wander back and forth with no rhyme or reason. 'Go to' commands still result in erratic path choices that can result in a unit looping back and forth in some bizarre continent dance.
Despite the foibles, new and old, Test of Time is largely an enjoyable product, though its worth will be largely determined by your fanaticism for the series. After all, Test of Time combines the best of the scenario add-ons with multiplayer and tops it with a new multi-map feature and a facelift that includes improved game graphics and interface tweaks. Sadly the stripping of so many frills like the wonder mini-movies makes improvements descend into a trade off instead of a grand show piece, as it should have been. Test of Time feels like it should be the culmination of what made Civilization a mega-hit stuffed to the gills with all the frills and goodies that could be packed into a single CD. Instead the whole package feels a little like a fancy Gold edition of Civ 2: Fantastic Worlds without the editor.
Review By GamesDomain
How to play Civilization II: Test of Time Windows
To install the game, follow these instructions: http://users.tpg.com.au/jpwbeest/cc_tot_install.htm
Comments and reviews
Linus 2020-03-07 -1 point
Vanilla Civ 2 works beautifully on Linux/Wine, no tweaks required. For some other old games, you guys can try using a tool called DxWnd to enable older versions of DirectX/DirectDraw specially for Win8 and Win10. After Win7 it went downhill...
Wyrmwood 2019-11-29 -1 point
Sorry, that previous comment was for the French Version, It seems that the English ISO version is corrupted. :(
Wyrmwood 2019-11-29 3 points
Got it working on Windows8 64bit. Had to install an additional 64 bit patch at https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/the-test-of-time-patch-project.517282 (just be sure to manually move their lua.dll file and lua folder into your Civ game folder after running this patch.) To convert the mdx file to iso, download iat (IsoAnalyzer) from https://sourceforge.net/projects/iat.berlios/ , then move the exe file into the same folder as the mdx file. Open a command prompt in Administrator mode (either in this folder or navigate to it), then type "iat.exe YourCivDownload.mdx Civ.iso" -(without the quotes) and it will convert it to an iso file you can open on your win 8 computer by just double-clicking on the iso file. Install from there. Install the official patch and then the 64 bit patch. Make sure you set the game and patch files to 'Run as Administrator' and in WinXPSP3 compatibility mode. (Windows also had to install Direct Draw but that was no issue). Have fun!
Pwiecek 2019-11-19 -1 point
If your having problems on win10 try a virtual machine. I have it running in Oracle Virtualbox
Karim 2019-05-05 -3 points
problems with Civ2, launch error and crashes, I made sure to run it in comp "WinXp Service pack 3, and "run as admin. before that you´ll have to use this patch *Civ2x64EditboxPatcher and also I downloaded from Abandonware.com (not here), containing that patch and ISO file, not some freakin headache MDF etc SHAIT, f*ckin lost 2hours jwith this shait, why don´t you just iplooad the ISO and spare the time and effort, is that so hard?
Sam 2019-05-05 -1 point
Can get it to launch a new game, tried with the Scifi mode, keeps crashing just after all the choices are ticked, someone know what´s wrong with this? (I´m running it on compatibility Win Xp Service Pack 2)
tryler 2018-05-12 -1 point
For both downloads, I found the easiest way to use Iso9660 Analyzer Tool, which does NOT require an install - just the lone executable. Hop over to command line and use the syntax "iat.exe " and you should be good to go. For the English version, use the IMG file.
midnightrizer 2018-02-18 2 points
Win 10 does NOT have XP compatibility mode only win 7 and maybe 8 if u r trying to get these old games to run on 64 bit platforms good luck to you.
GRIGOR 2017-12-26 1 point
For the "create city crash" on Windows 10 1709 this patch work for me:
eltotonero 2017-12-17 1 point
I tried to do it Paul. I can start a new game, build two or three cities and then the game crash again...
paul 2017-12-17 1 point
If you have recently updated Windows 10, make sure you run 'troubleshoot compatibility' and select 'windows XP service pack 3', this should stop it from crashing from using the keyboard/renaming cities
eltotonero 2017-12-16 1 point
I just updated windows 10 (1709 version), and I have some new bugs with civ2.
If I try to build a new city or if I want to change the name of a city, the game stop...
Before this update, the game was working fine
LePaul 2017-02-05 0 point
Plays ok on Win10 (see tutorial here: http://users.tpg.com.au/jpwbeest/cc_tot_install.htm )
but it seems that the music is missing from the CD...
Bob 2017-01-19 -1 point
for those who you having problems, the IMG file in the archive on this page appears to be corrupt; most likely it was inadvertantly uploaded this way (it passes CRC, so it's not corrupted on download).
Maybe find the game somewhere else unless this is fixed.
fordprefect4271 2016-09-15 -1 point
You need to run the installer itself in Win XP Service Pack 3 mode, as an administrator. Be sure to set the mode to run the game the same way, as an administrator. That's how I got mine to run. If Win XP SP3 doesn't work, try Vista for both. I used to run it in Vista all the time.
Tom 2016-08-23 2 points
Download main file and patch.
Download and install Daemon Tools lite.
Mount file in Daemon tools lite and install, follow all instructions.
Download another patch from http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=193215.
Fix .exe file.
Play and enjoy!
Sir Ludicrous 2016-07-24 1 point
So i´ve managed to open the Autostart Menu (using DeamonTools), but after starting the installation, nothing happens
The task manager tells me about a process called 32-bit-setup-launcher and thats it.
no window, no action, no icon of processing data...
Im running on win10 btw
Answering Ticked-off 2016-04-26 2 points
You need to burn the image to a CD. I used ImgBurn 18.104.22.168 (because the latest version makes AVG go crazy). It installed and runs on Windows 10 but it hangs at the point of entering the game. Given a little time I think I can get it working.
ThomasFfobbs 2016-04-22 0 point
re: all+any failed attempts at installion of old games [particularly D.O.S. & PRE-ACTIVATION-WINs]... Try Using DOS-Box if You Are a WIN Guy; or... WINESKIN FOR MAC [lets you use WIN.*.exe progs [Games & APPS like DataBases & A\V & Security\BenchMarkers] within a 'WIN' sandbox-type enviroment, windowed or fullscreen].
just be carefull to AVOID installing into the Windows Programme-Files Dir... Microsoft defaults it to requiring very limited Administrator Privs.
ticked-off 2016-02-26 -11 points
what a waste of time. I have found exactly *nothing* that recognizes the .img file in this download, I've tried 5 programs, including DOSBox, D-Fend Reloaded and OSFMount. Using Win10... so if you have Win10, don't waste your precious time or bandwidth on this piece of garbage...
Ty 2015-10-20 -3 points
im still not sure how to install this game, even after reading the Guide, please help me instal this amazing game!!!!
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