Reviewed on PC


Reviewed By: David Cady

Computer Platform: Win 95/98
Produced by: Microprose
Price Range: $15-35
Learning curve time: 1 hr.
Age level: 12+
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Patches / Upgrades: available
System Requirements: 60 MHz,16 MB RAM, 2x CD-Rom, 256-color 640x480 monitor

Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
Christian Rating: 4 of 5
   (slightly offensive)
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 4 of 5
   (barely present)
Adult Content: 5 of 5

What if you had the power to change the course of history? What would you do with such power? In "Civilization II: Multiplayer Gold Edition" you can take control of a civilization, its politics, wars, diplomacy, and technology. Become mighty Ceasar and lead the Romans into a new era in the 21st century! That's right; take grasp of a civilization of your choice and lead them boldly into the future.

Screenshot from 'Civilization II' You start the game with one settler, build your first city, and watch your empire grow. You can develop new technologies and create your own government. You must keep your people happy, so you must make city improvements (like theaters) where they can laugh at the parodies and tragedies of life. Build Wonders of the World so that other civilizations can gaze in wonder at your works. Create fierce warriors to uncover hidden lands, explore new territories, and rage wars against other civilizations to expand your empire. As you proceed, you develop new technologies which can lead to better warriors, advanced city improvements, and happier people.

From a Christian perspective the game is slightly offensive. There are some battle scenes, but no blood or violence is shown. Some Christians may be concerned by the Wonders of the World, as some are shrines for gods, although there is no practice shown of worshiping gods. The game does promote hard work, determination, and compassion. The best thing about the game may be that your knowledge of ancient cultures and their history may significantly advance. A great game for all ages!

Year of Release—1998

Positive—I find it unfortunate that so many who share my belief in Christ often keep their minds closed and cut off from the reality of our world. Saying that, I greatly appreciate the original review of this game. The gameplay IS wonderful, and though monotheism is misrepresented from the Christian view, I don't believe the game deserves any less of a rating than it received. It IS unfortunate that the game uses monotheism as a tool. However, we as Christians should use this and other examples as a wake-up call. Look at the world around you! Monotheism IS used as a tool, by governments and citizens alike! Also, there is no direct reference to Christianity in the game; nor to Islam, nor to Judaism. Therefore the game does not point to any of these nor any other “single God” religion as a tool. Christians may say that is a problem in itself, however we must then realize that THIS IS A SECULAR GAME. We must accept this as so when we purchase it, and expect the content to reflect. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Kiel Cary, age 19

Positive—A couple of notes on the discussion that has developed in the user comments section of this review. It is interesting (or perhaps scary) that the only person to point out the Machiavellian nature of the game as morally unacceptable was a non-Christian. The entire game is in fact assembled on a Machiavellian chasis - everything (not just religion, but also art, science, and human life itself) is reduced to a tool of the state. This philosophy is obviously incompatible with Christianity and, if we are to judge the game from a moral standpoint, is the most egregious offense. However, an empire-building game that attempted to simulate the moral element of governing rather than strategic element would encounter numerous obstacles, and sadly wouldn't result in an accurate recreation of history. Concerning the role of the church in the game: “Discovering” Monotheism makes as much sense as “discovering” Mysticism or Nationalism or Communism or any other ism. These sorts of advancements conceptually arise from the exchange of ideas (trade > research > advancement), not guys in lab coats performing experiments. Religious improvements and advancements are meant to reflect their historical relation to the state, and are fairly accurate, if simplistic. My Ratings: [4/5]
   —Peter Hall, age 20

I've enjoyed this challenging and thought-provoking game since 1995, and I am an avid computer gamer with a collection of hundreds of software titles, but I do have a few reservations concerning the philosophy behind this and many other commercial/secular games. A predisposition towards evolutionism and its requisite millions/billions of years is very obvious in "Civ 2", as it unfortunately is for most other titles. You start off as a dark-skinned and primitive settler tens of thousands of years ago, and you establish a civilization that slowly grows more advanced, its citizens skin tones growing paler in the process. The probably-unintended implications behind this are apparent, and do reflect the history of evolutionism as it was promoted by racists like Darwin and his “bulldog,” Huxley. Also, the theocracy government option is misunderstood and maligned. The theocracy is traditionally understood as a system of government established directly by God, not as a man-made invention for diminishing scientific inquiry and for allowing ecclesiastical authorities to abuse others with impunity, as this game implies. In addition, monotheism is “discovered” and “invented” during your civilization's progression, as opposed to being inspired and revealed by God. I'd recommend this title for its entertaining aspects, but I'd try to be on hand to quell any extant evolutionism that rears its ugly head to an unsuspecting gamer. Your admirable young-universe literal creationist website does a more than suitable job of dispelling these evolutionary myths. My Ratings: [2/5]
   —Ramon Ruenes IV, age 29

Umm… I don't understand why all you Christians aren't offended by this game. It presents monotheism as a TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE that you mainly use to pacify your people. In this game religion is a TOOL (and most religions work equally well in the game) to keep your control over the masses. This game is Machiavelli's “The Prince” combined with Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto". Basically the best way to win is to subjugate all the nations around you, by violence and political trickery. This game definitely encourages people to only look at the practical side of problems and to ignore the moral aspect of situations. Jeez I'm even an atheist and I figured that out. It's a really awesome game though. My Ratings: [1/5]
   —Mark Marvelli, age 19, non-Christian

Ok. I like this game, mostly because I can play with it and do something I'm supposed to (in the game) without even knowing how. I just love games like this. I can have fun (even though I lose) and I don't have to really know how to play until I want to, and then it's fun in a whole new way because I know how it works, and I figure out strategy and can win. I learn about the inner workings of the gameplay and it stays fun for a long time. Ok. This may make me sound unintelligent, but I just like games I can play around on, and play serious if I choose to. That's the key. I choose whether I want to play serious. Whereas with most games, I have to play seriously otherwise it won't be fun, this game I can choose. Ok. Now, as far as content and things objectionable, there is the feeling that “all religions are the same” and the they can just be used to make your military stronger. That is actually a belief held by many people. What I mean, is the distorted view of the importance of faith. That's about it. Oh, yeah, and the Darwin thing. That wasn't a great voyage, it was pointless. So, two worries, but not major ones. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Luke, age 18

Considering this game has no flashy graphics or sound effects, it still manages to be more involving than the majority of other games out there on the market. The game does put you in the shoes of God in a sense, as you are put in complete charge of a civilization. It's up to you whether you want to conquer the globe or seek a more peaceful existence. From a Christian viewpoint, it's disappointing that God is not mentioned in the world you manage. Jesus does not appear anytime throughout history and to succeed you might need to investigate other religions. That aside, the game is excellent fun and really gets the brain working as you plan your next strategy. Highly recommended. My Ratings: [3/5]
   —Scott MacDowall, age 18

Comments from Young People…

Positive—My opinion of this game is, in the most part, a good one. The 'Violence' referred to in the rating on the case turned out to be little flecks of color between two 'units'. No blood. My one reservation is that the city counsel uses, in later stages, language that, were I to hear it from a person near me, I would be very offended at, and be compelled to correct. “D” AND POSSIBLY “H” are as wild as the language gets. To me that's very offensive. Monotheism is an advance, both in the game and in life. It's better than polytheism. Christians playing this game would be wise to remember that this is the secular view of history, rather than the Christian one. Thus it takes an evolutionist view of society's development. This does not bother me as much as the language referred to above. Any Christian grounded in Biblical values should not be affected by any of this. Just turn down the sound when you consult the council--there are captions explaining what is being said. Don't worry about the rest--for it is just a game. My Ratings: [4/4]
   —Nate, age 14

My friend got this game for Christmas last year, but it didn't work on her computer, so it's MINE! After 8 months, I'm still playing at Chieftain level on cheat mode, but I love it anyway. It's fun to play. The bigger the civilization, the more fun. I don't see anything offensive in it either, though sometimes I think of what the real life effects would be of what would happen. But remember, it's not real. The only problem is that it's really hard at the beginning, but you pick it up. My Ratings: [5/5]
   —Lari, age 14

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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