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Master of Orion 3
List Price: $19.99

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Product Description

You assume the biggest role ever! No longer will you represent mere interplanetary dictators. In Master of Orion III, you become the controlling force behind an entire galactic civilization.

The Master of Orion series is synonymous with addictive turn-based strategy gameplay. Though the premise--choosing a unique alien race and then leading it in a galactic quest for glory--isn't new, there is something about the series that draws people back. Is it the original take on the diplomatic, economic, military, and exploratory components of galactic conquest? Is it the intrigue of the Antarans, an ancient and predatory race that always seems to pop out of hyperspace to attack at just the wrong time? Is it the sense of accomplishment that comes from building a functioning interstellar empire? Frankly, I don't know. But for whatever reason, these games are notorious for creating a bad case of Just One More Turn syndrome.

Master of Orion 3, then, has large shoes to fill. Appropriately, "bigger" is one of the best adjectives that can be used to describe this third installment. Fans of micromanagement are in for a treat, as the most noticeable new feature is the vast number of options available. The level of control is nice, but can be overwhelming--you'll sometimes find yourself swimming in a sea of menus, interconnected sliders, and check boxes. The array of empire management tools are all used to advance along one of three paths to victory: dominating your enemies militarily, getting elected as president of the Orion senate, or finding all five hidden artifacts.

Each planet in your empire has many components that must be managed individually--including taxes, build queues, regional zoning, terraforming, resource collection, economic infrastructure development, and military versus planetary spending limits. Successful management leads to a productive planet; mismanagement results in revolt and unrest. A vital addition to the game is an AI viceroy for each planet. Viceroys will carry out mundane work based on empire-wide policies you can set, but don't expect them to do exactly what you want very often. And even with the help of viceroys, the galactic scale is no less daunting. You must manage not only a galactic budget and research, but also diplomatic relations, spy infiltration, and military development and deployment. The manner in which the player interacts with the Orion senate is new to MoO3. You can now become a member of the senate and use it to impose sanctions or declare war on other alien races.

When diplomatic negotiations fail, space and ground combat become necessary. You assign task forces mission types that include long-range attack, short-range attack, point-defense, indirect fire, and reconnaissance. Ground forces are likewise grouped into task forces based on their size and strength. Once in combat, you can opt to control things directly or sit back and let the computer take care of everything. You can even skip combat altogether and jump right to the outcome--the fastest and easiest way to manage battles.

In the end, Masters of Orion 3 succeeds with compelling gameplay that will leave you engrossed for hours (or days) at a time. Thanks to the strategic depth of the game, vast number of management options, diverse and interesting alien races, a randomly generated universe, and a sprawling technology tree, no two games will be alike. Though dense and complex, the payoff is well worth the effort. MoO3 is a fantastic title perfect for anyone who enjoys strategy games. --Jon "Safety Monkey" Grover

Pros:

  • Engaging and immersive gameplay
  • More depth, longer games, and greater diversity
  • Addictive--expect to dump eight hours into a single session
  • Multiplayer includes a turn-limits option and financial benefits for brief turns

Cons:

  • Calling it "graphically dated" is being polite
  • Incredible complexity may leave a lot of gamers confused
  • Productivity, social life, family, and personal hygiene may suffer
Features:
  • not just military and economic consequences
  • Slick and intuitive interface makes navigation and gameplay a snap for novice players.
  • Complete campaigns to satisfy would-be galactic conquerors.
  • Robust Multiplayer lets 8 players slug it out for galactic domination.
  • * Manage policies dealing with freedom and oppression, slavery, and racial tolerance. Will your civilization thrive better as an oppressive tyranny, a free republic, a unified theocracy, or something in-between?

Customer Reviews:

  • Stay clear...
    ...this 'game' is a joke on every thinkable level. It takes more micromanagement to prevent the moronic AI from doing things you don't want it to, than if everything had just been left to you in the first place. The latest patch fixes a few glitches, but you cannot repair a poorly designed and coded game with a patch. Do you know it is actually possible to win this game at the hardest setting, without doing anything after the first round? Some call this title strategy. I call it silly. Get Space Empires IV: Gold Edition, or Galactic Civilizations instead. I noticed that Infogrames has changed their name after this title was released. Perhaps, after the other great title they messed up, Grand Prix 4, they saw the writing on the wall......more info
  • A hidden Gem
    Most of you are probably speedy gamers who don't have time to sit down and ACTUALLY spend time doing work each turn managing a universe-wide empire, and sitting through it for a few hours. Of course, if you ARE a speedy gamer, then you should definitely turn back. However, if you want an amazing TBS that takes into into amazing detail, then this game is for you. The graphics are as good as they should be, however I wished they could have had the option of higher than 800x600, but it did get the job done. I thought the technology matrix could have been more manageable, but it was a relief that I didn't have to be barraged with tons of choices to make. The ability to customize any race, as well as having more races than in MOO2, give the game a interesting boost. Spies are also very important, except when trying to spy the New Orions (who are the dominant race in the empire that are near impossible to destroy). I wish they could have had more cut-scenes, but that may also have made the game annoying and much longer. The Sound was VERY annoying, always having the same sound again and again, but I turned the sound off and I found it much easier to pay attention. The sheer intensity of managing ninety planets during the end was quickly overpowered by the feeling of power I got from dominating the universe. If you find it too long, just let the AI take control; it doesn't hurt. So I give this 5/5 stars, not only because I AM a true MOO fan, but because this is the best MOO yet, may it be long....more info
  • MOO3 Disappoints
    The keyword for this game is tedious. The gameplay engine is tedious and overworked. Nothing was made for ease of use or play. The game is good on the basics, but doesn't live up to the past Master of Orion wonder. After all the hype and sensationalism prior to release of MOO 3, I expected much more than what was delivered. MOO2:Battle at Antares is one of the best strategy games made, but MOO3 is just a distant step-cousin that is best left alone....more info
  • Worst Game of it's type.
    This is the worst game of its type. Save your money.

    Graphics are about 15 years out of date.

    Manual is just a story that takes places at the end of Moo2.

    The only thing you will ever fight is troop transports...

    LOL. What a joke. Glad my friend gave me his copy. Oh, nice cover art on the box....more info

  • Only evil people should be punishment by playing this game!
    playing this game is similar to a cruel and unusual punishment.
    this game is vexing , tedious , vain , working at McDonalds is more fulfilling and fun !
    And I would rather commit suicide than work at McDonalds!
    Do Not Suffer Your Self To Play This Game!
    Master of orion 2, MOO2, is ten by the power of millon times better!...more info
  • Play MOO 2, this isn't worth the time it takes to learn
    This game is cumbersome, difficult and, well, boring. I played at least 20 hours of this, and I really wish I could have those hours back. I guess I kept expecting to stumble across something I had missed that made all the ridiculous interfaces useful.

    The space combat just plain stinks, there is no reason to even attempt to control it. The ground combat is completely unintelligible. I never could manage to figure out how to bombard a planet, it just wouldn't ask me if I wanted to although it is listed in the 200 page manual as an option. My spies continually died long before they ever did anything useful. Threatening representatives of other races resulting in nothing (playing politics was the thing I was most looking forward to in this update).

    I tried really hard to like this game, the graphics are good, and the 3-D map is cool. But the MOO series is about being able to control worlds and manage empires, and frankly, I felt like I was just along for the ride. MOO 2 is a much better game and I still highly recommend it....more info

  • I wanted to like this game, I really did.
    Like a number of other reviewers on here, I seem to have been there from the beginning. Played MOO when it came out, still play MOO2 all the time (it even runs beautifully on my new XP machine, of all things, and takes up about 78 mb. I have newer games with savefiles bigger than that). Those games were/are great. They enticed you, encouraged you to explore and expand your empire, to try new and daring things (and even had humor, like how your 'citizens' in MOO2 demand a stadium if you happen to play it on April 1st).

    M003 takes all those wonderful elements and converts them into something akin to getting partially stuck in a revolving door in 100 degree weather. The interface works..sort of, if you don't mind 15 subwindows at a time warring with one another. You finally figure out how to tell a mineral rich planet to build more industry, only to return later to find your Viceroy working on political buildings. Odd looking creatures occasionally show up on your video display to declare war or peace or engage in cryptic insulting matches like 'We peacefully demand you withdraw from our space with anger,' as if all the programmers were not just hooked on phonics, but smoking it like crack. You squint at glowing trade lanes, a new and hideous addition to the MOO pantheon, which converts your galaxy from idyllic space to a odd web of ships bumping back and forth like Los Angeles freeways writ large. You hope that on one of the about 8 CDs that make up the game you will find what you're looking for: Master of Orion III god damn it, bigger, better, and more glorious than ever. Another Viceroy proudly announces that your 40-transport ship task force is finally ready. Your WHAT? You begin drinking heavily.

    In the end, you're left with something like Highlander II or Godfather III or The Phantom Menace..people keep telling you, with a mixture of pity and cruelty, that it's related to the great predecessors you know and love and that if you just give it a another chance, download a few more patches, maybe play it with 'Ode to Joy' ringing in your ears and 3 shots of tequila burning in your gut, it will all come together for you. Well, it doesn't. Somebody wake me if Master of Orion IV ever shows up....more info

  • Unbelievable (I mean unbelievably bad)!
    I unfortunately purchased MOO3 when it was eventually released, happened to be surfing Amazon.com tonight, and decided to read some of the reviews of MOO3. After reading a number of them (especially the favorable ones), I felt compelled to submit this review of MOO3 as hopefully the final word on this game.

    I waited on pins and needles waiting for MOO3 to be released (after a number of release delays). When it was delivered, I read most of the manual, except for most of the excessively expansive storyline. If I wanted all of that, I would pick up a Card, Herbert, or Weber novel.

    And then I loaded MOO3 and started playing it at the hardest level.

    Many hours later, all the while disregarding nonsensical diplomatic messages, protecting my borders with invincible fleets (which I couldn't upgrade and still haven't figured out how to), micromanaging the game to an unbelievable degree (which is necessary because the queue only allows a three future projects at a time), and generally expanding my empire, I quit only after sending the maximum amount of full battle fleets against the Orions to their deaths even after inflicting enormous damage.

    So I started again at the hardest level, and did it again.

    This game suffers innumerable deficiencies. It's not a matter of being a slow gamer or a fast gamer. I appreciate and enjoy both kinds of gaming. This game is terrible, and frankly I read the positive reviews and wonder how much those authors were paid to write them. MOO2 is the game to which all turn based strategy games are compared, and the makers of MOO3 must know that it would be compared to MOO2 in such a fashion. As such, their release of MOO3 is an insult to the genuis that is MOO2.

    MOO3 is properly placed as a prequel to MOO and MOO2. That way, the trilogy improves in quality and enjoyment with each release. And in the unlikely event there is an MOO4, I hope the makers learn from their mistakes of MOO3. At least with this long-time MOO2 fan, they have a lot of redemption after their release of MOO3. I will further wait for the gamer reviews before any such purchase. Fool me once, shame on you: fool me twice, shame on me!...more info

  • Worst 4X game I have ever played
    This game is so terrible that it's amazing it was ever released. Many of this game's positive reviewers have speculated that perhaps those who don't like the game simply haven't taken the time to thoroughly understand it. Let me assure you, this isn't the case. The more time you spend with this game, the more you come to realize how egregiously flawed it is. There are far, far too many flaws for me to offer a complete list, so I'll just mention the one that I find the most hilarious. The game claims to have an advanced diplomacy model, but the diplomacy appears to have absolutely no connection to the rest of the game. I can carpet bomb an enemy's planet, killing millions of his citizens, and the next turn his ambassador shows up to...offer me a trade treaty? What the heck? Equally bizarre is the way that races will declare war, then peace, then war, peace, etc. every few turns for no apparent reason. It's kind of funny at first, but eventually you just start ignoring the other ambassadors.

    Save your money. They should have to pay people to play this one....more info
  • Poor addition to a genre with potentional, but few successes
    There are many 4X/Space-Stratagey fans out there, and many attempts to make games in this genre. But sadly, few are successes. Some are good, but few know about them, such as Pax Imperia: Entiment Domain (one of my favorites). Some are good, and everyone who knows the genre exists knows the game, such as Master of Orion 2. Some are just colasal flops, and usually for many different reasons.

    Do I have experience enough to judge a good 4X game? Well, I have played many of the games, but some disagree with my views on them. Here are the ones I have. My all time favorite, Pax Imperia: Entiment Domain; Master of Orion 2, one of my less favorites; Space Empires 4, in the middle of my list; Conquest: Frontier Wars gets second place; Star Wars: Rebelion, had potental, but didn't quite deliver; Star Trek: Birth of the Federation, also had potential, but didn't quite deliver. And that's all I can think of right now.

    Anyway, on to Master of Orion 3. The prequel, MoO2 was many people's favorite, and it was good for when it came out (though I prefered Pax Imperia: Entiment Domain), but I wasn't one of it's biggest fans. Now MoO3 is a different story. I didn't actually buy it mind you. I got the full version 60 minute demo, and it was terrible. Although better visually than most, the menus and selection are very poorly done and getting anything done is nearly impossible. I didn't see the battles, but that makes no difference if the main interface is so bad you can't get anything done. There is little helpful information for running your empire.

    All-in-all, this game isn't worth the time of day. If you want a 4X game, I reccomend getting Conquest:Frontier Wars, MoO2, or Space Empires 4. I haven't tried Galactic Empires yet, but it looks cool, so that could be a possibility. But this isn't the game that you are looking for. So hit the back button, and move on. If you don't believe me, just read the other reviews on this game....more info

  • Master of Orion 3
    Pretty much the same as the original MOO that I bought. However it has no controls over ships that I can find. I build SCOUTs and can not seperate them from Defensive Fleets to send them to Scout any Planets. I can not tell FLEETs to go anywhere. VERY VERY poor command structure built into this game....more info
  • Big disappointment after Master of Orion 2
    I love MOO2, have since it first came out and I still play it to this day. It has great replayability. MOO3 on the other hand, doesn't have much playability, so don't even consider replayability. Months after getting it, I still haven't finished the first game because I got too bored with it. I dominate the galaxy with no chance the other races could put up even a small challenge. That could be alleviated by playing at a more difficult setting, but it's quite a statement that I'm winning and not enjoying it. To run the empire the way I want requires incredible micromanagement. The AI governers can not be trusted to develop the regions or fill the military que. Each turn I have to visit every single one of hundreds of planets and tweak what's going on. It is mind-numbingly tedious. On the other hand, the space combat must be done hands-off. Once you opt to start a fight, take your hands off the controls until it's done, letting your AI run the real-time battle. It's just not practical to run the battle yourself. All in all, a huge disappointment and I'll go back to playing MOO2....more info
  • Big disappointment after Master of Orion 2
    I love MOO2, have since it first came out and I still play it to this day. It has great replayability. MOO3 on the other hand, doesn't have much playability, so don't even consider replayability. Months after getting it, I still haven't finished the first game because I got too bored with it. I dominate the galaxy with no chance the other races could put up even a small challenge. That could be alleviated by playing at a more difficult setting, but it's quite a statement that I'm winning and not enjoying it. To run the empire the way I want requires incredible micromanagement. The AI governers can not be trusted to develop the regions or fill the military que. Each turn I have to visit every single one of hundreds of planets and tweak what's going on. It is mind-numbingly tedious. On the other hand, the space combat must be done hands-off. Once you opt to start a fight, take your hands off the controls until it's done, letting your AI run the real-time battle. It's just not practical to run the battle yourself. All in all, a huge disappointment and I'll go back to playing MOO2....more info
  • Some good but has fatal flaws, could be so much better
    Well, I bought this game on the reviews that say, "If you like a complex, deep, thought-provoking complex, turn-based strategy game, you'll love it!"

    Bad idea...

    It has some of those parts like the ability to zone planets and allocate specific amounts of money to many areas. The parts of the game like that really have serious potential for micromanagement and control but then there are the problems...

    - The "Task forces" are extremely cumbersome and the inability to update is a major migraine

    - The diplomacy stinks and seems to have no effect whatsoever on game play, is difficult to understand, and the AI's make peace, declare war, make peace, declare war, every other turn and at random.

    - The Senate is a great idea but you can't propose any really meaningful bills only inane stuff like "Praise New Orions" or "Declare total war on Farenzurno", none of which ever pass anyway.

    - "Combat" could have been cool with in real-time but is more accurately a bunch of gray points shooting lines at each other (which of course, you really can't control anyway). In addition, the units are way off with the missile ships just blowing everything out of the water.

    - In addition, the ground combat is really arcane and difficult. It takes a thousand clicks to make a ground force and once the troops land, the whole force disappears for a few turns and must be redeployed.

    - You have to click through 5 screens just to check up on what the wholly inefficient viceroys are doing and keep them from building 52 troop transports (without any troops)

    - The game is really easy, as it seems the enemy AI does nothing against you yet it takes way too much time to destroy even one of their planets.

    - Oh yeah, and the manual is really almost useless. Half of it is just a cheap sci-fi story recounting events since the last game. Any the rest is a cursory examination of the interface.

    - Finally, the graphics are super-outdated. There are about 3 gray on gray barely recognizable graphics for the ships. Space combat is points and lines and ground combat is a colored orb glowing and pulsating randomly. (An exception is the diplomacy graphics, which are actually quite good)

    All this really makes a game with great potential, little payoff....more info

  • Buy this game if you love pain
    This game was the worst use of 35 bucks I have ever seen. I may as well have taken 35 bucks out of my wallet and flushed it down the toilet. I tried to play this worthless morass of mind-bending algorithms for about three days before I literally threw the game away. Shame on these designers. What were they thinking?...more info
  • The good the bad and the ugly... without the good
    Lots of good ideas in this game, unfortunately almost all of them are half baked. Just about every feature would be great if it were implemented well. Like exploring planets. Why can't you see the details of the planet untill you land on it. Even a hint would be nice. I like the idea that you can have a multi culture empire, so that you could land the matching subjects on the matching type of planet -- if you could figure out the planet type before landing, or you could see the speicies ocuping the colony ship.
    Don't even get me started about the space combat -- not only is it impossible to control the ships but you can't see details of the enemy. Does their tech outclass you ships -- cant tell. I know they have lots of missles and fighters but there is not way to save your shots for them or support other groups with your beams, or target your small missles against their anti ship missles.
    Ambitious game, but they obviously ran out of time and just had to release whatever code they had.
    Terrible, awful, stupid game. Don't waste your time or money....more info
  • Space game cats in shambling zombie shock
    A lot of people have missed the point of this game. Yes, the gameplay [is not good], the interface is appalling, and it's a grotesque brain-dead shambling zombie of an ending (and surely this franchise is now ended) to one of the greatest videogame series of all time. But considering this game was written entirely by a team of *cats* it's amazingly good.

    On the other hand, you might want to think very carefully about ever buying an Infogramme/Atari game again. To have released a game this unbelievably bad at full price is both shameful and for this company typical....more info

  • So much potential, too much frustration
    Like most MOO fans I started with the original game and when its sequel was introduced, I quickly snapped it up. As you would expect, the interface had changed, but for the better and after a little bit of experimenting, I was conquering another galaxy (most of the time).

    For years I awaited MOO3 and when I bought it, I couldn't wait to load it up and start playing. The new features looked so appealing and there was so much potential. And, again, I was prepared to learn a new interface, but then I started to play MOO3 and that's when it hit me -- whoever designed this game didn't understand how to play MOO! The interface has become terribly cumbersome and many functions that should be intuitive have been made, or so it seems, needlessly complex.

    After trying to understand this game for two solid weeks I had to admit defeat and the game remains silent. So much potential, but just too much frustration trying to play it.

    If you're trying to decide what to do based on these mixed reviews, understand this: even those giving this game higher marks have warned you there's a steep learning curve. Ultimately, it's just not worth the aggravation. You have been warned . . ....more info

  • This is how to destroy a good series
    This is the worst game of the MOO series. I have played both of the previous MOO games and found them to be the best turn based space strategy games. I have spent several months playing this game, but I have found the menus and gameplay to be terrible. I have found the alien representative graphics to be excellent and the AI to be much better at managing the build queues than previous versions of MOO. I would still recommend reviewng the queues periodically to make sure the correct ship types and soldiers are being built to match your strategy, and that you are maximizing the regional development of your planet. If you want a good strategy game with engaging gameplay, go back to MOO 2 or check out the civ series by Sid Meier....more info
  • A Wonderful Legacy of a Title That Fell Short
    An excellent game idea. I played the first and fell in love with it way back when. This newest version though is a big disappointment. It doesn't have hardly any of the original style that made the first so fun and the interface on this one is *HORRIBLE*. There is no real hand-held manual for such a complicated game, only in-game and that is vague at best. Learning how to do something as eventually vital as build a fleet in order to defend or invade is hilariously ridiculous. At the time this series began, it was close to the only one like it and easily worth it, but it's clear they've lost the magic and the point with this one. Pass it by....more info
  • Succeeds at standing out.
    When reading the majority of reviews, both here and elsewhere, I have to ask: Why is there so much open hostility directed toward this game and its developers? It's not just that people dislike it, but they convey a sense of revulsion toward it. I couldn't understand this, but now I think it's because most people have no idea how to even play this game.

    To quote a fellow reviewer, "Genius is sometimes misunderstood". They're absolutely right, too. Despite its flaws, and it does have them (What game doesn't?), MOO3 is ingeniously designed. The sheer amount of depth is incredible. Yes folks, I said depth, not complexity. Once you understand the game, getting around the interface and controlling your empire is a snap. The trick is getting to that point. Without a doubt, it's a steep learning curve, but it's a highly rewarding one too.

    I'm sure that the main reason people hate this game is because they never 'got it', so to speak. This is *not* MOO, or MOO2. One of MOO2's greatest faults was the sheer amount of micromanagement that accompanied it. Once you had a few dozen planets, handling them all yourself was truly an exhausting task.

    Well, that's been done away with in MOO3. Every planet has a Viceroy who will make economic decisions for you, if you wish. They'll also handle the construction of your planets' infrastructure as well as ship building. A primary complaint is "All you have to do is hit the turn button". Well, that's a complete falsehood, and a ridiculous one too. You can outline what are called "Development Plans", which will tell Viceroys how to develop certain planets. You want their primary focus on a mineral rich world to be mining? Just say so in the Dev Plan. How about military development on a frontier world? You got it. You just have to give them some instructions, that's all. They act quite intelligently if you give them something to go on. Trust me, once you've got 20+ planets, you'll be glad that they each have someone governing them. It gives you the time to micromanage your core planets, or get a powerful fleet assembled. The Viceroy AI is a welcome improvement.

    The economic model is quite complex, but fortunately you don't have to understand what all goes on under the hood. Some users have written beginner's guides to the game, and one of the developers has even written a guide to the game's economic model and how it works. And it does work. The game is not 'broken', 'unplayable', or 'seriously flawed'. Complaints about diplomacy have been addressed in a patch, which fixes an error in the code that caused the AI to sometimes spontaneously declare war then break it off, over and over. In fact the most recent patch, aside from fixing the bugs, also adds a lot of new features/improvements as well (including a build que lock for your planets). It's now much better than it was on release, and is deserving of five stars in my opinion.

    Don't let the 1-star, 'this game is terrible, because I don't like it', reviews sway your decision. The only people I know personally who don't like MOO3 either aren't fans of TBS games, or have never played past turn 30. This game won't blow you away. The graphics do their job, quite well too, but they aren't terriffic. The point is that this game has achieved what very few today actually strive for: Depth. This is one you can sit down with and really get into. You just have to be open-minded and willing to tackle its learning curve. But once you do, I doubt you'll settle for anything less....more info
  • Micromanagement Hell
    I tried the demo and found this to be a truely awful game. The question you would normally ask at this point is "Why did you buy it?"

    Because we are using it to investigate products with awful user interfaces as part of a class project. By comparing this game with the two prior Master of Orion games, we can understand what happened and how the problems can be avoided. As a case study in bad design, it's excellent. As a playable game, it's awful.

    A specific example: It's a space conquest game, so you would expect to need to create ships. Many ships, many times, on a lot of planets. You must go through at least 5 levels of menus to build a ship, on every planet where you wish to build a ship.

    The rest of the operations you would normally perform as a would-be space ruler are equally difficult. I wish they had spent less time on the flashy graphics and more time testing how users would use the game....more info

  • The bad posts speak for themselves, but...
    Well if anyone takes the time to read all these (i read most of them) you'll know that your not alone in thinking this game might have been the single greatest crime against humanity since the invention of the paid toilet expectations so high for this game that it disapointed gamers across the contry when it came out. i am really hoping for a MOO4 in the future that can bring this series back to its roots and claw its way out of the grave that it buried itself in. I will research the game before i buy it definitly. I just feel that if this game was released by Microprose all of our lives (and our wallets) might have been spared. i seriously had one eye become moist when i discovered the complete horrid truth; that this game blows. the first day i got this game i poped it in learned most of the controls and stuff and about 5 hours later i had this mind bending migraine that you wouldnt believe. granted i didnt want to give up on a series of games that i loved, so i kept at it for a couple more weeks......... then i lamentfully searched for the only funtion on this game that should be used. The Uninstall icon.

    Only get this game if you have an incredable threshold for pain. I'm talking about the kind where you can saw your own foot off lodged in a bear trap using only a plastic knife and some duct tape....more info

  • Too much simulation, too little interaction
    The so-called 4X games may not be my fort¨¦, but I can't see how MOO3 really fits into the category of "game". You need a great deal of patience and a desire to drop interactivity in exchange for thoroughness of simulation.

    Oh, you can do everything in this game. You can terraform. You can conduct diplomacy, invade other planets, build ships and raise armies, conduct research, bomb another people into molecular components. But somehow, none of that is fun here. The graphical interface - what makes a game a game - is so minimal it just takes away the fun. There are too many options to set (tax rate, spending on various sectors, intent of AI governors) and too many discrete possibilities within them.

    Consider Dark Reign 2, which is an RTS and not quite as grand as most 4X games. You can discretely set your units to scout, seek and destroy, or hold their ground. In MOO3, you have a continuum of 1 to 100. This invites ridiculous levels of fine tuning.

    Combat is... about as exciting as playing my Atari 800.

    To be fair, it's more expansive than Gal Civ I in terms of what one can do, but just not as enjoyable to play. Okay, I really didn't enjoy either that much, but Gal Civ at least makes you feel like you're not some bored intergalactic bureaucrat. ...more info
  • Flawed, but better than its reputation
    If you buy this expecting another Master of Orion 2 (as I did), you're in for some disappointment. The game is far less intuitive, has a much steeper learning curve, and offers less immediate reward than its predecessor. However, if you stick with it for a bit, and get used to the game's emphasis on big-picture control rather than micromanagement, you'll find a very rewarding startegy game with lots of replay value.
    Two things cost it it's fifth star. First, theree's a lot of bugs. Second, the AI leaves something to be desired. Still, its well worth it, especially now that the price has gone down....more info
  • Big disappointment after Master of Orion 2
    I love MOO2, have since it first came out and I still play it to this day. It has great replayability. MOO3 on the other hand, doesn't have much playability, so don't even consider replayability. Months after getting it, I still haven't finished the first game because I got too bored with it. I dominate the galaxy with no chance the other races could put up even a small challenge. That could be alleviated by playing at a more difficult setting, but it's quite a statement that I'm winning and not enjoying it. To run the empire the way I want requires incredible micromanagement. The AI governers can not be trusted to develop the regions or fill the military que. Each turn I have to visit every single one of hundreds of planets and tweak what's going on. It is mind-numbingly tedious. On the other hand, the space combat must be done hands-off. Once you opt to start a fight, take your hands off the controls until it's done, letting your AI run the real-time battle. It's just not practical to run the battle yourself. All in all, a huge disappointment and I'll go back to playing MOO2....more info
  • Surpasses MoO2... if you get through the first days...
    Let me start with saying that when I bought MoO3 it eventually proved to be as addictive as MoO2, but it certainly took some time and initial frustration to get there.

    Since MoO2 was such a big hit, it was up to the game designers to make a fully improved version for the next release. To me, they succeeded in several parts, but disappointed in others, with the main problem being that a lot of the improvements were sought in adding more detail. Of course this can be interesting, but most gamers do not desire a more complex version of MoO2 but rather a revamped and improved one. No wonder many of the respondents here are frustated about the complexity and the time it takes to get through the initial frustrations.

    Nevertheless, I stuck with the game for the good part of a weekend and I am convinced that it is pretty decent game after you get the hang of it. Bear with me to see what I believe are the pro's and con's of this installment.

    Pro's:
    - The development plan structure allows you to stay away from micromanaging planets, so you can concentrate more on the interesting stuff in the game
    - The space combat system uses task forces and selection of attack-type, making the guiding of space combat much easier and realistic. Although the interface looks tiny and amateuristic at first, it does the job of fighting space battles well. By zooming and panning a lot, the action improves significantly
    - The existance of mobilization centers allows composing fleets at any system (that has one), thus negating moving around ships all the time. This definitely enhances the value of strategically positioned systems
    - The importance of ground combat has increased, which I would say is more realistic. A planet is not easily conquered (the downside of this and the previous point is of course the game has to be won through attrition warfare, which is a lengthy affaire)
    - Each race has a slightly different technology tree, making the importance of spies and technology exchange (even) more relevant.

    Con's:
    - The guidebook is poorly structured with the background story in-between the explanation of the game functions. Many key items of the interface and way the program works are not explained and can be found only by trial-and-error. This ensures that using the viceroys and planet production effectively is a disaster at first. The game is complex, and will take a steep learning curve to get going. This will certainly not appeal to everyone

    - The AI quality for your viceroys (and arguably for your opponents) is shabby at best. Although you can state development plans for your planets which bring focus in its development, it is cumbersome to define and choose the appropriate plan for a planet since the computer determines the development plan type for you. What the AI puts in your building cues and builds on the ground is certainly not the optimum. The AI can be turned off per planet, but this will bring you back to micromanaging again
    - Ships cannot be upgraded. (Since this makes life easier it could also be an advantage)
    - Diplomacy has no real impact in the game; ignore it and nothing special will happen
    - The graphics used are nowhere near what is expected from similar games. This certainly should have been better, even for a game where this has not the emphasis
    - Running through all your planets to check build-up and production takes too much clicking around.
    - It is best to use a high-end system to play the game in a reasonable pace; calculations and space combat have impact on playability for low-end systems

    Some remarks in previous reviews are simply not true, but can only be found after some playing time:
    - The diplomacy engine badly requires the latest patch, but after installment is not too bad (but still rather irrelevant)
    - Although planets can only cue 3 items to build, these can be locked and therefore do not require attention after you have determined the goods that should be produced
    - There are quick-build buttons for formation of armies and task forces which are quite handy and take a lot of work out of your hands
    - There is defensive intelligence, but it is now part of the "oppressometer"

    All in all, we have a game that eventually is a remarkable look-alike of MoO2 with some nice improvements in non-micromanagement and space combat. If you stick with it, you will see the extras of this release, but I believe the gamedesigners should have done a better job in playability, graphics and AI intelligence. So if you are an MoO2 fan and are willing to take time and get used to it, go out and buy it. Otherwise, wait for MoO4, which hopefully does not add more detail but solves the issues of this release....more info

  • Deepest Space strategy game
    The first game i bought was Master of Orion 1. As a science-fiction fan i loved it and still do. I spent many nights playing it and never got bored. Master of Orion 2, despite the lack of balance, is also a great game and i played it a lot.
    Therefore, i was really looking forward to Master of Orion 3. When it was released, i was shocked by the reviews and the reactions of the buyers. When i got the game i was very prudent, but wasn't surprised by the bugs as i had read a lot about it. So i played a couple of games, just to get used to the game and UNINSTALLED IT. Why? because i hated it? NO...i knew they were working on a patch and decided to wait. Was the game on release unplayable? i'd say yes. Was the ai bad? no. Some bugs didn't allow the Artificial Intelligence to do it's work correctly.
    The patch 1.2.5 corrected a lot of things. With the patch, the game is higly enjoyable. People who complain about the fact that they have to go threw many screens to build a ship didn't get the concept of the game: you design the ships, and the ai will produce them for you! I rarely go to the planet screens to have something special i need. Developpment plans are a powerfull tool for the ones who understand how to use them. It took me sometime to understand the game, and i am still learning (finally a game that keeps me thinking after a week). The game is deep.

    Who should buy this game? patient people who love strategy games, puzzles and are not afraid to go threw the discussion boards to gather informations on the game

    Who should not buy it? gamers that buy a new game every week and want to be able to understand everything after an hour.

    Even if the game is not perfect, i play it now as much as i did MOO1...to the great anger of my girlfriend. Did i tell you the game was deep?...more info

  • Time
    It takes allot of time to play this game. If you select a large galaxy with many races expect up to or over 1000 turns easy.

    Love it though....more info
  • This couldn't get any worse
    Wish I could give it 0 stars. Too bad. I shelled out $50 like a chump. Now they're giving it away almost. Still not worth the $15 Amazon is charging. Maybe $.01. Actually they'd have to pay me knowing what I know now. No redeeming qualities. Everyone who gave it a positive review is an Infrogrames/Atari hack, all games released by that company are junk. The amount they sold of this title came from brand recognition alone, and all those people were betrayed. Moo2 is still the best game of its kind, I wish another group of developers could try to re-create something similar. I miss it so....more info
  • Big disappointment after Master of Orion 2
    I love MOO2, have since it first came out and I still play it to this day. It has great replayability. MOO3 on the other hand, doesn't have much playability, so don't even consider replayability. Months after getting it, I still haven't finished the first game because I got too bored with it. I dominate the galaxy with no chance the other races could put up even a small challenge. That could be alleviated by playing at a more difficult setting, but it's quite a statement that I'm winning and not enjoying it. To run the empire the way I want requires incredible micromanagement. The AI governers can not be trusted to develop the regions or fill the military que. Each turn I have to visit every single one of hundreds of planets and tweak what's going on. It is mind-numbingly tedious. On the other hand, the space combat must be done hands-off. Once you opt to start a fight, take your hands off the controls until it's done, letting your AI run the real-time battle. It's just not practical to run the battle yourself. All in all, a huge disappointment and I'll go back to playing MOO2....more info
  • Worst follow-up game ever.
    Like most of the other reviewers, I'm a long-time MOO fan. I keep Win98 box around just so I can keep playing MOO2.

    Do not buy MOO3. All the fun stuff from MOO2 is either missing or buried so deep in the UI that I can't find it. The gameplay is neither compelling nor addictive.

    Playing MOO3 felt a lot like doing income tax - lots of nicky-picky details you can't ignore, hunting for the right forms to fill out, and sparse documentation telling you to do things that don't look right after you do them.

    A huge disappointment - save yourself the heartache and do not purchase this product....more info