Rise & Fall: Civilizations At War

Rise & Fall: Civilizations At War

While Playing Rise and Fall I find myself thinking about the poetry of Shelley, and not just because I'm an irremediable ponce. You see, this is Empire-Earth creators Stainless Steel Games swansong, having closed down before its release. Well before. Several months before its release, meaning it's only a swansong because someone's holding the bird's neck up, moving its jaw up and down and doing a little ventriloquism. Whatever state the game was in when Stainless Steel went down, it was passed over to Midway itself who finished it off.

This makes the whole thing bring to mind Shelley's famous Ozymandius, with the image of the last fragment of a statue of an emperor in the shifting, endless sands. Stainless Steel may have thought it was making its lasting testament, but what's left... yeah, you can tell the review isn't going to end well. For its fair array of positive traits, it has such fundamental flaws which will mean it'll only appeal to the smallest demographic. Possibly including ex-members of Stainless Steel interested in seeing how the game actually turned out.

At its core it's a basic ancients-style RTS, a la Age of Empires. Resources are gathered and transformed into troops in your settlements and so on. There's a few tweaks to the dynamic, such as a combat boost being related to the size of the unit and the resource "Glory" gained by doing assorted glorious things (e.g. Getting Stuck in, Building big statues saying how ace you are), but there's nothing core which will throw a devotee. Except one thing. The game's Very Special Feature. And it's not a bad Very Special Feature when it just remains a Very Special Feature, but we'll get to that.

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Rise & Fall: Civilizations At War

Ziggy played guitar. Also, RTS.

When Preview code arrives in the dread palace of Eurogamer, it's our first chance to really see behind the PR curtains and get a real impression of what's to come. Let's take that first impression thing literally. Here's the rise and fall of thoughts as Rise & Fall entered my consciousness, virtually unfiltered except for all the times when I stared into the middle-distance and thought of evil things involving pretty girls.

Rise & Fall demo

Arise, a Rise & Fall demo.

Fans of seesaw-based international conflict (and PC-based real-time strategy games) will be pleased to learn that there's a demo of Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War out at the moment - and on Eurofiles.

Rise & Fall rises again

Development shifts internally.

Midway Entertainment has confirmed that development of recently closed Stainless Steel Studios' ambitious RTS title will be completed internally, quashing rumours regarding the closure of its San Diego studio at the same time.

Stainless closure confirmed

Stainless closure confirmed

Rise and Fall still due though.

Following the recent reports of Stainless Steel Studios closing its doors, software publisher Midway Games has released an official statement confirming the news.

The story was originally revealed after a former staff member posted forum comments on the Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War fansite. The rumour was backed up by additional comments from former studio staff and the deletion of the studio's official website.

Midway Games, the publisher working with Stainless Steel on its latest title, has issued a statement confirming the studio's closure - which also notes that the forthcoming game, which was apparently weeks away from gold disc status, will still be published in 2006.

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