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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Developer: Firaxis Games Publisher: Electronic Arts
12 February 1999
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.18 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
161 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#109 All-time
#6 for 1999
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Releases 4
1999 Firaxis EA  
CD-ROM
XNA
1999 Firaxis EA  
CD-ROM
GB 5 030930 019907
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Title
Quite often checking out games without having the benefit of growing up with them/nostalgia can be very difficult, games evolve in both raw mechanics and in presentation - and what was standard or even groundbreaking back then... often don't survive 20+ years of age. That's not unique to games, but given the relative newness of computers as a whole it certainly affects them more than most. Old Civilization games certainly do suffer in their clunkiness, and Alpha Centauri is no exception - however to point out an old game is, in fact old and clunky nowadays, feels like missing the point.

The real reason to check this out, and why this game remains a cult classic to this day is the beautiful exploration of hard science fiction. Very few games have so whole-heartedly created a vision for the future of mankind as ambitious as Alpha Centauri has. This is not so much a statement of "Alpha Centauri is all style over substance", its that the style is presents is both ridiculously good and totally inseparable from Alpha Centauri's substance.

The 7 distinct factions all split with distinct political ideologies and with their own philosophical ideas on how to run civilization. The initial battle of survival, grappling with the very alien nature of "Planet" and the horrible Mind Worms. Unlocking near-future technology to begin thriving and exploiting the Planet for resources, research and military. Engaging diplomatically with other factions that align with your ways of thinking, and waging conflict with those that politically oppose you. Fighting Planet itself as you continue to exploit and terraform causing ecological damage, leading to increased and aggressive alien activity. Perhaps even an atrocity such as nerve stapling on the way to keep the people in check. All in the pursuit in transcendence.

Its all wrapped up in some superb flavour, with great writing and voice acting and music to bring everything to life, be it the good, the bad or the horrifying. Its a game worthy of its high praise because of its ambition and unique themes that really have yet to be matched elsewhere in a 4X game, and judging by the reputation of Civilization: Beyond Earth, one doesn't hold out much hope of another Alpha Centauri suddenly emerging from the shadows - so one feels compelled to sing the praises of this game to anyone and everyone willing to listen.
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Jackrb 2023-03-06T22:16:39Z
2023-03-06T22:16:39Z
4.0
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Title
A sort of the sequel to Civilization 2, SMAC is the most beautiful science fiction story I've ever seen. Not to be taken lightly, Alpha Centauri deals with heavy existential themes on essence of being, technology, the best way to lead society, and the way you lead your colonists has a gamut of awesome and terrifying power: You can construct anything from the worst technological dystopia to a utopia where all untold human suffering has been worth it, with flavour text and lore being backed by believable precedents and roots in real physics and biology.

For a canonical playthrough and the best first impression, play as Gaia's Stepdaughters, and shoot for Transcendence Victory. Let it envelop you entirely.
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Clownboss 2019-11-22T16:52:11Z
2019-11-22T16:52:11Z
5.0
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An excellent 4X game that got so much right. In short:

- Great faction system, with 7 distinct philosophies and 7 interesting characters
- The first(?) 4X games to incorporate a storyline, but not in an obtrusive way
- A straightforward tech tree containing lots of sci-fi inspired technologies
- Good combat system with a lot of unit variety and the opportunity to design your own units
- Great building system for recourse management, bases, money etc
- Greatly improves upon the Civ 2 engine to make a visually distinctive, atmospheric and easy to control game (no embarrassing advisor videos)
- The usual good humour expected from a Meier game
- Very atmospheric - the planet really feels like a hostile, intriguing place that wants to be explored. The music helps here too; it's not cheesy like you might expect a 1999 sci-fi game to be
- Challenging, with lots of difficulty settings and customisation options avaliable for games. LAN play is great as well

Has it aged well? I'm not a good judge for that. Perhaps the AI could be better (but that's true for most 4X games). But in a genre where so many things need to work together just right, nothing has come this close since.
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GravityChasm 2017-09-03T16:18:58Z
2017-09-03T16:18:58Z
5.0
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Catalog

Silly_Clown Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-05-16T14:14:35Z
2024-05-16T14:14:35Z
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nezbie Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-05-12T20:42:21Z
2024-05-12T20:42:21Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ranzac Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-05-10T14:00:22Z
2024-05-10T14:00:22Z
8
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sid meier
FirstMate Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-19T18:19:59Z
2024-04-19T18:19:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
hilarion Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-19T18:16:16Z
Windows • GB
2024-04-19T18:16:16Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
suitothebutter Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-18T04:02:35Z
2024-04-18T04:02:35Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DarK_RaideR Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-17T13:05:28Z
2024-04-17T13:05:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
GeorgesLebanc Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-07T08:59:12Z
2024-04-07T08:59:12Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
sonyatheotter Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-04-07T08:02:16Z
2024-04-07T08:02:16Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Dragonhawk Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-03-20T05:02:25Z
2024-03-20T05:02:25Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-03-10T23:09:39Z
2024-03-10T23:09:39Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
magicsp3lls Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 2024-03-08T19:55:05Z
2024-03-08T19:55:05Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: E
Media
1x CD-ROM
Multiplayer options
Hotseat, LAN
Franchises

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  • Drug_Use 2018-02-09 06:10:30.945643+00
    It mystifies me how I managed to get into (with the help of my dad) and ENJOY this when I was only 9 years old

    Revisiting this 15 years later, getting into it is like trying to crack open a boulder with your head
    reply
    • ... 2018-09-19 13:39:27.099786+00
      Try playing Aurora if you want to crack your head against a boulder.

      Alpha Centurai is actually a pretty intuitive and easy to learn example of its genre, compared to a lot of space 4x games. That's part of its mass appeal if anything. There are much deeper and strategic 4x games than this for sure, but none which seem to connect to so many.
    • Drug_Use 2020-12-27 09:38:40.956993+00
      Pretty happy to say I've since managed it, 9 year old me outsmarts me no longer
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  • Clownboss 2022-10-21 00:05:53.303826+00
    Evangelion of strategy games
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  • telemagenta 2023-04-09 12:16:16.064527+00
    can't stop playing this shit
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  • Regal_Throes 2023-08-23 18:05:12.230467+00
    This is the only strategy game I like.
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  • AidanAlva 2024-04-26 01:22:05.662823+00
    Sid Meier's Gigachad Alpha Wolf Centauri
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