by Angel Socrateius
Cossacks: European Wars is a Real Time Strategy(RTS) game created
by GSC Game World which spans
the time period of the 16th and 18th Centuries. With the ability
to field up to 8000 units for each player, it is possible to conduct
enormous wars and battles! It includes the most famous and important
nation-states in Europe and the Middle East, each with their own
unique technology tree and abilities. This game also includes many
of the most commonly used military units for each civilization,
with each unit having a particular duty in the game. Being a true
3D game, Cossacks allows for enhanced terrain, which affects tactics
and strategies. Economically, Cossacks is very straightforward with
6 different resources, with a market that can sell and trade surplus
goods. Buildings and peasants can be captured, increasing the usefulness
of guerilla tactics.
The single player aspect of this game is very extensive. It includes many of the most famous military engagements of the 1600s-1700s. The most important engagements included are the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), the English revolution, the English and Dutch wars, the War for Spanish Succession, the Northern war, the War for Austrian Succession, the Seven Years War, the Ukrainian independence war (1648-1657), and the sea wars against pirates. These engagements are able to be played out in single player campaigns, where a player can be victorious over the best commanders of the day.
Multiplayer gaming in Cossacks is very worthwhile, and allows for both Random Maps and Historical battles. The random map generator allows for a player to select the type of map (Islands, Continents, peninsulas, etc.), but totally randomizes the placement of the players, the resources, and the bodies of water and the land. Historical battles are precise reconstruction of real ones. They are reconstructed up to trivial details, such as real historical landscape and map; enemy troops disposition, stuff, structure and even number punctually coincide with historical facts. In this game mode a player is expected to lead any party he chooses, to carry out the battle, and to confirm or disprove its historically recorded outcome. With up to 8 players playing via a modem, local network, or Internet, multiplayer Cossacks is very easily set up.
The physics in Cossacks is very well done and thought out. Units react the same way to situations than they would in real life. For example, a unit walking up a hill moves less slowly than one on a flat plain. A cannonball shot on a rocky area is much stronger, but on a swamp it is not nearly as strong, due to the recoil effect. Elevation also improves a units range, along with it's line of sight. Like that of real life, the "fog of war" closes in on an area that a unit hasn't explored in a period of time.
There are 6 different types of resources in Cossacks, and each is gathered in a different way by a peasant. Gold, coal, and iron are gathered by gold, coal, and iron mines; food is gathered in farms or by boats, wood is gathered from trees, and stone is gathered from stone deposits. The market in cossacks acts much like the stock market, the prices of certain goods fluctuate as they are traded. All units cost a certain amount of resources to be trained, and they need resources to stay on their feet and keep fighting. If a player is unable to sustain his/her units, they will revolt or will not fight.
The game's technology tree exceeds 300 technologies. Each technology improves a player's civilization, be it their economy or their military, though they do cost money. The most odd and unusual technology is the mongolfier, which allows a player to see the entire map. Each civilization has access to a certain number of technologies, which greatly enhances their uniqueness.
With 16 nations(Algeria, Austria, England, France, Netherlands, Piemonte, Poland, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Venice), Cossacks is highly varied, making it almost impossible for a player to play the same game twice. Each civilization is unique to the others, with its own unique units, economic and military power and advantages, and technology tree. In fact, 4 civilizations don't have any similar units other than ships and artillery(Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Algeria). Every civilization's building set is 90% unique and often its own unit graphics are as well. Each civilization is also very carefully balanced. A civilization with a strong military will not have a very strong economy, a strong sea power will not have powerful land troops, etc, giving each civlization an equal chance to win. This uniqueness of Cossacks' civlizations allows players to pick a civilization that best fits their playing style.
The military forces in cossacks are highly diverse and varied. With the most noteworthy cavalry, artillery, war ships, and infantry units of the day, Cossacks also gives each nation unique units that it can use and fight with. Each nation's units are similar to each other in dress, ability, and power. Units can be made into 3 different formations, each with its own use and ability. With the varied types of units, many types of strategies can be conducted, such as guerilla tactics, rushes, and full-scale wars. Each unit can also be ordered to stand ground, attack anything in the way, or not attack.
Using its powerful 3 Dimensional engine, Cossacks has 64 orientations for each unit(256 for ships). This gives each unit a very smooth and refined look while turning or moving. There are also many background graphics, such as flags flutter at the buildings, wheat rolls in the wind, windmills' fans revolve, waves go over water surfaces, and tides wash the coasts. Actions in the game cause smoke, explosions, fog, buildings' burning, particle systems, water waves and flashes, traces in water behind moving vessels, splashes and ripples in water from cannonballs and splinters, which effects the gameplay of Cossacks. All of these aspects of the game add to its immersiveness and realism.
The system requirements of a computer to run Cossacks are
Minimal system requirements:
Pentium 200MHz, 32 Mb RAM, 1 Mb Video RAM, 200Mb HDD, 8x CD-ROM, Sound card, DirectX 6.0.
Recommended system requirements:
Pentium II 233 and better, 64 Mb RAM, 4 Mb Video RAM, 200 Mb HDD, 12x CD-ROM, Sound card, DirectX 6.0.