Imperium Romanum is the eagerly awaited sequel to Glory of the Roman Empire, which wasn't ever really regarded as a smash hit. It always seemed a little too generic for most peoples liking - sort of a poor man's Caesar. Salad, that is. The graphics were hum-drum, the AI tended to perform below par, and the lack of multiplayer relegated it to a last-ditch Sunday afternoon title at best.

Happily, however, Imperium Romanum is shaping up to be quite a lot better. We've played some pre-release code and are happy to report that the game engine has been tweaked - buildings no longer all look the same, and everything has a polished feel about it. There's no massive graphical changes, but it's obvious time has been spent on improvement to detail. As this is a city builder, and not really anything approaching the Total War series, the military involvement tends to be secondary to (for example) securing a supply of wine for your nobility, but anyone who has invested time in the Anno franchise from Sunflowers will appreciate just how complex of a juggling act supply and demand can be.

As a city builder, it succeeds with ease - they've retained the intuitive building placement options from Glory of the Roman Empire, so you won't suffer through trying to figure out what goes where. Great new currency system too - allow too many families to go poor and your crime rate will soar. Similarly you can steal from the rich to maintain your lavish city expansion plans.

Kalypso have packed 32 scenarios and 3 game modes into the finished title, featuring events such as natural disasters, weather effects (as well as day/night modes), riots, and even historically correct settings and special buildings.

Imperium Romanum may not be anything approaching a quantum leap in city building simulators, nor is it unique in drawing from the amazing history of the Roman Empire, but it does appear to be much improved over its predecessor, and the final version certainly looks worthy of your time.

Features:

* History mode with timeline, where missions are based on real events and locations.
* Interactive mission mode: the players activate the goals when they choose. Improved battle system where players commands their own armies.
* Player-constructible bridges, fortifications, walls, towers and gates.
* Introduction of currency, crime, historically accurate buildings, natural disasters, and siege machines.
* New interface design, and improved economy and overview dialogues.

Imperium Romanum will be released March 14th exclusively for the PC.