Is Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999), Worth Playing?
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is perhaps the best 4X game released in the 1990s, and the fact we have gone for almost 25 years without a sequel is astonishing.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: 4X Strategy
Developer: Firaxis Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Price: $5.99
Release Date: 9 February 1999
Supported Modes:

It Holds Up Well.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri feels like a game that was well ahead of its time in 1999 and, in many ways, is far better than many new 4X titles today, with interesting factions that have meaningful narrative differences and exploration and domination mechanics that are reminiscence of iconic titles such as Stellaris or Crusader kings, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri feels like a game that was created by a developer from 2023, whose only limitations were technical.

As a result, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri feels like a passion product, even if we know it was a primarily business decision when a massive publisher like Electronic Arts was involved.

With higher visual fidelity and support for modern monitor resolutions, I would happily pay full price for Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri in 2023, something that I honestly could not say about many games released ten years ago, let alone a game released almost 25 years ago.


It’s Still for Sale.

While Sid Meier’s Civilization and Civilization II are not available to purchase/download legally, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is available from, making it the oldest Civilization game available to download legally.

Civilization II Reskinned.

Fireaxis Games has never been shy about the fact Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is a reskin of Sid Meier’s Civilization II with a fresh coat of paint, nor should they be shy about it.

Civilization II is one of the best 4X games in history, something that the long lifespan of the former and the large community based around its open-source clone (FreeCiv) can attest to. Any game built upon it in a respectful manner that only seeks to enhance and not replace what makes Civilization II is sure to do well.

I would say that even today, 24 years later, any game built off Civilization’s excellent code base with a few tweaks, such as support for modern resolutions, would have great success.


No Sequel in Sight.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri sold very well at launch and continues to be one of the most beloved titles in the expanded Civilization franchise, yet as of 2023, no attempt has been made to cash in on this success with an actual sequel.

While Sid Meiers did release Beyond Earth in 2014, it failed to capture the original’s magic in almost every way. It could easily pass as a generic science fiction 4X, unlike Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, which is a direct continuation of Sid Meier’s Civilization II and one I would happily pay full price for if it were to be remastered and expanded upon.

There is no reason why Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri should go 24 years without a true sequel, as honestly, there is not anything else like it on the market, and while I would happily play Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri again in a decade, I would hope by then I will not be forced to, and a worthy successor will have come along to continue its decade-spanning legacy.



While Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is much older and certainly much less flashy than its spiritual sequel, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, the difference between the two games could not be greater, with Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri having vastly superior combat mechanics, exploration, diplomacy, and technology.

While Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri suffers from the same technobabble that makes Beyond Earth nearly insufferable, at least Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri attempts to wrap the technobabble in a narrative, giving the meaningless words and phrases meaning, a small but honestly game-changing difference that helps to make Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri feel far more immersive than Beyond Earth, which at times feels like a Star Trek fanatics attempt at writing bad fanfiction.

When playing Beyond Earth, my meagre army could clear wave after wave of alien units without losing a single unit, while when playing Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, each encounter with alien lifeforms or enemy factions felt intense, and many times I was forced to divert production resources towards new units to replace those that were lost, something that did not happen when playing Beyond Earth on any difficulty level short of the highest difficulties.

If both games had identical visuals and resolution options, I would have easily pegged Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri as the newer game, as in almost every way other than visuals, it is better than Beyond Earth by a sizable and, at times, insurmountable degree.


Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri FAQ

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a 4x strategy video game developed by Firaxis Games and published by Electronic Arts, it was released on 9 February 1999 and retails for $5.99.

Platform Availability.

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is available exclusively on PC.

Are The Developers Active?

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is no longer in active development, and the developers have moved on to other projects.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is rated PEGI 3+ and contains no offensive content.

Final Verdict.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is a perfect example of how good, well-made games from the 1990s can be.

While there are much prettier games, with deeper mechanics and vastly larger budgets available in 2023, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri remains as enjoyable today as it did at launch, and I have no issue recommending it to those who can look past its dated visuals and limited resolution options.

Is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri" a rating of 9/10, indicating that it is near perfect and suffers only minor flaws, and the average gamer will enjoy it immensely.

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