Is Sid Meier’s Civilization II (1996), Worth Playing?
Sid Meier’s Civilization II introduced the 4X genre to an entirely new audience, and even now 27+ years later it continues to delight its fanbase.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: 4X Strategy
Developer: MicroProse
Publisher: MicroProse
Price: $3+ on eBay
Release Date: February 1996
Supported Modes:

A Safe Sequel.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II is about as safe a sequel as you could hope for.

Instead of making sweeping changes to Sid Meier’s Civilization, it mostly enhanced and improved upon things which were already present in the original.

With more units, more wonders, better visuals, crisp audio, etc., it did not seek to reinvent the franchise but rather offer players a more refined version of a title they already loved.

While this does not always work and may not work as well in 2023, in 1996 worked incredibly well. Sid Meier’s Civilization II would go on to receive stellar reviews, and even 25+ years later, it is often reviewed highly by fans of the 4X genre and 1990s PC gaming.


Lack of Availability.

Despite being one of the most iconic PC games in history, Sid Meier’s Civilization II is not available to download via any legal sources, with pirate and abandonware sites being the only way to download Sid Meier’s Civilization in 2023, despite retro storefronts like Good Old Games (GOG) existing, and the market for classic titles such as Sid Meier’s Civilization II being larger than ever.

I would love to see Sid Meier’s Civilization and Sid Meier’s Civilization II released onto modern storefronts, as I cannot endorse piracy even when it is well-intentioned.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II is part of PC and Playstation gaming history, and modern gamers and fans of Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise (especially those born within the last 30 years) deserve the opportunity to see where it all began.

For those with access to vintage PC hardware or a working PlayStation 1, Sid Meier’s Civilization is available on eBay in various formats starting from $3 for a PC and around $13 for a PlayStation 1 copy, so while it is not entirely unavailable, it is far less available than other titles is the series from Sid Meier’s Civilization III onwards.


Live Action Advisors.

Due to advanced in storage, Sid Meier’s Civilization II was able to offer live-action advisors for the first time, thanks to the inclusion of low-quality FMVs;

While these videos seem quaint and even antiquated by today’s standards, in 1996, such advancement in technology was very exciting, and while Sid Meier’s Civilization would not bring live-action advisors back in future titles, looking back at these iconic, albeit repetitive videos filled me with nostalgia, especially the military advisor and his constant demand for more soldiers, and the Elvis themed attitude (culture) advisor who wore the same hairstyle for over 6000 years, despite changing outfit with each respective era, talk about dedication!

One thing I particularly liked about the council (which impressed me greatly at the time) is how the members would appear to interact with each other; while I can now look back on this and understand exactly how this occurred, at the time, it seemed magically immersive, having live action characters react not only to my actions but to each other, something which I will always remember fondly, even if the magic and mystery is no longer present.

External URL:  Civilization II Council – Medieval – YouTube


Console Release.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II was the first Civilization game released on a console (PlayStation 1). It was also the last mainline Civilization game to be released onto any console until Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, making its arrival in 1996 all the more impressive.

Sequels, Spin-Offs, and Re-Releases.

After seeing the stellar success of Sid Meier’s Civilization II on PlayStation, Activision wanted a larger piece of action and acquired the rights to release its sub-series known as Civilization: Call to Power (1999), unlike the original Civilization II, Call to Power, included various science fiction scenarios and units, and allowed players to play up until the year 3000, giving players plenty of time to engage in near and even distant future warfare.

In 1998, Micropose released a gold edition of Sid Meier’s Civilization II, including all previously available expansion content and robust (for the time) multiplayer support. This move was welcomed by critics and players alike.

While all this was going on, Sid Meiers and Firaxis Games Games were working on Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999), a spiritual sequel to Sid Meier’s Civilization II that was built upon the engine of the former and allowed players to expierance what their space fairing colonists may have encountered once their spaceship reached its final destination.

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri received stellar reviews, with many favourably comparing it to Sid Meier’s Civilization II, high praise for the late 1990s!

Unfortunately, Micropose saw the hype surrounding Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and Civilization: Call to Power and attempted to incorporate aspects of both into a second re-release of Sid Meier’s Civilization II.

Unfortunately for Micropose, Civilization II: Test of Time was not successful, and fans of the original seemed unenthused by the abundance of science fiction-themed and fantasy content (including alien invasion), which some felt was being forced upon them at the expense of improving Civilization II in the way that Sid Meier’s Civilization II had improved upon Sid Meier’s Civilization.

Finally, in 2001, Sid Meier’s Civilization III was launched, and despite being the 4th “sequel” to Sid Meier’s Civilization II is canonically the official sequel to Sid Meier’s Civilization II, in addition to being the first mainline Civilization game not designed by Sid Meier’s himself, with the now legendary Soren Johnson taking over as lead designer, while Sid Meiers took on a more advisory role (Director).


Expansion Packs.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II would receive two expansion packs, with the first (Conflicts in Civilization) adding 12 developer-made scenarios and eight player-made scenarios to the game, one of the first instances of user-created content in the early days of online gaming.

The second expansion pack (Fantastic Worlds) brought a slew of new scenarios and maps and a selection of crossover units and scenarios from other titles published by Microspose, including Masters of Orion, Xcom and Master of Magic.

Eternal War.

A very dedicated player of Sid Meier’s Civilization II has played the same save file for over ten years (source), resulting in a hellish nightmare state of an eternal war between the three surviving super civilizations, where nothing can grow, all farmland is gone, and everyone is miserable and starving, this bleak scenario captured the attention of players and media alike, with many players offering their solution to this seemingly endless cycle of war and devastation, and even Sid Meier the creator of the franchise commenting on the famous save game and its equally well-known creator.

There’s no way we could have tested for this, so it was a surprise to us; it’s exciting that a fan of the Civ series would dedicate ten years to playing one continuous game! We should probably send him a copy of Civ V and Civ V: Gods & Kings and check back with him ten years from now. The Celts are part of the expansion, so it’s possible someone could play themselves into a similar scenario. - Sid Meier

Sid Meier's Civilization II FAQ

Sid Meier's Civilization II is a 4x strategy video game developed and published by MicroProse, it was released on February 1996 and retails for $3+ on eBay.

Platform Availability.

Sid Meier's Civilization II is available exclusively on PC.

Are The Developers Active?

Sid Meier's Civilization II 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 Civilization II is unrated and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II is a fantastic game that still manages to fill me with wonder and more than a little nostalgia over two decades after I first played it.

While I do not recommend anyone goes out and buys vintage gaming hardware just to expierance a single title, for those with access to compatible hardware, Sid Meier’s Civilization II is a wonderful journey back to a time when gaming was coming into its own, and technology advancement seemed limitless, despite its obvious limits when viewing it in retrospect.

Is Sid Meier's Civilization II Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Sid Meier's Civilization II" a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

You Might Be Interested In: