Age of Empires, released on October 26, 1997, was the first game in the series, as well as the first major release from Ensemble Studios. It was one of the first history-based real-time strategy games made, utilizing the Genie game engine. GameSpot described it as a mix of Civilization and Warcraft. The game gives players a choice of 12 civilizations to develop from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. The expansion pack, The Rise of Rome, published by Microsoft on October 31, 1998, introduced new features and four new civilizations, including the Romans. Although the two games had contained many software bugs, patches resolved many of the problems.
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