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Age of Empires

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original game. For the 2018 re-release, see Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.

Age of Empires
Age of Empires cover
Ensemble Studios
Mac OS (Classic) MacSoft
Re-releases Ubisoft
Mac OS MacSoft
Release dates
Windows October 15, 1997
Mac OS (Classic) July 1, 1999
Metacritic 83
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack
Microtransactions None
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Isometric
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Africa, Europe, Classical
Series Age of Empires
Age of Empires on HowLongToBeat
Age of Empires guide on StrategyWiki
Age of Empires on MobyGames
Age of Empires on Wikipedia
Age of Empires 1997
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 1999
Age of Mythology 2002
Age of Empires III 2005
Age of Empires Online 2011
Age of Empires II: HD Edition 2013
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition 2014
Age of Empires: Castle Siege 2014
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition 2018
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition 2019
Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition 2020
Age of Empires IV 2021
Age of Mythology: Retold 2024

Age of Empires is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view and isometric RTS game in the Age of Empires series.

The game received The Rise of Rome expansion pack in October 1998 with new civilizations and campaigns. Both titles received a single patch applied from the same installer.

On modern systems, the unofficial patch UPatch is needed to resolve color palette issues caused by a broken DirectDraw renderer, as well as resolving save corruption problems, adding widescreen support and balance changes which would later be the basis for the Definitive Edition. The Voobly community multiplayer service is the de facto option after the official servers were shut down.

General information

Official Discord server for the series
Microsoft's Official game page (archived)
Age of Empires Heaven is an active fan website and forum that offers support and extra game content.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
Mac OS
Collector's Edition re-releases.
Free demos are available for the base game and The Rise of Rome

Version differences

Age of Empires: Gold Edition contains the base game and The Rise of Rome expansion, first released in 1999.
Age of Empires: Collector's Edition contains Age of Empires and Age of Empires II with their respective expansion packs. The later DVD-ROM releases include the latest patches and are DRM-free, but are missing Red Book CD audio.


Type Notes
Expansion pack The expansion pack includes new civilizations, units, technologies and campaigns.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
The Rise of Rome

Essential improvements


This patch updates both Age of Empires (to 1.0c) and The Rise of Rome (to 1.0a): English, German, and French or Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.
Alternately, the latest official patch is available at
The Rise of Rome 1.0a suffers from a serious bug in saved games. If a projectile (arrow from archers, ships, towers, siege weapons) is flying through the air while saving a game, the saved game becomes corrupted; loading it will crash the game.


Requires The Rise of Rome expansion
Unofficial patch that contains bug fixes and improvements for modern operating systems. Does not require any previous patches.
Fixes the color problem caused in newer systems
Fixes the save game corruption bug of version 1.0a
UPatch installer requires Age of Empires' installation to be noted in Windows' registry; if the game's installation fails to run or you're using a portable install of the game, a registry patch is required.

Skip intro videos

Use the NoStartup command line argument.[1]

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Games\Age of Empires\1.00\
Mac OS (Classic)

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\savegame[Note 1]
<path-to-game>\game0.nfo[Note 1]
Mac OS (Classic)
Campaign progress is stored in <path-to-game>\game0.nfo
Custom scenarios are stored in <path-to-game>\scenario
Custom campaigns are stored in <path-to-game>\campaign


In-game options menu.
In-game options menu.


Keyboard and mouse State Notes
The only option available is to use one or both mouse buttons.
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
For scroll speed.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Controller types


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio
Red Book CD audio
On Windows, CD music might not play correctly; see the troubleshooting guide for solutions.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Fan translation by .:i2k:. link #1, link #2
Brazilian Portuguese
Microsoft Brasil.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
8 Versus
Online play
8 Versus
The official MSN Gaming Zone service has been shut down; use Voobly.

Connection types

Type Native Notes
MSN Gaming Zone support has been discontinued.[2]
Direct IP


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 2300-2400, 47624
UDP 6073, 2300-2400
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Issues fixed

Color issues

Playing the game on modern versions of Windows may cause it to use strange colors. Repetitive red and purple specks in water and marsh areas are the common issue.
See DirectDraw troubleshooting for further information.
Install UPatch (The Rise of Rome only)
Legacy fix[citation needed]
  1. Download and extract the DirectDrawFix zip file.
  2. Run DirectDrawFix.exe.
  3. Use the browse button to locate and select EMPIRES.exe.
  4. Press the apply button.
  5. Repeat for EMPIRESX.exe.
Could not initialize graphics system error[3]
  1. Run the game in Compatibility mode for Windows XP Service Pack 2
  2. Disable Visual Themes
  3. Disable Desktop Composition
  4. Run this program as an Administrator

Wrong in-game music - Gold Edition

On the Gold Edition of the game, all of Age Of Empires soundtrack is replaced by Rise Of Rome soundtrack.
This is due to the disc check DRM and the Gold Edition disc having redbook CD-Audio data for Rise Of Rome but none for Age Of Empires.
Both games use CD-Audio for the soundtrack by default
Force the game to use music from the game files instead of CD-Audio[4]

Launch Age Of Empires with the /midimusic command line arguments.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
DirectDraw 5
ExecutablePPC16-bit 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Mac OS (Classic)


Middleware Notes
Multiplayer MSN Gaming Zone Discontinued.[5]

Command line arguments

Command[6] Description
NoStartup Skips the intro
640 Forces the 640x480 resolution
800 Forces the 800x600 resolution
1024 Forces the 1024x768 resolution
Mfill Fixes horizontal line issue related to contemporary Matrox video adapters
NormalMouse Replaces the ingame cursor with the standard Windows one
NoSound Disables game audio with the exception of cinematics
NoTerrainSound Disables ambient audio
NoMusic Disables music
MidiMusic Forces the use of MIDI music instead of the Red Book CD music
Msync Fixes lockups related to contemporary SoundBlaster AWE configurations

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, NT 4.0 SP3
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 90 or higher
System memory (RAM) 16 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 80 MB
Video card (GPU) Local SVGA bus video display
1 MB of VRAM
DirectX 5 compatible
Mac OS
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 7.5.3
Processor (CPU) 120 MHz 604
150 MHz 603
System memory (RAM) 32 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 70 MB


  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).