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This review is mainly about MOO2, since my memories of MOO1 are very fuzzy.
As you probably know already, MOO2 is a 4X game. What makes this such a timeless classic is the sheer addiction involved. I will admit it here: it's not the most complex 4X game around, but that doesn't make it any less addictive. How do you want to play the game? As with every other 4X game, you are allowed near limitless freedom in your methods of pursuing your objectives. You can coerce a weak race into giving you annual tributes before annihilating them. Random events make the game even more flavourful. A supernova may destroy an enemy's home planet, therefore giving you a temporary upper hand.
The graphics in this game are rudimentary, but they are very pleasant looking. The interface is very user friendly. Music and sounds are also limited, but the music, for some reason, never gets tired IMHO. I smile everytime the research music plays, and even the main background music is so fitting and relaxing that it's hard to turn it off, even from my mind.
Combat offers a lot of flexibility too. Certain weapons are more tactical than others - for example, the spatial compressor is a superweapon that obliterates almost anything smaller than a Doomstar, but it requires huge volumes of space to be fitted into; a gyro destabilizer is a very tactical weapon that disorientates an enemy ship and kills its hull. These little intricacies can make all the difference in how you want a battle to work out. Other cool feats include colonizing enemy planets - bombing a planet into submission is the easiest way to colonize it, but you will have to raise a new population all over again.
The game is not complex in that it doesn't throw tons of numbers at you. You can read the statistics, and easily understand what's going on. But where the game is addictive is in the choices it gives you. There is so much freedom, so much flexibility. Granted, the tech tree is somewhat biased, since certain choices are obviously better than others. Nevertheless, this game offers a lot. Even if you're just paying $5.99 for Master of Orion 2, it'll still be very worth it.