The theme of The Settlers II is that a host of ancient Romans find themselves sea-wrecked on a strange island, which they promplty settle. A magical portal transports them to some other place, and so on, pitting the player against civilizations from all the continents.
The Settlers' II approach to managing the macroeconomics of an Ancient Roman settlement is wonderfully simple, while at the same time very powerful and enticing. There is a nearly realistic logic that governs the outcome of your actions, and it is handled decently by the game's AI, which is impressive for 1996.
Even having simplistic graphics, it somehow manages to create beautiful landcapes and convincing microanimations that are very pleasing to the eye. Its musical score is diverse and sounds carefully composed, though it is synthetic.