The game needs at least version 1.2 of the jdk, 1.3 is recommended.
To run the game in the standard configuration one needs to just run the class gui.UserInterface
$ java -classpath /mnt/cdrom/Evolution gui.UserInterface
C:\> java -classpath D:\Evolution gui.UserInterface
If you extend the game then you have to add your extensions directory to the class path and make sure the appropriate images can be found.
This means you have to put the right files in resources, resources/images, gui/icons and gui/menuicons.
The game engine does not check the prop-files nor the image files for you, you have to make sure that everything is correct.