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'Rome: Total War' is a 2007 strategy game for the PC and is the third (excluding expansion packs) in the series of 'Total War' games done by developers Creative Assembly. For those unaware, Total War games come in two halves: the campaign mode, on which you take a civilization or nation of your choice in the game's period and conquer the known world Risk-style on a turn-based map, and the highly renowned real-time battles, where you control one side of your army and have to rout or kill the enemies on that battlefield using actual war tactics instead of merely massive numbers. 'Rome' is considered to be the best game in the series and as a fan myself I hope I can give the average buyer many reasons why.
In the Imperial Campaign mode you take control of one of three big families in Ancient Rome- Julli, Scipii and Brutii- and using your armies and funds conquer as many provinces on the map as possible, ranging from Britannia in the northwest right across to Parthia in the east. As I mentioned before this is a turn-based game, so you take your turn organising your armies and economy and then, once you click End Turn other nations do the same. Your armies on the map are marked by a soldier or general (a member of the family you're leading) and you move these by selecting the stack and right-clicking to the area you want to go, whether that is an empty road, another home army or province to merge with, or an enemy army or province (which causes you to attack or besiege it respectively).
However with any of the Roman clans your actions are guided by the Senate, or SQPR as represented on the map, who control the actual city of Rome in the game; they will command you to conquer certain provinces, make alliances or ceasefires with certain factions and, if need be, kill your own family leader as a sign of loyalty! Naturally you don't want the pesky old senate to tell you how to rule the world, so once your influence over the world through conquest and wealth is high enough, the game gives you a chance to take on not only the senate and claim Rome for yourself, but also the other Roman families in your claim as Rome's sole leader.
You can only start off playing as one of the Roman families, but once you complete a campaign mode (having 50 provinces under your control, including Rome) you unlock several of the non-Roman factions, including Egypt, Gaul, Britannia and the Greek States. Each faction has distinguishable unit types with strengths and weaknesses. The variety here is great and it's a brilliant challenge to see how history would turn out if Egypt was in control of the British Isles!
There are various features in the campaign map which enhance gameplay. Your faction can recruit agents: single units separate from armies with various purposes, including spies and assassins. All start off pretty subpar in their abilities but consistent use will help them improve in their area of subterfuge. This more importantly applies to family members as well, who will gain various character traits that affect their stats Command (for leading armies), Influence (for diplomacy and province control) and Management (increases financial input from provinces). Either by building up a decent entourage or gaining experience in the battlefield you need to build up your family members to become excellent governors or generals depending on how you want to use them. Of course you will find various factions ganging up on you a lot, since the AI seems programmed to conquer for whatever province is nearest to their borders, even if they've been in an alliance with the faction in control of it for fifty odd years/turns or are so powerful that being at war with them is a suicide mission. Generally the AI does make some stupid decisions both military and diplomacy-wise like that, even with the difficulty cranked up high.
The Imperial Campaign mode can link up with the real-time battle system because you have to the choice to fight enemy armies (not naval battles though) on the actual battlefield, with all your stats and units carried over. You must defeat the enemy army either by killing most of the enemy or simply routing them off the map once their morale is low enough. Your army can be customised in that you can deploy units in a certain fashion, change the way they are facing etc, a necessary feature in helping you defeat the enemy. Furthermore there are many realistic things implemented in the real-time portions like the aforementioned morale and fatigue, as well as attacking your enemies from the side or front for extra damage, friendly fire from your arrows hitting your men, and dealing with the kind of men that will fight to the death if they are surrounded with no hope.
The graphics on this game are superb and haven't aged six years on unless you have an extremely powerful computer. The campaign map includes forests, roads, winter snow and natural disasters (occurring every so often around the map) being finely detailed and very realistic. Yet this is best seen in the real-time map where at the higher specs large scales of enemies move fluidly across the map and crash in fighting. You seem men being flung in the air from elephants and powerful unit charges when outflanked. Obviously some things aren't perfect, such as your men all being clones of the same soldier within that unit and men not actually hitting each other in close combat but falling anyway, but these are things not really worth fussing over and get improved in 'Total War' sequels. The soundtrack is excellent too, with various battlefield themes which really immerse you in the battlefield as you're moving and attacking your foes, whilst the Campaign Map has more peaceful, operatic songs that allow you to concentrate. There is some voice acting around as well and it's pretty impressive, especially the general rallies at the start of a real-time battle that usually can reflect on the general's character or the situation at hand.
One thing that might annoy some is the lack of realism in the game. Many a scholar will cry that this-or-that unit is not historically accurate and many events or inventions won't have taken place in the time period this game is set. However this isn't something that detracts from the fun had with this game, and this comes from someone who studies Classics at university! All in all, 'Rome: Total War' is a fantastic game where the strengths by far outweigh its weaknesses. There is engrossing gameplay and graphics which are still pleasing to the eye even if you've played later games in the series. You can find this game for less than £5 at GAME or Gamestation if you're lucky, Amazon or eBay, so now it's the bargain if you have a laptop or desktop with decent specs. So what are you waiting for? Go out and conquer Rome!
*Now posted on Ciao under the username Anti_W*
Rome Total war was the third instalment of the popular Total War games; I remember the excitment I had when I first played Shogun Total War (the first Total War) and how revolutionary it was in turn based stategy games. Combining the aspect of a turn based map with the option of fighting out real time battles was something that was never seen before.
As you may have guessed, Rome Total War focuses on acient Rome and their rise to greatness; you have the option of playing as either one of the 3 houses of Rome, the House of Julli, Scythii and Brutii as you attempt to take over most of the world (mainly the european area with some extra on regions)
As per usual you have a hoard of units at your command of various levels becoming unlocked as you build upgraded facilities in each settlement. One thing that I like but can be annoying at times is that you really need to run settlements properly and check in every few turns to check that the population are happy because if they're not they will let tell you about it! in the form of a civil revolt and you have to capture the settlement all over again!!
The user interface is easy to learn if you haven't played a Total War before and if you have, it's pretty much the same with a few tweaks!
The only thing I was disapointed with was the ending of the campaign; after spending about 2 weeks playing it regulary (Fractured thumb meant litte else was possible) for the first time ever I overthrew the Senate and captured 50 settlements. Now I was expecting an epic ending, like a movie of your rise to prominance or something like that! Instead all that happens is a pop up box with 2 paragaphs saying you've become the leader of Rome and have done well. Then the only option you have is to return to the main menu, not even an option to carry on and take over the whole map!!
Summary - Epic game as you'd expect with a very poor campaign ending
Rome Total War is definetly a game worth trying and is a must have for any RTS fans out there. As a predecessor to the the more recent "Empire" and "Napoleon" total war games, its probably my favorite of the lot. Okay so the newer Total War games may have more to them and a deeper campaign, but i like this classic game for its sheer playability.
Okay so its set during the late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire around 270 BC. If you select the single player imperial campaign from the main menu of the game you will get to choose one of the three great Roman houses of the time, the Julii, the Scipii and the Brutii. Each "house" owns a certain section of Italy with the ##### occupying Rome and a nearby city. I believe it is possible to take over Rome and destroy all the other houses to own the whole of Italy and much more but this is deffinetly not recomended at the start as they will most likely destroy you. okay so lets say you chose to play as the Julii, great you have a small army, two settlements and an assignment from the Senate to take over a small rebel town nearby. Easy enough you can select your army and attack the settlement head on from the tactical map that is used most of the time during the campaign in order to move armies and agents around to conquer the lands. Before i move on i should note that as the Julii family you will end up being at war with the Gaul faction.
This brings us down to battles the battle map. This is where you will command your army into battle to eliminate the opposition. when you enter the battle you will get a short speach from the commander in the army which you can choose to skip and go on to army deployment. your army will be set out on the battlefield and you can move selected units around into a position that suits you and click start battle.
Now the enemy will appear in their chosen position and the battle begins. Normally your enemy will be stationary and wait for you to attack or will slowly march towards you before their charge. Now its up to you to use your own tactics to defeat your enemy and gain victory. i wont go into detail about tactics or the way the battle turns out, that is for you to find out and i dont want to turn this into too much of a guide afterall.
So thats the basics of the games campaign, there is also the option to take part in an historic battle which can be chosen from the main menu also. this will give you a list of known battles from this time and you will automatically be given a set amount of units to use. on the other hand you can start up a custom battle where you can play as any nation and fight any nation you please. you can make these battles into seige battles with huge seige equipment such as battering rams, catapults and seige towers. use this equipment to smash down the walls and take full control of the town/city by killing every soldier inside.
Ill be honest that i havent actually tried the multiplayer feature so i can comment too much on that but after playing on other RTS games i could say that its probably a case of joining a game online and hoping you have better skill than your oponent :)
The graphics of the game arent exactly perfect but lets not forget that the game was released in 2004 so its a 6 year old game. on a computer with very low specs you might find yourself using the lowest graphics options meaning that on some soldiers the feet wont turn up properly so it will look like the soldiers have peg legs but thats not a majour downside unless you plan on making battle videos. I've had the game now for 3 years and im still playing it so the longevity of the game is pretty good as far as im concerned.
The only bad thing ill say bad about this game is that you can get quite anoyed when cities become plagued or other various set backs. but then again i suppose every RTS has those features which is what makes them worth playing, for the challenge.
so if you enjoy your fair share of ancient warfare and the ability to conquer acient Rome then this is most definetly a game for you!!
p.s i am the original writer of this review that i posted on ciao firsthand
I have never been extremely interested in ancient history and when my mother bought me this game for my birthday my initials thoughts were that it was going to have poor graphics and just be a strategy game with no battles which you could actually play in because of how long ago it was developed. However I was proved completely wrong and Rome Total War is still one of the most fun games that I have ever played.
Rome Total War's campaign involves lots of strategic manouvering in order to outwit enemy factions and when you come down to actually battle the AI on the battlefield what you have done on the overview contributes to everything on the field. You will probably start off the game inexperienced and at a disadvantage so that you lose a number of costly battles but as time go on you will discover how to play the game strategically. With every difficult struggle that you overcome you will get a massive feeling of satisfaction that you will never tire of. Although it is the campaign where you will get the best experience of the game the multiplayer matchs are also very enjoyable. Testing yourself against some of the best strategy players around is amazing and you will not be able to stop playing games even if confronted by minor distractions like food and sleep. Even if all of this is not enough you can download modified Rome Total War games (like the Extended Greek one or Chilvalry Total War) to get even more out of the game whic doesn't even cost a lot.
This game is amazing - it has few flaws and for a cost of around £5 you might as well try it out anyway. It is one of the best value for money games around at the moment.
If it's any indication of the quality of Rome: Total War, its engine has been used on a number of TV shows to demonstrate intense battles without hiring expensive effects studios to do so. This game's ability to represent some of the most famous battles in history is quite astounding, and although a little dated now, it still looks fantastic and is one of the better, more accessible RTS games.
Although it might bore seasoned RTS gamers, the game has a very good learning curve that means casual RTS fans (such as myself) don't get lost in all of the superfluous language and confusing commands. The game has you then choose one of three Roman parties, who you then blast through a rather challenging, but rewarding campaign with. The sheer scale is really what makes the game, though, with battles containing thousands of units, each detailed in an incredibly intricate visualisation. You can see individual units fighting each other, which really adds to the immersion, moreso when you're watching a War Elephant squash an enemy soldier. This is augmented by some good soundtrack work, and while it's not as epic as a film score (which would have been lovely) and it's more window-dressing than anything, it nevertheless helps the atmosphere and helps you believe that you are commanding a huge fleet.
Total War is an easy game to lay praise on because it is immensely detailed while also being accessible enough for the causal user, and as a result, hugely entertaining all around. It isn't without some minor graphical flaws and the gameplay sometimes chugs from the sheer amount of detail on screen, but it's easy forgivable when there's such a level of depth available both offline and online!
For ages my buddy was telling me to get Rome Total War and for ages I kept telling him it wasn't at all my type of game. Finally, to silence his mutterings more than anything, I decided to give in and at least try it out. I bought the game and ever since then I am glad to say I have been proved wrong.
The game sees you take charge of one of three Roman factions initially available at the start of the game, all vying for control of the senate and the whole of Rome.
Rome TW is a mixture of economic, political and social balance (earning enough, careful diplomacy and making sure the citizens of your various provinces are happy).
The main game takes place on a nearly top down view with your armies represented by a single 2d sprite of a Legionnaire, the action is turn based and in this mode you will be able to buy new buildings, maintain your cities and plan your attacks and strategies. Much like a general sitting round a large world map sticking drwing pins all over the place.
When battles arise you are taken into the battle screen, which enables you to strategically place your troops around the battle field. The viewpoint is now fully controlable with the player able to rotate the camera 360 degrees.
When you have positioned your troops you click to begin battle, each group of troops is individually commandable and tactics are certainly the name of the game to ensure victory. Your troops will gain in experience and become battle hardened and more competant as your campaign progresses.
As you defeat the numerous countries in the game you gain access to them as playable factions, these include the mighty Britons, the gauls, the Germans and the all powerful Egyptians, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
The way the game generally plays is usually
-Improve your Cities with buildings that bring happiness, military advancement or health improvements(to keep pestillance at bay).
-Amass a mighty army and forcefully take enemy settlements.
-Improve your newly conquered cities with the same buildings
-As your Empire grows, settlements will start to rebel, rebelling cities will need to be attacked and recaptured through battle.
-Continue until you have captured 50 provinces including Rome (unless you have selected a short campaign, then it's only 15).
I admit, while writing this it doesn't exactly sound all that great, in fact it sounds pretty repetitive. But the magic of this game lie in the tactics, how you accomplish the expansion of Empire. The battles are realistic in that succesful tactics are more important than huge numbers of troop.
The enemy AI is very good, it knows when to attack, when to defend, and when to cut it's losses. Even on the medium difficulty setting the game is challenging to say the least, which is great, you won' be completing it in 10 seconds flat thats for sure.
A definate reccomendation to gamers although not at all reccomended to anyone that just wants to pick something up and play for 10 minutes. This ones gonna require a couple of hours to really get anything out of it.
The Total War series is unlike many other strategy games in that it combines both turn based and real time elements. Rome, the third instalment in the series, does this with particular finesse in a setting fit for the title 'Total War'.
You start the game as a fledgling nation in the year 280BC. Your goal is to rise to power and eventually rule the known world by a combination of diplomacy, assassination and of course, war.
Given the nature of this game it's important to split this into two sections.
The entire game can be played without ever venturing from the campaign map. It is here that you forge alliances, build armies and manage your economy. It may seem like a lot to do, but unfortunately I find that whilst extremely fun it is rather limited in scope. Diplomacy isn't as useful as in the later Medieval II and even when you do create alliances they will more often than not hinder rather than help you. Regardless, I find this section of the game absolutely enthralling and find myself saying 'just one more turn' with alarming frequency.
The real time element off the game is a beauty to behold. Battles begin with stirring speeches from your leader as your soldiers raise their weapons and clash their shields. Nothing is more satisfying than leading 10,000 men to victory against an enemy entrenched in their city. At higher difficulties tactics become a must, but on the easier difficulties things can be a little bit too easy.
Obviously the game is a bit dated and so the graphics aren't up to much, but if you come to the game looking for graphics you come for the wrong reasons. On the campaign map graphics don't mean much. On the battlefield you'll spend most of your time zoomed out and won't notice that every unit looks the same. The game is capable of some stunning displays though and does it without bringing your computer to a halt.
The interface is simple to use and pretty self explanatory. If it gets in your way it can easily be changed to suit your needs.
This is a masterpiece of a game with a few faults. Historically it is also very inaccurate, but mods can fix this problem quickly. If you want an introduction to the Total War series I highly recommend this.
If you like real time strategy games like me, then you will have an absolute ball with this little baby.
A good step up from its predecessor, medieval total war, you are given the choice at the start between 3 great roman families to take charge of. Later on you are given the chance to unlock many other different factions including the mighty greeks or the carthagians. In my view, this gives a great personal feel as each faction is played in a different way and so this allows you to choose the best one for you.
In this game you can choose what YOU want to do. Will you invade greece through the mountains or attack the carthagians from the sea, it is entirely up to you which is what I think makes this game one of the best strategic experiences around.
The game gives you the chance to pit thousands upon thousands of men on the battlefields of old and lets you formulate strategies to beat your opponents. Just talking about this game is making me want to play it, thats how good it is.
For its age, this game looks good as well. Nowadays, budget graphics cards will have no problem running this game. Although you might need to turn some graphics options down.
To summarise, you cant call yourself a strategic gamer until you have played this game or its predecessor. I strongly advise you play this game someway or another as you WILL not regret it.
I love playing military strategy games and have played many different games in this genre. Never to this day has anything even came close to Rome: Total War!
Defending Rome from a Barbarian haud, running away from a unit of charging elephants or leading an army to world domination - they all have one thing in common; you'll have great fun whilst doing it!
The graphics in the game are second to none, the uniforms on each man are the same however, they are historically accurate. Each Cohort even has it's own centurion. When you send your men forward, they kick up a dirt cloud behind them, super realism!
The campaign mode is fun to play and the campaign map is easy to read. However, near to the end of the campaign, it occasionally becomes infuriatingly hard.
There are some nice historical battles to play, which have a nice briefing at the start before you get underway wiping out Hannibal's army.
The create a battle deauture is one of my favourites, try seeing if you can hold a city whilst outnumbererd 4:1!
Considering that this game isn't unreasonably priced, and also considering that it is great fun; it's well worth a shot!
I opened this game a few years ago and was a bit surprised to find 3 disks and one of the thickest manuals i've seen for a computer game. But after installing this game I've played it solidly for years!
You get the choice of creating a quick battle to test your tactics against a worthy foe, or start a campaign as numerous factions including Rome's finest families. In a bid to spread the empire you have to control your finances and defend your cities against siege, whilst constantly expanding in all directions. The 3D battle engine is phenomenal, allowing thousands of soldiers on the screen at any one time in realistic armour be it in pouring rain or blistering sand storms. For any self confessed strategist this is a must buy game, especially for the price it now sells at!
My only criticism of the game can be once it's installed, you're going to start getting less sleep and spend your day dreaming of how to besiege Londinium with your small band of Equites, war dogs and militia!
If I am going to play action or sports games I prefer to play them on the playstation 3 console because the controllers are easy to use. However, when playing a strategic campaign game, due to the vast amounts of options and ease of use it has to be played on your P.C. And there are no better strategic campaign games on the P.C than Rome - Total War. At first I wasn't particularly interested in playing this game as it looked quite tedious and complicated. But once my brother informed what I had to do it was actually rather simple and I really enjoyed playing it. Total War have a whole range of games that you can play, but Rome Total War is my favourite because I probably know most about Roman history thus making it far more interesting for me than the other Total War games. I would strongly reccomend this game especially if you are interested in Roman history, buy this one
Rome total war brings addictive campaign gaming to the computer. This game has the ability to frustate and exhillirate you in the space of 10 seconds. The object of the game is to take your chosen faction to battle and rule the whole world by the end of the campaign. Your starting faction is one of the four roman factions (which can be changed on a new campaign) and of course you start your world domination in Italy. You have to build cities up aswell as destroying enemy cities and taking them over. It is the best game i have evr played on PC. It is really detailed and you are able to get as deep into as you like by controlling things like tax rates in each individual city. This game isnt just for the game lovers it is also for those new to computer gaming as it is a brilliant taste of the romans and how they dominated the world for such a long time plus at times it shows how hard this world domination can be. This game will get you wanting more as the only negative is the graphics. Everything else is sublime. Buy it or your a fool.
Rome: Total War, the most recent in the Total War series, brings the player to the seat of command, leading grand armies into epic battles. Players can choose from many factions, playing as Romans, Greeks, Barbarians, Egyptians, Britons, and many more. Zooming into the battlefield, players can watch individual soldiers and cavalry clash.
One thing that sets the Total War series apart from other real-time strategy games is its combat. It really does put the strategy in real-time strategy. Unlike other games, where winning a map depends on how fast you crank out your units and buildings while fighting, in Rome: Total War there is no building on the battlefield. Instead, to win, units rely on their unique abilities, and must take advantage of other units downsides. For instance, one may wonder, what is the difference between Roman cavalry and Egyptian cavalry? Egyptian cavalry ride camels, which the Roman horses can be frightened by. Another scenario is where a group of Roman cohorts (soldiers with shields) are up against archers. Instead of taking massive losses by being pummeled by arrows, the cohorts can form a testudo (almost like a turtle formation with their shields protecting them from all angles), and retreat back to safety. Therefore, the player must think tactically, weighing each units abilities.
Rome: Total War has two sections of play, consisting of Single player and Multiplayer. In Single player, there is a Prologue, an Imperial Campaign, a Historical Battle mode, a custom battle mode, and a Quick Battle mode.
The prologue is mainly a tutorial, though well-seasoned Medieval: Total War veterans should still give this a try, as there are new features to the game. The Imperial Campaign lets you choose from three factions of Romans, and sends you forth to conquer other provinces (upon completing the campaign you unlock other factions). The Custom Battle mode simulates noteworthy (but few) battles from the Roman-era. Custom Battle allows for customization of the battleground, weather, factions, and such. Finally, Quick Battle instantly immerses the player into a battle against a computer. The Multiplayer mode in this game goes through Gamespy, but has its own interface so you do not need to have the Gamespy program installed.
With so many models of pikemen, swordsmen, horses, catapults, archers, and such on the screen, the units cannot be extremely well detailed, being treated with bump-mapping and such. However, they are detailed enough to the point of easy recognition.Also, all the units are wonderfully animated. The wheels and spikes on a chariot actually rotate (and churn up enemies), and when soldiers take the full brunt of a cavalry charge, soldiers can be seen thrown onto the ground and trampled (and in the case of an elephant charge, soldiers are hurled into the air!) All soldiers in a pikemen unit have their pikes individually modeled, and shields bear the insignia of the factions. The terrain is pretty well detailed. The forests, unlike Medieval: Total Wars blotch of green, actually resembles a forest, with towering trees.
The only thing that I did not like about the graphics was that sometimes when my troops were moving, they had faint puffs of smoke emitted from them, which was to give the effect of kicked up dirt and dust. However, this looked more as if my troops had not taken showers (from all their traveling, of course!) and were giving off odors. Other than that, all the troops, the terrain, and cities are well detailed.The sounds in this game are very convincing. For instance, the trotting of hooves on the cavalry as they march is very life-like. The metal of the swords clanging against shields has a ring to it. There is also a great musical score (classical, of course) throughout the game.
All that said, there are a few blemishes to this otherwise impressive title. One thing that does make the game boring is the extremely long campaign. To take 50 provinces and defend Rome seems to take an eternity the family tree will be insane by the time you finish a campaign. The end did not seem near because I was fighting all the battles myself (I did not want the computer to automatically resolve my glorious battles and devastating defeats). Luckily, the designers included an option when starting a campaign for a shorter campaign mode. This mode only requires the conquering of 15 provinces, and outlasting another faction. Another thing that was noticeable was that the AI does not seem to think too much of their grand capital at times, because they seem just about as well-defended as any other city under the AI control. Also, there seems to be an issue with the morale, because units at times seem to rout too easily. Even if my units were outnumbered, I would rather die trying to find another way to win than having my units run like pansies (yes that made
me sound like a stubborn leader). Compared to Medieval: Total War, the cavalry seems a bit overpowered. The oil that units pour down on enemies in a siege is definitely overpowered, as it easily obliterates any unit, even making armored elephants into a well-done serving. Speaking of sieges, even when onagers (which are like catapults) were readily available, I rarely saw the enemy use them to make themselves a way into my cities from afar, but rather chose more upfront tactics such as ladders, siege towers, and battering rams. These upfront tactics cost them many men. In addition, sapping, in which units dig a tunnel to bring down a wall, is never used by the AI.
This is definitely a game not to miss out on for strategy gamers or for anyone willing to give strategy-gaming a try. The seamless turn-based and real-time parts of the game really make the game convincing. The battles that you play your part in actually affect the outcome of the big picture. The way that I see it, there has never been a game like Rome: Total War (other than the Total Wars series itself) that dramatically simulates battles between huge armies. I am not talking about games like Warcraft and Rise of Nations, where you can only have thousands of units hundreds at a time, which does not contribute to the feeling of a large scale war. In Rome: Total War, the battles are very action-packed, and coupled along with wonderful animations and individually modeled soldiers, the clashes seem very realistic. There are only some very minor problems and the goods that Rome: Total War brings to the table definitely make it a well-designed game indeed.
This is one of the best Pc games i have ever played. The realisim is superb if your computer is fast engough and good enough to take to full level of graphics. The game is based on the beginings of the roman empire with three families competing to become the supreme ruler of Rome by taking over 50 provinces whereever they chose, however riots, political rivalries and other countries and factions stand in your way. (such as the GAULS and the BRITONS.) The military units you can recruit depend on your income, the upgrades you have made to certian settlements and the position of yout settlement, for example in the dessert cities you can recrit elephant troops. Whereas in the colder areas you can recruit dogs and incendury pigs.
However your commanders can also recruit mercenaries for when you are on campaigns far from supporting troops, these are similaer or sometimes completely different troops to those that you can recruit in tyour settlements, however their general cost and upkeep is more and they tend to flee more easily in battle.
This game is part of the Total War series, which I had never played before. I received this as a birthday present and as a result is the reason why there was a hiatus in my review career for many months! So what's it all about and why did I spend a long time playing one PC game? Well the game is basically a strategy game where you control a historical faction and use it's resources, characters and armies to battle against other factions. The game map consists of an area of land based around the Mediterranean Sea with Italy or Rome at it's centre and covers as afar a field as Britain in the northwest corner, North Africa, the Middle East and The Black Sea.
~The main menu~
As you might have guessed by the title the game involves the Roman era from around 220 BC onwards. After the initial load up the game runs through a quick introduction sequence which gives you a nice feel for how the battle scenes look in the game. After this impressive start you will have a menu screen which I will describe and explain quickly.
The Single Player option will give you three options of further choices. A quick battle, a historic battle or an Imperial campaign. For the quick battle you can pick an army, a type of unit and then set up yours and the opposition forces as you wish. A historic battle will give you a choice of battles, with a set situation and two armies to choose from, you cannot change the units here. The Imperial campaign is the main game with two types of campaign a short one or a long one. I'll come back to each mode later.
The Multiplayer option will link you up with an opponent over the Wicked Wild Web and you can do battle against them and their faction. I cannot comment on this too much as I have not played it over the web, but I did try it over a LAN network and it was good fun.
Other links on this main page allow you to change the graphic, sound and control settings to suit you own preference or load a previously saved game. I personally turn down the graphics and sound quality to increase the speed of the game during the battle scenes as my PC is low spec. Also you can continue a campaign or quit and go back to windows.
~Quick and Historic battles~
These two single player modes allow you to have single battles with the computer controlling one side and you the other. Historic battles are set and are the harder ones to play as you normally have some sort of disadvantage to battle as well as the opposing army. Quick battles are better if you want to muck around or test out formations. I use it to see how cavalry work against infantry units and vice versa. That said I have used both of these modes very little when compared to the main game.
This is the main course so to speak where you control a faction against the rest of the world. Here you can choose a short campaign which involves conquering 15 regions or a long campaign which involves conquering 50 regions and taking over Rome. Once you have chosen your campaign you move on to choose your faction. Initially you have only a choice of three, however later this increases as you interact with other factions and they will appear on this screen. The three initial factions are the three great Roman families of Julii (Red), Scipii (Blue) and Brutii (Green). There is a fourth Roman faction called SPQR which is the Roman senate's faction, but you can never control them as they always start with Rome as their only region and your main goal.
On choosing your faction you start the game with three regions under your control. From here you play the game using two game modes, the strategic map and the battle map. The strategic map covers a small area of the main map and is where you will spend the majority of the game. Here you can zoom in or out, move around and view the world map, select towns to view their statistics and move your characters around. Also there are many other items you can do in the main strategic map mode such as construct buildings in your towns, recruiting army units, looking at the building types, checking you faction's family tree and asking your advisors what to do. As this is a turn based game each turn or movement happens over a period of six months. After you have finished all your moves you hit the end turn button in the bottom right hand corner and all your rival factions will do their moves.
There is a very strong management slant to the game which may be your thing, however if it is not you can do no worse than hit the 'Automanage everything' button that appears on the town information scroll. This hands over control to the computer and means that it will deal with the running of the regions and leave you free to do other things.
If you are into management you have numerous scrolls and information bars to check and see what is going on. There are financial scrolls where you can see your factions cash flow, or a diplomatic scroll where you can see lists of who are your enemies or allies and the diplomatic ties of other factions. The management of your faction is quite a small thing to start with when you have only three regions, but later it will be a major part of the game.
There are four types of characters within the game that you can control individually and move around on the strategic map. There are you family members which consist of a Faction Leader, a Faction Heir and other family members. You can set these as Governors of your towns or send them off to war as generals of your armies. Next there are your agents which consists of three types, a spy, an assassin and a diplomat. Then there are your armies which can be as little as one unit or up to 18 units and there are ships which are your navy element.
Moving these characters around the map is easily done by selecting them and clicking on the strategic map to move them to it. For the military units you can select them individually and move them about the map or select various units of differing types and bring them together to form a large army. The military units can be used to attack a town or another army if you wish and lets face it this is what you are playing the game for.
On attacking an army you will be shown the statistics of your army verses the other army. If the opposing army takes up the fight you are given three choices, you can fight on the battle map, get the computer to resolve the battle automatically or withdraw from the battle. I always fight on the battle map, but navies can only have a battle resolved automatically. Pressing the auto button allows the computer to do a quick calculation and then display the result of the battle in seconds. This is good if you don't want to deal with minor skirmishes or don't rate your battle skills. Withdrawing will let you pull out of a battle if the opposing army is bigger than you thought or one of your units has been attacked and you want to get them out of the situation.
If like me you want the battle and you want to control it the game will change to the battle map. Here you get a chance to deploy you troops on your half of a square map before you battle with the opposition. In battle map you can control units individually or group them together. There is a radar map in the bottom left showing the position of units on the battle map and control buttons on the bottom right for unit actions. Moving units is a case of selecting them on the map or from the centre tab and clicking to where you want them to go.
Armies versus army battles are good, but I prefer the siege battles where your armies are assaulting a settlement. Here you can use your artillery units or onagers if you have them or failing that rams, ladders, siege towers and sap (tunnel) points. This is what the game is all about and despite my advisors warnings I love to send a large volley of flaming missiles against my foe, just to burn his settlement to the ground.
With all there is to do in the game I'm amazed at how simple the controls are you could get through the whole lot just by using the mouse. Yet the games designers have added 'hot keys' that you can use in the battle map which are really good if you want a unit to do it's special ability or make a unit run to a particular location. You don't always need to use the mouse, but you cannot get through the game without using it. On the strategic map you select your unit with a right click and move it where you want with another click. You can even move the camera with the arrow keys rather than the mouse.
In the strategic map you can move the camera around, but you cannot spin it. This in not really a disadvantage, however in the battle map you are allowed to spin and move the camera to different positions which allows you to see beyond trees and walls to pin-point the opposition. Overall the controls are good, fluid and at no time do I curse the game if I cannot control or view something.
The graphics in battle mode are good and crisp, however as my PC is a low specification rig I had to reduce the quality of the graphics to speed the game up. I don't think that it affected the graphic in anyway as I tended to control my units from wide angles and the difference was not noticeable unless I zoomed up onto a group of figures to see that the figures were basic shapes with no hands or feet.
The graphics in strategic mode are just as good with little wave movements of the sea even in the lower settings. There are subtle changes of colour for similar units depending on their faction, with hues of red, green or blue for basic barbarians through to brighter colours or purple for the Romans. Other factions also have specialist types of units like the Germanic 'Screeching Women' or the Carthaginian 'War Elephants' that are well detailed and designed. Even the background building or scenery items are well shown and structured.
In strategic map mode there are lots of background sounds, with wind, birds, dust storms or the sound of the sea. The sounds of the game are just as good as any other part of the game. The main music even changes depending on which faction you are controlling, I noted about three different types, but then I have only controlled three different factions, there could be more.
In battle mode the sounds are just as good with shouting, death groans, the grinding noise of the onagers, clashing of swords and more. There is a lot going on and if you put the sound up loud enough it sounds like you are really there.
I have only really scratched the surface of what this game is and what you can expect. There is really a lot more in the game that I have omitted to tell you to keep the review a sensible length. As you might have guessed from the review I like this game, but I like it from many different reasons. First I like the depth and number of the sounds as they are quite realistic. Next I like the vastness of the game, it has a huge replay value that has seen me play this game for over six months, which is for me is very rare. I like the way the advisors helped you to start with, but then you can turn them off later in the game to stop them repeating themselves. Finally I really enjoyed the way the game was set out. You can play it fully controlling every unit and character, or you can hand over some controls to the computer to make your life easier.
The only thing that I would throw into the disadvantage box is that the long campaigns can get very long and eventually each turn will take around half an hour or more. In this time you will move your characters and organise your settlements as your number of regions your faction controls increases. This doesn't include for any battles which can run for about half an hour again. That said I personally like it that the length of the campaign can go on for a long time, it's just that others might find the main campaign too long.
According to the blurb on my box this game was #2 out of the top ten games of 2004 and I would say that it is definitely within that calibre. A full five stars for this one.
This review may be found on other review sites under the same username and is also written by me.