PC Game Review

Rome: Total War

Distributed By: Activision

Reviewed by Rowena Kemp

          ďCry ĎHavocí and let slip the dogs of war,Ē Julius Caesar, Act 3 Scene 1, by William Shakespeare.

            It is the year 231BC.  The summer has ended swiftly and snow falls steadily on the ground, covering the never ending hills and fields like a soft white blanket.  The leader of the House of Julii is nearing his 53rd year.  The Capital, Arretium, has just finished its construction, transforming itself from just a simple Roman town to a majestic city.  Your armies, all banded from your various settlements, namely Narbo Martus, Medio Lanium, Patavium, Segesta and Ariminu, stand ready to lay siege to your next settlement, Massalia.  If you succeed, your faction will have doubled its reach, obliterating the land of the Gauls.

            Well, at least thatís how far I am at the moment.  Rome: Total War is another game out of the Total War series, following Medieval: Total War and Shogun: Total War.  Developed by The Creative Assembly and produced by Activision, Rome: Total War, is a strategy game similar to Age of Empires, save a few differences.  

            You play as a house, an ally to the Roman Empire.  Your mission differs, depending on which campaign you choose.  During your campaign, youíre given missions by the senate, such as capturing a settlement in 10 turns or besieging a port in 5 turns for 1 turn.  The longer you play the more difficult the missions and eventually you have to overthrow the senate.

            You play against many AIís such as Egypt, Gaul, Macedona, Carthage, The Greek Cities, Germania, Britannia, etc.  Your play is by turns, each turn depicts 6 months.  Within each turn, you can command your armies to capture settlements, stand-by as reinforcements for allies, or remain within Barracks.  You also can command your settlements to build certain buildings or services like sewerage, or you could reward the populace with a coliseum.

            When in battle mode, you have command on every troop in your army.  You can command your Light infantry to march forward while your archers stay back and lay down covering fire.  Your Calvary can swoop in from the left and right flanks, mowing down those of the enemy that try to escape.  You even have war dogs to run those who have managed to slip past the Calvary down and tear them to pieces.  As your empire grows, so does the strength of your army and you eventually have command of Elephants and other various tools to besiege settlements.

            In all, itís an enjoyable game, if youíre one for strategy.  Unlike Age of Empires, you donít have an in-depth view of how your city or cities look like, your city is only a small square in the middle.  You can however zoom into your battleís and watch in full screen as one of your infantry men drives his sword into the belly of the enemy.  No worries though, you wonít see any blood, which is a good thing some times as we tend to grow tired of all the blood and guts.

            I definitely am not one for taking turns and, as the play gets harder, you have to wait a longer for all the other AI factions to take their turns, but the joy in capturing a settlement and seeing the mini map display more and more of your houseís color outweighs the few negatives.

            Look out for Gladiator style soundtrack and various quotes relevant to Romans, war or anything by Julius Caesar.

Game Ratings

Graphics:  7
Sound:  7
Value:  6
Fun:  7

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