Rome: Total War (2004)

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In this historically accurate adventure of several thousand years ago, the player serves as a leader in the lands of Rome. By managing warfare, battlefield tactics, economics, agriculture, ... See full summary »

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Title: Rome: Total War (Video Game 2004)

Rome: Total War (Video Game 2004) on IMDb 8.8/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Atherton ...
George Baladinos ...
Andrew Buchanan ...
Adam John Cooper ...
(voice) (as Adam Cooper)
Karen Crone ...
Haskel Daniel ...
Michael Futcher ...
Terry Hansen ...
George Kapiniaris ...
Caroline Kennison ...
Todd Levi ...
Anthony Mir ...
Errol O'Neill ...


In this historically accurate adventure of several thousand years ago, the player serves as a leader in the lands of Rome. By managing warfare, battlefield tactics, economics, agriculture, and diplomacy, the player utilizes everyone and everything at their disposal to crush the enemy forces and bring the corrupt Roman empire under their dominance. Written by Flotis

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22 September 2004 (USA)  »

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[to his soldiers before a battle]
Roman General: And remember this above all: our Roman gods are watching. Make sure they are not ashamed!
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Referenced in Troldspejlet: Episode #34.8 (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A superb tactical battle simulator with a rudimentary strategic shell
9 March 2008 | by (Alkmaar) – See all my reviews

I bought Rome Total War (short: RTW) because I was interested in the add-on Barbarian Invasions. The add-on promised to invoke the mood of the final days of the empire and the early middle ages, the period that is the subject of Gibbons book, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. This period holds my special interest because I am fascinated in last days and falls of anything. However I never got around to buying the add-on since I was disappointed in the way Rome Total War worked on a strategic level. Let's get around to RTW main failings before getting to the good bits. This way we can end in a happier mood.

RTW's primary failings are on a strategic level. Politics, broken down into internal and external relations, are usually based on marriages, the key component in the power-games that surrounded the rise of the roman empire. However in RTW internal relations, while being represented in the game, are beyond the influence of the player. External relationships are better represented, but in RTW you can't arrange a marriage with representant of another nation and an alliance is as easily broken as it is agreed upon by the AI, which doesn't represent reality and for game purposes it means it is useless. In fact with the exception of bribing most instruments of the diplomat in this game are either not effective or useless.

Strangely, while in politics there is not enough control, there is to much control on the economic level. You can develop every town in any way you see fit, while in reality and of necessity the ancient period lacked a tight centralized control. Only the roman emperors could, because of their vast wealth and power, slightly influence economics, but even when they applied drastic policies these would general fail or backfire.

There are more strange things in this game. For instance, populous cities always get inflicted with rebellion regardless of how many guards or pacifying buildings you assign to them, so you need to exterminate the population of all large cities you conquer. This extreme measure seems to have no influence on the opinion of the rest of the world as far as I know. A bit strange. Another strange thing is that when you are roman, the senate will give you quests that half the time simply undo-able(conquer a city in the middle of enemy territory within 10 turns, even if the trip will take 10 turns). There are many more examples, but let's leave it with these two examples.

Now after all this negativity, let's have a look at the positive sides. The best way to do it is to forget that the game tries to accurate depict historic realities of ancient roman times. If you look at the game from the bottom-up: that it is battle generator in which the battles are given a context by having a rudimentary, but easily manageable, strategic shell, the this game is superb.

The battles are stunningly well done. There is a wide selection of troops available who's composition is dependent on the nation you play. Play the Greeks and you get a hoplite army, play the Parthians and you get a horse army, play the Romans and you get a heavy infantry army. Each nation is well represented with their own troop types which allows for much replay-ability and sheer enjoyment when watched on the battlefield. The AI in combat is adequate(compare it with the AI from Mark of Chaos, which is two years younger and performs worse) although it is unable to learn from failures, so once you find the key to defeat a specific army composition(horse archers vs infantry) then the AI will not adapt his army to the new challenge. The developers have put in every effort to make sure the battles are pleasant experience by easy control, speed of pace and free range of the camera. There is little to more to require. A special remark I want to make for the sounds. The developers have chosen good sounds in the battle and for each of the nations you can play. This is well done and enhances the mood of the game.

So here is it, a weak strategic shell but a hell of a good battle generator. With these limitations it is recommended to anyone interested in tactical games. Hopefully the add-ons will be available in one big bundle in the near future.

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