Pages: 1 2
Review by: Jim Richmond
Published: June 4, 2004
There’s only one real problem with being at the top of the heap: everyone wants to knock you off of your perch so they can sit on it. The Roman Empire flourished for almost 1,000 years before it fell, and it endured recurrent attacks from many different sides over that millennium. A source of chronic aggravation to the various Caesars was the barbarian hordes intent on punishing the Romans for trying to impose their rule over the known world and their propensity to loot supplies while they were at it. Using these savage nations as a springboard, developer Encore Entertainment has created Against Rome, a real-time strategy game that allows you to succumb to your primal nature while you take Caesar down a notch.
Against Rome takes place from 200-450 AD, a period of time called the Migration of Nations. You assume the role of the Teutonic, Celtic and Hun leaders to lead your people over the face of Germania as you raid, pillage and plunder everything in sight. At first, you’ll lead your armies against other tribes, increasing your fame and experience, but finally, you must take on the superpower of the time – the mighty Roman Empire and its apparently invincible army.
Against Rome provides three different modes of play: Campaign, Historical and Open-Ended. The Campaign mode contains connected missions that culminate in a full attack on the Roman Empire. Historical missions are encapsulated recreations of battles that took place between the savage hordes and Rome as well as between the different groups of barbarians. Historical missions stand apart from the other modes because you have the opportunity to take the side of the Romans, leading Rome to defeat the aggressors. Lastly, the Open-Ended mode puts you in a sandbox with computer opponents to live or die. Open-Ended play is also referred to as Endless mode because, unlike other RTS titles that end when meeting a specific goal, after you’ve defeated a computer opponent, another replaces them after a short waiting period, so the game can last as long as you can.
The chieftain of your horde in Against Rome is the most important person you have on the battlefield. He has several abilities that make him not only unique, but also vital. Your troops have a morale meter that affects how they perform in combat, and the chieftain uses special abilities to motivate embattled troops, making them take heart in even the darkest hours. Secondly, your chieftain is the sole source of military and societal upgrades. When troops are engaged in combat, the chieftain gains Glory Points that can be exchanged for upgrades like additional buildings, better units and more effective troop formations. In most game types, if your chieftain meets an untimely end, so does the mission.
There are six resources for collection in Against Rome: food, wood, stone, gold, equipment and horses. Unlike Age of Mythology, resources are collected at special buildings, not at resource piles on the map. Food, wood and stone are collected directly, but gold, equipment and horses rely on the first three resources in order to be created. Inhabitants of your settlement work in mines, butcher shops and carpenter’s workshops to gather raw materials and disburse them to your main settlement building for storage while other laborers in stables, armories and goldsmith workshops pull these primary resources to develop their wares.
The inhabitants of your settlements are extremely dedicated to their heathen gods, and can build altars where they’ll sacrifice themselves at your command. Sacrificed inhabitants provide Priest units with a quick boost of magical power they can use to wield the powers of the gods. Priests augment the offensive power of your military forces with spells like Poison Gas, Pack of Wolves and Earthquake. Celtic priests also have the power of Heal to turn the tide in heated confrontation by giving friendly troops within the spell’s effect radius a health boost.
Pages: 1 2