By Eric T. Baker

Fans of ancient combat are in luck due to the release of Rome: Total War for the PC from Activision. Like the other games in the franchise did for medieval European and Japanese combat, R:TW brings classical, historically accurate battle to the PC in a very playable form. Depending on which ancient powers the players choose, they can command Roman legions, Greek phalanxes, barbarian warbands, Carthaginian elephants, Egyptian chariots, and even Seleucid cataphracts. Players can fight battles large and small; the game engine can render and track up to 10,000 fully polygonal, motion-captured figures.

The game allows players to set up custom battles, against either the computer or up to seven other human players over the Internet. It also has two campaign modes where the aim is starting either as the leader of a great Roman family or as the ruler of one of the other powers of the era–to conquer, rule, and eventually be declared the “Imperator” of Rome. The game allows the players to use diplomacy and trade as well as war to expand their influence over the Mediterranean and Europe. Cities and settlements grow and develop over time with the players managing those under their control.

With beautiful graphics, thorough research, and realistic combat, R:TW makes the best use yet of the PC’s potential to simulate combat.

Back to the issue this appears in