Rome: Total War
Learn more about Rome: Total War
|Rome: Total War<tr><td colspan="2" style="font-size: 100%; text-align: center;">Image:Romebox.jpg</td></tr>|
|Release date(s)||September 22, 2004|
|Genre(s)||Real-time tactics, Turn-based strategy|
|Mode(s)|| Single player, Multiplayer
<tr><th style="background-color: #ccccff;">Rating(s)</th><td>ESRB: Teen (T) PEGI: 12+</td></tr>
<tr><th style="background-color: #ccccff;">Media</th><td>3 CD - Original
Rome: Total War (often abbreviated to RTW or Rome) is a critically acclaimed strategy game where players fight historical and fictitious battles during the era of the Roman Republic, from 270 BC to 14 AD. The game was developed by Creative Assembly and released on September 22, 2004. A demo of the game, which features a playable version of The Battle of the Trebia, with the player taking the role of Hannibal, was released on August 23, 2004 and is freely available for downloading.
The game features large scale battles of ancient armies with thousands of warriors. The main innovation is a brand new high-quality 3D graphics engine that has the ability to render in excess of thirty thousand men on a single battlefield. Another prominent feature is the integration of the strategic and tactical views - the landscape for the battles is the same as seen on that particular spot on the strategic map where the armies meet.
The player can take roles equivalent to those of generals such as Hannibal Barca, the brilliant Carthaginian general during the Second Punic War, the Gallic warlord Vercingetorix, and Julius Caesar. Among the playable factions are three Roman families (Julii, Brutii, Scipii), which are available from the start of the game, and the free Greek city-states, Carthage, Gaul, Britannia, Germania, Parthia and the successor states of Alexander the Great's Empire: the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Egypt, all of which must be unlocked before they can be played with. Like Medieval: Total War, there are also many non-playable factions, including the Dacians, Numidians, Scythians and Armenians. The historical setting of the game gives it an educational content, although a degree of factual inaccuracy (below) brings this into question.
The gameplay is similar to that of its predecessors, Shogun: Total War and Medieval: Total War, although there are some changes to the mechanics of sieges and city fights have been added. Most notable is that players now move their units with movement points; in previous games units were moved by territory.
Thanks to the realism of both the simulation and the graphics, even before its release a preliminary but completely workable version of the game engine was used in two series of TV programs: Decisive Battles by the History Channel where it was used to recreate famous historical battles, and Time Commanders by BBC Two, where teams of novice nongamers commanded ancient armies to replay key battles of antiquity. The game engine was fine tuned specifically for these television shows by military historians for maximum historical accuracy.
As a special offer for subscribers to their email newsletter, on June 16, 2006, Creative Assembly unveiled a second, downloadable expansion to Rome entitled Alexander; it was released to the general public on June 19, 2006. This expansion focuses on the campaigns of Alexander the Great.
The game revolves around a player, who takes control of some faction of the era. That player builds armies to conquer nearby provinces by besieging and capturing that province's capital. While doing so, players can build certain buildings within their cities to move up through the tech tree to train more advanced units, increase a province's income by building bigger and better roads and ports (if a province borders the sea) as well as farms, and keep the people happy by constructing buildings of entertainment. Fleets at sea can also ferry troops around and blockade enemy ports, thus cutting down trade income. The ultimate goal, like in previous Total War games, is to conquer a certain number of provinces. Another key objective for all the factions is to capture Rome from the Senate and become Emperor.
 Roman factions
Rome includes three playable Roman factions: the Julii, the Brutii, and the Scipii, in addition to the unplayable Senate. The three factions start out allied to each other and the Senate, and may not attack each other, but can bribe each other's units throughout the game. Each Roman faction can also view the others' map information in real time, a benefit not accorded to any other alliance. Even after the inevitable civil war, all of the Roman units are visible. However, the factions generally function independently, and a player controlling a Roman faction probably won't bother lending assistance to his allies unless he himself is directly threatened.
All three factions receive missions from the Senate, but may choose to follow them at their leisure. Completing Senate missions will increase the player's standing with the Senate, and players in good standing with the Senate will receive progressively greater rewards for completing missions. If one of the Roman factions is unpopular with the Senate, however, the Senate may begin demanding that the faction complete the missions it's assigned, and penalize it if it doesn't. In addition to losing popularity within the Senate, the army of the Senate may declare war on the faction that isn't following its orders.
In addition to Senate standing, Roman factions must keep an eye on their popular standing. In general, popular standing tends to increase as a faction gains more territory— the public likes a conqueror. On the other hand, the Senate tends to get worried when a faction accumulates too much power. At a certain point, the Senate will inevitably request that the player's faction leader commit suicide. As with any Senate demand, the faction may accept or refuse— if it accepts, the faction leader dies and the heir becomes the new faction leader, buying the faction a few more years of Senate toleration before the demand is repeated; if it refuses, the Roman factions are plunged into civil war. The player may also initiate civil war once his popular standing is high enough by simply attacking another Roman faction. Unfortunately, when playing as another faction, the Romans do not self-implode in a civil war.
Roman armies focus on superior, well-disciplined and well-armored infantry and relatively weak cavalry, as compared to the other factions. The game simulates the reforms of Gaius Marius, which tend to take place sometime between 220 and 180 B.C. (rather than the historical time of 107 B.C.). Prior to the reforms, the army is made in the traditional hastati-principes-triarii model. After the reforms the army is made up of the famous legions, and better cavalry and ranged units are unlocked.
In addition, each of the three playable Roman factions has a different starting area, as well as regions into which they expand. Each has different temples to build as well as their own type of gladiators, which can be fielded in battle:
- The Julii start out in the northern portion of the Italian peninsula, and they focus on fighting barbarian tribes to the north, especially in Gaul. They also get Samnite gladiators, and can build temples dedicated to Ceres, Bacchus and Jupiter.
- The Brutii start out in the south of the peninsula, and they usually focus on the Greek factions to the east. They have access to Velite Gladiators, and temples for Mars, Mercury and Juno.
- The Scipii begin in Sicily as well as Capua, and usually focus on fighting Carthage, Numidia and Egypt to the south. Their temples can be dedicated to Neptune, Vulcan or Saturn. They have access to Mirmillo Gladiators, and the Temple of Neptune, when upgraded, ultimately gives access to special ships, such as Corvus Quinqueremes.
If the Senate faction is manually unlocked and played by a human player, its role in Roman policy is ignored. Senate missions no longer exist, there are no Senate officers, and there is no Senate or popular standing. If the player attempts to go to the Senate screen, which normally tells Roman factions about these four things, the game crashes.
 Historical accuracy
The three playable Roman factions are named after three of the most famous Romans, Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus. There were no "Scipii" or "Brutii" families. Both were cognomina- a third name that labeled one as a member of a specific family within a larger clan. The family of Marcus Junius Brutus would have been the "Junii", while Scipio Africanus would have belonged to the "Cornelii." This stratification into specific families is difficult, however, since during the Republic there were so few noble Roman families, and they were constantly intermarrying. See Roman Naming Convention for more information.
The three-faction Roman system in the game is entirely ahistorical. In fact, the Roman Republic was ruled exclusively by the Senate (which had substantially more power than is reflected in the game) and the various assemblies. Individual families might rule small provinces, but expansions to the empire would have been assigned to new governors, not left to the generals who conquered them. Generals, too, were selected by the Senate and assemblies, and the roles of governorship and generalship were not as conflated as they are in the game. There were cases where influential politicians such as Julius Caesar could quite possibly serve as both generals and governors, but they would only occur during the later Republic.
The primary reason for the three-faction system is to simulate the civil war that ultimately resulted in the end of the Roman Republic. Furthermore, while the Julii may hypothetically be correctly said to be Imperialists because Julius Caesar became the first dictator perpetuus, the precusor to the modern understanding of Roman Emperor (which his successor, Augustus Caesar, would assume), Brutus was thoroughly Republican and is in fact famous for having killed Julius Caesar after he was granted absolute power through the office of dictator perpetuus by the Senate; theoretically speaking, the family of Brutus would not have imperial ambitions.
In addition, although perhaps more trivially, the names are declined incorrectly. While the plural of Julius is indeed Julii, the plural of Brutus is Bruti, not Brutii. Likewise, the plural of Scipio is Scipiones, instead of Scipii. Latin words are, in general, wholly or partially Anglicized in pronunciation; velites (Classical Latin /weːliteːs/) is pronounced /vɛlɪtes/ instead of the expected /vɛlɪtiz/ (compare the ending sounds of the English word indices). Similarly, the C in principes is pronounced as a hard [k] as in Classical Latin instead of the [s] expected for English. See Latin declension and Latin pronunciation.
Many of the units are ahistorical as well. For example, the Urban Cohorts are depicted as the highest elite of the Roman Army, but in fact were a combined fire brigade and night watch. The arcani were a group of agents provocateurs and spies, rather than the heavily armoured pseudo-ninjas they are portrayed as in the game.
The Romans are not the only factions with ahistorical units. Druids, like those used in-game by the Barbarians, were in fact excused from military service in Celtic culture, being vital to the operation of organized village life. A totally invented unit is the British Head Hurlers, who hurl decapitated heads coated in quicklime. Severed heads were a valuable trophy in Celtic culture, and would never have been used as ammunition. The phalanx formation which the Germans employ in the game is also ahistorical, since Roman authors are emphatic that the only military formation employed by the Germani was the wedge, and the idea of pikes as Germanic weapons is contradicted by archaeology as well as Tacitus (Germania Ch.6). Some units, such as wardogs and flaming pigs, were used, but never to anything like the extent depicted.
 Barbarian factions
Barbarian factions have certain unique disadvantages and advantages. Unlike most "civilized" factions, they can't build stone walls nor any roads more sophisticated than dirt paths, which inhibits their strategic movement. More importantly, their technology is limited to only three city levels, as opposed to five for civilized factions, thus they tend to achieve their most advanced units quickly. Though barbarian armies are naturally disorganized, barbarian soldiers are superior fighters compared to the soldiers of other factions.
- Gaul (playable) starts out with a very large territory mainly in modern France, northern Italy and part of Spain. The Gauls have good swordsmen and archers, but little cavalry.
- Britannia (playable) starts out in control of the British Isles, with a considerable foothold in the form of Belgica in mainland Europe. Its armies tend to include chariots, as well as frenzied swordsmen covered in intricate woad patterns, and units that hurl severed human heads covered in quicklime to demoralize enemies.
- Germania (playable) begins to the northeast of Gaul and the east of Britannia, in what today would be considered the Netherlands and northern Germany. Germanic forces include strong but wild infantry, including the only barbarian unit able to do the phalanx formation, and a few different units of axemen, who are especially effective when fighting armored units (such as Roman infantry).
- Spain (non-playable) begins on the Iberian peninsula, and represents the Iberian tribes who fought against the Gauls and Carthaginians, and later resisted Rome. They get solid infantry units, including units which throw javelins prior to a charge, and others which are similar to Carthaginian units; but they have relatively few cavalry or ranged units.
- Dacia (non-playable) relies mainly on heavy infantry, notably the superior falx-wielding troops available early on in the game. They are located in eastern Europe around modern Romania.
- Scythia (non-playable) is overwhelmingly composed of horse archers. Historically, the Scythians were a small tribe by the time of the game's start, and the Sarmatians had largely taken over the steppes. Sarmatians do, however, appear in the form of heavy cavalry mercenaries. The Scythians control an extensive territory in Eastern Europe, corresponding roughly to modern Ukraine and the surrounding area.
 Greek factions
The Greek factions are located mainly in the Balkan peninsula and around Anatolia. Greek armies tend to focus on extremely strong infantry which utilize the phalanx formation at the expense of cavalry and other forms of infantry.
- The Greek Cities (playable) start with a handful of colonies scattered around the Mediterranean and Aegean. Its troop selection consists of hoplites along with relatively weak cavalry and ranged units (although they are within a short distance of Crete, which provides excellent archers). Historically, the Greek cities were not unified in any sort of single state, although many were allied with each other.
- The armies of Macedon (non-playable) focus largely on the Macedonian phalanx and shock cavalry, including the Companion cavalry led by Alexander the Great. However, due to certain bugs with the game's handling of charging units, the Companion Cavalry is not as powerful as was originally intended to be. Macedon begins with territories in what is today Greece.
- The Seleucid Empire's (playable) main force is similar to that of the Macedonians, containing the same powerful Macedonian phalangites and shock cavalry (including Companion Cavalry). However, its armies can also contain hoplites, scythe-armed chariots, war elephants, cataphracts, and Roman-style legionaries, giving it the most diverse troop selection in the game. The Seleucid Empire encompasses a strip of territory running from the Aegean coast to Mesopotamia.
- Thrace (non-playable) is a Greco-Barbarian faction, with both Greek and Barbarian troops; they begin the game north of modern Greece, along the western coast of the Black Sea. Perhaps the strongest Thracian troops are Falxmen, who wield the rhomphaia or falx, however, the Thracians also have access to powerful phalanx infantry. Like both the Greeks and Barbarians in general, Thrace has little in the way of cavalry.
 Carthaginian factions
The Carthaginian factions are found in northern Africa, led by Carthage. Their armies tend to rely on speedy but good cavalry and various types of infantry of varying quality.
- Carthage (playable) has a variety of units which include a good mixture of infantry, high quality cavalry and powerful elephants, but a poor selection of ranged troops, including a notable lack of archers. They begin with territory in modern Tunisia and the surrounding area, along with colonies in southern Spain, Sicily and Sardinia.
- Numidia (non-playable) has speedy javelin-throwing light cavalry and other javelin-based units, as well as some light spear-armed infantry and their own legionaries. Their small kingdom lies west of Carthage's African lands.
 Eastern factions
The Eastern factions represent the major states of the Middle East not ruled by the Diadochi. Their armies tend to rely heavily on high quality cavalry, and sometimes evince some Greek influence due to Alexander's recent conquest of the area (which occurred some 50 years prior to the start of the game).
- Parthia's (playable) specialty lies with mounted units, particularly the fearsome cataphract-horse archer combination which often dominates multiplayer battles in Rome. While their cavalry is extremely powerful, they have virtually no infantry of value, which can make sieges difficult. Historically the Parthians inhabited the area on the southeastern side of the Caspian Sea; in Rome, they still do, but also start with territory north of the sea.
- Armenia (non-playable), like Parthia, focuses mainly on cavalry. Armenia is the only faction with cataphract archers and Eastern heavy infantry, the latter being capable of the Macedonian phalanx. They also have their own copies of Roman legionaries. Armenia, in the game, is located in the mountains of what is today eastern Turkey.
- Pontus' (non-playable) troops include fast-moving, javelin-armed cavalry as well as phalanx troops and chariots. Pontus begins with most of Anatolia.
 Egyptian faction
- Egypt's (playable) troops tend to be lightly armored due to the climate of the area. While historically the armies of Ptolemaic Egypt should be quite similar to those of the Greek factions (consisting mainly of phalanx troops), the game presents a more anachronistic Egyptian army consisting primarily of large units of bowmen, spearmen and various types of chariots. Egypt begins controlling Egypt and some of the coast of the eastern Mediterranean.
The Rebels are a unique faction. Rebels can be informally divided into three groupings based on how they operate on the campaign map: Brigands or Pirates, Deserters or Freed Slaves and Independent Kingdoms or Rebel Cities.
- Brigands and Pirates will attack and rob factions for money in one or more ways; Brigands will sit on roads, blocking trade there and ambushing armies that walk by. Pirates will attempt to cut sea-trade routes and blockade ports. Brigands and Pirates will grow in strength the longer they are allowed to operate unmolested, so it is usually a good idea to put them down as soon as they crop up, because stronger rebels or pirates will threaten larger targets, with some of the strongest rebel groups sometimes looting major cities, although such events as this happening are rather rare.
- Deserters or Freed Slaves are troops or slaves previously belonging to a faction which abandon their homes, subtracting from the total population of civilians or soldiers living in a given city. They tend to hide out in the countryside and do not usually rob factions for money, although this is not a rule. Freed slaves usually consist of large numbers of peasant units, along with some basic non-military or quasi-military fighting units such as gladiators or town-watchmen. Deserters tend to be more dangerous and well-organized, with many professional military units; they move in formation and are not quick to flee or back down when threatened; sometimes Deserters may have a Rebel General with them, a non-faction member military leader, and when one is present, Deserter armies tend to be much larger and much more dangerous, sometimes attempting to burn cities.
- Independent Kingdoms or Rebel Cities are Rebel-faction cities, and the only two differences between them are their origin and their military capabilities. Independent kingdoms are independent, non-faction cities which have existed independently since the beginning of the game and have never been conquered; they usually have some very basic military units like Militia Hoplites or Town Watch, although if left unconquered, they may grow and develop a stronger military presence. Examples of Independent Kingdoms are Athens, Petra in Sinai, and Tara, a town in Hibernia (Ireland). Rebel cities, on the other hand, are cities which once were run by a faction, but which have revolted and come under their own management.
- Amazon Rebels are exclusively situated in the province of Hyperboria, which, in the game, is located far to the north (in what is now Russia) and is difficult to reach due to intervening terrain. They have their own very powerful unique units, including Amazon chariots and elite war elephants.
- The Gladiator Uprising are units independent of region/location and may appear in revolting settlements that have an Arena or above. Gladiator Uprising armies are comprised mainly of gladiator units and are noticeably more difficult to defeat in comparison with standard Rebel armies.
- Note that all civilized factions can build paved roads, but only Roman factions can build highways.
 See also
 Reviews and awards
Rome: Total War has been critically acclaimed by many reviewers and is generally regarded as one of the best strategy games of 2004, winning numerous awards and high scores from both gaming websites and magazines alike.
- PC Gamer(UK): All time 2nd best PC game
- IGN: Editor's Choice Award
- PC Gamer(US): Editor's Choice, Best Strategy Game of 2004
- GameSpot: Editor's Choice, Strategy Game of 2004
- Adrenaline Vault: Seal of Excellence
- GameSpy: Editor's Choice
- E3 2003 Game Critics Awards: Best Strategy Game
The original music soundtrack for the game was composed by Jeff van Dyck, who received a BAFTA (British Academy) Interactive Awards nomination for his work. His wife Angela van Dyck features in some of the vocals; Angela also wrote the lyrics for the song Divinitus, whose lyrics are in Latin. The game's most notable collaboration between Jeff and Angela van Dyck is the song Forever, which plays while the game's credits are rolling. Forever was originally meant to be the game's main menu song.
 See also
 "Barbarian Invasion" Expansion
Barbarian Invasion is an expansion for Rome which takes the action forward to the period of the decline of the Western Roman Empire. It begins in 363 A.D. and ends in 476 A.D. The expansion includes simulation of the religious tension of the period, as three major religions (Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Paganism) fought for dominance. Also depicted are the great migrations of the Germanic and steppe peoples (notably the Huns) throughout Europe.
As Barbarian Invasion takes place 350 years after the end of the original game, factions and provinces are very different. The Senate still exists but no longer has any power (thus playing no role in the expansion), and Rome has become an empire, grown and then split into a Western and an Eastern empire, ruled from Rome and Constantinople respectively; Egypt, Greece, Macedon, Pontus, Carthage, Gaul, Numidia, Iberia, Britannia, Dacia, and Thrace have been absorbed into the Roman Empire. The Seleucid empire has collapsed and has been absorbed by Rome and Parthia; the Parthian dynasty itself has been overthrown and replaced with the Sassanid dynasty. Huns have invaded Europe, and several major Germanic tribes have unified and strengthened to the point where they are now capable of invading the Empire itself.
Hordes are a new feature which is introduced in Barbarian Invasion. When a faction loses its last province (some factions, such as the Huns and Vandals, begin with no provinces), rather than being destroyed it becomes a horde and is forced to settle elsewhere. Hordes are very large armies, representing an entire nation, however, they do not require upkeep. When a horde army successfully seizes a city, they are given the option of sacking the city (which does massive damage to the population and buildings of a city, giving the horde a large amount of money) or of settling in the city- which allows the horde to begin anew, with the new city as its capital; the faction then is able to conquer other provinces normally. When the horde settles, a portion of their horde army is disbanded and the population distributed into the city.
Horde factions do not "die out" unless defeated on the battlefield or all characters die; when they have finally found a new homeland and it is successfully conquered by an enemy, the whole faction becomes a horde again and flees, in order to seek a new home. With the concept of a horde the developers tried to reflect the migrations of several "barbarian" peoples of that time - especially Huns, Goths, Vandals, Franks, Burgundians and Lombards.
Victory conditions vary, depending on which faction is played. Each playable faction has it own territory requirement, including specific named territories--adding a layer of strategic complexity. Each faction is listed with a difficulty level relative to the other factions (apart from the game settings difficulty selected by the user). The Western Roman Empire may start the game with a lot of military and economic might--but everybody wants a piece of them, they require the most territories to win, and one of those required territories is the most contested (Northern Italy). The Saxons start small and do not have access to advanced technology, but they have a much smaller territory requirement--though they still have to contend with neighbors to the south who are crowding north to meet territory requirements.
 Roman factions
The Roman factions represent the remnants of the once powerful Roman Empire.
- Western Roman Empire: Playable. Although large and apparently highly advanced, the Western Empire by this stage is weak. Early on it is assaulted by most German factions, and later the steppe and Hun factions. It is crippled by civil wars, religious strife, and economic collapse further confounded by the dilution of its military making its army inferior to its previous incarnation; however, they attempt to alleviate this by including barbarian units (including the general's bodyguard).
- Eastern Roman Empire: Playable. The richest faction in the game, the Eastern Empire's army is a mixture of Eastern-style cavalry and Roman infantry (which, like the Western counterpart, is inferior to that of the earlier period). The Eastern Empire has very good cavalry including Cataphracts, Clibinarii (which are very heavily armored cavalry, somewhat similar to Cataphracts), and Camel Riders, as well as excellent archer units.
- Romano-British: Non-playable. Culturally speaking, a Roman faction. They appear when the Western Roman Empire loses their British provinces. The Romano-British primarily use renamed Roman units such as "British Legionaries" and "Coastal Levies" (the latter being the same as the Roman Limitanei), but they can also recruit the legendary Graal knights from Arthurian legend. When they appear, they are an incredibly effective force, and their beginning army often includes very high experience units.
- Eastern Roman rebels.: Non-playable. This faction is spawned when Eastern Roman cities rebel; rather than joining the rebel faction as in the original, cities that revolt form this breakaway faction. They have the same units as the Eastern Romans and start out at war with them.
- Western Roman rebels: Non-playable. The Western Roman rebels appear when Western Roman cities rebel, similar to the Eastern Empire rebels; their units are the same as those of the Western Romans.
 Hunnic faction
The Hunnic faction is distinct from the Nomadic factions, for they are only represented by the fearsome Huns themselves.
- Huns: Playable. their army is primarily made up of large units of cavalry with high endurance. They start as a horde near the Roxolani and Alan tribes north of the Black Sea. The Huns have some of the best horses in the game and have very skilled horse archers, however, their infantry selection is limited.
 Nomadic factions
These barbarian factions start in Eastern Europe. "Nomadic" is an umbrella term; it includes both Iranic tribes and eastern Germanic tribes, as well as the Slavs. The Nomad cavalry is overall superior to that of their Western brethren; furthermore they have access to highly competent mounted archers. Their infantry should not be discounted, as it is also often of good quality. The main drawback of the Nomads is their lack in siege technology. All Nomadic factions are able to form a horde.
- Goths: Playable. Usually described as sacrificing captured enemies to their pagan god Tyz, in the beginning of the game most of them are already converted to Christianity. Their strength lies in their cavalry, although their advanced infantry is of high quality as well. They begin in the area of modern Romania, although they are soon displaced by steppe nomads usually vandals.
- Vandals: Playable. Settled in Rome's former northwest African provinces. Start as a horde located northwest of the Black Sea. All around good units but mostly mounted. They are capable of adopting Christianity and are able to train mounted priests.
- Sarmatians: Playable. Tribe living northwest of the Black Sea corresponding to modern Ukraine; they have high quality cavalry and woman-warriors, yet a very limited selection of infantry. Luckily, the main infantry unit of the Sarmatians, Bosphoran Infantry, are effective warriors against infantry and cavalry; this flexibility reduces the need for a larger unit roster.
- Ostrogoths Non-playable. Similar to the Roman rebels, the Ostrogoths are spawned when a Gothic city revolts. They have the same units as the Goths.
- Roxolani: Non-playable. A tribe similar to the Sarmatians (they have the same unit roster); because they are neighbours to the Hunnic hordes north of the Black Sea, they tend be the first faction to fall to the Huns. Afterwards they form a horde as well.
- Slavs Non-playable. The Slavs appear later in the game around 410 A.D. just east of the Baltic Sea. They have a similar unit roster to that of the Vandals.
 Barbarian factions
Barbarian factions populate western and central Europe (at least those parts that are not under Roman rule). Their strength lies in their powerful melee infantry, and most of them can lay sieges like civilized factions. The Barbarians do mostly roam more or less mountainous terrain with many forests; hence, their cavalry is a bit lacking and artillery is rare.
- Saxons: Playable. Start with only one settlement in the Jutland peninsula. They have access to top-notch infantry and are a pure pagan faction (most other factions are a mixture) making internal stability easier. They are, however, limited in cavalry, artillery and tactical infantry.
- Franks: Playable. Eventually settling in Rome's former Gallic provinces, the Franks begin in what is now central Germany. They have axe-throwers and durable infantry, and can form hordes. They are also one of the few barbarian factions with decent cavalry, in the form of paladins. They are capable of adopting Christianity as well, and are one of the few barbarian factions able to build onagers and ballistae. If they adopt Christianity, they can train Catholic Priests and Paladins. The Franks are the most technologically advanced Barbarians, as they are able to build paved roads and have farming techniques on a par with the Romans.
- Alemanni: Playable. A confederation of Germanic tribes, their powerful infantry includes fearsome berserkers. They begin in the area of modern Switzerland, and are tasked with expanding around that area.
- Celts Non-playable. This factions begins in modern Ireland and Scotland, and will be a threat to either the Western Romans or the Romano-British. Their army is composed of old-fashioned units, such as chariots and gallowglasses (infantry armed with large, two-handed swords), and berserker-like "Hounds of Culann".
- Burgundii Non-playable. They tend to be rivals to the Franks, as their goal is to settle in Gaul as well. Their army contains powerful berserkers and other warriors, and they too can form horde groups. They have the same units as the Alemanni.
- Lombardi Non-playable. A strong all-around nation, they seek to invade Italy. Their army is primarily infantry, including berserkers. They can also form into a horde, but are otherwise the same as the Alemanni.
 Eastern faction
- Sassanids: Playable. The new ruling dynasty of Persia; the strongest power in the East, and essentially the offspring-kingdom of the previous Parthian dynasty of Persia. They are rivals of the Eastern Romans, and are the only faction to follow Zoroastrianism, as well as to still use war elephants. Their signature units are the excellent Clibinarii Immortals which accompany their generals.
 Northern African ("Carthaginian") faction
- Berbers Non-playable. Found in the area of modern Algeria and Morocco, they concentrate on desert warfare, relying mainly on lightly armored, fast-moving units; they have a fairly restricted unit roster, and are lacking in technology (especially infrastructure). They are a christian only faction.
The Rebels are represented in Barbarian Invasion as well, but this time they do not hold so many provinces in the beginning as in the original game, however, every time a city is sacked by a horde, it becomes rebellious (since the horde faction will not settle down).
 Historical accuracy in Barbarian Invasion
Like the original game, Barbarian Invasion has some historical inaccuracies, however they are relatively fewer when compared to the original game.
- There are still "fantasy" units, which do not reflect historical units. For example, the bucellarii make an appearance as lightly armed crossbowmen, rather than as mercenary bodyguards hired by wealthy individuals, as they historically were. Fantasy combat units such as ninja-like praeventores (which were, in reality, spies and agents, similar to the earlier arcani), druids (who did not fight, as mentioned earlier) and wardogs also make appearances.
- Some weapons modeled in the game do not reflect historical outfits. Many cavalry units, especially cavalry archers, wield short swords or daggers as sidearms, which would have been difficult to use from horseback.
- Some character details are incorrect. For example, the Western Roman Emperor at the beginning is Valentinian I, and his heir apparent is named Leontius Flavius; however, the historical heir apparent was Valentinian's son, Gratian. The Eastern Empire's Valens is to be succeeded by his son Theodosius (while Theodosius did in fact succeed Valens, Theodosius was not actually Valens' son). Similarly, the Sassanid king Shapur II was in fact succeeded by Ardashir II (but Ardashir was Shapur's brother, not son). However, it should be noted that these last two can be attributed to the fact that the family trees do not differentiate between normal or adopted sons.
- Some historical details are incorrect. Examples include that Emperor Constantine is incorrectly stated to have made Christianity the official religion of the Empire (this was, in fact, done much later by Theodosius; Constantine simply ended laws making Christianity illegal), Constantine is said to have renamed Byzantium Constantinople "in his own honor" (in reality, he renamed it Nova Roma, or "New Rome"; "Constantinopolis" or "City of Constantine" was simply a popular nickname that outlasted Nova Roma), and the Eastern Roman Empire can utilize Orthodox priests (although the Orthodox Church did not officially exist separately from Rome until the 11th century).
- The historical information boxes that appear during the campaign are sometimes inaccurate as well; for example, the one telling of Hypatia of Alexandria's murder appears in 467 A.D. (implying it happened around that time, although she was actually murdered in 415 A.D.). In addition, changing history does not prevent infoboxes from appearing detailing real-life events. For example, if the Roman Empire converts to paganism, the infoboxes detailing events such as the Ecumenical Councils and the destruction of the Serapeum still appear.
- Barbarian Invasion also contains some incorrect Latin. For example, the Lombards are referred to as Lombardi when in historical Latin it ought to be Langobardi (their name in the game appears to be an attempted Latinization of the English term "Lombards"). There is some inconsistency concerning the names of various peoples: the Franks, Saxons, Celts, Goths and others are referred to by their common English names (rather than Latin Franci, Saxones, Gothi, Celtae), whilst others, notably Lombards and Burgundians, are called by Latin or pseudo-Latin names ("Lombardi", "Burgundii"). The territories of Barbarian peoples are frequently designated as "Tribus" (followed by the Nominative Plural of the name of the tribe or nation concerned), when actually the Romans usually referred to "tribes" by the Latin words gens, civitas, or natio. A tribus was a Roman administrative unit; modern English words like "tribute" are related to the word tribus.
- The portraits of family members of the Goths and Vandals (and Ostrogoths and Slavs, if they appear) show men who look very Asiatic, like steppe nomads, even though the Goths were a Germanic (or certainly Germanic-dominated) people. In fact the game counts the Goths and others as nomads, but this is incorrect: the Goths were agriculturalists who only left their sedentary existence when they were threatened by the Huns.
 Barbarian Invasion leaked
Barbarian Invasion, which was officially due to be released on September 30, 2005, was released roughly a week early by webhallen.com a Swedish computer game retailer. The game was spotted shortly thereafter on warez sites and eBay. The Creative Assembly stated that the leak was due to unauthorized action on the part of a distributor.
 "Alexander" expansion
The Alexander expansion puts the player in the role of Alexander the Great himself. It begins with Alexander's ascension to the Macedonian throne in 336 B.C.; it lasts for 100 turns, each of which, unlike the original game and Barbarian Invasion, do not represent six months (assuming it follows Alexander's actual reign of thirteen years, each turn would represent nearly seven weeks). The game is much the same as the original Rome, but with less factions, different units and a different map. The player's goal is to conquer 30 provinces, including key cities such as Tyre, Halicarnassus and Babylon, within the 100 turn limit.
There are only four factions in Alexander. Of these, only one, Macedon, is playable in the campaign mode. There are also Rebels, who fulfill the same role as the Rebels in the original version and Barbarian Invasion. The four factions are:
- Macedon: Macedon begins with most of Greece under its control. The army is similar to that of Macedon in the original game, consisting of various hoplites and phalanges, and powerful cavalry, including the Companions; the army lacks archer units, although it can field javelin-throwing units. Macedon also has a unique unit representing Alexander's personal unit of elite Companion cavalry led by the king himself. Unlike Rome and Barbarian Invasion, if the player's king is killed, the campaign ends in defeat.
- Persia: The Persian army of Darius III is made up of a variety of troops, from poorly equipped masses of infantry and archers, to quality cavalry and elite units like the Immortals (also known as "Apple-bearers", from the apple-shaped ornaments on their spears), as well as mercenaries from Greece and Phrygia. The army also has access to chariots, which the Persian generals also ride. The Persian Empire of the Achaemenid dynasty is vast, controlling all of Anatolia, Egypt, modern day Iraq and Iran, and even as far east as western India- and everything in between.
- Dahae: Representing neighbouring, barbarian peoples like the Illyrians, Thracians, Sarmatians and Scythians, as well as independent cities like Byzantium. They are similar to the barbarian factions in the original game; their armies consist of large groups of poorly equipped warriors, including warriors wielding scythe-like swords. They control various territories on the northern edges of the map.
- India: Far from being a unified nation-state, the Indian kingdoms were nonetheless capable of sending awe-inspiring armies into the battlefield. Their armies consist of large units of lightly armored troops, chariots and painted war elephants. The Indians do not appear in the single-player campaign.
 Criticism of Rome Total War
 Historical accuracy
While no computer game can claim to be entirely historically accurate many within the established Total War fanbase took issue with some of the blatant historical inaccuracies in Rome: Total War. Criticisms range from the obvious mistakes to the downright picky (certain players have complained about such things as small differences in the names of provinces or tiny deviations in armor or helmets). Some fans stipulated that the Creative Assembly was attempting to sacrifice historical accuracy to reach a wider market of gamers, and others accused the company of sacrificing strategic and tactical depth for eye candy and bigger battles to reach out to the gaming masses.
The major faction inaccuracies presented by the community stem from the portrayal of the Roman Republic as consisting of four separate political and military bodies, the New Kingdom style of the Egyptian units and buildings, and the unification of the barbarian tribes and the "Greek Cities" into single entities with one ruler as opposed to separate tribes or at most a loose alliance. In fact, Rome was more unified than any of the other factions portrayed in the game and certainly more centralized than the Gallic tribes or Greek city states. The Egyptians were a coherent faction during the time period of the game, but their armies would have been outfitted much like the Seleucid or Macedonian forces, owing to the Ptolemaic dynasty's descendancy from the Macedonian generals of Alexander the Great. Although the ruler was still referred to as Pharaoh, the Zulu-like Nubian Spearmen and the New Kingdom headdresses of the Nile Spearmen would have been considered anachronisms on the battlefields of the day, while chariots had disappeared from the battlefields of Egypt some 1,000 years before.
Certain units have also been criticized for being too fantastic and geared towards the younger RTS demographic as opposed to the traditional fanbase of Medieval: Total War and Shogun: Total War. "Incendiary pigs", for example, were indeed used to counter elephant troops, but it is grossly inaccurate to suggest that an entire unit was trained for that purpose; the only recorded use of such a tactic was by the defenders of Megara during the Wars of the Diadochi (see for example Aelian, de Natura Animalium book XVI, ch. 36). As mentioned above, eyebrows were raised over the inclusion of "Head Hurlers" as actual British ranged troops, Arcani as groups of elite, ninja-like fighters and the "Urban Cohort" (who in reality were just a combined night watch and fire brigade in Rome) as a superior force to the Praetorian Guard in terms of fighting skill. The impeccable organization of the German "Spear Warband" (a unit that can form a phalanx) also stirred a bit of protest from accuracy-minded gamers and history buffs.
The two most popular mods for R:TW, Rome: Total Realism and Europa Barbarorum, dealt with a number of these issues and historical inaccuracies. Changes included the removal of the Brutii and Scipii factions from the game completely, unifying the Italian peninsula under a single faction, "Rome." Patches were released to increase the number of provinces and cities, to remove certain ahistorical units and to modify existing units to look more realistic; for example, the Egyptian army has been completely revamped, and is now quite similar to the Seleucid and Macedonian armies, rather than the previous pharonic armies. The names of some other units were changed to promote both realism and variance (for example, "Greek Archers" were changed to "Toxotes").