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Gates of Troy PC CD-ROM

Published by Slitherine Software
Developed by Slitherine Software
Released - Out Now
Available from: http://www.slitherine.co.uk/Troy/TroyIndex.htm
Price : £14.99 (Can also be bought with Spartan for £39.99)

Gates of Troy is the stand alone expansion pack for Spartan, the turn based strategy game that we reviewed earlier this year. Actually it hasn't been that long since Spartan was released and the release of Gates of Troy may surprise people that thought they would have to wait longer to get their hands on an expansion for the game. Slitherine pay attention to what the customers want though and a lot of the content in Gates of Troy is what fans of Spartan have asked for and there is certainly a solid amount here. It's also great to see this expansion pack priced at only £14.99 especially in times when it's not uncommon for some expansion packs to be priced at £24.99. This review looks at the contents of Gates of Troy. You might want to read our review of Spartan to acquire a better understanding of what the game is about. Let's see what Gates of Troy has to offer.

Gates of Troy comes with 6 new campaigns. These campaigns are Thermopylae 408BC - The Hot Gates, Coastal Anatolia 499BC - The Ionian Revolt, Troy 1183BC - The Trojan War, Rome and Persia 400BC - The Grand Campaign, Greece 1300BC - Pre History and finally the Grand Campaign 1500BC - Greek Colonialism. One of those campaigns might strike you as odd. The Rome and Persian campaign has been created to allow gamers to play as either the Romans or Persians through a lengthy campaign. For a game based on the Spartans this may seem peculiar but if you've visited Slitherine's forums since the release of Spartan you'll notice that Slitherine have been asked time and time again for a way to play as the Romans or Persians (especially the Romans) through a large campaign so this 'semi-historical campaign' has been included to satisfy these wishes.

Twelve new units and nineteen heroes have been included too. The new units are: Levy, Massed Archers, Thorakitai, Achaian Spearmen, Achaian Nobles, Dardanian Spearman, Dardanian Nobles, Pelegasian Spearmen, Pelegasian Nobles, Myrmidons, Theban Hoplites and Thespian Hoplites. The new heroes are: Achilles son of Peleus, Odysseus son of Laertes, Hektor son of Priamos, Diomedes son of Tydeus, Aias son of Telamon, Teukros son of Telamon, Idomeneus son of Deukalion, Antilochos son of Nestor, Eurypylos son of Euaimon, Aias son of Oileus, Polydamas son of Panthous, Sarpedon son of Zeus, Aineias son of Anchises, Dolon son of Eumedes, Leonidas King of Sparta, Demophilus of Thespiae, Aristagoras of Miletos and Patroclus of Paris. These heroes offer a morale boost to nearby friendly units but they are not of equal ability and some are more powerful than others. You might also want to know that an extra 8 ethnic groups have been added. These are: Epirotes, Pelegasian, Danaan, Dardanian, Argive, Illyrian, Thracian and Hittite.

The beauty of Gates of Troy is that anyone can purchase it. You don't need to own Spartan and it works as a standalone package. If you have Spartan installed though the new content and features will fully integrate themselves into Spartan's campaigns which is fantastic. Diplomatic options have been expanded and vassalization of foreign nations you're on extremely good terms with is now possible. Gates of Troy also boasts improved diplomacy, improved auto resolution of battles (far less shocks than before and it's now a viable option to leave the battle to the AI if you want to) and AI improvements. One criticism that has been made of Spartan is that the AI was far too aggressive even on the easier difficulty levels. In Gates of Troy the aggressive attitude has been relaxed and the easier difficulty levels are now much more comfortable to play. Of course it goes without mention that you can also build the Trojan Horse which is pictured (taken from the Pedia) below.

Is there anything else that Gates of Troy could have included? It's difficult to pick fault with such a well rounded expansion pack, especially at this price, but it would have been good to have seen an editor that allowed you to create your own campaigns. Fans of Spartan (and indeed fans of Slitherine's previous games such as Chariots of War and Legion have always been interested in adding their own creativity to the game) and a campaign editor would have been most welcome. However Slitherine point out in the game manual that although they cannot officially support modding the game they have made it much easier than before. If you take a look at the Slitherine Forums you'll notice they have a board dedicated to modding and advice can be found there should you need help in modding the game.

Essentially Gates of Troy is the same as Spartan in terms of graphics. Some differences have been made though in terms of the interface. When playing on a large campaign map you can now zoom out to get a better overall picture of your empire. Plus and minus button have been added to allow you to carry out this function. The mini-map can now be toggled on or off in battles by pressing the TAB key. When in battles you can now choose between scrolling with the mouse or the keyboard. Pressing the space bar allows you to change to whichever method you prefer. Slitherine have also made sure morale indicators, in battle mode, now differ in shape as well as colour to assist colour blind gamers, which is a nice touch and shows consideration that you don't see that often.

In regards to how suitable the game is for deaf gamers, Gates of Troy is identical to Spartan in every respect. This is great news as Spartan was completely deaf gamer friendly. All the information in the game is text only so you'll be able to follow the tutorials, read the campaign objectives and anything else you desire. Whilst playing a campaign you can access the objectives by opening the options panel which lists your goals. You won't find a printed tech-tree in Gates of Troy (understandable really given the low price of the game) but you can access one in-game, known as the Pedia, so there's no problem there.

As we mentioned earlier the great thing about Gates of Troy is that it can be enjoyed by those who own and those who do not own Spartan. Taken on it's own merits it's a great game that is nothing but superb value for money at just £14.99. Existing Spartan players will appreciate the new campaigns and features especially as the majority of content is exactly what Spartan gamers have asked for. The changes to the AI that Gates of Troy contains can be obtained by installing the latest patch for Spartan but there is so much more in Gates of Troy that Spartan fans would be silly to miss out on the expansion. Those who don't own either will be pleased to learn that Slitherine also sell the two games for £39.99 which again is a bargain. At the time or writing you can only purchase Gates of Troy direct from Slitherine but the £14.99 also includes delivery and Slitherine will deliver worldwide.

Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10
Whether you're looking to enhance your copy of Spartan or looking for a great turn-based game in it's own right Gates of Troy is a superb title. At the lowly price of just £14.99 (inc. delivery) you'd be mad to miss it if like me you love turn-based strategy games.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers.