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Rome Total War: Gold Edition PC DVD-ROM

Published by SEGA
Developed by The Creative Assembly
Release Date: 3rd February 2006
Price: £29.99

Rome Total War: Gold Edition, an introduction.

When The Creative Assembly made Shogun Total War they created a strategy game that broke the mould. The game combined a board game, turn-based, style campaign with real-time combat that allowed you to pause the action and make tactical decisions. The battles allowed you to fight strategically by taking advantage of the seasons and terrain types in a way that hadn't been seen before in a real-time strategy game. The formula first seen in Shogun Total War was so impressive that further games were craved by the many fans of Shogun Total War. Two years later Medieval Total War arrived and was just as impressive and two years after that Rome Total War was released and again it was something special that deserved all the critical acclaim it received. Not to forget of course, that all of these games had outstanding expansions.

What's the game about?

Take the best strategy game from 2004 and combine it with the best expansion pack from 2005 and you have Rome Total War: Gold Edition. On the one hand you'll get to play Rome Total War, the game that sees the rise of the Roman Empire, and on the other one you'll get to play Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, the game that lets you take part in the downfall of the Roman Empire. Of course you get both of these superb titles on one DVD-ROM and if you like your strategy games and for some reason never picked up Rome Total War the first time around then this is just too good a package to pass up.

What's good about the game?

There's a lot to like with the Rome Total War: Gold Edition. Rome Total War was easily worth the asking price and the Barbarian Invasion expansion, like the Mongol Invasion and Viking Invasion for Shogun and Medieval Total War respectively, was an expansion that offered new factions, new ways to play and a superb amount of replay value. Of course buying the Gold Edition means you'll have the original game and the expansion fully patched, so you'll not experience the bugs that the original releases had. Having them both on a single DVD-ROM instead of being spanned over 4 CD-ROMs is also a positive too. The main positive however is that what we have here is one of the finest Roman based strategy games ever made and it will get you in the mood for Medieval 2: Total War when it arrives later this year. You can read more about both Rome Total War and Barbarian Invasion in our original reviews.

What's not so good about the game?

It was difficult to find fault with Rome Total War and Barbarian Invasion individually and with them both combined into one package it's even more so. One of the biggest issues for me with Rome Total War was how pixelated the interface icons looked when playing at resolutions above 1024x768. Using a screen resolution of 1280x1024 (on a 17" TFT) the icons do look quite ugly. Complaints specific to the Gold Edition are that you don't get a tech-tree chart. There's not even a PDF file that you can print out. Whilst all the relevant information can be found in the game, it's a shame that a tech-tree chart hasn't been included as it's something all strategy gamers value.

How does it look?

Whilst the game is now not far away from being two years old, Rome Total War still looks great for a strategy game. Obviously with the Gold Edition simply being a combination of the original game and expansion there are no modifications in terms of the graphics, but that still doesn't stop the game from being visually impressive. Rome Total War saw battles being carried out with 3D character models instead of 2D sprites and the game looked all the more impressive for it. Barbarian Invasion added night battles which again looked visually impressive. Best of all though is that even though the battles can actually contain a very large amount of units, the performance is actually very good given the amount of detail on offer.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers won't have any problems with the Rome Total War: Gold Edition. Subtitles, for the games cutscenes, are available although they are not enabled by default. All tutorial messages, both on the campaign map and battlefield, are shown in text. Senate orders and other objectives are also shown in text. In fact the only verbal content you'll be unaware of is the comments that your units make when you issue orders to them, which isn't really that important. The game comes with a 100+ page manual, which contains the contents of both the original Rome Total War and Barbarian invasion manuals, which should answer any questions you may have about the game.

Final thoughts.

If you're a strategy game fan and for some reason or another you haven't yet picked up a copy of Rome Total War, you owe it to yourself to pick up this brilliant package. Even if you are someone with an occasional interest in strategy games, and have never experienced a Total War game before, this is definitely the best place to start. It's a shame a tech tree chart wasn't included but that's something that can be overlooked given the quality that's on offer here.


Overall Game Rating: 9.4/10

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Rome Total War: Gold Edition is a superb compilation that every strategy fan should own.