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Age of Mythology: The Titans PC CD-ROM

Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Ensemble Studios
Released: Out Now
Requires: Age of Mythology
Price: £24.99

It was a brave decision that Ensemble Studios made when, after two historically based RTS games, they decided to opt for a game based on mythology. Whilst the theme of their game may have changed from a historical to a mythological one, the gameplay remained similar and was enhanced to create a first class RTS experience. Age of Mythology contained 3 races, Egyptian, Greek and Norse with each having 3 major gods and their followers, which in total made for 9 playable races. The Titans expansion features, amongst other things, the Atlantean race and once more it has 3 major gods, each with their own following. As well as the new race, the game also contains a 12 mission campaign and the almighty Titan units. Let's take a look and see if Ensemble Studios have once again come up trumps.

The Titans expansion is set 10 years after the fall of Atlantis. This time you control the son of Arkantos, Kastor. The Atlanteans having felt betrayed by Zeus and the other gods decide to worship the Titans, which is bad news for the other races in the game. The major Titan gods in the game are Kronos, Oranos and Gaia. Kronos is the King of the Titans and the god of time. His god power is destruction and the civilisation bonus for his people is that he can move his followers to alternate locations to protect them. Oranos was the original leader of the Titans and is the father of Kronos. His god power is shockwave and his followers can build sky passages. Gaia is the mother of the Titans and the personification of mother nature. Her god power is Gaia's forest which produces a forest that is far richer in resources than normal forests. Her followers benefit from having buildings with lush greenery that heals and prevents enemies from building close by. As before you also get a fine collection of minor gods (9 in all) and these range from Prometheus the Titan god of forethought to Atlas the Titan god of daring and each comes with their own benefits, god power and myth unit.

Whilst the Atlanteans may look similar to the Greeks, they actually play very differently. The Altantean citizen is more expensive but comes with their own mule so they don't need to drop their resources off at a gather point. Oracles are basically moveable beacons that, when standing, can gain a huge line of sight and will give you warning of an impending attack although they are unable to inflict damage themselves. Atlanteans are unique in that any unit can be turned into a hero. If you make a citizen into a hero he/she will become far superior at building and resource collecting whereas if you turn a military unit into a hero he will become greater in both defence and attack. Perhaps the most worrying difference of all though (if you happen to be playing against the Atlanteans that is) is that several of the god powers can actually recharge and be reused which is something neither race could do in the original game.

Of course this expansion pack is not just about a new race. Any race that manages to reach the Mythic Age can build a Titan gate providing they have researched the Secret of the Titans. A Titan gate allows you to to create a Titan (not the gods as such but a super myth unit that has phenomenal power). Each of the races within the game can 'build' a Titan. The Egyptians have Horis (half-bird half-man), the Greeks have Cerberus (half-man half-dog, with three heads), the Norse have Ymir (the frost giant) and the Atlanteans have Chthonian. These units are absolutely huge and with their mighty strength it's going to be difficult to defend against them. However they do have limitations such as they cannot heal and cannot cross water but nevertheless you're going to want to be the first to create a Titan. Whilst the original races haven't had any other additional units there have been some adjustments with the attributes of some of the units and god powers to help balance the gameplay, not that there was much of a problem anyway. You can now churn units out indefinitely thanks to the unit repeat button which should help amass troops much more quickly providing you've got the resources of course. The number of map variations has also increased from 23 to an impressive 29.

Graphically the game is practically the same as Age of Mythology with the exception of some new units and new terrains. This isn't a complaint though, as AoM looked absolutely fine and the same can be said with The Titans. It would have been nice if the Atlanteans had look more different but as they are closely associated with Greeks you would expect them to look fairly similar. The Titans look impressive and easily dwarf any existing unit within the game. The new god powers also look good but no more impressive than those found in Age of Mythology.

The Titans is certainly a very good expansion pack and fans of Age of Mythology will certainly be pleased by it's content. There are no problems for deaf gamers and the game is just as deaf gamer friendly as Age of Mythology. The campaign cutscenes are subtitled and various speech messages appear on screen in text too. Audible warnings are highlighted on the mini-map. The Titans is not as complete an expansion pack as The Conquerors expansion was for Age of Empires II (which was incredible and perhaps the best expansion for any RTS) but it's certainly a fine accompaniment to what was is an excellent game.

Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
The Titans is just what's needed to keep you interested in Age of Mythology. The Atlanteans and the Titans add enough twists to the gameplay to make this a satisfying and enjoyable expansion.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems for deaf gamers.