Gates of Troy Download (2004 Strategy Game)

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Once, long ago, there stood a mighty nation on the gates of the Hellespont, rich in culture and advancement, so powerful that no Greek city dared oppose her. Legend said that the gods, in their petty sqabbles, involved this great city, known to the ancients as Troy, against the combined might of the Greek kingdoms in a war that lasted 10 years, ending with the famous tale of the wooden horse. Now, players can re fight this famous conflict, with Slitherine's The Gates of Troy.

Gates of Troy is a stand alone add-on to the award winning Spartan game system (See my review of that game for details, and I will quote part of that review here.) Players can take command of the armies led by the famous heroes of Homer's epic poem, the Illiad, as well as adding several new scenarios and some famous battles. If you already have Spartan, this add-on will update the previous scenarios, improve the AI, as well as increase the number of unit types, while also adding a totally new unit type, the Hero.

Heroes, much like generals, are a single man, yet they can take on scores of enemies in battle, and often they can defeat much larger forces. Of course, if you want them to last, you will need a healthy amount of troops to fight with him.

For those unfamiliar with the Spartan/Gates of Troy system, "is a turn based strategy game, simulating the rise of the Greeks from their early beginning up to the era of Alexander the Great. Players can select, in a number of scenarios, to command a number of Greek city states. 10 different nationalities in all are represented, and players can re fight the wars of the Ancient Greeks, or change the outcomes and alliances as they desire. The object of the scenarios depends on the nation state selected, in each scenario, the victory conditions rest on the tribe selected. Victory usually requires players to capture enemy cities, amass silver, or build great political wonders, all within a given time limit. How you go about achieving these victory conditions is the heart of the game."

"Each turn, you can issue orders to each city you control, and to any field armies you have. In addition, there is a full diplomatic sub game, as well as separate trade functions and research, all of which I will discuss a little later in the article. While you are about your attempt to win, the computer will randomly generate barbarian invaders, AI controlled nations may attack, battles may be fought on land and sea, walled cities may be besieged, and trade deals may be done."

"Learning the game is simplicity itself, the manual is detailed and well laid out, and the game includes full tutorials to help in ease of play. You will quickly learn how to move armies about the country side, how to form fleets and engage in combat. Combat is at the heart of Spartan, the game requires a certain amount of aggressive behavior, as you will always need or want cities and commodities other nation states possess. There are also complete tutorials on city management, trade and diplomacy, so all aspects of the game are easily grasped. A few easy scenarios with limited objectives are included, so that players can put to practical use what they learn in the tutorials, before jumping into the game's more detailed and complex scenarios. To secede in the game of Spartan, players must develop their cities, recruit effective armies, secure needed trade good, research technology, and make sound decisions on where and when to attack the enemy."

As the game play is identical to Spartan, I will not quote my previous review completely, as it is available on our database, simply please refer to it for details of the economic and combat systems of the game. What is new is a revamping of the Diplomatic abilities, with new options available, such as making alliances, and controlling lesser states through diplomacy, such as vassalization, marriage alliances, peace negotiations, and so on.

The six new campaigns offer new challenges, in Thermopylae, a group of Spartans must defend the pass against an endless stream of Persians. In the Ioian revolt, players can be a city in revolt against the Persians, and attempt to take enough cities before the Persians organize a large force to stop you. The Trojan war recreates the epic battle of Mycenean Greece, players can either be the attacking Greeks of the Trojans and their brave king, Prium. A new fantasy campaign, Rome and Persia, adds these two powers as playable nations, trying to control Hellistic world. Greece, 1300BC places players in an era known as a 'Dark age,' when the Dorian Greeks first arrive, and the tribes of Greece try to carve out an empire. Finally, the grand campaign, Greek Colonization, allows players to begin 1500 BC, with one city, and try to carve out an empire. Unlike other campaigns, every city is a single nation, there are no powerful nations, you must become one.

In addition to the new units and heroes, playing Gates of Troy is different from Spartan, in that the AI will be far more aggressive. You cannot simply max out the tech tree, build one powerful army, and conqueror all. The AI will have taken most of the world if you are not aggressive. You will clash with powerful Greek states, and combat won't always be the solution. Players will have to use diplomacy and guile as well as brute force to achieve victory.

The game is beautiful to look at, relatively bug free, and quite easy to learn. It is also fun and absorbing, and will take up large chunks of your gaming time. I highly recommend it.


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