I see that it's very hard for people to go back and love Rome the day we all did back when it was new, but my memories are stronger than any new impression can make. One of the greatest aspects of Rome: Total War was it's scale. It had a huge campaign map, with real time battles and turn based map movements. No other game at the time had anything close to that, it was the first to do many things and it did them so well. You had three Roman factions to choose from, all varying slightly, and at least five other factions to pick from (including the Gauls, Greeks and Macedonians). All of the factions, besides the three Roman ones, had a great deal of diversity of units. For instance, only the Greeks had the unholy strength of their spear wall, or the Romans and their superior siege weapons.
This game brought so much new to the gaming world and left behind a legacy of many great games, I cannot admire it enough. Nothing beat having assassins and diplomats leading the way for your great conquering armies, nor could anything beat the sheer number of individual soldiers filling a screen. It was magical, it was new, it was innovative and it delivered on all fronts. It may be easy to look down upon now, but think of it was the Warcraft: Orcs & Humans of the Total War universe; without it, the gaming world would be worse off.
Sure, the Roman legions were a bit overpowered and unbalanced, but so were the Greeks defensive capabilities or Parthia's devastatingly strong elephants. The hardest was always trying to be the underdog, the Gauls. They were the true barbarians of the Roman days, rampaging throughout northern Europe and the whole of the English Isles. You had to defeat your enemies with your numbers, your screaming many who threw heads at their enemies, or axes. They wore little armor, but they were fast and they hit hard. In reality, the Roman's had a really tough time eliminating the Gauls, but they did still lose and that's how every single one of my attempts with the Gauls went. So close, but in the end, I were crushed by their boots or the boots of others.
On top of everything that was fantastic about Rome: Total War, there came another called Barbarian Invasion (it's expansion). It made the game a little more unbalanced, beserkers!, but it brought even more factions, night battles and more historical battles. The new factions were fantastic, it was a great pleasure to see the torches of barbarians, who were decked out in varied colors that displayed their unification, spread across the hilltops and forests. It was a graphically impressive expansion, but pretty bad looking by today's standards. Overall, it added more to a game that was already excellent and back in those days expansions felt a little more hefty than they do now.
In the end this game was a pleasure that I had never before seen, something that I still see in the new Total War games. I wish I could say go back and play this game, if you haven't, but I just don't think you could possibly understand why it delivered such a deep experience. Instead, I do recommend Medieval 2: Total War, it offers a similar enough feel (to some) and shows off some of the great aspects that Rome developed.
I claim this game to be, without a doubt, Legendary
Keep them coming Creative Assembly, you bought my loyalty with Rome and haven't let me down yet.
Thanks for reading, whoever you are and yes I did write this in the AM's of the morning.
-Written by Sean Cargle