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Welcome to Rome - Welcome to War.
Two world dominating games in one! Uniting multi-award winning Rome Total War and its official expansion pack, Barbarian Invasion, you must guide history's greatest armies to victory in a game of epic real-time warfare, empire building, politics and treachery.
Play as one of three great Roman families, whose thirst for power will stop at nothing. This the world of Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra and a thousand others. This is a world of soldiers, gladiators, tyrants, monsters and fools. It's a rich, exciting world, awaiting a conqueror - you! You must use military genius to build an empire that stretches across Europe and Africa. Finally march on Rome to seize control of the greatest empire in the world. Then in Barbarian invasion either defend it or lead a Barbarian horde and bring the once mighty empire to its knees.
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The program will sometimes crash, though this can be much reduced by turning off anything on your machine that might issue pop-up notifications. Running without other open windows helps.
There are some repeating "battle crashes," in which the game will shut down in the middle of a battle repeatedly. To avoid this, I'm afraid you have to go back and restart your game from the last save-point. As with any strategy game, it's a good idea to save after all significant moves.
There are irritating lapses in the realism at the games Easy and Moderate levels: for instance if you drive an enemy from his own walls, he'll almost never attempt to retake them. While this is a great tactical advantage to you, it tends to flatten out your battle-plans: you don't even need that contingency plan.
All that said, RTW is my very favorite strategy-and-tactics game. It adapts brilliantly to your tastes: if you just want to play the strategy side, you can have the computer handle your tactics, manage your cities, fight your battles automatically. I'm a bit of a control freak and like to manage my cities and the characters in the game pretty closely, and the game rewards such diligence. Without cheats or tricks, you can expand the game's capabilities by creating super-characters with lots of experience and strong character-traits who can fight battles or manage cities as you like.
From a military-historical point of view, the game has done a lot of homework: units perform well or poorly under varying conditions (dark, forests, mountains, deserts, snow, even rain). Strong cavalry can win the day in the field, but are scuppered against walls or a decent shield-wall. Archers must be deployed with their vulnerability to cavalry in mind. And so on endlessly.
It's great good fun.
Highly addictive though. Be careful. It will take over your life if you aren't careful.