Spartan: Total Warrior

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Spartan: Total Warrior
PAL region cover art
PAL region cover art
Developer(s) The Creative Assembly
Publisher(s) Sega
Composer(s) Jeff van Dyck
Series Total War
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Release date(s) PlayStation 2
  • PAL 7 October 2005
  • NA 25 October 2005
  • JP 31 August 2006
  • PAL 7 October 2005
  • NA 25 October 2005
  • PAL 7 October 2005
  • NA 27 October 2005
Genre(s) Action, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player

Spartan: Total Warrior is a spin-off hack and slash video game of the Total War series, developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It was released on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. The game has fourteen levels, in which the player controls a lone Spartan warrior guided by Ares, fighting alongside his Greek allies against the invading Roman Empire.

While the Total War series has traditionally focused upon historical and legendary scenarios with each installment, Spartan: Total Warrior is more liberal in its approach to history, drawing elements from Greek and Roman mythology, and featuring many ahistorical elements (most obviously, the Roman Empire and the Spartan state did not exist at the same time in history). As such, it has more in common with games such as God of War than other Total Wars games. It is also the only installment in the series thus far to be released for the console market, rather than for PCs. The Creative Assembly was bought by Sega in 2005, making Spartan: Total Warrior the first Total War game published by Sega.


In Spartan: Total Warrior, the player is able to play two modes; "campaign mode" or "arena battle" (where the player and allied Spartan soldiers have to hold out in the arena against waves of increasingly difficult opponents).

Spartan Total Warrior features fast hack and slash gameplay wherein the player is able to use two main types of attack; a simple attack which damages one enemy, and a radial attack that damages multiple enemies. The simple attack is fast and causes more damage, the radial attack is slower, but damages multiple enemies with a moderate power. As the player progresses through the game, new weapons are unlocked, including a basic sword and shield, a basic bow, an upgraded sword and shield (the Medusa Shield), dual swords (the Blades of Athena), an upgraded bow (the Bow of Power), a strong hammer (Death-Biter) and a spear (the Spear of Achilles). Each weapon has advantages and disadvantages; for example, the Blades of Athena are very fast but cause only moderate damage, the Death-Biter causes a great deal of damage but is very slow, the Spear of Achilles is very fast and has a long reach but causes only semi-powerful damage.

It is also possible to use the "Power of the Gods": when the magic tank is full, the player can use a simple or radial magic attack, with each weapon having a specific magical power. Another important feature of the game is when The Spartan lands a certain amount of attacks, a rage meter fills, which, when full, can be used to unleash powerful attacks. Again, each weapon has its own specific rage attacks.

Combat tends to be focused on large battles with multiple combatants. The player will often take on scores of enemies at once, often completely surrounded and totally outnumbered. In the midst of battle, a small flash is placed on an attacking enemy's weapon to indicate the danger of an impending strike. Care must be taken to block incoming attacks in between offensive blows, balancing offence and defense to avoid taking damage. The player's shield can also be used to shove enemies back and maintain control of the flow of combat in crowded scenarios, to stop an enemy from blocking, and to shove enemies off ledges.


The game takes place in the reign of Emperor Tiberius, with the Roman army invading Greece. Every Greek city has fallen, with the sole exception of Sparta, which is preparing for the imminent arrival of the Roman hordes. The protagonist is a figure known simply as "The Spartan", an orphan raised from childhood to be a soldier. The Spartan's closest friends are the brothers Castor and Pollux, and together they serve under the Spartan king, Leonidas. At the beginning of the game, The Spartan is contacted by Ares, God of War, who offers a deal; he will aid The Spartan in defeating the Romans and revealing his true identity in return for The Spartan delivering an unspecified revenge for which Ares craves.

The Romans attack the city, trying to knock down the walls, but are repelled. The Roman General, Crassus then sends Talos, an animated bronze giant, to attack the walls. The Spartans are able to hold the Romans off long enough for The Spartan to destroy Talos. That night, Ares instructs The Spartan to infiltrate the Roman camp and recover the Blades of Athena, which the Romans looted from the Parthenon during the conquest of Athens. The Spartan is successful, and in the process frees Electra, leader of the Amazons. She warns the Spartans that the Romans have built a new, incredibly powerful weapon, capable of obliterating the entire city. She is proved correct when Crassus reveals a weapon powered by Medusa, with the capability of turning entire phalanxes to stone. As the Spartan army makes its last stand in the city ruins, The Spartan fights his way to Crassus, whom he slays, and destroys the weapon.

In the battle's aftermath, Ares once more speaks to the Spartan, instructing him to go to the ruins of Troy and recover the Spear of Achilles, as only with this weapon will he be powerful enough to defeat the Romans. The Spartan travels through the Badlands north of Greece with Castor, Pollux and Electra, saving a village from barbarian warriors under the command of Beowulf. Upon their arrival at the ruined city, The Spartan enters the underworld of Troy, where he encounters Sejanus, the Praetorian prefect who serves as Tiberius' right-hand man. Sejanus is also a powerful necromancer, resurrecting many undead Roman, Trojan, and Greek warriors. The Spartan fights his way through the ruins of the city, passing by the tombs of Priam, Hector and even the Trojan Horse. Upon reaching the tomb of Achilles, he is once more confronted by Sejanus, who makes him fight an exact copy of himself, with the same abilities and knowledge. The Spartan again survives, and retrieves the Spear of Achilles. He fights his way out of the underworld, rejoining his allies, and attempts to leave the city. However, the Spartans are then informed by Sejanus that Sparta has fallen in their absence. The Spartan is then confronted by the Hydra, awoken from its slumber by Sejanus to kill him. However, he once again proves victorious.

The Spartan now travels to Athens, where he meets the scientist Archimedes, who leads the Athenian Resistance against the occupying Romans. He aids the resistance by protecting Archimedes from Roman assassins, saving several resistance members from execution, and leading the people of Athens in a revolution, storming the mansion occupied by Sejanus and the Praetorian Guard. The mansion is taken, and the Romans slaughtered, but Sejanus escapes. The Spartan then re-activates one of Archimedes' inventions, the Eye of Apollo, to power a lightning gun, which he uses to shoot down the dragon Ladon, used by Sejanus as a steed. Once dismounted, Pollux charges Sejanus, but the Prefect kills him easily, turning him into an undead minion whom Castor is forced to fight, whilst The Spartan and Electra battle Sejanus. They defeat him, and mourn Pollux, but celebrate as the Romans are driven from Athens.

Leaving Athens, The Spartan and Castor travel to Rome, via the Gates of Saturn, a heavily guarded fortress in the Alps. In the complex, they encounter an undead Sejanus, who has returned from Hades. The Spartan kills Sejanus' priestesses, from whom he gets his power, before finally defeating Sejanus for good, whilst the Spartan army massacre the Roman garrison. The Spartans then continue to Rome, where they plan to kill Tiberius. The Spartan uses the Roman sewers and catacombs to infiltrate the city, while the others travel on the surface to the Colosseum, where Tiberius is attending a gladiatorial contest. The plan is to kill Tiberius by placing explosives under his platform. The Spartan succeeds in navigating the sewers, and reaches the surface, after killing the Minotaur, which had gotten loose underground. However, the others are discovered and forced to detonate the bomb too early, missing Tiberius. The Spartan saves Electra and Castor from death, and makes his way to Tiberius. However, Tiberius commits suicide out of fear of an unknown "master". The Spartan then makes his way to the arena, where he meets the true antagonist of the story; Ares. Ares tells The Spartan, that he is the son of one of Aphrodite's handmaidens. The handmaiden revealed Ares' affair with Aphrodite to her husband, Hephaestus. Ares killed the handmaiden, but was banished by the other gods. To save his life from Ares' wrath, The Spartan had all knowledge of his past erased, and was sent to live with the Spartans, having been granted superhuman powers and the abilities to protect himself. He was hidden from Ares, who had helped the Romans conquer Greece purely so as to locate the Spartan and exact his final revenge. Ares also reveals that Leonidas died calling for The Spartan's aid. Ares and The Spartan fight, with The Spartan killing the god. At the end of the game, Castor, the new King of Sparta, says,

"It was over. our epic quest to stop Tiberius and the Roman Empire had ultimately drawn us to this moment. The Spartan had discovered his true identity, defeated the Empire, and battled a vengeful God to free his people. A warrior, a hero, a legend."

Allies and enemies[edit]


  • The Spartan is the ultimate warrior; abandoned at birth, his unknown past hides a dark secret.
  • Castor serves as the Spartan's second in command. He is more calm and analytical than his hot-headed brother.
  • Pollux is Castor's twin brother and one of Sparta's best swordsmen. He serves as one of The Spartan's lieutenants.
  • Electra is an Amazonian princess and a skilled warrior who serves as one of the Spartan's lieutenants after he and Castor rescue her from Crassus' camp.
  • Leonidas is Sparta's king. While initially uncertain about The Spartan, Leonidas grows to respect his courage and skill.
  • Archimedes is a great scientist and philosopher, leader of the Athenian Resistance and inventor of the Eye of Apollo lightning gun.


  • Crassus is the Roman general in charge of the siege of Sparta. Egotistical and arrogant, he lives to enjoy the spoils of war and favors using extravagant, grand weapons to fight his battles.
  • Beowulf is a fierce warrior and commander of the barbarians. He seeks to make his tale known across the world by killing as many heroes as he can.
  • Sejanus is the Praetorian prefect. He is also an amoral, sadistic lunatic and a powerful necromancer with extensive knowledge of black magic.
  • Tiberius is the Roman Emperor who has gone mad with power. He fears The Spartan, and demands that he be killed on sight.

Mythical creatures[edit]

  • Talos is an animated bronze statue, used by Crassus as a weapon during the siege of Sparta
  • Medusa is used as a weapon by Crassus after Talos is defeated. Crassus has somehow harnessed her ability to turn whoever looks into her eyes to stone and use it in the form of a massive blast of energy.
  • Gigantes are feral beasts kept as pets by the barbarians.
  • The Hydra is awakened by Sejanus to kill The Spartan.
  • Ladon is an undead dragon used by Sejanus as his steed.
  • The Minotaur escapes from its imprisonment below the Colosseum and goes on a rampage in the sewers of Rome.
  • Ares is the God of War and The Spartan's protector and guide.


The original music for the game was composed by Jeff van Dyck, who also wrote the music for the other games in Creative Assembly's Total War franchise.


Review scores
Publication Score
GC PS2 Xbox
GamesRadar 4/5[13] 4/5[14] 4/5[13]
GameSpot 7.1/10[7] 7.1/10[8] 7.1/10[9]
IGN 7.9/10[10] 7.9/10[11] 7.9/10[12]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 73.97%[1] 74.84%[2] 74.48%[3]
Metacritic 73/100[4] 74/100[5] 73/100[6]

Spartan: Total Warrior received a generally positive reaction. The PlayStation version has a score of 74 on Metacritic based on 33 reviews and a score of 74.84 on GameRankings based on 37 reviews. The GameCube version has a score of 73 on Metacritic based on 24 reviews and a score of 73.97 on GameRankings based on 24 reviews. The Xbox version has a score of 73 on Metacritic based on 36 reviews and a score of 74.48 on GameRankings based on 36 reviews.

GameSpot argued that the game had the potential to be a lot better. Scoring the game 7.1, they concluded that "overall, Spartan: Total Warrior is a pretty fun, though derivative, action game that should keep you entertained for at least the six or seven hours it takes you to get through the story. With just a bit more effort, Spartan could have been great. But it's still worth playing if you're especially interested in the subject matter or in hack-and-slash action games in general."[7][8][9]

IGN also thought the game came close to greatness, but fell somewhat short; "Spartan: Total Warrior does so many things right that it genuinely pains us to see the experience get bogged down by a handful of major annoyances. Creative Assembly crafted a marvelous game engine, too, one that affords spectacular encounters filled with more action, blood and "Holy crap did you see that!?" moments than we'd care to mention. It's therefore unfortunate that the unrefined targeting system, cheap boss battles and generally unhelpful friendly AI make the experience a mixed bag of exhilarating and exasperating moments. Still, Total Warrior is a good (almost great) action game that fans of the genre should definitely consider purchasing."[10][11][12]


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