Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
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|Age of Empires II: The Conquerors|
|Series||Age of Empires|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh|
|Release||August 24, 2001|
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors is the expansion pack to the 1999 real-time strategy game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. The Conquerors is the fourth installment in the Age of Empires series by Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios. It features five new civilizations (the Aztecs, Mayans, Spanish, Koreans, and Huns), four new campaigns, eleven new units, twenty-six new technologies, new gameplay modes, new maps and different minor tweaks to the gameplay.
A second expansion, The Forgotten, was released on Steam in November 2013, over a decade since the release of The Conquerors. In November 2015, another expansion was released, also on Steam, entitled The African Kingdoms. A third Steam expansion, entitled Rise of the Rajas, was released in December 2016.
The Conquerors also introduced various new gameplay features and tweaks, including the new game modes Defend the Wonder, King of the Hill and Wonder Race. Additional maps, some based on real life geographic locations, and new winter and tropical terrain textures were included. In-game, infantry are able to garrison in battering rams, protecting the infantry while increasing the ram's speed and attack, while ships are able to form formations for more effective fighting. The graphics are left unchanged, but new civilizations have been added such as the Spanish, Huns, Koreans, Mayans and Aztecs. In addition to new units, the in-game upgrade lines have been extended to provide more unit choices. The Aztecs and Mayans lack the ability to train cavalry units. This is partially balanced by the fact that they start with Eagle Warrior infantry units, who have many of the advantages that cavalry have. Both civilizations also lack access to gunpowder units. The Huns are also unique in that they do not build houses to support their population, from the start being only limited by the fixed population limit of the game.
Micromanagement is made easier, by an improved scripted Artificial Intelligence of villagers and siege weapons. Villagers will now automatically commence gathering resources if they build resource gathering sites. Wall construction has also been improved: when assigning two or more villagers, they evenly spread out instead of working on the same patch, and when multiple farmers are sent on one farm, the surplus will start cultivating adjacent farms instead of idling. Mangonels and onagers will not automatically fire if their attack is likely to harm friendly units. Additionally, a button was added to the mill, which would allow farms to be paid for in advance, so that when an existing one was exhausted, it would automatically be replanted. Chat commands are introduced, in order to communicate more effectively with allied computer players.
The Conquerors adds four additional single player campaigns. These are based on Attila the Hun's rise to power, Montezuma's defense against Hernán Cortés, and the adventures of El Cid. The fourth campaign, "Battles of the Conquerors", is actually a group of unrelated single scenarios, each based on a significant historical battle. These include the Battle of Tours, the saga of Erik the Red, the Battle of Hastings, the Battle of Manzikert, the Battle of Agincourt, the Battle of Lepanto, the Battle of Yamazaki, and the Battle of Noryang.
Attila the Hun
The Attila the Hun campaign begins as Attila assumes leadership of the Huns through the death of his brother [Bleda] and leads them to victory over their enemies, the Persians, the Scythians, and the Western Roman Empire. Attila then launches a series of raids on various cities (Naissus, Sofia, Dyrrhachium, Thessalonica, Adrianople), in order to obtain resources to destroy a base in the Eastern Roman Empire. These raids take him to Marcianopolis, Philippopolis, and Constantinople, continuing even as the Romans attempt to buy him off with payments of gold. He then receives a whimsical marriage proposal from Honoria, prompting him to concentrate his raids in Gaul, defeating Burgundy, Metz, and Orleans before withstanding the onslaught of a Roman army. Aetius then takes the battle to Attila at the Catalaunian Fields, alongside the Visigoths, led by Theodoric, and the Alans. After defeating all three of these enemies, Attila advances into northern Italy as he plunders Aquileia, Verona, Padua, and Milan. He is then summoned to a meeting with Pope Leo I in Rome, and the Pope somehow convinces him to leave Rome alone.
The El Cid campaign begins as Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar becomes King Sancho's champion through a trial by combat, in which he obtains his horse Bavieca. He then defeats Sancho's brother, King Alfonso of León (who covets Sancho's Kingdom of Castile) and brings him to Sancho so that they may come to an amicable settlement. Sancho is assassinated, the game implying that Alfonso was involved. Alfonso thereby becomes king of both León and Castille. El Cid has Alfonso swear an oath that he was not responsible for the death of his brother. Toledo demands El Cid's attention as Spanish and Moorish rebels take over the city; an imam tells El Cid to bring him the four relics scattered throughout the city so that he might quell the rebellion. El Cid also meets Motamid during this quest to restore peace to Toledo. King Alfonso orders El Cid into exile, but once he destroys one of Alfonso's castles blocking his way to Zaragoza, Alfonso declares a truce. He then meets up with Motamid in Zaragoza and takes up service with him, helping him defeat Count Berenguer. He returns to King Alfonso's service to defend him from the attacks of Yusuf and his Black Guard, destroying all of their docks. Alfonso exiles him yet again, and El Cid wanders through the cities of Denia and Lérida until finally arriving in Valencia, which he defends from the attacks of Berenguer as the Valencians construct a Wonder. He rules there until Yusuf puts the city to siege. He is killed by a stray arrow in a failed raid, and his wife Ximena de Asturias puts him atop his horse to give the impression of his still living, so his soldiers will not lose heart as they defeat Yusuf's forces.
The Montezuma Campaign opens with the Aztecs responding to various prophecies by taking possession of numerous shrines in the jungle, over the opposition of their opponents, the Tlatiluco, the Tepanaca, and the Xochimilco. They then invoke the Triple Alliance of themselves, Texcoco, and Tlacopan in order to defeat the Tlaxcala. Once the Tlaxcala have been defeated, the Texcoco and Tlacopan betray the Aztecs and are promptly defeated themselves. The Spanish then arrive on the shores of the New World in search of gold, and Hernán Cortés destroys his transports to indicate his resolve to make good his claim of the Aztec Empire for Spain. The Aztecs fail to protect the Tabasco from the Spanish and come to the conclusion that the Spanish are their enemies as well as the Tlaxcala and proceed to defeat the Tlaxcala, who have allied with the Spanish, and steal some Spanish horses as well. Montezuma is killed by his own subjects who are fed up with his being out of touch. Cortés builds a Wonder in Tenochtitlán which Cuauhtémoc and a band of raiders eventually destroy, forcing the Spanish out of the city. They then defeat the Tlaxcala and Spanish in the Battle of Otumba (a Spanish victory in real life) and capture some horses and gunpowder carts to be able to train cavalry and cannons. They finally defeat the Spanish Army, Spanish Navy, and Tlaxcala from their reclaimed city of Tenochtitlán.
Battles of the Conquerors
The Battle of Hastings shows William the Conqueror launching his invasion of England in 1066 to defeat Harold the Saxon, as well as Harald Hardraade's defeat at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Vindlandsaga shows Erik the Red's expedition to Newfoundland, showcasing raids on the British coastline, the subjugation of Greenland, and the fending off of Skraelings in the New World as the Vikings found a settlement. The Battle of Agincourt shows Henry V asserting his claim to the throne of France as he retreats from Harfleur, goes through Voyeni, Amiens, and Frévent before facing the French knights with his longbowmen and sailing back to England. The battle of Manzikert shows the Seljuk Turks defeating Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV and conquering eastern Anatolia by extracting resources from the themes of Cappadocia, Pisidia, and Galatia, before defeating the Byzantine Army proper. The Battle of Kyoto (Yamazaki) shows the death of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's taking of Osaka, Hyogo, and destruction of all the castles in Kyoto. The Battle of Lepanto shows John of Austria's forces keeping Turkish ships and transports at bay as they defend a wonder constructed quite close to the shoreline. The Battle of Tours shows Charles Martel capturing the Moors' baggage train after the latter had already overrun Poitiers. The Battle of Noryang Point shows Admiral Yi Sun-Shin's invention of the turtle ship as his last stand against the Japanese forces of Toyotomi Hideyoshi sees the Japanese defeated in their desire to expand into Korea.
The game disc itself is a mixed mode CD (contains both Data & Audio tracks). Track 1 appears as the data track, and track 2 is the soundtrack as a Red Book audio track. According to Gracenote, it is called "Subotai Defeats The Knights Templar". As in the PC version, the file is very long and uses small transitions to separate tracks. It lasts 30 minutes and 48 seconds. The Age of Empires Collector Edition Soundtrack CD's track list gives a lot of the individual tracks own names. The tracks were composed by Stephen Rippy and Kevin McMullan.
These are the tracks that appear on the audio part of the game CD, in order of playback. The tracks are not separated, but instead are one long track with floating transitions. Some of the tracks are featured on the "More Music From The Ages" CD, though these are usually only available as prizes from Ensemble Studios.
In the United States, The Conquerors sold 221,000 units and earned $6 million by October 2000, according to PC Data. It sold 800,000 copies and earned $20.1 million in the region by August 2006, and was the country's 12th best-selling computer game between January 2000 and August 2006. Combined sales of all Age of Empires games released between January 2000 and August 2006, including The Conquerors, had reached 4.1 million units in the United States by the latter date. The Conquerors received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
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