Age of Mythology: The Titans
|Age of Mythology: The Titans|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
The Titans adds a fourth culture to the game, the Atlanteans, and three new major gods, plus new units, buildings and god powers. It also includes many new features, such as auto-queueing (allows indefinite training of units as long as you have sufficient resources), and the ability to summon a Titan, a gargantuan, godlike being that forms the game's focal point. Critics gave Titans an average rating of 84% according to GameRankings.
The largest new addition to Titans is a new civilization, the Atlanteans. The Atlanteans have no specific hero units, but can convert most human units into a hero. Citizens have no drop off point for resources, and town centers can be built at any time during the game. Atlantean Citizens are much more effective in work than their Greek, Norse or Egyptian counterparts and do not require drop-off points for resources; instead, harvested resources are automatically added to stockpiles. They are also slower to train, and much more expensive. Atlanteans gain favor through possessing town centers. The more they control, the faster the rate of favor generation.
A new unit, the Oracle, is introduced on the side of the Atlanteans. With a line of sight that expands when he stands still and a researchable ability to pick up relics, he can be very effective in the early game, but he only has an attack if upgraded to hero.
Most Atlantean human units can be transformed into heroes (including Citizens), which become a little bit better at everything they do. Myth Units, Naval Units, Siege Units, Titans, and Soban are the exceptions. As well as being strong against Myth Units, Atlantean heroes retain their own strengths and weaknesses, so, for example, Murmillo heroes are still weak against archers and strong against cavalry.
Titan worshippers have special powers, such as Kronos' ability to move buildings from one location on the map to another, or Oranos' Sky Passages, which allow instant unit transportation across the map. This can significantly affect the gameplay of older maps designed for Age of Mythology pre-expansion, as areas of maps that were inaccessible become accessible. The Earth entity Gaia has the ability to grow lush from buildings, preventing enemy players constructing buildings nearby as well as providing a small healing effect to buildings. Other, lesser god powers are available to the Atlanteans at any time during the game. Unlike the other civilizations, the Atlanteans can use certain god powers multiple times. Some, like Gaia's Forest, cause new forest to generate, which provides a far more effective wall that only villagers (or forest fires or colossi) can break through. These too may alter gameplay on older maps.
Worshipping the Titans (Kronos, Oranos or Gaia) entitles the player to summon one of several new myth units: the Behemoth, essentially a living regenerating siege unit, the Automaton, a robot that repairs other Automatons during breaks in the fighting, and the Argus, an indescribable creature with eyes covering its whole body, floating in the air that kills units with acid. Naval myth units include the Servant, which heals naval and coastal units and has a moderate attack, also the Man O' War, a lightning-shooting Jellyfish that causes damage to multiple units.
The Servant affects game-play by adding the option of loading up a coastal region with Servants who are not easily attacked by ground troops - thus fighting there is a serious advantage to the player with Servants. Like the Fenris Wolf that grows in attack effectiveness with numbers, the Automaton grows also in effectiveness because a large army of them can self-repair in time to be at full fighting strength before the next skirmish. These features make the Servant and Automaton particularly effective defensive units.
Another flying healer, the Caladria, and flying attack unit, the Stymphalian bird, round out the aerial myth units while the Man O'War and Nereid are available for naval combat. The Satyr throws spears, the Lampades unleashes the chaos power on units at range, and the Heka Gigantes generates shockwaves. Prometheans split into smaller Prometheans when killed. Planting a Hesperides tree allows players to summon Dryads, and another reusable god power puts carnivorous plants in the way of enemies.
Overall, the game favors the more offensive player in the late game and the more defensive player early (who builds up to summon the Titan or earn these powers). The Titan (also a myth unit) is the strongest useable unit in the game. Titans can only be summoned by researching "The Secrets of the Titans" in the mythic age. After researching the secrets, you'll be able to summon a Titan Gate anywhere within your line of sight. Once it is placed, you must task villagers on releasing the Titan (and must protect the gate from enemy attacks until the Titan is released). The game has been criticized for having too much emphasis on the Titan, the construction of a Titan gate being now an all-or-nothing gambit to win the game - if the gate is destroyed, no new one can be built.
Titans introduces six new maps types, and seven new AI personalities. For the original civilizations, several upgrades and changes were added. The upgrade Beast Slayer causes the Greek gods' unique units to do bonus damage against Myth units. Hands of the Pharaoh lets Egyptian priests pick up Relics; a power formerly reserved for the Pharaoh unit only. Range of attack is also increased by two for Egyptian priests. The Norse gain the Axe of Muspell upgrade, which gives Throwing Axemen bonus damage against flying units.
In terms of bonuses for every civilization, the upgrade Heroic Fleet gives ships bonus damage against myth units. The non-Atlanteans can build town centers in the Classical Age in Titans, as opposed to Heroic in the original. Finally, the Titan unit is introduced to the game. Titans are huge units possessing large amounts of hitpoints and armor while having high attack.
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The campaign is a third of the length of the one in Age of Mythology. This time focuses mostly on the Atlantean civilization and its main defender Kastor, son of Arkantos. Arkantos, who is now a minor God of Titan Fighting (as mentioned in the game), also makes a few minor appearances here. The story is set ten years after the events of the Age of Mythology storyline.
The story begins with Kronos, who is still trapped in Tartarus, watching the Atlanteans, who are attempting to survive the harsh winters in the Norselands after Atlantis was destroyed 10 years ago in the events of Age of Mythology. He sends his unnamed servant to the colony, who kills the Theocrat Krios and possesses his body.
Krios, who is actually Kronos' Servant in disguise, says he saw a temple in his dream. The Atlanteans leave the Norselands by using the foreseen temple called a Sky Passage, and they come to a resourceful island. Upon their arrival, Krios pointed out the plant-covered Temples to Oranos and Kronos. Krios says it was these imprisoned Titans who helped them, and convinces his people including Kastor to worship them.
The Greeks are angered with the Atlanteans' new choice of gods, and attack them. The Atlanteans retaliate by destroying the entire Greek colony from which some of the attacks came. However, some of the Greek ships escape and go to General Melagius, ruler of that colony and other lands. He is angered by the destruction of his colony and prepares for an attack. The Atlanteans however still manage to invade Melagius' city called Sikyos, and slay him. Just as the Atlanteans kill Melagius, Egyptian and Norse allies of Melagius come to aid the city. Kastor decides they are too powerful and flees. However, he does not go back to New Atlantis, but instead ventures up to the Norselands. His plan is that the Norse will not be expecting an attack. He destroys Norse temples and replaces them with Atlantean temples, to show his superiority. He also destroys the Tower of Odin (Odin's only stronghold on Earth) by using a god power from Kronos.
Some Atlantean forces then sail to Egypt. The scene cuts to Egypt where Queen Amanra (a comrade of Arkantos when he was still a human) is conversing with her troops. Arkantos suddenly appears before Amanra and tells her that the Atlanteans are coming to steal relics from the Egyptians. Amanra fortifies the protections around the relics, but the Atlanteans still manage to steal them. Just as the Atlantean army closes around Amanra and her few troops, lightning bolts kill all the Atlantean soldiers. Arkantos appears and tells Amanra that the Atlanteans are being led by Kastor. Amanra questions this, and Arkantos tells Amanra that Kastor is being tricked. He tells her to find Kastor and to help him. It then cuts to a new scene, where Krios congratulates Kastor on his work and shows him a Sky Passage that he has found. Krios tells Kastor that the Sky Passage will take him behind Greek lines. Kastor enters it with his troop and finds himself not in the Greek territories, but on Mount Olympus. Kastor believes that Krios made a mistake about where the Sky Passage went. He and his troops discover they cannot go back the same way they came, so they decide their only choice is to attack Mount Olympus. Using special temples that change his men into different myth units, Kastor slays the followers of the Olympian Gods, including Odysseus. However, once he does this, the temple to Zeus on the mountain collapses. Kastor leaves with his army and heads to the Greek territories. When he gets there, he sees the Titan Prometheus and his army of Prometheans from Tartarus destroying Sikyos. Krios arrives and announces that Kastor's actions in Greece, Egypt and the Norselands, combined with his invasion of Olympus, have weakened the Olympian Gods' control over these territories and allowed minor titans to spawn. Krios reveals his true form, a winged demon and servant of Kronos, and flees.
Kastor is then attacked by other Atlanteans who are under Krios's control. Meanwhile, Amanra meets Ajax, another companion of Arkantos. Apparently, Ajax was also looking for Kastor. Amanra tells Ajax that Kastor has been tricked, and that they must find him. All this time Kastor is being repeatedly attacked by Atlanteans. Amanra and Ajax rescue him with a flock of Rocs. Arkantos appears, and Kastor tells his father that he did not realize he was being tricked. Arkantos forgives him and tells the heroes that two other Titans have been freed in the Norselands and in Egypt. Amanra decides that they will go to Egypt first, as that is her homeland. After the heroes leave, Prometheus advances and continues to destroy any surrounding cities/villages/etc.
Cerberus, the Titan summoned in Egypt, has begun wreaking havoc among the population. Amanra orders her people to awaken the Guardian, a powerful being that previously aided her in Age of Mythology. The Guardian is awakened and kills Cerberus. They then travel to the Norse lands, and they meet King Folstag, a powerful Frost Giant whose lands are being destroyed by the Titan Ymir. With the help of Folstag and the Nidhogg Dragon, the heroes kill Ymir and restore peace to the Norse lands.
The heroes then travel to Greece to find the peaceful green countryside destroyed and in flames as a result of Prometheus's attacks. Amanra is the first to notice plants growing in a particular spot that surrounds a Temple to Gaia. Arkantos appears before the heroes and explains to them Gaia, also a Titan, has been empowered by Kastor's actions, and has been using her power to heal Greece. They spread the green lush of the benevolent earth Titan Gaia across the burnt land, both healing it and weakening Prometheus. They manage to overcome him in his weakened state. After the defeat of Prometheus, Arkantos praises Kastor and the others on their victory, but he explains that there is still more to do. Kastor reveals Kronos' Servants' location: The Atlantean colony, and they set off.
The heroes then venture back to New Atlantis, where they rescue citizens from Automatons. After battling all of the Automatons, Kastor and his army retake New Atlantis. Kronos' Servant again retreats to a Sky Passage from the battered battlefield. Kastor, Ajax, and Amanra enter the Sky Passage which takes them to Old Atlantis. Kronos appears above them and announces the future arrival of Kronos: King of the Titans. The only way to defeat the Titan Lord is to summon Gaia (the mother of the Titans). While holding off the constant attacks from Kronos's followers, the heroes plant the four magical seeds of Gaia in four mystical pools located in the four corners of Old Atlantis. These seeds bring forth four giant trees that begin to summon Gaia. Kastor's forces are at a stand by as they wait for Gaia to arrive. Shortly after the planting of all the trees, Kronos appears.
Kronos advances to destroy any opposition on the island. Eventually Gaia is released, who battles Kronos, eventually throwing him back through the door to Tartarus and burying him in a landslide. She then returns back to the earth. Kronos' Servant attempts to escape, but after a brief struggle, Kastor stabs him through the heart. After Kastor kills Kronos' Servant, Arkantos appears to the Atlanteans and grants Kastor rulership of the Atlantean people by giving him the Staff of Atlantis. The story ends with Arkantos bidding his son and everyone else farewell before leaving, as Kastor, the new ruler of Atlantis and his people rebuild once again.
In the United States, Titans sold over 100,000 copies by August 2006. Combined sales of the Age of Mythology franchise reached 1.3 million units in the United States by August 2006.
Titans was well received by critics, with an average score of 84 on Metacritic and GameRankings. GameSpot gave Titans an 8.3 out of 10, and commented "There's plenty more depth to be found here since having a brand-new civilization with three new primary gods creates many more...new strategies. On the other hand, it would have been nice to see the original civilizations get fleshed out some more...because experienced Age of Mythology players will want more than just one big reason to keep playing as their favorite factions." About.com declares that the "most significant unit to come form [sic] Age of Mythology The Titans Expansion is the Titan unit itself. If you are fortunate to have the resources,these extremely expensive war machines can literally decide the outcome of the game, by destroying virtually everything in their path." IGN gave the game an 8.9 out of 10 and mentioned "But as we suspected, it's an expansion well worth the wait."
Game Revolution gave the game a B+ and said "While not innovative in any way, AOM: The Titans is everything you should expect from a quality expansion." GameSpy gave Titans a 4.5 out of 5 and best summed it up with "Great new units and tons of gameplay enhancements make Age of Mythology: The Titans a model for how expansion packs should be done."
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