Rome: Total War Alexander
Rome: Total War: Alexander is the second expansion for the personal computer game Rome: Total War. It is set in an earlier time period, putting the player in the role of Alexander the Great. It begins with Alexander's ascension to the Macedonian throne in 336 BC and lasts for 100 turns, each of which, unlike the original game and the first expansion, Barbarian Invasion, do not represent six months (assuming that it follows Alexander's actual reign of thirteen years, each turn would represent nearly seven weeks). The game is much the same as the original Rome: Total War, but with fewer factions, different units, and a different map. The player's goal is to conquer 30 provinces<ref>http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/rometotalwaralexander/review.html</ref>, including key cities such as Tyre, Halicarnassus and Babylon, within the 100 turn limit.
The game allows Alexander to live longer than the 33 years of his actual life. He died in Babylon on the afternoon of June 10–11, 323 BC, just one month short of turning 33.
There are only eight factions in Alexander. Of these, only one, Macedon, is playable in campaign mode. The player can make playable the other factions only by changing the expansion's files. The factions are:
- Scythia: The Scythians control Scythia but in Alexander they also control Chersonesos. Their army consists of master horsemen and archers but almost no melee infantry. The Scythians are not a threat to the Macedonians but they can be conquered with difficulty. Also, thick forests block all the land next to the capital of the Scythians, making it troublesome for a player to conquer it.
- Dahae: Representing neighbouring, barbarian peoples like the Illyrians, Thracians, Sarmatians and Scythians, and consisting of independent cities like Byzantium. They are similar to the barbarian factions in the original game; their armies consist of large groups of warriors, including warriors wielding war scythe-like swords. They control various territories on the northern edges of the map.
- Illyria: The Illyrians control the western half of the Balkans with the capital at Epidamnus. Their army consists of axemen and specialist infantry with a limited collection of cavalry. Like their neighbours the Thracians they are a barbarian nation and they are also among the most dangerous nations at the beginning of Alexander.
- Thrace: Thrace begins with only Thrace under control with the capital of Byzantium. The army consists of barbarian close infantry including falxmen but very little cavalry. The Thracians are a barbarian race and not a Greek one as seen in Rome Total War. Along with the Illyrians they are among the most dangerous nations at the beginning of the campaign. They are allied with the other nations that are rival to the Macedonians.
- Macedon: Macedon begins with most of Greece under its control. The army is similar to that of Macedon in the original game, consisting of various hoplites and phalanxes, and powerful cavalry, including the Companions; the army lacks archer units, although it can field javelin-throwing units. Macedon also has a unique unit representing Alexander's personal unit of elite Companion cavalry led by the king himself. Unlike Rome and Barbarian Invasion, if the player's king is killed, the campaign ends in defeat.
- Persia: The Persian army of Darius III is made up of a variety of troops, from poorly equipped masses of infantry and archers, to quality cavalry and elite units like the Immortals (also known as "Apple-bearers", from the apple-shaped ornaments on their spears), as well as mercenaries from Greece and Phrygia. The army also has access to chariots, which the Persian generals also ride. The Persian Empire of the Achaemenid dynasty is vast, controlling all of Anatolia, Egypt, modern day Iraq and Iran, and even as far east as western India- and everything in between.
- India: Far from being a unified nation-state, the Indian kingdoms were nonetheless capable of sending awe-inspiring armies into the battlefield. Their armies consist of large units of lightly armored troops, chariots and painted war elephants. The Indians do not appear in the single-player campaign.
- Rebels: The Rebels are not a conventional faction. Throughout the Total War series, the 'rebels' have been used to represent rebellious provinces and various minor factions (such as the Illyrians in the original Rome: Total War). Unlike in most Total War titles however, in Alexander there is not a single 'rebel' province at the beginning of the game, and the 'rebels' will only appear later in the game, either randomly as 'brigand' armies, or when a province revolts, either as a natural, historically authentic progression of the campaign after the player conquers Persia, or when a province's 'public order' rating drops below a certain level... As in other Total War titles, The 'Rebels' faction, being an essential gameplay mechanic, cannot be destroyed, even if every 'rebel' army on the map is destroyed and every 'rebel' settlement captured, the 'Rebels' faction can never be truly destroyed and will almost certainly reappear later in some form.
The historical battles allow the player to lead Alexander in some of his most famous and impressive victories. Like the previous games in the Total War series, the historical battles often put the player in a difficult situation against the opponents, such as starting with a disadvantaged position on the battlefield. However, the balance of the battles can be tipped if the enemy general's unit is killed or routed early in the battle. This is particularly necessary in the Battle of Issus (4th) and Battle of Gaugamela (5th).Template:Or Unlike Rome: Total War, there is a special condition in these historical battles, which is to ensure that Alexander is not killed or does not run away during the battle. If so, then the battle is lost instantly.
There are six historical battles in the game<ref>http://www.totalwar.com/microsites/en/alexander/hisbat.htm</ref>, starting with the Battle of Chaeronea, where Alexander accompanies his father, Philip II, against the combined forces of the Athenian and Theban armies, ending with the Battle of the Hydaspes against the Indian King Porus. Apart from the first battle, each of the battles are unlocked serially as the player successfully completes them. However, a battle must be played and won at least on the difficulty level "medium" in order to unlock the following battle. Once unlocked, they can be played again at any time.