A while back I looked at the games I had finished in the last year or so, and saw that none of them were games that I had originally played years ago. Sure, there were a couple in the same series as games I played years ago, but when I went through them last year they were new to me.
In fact, the last such game I completed was Space Crusade in October 2014.
That has changed now with the completion of a game that I played a hell of a lot of around a decade ago, in the form of Rome: Total War. Like a lot of RTS games of the late 90s and early 2000s, I had only ever played the multiplayer and skirmishes rather than bother with the campaign.
I never expected it would take this long at all. Wow what a drag.
I played a short campaign at first, as I read you had to play as a Roman faction to unlock the other factions. As I wanted to use Pontus, who were my fave faction back in the day, this was something I needed to do. Problem was, when I finished that campaign, I found out Pontus weren't even a faction that got unlocked anyway, so I had to go ahead and edit some of the game's files so that I could use them.
But nevermind. I finally got into a long campaign as Pontus.
I quite liked it at first, going through some political wranglings with the Seleucids, Armenians and Egyptians, as alliances were formed and broken, with both the Seleucids and Egyptians stabbing me in the back. It fairly quickly got to a point where I immediately assassinated any diplomat that came my way, and went into full ass-kicking mode.
Once my immediate neighbours were defeated, I started the very, very, very long grind towards Rome.
This is where my problems truly started.
Because it takes so long to build up a city, and so long to train a full army, it took forever to get through this thing. I felt pretty much done with the game after taking about 20 towns, but I'd got to claim a total of 50 to be victorious in the entire campaign. How I managed to stick with it I will never know.
The long push across the map was not helped by all the rebellions I had to deal with, which was the one area of the game I think I hated most. Every few turns, one of my previously taken settlements would start rioting and giving me trouble, inevitably turning rebellious which meant I would have to go and take the town all over again. This constant struggle to keep order within my borders when all I wanted to do was expand really slowed me down and pissed me off no end.
The best bits of the game, which are the battles themselves, were also spoiled by the stupidly bad A.I. opponents. Unless they outnumbered me by a large amount, it seemed there was nothing they could do threaten me. Only early in the campaign, where I came up against elephants with nothing yet to fight them with, did I really have to try.
With the campaign map section spoiled by the very long time needed to build armies plus the rebellions, and the battles being spoiled by the bad A.I., I have really not enjoyed completing this game as much as I should have, as it was a staple multiplayer game for me at times in the past.
Taking a Carthaginian town in the short campaign
Marching against the Seleucids
As the first faction to betray me, I gave the Seleucids no mercy
Pouring into a Seleucid town
Spearing me a wild Parthian
Lots of people in pajamas try and stab each other
These fools think they are getting across my bridge
That's a lot of Romans guarding that city
My first big battle against the Romans
Three Pontic armies fight six Roman armies...
...and emerge victorious
Attacking the walls of Rome
The S.P.Q.R. fail to stop my advance
Seriously? Is this screen all we get at the end?