Fragile Speedster: Probably the closest the game has to one. Their infantry are 15% faster, their unique unit takes this Up to Eleven, and their siege weapons fire faster. They're very much focused on offence over defence though.
Mighty Lumberjack: They're not necessarily more manly and tough and impressive than other civ's Lumberjacks but they do work 20% faster.
Scotireland: The Celts are meant to stand in for all the non-Germanic peoples in the British isles (plus the Duchy of Brittany in modern France). Woad Raiders are based on the Picts of ancient Scotland and the Celtic wonder is the Rock of Cashel castle in Ireland.
Fast firing gunpowder units. UUs: Conquistador (ranged hand cannoneer), Missionary (cavalry monk). Wonder: Torre del Oro.
A Commander Is You: They are definitely an Elitist Faction that relies on units with a high gold cost, especially Knights, Conquistadors, Monks, Bombard Cannons, and Bombard Towers. They are also the closest thing to an Industrial Faction in Age of Empires 2, as their villagers create buildings faster and one can infer that creating gunpowder weapons requires mechanical knowhow.
Anachronism Stew: The game's Torre del Oro includes the third stage with a dome, which in the real building wasn't added until the 18th century (out of the game's timeframe). Also see Toros y Flamenco bellow.
Badass Normal: Their unique technology, Supremacy, elevates villagers' combat stats up to the level of most frontline units.
Horse Archer: The Spanish Unique Unit, the Conquistador, although he's a dude with a matchlock rifle instead of a bow.
More Dakka: All of their gunpowder units fire 15% faster. This means that their Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons even beat Turkish ones in direct combat. Their Cannon Galleons also benefit from the Ballistics technology. Normal Cannon Galleons are only good for anti-building bombardment thanks to their slow moving cannonballs and require an escort from combat ships, Spanish ones can fight ship to ship and win handily.
The Theme Park Version: The Conquistador unit is a summation of what advantages the conquistadors had over the American natives (i.e. gunpowder, horses and steel armor), rather than what an actual conquistador would have used in battle all at once. The guns of the time were too big and slow to charge and fire to use them from horseback.
Toros y Flamenco: The Spanish Regional Riff is a flamenco-ish chant, despite flamenco appearing in the 18th century and thus out of the game's timeframe.
Cheap and fast training infantry, but no walls. UU: Huskarl (anti-archer infantry). Wonder: Mausoleum of Theodoric.
Annoying Arrows: Huskarls have high pierce armor for flesh and blood units, which means that arrows from an archer or a tower only do 1 damage to them. With full upgrades, it takes as many arrows as each hit point a Huskarl has to kill them.
Barbarian Tribe: For most scenario creators, the "go to" civilization when you want to feature European 'barbarians' that aren't Vikings or Huns.
Gratuitous German: Makes sense for the actual German civ, the Teutons, but the Goths use the same exact voice clips as them. Gothic was more similar to Old Norse than Old German so using the Viking voice clips may have been more accurate.
No Campaign for the Wicked: The Goths are a frequent enemy in the Ghengis Khan campaign, the Barbarossa campaign, the Attila the Hun campaign, and a scenario in The Battles of the Conquerors suite but receive no campaign of their own. May be justified due to the Goths having a significantly different gameplay than all the other civs, lacking stone walls, towers, and a strong economic bonus. The campaigns usually feature some form of defend and build up even if the civ used is not quite suited for it, like the Huns or Aztecs, but at least those guys have walls.
The Non Descript: The Goths are often used in campaigns for any European culture that is not big on chivalry and fortifications (excluding the Vikings and the Huns). They fill in for the Saxons in the Hastings scenario and for eastern European states like Poland and Russia in the Barbarossa and Genghis Khan campaigns.
Zerg Rush: Lacking the powerful Paladin and the ranged Arbalest, their Infantry don't even get the final armor upgrade. Instead, their Infantry are 25% cheaper than everybody else's and their Barracks churn out those Infantry 20% faster. Later on in the game, they are the only civilization who can create their unique unit from the cheap Barracks as opposed to the costly Castle and they can churn out Infantry 50% faster!
The most offensive civilization in the game. Since they do not need to build houses they can rapidly spam units from the beginning and have bonuses in cavalry and destruction of buildings. UU: Tarkan (anti-building cavalry). Wonder: Destroyed Arch of Constantine surrounded by plundered gold.
Born In The Saddle: Cutscenes in the Attila the Hun campaign state that the Huns even had deformed legs due to being on horseback most of their lives. This was a true trope in real life, the Huns originally being a Central Asian people. Reflected in gameplay, too, since their foot troops are limited in variety and weak.
Barbarian Tribe: Out of all the civs, the Huns are viewed as the most barbaric. The contemporary Goths adopted many Roman customs, and the Mongols take a pragmatic approach to conquest sparing anybody who backs down and making examples of those who resist. Romans during the campaign exclaim that the Huns care about nothing but gold and conquest. Hunnic notions of firing and retreating in battle was incomprehensible to the Romans, as was their refusal to eventually settle down in one place like the Germanic tribes. This is depicted in gameplay as the Huns don't need Houses, they lack access to more advanced upgrades to machinery such as Onagers, Bombard Cannons, or Arbalests, and lack many defensive upgrades.
Horse Archer: The Huns get cheaper Cavalry Archers to the point that they are barely more costly than regular Archers but still have twice the durability, more attack, and more speed. In real life of course, the majority of the Hun army was on horseback.
Rape, Pillage, and Burn: This is generally their MO in their campaign. Their Tarkan unique unit is a horse mounted raider armed with a flaming brand, particularly effective against buildings.
Castle and religious bonuses. UU: Teutonic Knight (powerful but slow infantry). Wonder: Maria Laach Abbey.
Black Knight: The appropriately ominous looking Teutonic Knight is the closest equivalent to the original game's phallanx: 50% more HPs than a Champion, three times the melee armor, almost twice the cost, half its speed. They easily kill other melee units even the dreaded Paladin and unlike the Persians elephants they are resistant to conversion. However their decent pierce armor and HP doesn't make up for their speed and they are beaten by most ranged units. Combine them with rams and your opponents will shit their pants as they walk to their base.... veeeery slowly.
Mighty Glacier: A good way to characterize the Teuton's offense. Slow Teutonic Knights and siege weapons, along with encroaching fortifications. They are also one of the few civs to lack the movement speed upgrade for their mounted units.
Rain of Arrows: "Crenellations" also increases the range of their castles.
The Teutonic Knights: Their Unique Unit. They are mainstays in the armies of the Hospitallers and Templars in the campaign mode which is weird at first glance but the real life Teutonic Order started in the Holy Land. The Teutonic Knights were also present during the Battle of Mohi, the final Ghengis Khan mission, so the Hungarians being represented by Teutons is not completely out there.
Maritime civilization with cheap and fast creating ships. UUs: Berserker (self-healing infantry), Longboat (ship that fires multiple arrows at once). Wonder: Borgund Stave Church.
Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Longboats (like all ships in the game) have no oars, whose animation would probably cause lag on the computers of the time when the game was released.
A Commander Is You: Due to their limited tech tree, the Vikings are hard to pin down but they have a very strong economy in the middle section of a round such that they can get away with using units that they are weak with such as Knights. They are very weak late game due to lacking many of the strongest Imperial Age units such as Siege Onager and Paladins. However, they dominate water maps. When competitive players on teams get to choose their civs but have no idea what map they will be on, each team will almost always have a Viking player on the off chance they get a map with significant water on it.
Horny Vikings: Obviously. Though it's downplayed a bit, only the above mentioned unique unit actually has a horned helmet.
Lightning Bruiser: Longboats are very fast and shoot volleys of arrows at once, making them perfect for sea-raids.
Rain of Arrows: The Longboat's attack, which gives it an edge over the galleys and makes it dangerous to land units.
The most balanced civilization, ideal for new players. UU: Cataphract (anti-infantry cavalry). Wonder: Hagia Sophia.
A Commander Is You: They have traits of the Balanced Faction, the Spammer Faction, and even the Research Faction. They have the lowest cost to reach the Imperial Age, which means that they can quickly field very powerful units while their opponents are still in the Castle Age.
Confusion Fu: They have access to all standard technologies and upgrades except one. This makes them capable of a wide range of playstyles, and unpredictable to face in multiplayer.
Living Relic: By the end of it's lifespan, the Byzantine Empire could be regarded as such. It had essentially become a city-state, the inhabitants mostly spoke Greek, and their army was in shambles.
No Campaign for the Wicked: A very common enemy in campaigns (and the Arch-Enemy in the Attila the Hun one) but only playable in standard game. Fan-made Byzantine campaigns are very common however, and most of them center on Belisarius' invasions of Africa and Italy, since a Belisarius unit is available in the editor.
The Paladin: The Cataphract is one of the best cavalry units in the game. After researching 'Logistics' they also give trample damage to other units around them, like the Persian War Elephants.
The Roman Empire: Historically, the Byzantines were a continuation of the Roman Empire and they stand for Ancient Rome in the game's Attila campaign. They were officially the "Eastern Roman Empire" before the Dark Ages and simply "Roman Empire" during it. They never called themselves Byzantines but Romans. This led to some interesting developments: the Seljuq Turks in control of present-day Turkey called their lands "Romaniyye," and while the origin of present-day Romania's name is quite obvious, it's not so much that Romanian and Moldovan are actually related to Latin rather than the surrounding Slavic languages. Latin was the official language up until 620 AD and their units speak Latin in game. After Constantinople fell, several nations layed claim to the title of Roman Empire including the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire.
Stone Wall: Have some of the toughest buildings in the game, and they're summed up as a "Defensive Civilization" in the in-game tech tree. The "counter units" of the Skirmisher, Spearmen, and Camel line are 25% cheaper; these units are specifically strong against one unit type (skirmishers beat archers, spearmen beat cavalry, camels beat cavalry) but weak against others making them good for defense. Their Cataphract unique unit is also one of only three units in the game with a specific attack bonus against infantry. Unlike the cheaper "counter units," Cataphracts are very expensive but are also useful in many other situations.
Cavalry civilization with economy bonuses. UU: War Elephant (powerful but slow cavalry). Wonder: Khosrau's Palace.
A Commander Is You: Elitist Faction for sure. They do not have access to many strong, cheap units like the Arbalest, the Champion, or even the Two-Handed Swordsmen. They rely almost entirely on their cavalry. They do have a good ship fleet, though.
Weaksauce Weakness: Very easily converted by Monks. And then used against the Persian player!
Strong camels and archers. Their bonuses on transport ships gives them an advantage in sea-going invasions. UU: Mameluke (ranged camel). Wonder: Great Mosque of Samarra.
Archer Archetype: The Saracens and Japanese are the only civs to get every technology from the Archery Range.
A Commander Is You: The Saracens seem to fall under The Ranger Faction as their strongest and most important units tend to be ranged. Arbalests, Cavalry Archers, Mamelukes, Siege Onagers, Bombard Cannons, Monks, Trebuchets, and even Galleons. In the 6th and final Barbarossa scenario, Saladin makes good use of this fact with an army of exclusively ranged units with only a couple of Heavy Camels to start the scenario. This is quite excruciating because the player uses the Teutons who are the slow and methodical civilization.
Horse Archer: The Saracen Horse Archers specifically do more damage to buildings, and the are the only civilization to get every technology to upgrade them along with the Turks. Their Mameluke Unique Unit is sort of like this, playing like a short-ranged Horse Archer except he's a guy on a camel that throws swords and does melee damage instead of ranged damage.
Our Elves Are Better: Interestingly they have alot of the usual traits of elves in strategy games. Besides their Ranger Faction tendencies, the Saladin campaign depicts the Saracens as originally peaceful and civilized who become warlike due to events around them. They are men who used to "enter battle as gentlemen" who "discuss mathematics and astronomy" and "seek to dignify their civilization" but the Crusades made them warlike. Their cities such as Cairo and Baghdad are described by the Norman narrator with awe. Their Wonder is even impressive enough to make do as a Mage Tower. In real life, the Arabs had advanced technology compared to the Europeans but they were as warlike as everybody else in the Middle Ages.
Slave Mooks: Muslim leaders had to get around the soft ban on Muslims fighting each other; slave mooks known as Mamelukes were the answer. Slaves usually came from Turkic sources, which meant the Mamelukes were probably a precursor to the Jannisaries. Eventually the Mamelukes took control from their owners and founded their own empires in India, Egypt, and Central Asia.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Mamelukes throw their scimitars at enemies, they usually hit, and pretty hard at that. Of course, the Mameluke has an endless supply of scimitars to throw at people.
Light cavalry and gunpowder civilization. UU: Janissary (strong hand cannoneer). Wonder: Suleiman's Mosque.
A Commander Is You: Definitely an Elitist Faction. They lack the full upgrades for the cheap Spearmen and Skirmishers and must rely on gold intensive units like Jannisaries.
Born In The Saddle: Historically, the Turks used to be this type of civilization. When they moved to the Middle East, they quickly took on many Persian and Arab characteristics but still retained strong horsemanship into Ottoman times. In gameplay this is reflected by their free upgrades to the Scout Cavalry line as well as being the only civ besides the Saracens to get every upgrade for their Cavalry Archers. The Ottomans made good use of infantry so the Turks have limited access to foot units but what they have is strong.
More Dakka: They create gunpowder units faster, get all gunpowder-related technologies for half cost, and their Cannon Galleons, Bombard Tower, and Bombard Cannon all outrange their counterparts in other civs. All of their gunpowder units also have 25% extra Hit Points. It's pretty obvious which units the game wants you to use when you play as the Turks.
Slave Mooks: The Jannisary corps were slaves brought in from the Slavs in the Balkans and then from the Greeks. Young boys were captured and then given an exclusively military education, which for the Turks included warfare, wrestling, swordsmanship, Islam, chess, music, cooking, and engineering.
Far East: All four civilizations get the same building style, which is nonetheless very Japanese-looking.
Bonuses in economy and research. UU: Chu Ko Nu (repeating archer). Wonder: Temple of Heaven.
A Commander Is You: They fit the Balanced Faction type along with the Research Faction. One of their advantages is cheaper research of technology which leads to the Chinese having more advanced troops than everybody else.
More Dakka: Chu Ko Nus fire 5 arrows at a time, though each arrow is less accurate than the last and makes their ability less pronounced on faster enemies. When you have an army of Chu Ko Nus, the number of arrows flying on the screen can actually cause the game to lag. One of the main upsides of the Chu Ko Nus is that while each arrow may do 1 damage to high pierce armor targets like Rams or Trebuchets, those units are so slow that they will probably be hit by 4 or 5 arrows. The Chu Ko Nus make a great defensive unit.
No Campaign for the Wicked: Appears as importants antagonists during Genghis Khan's campaign, but they never get to be playable, except for Casual Maps.
Chinese campaigns are even rare in the fandom for some reason. The popular fan site Age of Kings Heaven even tried to correct this by making a contest of historically themed Chinese campaigns.
Infantry and maritime based civilization. UU: Samurai (infantry with bonus attack against other UUs). Wonder: Todai-ji.
A Commander Is You: It's difficult to pinpoint the Japanese, but they are closest to the Brute Force Faction. They tend to have a strong economy and use cheaper foot units as their Infantry attacks faster than everybody else. They lack variety in siege weapons and have weak cavalry so their unit roster is limited.
Archer Archetype: The Japanese and Saracens are the only civs to receive all technologies in the Archery Range. Historically, the Samurai were expert archers for most of the Middle Ages and the developers originally intended for the Samurai to have two attack modes: melee with swords and range with archery. This was deemed too user unfriendly because a player could order his Samurai to attack a high pierce armor, building destroyer like a Ram, switch to a different screen to micro another army, then switch back only to see his buildings gone thanks to the Samurai feebly firing arrows at the Ram.
Gratuitous English: Their unique technology, which makes Trebuchets fire faster, is called Kataparuto, which is simply 'catapult' spelt out in Katakana.
Hero Killer: Samurai are almost average infantry units (one samurai can beat one champion, but barely) but their bonus against UUs means that they can kill any of them in a one-on-one fight except for Teutonic Knights, War Elephants and Cataphracts.
Horse Archer: The Japanese are lacking in cavalry units but a unique combination of technologies makes their Horse Archers able to compete with Hunnic and Persian horse archers man to man. The Samurai spent a period of time as horse archers who engaged in ritual duels.
Katanas Are Just Better: And Naginata, too. Although the Samurai is the only unit that actually wields a Katana, Japanese infantry attack 25% faster. This means their Infantry defeat the Infantry of all other civs one to one in every age, and their Halberdiers can almost reduce enemy cavalry to non-threats.
Bonuses in siege and fortifications. UUs: War Wagon (armored cavalry archer), Turtle Ship (armored cannon ship). Wonder: Hwangnyong Pagoda.
Awesome Yet Practical: War Wagons are halfway through siege engines and horse archers, resulting in a good combination which deals heavy damage, moves at a decent speed and can withstand many blows while retaliating at the same time at a long range.
A Commander Is You: They're a combination of the Elitist Faction, the Ranger Faction, and the Technical Faction. Their best units, Siege Onagers and War Wagons, are expensive but very powerful. Their melee units are weak, but it's easy to rely on their powerful ranged units.
Cool Ship: Turtle Ships are undeniably cool: big, spiky turtle shells with dragon heads that spit cannonballs.
Mighty Glacier: Turtle Ships are colossal, have lots of health points and are terribly slow. However, once a building or ship gets inside theirs (rather short) range, it's doomed. War Wagons could also be considered slower but stronger Cavalry Archers.
Spikes of Doom: Just in case you though those spikes were for show, the Noryang scenario has a drawing of a Japanese boarder Impaled with Extreme Prejudice in one of them. The Turtle Ships' main strenght in Real Life came from the fact that they could not be boarded and captured.
Light cavalry and cavalry archer civilization. UU: Mangudai (anti-siege weapons cavalry archer). Wonder: Great Tent of the Golden Horde.
A Commander Is You: They are definitely the Technical Faction as well as the Ranger Faction. Their cavalry archers and siege weapons are defensively weak and require hit and run tactics to be effective.
Born In The Saddle: Mongolian culture practically revolves around the horse in real life and it led to their military success in history. A cutscene proudly proclaims that a Mongol at war would even sleep in the saddle. In-game, their light cavalry have 33% more Hit Points and their Mangudai Unique Unit is a Cavalry Archer on steroids. Unlike the Huns or the Turks, they still have alot of strong foot units but their foot archers in particular miss a key armor technology making them a tad bit weaker than, say, a Saracen or Mayan foot archer.
Horse Archer: Their Cavalry Archers fire 20% faster and the Mangudai is among the strongest, faster moving and attacking than most units.
Lightning Bruiser: Mangudai are pretty fast, but their Unique Tech Drills will drastically speed up every siege engine made in the Siege Workshop. Resulting in Mangonels, Rams and Scorpions moving faster than infantry.
Artstyle only available in The Conquerors. When the developers decided on creating an expansion, they thought about adding an African, Indian, or Mesoamerican set of civilizations to the game. They chose the Mesoamericans because they were the most exotic looking and because they could also include the Spanish. Their most obvious difference with other civilizations is that they lack any type of cavalry or gunpowder units.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Despite being from a wholly different continent, in game their infantry and archer units are virtually identical to those of other populations, resulting in Aztecs and Mayan armed with steel swords and armors or crossbows.
Their trade cart is pulled by a man rather than a horse to account for the fact that they didn't have horses - but it is a cart, even though they shouldn't have the wheel either. Also, they keep the same artstyle as everyone else for the Dark Age, meaning that their first mill still comes with a donkey.
Lightning Bruiser: Instead of Cavalry they use Eagle Warriors, who can move as fast as cavalry units.
Mayincatec: Averted in that the Aztecs and Mayans are two different civilizations with different actual sound clips of their languages and completely different playstyles.
Played straight with their artstyle, as both factions use the same exact building designs, save for their respective Wonders.
Panthera Awesome: The development of Mesoamerican civilizations also brought tropical American maps and jaguars lurking in their jungles with them.
Infantry based civilization with the best monks in game. UU: Jaguar Warrior (most powerful infantry in game). Wonder: Great Temple of Tenochtitlan.
A Commander Is You: Mostly the Brute Force Faction. Their buildings are the weakest in the game and they lack cavalry, but they can create all of their military units faster on a powerful economy to boot, and they have a technology that gives their frail Infantry +4 attack. The are not completely glass cannons because for every Monastery technology they research, their Monks gain +5 HP. This combination of fast Eagles, strong Jaguars, micro-intensive Monks, and the need to constantly be on offense lends them a Technical Faction feel.
Badass Army: The Aztecs have access to all swordsman upgrades and their unique technology "Garland Wars" gives them 4 additional attack points. then consider that Jaguar Warriors also benefit from these technologies, and that they themselves have a bonus attack against other infantry units.
Glass Cannon: ...and the swordsmen they have to rely on have relatively low HP despite their high attack.
Foil: To the Mayans. The Aztecs are the most well-known pre-Columbian civilization, fit "The Conquerors" theme, and were probably developed early on. Gameplay-wise, the Aztecs are very focused on offense, while the Mayans were probably developed later and are clearly much more defensive and have many techs the Aztecs lack.
Zerg Rush: All military units are created 15% faster. Aztec players will then use this to spam infantry and monks, which is mostly the only things the Aztecs are good at.
Archer based civilization with economy bonuses. UU: Plummed Archer (strong, fast foot archer, equivalent to a cavalry archer). Wonder: Temple of the Great Jaguar.
A Commander Is You: The Mayans are a combo of the Spammer Faction and the Ranger Faction. They extract 20% more resources from the same source than the other civilizations, and their archers are dirt cheap. Combine the two, and they definitely have reserves.
Fragile Speedster: In terms of military force: their forte are Plumed Archers and Eagle Warriors, which are both good for Hit-and-Run Tactics. While they're not as beefy as the horse archers and cavalry they're supposed to replace they have noticeably higher HP than regular infantry or archers.
Foil: To the Aztecs. Their ships, archers, siege engines and fortifications are better, while their infantry and monks are considerably worse. The exception is the eagle warrior which is stronger than its Aztec equivalent and together with the also fast plummed archers, can effectively be considered a form of light cavalry - something that the Aztecs definitely lack.
Mighty Glacier: Compared to the Aztecs, their buildings are much stronger, making them more attractive to defensive players.
Civilizations in Forgotten Empires
Archer and naval based civilization. The Italians have their own artstyle, a version of the Roman one used in the previously developed Rome at War mod (that replaced the Aztecs with Ancient Romans) that was in turn modified and used for the Genoese in the total conversion mod Age of Chivalry. UUs: Genoese Crossbowman (anti-cavalry foot archer), Condottiero (anti-gunpowder infantry that can also be trained by other civilizations allied to an Italian player). Wonder: Basilica of San Lorenzo.
A Commander Is You: It's fairly hard to place but the Italians are mostly a Ranger Faction. They receive a ranged unit for every situation: Genoese Crossbowmen who shoot Cavalry to pieces, cheaper Hand Cannoneers who can decimate Infantry, Skirmishers who kill other Archers, and cheaper Bombard Cannons that destroy buildings and are effective vs other siege weapons. They also get the melee Condottieri who kill gunpowder units.
Light cavalry based civilization. They use the Northern Europe artstyle. UU: Magyar Huszar (light cavalry with bonus against siege weapons). Wonder: Hunyad Castle.
Born In The Saddle: A strong Magyar army is fully mounted, with Magyar Huszars, Paladins, Hussars, and Cavalry Archers. In real life, the Magyars spent their early history within a confederation of mostly Turkic peoples on the steppes and adopted a horseback lifestyle. They were feared throughout Europe as the most deadly cavalry soldiers.
Early-Bird Cameo: They appear in the final Ghengis Khan mission, which depicts the Battle of Mohi. They are represented by the Teutons here.
Horse Archer: Their Horse Archers have the longest range of any other.
You Are The Translated Foreign Word: Magyar Huszar means "Hungarian Hussar". The average Hussar unit is still available to the Magyars a.k.a. Hungarians, however, and cheaper than normal to boot. The Magyars need the regular Hussar because they are one of the few civs to lack Faith, a late-game technology that makes units very hard to convert by Monks. Regular Hussars slaughter Monks.
One-Hit Kill: Magyar villagers kill wolves with a single hit.
Infantry and siege civilization. The Slavs also get an unique artstyle that was first used in the unfinished Russian mod that aimed to replace the Aztecs and Mayans with Muscovian and Kievan Russians. UU: Boyar (tough cavalry). Wonder: Khizi Church.
Badass Army: The unique technology "Druzhina" gives trample damage to the Slavic infantry. The only other units that have this are the Persian War Elephants and the Byzantine Cataphract (after researching "Logistica").
Gunpowder and camel based civilization (camels effectively replace the heavy cavalry line, which is wholly absent from their tech tree). Their artstyle is Middle Eastern. UUs: Elephant Archer (tough but slow cavalry archer, comparable to a movable tower), Imperial Camel (actually an unique upgrade to the Heavy Camel). Wonder: Taj Mahal.
Anachronism Stew: The Indians use the voice clips of the Indians of Age of Empires 3, which depicts the Indians around the time of British colonization. Forgotten Empires thus gives us Indians who speak Urdu long before it existed and also say "Hello."
Horse of a Different Color: Horses are only present as light cavalry. Camels, Heavy Camels and Imperial Camels serve as a cheap but worthy replacement to Knights, Cavaliers and Paladins.
We Have Reserves: Villagers get cheaper with each age, making an Indian player far less likely to protect theirs than others.
Infantry based civilization with building bonuses. They use the Mesoamerican artstyle. UUs: Kamayuk (Spearman with longer range, best used in massed formations), Slinger (ranged infantry with bonus attack against other infantry). Wonder: Temple of the Sun (basis).
Big Fucking Spear: The Kamayuk's spear is the longest handheld weapon in the game, twice and a half the height of its handler.
Mayincatec: Played straight due to the Inca using the Aztec and Mayan architecture set. Subverted in that the Inca speak Quechua and have units wearing traditional Quechua clothing. Their Wonder is also undeniably Inca, based on Cuzco's Temple of the Sun but also with elements of Ingapirca and Macchu Picchu.
Suffer The Slings: Only civilization in game to get them. The stats and bonus against other infantry makes the slinger the Inca equivalent of the hand cannoneer, a soldier armed with a firearm. The "Andean Sling" technology eliminates the need of a minimum range to fire.
The Unfavorite: If there is a civilization that got the cold shoulder from ES it's this, left out of both The Conquerors and later Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs despite the declared aim being to bring in playable Native American civilizations in both occasions, and the Incas being the obvious choice being the biggest native empire in the Americas, having pack animals, the most Old World-like army organization and fortifications, and keeping resistance against Europeans for 40 years without counting later rebellions. In comparison, the Mayans weren't politically unfied, and the Aztecs went down in 3 years.
William Wallace (Celts)
The main protagonist of the Celtic learning campaign that bears his name. Appears in the final map as a champion unit.
Advertised Extra: Only controlled in the last scenario, when he arrives with his army to boost the player's forces after the battle has already been going for a while.
The protagonist of the Frankish campaign. Appears as two different units: Joan the Maid, which walks on foot, has little attack and has no armor, and her more powerful knight version, who has high attack, but is not as strong as other mounted heroes.
Breastplate: Averted, even in cutscenes she wears a perfectly functional full plate armor.
Escort Mission: Many knights are tasked with protecting her through the campaign (Sieur Bertrand, Sieur de Metz, the Duke of Alençon, etc). They can be killed in battle but as long as Joan survives it's okay.
The Hero: Of the second campaign. The game credits her with turning the tide of the Hundred Years War and turning the French feudal leves into an unified national army.
Large Ham: "Ah, La Hire wishes to kill something".
Made of Iron: La Hire is the ONLY unit in all of Age of Empires 2 who is simply "grievously wounded" if he gets killed in the 3rd Joan of Arc scenario, in spite of you being able to see his corpse rot. Gameplay limitations aside, he reappears for the 6th scenario but if he falls in battle there, it will be confirmed that he has perished.
Neck Snap: His plan for a few English soldiers at Patay, according to Josseline.
Oh Crap: "Fastolf's Army advanced to the Imperial Age." He is the first enemy AI that hits the Imperial Age, all while the player can only advance to the Castle Age. A battle with him becomes Cavaliers and Capped Rams vs the player's Knights and Battering Rams. Thankfully, he seems somewhat handicapped and only has a few Imperial Age technologies available to him.
Out-of-Character Moment: In the Barbarossa Campaign, he appears with a small force outside the Saracen's walls surrounding Jerusalem, but sounds more fatalistic and stoic. He is also very likely to die and only serves as a brief distraction for your enemies.
For the Evulz: After destroying Khorezm, the Mongols enjoy themselves making mountains out of the decapitated heads of men, women, children, horses, dogs and cats, and sow the Khorezmian fields with salt.
You Are in Command Now: According to the narrator, in his deathbed he "refuses to die" until one of his sons agrees to take control of his horde and invade Europe, upon which he names him his heir.
Ornlu The Wolf
A wolf carrying a minor role in the Genghis Khan campaign. The task to convince the Uighurs to join Genghis, is to kill Ornlu and his pack. A renamed version of him, called Son of Ornlu, inexplicably appears in Montezuma. Is a very powerful wolf.
Breakout Villain: Despite his minor role, is the best remembered of the fictional characters invented for the game.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Has a very minor role in the first Genghis Khan level, but has gotten quite poular among the fanbase, enough for the developers to ference him in Age Of Mythology and Age of Empires III.
The latest patch for the fan made expansion Forgotten Empires gives Ornlu his very own Hero icon. Yep, the fans decided that spending their time making a Hero icon for only scenario-available Ornlu the Wolf was worth the time and effort.
The Lancer to Genghis, and later, Ogatai. Represented by a cavalry archer.
Big Damn Heroes: In the last scenario after forty minutes of Hungarian siege, he arrives followed by a generous amount of saboteurs to save the day.
Canine Companion: His two hunting wolves. Possibly a reference to his title of "Dog of War."
Cool Pet: The Wolves gain a speed boost when they're directed at enemies, attack very quickly, and have the healing factor bestowed upon all Hero units.
Historical Hero Upgrade: Subotai was actually extremely obese and had to be pulled around in a cart. He was such an asset to the Mongol army that nobody minded having to haul him around. Age of Kings presents Subotai as the fastest military unit in the game.
The Horde: Leads the ones that conquer Russia and Hungary.
For the Evulz: After massacring his way through Gaul, he puts the heads of his victims in a line of stakes. There are enough to cover all the way from Gaul to Pannonia (modern Hungary).
Hidden Depths: The stories of the Franks and Romans portray him more as a monster than a man and he leads his Huns in plenty of Rape, Pillage, and Burn campaigns. However, he personally negotiates an alliance with the Scythians, he eats from a wooden plate and cup instead of using the huge quantities of gold he obtains for his Huns, he spares one of the narrators, Father Armand, after the Battle of Chalons and he decides to turn his army around when at the gates of Rome.
Dirty Coward: Bleda challenges Attila to hunt the "Iron Boar" at the beginning of the first Attila the Hun campaign scenario. He has Archers hidden in the place where the Iron Boar lairs. If Attila decides to betray Bleda and return to camp, the Archers will testify against him to the rest of the Hun army causing half of the army to attack Attila. If Attila saves Bleda from the Boar, Bleda will order his archers to attack Attila.
Healing Factor: Subverted in that Bleda is actually a named, regular unit and lacks the healing factor of the Hero units of the game. Even in the map editor, he appears under the regular units tab and not under the Hero units one.
Improbable Weapon User: Bleda uses the same model as the Mongol unique unit, the Mangudai...which makes no sense because the Mangudai is a horse archer and Bleda is a melee unit. This results in Bleda running up to units and firing an arrow from his bow at point blank range upward away from his enemies...
The West Roman general fighting Attila in the latter part of the campaign, although he never appears.
Historical Hero Upgrade: A lot is made of his honorability and religious tolerance. In real life, the first things he did after taking Valencia were burning alive the governor and turning the main mosques into churches (even though his forces also included Muslims and he was de jure under the command of a Muslim lord, Mutamid).
Karma Houdini: Although he is briefly imprisoned, he escapes real punishment.
The focal character of the Montezuma campaign, though arguably not the protagonist; this would rather be his nephew, Cuauhtemoc. Never appears in person.
Ass Kicking Equals Authority: The game describes Montezuma as slow to make decisions and seemingly afraid of going into combat. In real life the office of the Emperor is tied into military promotion. The warriors who come from noble families have a head start on commoners when it comes to rank so they always end up as the rulers but they have to prove themselves in battle time and time again until they become Emperor.
The protagonist and narrator of the Montezuma campaign, becoming emperor after his uncle's death. A Jaguar Warrior in La Noche Triste is heavily implied to be him.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: Cuauhtemoc is the narrator for the Montezuma campaign. The story is some sort of journal or a chronicle written down by him. The first scenario starting cutscene is prefaced with "Passed down to you by Cuauhtemoc, Eagle Warrior of Tenochtitlan." The second starts with him as Cuauhtemoc, Jaguar Warrior of Tenochtitlan. The fifth mission dramatically and slowly starts with Cuauhtemoc, Emperor of Tenochtitlan. He then relates his crowning by the priests, which is not so awesome because Tenochtitlan had just been wracked by warfare and the only reason he succeeded was due to Montezuma's death.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Jaguar Warrior armed with a very high attack during the fourth scenario of the campaign is implied to be Cuauhtemoc; at the time of the scenario, Cuahtemhoc is a Jaguar Warrior and the particular Jaguar has the same voice actor. He is the sole unit you begin the scenario with and recruits other soldiers to eventually retake the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. However, he is not a Hero unit and if he dies it is not mentioned and the scenario continues.
Warrior Prince: Cuauhtemoc mentions a few times that he's Montezuma's nephew, and seems to be the unseen commander of your troops during the campaign.
A Berserker and leader of the Vikings appearing in Hastings, whom can be allied with William, if the player chooses, and can be used as an army. Represented by a ranged berserker unit.
An Axe to Grind: An inversion of Bleda and his melee bow, Harald takes the model of a melee unit, the Berserker, and uses it to throw axes at enemies, like the Frankish Throwing Axeman. He also throws these axes very rapidly and would be a one man army if it weren't for his low HP. He doesn't look as silly as Bleda because his animation is specifically cut off to make it look like he's doing an overhand throw.
The Lancer: To William, if they choose to ally. He can live up to the very end of the scenario and even participate in the final objective of destroying Harold the Saxon's Castle even though he is your rival to the throne. The endgame cutscene mentions him dying at the Battle of Stamford Bridge before harold fights William.
The protagonist of the Vinlandssaga scenario, represented by a Berserker unit.
An Axe to Grind: Is the Berserker unit, although he does not throw axes like Harald Hardraade.
Artistic License/Pragmatic Adaptation: Erik the Red himself never made it to Vinland; his son Leif did instead. He was supposed to, but stayed in Greenland after his ankle broke, seeing it as a bad omen.
Bold Explorer: Notable because, unlike most other heroes, he is not a warlord or aristocrat in any way. He is actually a fairly common viking man, and not doing conquest, actually just exploring instead. If anything, he's trying to save his fellow vikings from famine by searching for a better land.
The Hero Dies: He can, and it's one of the few times where the Hero CAN die without any consequence. One of his soldiers claim the Franks hearts will not be in the fighting, but there are zero repercussions. He survived the battle in real life and the ending cutscene treats him as if he survived regardless of gameplay events.
The Hero Dies: An inversion of Charles Martel. He can die in the game and the scenario will continue on. HOWEVER, after winning the mission the narrator states that he died in the fighting as he did in real life but the Koreans still won the battle and eventually the war.
A samurai in the Kyoto map, who is executed in the beginning, leading to the revenge wished by his second Hideyoshi. Is represented by the samurai unit.