Video Game: Age of Empires III
Age Of Empires III
is the fourth installment (counting the Spin-Off
series Age of Mythology
as another series) in the Age of Empires
franchise. It was released in October of 2005, and is set during The Colonial Period
, with seven European civilizations (Spanish, British, French, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian and German) and the Ottoman Empire as playable civilizations. There's also a version for the N-Gage
phone made by Giu Mobile in 2009.
While the gameplay remains similar to previous entries in the series, several new features were introduced here. For instance, the Home City feature allows shipments of troops, technology or resources to be delivered during normal gameplay. In order to be able to send shipments, the player must gain experience points
which are obtained during normal gameplay. The ability to ally with native tribes was also added, with the opportunity to train units from said tribes to add to your military forces. Also, unlike in previous games, the civilizations are far more varied, with more unique units, technologies and bonuses, along with several completely unique Home City shipments. And, akin to Mythology's
Age advancement system, the player must choose a Politician, who provides special bonuses, in order to advance to another Age.
The game features a single-player campaign made of three acts (Blood
), which follows the story of the Black family over 3 centuries as they battle against the Circle of Ossus
and take part in several historical events
, with the Fountain of Youth
as a key plot point across the three acts. The acts are narrated by Amelia Black, the protagonist of Steel
The first expansion pack, Age of Empires III: The Warchiefs
, was released in 2006 and featured three of the native civilizations of the first game as playable: the Aztecs, the Sioux and the Iroquois. It also had several other additions, such as new buildings (the Saloon and the Native Embassy), units (gunpowder cavalry, petards and spies), and the chance to advance to an alternative fifth era for the European civilizations; and unique twists to the three new civilizations, such as the firepit (where villagers can dance in order to obtain a bonus, like creating healing priests, gaining more experience and raising the population limit) and unique big buttons for many buildings.
The single-player campaign, this time composed of two acts, (Fire
) which extended the Black family's lore by focusing on Amelia's father and son respectively, with Amelia starring again as the narrator and providing a cameo appearance in Shadow
.Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties
, the second Expansion Pack
, was developed this time by Big Huge Games and Ensemble Studios, and was released in 2007. This Expansion Pack
added another three new civilizations to the game, this time from the Far East
, Japan and India). It introduced new unique bonuses for these civilizations, like the Export resource and the Consul.
The single-player campaign this time is set in three different historical events: the unification of Japan, the Chinese landing in the Americas and the Sepoy revolution in India.
After the demise of Ensemble Studios, Robot Entertainment (a development house made of former Ensemble employees) is developing the updates and maintaining the ESO service.
These games have a character sheet
in need of some wiki magic love
Age of Empires III, The Warchiefs and The Asian Dynasties give examples of:
- The Fort is one of the most powerful defensive buildings in the game, boasting high attack power from its cannons and high hitpoints. It also has the ability to train infantry and cavalry units. Its weaknesses are its slow rate of fire, making it vulnerable to large armies attacking it all at once, and units that outrange its cannons (e.g. Mortars, Monitors). It should also be noted that the Fort Wagon, contrary to the Fort it builds, is incredibly flimsy and can't defend itself. Even a small group of light infantry can take it down quickly.
- Misplaced Wildlife: A few slip-ups appear regarding treasure guardians. Black panthers, tigers and giant pandas in Japan, snow monkeys outside Japan and Komodo Dragons in any map (none of the maps are located near Komodo).
- Ms. Fanservice: Queen Isabella, the Spanish AI personality, purrs in a sultry Spanish accent. She says to "quit playing so rough" when she is losing a battle, and that she "can't handle all these men" when requesting help. When attacked by multiple opponents, she asks, "Why is it that I always seem to get double-teamed?". She calls the player "pet" as an ally. In addition, her picture in the game's encyclopedia◊ looks quite lovely compared to the historical paintings. (At least, to a modern audience.)
- The Musketeer: The unit is meant primarily for ranged attack with a musket, but actually deals higher damage-per-second (and receives a hefty bonus against cavalry) with bayonet melee attacks. Ranged cavalry, similarly, have an attack bonus against artillery just as melee cavalry does, but will likely do more damage against artillery in melee mode due to the higher attack rating and artillery's damage-reduction from ranged attacks.
- Mythology Gag:
- The "Eye of Ornlu", a treasure that gives 200 EXP, is named after a certain wolf in Age of Empires II.
- The Armor of Arkantos increases hero and explorer hitpoints when claimed.
- The Germans have a shipment card, "Teutonic Town Center", which improves the defensive capability of town centers. Age of Empires II players may recall a certain Game Breaker when they see the name.
- Naval Blockade: This is one of the high-level abilities where you can block off a player's regular shipments from their home city. Of course by the time you have that ability it isn't really needed, but still.
- Napoleon Bonaparte: The French AI personality.
- Ninja: Available as mercenaries in The Warchiefs. They serve mostly as assassins, dealing massive damage to Hero Units and other mercenaries.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: About all that we know about the Circle of Ossus for sure is that they are the enemy, their elite units are called 'Boneguards' and they want to obtain the Fountain of Youth. Absolutely everything else is up for grabs.
- One-Hit Kill: The European explorers have the Sharpshooter and, later on, the Crack Shot abilities: the first one allows you to kill a Treasure Guardian instantly; the second is a single high-damage shot that can kill almost any land military unit (with the exception of a few mercenaries and powerful special units) in one hit (but cannot be used against villagers and ships).
- Panda-ing to the Audience: Averted. Pandas serve as treasure guardians here and they're some of the toughest ones around.
- Panthera Awesome: Played straight. The whole package of big cats appears with The Asian Dynasties, jaguars, cougars, lions, tigers, white tigers, snow leopards and leopards, in the form of black panthers. They are all quite nasty to face, especially the ones available as trainable units.
- Pirate: Both the regular kind and the Wokou (Japanese pirates) show up, the latter being introduced in The Asian Dynasties. The Warchiefs introduces a specialised building that can train mercenaries, amongst which the player can find pirates and corsairs.
- Private Military Contractors: The player can recruit powerful mercenaries from the Home City at the cost of gold and a shipment card. The Warchiefs allows them to be trained at a saloon at a higher cost per unit, with their availability dependent on the current map.
- Protection Mission:
- In "Temples of the Aztec", from Blood, the player must not let the enemy destroy the Aztec temples.
- In "The Rescue", from Ice, the player must not let the enemy destroy the outpost and trade post in the Iroquois village.
- In "Respect", from Ice, the player must win the scenario before the Lakota chiefs are killed.
- In "The Battle of Morristown", from Fire, the player must not let the Hessian mercenaries destroy the capitol.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Tokugawa and Cuauhtemoc.
- Purely Aesthetic Gender: Regular villagers can be either male or female, but do exactly the same jobs with the same amount of effectiveness.
- Rhino Rampage: Rhinos might possibly be the only complete herbivore in the game to be a treasure guardian. But they also do this with style; being the most powerful animal in the game.
- RPG Elements: Earning experience points during a match allows the player to send shipments from the Home City. They also go towards leveling up the Home City, which unlocks a wider variety of shipment cards and various cosmetic upgrades for the city.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A recurring theme in the campaigns.
- Savage Wolves: The wolves are enemies, appearing in most maps, second only to the cougar as animals go, bu are actually among the weakest of the animals in the games, and the explorer can dispatch a group of them with ease.
- Scenery Porn: The game's graphics are a significant step up from both Age of Kings and Age of Mythology.
- Seldom Seen Species: With more animals than all previous games, including Guanaco, Giant Salamanders, Saiga, Ibex, Nilgai, Serow, Tapir, Capybara, Musk deer, and Rhea as huntable animals in some Maps.
- Separate, But Identical: Once again, averted: every civilization has its unique quirks, especially the ones introduced in the expansions. For example, the Indians use wood instead of food to train villagers, British houses spawn a bonus villager when built and cost more, and the Dutch use gold instead of food.
- This also applies to the Home Cities shipment cards. While some are identical across civilizations, (extra villagers, resources...) others are unique to that civilization.
- Also, all civilizations not introduced in the expansions have more powerful but also more expensive unique upgrades for their "guard" units that replace the generic third-tier upgrade. For example, the British have Redcoat Musketeers instead of Guard Musketeers and Lifeguard Hussars instead of Guard Hussars.
- Seven Years' War: The player fights in it for one mission in Ice.
- Shaggy Dog Story: "Ambushed!" in Shadow. This is a long, rough, labyrinthine map crammed full of War Huts stationed around the cliffsides. The player needs to get powder wagons to clear paths through trees, which can halt your progress until you get them to the area. And after all of your work in getting up, the player is taken to a cutscene where Holme screws up the entire plan, thus making the whole trip pointless.
- Shoot the Medic First: Subverted. Priests, missionaries and surgeons heal units automatically, but the healing is done slowly and cannot be done while combat is going on.
- Settling the Frontier: Every skirmish/multiplayer game has your chosen civilizations establishing settlements in America/Asia (with some supplies shipped from their home cities). Of the campaigns, the first few missions of Steel and Shadow are the only ones that focus on this.
- The cheat code "sooo good" causes a little Teen Girl Squad-style message to appear whenever a unit is killed, such as "musketeer'd!" or "imperial howitzer'd!" All with a badass bugle sound included.
- When "killed", some explorers will yell (roughly) "I've fallen, and I can't get up!" in their native language.
- There is a basic red and gold customization for British harbors in their Home City titled "Edward Teach's Academy of Naval Competence". Edward Teach is a man better known as Blackbeard, a pirate.
- Shown Their Work
- Siege Engines: Artillery units.
- Sophisticated as Hell: As mentioned above, the "killin' your doods" taunt, and this gem from the same voice actress as the Queen Elizabeth AI;
"Really... such a noob."
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Inverted. The first three Big Bads are technically equal in threat, since they all run the same organization, but there's still a big disconnect in their day jobs, which regress from the Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John to a lowly fur trapper. As for The Warchiefs expansion, the first Big Bad is some two-bit mercenary captain, and the second is the Fort Laramie quartermaster. Makes you wonder where they get these huge armies to throw your way...
- Speaking Simlish: Averted. Units speak in the language of their nation.
- Spiritual Successor: The game owes quite a good deal to Age of Mythology.
- Stuff Blowing Up:
- Mortars, Monitors and Heavy Artillery.
- No matter what graphics level you have the game at, destroying weapons caches in the Campaign will cause them to blow up.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the original game, you can build trade posts in Lakota, Iroquois and Aztec villages and get from them, respectively, native cavalry (Dog Soldier), ranged infantry (Tomahawk) and siege (Mantlet), and infantry (Jaguar Warrior) and ranged infantry (Eagle Warrior) units. In the Warchiefs sequel, the Lakota (now renamed Sioux), Iroquois and Aztecs become playable factions, and their former place in the map is filled with the Cheyenne, Huron and Zapotec, who provide you with cavalry (Cheyenne Rider), siege (Huron Mantlet) and infantry (Lightning Warrior) units.
- Symbology Research Failure:
- The Chinese "Confucian Academy" Wonder can automatically produce heavy siege weapons.
- The Aztec barracks are sacrifice pyramids.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: While it's less clear-cut than in the other games in the series, generally, Infantry > Cavalry > Artillery > Infantry applies. It generally gets a bit complex, but the intent remains clear.
- Infantry is divided into Heavy Infantry (Musketeers and Pikemen/Spearmen) which are effective against both kinds of Cavalry, and Light Infantry (Skirmishers, some types of Melee Infantry, Riflemen, and Archers) which are effective against Heavy Infantry and Ranged Cavalry.
- Cavalry is divided into Melee Cavalry which are effective against Artillery and Light Infantry, and Ranged Cavalry which are effective against Melee Cavalry.
- For Artillery, the Falconet is better against infantry than they are against buildings, the Culverin is good against other artillery and ships, the Mortar can only target buildings and ships and annihilates those with ease.
- Civilization specific units can also be effective against units that their unit archetype is not effective against.
- Technology Levels: The Discovery Age, Colonial Age, Fortress Age, Industrial Age and Imperial Age/Revolution.
- The Beastmaster: Explorers can get a canine companion to fight at their side. The Spanish Explorer can train more War Dogs. The Warchiefs can train animals and convert treasure guardians, so they often end up with a menagerie of wolves, jaguars and bears that follow them around and try to eat enemy soldiers.
- Theme Park Version: Of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century. At the same time, no less. But they even it out by providing tons of detailed background information for every type of soldier, animal, and plant in the game's world!
- They Killed Kenny: Your explorer. Technically "captured"/"fallen" rather than "killed" when his hit points drop to zero, and can be brought back either by being ransomed by the player or by having units sent to recover him. You can expect this to happen at least once per game.
- Threatening Shark: Great White Sharks serve as naval treasure guardians in The Asian Dynasties. They can sink warships if you're not careful.
- Timed Mission: The next-to-last mission of Ice requires you to destroy Warwick's Town Center in 15 minutes while stealing resource carts and having some settlers to collect these resources.
- Units Not to Scale: When putting people inside ships and canoes. The in-game database entry about the canoes lampshades this.
- Vegantopia: Aside from fishing, the Japanese are the only civilization that cannot gather food from herding or hunting due to the strong Buddhist presence of that time. The Indians can gather food from any animal as long as it's not water buffalo/cow.
- You Are The Translated Foreign Word: The Ottoman character "Sahin, the Falcon". Şahin is a Turkish name meaning falcon.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Gold, Wood, Food, and XP, along with Firepit dancers or Export depending on the civilization.
- Zerg Rush:
- The Russians produce batch armies, which are cheaper per soldier.
- The Chinese in The Asian Dynasties take this even further, producing mixed batches of cheap but pitifully weak troops.
- The Spanish can rush enemies by spamming army shipment cards at the start. In the late game, it is possible via a combination of improvements and shipment cards to reduce the training time of their Barracks units to zero, allowing to you create instant armies with a few clicks. Just hope your opponent didn't build a lot of artillery.
- There are also the minutemen: cheap and quick to train but they lose health as they live.
- The Germans receive a unique cavalry unit, the fast but fragile Uhlan, for free with each shipment.
- The civilizations introduced in The Warchiefs focus in this aspect (the Sioux, Iroquois, and Aztecs). However, the Aztecs pretty much thoroughly goes in rushing, as all their "big button" upgrades involve spawning a set amount of warriors, and their War Priests can dance in the Fire Pit with an improved dance unlike a typical Villager, so the production rate bonus is higher.