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Video Game: Empire Earth

A classic military, real-time strategy game from Stainless Steel Studios, Empire Earth was released in 2001 for the PC. The player controls a civilization as it advances through "epochs" (14 in the original, 15 in the Art of Conquest expansion). Specific buildings allow the construction of units and the research of improvements. The game employs a complex technology tree, with literally hundreds of land, sea, and air-based units. The goal, outside the preset scenarios, is the military destruction of the opponent. Users can play against the computer or other players online.

The original was very well received, prompting the release of Empire Earth II in 2005. This also did fairly well. Empire Earth III, by contrast, was a commercial flop, and is widely believed to have been the end of the series.

A dedicated fanbase lives on.

This video-game provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In the Novaya Russia campaign, AI may not be a crapshoot for Novaya Russia, but from the start, Novaya Russia's advances in robotics prove very disastrous for every other country. In the skirmish mode A.I. is infamous for heavy cheating. It will add resources and units to the enemy team instantly if you do too well. Winning is almost impossible.
  • Alexander the Great: Featured on the Boxart and in the Game as a Hero Unit and in the last 3 Scenarios of the Greek Campaign.
  • All There in the Manual: Lampshaded in the fourth mission of the Russian campaign when the briefing recommends you to check out the manual to learn more on cybers' abilities.
  • Alternate History: The first game had the German campaign where it was possible to defeat Britain in World War II. The scenario is actually based on Operation Sea Lion, which of course was never carried out in the real World War II.
  • America Saves the Day:
    • Novaya Russia in the first game has conquered Europe, East Russia and all of the world, but they won't manage to conquer the United States; in fact, that's the turning point that erases Novaya Russia from history.
    • In the second game, the US tries to stop a rogue general and his cybernetic experiments from threatening the world Twenty Minutes into the Future, just in time for the 300th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Anachronism Stew: Infinite possibilities abound when it comes to having one side on the far end of the technology spectrum attacking another side that is way behind in development.
    • Army of the Ages: When you use the editor to create an army with units from every epoch.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played straight for hand-bow style archers, subverted for arrow towers (which carry a surprising punch), and averted for crossbow (because you know they'll be deadly). It's entirely possible for a crossbow team to destroy a Million Mook March of swordsmen single-handedly.
  • Area of Effect: The nuclear weapon in the first game.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic
  • Battering Ram: Most technology epochs have their own version of a siege engine, something that can destroy buildings. In the Stone Age, it's a "Samson," which is just a guy carrying a log he uses to ram enemy huts.
  • Baseless Mission: The first scenario of the German campaign.
  • Boss Battle: William's duel against a beefed-up French knight in the English campaign, and in the last Russian mission against Grigor II. It has 35000 health points, compared to the mere 6000 he had when you could control him.
  • Broken Pedestal: Molotov for much of his appearance in the Novaya Russia campaign idolizes Grigor and all he stood for. This is completely shattered however upon finding out that Grigor was far from the heroic messiah he thought him to be.
  • City of Weirdos: When Molotov and Molly go back in time, nobody says anything about Molotov, a cyborg with a half-robot face.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Even before dye is invented
  • Critical Existence Failure: Every Unit and Building will still be standing with just one HP. Partly averted with planes, ships, and buildings which will smoke and catch fire.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Computer players don't follow any resource-gathering rules; they just build units at an arbitrarily fast pace. Also computers don't seem to be bothered by Fog of War, since they commonly send bomber planes after your sneaky armies with impunity. They also know where your forces are strong and weak, so attempts to save scum after the loss of a base and send the bulk of your forces to said doomed base will result in the AI switching targets to the other one, even if they have no legitimate way of knowing where your forces are.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: In the Greek campaign, this is how King Phillip of Macedonia's death is presented: Alexander asks to speak to him after a battle, but the king is busy, and is killed by assassins before he has a chance to talk to his son.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Although the P-47 has weak guns, its blinding rate of fire gives it a higher Damage-Per-Second capacity than the more general purpose Fighter-Bomber.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of the units that cannot be accessed in normal gameplay is the Chinese Spearman. And a gruesome detail about this particular unit is its death animation: The Chinese Spearman sets his spear to the ground and jumps on it.
  • Easily Conquered World: Novaya Russia only had a tough time in the Middle-East, North Africa and China and by the time of Molotov's defection, Novaya Russia held direct or indirect control of pretty much the whole world except North America.
  • Easy Level Trick: The second Russian level can be beaten in 10 minutes top on easy mode if you build 3 Titan bombers and spend all your civilization points to make them faster and stronger.
    • The Art of Conquest: In the final scenario of the Roman Campaign, you are given the choice of completing the mission by siding with either Cleopatra VII or Ptolemy XIV. If you side with Cleopatra, not only will you need to defend Alexandria but the Great Pyramid of Cheops as well as you'll lose if it falls below 50%. A script bug in the scenario allows you to destroy the Great Pyramid by pressing delete without being defeated, removing the need and risk of defending a structure that's outside the safety of Alexandria's walls.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: The Priest's job is to convert enemy units that are not near a University. They're fun to use but they start being useless once you get access to gun units from the Renaissance Age and beyond.
  • Everything Fades: This can be averted with a special trigger, as used in the second-to-last mission in the Russian Campaign, to make a dead unit become persistent and never disappear.
  • Fog of War: Unexplored areas of the map are pitch-black, and areas unobserved by the players' units or buildings do not show enemy movements.
  • Game Mod: Plenty for the first two games, from simple reskins to massive gameplay changes.
  • Garrisonable Structures - Forts are available, but other structures too. and for certain structures (especially in the first game) it is wise to do so as garrisoning a certain number of units in them will upgrade the structure. But you won't get the units back after you upgrade said buildings.
  • General Ripper: Charles Blackworth. His concern over America's apparent diminishing power prompts him to launch a coup d'etat against the US government, which the player foils. He eventually goes into hiding in South America and attempts to trigger a nuclear holocaust, only to be foiled once again and Killed Off for Real.
  • Gullible Lemmings: Luring enemy units into your archers/riflemen/ships is an effective way to avoid and minimize casualties. This is a very important tactic in scenarios where your ability to reinforce your army is limited or nonexistent.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: The diplomacy settings are locked in single-player missions so you can't try to ally with your enemies.
  • Hover Tank: Goes underwater most likely due to engine limitations. Also, it cannot be built outside custom maps.
  • Humongous Mecha: All three games have them in later epochs. Especially the campaign/editor-only Command Unit/Grigor II and Blackworth.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The animators messed up on Napoleon's attack animation: When he shoots, it looks like he's firing into the air. It doesn't stop the bullet from hitting the enemy though.
  • Just a Stupid Accent / Poirot Speak : Most of the voice acting in the first installment was pretty egregious.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: The tutorial for EE2 has the player guide the Aztecs from its founding to fighting off the Spanish conquistadors, helping the Americans win their independence from Britain, and fight a fascist Inca state in the 1930's.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Cybers/HERCs were only slightly bigger than infantry units. Possibly a case of Units Not to Scale.
  • One-Hit Kill: The incentive for using Crossbowmen is that they have a small chance of instantly killing enemy infantry.
  • One World Order: By the later missions of the Novaya Russia campaign, the country has direct and indirect control over much of the world outside of the American sphere and is poised to become one. The flavor text for the generic "Rebel Forces" meanwhile implies that said rebel groups would eventually unite into a single global counter-order to fight Novaya Russia.
  • Power Up Letdown: Some of the Civ Bonuses are just a waste of rare and irreplaceable Civ Points.
  • Real-Time Strategy: Gameplay can be paused so the player can take time to view the situation and issue commands, but can still proceed extremely fast for inexperienced players.
  • Real Time with Pause: One of the earliest Real-Time Strategy games that allowed issuing orders during paused mode. This allows micromanagement of formations, very useful in the earlier "epochs".
  • Recycledin Space: The Space Age introduced in Art of Conquest. You build space docks, space battleships, space carriers, space corvettes...
  • Religion Is Magic: Prophets are the spellcasters in this game, throwing storms, volcanoes, and plagues at your enemies.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: The buildings also start out as flat and gradually inflate as your villagers build them.
  • Robot War: The American campaign from EE2 eventually culminates in a battle against Blackworth and his cybernetic army.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Although AA Missiles are stronger and have a longer firing range, there is a noticeable delay between shooting and hitting the target. AA Guns, on the other hand, hit the target instantly.
  • Rule of Cool: No other way to justify the cartoonish mecha, weird futuristic architecture, and lasers. Ninjas with lightsabers are probably the fullest extent of this seen in the first game.
  • Rule of Funny: Prophets in the modern and future eras wear sandwich boards. And nothing else.
  • Russians with Rusting Rockets: The beginning of the Novaya Russia campaign.
  • Schizo Tech: Some units from the WW2 epoch (namely ships, artillery guns, some infantry, and even halftracks) were still used in the modernepoc.
  • Shout-Out: The Cybers and HERCs are shoutout to another franchise: Starsiege.
  • Space Is an Ocean: This is how space is treated in the expansion pack to Empire Earth. See Recycledin Space.
  • Splash Damage: For artillery units in all three games and the nuclear weapon in EEII.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's no coincidence that this game is identical to Age of Empires.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: A homing projectile will NEVER stop until the unit that it's chasing is dead or the unit that fired it is dead. The same rule applies for torpedoes.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: In the German scenario "Somme River", you are given 15000 of each resource to build a base and huge army that you'll need to storm and overrun the allied positions. If you hit the pop cap or a scout discovers your recruitment efforts and gets away to report about the buildup, the gravy train returns to Germany and you're forced to make do with the pitifully scarce amounts of local resources.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: In early epochs, the classic matchups occur between infantry, cavalry, and archers (with exceptions), though it gets more complicated as the epochs go on, becoming extremely convoluted when robots and lasers are introduced.
  • Tank Goodness: Present in all epochs after World War I. The first game divides them into AP tanks (effective against other tanks) and HE tanks (effective against infantry), while the second game divides them into light tanks and heavy tanks.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Not counting the fact that all of the series' factions shared the same units, we have the M18 Hellcat and the Jagdpanther from the second game that resembles a M48 Patton and a SU-85, respectively.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The latter third of the Asian campaign in Art of Conquest. You even attack the Moon and the Earth at the end!
  • Units Not to Scale: Just like Age of Empires, the people in this game are slightly bigger than the houses they live in. The Humongous Mecha from the future ages are Humongous only in name. A miner is bigger than a tank, and nuclear bomber fighter jets are smaller than their bombs. The bombs are smaller than most tanks.
    • Space Compression: The Creators had to take several liberties with designing the Campaign maps so you can expect a lot of inaccuracies when the locations are compared to real-life.
  • Wave Motion Gun: From the expansion, the Devastating Beam of Death ability of the space capital ship.
  • World War One: The first four missions of the German campaign in the first, featuring Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron. Also shown are the battles of Verdun and Somme.
    • In EE 2, featured in the second mission of the US campaign as the Meuse-Argonne offensive.
  • World War II: The last two missions of the aforementioned German campaign. The fifth mission is a reenacting of Germany's blitzkrieg across Europe while the last scenario is an Alternate History version of Operation Sealion.
    • The American campaign in Art of Conquest features key battles in the Pacific Front against the Japanese Empire.
    • The American campaign in EE 2 sees you slogging through Tunisia, Italy and the Low Countries. A optional mission is also set during the Normandy landing, where you can either take control of the Allies or the Axis.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The first game has five resource types that require intensive monitoring of the civilization's economy.
    • The second game on the other hand has four basic resource types and two "special resources" which change depending on the age. You won't get iron and uranium the same age, for example.

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alternative title(s): Empire Earth
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