Video Game: Rise of Legends

Rise of Legends is a Spiritual Successor to Rise of Nations created in 2006 by Big Huge Games, creators of the previous game. Instead of being set on Earth, it is set on the world of Aio, a world of technology and magic.

The campaign follows the adventures of an inventor named Giacomo. On his way to recover a mysterious artifact for study, his brother Petruzzo is killed by the Doge, an archetypal Evil Overlord who wants the technology for himself. Giacamo begins a quest for vengeance against the Doge and finally has his revenge, though not before getting caught up in a struggle with mysterious creatures made of glass, which ends when Giacamo and his allies find their leader, a corrupted genie, and bring him back to the side of good. At this juncture it turns out that the Doge was merely a pawn of more powerful and terrifying entities, whose technology was also responsible for the corruption of said genie. Giacomo thus sets out to defeat them in turn, but things go decidedly bad for him in the process.

Gameplay-wise, Legends isn't expecially similar to Rise of Nations despite using its name as a prefix: Nations imported a lot of ideas from the 4X genre, which Legends discarded in favour of fast-paced RTS combat and resource competition, taking alot of its ideas from StarCraft. Gone are the non-military win conditions, the emphasis on research, the proliferation of resources and the large roster of playable nations. Legends isn't a terribly ambitious product, but it's still very fun to play and has more strategy than many give it credit for. For instance, ships plying the enemy's trade routes can be shot down, slowing down their economy; cities are not founded but captured, either from other players or from neutral creeps; there are non-city "outpost" locations which you can gain control of and give you gameplay bonuses (in the form of resources or access to new units); and said neutral locations can be purchased as well as conquered, at which point its neutral creeps join your army.

The player has a choice of three different factions, each one a custom counterpart of the three races from StarCraft:
  • The Vinci: Similar to the Terran race. Combining the culture of Renaissance Italy and with a Steampunk aesthetic, the Vinci are technology purists who start their matches with footsoldiers supported by clockwork robots and finish with massive machines of war, ranging from large tanks to a giant spider-like robot called a Land Leviathan. Through the accumulation of prototype units and/or general purpose unit upgrades they can bolster their standing army while building Research Labs which upgrade to custom utility buildings which get very useful in the late game.
  • The Alin: Similar to the Zerg race. An Arabian Nights-style civiliation with copious amounts of mythological creatures added to the mix, the Alin are a mystical people with power over sand, fire and glass. Their strength lies in their mastery of Summon Magic, which allows them to dominate the early game of any match by spamming cheap footmen and mounted units and overwhelm their rivals through a mixture of raw power, dirty tactics and sheer numbers.
  • The Cuotl: Similar to the Protoss race. What you'd get if you crossed Mayincatec with Religion Is Magic, the Cuotl are jungle tribesmen empowered by Ancient Astronauts/Sufficiently Advanced Aliens la Chariot of the Gods. The Cuotl "Gods" boast mysterious stone-based technology so advanced that they easily conviced their followers it was magic, though the power of the Cuotl people's worship and faith apparently bolster the power of said technology. This technology includes jaguars with sun-like beam attacks, snakes which poison their victims with every attack and eagle-like flying machines.

The game received won several awards in the "Cool But Overlooked" category. And for a while, all was silent in Big Huge land... at least until the release of Kingdoms Of Amalur Reckoning. Which killed them.


Tropes found in the game include:

  • A Commander Is You: As is only natural for an RTS.
  • Action Bomb: Demolition Clockwork Men.
  • All Theories Are True: Helicopters follow Leonardo Da Vinci's "aerial screw" drawings, long since proven aerodynamically impossible.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Well, except that the Doge has no intention of actually HOLDING Miana. Once you defeat him and his Doom Cannon, he uses a second one to burn your city to the ground as he runs away.
  • Animal Motifs: The Cuotl "gods" and the units built after them use this trope in their design. Czin, Xil, and Shok respectively take after the snake, the jaguar and the eagle. The fourth Cuotl god, Ix, is designed either after a wolf or a jackal.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Unlike Rise of Nations, where the unit cap was based on your level of Military research, this one bases it on the number of Cities and Military Districts you have.
  • Are These Wires Important?: Giacomo, during the climax of Act 2, rips out the wires in the Doge's laser, causing it to blow up in the latter's face the next time he tries to fire.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Land Leviathan, true to its name, is one Humongous Mecha.
  • Badass Boast: Courtesy of Carlini:
    Carlini: I've been a soldier for 43 years, got my leg blown off, served in two wars, killed more men than I can count, and I've never backed down from anything in my life. I'm sure as hell not gonna start now.
  • Badass Bookworm: Giacomo.
  • Badass Normal: Both Carlini and the Vinci commander from the opening cinematic. This is technically true for all things Vinci, since it's them and their technology against the world.
  • Badass Princess: Arri.
  • Bald of Awesome: Carlini.
  • Bald of Evil: The Doge.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Arri.
  • Betty and Veronica: Arri, the Alin princess and Giacomo's childhood friend (Betty), and Lenora, the rebellious leader of the Pirata (Veronica). While the game does not really follow through with a Romance Sidequest, a few briefing screens show Giacomo and the significant other of the campaign in more romantic poses and there is definitely a fair amount of jealousy between the two women. In fact, during the final campaign, Giacomo is allowed to only take one of them with him to the Cuotl lands. After Giacomo's Heroic Sacrifice, Arri and Lenora appear to have become friends as well.
  • Big Bad: At first, the Doge; later on, Sawu the corrupted Alin genie; finally, Czin the Cuotl "God" of Death.
  • Boom Stick: The Cuotl foot soldiers, as Expies of Stargate Jaffas, have staves that shoot lasers.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Invoked. If you can get your economy put together right, you can totally out-expand and out-army your opponents by means of commerce alone.
  • Captain Ersatz: The three races are similar to the StarCraft races, down to the Cuotl using protective shields for their units and buildings.
  • Civil Warcraft: More than usual for a real-time strategy. In all three campaigns the primary enemy faction uses technology from the same race as the player, with the other two appearing in only a few levels each. That said, your opponents usually use a few things you can't and vice versa. For example, the Doge's units are unavailable in the campaign (excluding Pulitore's recruitment) and you can't build the Doom Cannon from a lab. Meanwhile, the Doge can't build Clockwork Men, but does get to use his Doge Guard units instead of normal Musketeers. The Cuotl campaign is the main exception, as the only units you can't use eventually are their heroes, who are the antagonists.
    • Fridge Brilliance: When you play non-Civil Warcraft skirmishes it quickly becomes apparent why this is the case: if you play the Vinci and take an Alin city, their Magus Districts are more or less useless to you and you can't build Industrial Districts, thus denying you the ability to expand on your faction's unique abilities (though it works in reverse for your enemy as well, of course). Civil Warcraft means this issue never shows up in the campaign if the player takes control of an enemy's cities.
  • Clarke's Third Law: The Cuotl Gods, along with Magic from Technology.
  • Cool Old Guy: Carlini.
  • The Corruption: Dark Glass.
  • Death from Above: The "Star Bolt" power. Kill Sat GOOD...
  • Decoy Protagonist: The Vinci Hero featured in the intro and presented as the Vinci poster boy on the back of the game's box appears nowhere else in the game save for a few loading screens.
  • Defector from Decadence: Pulitore, who you recruit in the Alin campaign, was once one of the Doge's men. After the destruction of Miana and as it became clear the Doge wasn't acting for Venucci's best interests, he and his men had enough and quit. This is also the only time in the campaign where you can use the Doge's arsenal.
  • Dueling Games: Although late to the punch by four years, Rise of Legends is regarded by some as BHG's attempt to one-up Ensemble Studios' Age of Mythology, as both games are fantasy spin-offs of their own popular historic real-time strategy titles.
  • Easy Logistics: As in Rise of Nations, somewhat averted, unless the player brings Cargo Dirigibles/Puzzle Boxes/Holy Arks along.
  • Evil Old Folks: The Doge.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Unit names can tend to work like this, especially for the Vinci, but the best example is probably the Doge's Doom Cannon.
  • Faction Calculus: Vinci (powerhouse), Alin (subversive) and Cuotl (balanced). That being said, the units themselves are largely the same in their basest forms, each faction's traits only manifesting after research and through their heroes and unique abilities.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Vinci are obviously late medieval/early Renaissance Italian city states with a heavy steampunk and clockpunk flavour (based on Leonardo da Vinci's sketches), the Alin are based on the Arabian Nights mythology, and the Cuotl are basically "Mayincatec meets Ancient Astronauts".
  • Flying Seafood Special: Manta rays that live in the desert.
  • Follow the Leader: To StarCraft. The three factions are analoguous to the Terrans, Zerg and Protoss: Terrans/Vinci use technology, Zerg/Alin use biological powers/magic, and Protoss/Cuotl use a mixture of the two. Their gameplay styles are are also similar.
  • Four-Star Badass: The Doge is known as a capable general and strategist, and despite his bad publicity is considered one of the best military minds among the Vinci in his time, which is undoubtably why everyone has put up with him for so long.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Doge's Elite Guard units.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Doge, who gets no characterization than being a jackass. Even Czin is more developed, and he only shows up to paste Carlini and face off against Giacamo after some taunting in the final mission.
  • Golem: Glass Golems. Possibly also Sun Idols, though they could also qualify as an Automaton or Humongous Mecha depending on whether or not they need a pilot. Sun Cannons as well.
  • Glass Cannon: There is a magic cannon made of glass which is actually called the Glass Cannon. But despite the name, it's not much use against anything but buildings and it's rather sturdy for an artillery piece.
  • Greater Scope Villain: The Cuotl "gods" for the first two campaigns, since the Doge is their pawn and their artifacts are the cause of the primary conflicts in each (the Doge killed Giacomo's brother to seize one of them, thus setting Giacomo on a path of vengeance, and the other was responsible for corrupting the Alin Hero Sawu). Beyond them, see The Man Behind the Man below for more, their intergalactic masters, who are still out there and may be happy to drop in for an invasion of their own.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Giacomo destroys an alien ship with him left inside.
    • Carlini's fight against Czin may or may not count.
    • The opening video ends with a lone soldier on the bridge overloading the damaged arm of his mech, blowing up the bridge he was standing on and the enemy units on it with him in order to deny them entry to his city.
  • Humongous Mecha: Giacomo and the Doge ride these.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Alin love this trope, since around 1/3 of their units are fire-spewing creatures.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The Vinci meanwhile follow this trope, a majority of their units utilizing firearms or artillery.
  • Land of One City: The various Vinci city states. Some cities, however, like Miana, have vassals, such as Miana also having control over Padonia and Vernazza, the sites of your first two Vinci missions.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Vinci Steampunk versus Alin magic versus the Cuotl's bizarre Chariot of the Gods-inspired Magic from Technology.
  • The Man Behind the Man: According to this image labelled "the Cuotl's secret alien masters" it is possible that the False Gods are merely the minions of another alien race which may or may not be conspiring to invade Aio.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Dark Glass Corruption, inflicted by Dark Walkers. The only really reliable way to remove it is Giacomo's Augmentation line of abilities.
  • Mayincatec: The Cuotl.
  • Mighty Whitey: Giacomo, to a certain extent. It's always a different race in each campaign, but either way, Giacomo remains in charge throughout.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted to devestating effect by the Doge in the campaign. While you took out his capital and Cannon of Doom, turns out he took a second one and leveled your home city with it before running away to the desert.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The Alin ones come in Sand, Fire, and Glass varieties. The Sand Dragon functions as their master unit.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: At the start of the Cuotl campaign Giacomo is hit by the blast from a Cuotl cannon, and thus develops superpowers. He then takes parts from Ix, the dead Moon God, and uses those to upgrade his walker.
  • Punny Name: The name of the Cuotl Goddess of Storms, who uses lightning bolts as her primary weapon, is Shok.
  • Rebellious Princess: Arri accompanies Giacomo despite her lord forbdding it, citing the need for her to remain and help protect the city.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Surprisingly averted in single-player, as upgrades for units are done on the campaign map, and are kept through the campaign.
    • But played straight with the in-mission "research" bonuses and the Vinci prototype upgrades. Most of the research bonuses can be justified as being local infrastructure improvements, but at least some of the prototype upgrades should be things that can be brought along to new levels instead of having to figure out how to make them all over again.
  • Religion of Evil: The Cuotl.
  • "Risk"-Style Map
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Perhaps the Doge shouldn't have killed Giacomo's brother, Petruzzo...
  • Rule of Cool: Around 80% of the units are incredibly cool one way or another. Let's see :
    • The Vinci are, as their name indicate, Steam Punk Italian City States with ROBOTS and Da Vinci-inspired flying machines! Their Super Unit is a giant Spider Tank with guns and missiles and giant drills which can be used to move all around the map by burrowing.
    • The Alin are Arabian Nights plus other arab mythology crammed into a faction . Three different dragons, including a very large one who visibly breathes glass, plenty of fire units, golems, Flying Seafood Special, Scary Scorpions, and the Rukh, which is (unlike in the myths) some sort of dragon made of lava, which is already pretty cool, but it explodes on other units as its only attack, and then after reappears out of thin air!
    • The Cuotl are Mayaincatec with Religion Is Magic and Magitek. Their air units are basically magic levitating planes made out of rock which shoot lasers, the Sun Jaguar which is a golem in the shape of a jaguar which shoots lasers out of his eyes the Sun Idol which is a Humongous Mecha with an equally humongous laser beam, the Deathsphere which is basically a giant lightning-shooting black hole. Think that isn't cool enough ? Their super unit, the City of Vengeance, puts the latter Death Sphere to shame.
  • Scary Scorpions: The Alin have a big version used as a mount.
  • Silicon-Based Life: The Alin field several units made of living glass, though it's not certain how many of them are alive rather than magically animated.
    • They all seem like golems though, and one Vinci sidequest includes helping a Glass Golem find its master in the Doge's prison.
  • Skunk Stripe: Lenora has a bright red streak.
  • Sky Pirate: The Pirata, obviously. However, due to their status as mercenaries who wind up working for Giacomo, they end up more like The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
  • Spider Tank: Clockwork Spiders, and Land Leviathans are a larger version.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Rise of Nations, as stated earlier.
  • Steampunk: The Vinci are this, along with Clock Punk.
  • Support Power: each nation has one. The Vinci get an Area-Of-Attack big honking drill; the Alin can spawn a short-lived army; and the Cuotl get a burning area of effect which, oddly, you can see in and move around.
    • The Cuotl's power probably represents control of some kind of orbital Kill Sat, though it's never made explicit.
    • There are also four "dominances" that each player can vie for control of by fulfilling certain conditions, and which only one player may use at a given time. One steals enemy units, one spawns temporary mercenary allies, one heals friendly troops in a small area, and one forces a temoporary Cease-Fire among all factions.
    • The Vinci Nullifier, which casts a map-wide Anti-Magic shockwave that persits for 15 seconds.
  • Tank Goodness: The Vinci Juggernaut is a steampunk tank with two cannons.
  • Technology Levels: Four, down from eight in Rise of Nations.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill
  • This Is a Drill: The Industrial Devastation power. The Vinci Land Leviathan also uses drills as armaments.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Lenora and Arri.
  • Two-Faced: Giacomo after being hit with mysterious energy.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Condottieri were originally the ruling power in Vinci lands, but failed to keep up with technological advancements that led to increasing power to individual cities such as Miana or Venucci. A civil war later, all that remains of the Condottieri is a castle, a few squabbling noble families and a scattered army of mercenaries.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Cuotl have this in spades. The Eye of the Gods, the Sun Cannon...
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Vinci and Alin don't exactly get along too well. There's also the fact that the Vinci are clearly based on Renaissance Italian city-states united only by culture and mutual interest. The ending implies that they slide back into infighting even with the Doge gone.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You need to get Imperial Musketeers to level 3 for them to melee.
    • This case is somewhat Justified, since before the invention of the bayonet, armies required Pikemen to protect their muskets, which in melee combat are basically clubs.
    • Alin Desert Walkers need research before they can throw their swords at enemies for a ranged attack. Though judging by the research's icon (a crossbow) and name ("Glass Bolts") it's probable they were originally intended to pull out a crossbow for this purpose instead.
  • You Killed My Father: Giacomo's grievance with the Doge is the death of his brother, Petruzzo. After the Doge's death, he goes after the Cuotl "Gods" who were manipulating the old bastard.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: "Timonium" as Gold, and two different Lumber resources depending on who you're playing as: the Vinci and Alin have "Wealth", whereas the Cuotl have "Energy". The game also maintains Rise of Legends' "Power" resource by imposing Caps on how fast you can harvest. (And Population, of course.)
  • You Shall Not Pass: The soldier on the bridge from opening video was quite determined with stopping the invasion, regardless of anything.


Alternative Title(s):

Rise Of Legends