Video Game / Spartan: Total Warrior

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Spartan: Total Warrior is a Spin-Off action game of the Total War series, developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega. No, you will not be controlling entire Spartan armies while battling Athenians in the Peloponnesian War. Whereas the Total War games traditionally focus upon historical and legendary scenarios with each installment, this game takes on a much more liberal approach to history, by having the Romans invade Sparta several hundred years before they did in Real Life, with Tiberius as Emperor and Crassus as a well-known military commander. Drawing elements from the Greek and Roman mythology, Spartan: Total Warrior shares a lot in common with God of War, while giving a fairly fresh take on the gameplay.

You take control of a lone, nameless Spartan warrior, fighting alongside his Greek allies against the Roman Empire, while being guided by Ares. The story is told using a five-act, three-scene structure made popular by Ancient Greek plays. The gameplay itself features fast-paced hack and slash combat, and you're able to switch between attacking one enemy, to damaging several groups of enemies over a large area around. The former is fast and causes the most amount of damage, whereas the latter attack is slower, but damages multiple enemies at a time with a moderate power. Combat is focused on large battles with over a hundred combatants, with the player taking on volumes of opponents at once, with you often completely surrounded and outnumbered. In the midst of battle, a small flash is placed on an attacking enemy's weapon to indicate the danger of an impending strike. Care must be taken to block incoming attacks in between offensive blows, balancing offense and defense to avoid taking damage. The player's shield can also be used to shove enemies back and maintain control of the flow of combat in crowded scenarios.

As the player progresses through the game, the Spartan will unlock new weapons, including a basic sword and shield, a basic bow, an upgraded sword and shield (medusa shield), dual swords (blades of Athena), an upgraded bow, a hammer (Death-Biter) and a spear (Spear of Achilles).

Tropes present within the game:

  • Anachronism Stew: Where do we start? The army of Sparta led by Leonidas fighting the armies of the Roman emperor Tiberius?
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The first boss of the game is Talos, an animated bronze giant that the player has to hold off with catapults.
  • Automatic Crossbows: The Ballista. Even if repeating ballista existed in that time, they probably did not function like machineguns as in this game.
  • Back from the Dead: Sejanus.
  • Big Bad: Ares is ultimately the one behind everything.
  • Big Good: Initially Leonidas, King of Sparta. Later on, after his home country is sacked, The Spartan takes up the role.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sparta has been sacked by the Romans and King Leonidas and Pollux are dead. But the Roman Empire has been utterly demolished in return, The Spartan has avenged his mother and home city, and Castor is set up as the ruler of Sparta.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Assassins. They're literally the most dangerous and powerful mook shown in the game besides the Gigantes considering they possess twin swords which they use as shields and can evade even direct rage attacks with startling speed and agility compared to other mooks.
  • Breaking Speech / All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Sejanus explains to the heroes that while they were attempting to procure the Spear of Achilles, the Roman Empire military wiped out Sparta since their best warriors were not there to defend it. He then explains how the city is in ruins and their families and friends are either dead or imprisoned, which temporarily crushes the morale of the heroes.
  • The Caligula: Tiberius. Being related to the man himself probably didn't help.
  • Co-Dragons: Implied to be the case with Crassus and Sejanus, to Tiberius.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Spartans are blue, normal Roman soldiers are red and the Praetorian Guard are Purple.
  • Deal with the Devil: Ares' whole bargain with the Spartan at the very beginning counts as this.
  • Dem Bones: One of the many mook types.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: In the final boss battle, Ares, can split himself in three. The difference between the original and the two copies is that the copies get killed with one hit.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Aelius Sejanus, ringleader of the Praetorian Guard, is far more competent than his emperor, Tiberius.
  • Escort Mission: A large number of them in Athens, revolving around protecting Archimedes from Roman assassins. Fortunately, they're all lumped together in one section to be finished over with quickly.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Spartan. Then again, he doesn't actually have any other name for people to call him.
  • Elite Mook: The Praetorian Guard, but especially the Carnifexes.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Doppelganger.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foregone Conclusion: Castor's voiceovers before the beginning of each mission clue you in that the Spartans eventually do win the war and that Castor himself has been set up as king of Sparta.
  • It's Up to You: Don't count on your allies to do more than just slow down and distract the Roman Legionaries without your help.
  • Just Following Orders: Emperor Tiberius pulls this card near the end of the final level.
  • Kill Sat: Crassus' Medusa weapon functions in much the same way, forcing the player to avoid petrifying laser beams throughout the whole stage and ultimately the boss fight with Crassus.
  • La Résistance: The Spartan eventually ends up helping Archimedes and the Athenian Resistance try to retake a Roman-occupied Athens.
  • Large and in Charge: The taller the Roman, the stronger he is, usually with better weapons and armor to back it up.
  • The Nameless: The eponymous Spartan.
  • Necromancer: Sejanus, curiously enough.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ares manipulates the Spartan and his comrades into leaving Sparta in pursuit of the Spear of Achilles. The Spartan complies in the hopes of using the spear to save Sparta from the Roman invasion, but during his absence the Romans steamroll Sparta and render all his efforts for nothing.
  • Obviously Evil: The Romans are almost cartoonish in how they revile the Spartan armies. And we're not even getting into Ares.
  • Off with His Head!: The Radial Attack for the Blades of Athena involves the Spartan rushing around and lopping off the heads of a set number of enemies.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: The Spartan has no past, no family, not even a name. Ares proclaims at the beginning of the game that he will aid the Spartan in recovering his past, but notes that in turn the Spartan must "deliver the vengeance [Ares] desires."
  • Ring of Fire: When fighting Beowulf, he summons one to prevent your escape from combat.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: The Spartan is manipulated into thinking that retrieving the Spear of Achilles will ultimately save Sparta from Roman hands. But immediately after claiming the spear as his own, he discovers that in his absence the Romans have already conquered Sparta and slain Leonidas.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Just killing the handmaiden who snitched on Ares' affair with Aphrodite to her husband isn't enough for Ares. He also plots to get revenge on her son by destroying his life and his country before killing him.
  • Smug Snake: The Romans, really. Special mention goes to Crassus and Sejanus.
  • Smug Super: Sejanus. It's not enough that he's a necromancer with enough knowledge of sorcery to even give the Spartan a challenge. He has to be so in-your-face about it.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The Spartan.
  • Taken for Granite: The Medusa shield's area attack turns everyone around The Spartan to stone. The boss fight with Crassus (and the stage leading up to it) has Medusa herself hooked up to a giant machine to weaponize her gaze, causing the player to have to avoid it or suffer a One-Hit Kill.
  • Teleport Spam: Sejanus is very fond of these.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Ares.
  • The Unfought: Tiberus is never fought in the game (makes sense, since he's a politician, not a soldier.) Instead he falls to his death in the Coliseum, and the real final boss is revealed to be Ares.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: The future of Sparta and mainland Greece is so dependent on the nameless hero that all becomes lost as soon as he dies.
  • Your Mom: In Act 3 Chapter 2, Pollux says upon seeing Sejanus riding the undead dragon, Ladon.
    Pollux: "Hey, Sejanus! Your mother's even uglier than you!"

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