[[caption-width-right:222:cover of the {{expansion|Pack}}]]

Commonly abbreviated as TA:K or TAK, this RealTimeStrategy is the follow-up of the successful VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation made by the now-defunct company [[Creator/HumongousEntertainment Cavedog Entertainment]]. The latter's setting, centered around mechs and vehicles and never showing humans, had been chosen partly because it had been thought that the much-admired 3D engine was not capable enough to depict them. Later, however, improvements made TA:K possible.

TA:K has number of differences separate from its predecessor. Firstly, it is set in a magical-fantasy world called Darien rather than a GrimDark science fiction future; secondly it has four sides rather than just two(The expansion adding a fifth one); thirdly said sides' units were very divergent, rather than almost every Arm and Core unit having a direct other-side analogue as in VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation. TAK also introduced mana batteries and multiple selectable attacks.

TA:K was not as successful as VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation, and parent company Cavedog shut down due to bankruptcy shortly after the release of its ExpansionPack, ''The Iron Plague''. However, the game enjoys a strong fan community and its versatile engine led to many [[GameMod mods]] and new side additions - probably the best-known fan-created side is the Azurians.

The {{Plot}}: [[TheArchmage All-powerful magician]] [[PunctuationShaker Garacaius]] conquers a fair portion of land and gains immortality. Of which he soon grows bored of ([[Really700YearsOld relatively speaking]]), and gives all of said lands and power to his children to rule over with [[McGuffin artifacts and 'lodestones' that harvest mana]] and [[PutOnABus disappears]]. Needless to say, the siblings soon end up fighting over both. Drama Ensues when the SteamPunk Creonites enter the fray and take the quest of wiping out all magic. Who turn out to be [[TheBusCameBack trainees of Garacaius]] who learned and taught science in his exile. Oops.


[[folder: Monarchs]]
* Elsin, NeutralGood Mage King of Aramon has your stereotypical medieval country with castles, farms, wizards, evil, backstabbing nobles and all the intrigue that comes with the package. Aramonian bases are well-known for their amazing ability to protect themselves, without much effort put into supervision; letting an Aramon player to build up a decent fortress in multiplayer will likely lead either to a long stall, or a fast and easy win for the iron-clads. Aramon also possesses the strongest army aside from that of Creon, to compensate for their almost nonexistent air and water unit repertoire. Allied with Veruna.
* Kirenna, also NeutralGood Sea Mage of Veruna, a Roman-Italian-Scottish-and-whathaveyou nation spread over numerous small islands, has the most powerful naval force in the game under her command, only challenged by the Creonite fleet. They also perform surprisingly well on the land, despite most of their troops being pushovers and [[GlassCannon Glass Cannons]], but only have a handful nigh-useless air units. Allied with Aramon.
* Lokken, the very LawfulEvil Necromancer of Taros rules over [[{{Mordor}} a barren wasteland]], which has more undead, demons and other monstrosities to it than anything else. His armies are balanced on all sides and employ brutal force for a living, along with amusing amounts of collateral damage, and, as such, the best suited for offensive approach, yet, if handled carelessly, can prove quite self-destructive. Defense isn't really their thing, and the speed of progression is largely dependent on management, making new players somewhat weak against early rushes and very weak against Creonites who advance to double the power during that time. Allied with Zhon.
* Thirsha, TrueNeutral Huntress of Zhon, rules over a savage, wild land inhabited by primitive tribals and monstrous beings who worship her as a goddess. The army, or more accurately, the [[WorldOfBadass entire population]] of Zhon is the most versatile, presenting a great variety of troops among which are the best of their kind, and the winged beasts of war they employ are unmatched, [[OverlyLongGag except by, of course, Creon]]. Their utter ignorance of the concept of basic defensive structures such as walls, housing or pretty much anything else aside from magical campfires and totems is somewhat of a drawback, however... Allied with Taros, for some unexplained reason.
* And the expansion gives us the nation of Creon, ruled by LawfulNeutral Mendalos, The 27th Sage, whose strongly SteamPunk-themed forces can be described as a comfortably paced, impenetrable wall of mass destruction. They were intentionally made more capable in all but the strongest aspects of the other four; abusing their slow advancement is the only way to beat them for sure.

[[folder:Changes from ''Total Annihilation'']]
One reason for TAK's failure is that it did not continue some of the trope-aversions its predecessor had been praised for. These include:
* CripplingOverspecialisation: The presence of setting-appropriate melee units meant that VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation's quirky exception of 'everything can shoot at everything' was not in place.
* DoNotRunWithAGun: Units failed to engage enemies while moving from place to place. Many early fan mods focused on trying to fix this problem.
* PaletteSwap: There are different terrain designs, but they are purely cosmetically different, as opposed to the original TA's different planets with different characteristics such as varying resource levels, preventing the use of certain units, and even ''gravity''.
* RidiculouslyFastConstruction: The effect used was similar to the nanolathes from VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation, but was supposedly meant to indicate being "magically summoned into existence". Fine, except two (three with the expansion) sides were supposed to have an ideological thing about not using magic for mundane things, or at all...
* UnitsNotToScale: Ships did not appear large enough to transport the units they did, although the effects used when loading units might imply that they were being somehow stored in the magical equivalent of a teleporter.

!! This game provides examples of the following:
[[folder: Averted tropes]]
* EverythingFades: Not done as consistently as in VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation, because the corpses of organic units will behave differently to the wreckage of robots. However, non-organic waste such as the statues of units that have been turned to stone will never just vanish on their own.
* FantasyGunControl: Averted. In fact, it becomes a plot point in the campaign. The video intro for the mission "The Ether's Fury" ends thusly-
--> ''"Aramon had discovered the secret...of gunpowder."''
** You then get a mission where, apart from occasionally holding a couple of easily defensible choke points to ensure the guns don't get flanked, you get to watch your cannons effortlessly slaughter a massive onrush of Tarosian troops. You don't even have to give the cannons any orders.
** Retconned with Iron Plague -- it turns out Aramon bought the Gunpowder from Creon. It becomes a plot point for igniting the war with the Creonites.
* FriendlyFireproof: Especially with magic attacks, which have a tendency to destroy your own side as well if you're not careful.
* NoCanonForTheWicked: Averted in a very strange way (and one not very popular with fans) -- all the missions are canon, but unlike e.g. ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' where one campaign follows the next, instead the player plays a mission as Aramon, then one as Taros, and so on...including at least two cases where he first has to command one side and win a battle, then take over the other one and undo his previous victory.
* OurElvesAreBetter and OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame: While numerous fantasy races are featured, the two most obvious ones are not.

* ACommanderIsYou: Aramon is Balanced with a wide array of all-rounded units and especially strong base defenses. Aramon tactics generally revolve around building an impregnable fortress that could fend off any threat long before they could even get close while building a strong army in the background to crush the remainders with. Fitting of their association with Earth, they have a very strong ground force but somewhat lacking in navy and air power.
** Veruna is Ranger. While naval warfare is their specialty, being associated with Water after all, they can perform quite well on land. They have a handful of powerful ranged units and fast moving raiders which can easily close in the gap with the enemy. [[GlassCannon While hard-hitting, they don't last long in a straight up fight]]. They also have pathetic air power.
** Taros is much more Balanced than Aramon. Their army is not very flashy but consists of enough units to cover land, air, and sea. Good ground forces, pretty nasty flying units, and a handful of amphibious units to deal with naval threats. Likes to use [[KillItWithFire Fire]] a lot. Not too shabby on the defensive either, just isn't as good as the other factions.
** Zhon is the Guerrilla faction. They're the only faction that does not build bases. Instead, they can build their army on the fly via MookMaker and only build structures for harvesting mana, defense, and healing. This allows them to easily gain ground rapidly and launch surprise attacks from anywhere since you never know where exactly are they building their army. Associated with the Wind, they have a formidable airforce.
** Creon is all about Brute Force. They take the strengths of the other factions and turn them up a notch. Tough, [[MightyGlacier often damaging machines of cold steel but rather slow]]. They're also far more resource dependent than the other factions due to their more expensive equipment.
%%* ActionBomb: The Tarosian Kamikaze Rat unit.
* AfterTheEnd: Technically the setting is this, with the 'End' being when the Kandrans' use of magic caused an apocalypse that, among other things, broke a continent in half to produce the later Aramon and Zhon. However, as it was more than 4000 years before the present day, there is little sign of it, except on some Zhon maps which feature the ruins of old Kandran buildings.
* AllTrollsAreDifferent: Trolls are a first-level Zhon melee unit, being essentially {{Mooks}}.
* AnIceGun: The Creonites' freeze weapons.
* AnIcePerson: Not in the game itself, but the fan-made Azurian side consists mostly of a race of ice people.
* AllThereInTheManual: The manual, that is, and also a lot of background information in the form of HTML files on the CD. Those who read it all were surprised (especially given the previous VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation's scant storyline) to find that the background of Darien was at least as well developed as ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'''s Azeroth was at the time. This had the unfortunate effect of making the plot utterly incomprehensible to anyone who hadn't done the reading.
** One story in particular deals with a Verunan sailor who explored Zhon looking for a MacGuffin and managed to defeat three Jungle Orcs and a Shaman using only a sword; those who know those units' capabilities will immediately mark him out as a true BadassNormal.
* ArtificialStupidity: Lokken is very prone to this when being controlled by the AI. If a single enemy unit comes and attacks him, he stops what he's doing and unleashes his shockwave attack, destroying the enemy ''[[DisproportionateRetribution along with much of his own base]]''. This does fit his canon HotBlooded / BadBoss characterisation, but still.
* ArtificialZombie: Creon Automatons are corpses wired with steampunk cybernetics to make them into soldiers.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The four original sides each have a 'Sacred Dragon' super-unit which is rather disappointingly weak for its cost, build time and unique status. A more direct analogue of VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation's Krogoth was the god of each nation, which (after the 3.0 patch, formerly they had appeared randomly in multiplayer games) could only be built by the nation's monarch and took one hour to construct.
* BraveScot: The Veruna Berserker, complete with accent and kilt.
* CaptainErsatz: King Elsin is a tall, handsome, saintly fellow with a BadassBeard and ''True Resurrection'' as his "Target: Corpse" power. Two guesses, first one's just practice.
* CoolAirship: The Aerial Juggernaut, Creon's answer to the four nation's sacred dragons.
* CripplingOverspecialisation: A common fan complaint about Aramon's lack of much in the way of a navy. Patches helped this a bit.
* DeathIsCheap: It is possible to restore units to life from corpses, statues or ice figures, but only Elsin (the Aramonian monarch) can do it. Other factions can turn corpses into ''[[CameBackWrong something]]'' living, but never resurrect the original: Dark Priests of Taros can convert corpses into Ghouls and Dark Hands convert them into Liches, Creon Chief Engineers can turn them into Automatons, and Zhon can use their Spirit Wolves to animate the fallen as Risen Wolves. Only Veruna, as usual, is left out of the party.
* ElementalNation; Aramon is Earth, Veruna is Water, Taros is Fire, Zhon is Air, and Creon would be Steel.
* ElementalPowers: Garacaius' four children, the monarchs of the four original sides, embody the four classical elements. Respectively: Elsin of Aramon is Earth (or Stone); Kirenna of Veruna is Water; Lokken of Taros is Fire; Thirsha of Zhon is Air (or Wind). Another four qualities quoted about them are Honour, Hope, Terror and Vengeance. Three guesses which two consist of the good guys and which two are the baddies.
* EnemyExchangeProgram: Possible for each side except Veruna and Creon. Aramon can have Elsin resurrect the corpses of enemy builders to build another side's units for them, while Taros and Zhon can directly mind-control enemy builders with their Mind Mages and Harpies.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Veruna is very Greek in the look of its terrain, the design of its ships, its architecture, some of its unit designs...
** Taros is like Feudal Japan set in {{Mordor}}, it has zombies, ghosts, with Warriors, Necromancers and Warlocks in Samurai and Shogun attire.
* FourElementEnsemble: Elsin-Earth, Kirenna-Water, Lokken-Fire, Thirsha-Air.
* FreezeRay: Used by the Creonites' Mechanic, Chief Engineer and Neo Dragon units.
* FrickinLaserBeams: Creon's advanced defense tower is a mirror-and-lens array that focuses sunlight into a powerful laser, strong enough to vaporize a man (or zombie or half-animal berzerker) and all his equipment. Works a treat on siege engines too.
* HypnoRay: A magical version is used by the Zhonese Harpy unit and the Tarosian Mind Mage (who also has a wave version capable of converting several units at once).
* InvisibilityCloak: Units that can turn invisible include the Aramonian Assassin, the Tarosian Kamikaze Rat and Taros' monarch Lokken.
* LargeHam: The Monarchs again. Some of their dialog during the cutscenes can come off as this, especially Mendalos, the Sage of Creon.
* LightningGun: Used by Creonite construction units and their Shock Troopers, who wouldn't look that out of place in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert''. Lightning is also used as a weapon by some of the other sides, but there it's magical in origin.
** The Taros advanced defense tower is a guy with a lightning-shooting trident standing on top of a padoga.
* LoadingScreen: Takes the form of a stained glass window, initially all in grey, with the panels being coloured in as the game loads.
* MindControl: Used by Taros' Mind Mage and Zhon's Harpy.
* KillItWithFire: Lots of Tarosian units are attacking with fire, including their monarch. Aramonian mage archers have secondary attack "Tracking arrow" which apparently shoots arrows set on fire. Elsin's secondary attack "Meteor" might also count.
** As does Creon, namely the Fire Wagon, Neo Dragon, and their monarch. The Fire Wagon uses a normal flamethrower while the Neo Dragon and Mendalos The Sage uses something called the Blue Flame.
** All 4 dragons have the same primary attack - [[BreathWeapon Fire breath]]
* KillItWithIce: Aramon acolyte's "Hail Shower" attack, and Taros weather witch's "Ice Storm". Oddly, water based Veruna doesn't have any units using ice as means of fighting. Also a fairly common Creonite weapon.
* MakingASplash: Kirenna's magic attacks.
* MageMarksman: One of Aramon's best units is the mage archer. They have longer range then regular archers and can enchant their arrows with devastating spell effects.
* MagicVersusScience: The fifth side from ''The Iron Plague'', Creon, is essentially about using SteamPunk science and technology to try and eradicate all magic and magic-users.
** The ending involves a rapid peace treaty when the anti-magic and pro-magic factions realize they were founded by the same man.
* {{Magitek}}: Arguably, the Creonites use some form of Magitek, despite their ideology. However, with the game's economy based on Mana, they really wouldn't be able to compete without it.
* MedievalEuropeanFantasy: Aramon is mainly based on this trope.
* {{Mockumentary}}: The briefings take their style directly from Ken Burns' ''The Civil War''.
* MookMaker: Zhon doesn't have buildings that produce units. They have units that make other units. This means their whole army is very mobile.
* {{Mordor}}: Taros is heavily based on the classical fantasy evil country, down to the problem of where the food supplies come from for all the torture chambers and dark castles sitting on the blackened rocks.
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: The Creonite Neo Dragon unit is a ''steampunk cyborg dragon!''
* NoBodyLeftBehind: Some units, mostly magical, demonic and other such units, fade away when killed instead of leaving a corpse.
* OurCentaursAreDifferent: An expansion-pack addition to Veruna, somewhat superfluous as they already had two other level-2 ranged units.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: Each of the original four sides has a single Sacred Dragon super-unit, while Taros has regular dragons piloted by Sky Knights, Zhon has smaller Drake dragons, and Creon has {{cyborg}} Neo Dragons.
* OurGargoylesRock: Taros' unarmed scout unit.
* OurGhoulsAreCreepier: Taros' Dark Priest unit can resurrect corpses as Ghouls, which will obey you to some extent but also have a tendency to wander randomly.
* OurGoblinsAreDifferent: A weak Zhon melee unit which, like the Tarosian Zombie, only seem to exists to be TheGoomba to Aramonian or Verunan players in the single-player campaign, but while really being very weak and relatively slow, they have [[GlassCannon a ridiculous damage bonus against buildings]], which makes them preferable as a part of dessant squads sent via Rocs to tear enemy bases down.
* OurLichesAreDifferent: Liches appear as a Tarosian unit, with undead characteristics and capable of floating over water.
* OurOrcsAreDifferent: The Zhonian Jungle Orc unit. More of a feral wilderness creature than the usual image of Orcs as {{Mooks}} for {{Mordor}}, which would be Taros here.
* OurGiantsAreBigger: Zhon's Stone Giant unit, which not only hurls stones but is ''made'' of stone.
* OurGryphonsAreDifferent: An early Zhonian flying unit, which also qualifies for GoddamnBats as it does little damage but is almost impossible to shoot down unless it's banking.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: The expansion introduced Zhon's Spirit Wolf unit, which is a bipedal wolfman with a sword capable of resurrecting corpses as ghostly 'Risen Wolves'.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: A weak Tarosian melee unit. No real use to a Tarosian player, only exists as an easy enemy to defeat for Aramonian and Verunan players in the single-player campaign.
* {{Pegasus}}: Aramon's Flying Builder unit, added in the expansion pack.
* PosthumousCharacter: Garacaius was dead long ago but is still a major part in the plot. In ''Iron Plague'' his history with Creon is a major factor in the conflict.
* {{Precursors}}: The Kandrans, a vanished civilization who first tamed magic and then were destroyed by it. For the first 4000 years after the cataclysm, use of magic was taboo and persecuted.
* TheRemnant: After Lokken was defeated in the first game, a small band of cultist called The Cult of Lokken still fight to restore Taros's former glory, [[spoiler:and they are successful in reviving Lokken from the dead.]]
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: The nations' monarchs lead them in battle.
* ShockAndAwe: There are bunch of units that can shoot lightnings or lightning balls, most notably Aramon's and Zhon's monarchs.
* ShootingSuperman: Turn-to-stone spells do not work on Basilisks (which have the weapon themselves), Stone Giants (which are already made of stone) or zombies (because...they're...dead?). The Creonites' freeze weapon works on some units which "stoning" doesn't and vice versa; the main limitation of the freeze weapon is that it does not work on units with heavy metal armour for some reason.
* StatusQuoIsGod: The sequel ''Iron Plague'' ends in the same status the first game began, the four monarch are all alive, and went their own separate ways.
* SteamPunk: The Creonites.
** HowDareYouDieOnMe: Said Creonites don't like death as an excuse to avoid military service, hence automatons.
* StrangeBedfellows: In ''The Iron Plague'', the four monarchs and former enemies team up against the Creonite invasion. Also, arguably the original storyline if you know the [[AllThereInTheManual backstory]], given that it says that previously all four kingdoms fought each other, and only recently has a two-against-two mentality developed.
** Zhon and Taros are only allied because the two 'good' nations are; they have no goals in common.
* TakenForGranite: The Basilisk, the Acolyte's Turn To Stone spell, and the freeze weapons of the Creonites do something similar except that the target ends up as an ''ice'' statue.
* ThoseMagnificentFlyingMachines: The Creon Barnstormer, which resembles a three-way cross between the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wright_Flyer Wright Flyer]], a helicopter, and a bat.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: The war on the second game started when a Veruna captain searched for the lost ships carrying the gold to pay Creon. She assumed some Creonite ships were the ones who attacked the ships and engaged the fleet, this sparked the chain of events which result in the whole war.
* {{Wutai}}: Taros combines this with {{Mordor}}.