After centuries of conquest, the Aztecs now rule the mightiest empire in Central America. But when strangers appear on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs, is unsure whether they are conquerers... or gods. Can a vast empire of warriors using obsidian spears and cotton armor hold off mounted invaders armed with metal armor and gunpowder?
The player is in control of the Aztecs, the color being Green.
1. Reign of Blood
Eagle Warrior Cuauhtémoc had come across an omen, and initially wasn't sure about its meaning. The Aztec Empire had long interpreted omens as a sign of a need of additional sacrifice, and they consistently expand their borders in order to obtain prisoners to sacrifice in order to have the sun rise in each day. The message eventually relayed to Montezuma, whose priests took the omen to mean that the god Quetzalcoatl will arrive. Tenochtitlan sought to consolidate control of the jungle shrines and keep them protected while awaiting the arrival of their god.
2. The Triple Alliance
The priests had interpreted an omen that appeared as a usual sign that the gods were angry and demanding a sacrifice, so Tenochtitlan sought to enlist the assistance of its partners of the Triple Alliance - Texcoco and Tlacopan - as it sought to attack its blood enemies, the Tlaxcala.
The Spanish had landed in Mexico, and initiated contact with the Aztecs. At first things seemed rather cordial, with the presentation of gifts to the new arrivals, though Hernan Cortez had taken interest in the gold ornaments, wondering if there's more of that in Tenochtitlan itself. The Spanish also made their venture into Tlaxcalan lands, at first in conflict with them, but hearing of their mutual distrust of the Aztecs, and in awe of the various stories of Tenochtitlan, the two united.
4. La Noche Triste
The Spanish had arrived in Tenochtitlan, treated to the hospitality of Montezuma and in awe of the splendor of the city and its riches. In time, Montezuma wasn't sure if Cortez was a god or just a man, and for whatever reason didn't take action as he was being closely scrutinized; the Spanish took the city without a fight. It was becoming increasingly clear that the Spanish were only interested in the gold, and outlawing further sacrifices. People had grown increasingly restless and rioted in the streets, to a degree that not even Montezuma could quell the riots and himself got killed. The people left decided to take matters into their own hands and drive the false gods out of the city.
5. The Boiling Lake
Cuauhtémoc was now made to succeed Montezuma, whose death further served as a catalyst for vengeance against the Spanish. The Spanish weren't terribly far ahead, weighed down by the gold they had aquired, and Cuauhtémoc brought his people into hot pursuit of the retreating forces. The Aztecs planned to cut them off in their retreat before they could reach the safety of their Tlaxcalan allies to the north.
6. Broken Spears
The Spanish didn't flee from Mexico as the Aztecs hoped, instead regrouping and fully intending to return to Tenochtitlan and claim its wealth for Spain. They assembled various boats with which they can assemble and break down on their journey to Lake Texcoco; Cortez knew full well that Tenochtitlan was more vulnerable on water. Cuauhtémoc summoned his men to make a last stand, as they wait on the siege being initiated by a combined Spanish-Tlaxcalan force.
This campaign contains examples of:
- Artistic License History:
- "Reign of Blood" wasn't based on a particular historical event, since it was originally designed for the expansion's demo to showcase the new tile set and wildlife, as well as the Mesoamerican civilizations.
- There actually was one emperor between Montezuma and Cuauhtémoc, for all of eighty days. Montezuma's brother Cuitláhuac assumed the role after the former died, before he himself died, most likely to Smallpox.
- The Battle of Otumba, the basis of The Boiling Lake, actually ended poorly for the Aztecs. The Spanish retreat to Tlaxcala was successful with light casualties, while the Aztec pursuers lost their commandernote among several others.
- Cutting the Knot: In ''La Noche Triste" the Aztec army is expected to gather their scattered forces and fail in the attempt to siege Tenochtitlan before retreating to another corner of the map and rebuild before fighting back, all before the Spanish could secure a Wonder victory. By destroying one of Tenochtitlan's gates with the gathered army, the Aztecs has a chance to destroy the Spanish Wonder long before it is supposed to be finished.
- Downer Ending: While you can win Broken Spears, the ending cinematic says that while the Aztecs may have won the battle, they haven't won the war, and more Spanish may arrive after much of Tenochtitlan lay in ruin, with many dead.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: A weapon represented by Turtle Ships could be found and utilized for "Broken Spears", although they are not even in the right part of the world. They were replaced by Cannon Galleons in the Definitive Editon with justification that they were abandoned by the Spanish. Also, the original release didn't have a Native American horse unit, so when the Aztecs capture horses in The Boiling Lake, they receive Tarkans. The Definitive Edition replaces them with beefed-up versions of Xolotl Warriorsnote .
- Outside-Context Problem: The Aztecs' constant warring and conquests had earned them a lot of enemies, and that was before Hernan Cortez's expedition arrived and eventually took advantage of that fact.
- Wham Episode: La Noche Triste had the Spanish firmly entrenched in the city, and with Montezuma dead the Aztecs must regroup from the outside and wrest control of the city back. Furthermore, the Spanish are building a wonder to establish their control, and the Aztecs must hurry to keep it from being constructed.