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Video Game / Aztec Wars

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An obscure Russian Real-Time Strategy game from 1999 (but not released abroad until 2 years later), Aztec Wars takes place in an Alternate History where the Aztec empire has crossed the Atlantic sometime before being conquered by Europeans, and promptly conquered pretty much all of Europe and Africa, thanks to its armies composed of fireball-tossing priests, tamed jaguars and mechanical Spider Tanks, among other things. Standing against the Aztec are the Russ (the only nation with a campaign), with their war bears and axe-tossing tanks, as well as the army of China, which includes yogins with Psychic Powers, yetis, and a slew of ridiculously advanced Steampunk machinery.

Yeah, it's that sort of game.

Aztec Wars never really achieved a success, and was criticized for its simplicity compared to other RTS's of the time, as well as poor graphics. But it sure has some catchy music.

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Tropes exemplified by this game:

  • Alternate History Wank: The game is set in a world where an Aztec chieftain one day got an idea to conquer the entire world... and proceeded to easily do just that, apparently managing to utterly steamroll Africa and Europe. Of course, it probably helps that they have a host of military units unknown in our timeline, including fireball-toting priests and spider tanks.
  • Anti-Infantry: The bear and jaguar units. They do wonders against infantry, but are rather useless against buildings and vehicles.
  • Beast of Battle: Every nation has one or two such units. The Aztecs have big cats and spy eagles, the Russians have war bears, the Chinese use yetis and War Elephants. They are available after building a nest, a cave or a stable in your base.
    • Bears Are Bad News: Russian war bears. They're fast and utterly devastating against infantry, but useless against buildings and vehicles.
    • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: A Chinese unit. Depicted as a sluggish, giant, yellow ape with a colorful club.
    • Panthera Awesome: The Aztecs and their jaguars.
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    • War Elephants: The Chinese. They have cannons on their backs.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Every unit has some kind of a bright-colored feature which changes color depending on the nation that controls it: for example, the swordsmen have colorful capes, the ninjas' entire uniforms change colors, and the yogins have differently-colored turbans. The silliest example is perhaps the Yeti; depending on which side it's fighting for, they give it a different, brightly painted club.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Simplified. On each map you are limited to a number of pre-placed bases, which can only produce the weakest infantry unit, but can be expanded into one of two or three types: Village, City and Fortress. Each of the types has a different selection of buildings and units available. Getting money is achieved simply by putting down the Farm or Mine buildings, which then produce cash automatically (though they can only be built on a specific type of terrain, and give more income when placed on especially fertile spots, so terrain in the game is sort-of the equivalent of limited map resources).
  • Creator Provincialism: The game, made by a Russian development studio, is set in an alternate timeline where the Aztecs have conquered all of Europe; save for China, there's only one nation that can stand against them... and that's the Russians, of course. They're also the only nation to get a campaign of their own.
  • Damage Is Fire: Damaged buildings start burning. The fire gets increasingly bigger as the building approaches destruction.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: Each of the nations has a different set of buildings and units. If you conquer a different nation's base, you can construct their buildings and units there. In fact, some of your own units can only be built if you control a building that can only be constructed by a different nation.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The campaign storyline involves an Arabian inventor, who must be saved by the Russes and later supplies them with bomb-equipped zeppelins.
  • Hero Unit: One mission in Aztec Wars gives you a badass Arab as a hero unit you must escort to a safe place. In practice, the best way is to leave him tucked away in a corner, conquer the entire map, and then get him to his goal.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The Polish translation of the game, especially painfully visible in the intro, where everyone move their lips even when quiet, as if they were all chewing gum.
  • Hopping Machine: One of the Aztec military units is a cannon that moves by hopping around on one giant foot.
  • Idle Animation: Units keep looking around when idle, and have special animations such as the Musketeers dropping their weapons and hastily picking them up again.
  • Market-Based Title: Released in Europe as The Aztec: True History Of Empire, as Aztec Empire in Poland, and as Die Azteken in Germany.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: One of the sides of the conflict, the Aztecs, who have crossed the Atlantic before Christopher Columbus's arrival, then proceeded to conquer Africa and nearly all of Europe with their Steampunk army.
  • Ninja: Ninjas, clad in blue bodysuits, are the basic Chinese infantry units (supposedly, the Chinese empire in the game has conquered most of Asia) who fight with martial arts.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Only the Russes get a campaign. None for the villainous Aztecs or the uneasy allies, the Chinese.
  • Psychic Powers: The Chinese "Yoga" unit apparently attacks enemies with magical lightning generated with their psychic powers. It's also possible to build a "yoga tower", a defense turret which blasts all enemies nearby with the same kind of lightning.
  • Spider Tank: The Aztecs have two varieties of the Spider, one with a giant bow, one equipped with a flamethrower. The former is the most expensive unit in the game; it can kill any infantry unit with one shot, but is insanely slow. It is mentioned that, since the Aztecs consider using the wheel a blasphemy against the sacred symbol of the Sun, they're limited to either this or Hopping Machines when it comes to war machinery.
  • Steampunk: The Russians, the Chinese and to some extent, the Aztecs, use steam-powered tanks and turrets that have cannons mounted on them, shoot huge arrows... or... toss giant axes?!
  • Unique Enemy: You begin the first campaign mission with two catapults. This unit never appears anywhere else in the game (neither in the campaign nor standalone missions) and cannot ever be built.


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