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Video Game / Shadow of Rome

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''Are you satisfied? Is it so enjoyable to watch men murder each other like animals? DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!"
Agrippa, after killing Barca, Germanic tribe chief who Agrippa himself sent to slavery prior to becoming a gladiator.

A PS2 Hack and Slash set in Ancient Rome. Julius Caesar has been assassinated, and the father of Roman General Agrippa has been accused.

This ultra-fun game is split between combat scenes in various arenas (Agrippa becomes a gladiator, since the winner of eventual games will have the honor of executing Agrippa's father) and stealth scenes where you play as Caesar's nephew Octavianus, trying to unravel the mystery.


This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Claudia.
    • And the female enemies.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sextus. With a heavy dose of Redemption Equals Death.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Octavianus receives a (mercifully text-only) come-on from a grown man late at night, even if he's in his male clothes.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Agrippa's battle prowess had him named general by Caesar at a very young age.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: It doesn't matter if you've broken and/or cut both their arms off thus rendering them unable to use weapons; they will probably still be attacking you. They will also ocasionally try to fight you with shortswords and maces in hand while you have a Grand Halberd or Magnus seconds away from slicing them apart. They don't even bother staying out of range (save for bosses ocasionally).
  • Awesomeness Meter: Salvo meter, which you can use to win over the crowd and get better weapons.
  • Back Stab:
    • The Stuck Pig Salvo: attack an enemy that has their backs to you while groggy (usually because they took plenty of damage beforehand) with a dagger, and an animation of Agrippa stealth killing them will be triggered.
    • Decius kills Vipsania by throwing a Gladius into her back.
  • Bald of Evil: Arcanus and Askari Valcross, once you break their helmets.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Claudia, Iris and Charmian, and the female gladiators.
  • Batman Gambit/Gambit Pile Up: Maecenas suspects that Vipsanius is not Caesar's murderer, then he learns that Caesar is still alive, and that Decius killed an impostor under Antonius' orders, who had learned that Caesar was passing him over in favour of Octavianus. He proposes the gladiatorial games as a way of revealing the plot to a wide audience, and introducing the people to the true heir of Caesar, Octavianus.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: In certain stages you'll have to fight tigers, vultures, and even elephants.
  • BFS: Magnus, the Great Sword.
    • Also, the sword that Antonius uses in the final battle.
  • Big Bad: Antonius.
  • Big Bad Friend: Sextus.
  • Blade on a Stick: Halberds and Grand Halberds. Also, Long Axes, the standard chariot racing weapon.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Octavianus' Chameleon suit, which makes you invisible when leaning against a wall, is unlocked once you buy every item from the market. By then you'll probably have finished the game a couple of times already.
  • Breakable Weapons: All of them — from the big badass Magnus, to the jugs Octavianus can strike guards with. Justified because there has to be some reason why you can't just plow through every stage with a big awesome two-handed weapon that kills every foe with a single charged hit (or, in the stealth stages, any weapon). Also, if they're throwing that stuff to the gladiators, it must mean they've been used more than enough.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Weakened enemies will ocasionally pee when you aim at them. The Urine Trouble Salvo is awarded for when you hit them while they're in that condition.
  • Clear My Name: Agrippa needs to prove his father is innocent of the murder of Caesar.
  • Combat Aestheticist: Naturally, you're a gladiator. The Salvo system encourages this.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Plenty of them in the arena.
  • Cruel Mercy: After defeating Barca in his fortress, Agrippa has him taken prisoner, in spite of his protesting.
    Barca: What are you waiting for? Kill me! I would sooner die than become a slave of Rome!
  • The Cat Came Back: Octavianus' little dog reappears in the final scene.
  • The Dragon: Decius is one to Antonius. Maecenas is another one to the same person, but it's revealed towards the end of the game that Maecenas is The Mole.
  • Escort Mission: A few of the gladiatorial matches involve Agrippa trying to protect noncombatants from other gladiators. They have remarkably low health and can't use anything to defend themselves.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: A given, with the assassination of Julius Caesar being the event that sets the plot in motion.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Barca, after losing to Agrippa for the second time, only now in the City Arena. Actually, it's the crowd that chants for the kill, and Barca further goads our protagonist into obliging.
  • Fartillery: During Askari's boss battle, his elephant may fart on you.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Not satisfied with the sudden, often criticized switches back and forth between Hack and Slash and Stealth-Based Game styles, the game also has one part when you play a Driving Game with chariots. Granted, it's still far easier to win it by killing all opponents as the player always does, not to mention the player is forced to do that in the race against That One Boss, but it's still different enough from the rest of the game that it warrants a totally different set of controls.
  • Giant Mook: You'll get plenty of these to deal with.
  • Gladiator Games: But of course.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: You can fight unarmed if you have to. The "Assault & Battery" Salvo is unlocked by defeating a foe without using any weapons.
  • Gorn: Saying there's plenty of it in this game is a bit like saying there's plenty of ice in the Arctic.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Despite the mature rating of this game, nobody ever swears, even though they're flung into plenty of situations where you would highly expect them to.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: You'd think they'd know the difference between a senator and a dude in a toga. Also, they never think to looking inside the massive vases unless they see you jumping into them. They also reach It's Probably Nothing mode with hilarious ease.
  • Guide Dang It!: 100% Completion of the Salvo List will require you to guess some very specific Salvos exist, specially the ones that require you to be holding an exact set of weapons (e.g. Dimacheri, though you're likely to bump into this one accidentally). Also, Rolling Thunders are hard to time, so most players don't bother trying to pull the off, let alone figure out the Rolling Thunder based attacks.
  • A Handful for an Eye: You can throw sand into an opponent's eyes when getting up from the ground to gain some valuable seconds; it's called the "Quicksand" Salvo. Certain types of enemies can do this too.
  • Hedge Maze: There's one next to the Senate House. Useful for hiding during certain stealth missions.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: A post-credits dialogue heavily implies that Iris and Charmian were trying to desestabilize Rome by supporting Antonius so they wouldn't be able to conquer their homeland (implied to be Egypt).
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Marcus Brutus. From being one of the assasins behind Caesar's death to not being involved in the assasination at all.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Agrippa versus Decius early in the game prior to Agrippa becoming a gladiator. To add insult to injury, Decius fights with nothing more than his tiger paw gloves and wins by a mile.
  • Hurricane of Puns - The Salvo List. Balls of Steel for scoring a killing blow with an Overhead Bomber from a Morningstar (actually, it's a flail), Big Balls of Steel for scoring a killing blow with an Overhead Bomber from a War Chain, Im-Pressed for crushing an opponent under a press, Second Im-Pression for crushing more than one opponent with a single trigger of a press, Fire-Fighter for attacking a foe while they are on fire, so on forth.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Consuming pieces of bread, cheese and meat will replenish your health.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Sticks, roses and severed limbs are all usable as weapons, though roses break in one use and cause minimal to no damage, so, there are better ways to use them. The stealth scenes take it a step further; advancing will often require that you knock people out with jugs, ropes and the dreaded Banana Peel. The final stages will have you breaking oil jugs for the enemies to slip on, flour to create an opportunity to strike an armored soldier with a jug and rats and frogs to scare the shit out of women (as well as force the silly guards to follow them and try to console them).
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Great Halberd, the Great Maul, and the Apollo Spear.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Magnus.
  • It's Personal: Decius kills Agrippa's mother prior to the aforementioned Hopeless Boss Fight. Also, the gladiator's main motivation for entering the tournament is to save his father's life.
    • Sextus wants to conquer Rome to honor his late father, Pompeius.
  • Laughing Mad: Antonius, right before his (apparent) demise.
  • Mysterious Employer: The person that is employing Iris and Charmian to help Antonius that is only vaguely referenced as a female. However, is heavily implied through the game that is none other than the ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra.
  • No One Should Survive That!: Some characters will survive for long after you've sliced both of their arms out. Slicing through torsos and necks will always be lethal, though.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Whiplash and Fifty-fifty Salvos. To pull them off, you'll need either a Morningstar/War Chain or a Magnus, and some sharp timing.
    • Octavianus can be killed with a single attack during the stealth missions. Not so in the Syracuse Prison, where you play as Agrippa, while he is controlled by the AI.
  • Parental Neglect: Marcus Brutus, being Caesar's bastard son, resents his father for ignoring him. Turns out he isn't the murderer, though.
  • Playing with Fire: First you get the target soaked with oil (contained in oil slings and in some barrels), then you attack them with a torch or Arrows on Fire. Later on, you gain access to the Epic Flail that can set things on fire (War Chain) and fire traps that burn enemies standing over them when you press a switch.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Big Roman Balls Salvo is obtained when you enter the arena willingly unarmed. The Kick Ass Salvo is obtained when you kick Antonius while he has his back to you.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The gatekeeper of the different arenas has rather scary red eyes, as you can see beneath his mask.
  • Retired Badass: Pansa. He also serves as Octavianus' mentor.
  • Sins of the Father: Sextus ends up being revealed as a traitor later in the game due to being the son of Pompieus/Pompey the Great who was killed by Caesar before he ruled Rome. As such he took on an assassination job from who is implied to be Cleopatra to garner support to destroy Rome and Caesar's legacy as revenge.
  • Sissy Villain: Narclastese, the Valcross charioteer.
  • Smug Snake: Maecenas. It's revealed to be an act.
  • So Much for Stealth: During the battle against German tribes in the beginning of the game, at one point, Agrippa can sneak up on a German camp whose men are asleep. One step too close and they're awake — the only way you can score a stealth kill there is by throwing a weapon.
  • Stripperiffic: The female gladiators, Arcanus Valcross, and to a somewhat lesser extent, Claudia. In short, every single warrior woman in the game.
  • Suplex Finisher: The "Human Catapult" Salvo, which is actually a Release German Suplex and deals massive damage. In addition, it can be used to throw opponents from high places or into a pit of spikes.
  • Taking the Bullet: Vipsanius takes an arrow for his son when a not so friendly Sextus returns after the tournament and mayhem ensues. Don't worry; he lives.
    • You can also grab a weakened or dizzy opponent from behind and use him/her to shield yourself from arrows and other attacks.
  • Throwing the Distraction: Has to be done ocasionally during the stealth stages. When you throw a stone and take cover quickly, the guards will stare at the stone, giving you wide room to sneak around them.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: You can throw most weapons. Maces are particularly effective — throwing them will often cause the victim to drop their weapon, which not only gives you a good opportunity to strike, it's also beautiful when your opponent has a good weapon in hands.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: During Octavianus' parts, you may be forced to restart/die constantly in order to figure out how the guards move and how to sneak past them or knock them out.
  • Unbreakable Weapons: There's a cheat code (aptly named Unbreakable) that makes regular weapons indestructible. And there are a few bosses whose equipment fits this trope too.
  • The Unfought: Iris and Charmian, the creepy Egyptian twins who give orders to Sextus on behalf of their mistress.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Agrippa's parents, Vipsanius and Vipsania. Decius even taunts Agrippa about her in the tournament.
    Decius: Speaking of dogs, your mother... she was not too bad. The only regret I have is not having some fun with her before I killed her. Hahahahahahaha!
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The game is very loosely based on the Roman Empire roughly around the rise of Emperor Augustus. Knowledge of the time period gives some hints on just who is and isn't out to take out Octavianus also known as the future Augustus.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game rewards you for doing terrible things in the arena, so you might as well get it done. Some of the more noteworthy Salvos, in no particular order:
    • No Mercy: Attack an enemy immediately after they begin pleading for their lives.
    • The Fires of Rome: Set an enemy on fire.
    • Stand and Deliver: Pick up a downed enemy and sock him.
    • Heads Up Bonus: Appeal to the crowd while holding an enemies' severed head.
    • Fresh Ham: Throw a severed arm or head into the crowd.
    • Take One For The Team: Force an enemy you are holding to take a hit.
    • Take Some For The Team: As above, but do it several times.
    • Bed of Nails: Throw an enemy into a spike pit.
    • Final Press: Crush an enemy to death in a press while they are pleading for their lives.
    • Fried Chicken: During the fight with Valcross Arcanus, light one of her vultures on fire with oil.
    • Collateral Damage: Run down a slave during a chariot race.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Heavily damaged enemies have a tendency to beg for their lives, even if carrying a weapon.
    • Certain bosses will try this as well. As a trick.
  • Voice Changeling: At one point, Octavianus somehow imitates a maid's voice almost perfectly. This comes back near the end when he impersonates Caesar in front of a crowd.
  • Whip It Good: Available during chariot races. That One Boss uses a rose-themed version.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Octavianus can disguise himself as a maid without raising the slightest suspicion (not about his gender, anyway).
  • You Have Failed Me: Decius kills Narclastese for losing his chariot race against Agrippa.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Some attacks will smash enemies' heads into what the game describes as "a bloody pulp".