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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 in 2005. 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).

  • Act 1
    • Chapter 1: The Storm Breaks
    • Chapter 2: A Spartan Welcome
    • Chapter 3: The Last Stand
  • Act 2
    • Chapter 1: The Badlands
    • Chapter 2: The Wild Bunch
    • Chapter 3: The Ruin of Heroes
    • Chapter 4: The Ghosts of Troy
    • Chapter 5: The Sentinel
    • Chapter 6: Resistance
  • Act 3
    • Chapter 1: Revolution
    • Chapter 2: The Eye of Apollo
    • Chapter 3: The Gates of Saturn
    • Chapter 4: Death and Circuses
    • Chapter 5: The Gods of Battle


Tropes present within the game:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Ares can certainly be a jerk in Greek myth but he's really taking it up a notch here. Further the Spartans were his favourites so he was unlikely to destroy them. Also Beowulf was boastful and sometimes rude in his own epic but still basically heroic and a long way from the Rape, Pillage, and Burn practicing barbarian seen here.
  • Anachronism Stew: Where do we start? The army of Sparta led by Leonidas fighting the armies of the Roman emperor Tiberius in 300 B.C.?
    • The presence of the 6th century Scandinavian warrior Beowulf in the Greek badlands stands out though.
  • Arrows on Fire: The Spartan is never too far from a chest containing flammable arrows. They are required to destroy the Hydra.
  • 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.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Averted, Tiberius is never fought in the game.
  • 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: As a necromancer Sejanus brings back the countless dead warriors in Troy, Pollux after killing him then ultimately himself after being killed for the first time by the Spartan.
    • In the final battle, one of Ares' powers is to return the souls of those killed in the Colosseum, from Romans, Gladiators to the Spartan sappers who attempted to assassinate Tiberius, and sic them on the Spartan.
  • 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 Battle
    • Crassus in "The Last Stand".
    • Beowulf in "The Wild Bunch".
    • The Nemesis in "The Ruin of Heroes".
    • The Hydra in "The Sentinel".
    • Sejanus in "The Eye of Apollo".
    • Undead Sejanus in "The Gates of Saturn".
    • The Minotaur in "Death and Circuses".
    • Ares in "The Gods of Battle".
  • 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.
  • Boss-Only Level: "The Sentinel" consists solely of the Spartan's battle with the Hydra.
  • 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.
  • Came Back Wrong: After Sejanus is recurrected, he doesnt look particularly healthy.
  • 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.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When their health is expended, Gigantes collapse and explode into blood and guts which knocks back the Spartan and anyone else in close proximity.
    • Roman Infernuses run around in a panic for a few seconds before exploding, inflicting damage on anyone in close proximity
  • Demanding Their Head: When Tiberius finds out Sejanus did not bring back proof of the Spartan's death after trying to feed him to the Hydra, he demands his severed head as proof, especially after he yells that the Spartan is indeed not dead.
    Tiberius: The Spartan is alive and seeking vengeance! I expected you to deal with him personally, not just feed him to your giant worm! You disappoint me, Sejanus. I wanted his head. Bring me his head! His head!
  • Dem Bones: One of the many mook types are undead skeleton warriors found in Troy, coming in both sword-and-shield and archer variants.
  • 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.
  • Dual Wielding: The Blades of Athena are two swords used simultaneously. Praetorian Assassins also wield twin blades.
  • 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.
  • Fighting Your God: The Spartan must face Ares, the God of War and the Spartans who had been guiding the Spartan all this time, at the end of the game after finding out Ares killed the Spartan's mother and had been planning to kill the Spartan all this time as revenge for a past humiliation.
  • Final Boss: Ares is fought by the Spartan in The Gods of Battle".
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Infernuses wield flamethrowers.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: Infernuses explode with their flamethrowers when they are defeated.
  • 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.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Played straight mosttly, the Spartan's unique allies are generally invulnerable to the point that even the Spartan's arrows (which can kill allied Mooks) cannot harm them. However, this is subverted during certain missions when the objective is to prevent an ally from being killed.
  • Gladiator Games: In "Death and Circuses", the Spartan fights Gladiators who have broken out of captivity beneath Rome. He also finds Barbarians and Gigantes as well as friendly Spartans amongst those in captivity. The Minotaur is mentioned by a Roman soldier as being set to fight a Gigantes in the Colosseum, only to be slain by the Spartan. Yet more Gladiators are encountered in "The Gods of Battle", within the now ruined Colosseum.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: An optional task during Story Mode is the pursuit of chests containing Concept Art (from "Archimedes' diary") and bonuses for Arena Mode.
  • Historical Downgrade: Tiberius. From a competent administrator that expanded the Roman Empire during his reign to a weak incompetent coward that is only being manipulated by the God Of War, Ares.
  • Involuntary Group Split: In The Gods of Battle, Electra stays behind to hold off Roman forces as the Spartan reluctantly proceeds into the Colosseum, then a piece of broken Colosseum separates the Spartan from Castor. Ultimately, Castor and Electra arrive in the arena in the final cutscene, just as the Spartan has slain Ares.
  • 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 the God: The final boss of the game is Ares, the God of War, that is the real mastermind behind the events of the game.
  • 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.
  • Mini-Boss: Sejanus' Priestesses are fought one by one in "The Gates of Saturn" and come with a Boss's health bar.
    • To a lesser extent, the Gigantes have a Mook health bar but are bigger and have greater strength and health than any other.
  • Mirror Boss: The Nemesis is a dark copy of the Spartan.
  • Mooks
    • Spartans: Soldier, Hoplite, Archer, Sapper
    • Romans: Recruit, Soldier, Archer, Heavy Legionary, Centurion
    • Barbarians: Warrior, Raider, Hunter, Berserker, Gigantes
    • Praetorians: Guard, Archer, Legionary, Carnifex, Infernus, Assassin
    • Undead: Undead Warrior, Skeleton Warrior, Skeleton Archer
    • Gladiators: Hoplomachus Heavy Axe Gladiator, Thracian Light Arms Gladiator, Retarius Trident Gladiator
  • The Nameless: The eponymous Spartan.
  • Necromancer: Sejanus, curiously enough. He resurrects the endless slain warriors of Troy then Pollux and ultimately himself.
  • 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."
  • The Queen's Latin: From main characters to mooks, Romans consistently speak with English accents while most Greeks (incl. Spartans, Athenians and Badland villagers) speak with American accents. A notable exception is the Athenian Archimedes, who has an English accent and Princess of the Amazons who has a distinctly Italian/Spanish accent.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The Spartan's upgrades, from Warrior to Hero then from Hero to Legend, is commemorated by playing the Roman Campaign Victory theme from Rome: Total War.
  • Red Shirt: The generic Spartan warriors. They're not Player Mooks but they are there to serve as fodder for the Spartan's enemies.
  • Ring of Fire: When fighting Beowulf, he summons one to prevent your escape from combat.
  • Schizo Tech: The Romans were advanced but they most certainly did not have giant robots, petrification lasers or automatic crossbows.
  • "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.
  • Shock and Awe: The Blades of Athena's special attack is a large shockwave of lightning.
  • 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.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Crassus must be beaten within five minutes.
  • Vulnerable Civilians: While the Spartan's close quarter weapons cannot be used against any of his allies, his arrows can kill both civilians and allied soldiers.
  • 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!"