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Video Game / Zeus: Master of Olympus
aka: Poseidon Master Of Atlantis

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Zeus: Master of Olympus (2000) is part of the City-Building Series taking place, as the name suggests, in Ancient Greece. Players seek to build up their city-states while fending off attacks from rival cities, ferocious monsters, and even gods while calling on the greatest heroes of Greek Mythology to help them.

The stand-alone expansion, Poseidon: Master of Atlantis, puts the player in charge of Atlantis.


This work provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Staffing a building is now instantaneous, requiring only road access and allowing storage buildings to be placed in out-of-the-way locations.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: One Atlantis mission has you build a colony on Thera, during which a mountain spits lava. The eruption of the volcano under Thera is one of the more plausible inspirations for the myth of Atlantis.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • It's possible to have Perseus and Hercules (Perseus' great-grandson) running around at the same time.
    • Achilles (the youngest of the heroes in The Trojan War) and Ulysses appear during the founding of Atlantis and several generations later, despite Troy being founded by Atlantean refugees in the game's chronology.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Sanctuaries can be targeted and damaged in combat, but fortunately they can be repaired as if undergoing construction.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • The first Atlantis campaign ends with Atlas, now an immortal, going to Olympus.
    • An astronomer wishes he could get turned into a constellation... so he wouldn't be so hungry.
    • Priests try to convince the livestock they're sacrificing of the great destiny in store for them.
  • Action Girl:
    • Atalanta, who single-handedly takes on giant monsters.
    • Building Artemis' temple gives you two companies of huntresses for free. While they can't be used for hunting, they can be used to aid in defending the city, conquering rival cities or answering a rival's request for troops without risking your own expensive troops.
    • Atlantean tower guards are female, and disturbingly happy to use their flamers on the enemy.
  • Actually Four Mooks:
    • Some gods will go to a resource alone and return with a line of human carriers behind them.
    • Going by the loading screens, some monsters actually attack in hordes rather than the single specimen that appears on the game map.
  • Aerith and Bob: Walkers are either named after famous ancient Greeks (Thucydides, Plato), have Greek names (Phillipos), or have a Shout-Out with a Greek-ish suffix (Dirtyharricles, Ungryungryippos)...
  • The Alcoholic: Both Dionysus and the agora's wine seller are permanently sloshed.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Zeus can bestow any structural blessing from the other gods, and his sanctuary has the same oracular function as Apollo's.
  • Alternate History:
    • Thanks to an inhabited continent in the middle of the Atlantic, the Americans are discovered centuries before schedule, making Mayans and Phoenicians trading partners.
    • The Greco-Persian wars end with Persia subjugated and turned into a vassal state.
  • Amazon Brigade: Building Artemis' sanctuary gets two of them for free, while actual Amazons are recurring enemies based in Themyscera.
  • Angry Guard Dog: Cerberus will tear into criminals and enemies... if he's on your side. Otherwise he's right back into Hell Hound territory.
  • Apathetic Citizens: While walkers next to a giant monster will react with appropriate fear, they do their jobs nonetheless.
  • Are You Sure You Want to Do That?: Every level in the mini-campaign "The Sinking of Atlantis" will tell you that, well, Atlantis is going to sink, and are you sure you want to proceed to the next level?
  • Arrows on Fire: In Poseidon: Master of Atlantis, upgrading the defensive towers with orichalcum results in this.
  • Asshole Victim: No one mourns when Bellerophon falls from his horse on his way to Olympus. Even when he survives the fall, no one wants anything to do with him.
  • Atlantis: Here, it's a respectably-sized continent right in the middle of the Atlantic, close enough to Europe and South America that it allows trade between the Mayans and the Phoenicians. Poseidon's first campaign has you build it from the ground up, while two campaigns end with its destruction (one of them firsthand).
  • Atlantis Is Boring: Mostly averted, though it's telling that Greek cultural interests (sports, philosophy, and theater) are replaced by learning, scientific conferences, and astronomy.
  • The Atoner: The Atlanteans react with horror at having destroyed the Atlantean centaurs, which they saw as Always Chaotic Evil barbarians, when they had fine cities of their own - including shrines to Poseidon, their own patron god. The Atlanteans swear to never attack except in self-defense afterwards (as they continue to expand eastwards and westwards, you're eventually told this only applies to people on the actual continent of Atlantis).
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Sanctuaries are high-appeal buildings that provide divine favor and can provide you with otherwise-difficult to obtain resources. Unfortunately, they're also huge, take a lot of time, marble, wood and sculptures to build, need a lot of workers, and if your city produces fleece, cheese or cattle, will require constant monitoring and replenishing of your flocks as priests take animals for sacrifice. Even worse is what happens if you run out of animals to sacrifice: the priests will start sacrificing food instead (by burning it), meaning you risk starving your population.
    • A hippodrome more than 200 stades long brings in 500 drachma a month - but not only is it a pathing nightmare, it also causes your citizens to dislike you as you're evidently more obsessed with the races than their well-being.
    • Heroes have very heavy requirements (such as 32 of a resource, large armies, or even a functioning sanctuary or two) before you can summon them. Fortunately, monsters can eventually be killed by regular troops or, more rarely, by an outmatched hero. In addition, Apollo will single-handedly defend the city from monsters if you build a sanctuary to him (and is the only god to do so, as the other gods consider battling monsters beneath them).
    • If you let monsters run amok until the final level of a campaign, you can then use multiple heroes for the last map.
    • It's possible to have enough high-level housing to have an army consisting entirely of horsemen/chariots. Quite aside from finding the space to house them, sending them all on campaign leaves you with only static defenses and invites attack from other cities.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Hera is clearly running off the sitcom-wife script.
    If you don't know why I'm attacking you, then I'm not going to tell you!
  • Badass Boast:
    • "I'm Perseus, and I cannot be stopped."
    • "With Atalanta here, you have nothing to fear!"
  • Baleful Polymorph: An angry Hera turns people into cows.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Apollo is the god of arts and healing, who wanders the city blessing cultural buildings so they produce more walkers and perform better. He also singlehandedly defends the city from invading monsters, and if you piss him off he'll unleash plagues on your city.
    • Dionysus is a permanently drunken, fun-loving guy who increases you wine production and even gives you some if prayed to, but if angered he'll unleash madwomen on the city, curse the wineries, and send walkers to eternal drunkeness.
    • Demeter, goddess of agriculture. Sounds like a pushover, right? Except that she's the 4th-strongest Olympian, meaning if she's pissed at you, you need Hades, Poseidon or Zeus (or Hera, in Atlantis) on your side to stop her from going around destroying crops and agoras.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Victorious competitors claim to be stronger than Hercules.
  • Blatant Lies: Priests looking for sheep/goats/cows to sacrifice tell them "I won't hurt you... much".
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Hermes doesn't provide resources, summon giant monsters to defend the city or fight invaders... but he makes delivery walkers go faster and traders come by more often, in addition to fulfilling requests for you.
    • Atlas speeds up monument construction by providing needed supplies and workers (and often does so on his own).
    • Paying off invading armies is a lot faster and easier than fighting them. It can even be cheaper than caving to the attackers' demands.
  • Bread and Circuses: Averted to a degree in Poseidon: While making a hippodrome brings in money and boosts your popularity, building one that's too big causes you to lose popularity among your citizens (clearly you're more obsessed with racing than their needs).
  • Break the Haughty: Gods that want a sanctuary get a bit undignified as the available slots fill up. Although Artemis doesn't seem to get the idea of being flattering.
    What other god will join you in the hunt?
  • Buxom Is Better: While pretty much all the goddesses are well-endowed, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, has the largest pair.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Theater put on plays by classical Greek playwrights (such as Oedipus Rex), when the subject of those plays are walking around.
  • Cessation of Existence: Cities are sometimes wiped off the map with the message "It is as if it had never existed."
  • Challenge Seeker: "I am HERCULES, and I'm ready for a challenge. What have you got?"
  • Cool Pet: Every god has a monster they can unleash to guard/attack your city, though sometimes they attack on their own.
    • Zeus sends Cyclops.
    • Poseidon sends Kraken.
    • Hades sends Cerberus.
    • Artemis sends the Calydonian Boar.
    • Apollo sends Scylla.
    • Hermes sends the Minotaur.
    • Hephaestus sends Talos.
    • Aphrodite sends Hector.
    • Athena sends the Hydra.
    • Hera sends the Sphinx.
    • Ares sends a dragon.
    • Demeter sends Medusa.
    • Dionysus sends a Maenad.
    • Atlas sends the Chimera (instead of the usual three-headed monster, the Chimera consists of a giant lion in front, a goat's body in front, and a snakelike tail).
    • The Harpy (a giant bird with a woman's head) and Echidna (usually half-snake half woman, here a woman's head on a snake's body) attack on their own.
  • Cultured Badass:
    • Top-level residents have access to theater, philosophy, and personal trainers, in addition to serving as hoplites or cavalry. Atlanteans have science instead, and serve as spearmen or charioteers.
    • Hercules and Atalanta both require high levels of culture/science in the city and around their halls before they can be summoned.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Sometimes a summoned hero will run into his monster before he's made it to his hall. The monster dies instantly (as opposed to the three or four hits it normally takes without being able to harm the hero).
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Rampaging gods/monsters can only be repelled with a stronger god/the right hero, but they only target certain buildings (specific to each god/monster) that can be replaced quickly enough. Other heroes and weaker gods will also slow them down slightly.
  • Creator Backlash: In-Universe example; one of the enemy gods in the mini-campaign "The Sinking of Atlantis" is Atlas himself.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Downplayed. While heroes are only good against two monsters each and are useless against gods, they can be sent alongside your armies.
  • Crossover Cosmology: Averted: The Mayans in the Poseidon expansion worship Hephaestus as their great god. Revealing his actual rank in Olympus makes him attack you.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: The Chimera, of all monsters, seems to have this personality.
    Mommy Echidna and Daddy Typhon will be so proud of their little girl when I destroy this city!
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: It's possible to have your city's troops consist entirely of infantry and cavalry (meaning no rabble/archers). Sending them all against your enemies has a higher chance of success, but it means other cities instantly attack you due to having no troops to defend.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Conquered cities hate you at first not because you beat them but because you attacked them in the first place (attacking a rival gets you increased rep among other cities). Give them enough gifts/answer their requests, and they'll quickly give you their full loyalty.
  • Demoted to Extra: Oedipus appears in the Thebes campaign... as your deputy, running Thebes while you're out founding colonies. His major achievement (killing the Sphinx) is given to Atalanta in the sequel.
  • Deus ex Machina: The actor walker is probably meant to invoke this (as an actual ancient theater trope), wearing a winged costume and being seen caught in the machine that descends him from heaven. He fervently wishes for this trope when near a monster, .
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • Monsters can be brought down by regular armies, including rabble/archers. But it takes so long, it's only really viable on huge maps where the monster won't rampage through your town.
    • Orichalcum-enhanced towers can sometimes turn even attacking gods to stone.
  • Early Game Hell: The first level of a campaign greatly limits the buildings you can place, and on occasion oesn't even give you the means to make money, turning the whole thing into a Timed Mission until your funds run out.
  • Einstein Hair: Atlantean inventors and astronomers.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Or rather, the glamorous are more elite. Professional soldiers are only produced by elite housing, and need a lot of resources to keep functioning.
  • Energy Ball: Several gods have one in their hand, and use them to attack or bless buildings.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Subverted: Hades is one of the more useful gods, since he's lord of the Underworld - and all the silver inside it. His temple creates veins of silver ore, he wanders around the city making tax collectors produce double (gives new meaning to the saying "Death and taxes", doesn't it?), praying to him gets you even more money, and his Hell Hound goes around eating troublemakers. Conversely, when pissed off, he sends Cerberus at you or curses those same buildings, and worst of all, kills a large amount of walkers just by showing up.
  • Exact Words: The Symphonia Ithikos prevents Atlanteans from raising arms against anyone except in self-defense, under penalty of divine retribution. Later levels clarify that this only applies on the actual continent of Atlantis, leaving you free to send your armies against Mayans, Phoenicians, and Greeks. On one occasion, two Atlantean cities declare war on you and each other, so conquering both is the victory condition.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The maintenance building watchman is so intent on looking for fires from his perch that he doesn't notice his cloak is on fire.
  • The Famine:
    • Famine in other cities is also an occasional event, but it's made easier by the fact that they ask for any kind of food and you can ask for food from any food-producing city, which they'll give if your relationship with them is high enough (including, in some cases, the city currently suffering from famine).
    • One mission sees your sources of importable food slowly dwindle until you're limited to the oranges you can grow and urchins, while the coastline keeps changing until your urchin collectors can't reach the urchin banks. The ending narration notes that everyone in the city is out of recipes for oranges.
  • Female Gaze: Atlas is visited by Aphrodite as he's helping with construction work. Seeing a sweaty, gigantic, muscular man (if his statue is anything to go by) standing in front of an equally gigantic building, she declares herself impressed (with a self-satisfied Atlas lampshading that she could have been talking about him or the building).
  • Fetch Quest: Many heroic deeds involve you attracting the appropriate hero to the city so they can go on a quest to get some item or other.
  • Fish Men: Oceanids are green-scaled creatures with underwater cities, though you never get to visit them.
  • Funny Background Event: Building animations all have Amusing Injuries happening to their employees, such as cheesemakers hammering their own hand or olive oil salesmen forever slipping on an oil patch. Greek triremes have a hoplite water-skiing behind them.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • Oceanid trade ships are no different from those of humans, despite the cities being underwater and their species being amphibious. The post-game exposition claims they do this to avoid freaking people out and make trading easier.
    • Oceanid armies have no need for transport ships and move underwater, meaning your frigates can't attack them. The Kraken, however, can.
    • The Odyssey campaign has several:
      • Penelope's trick with the tapestry is discovered not through a servant's treachery, but by the suitors wondering why their gifts of fleece keep getting refused.
      • The mission requirement for elite housing is presented as a way to get the suitors out of the palace.
    • Atlas sends Hercules to widen the Strait of Gibraltar. In-game, there's a flood that plows through the strait (at the start of the next level), widening it.
    • Some missions actually stick to the myths and not the gameplay:
      • Missions with a hostile Poseidon often feature him sending the Cyclops (despite his personal monster being the Kraken).
      • Similarly, one level has Athena claim the Hydra was Ares's pet, when normally she's the one sending it.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Loading screens and inter-mission exposition reveals that the heroes engaged in epic combat with the monsters. In-game, they close in then beat the snot out of each other until one drops. Particularly painful for Atalanta, who supposedly stunned the sphinx by answering its riddle so it didn't even see her shooting her arrows.
    • The centaur cities were supposedly razed to the ground by the Atlanteans... except that during the level they behave exactly as regular cities do, continuously sending tribute and being very polite about it.
    • One mission sends you to Egypt to teach the locals how to build pyramids. The flooding of the Nile is simulated by having tidal waves destroy any coastal buildings.
    • Anytime a previously-invulnerable city is weakened by the plot (Trojan Horse, Atlantean superweapon...), the only in-game explanation is that the city's leader has decided to greatly reduce his military.
    • It's entirely possible to react to a city asking for goods by requesting that very same good from them if they produce it (including food during a famine). Not only will they comply if they like you enough, you can then send part of their gift (which may have been in larger quantities than they asked for) back to earn their gratitude.
    • Winning a colony level usually only requires that you send a certain amount of local goods to the parent city. As there's usually several cities producing the necessary goods, you can simply ask them for the goods and send them over, with the task of actually organizing the productive infrastructure falling to your successor.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The gods wander around your city advertising their services to encourage you to build an expensive sanctuary to them. Naturally, there're more gods than available sanctuaries, so the unlucky ones get ever more desperate in their efforts.
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • Attacking a full-strength city is usually suicide, it's better to continuously raid them for supplies and chip away at their strength.
    • Attacking a monster with regular troops is very slow, but will eventually kill the monster at the cost of who knows how many replacement soldiers.
  • Grandpa God: The Big Three, naturally. Taken literally in Poseidon's Atlantis campaign, as he's the father of Atlas, himself the father of the player character.
  • Handicapped Badass: Hephaestus is seen walking with a limp. Doesn't prevent him from rampaging around the city breaking storage yards.
    A lame immortal still has more power than you can imagine!
  • Henpecked Husband: Zeus may be Top God, but even he fears his wife Hera.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted with Ares, Theseus, Achilles, Hector and hoplites, who always keep their face-concealing helmets on. Athena wears one, that doesn't hide her face.
  • Historical Fantasy: The game cheerfully mixes history and myth together. For example, the Athens campaign has you fend off the Persians in one level, then battle centaurs in the next.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: In basically every version of The Iliad ever, Hector is portrayed as an honorable warrior who serves his city with valor. In Zeus and Poseidon, Hector is a bloodthirsty demigod who wrecks everyone and everything unfortunate enough to cross his path.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: If you're not supposed to conquer a city before the game says so, it will resist every attempt made to conquer it although its strength will be reduced, so the only way to tell is to see a one-shield city defeating eight chariot companies, five triremes, three heroes and a War God.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Greeks use oxen to carry heavy loads around, while Atlanteans use elephants.
  • Idle Animation: A building with employees but no resources will show the workers lounging around and playing with yo-yos.
  • Insistent Terminology: According to Athena, what Ares calls "ambush practice" is what most people would call "hide-and-seek".
  • Instant-Win Condition: Colony missions only require you to have a certain amount of resources sent back to the parent city, as you're there to set up basic industries, one of which will be their tribute in following missions. In fact, you can simply ask around for the necessary resources and win in a few minutes.
  • It Only Works Once:
    • If an attacking city destroys your palace, you can continue playing as their vassal. If you're conquered by someone else and the original conqueror returns and wins, you lose the level.
    • Summoning a hero only works once per level, if you finish the mission you'll have to wait for the hero's presence to be required again.
  • Jerkass Gods: In full force. Many attacks by gods are only motivated by a god seeking revenge on another god (or a hero), and harming everything they hold dear... such as your city. And that's if you're lucky and the opening narration explains it, sometimes they just attack without giving you a reason.
    • Can be averted with a fully-completed (and very expensive) sanctuary for Zeus. Zeus will chase off any attacking god (with the exception of Hera in the Atlantis expansion).
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Rivals will cave to demands made of them if your military strength is greater than theirs.
  • Larynx Dissonance:
    • The (male) narrator, when reporting what various goddesses have to say, falls into this. During the Trojan War campaign, he accidentally uses the Spartan narrator's voice for Aphrodite before correcting himself.
    • The Chimera and Echidna are voiced by men despite being female.
  • Love Goddess: Aphrodite's blessing consists of instantly providing population to fill up vacant (that is, that was once occupied before plague, war or emigration emptied it) housing. She just can't stand the idea of having so few worshippers.
  • Loyal to the Position: Fail to meet a request by your parent city and the deputy running it in your absence will tell you he's more loyal to the city than you.
  • Madness Mantra: Walkers carried off by Dionysus and Aphrodite constantly repeat "Toga toga toga!"
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Hephaestus doesn't figure out Harmonia is the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite until twenty years or so after his wife went off to a beauty spa for nine months. When he des, he attacks the city.
  • Manchild: If Athena is to be believed, Ares likes to play hide-and-seek with his priests and warriors.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Atlas has nine brothers, all twins.
  • Motor Mouth: Hermes (naturally) talks very fast.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Goddesses, especially Aphrodite, tend to be very attractive.
  • Multiple Head Case: The hydra, a land-based monster with multiple snake heads, and Scylla, an aquatic monster with human heads. The intro movie also shows Typhon as this.
  • Mundane Utility: Inverted with orichalc, which is used first as a building material to decorate monuments and then as a weapon.
  • Narcissist: Aphrodite's blessing instantly creates people (if there's housing left over)... so she can have more worshippers.
  • Narm: Invoked One outcome for the Pythian games is for your actors to reduce the crowd to tears. Unfortunately, they were performing a comedy.
  • No Indoor Voice: The competitor walker is constantly shouting to be heard over the roar of the crowd. Even without a crowd.
  • Non-Entity General:
    • The player character is the leader of a city, and only referred to as such (even gender is unspecified). In one Atlantis campaign, s/he is the child of Atlas or king Atlon, while another is Penelope's cousin.
    • Though never named, the player character of the Proetus and Bellerophon campaign is either king Iobates or his (unnamed) wife, the parents of Stethenoboea.
  • Noodle Implements: The Odyssey campaign has Ulysses thank you for providing you with the materials to defeat various monsters. While the requirement of wine makes sense against the Cyclops (originally, Odysseus got him dead drunk before blinding him) and possibly against Scylla, the dozen-odd jugs of olive oil, high popularity and large amount of elite housing do not.
  • Oddball in the Series: The tone and artwork are notably more cartoonish than in the rest of the series, with the narration, events and exposition usually relying on sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor. Also, unlike the other games, Zeus doesn't use the name of a political, human leader (since Ancient Greece wasn't a unified entity) in the title, but goes with a mythological one instead. Several key mechanics are notably simplified, some of which get reverted in Emperor.
  • Odd Job Gods: Some gods' blessings are related to their lesser-known domains. For example, Poseidon blesses maritime industries, but also makes horses be produced faster, while Hades makes silver mines more productive.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Heroic quests beside monster slaying happen offscreen, with some lines at best about the outcome being given. Relief and conquest missions performed by your army receive the same treatment.
  • Orichalcum: Known as orichalc, the ore appears as a red metal in the Poseidon expansion, used in defensive towers, warships, and monument decoration.
  • Our Hydras Are Different:
    • The Hydra is a fire-spitting monster unleashed by Athena if she doesn't like you (although Ares sends it in one campaign), usually on marshy terrain, and is defeated either by building a Hero's Hall for Hercules or by sending lots and lots and lots of regular troops at it. It can talk, but has a bad case of Sssnake Talk.
      Our ssstinging bitessss are our giftsss to you!
    • Scylla is depicted with a similar structure (but with human heads on snake necks, and it's aquatic), and the intro cinematic shows Typhon as having multiple snake heads as well before being buried under a mountain.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: After being the victim one time too many, Artemis sics her pets on the world (Iolchus gets the Calydonian boar).
  • Palette Swap: Subverted: Every monster has a unique appearance and preferred target type (food/industry/military/seashore buildings), but are functionally the same (a melee attack and fireballs).
  • Plot Armor: Given to your enemies. Some cities simply aren't meant to be conquered until the game says so (the best way to find out is to send a huge army to attack a practically-defenseless city and watch them come back in defeat). In some cases, rival cities can be conquered through sufficient expenditure of troops, but by the next level the ones you weren't supposed to take over will go right back to being rivals.
  • Powerup Letdown: Gods who bless buildings don't care if that particular industry has been shut down.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • Attacking an ally is a heinous act that ensures no one wants to work with you. Attacking a rival? No problem whatsoever.
    • Two Poseidon campaigns play out the same events as Atlanteans and Greeks, the narrator of each proclaiming their side is in the right.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Citizens, heroes, city leaders and even the narration are disturbingly prompt to shower you with praise for running a city without too many problems.
  • Proud Scholar Race: The Atlanteans use science instead of art to improve their housing.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Spartan campaign revels in this. Note that despite their constant rivalry with Athens, their troops need exactly the same philosophers and actors to function.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: She makes it a little easier to guess:
    What crawls on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, three legs at dusk, and screams in abject terror now?
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Atlas mentions a giant gopher, probably a prank on Hermes' part.
  • Sacred Hospitality: The game puts you in the unenviable position of having to kill someone under your hospitality- in this case, Bellerophon. He turns out to be The Thing That Would Not Leave, so the next mission is to send him against the Chimera.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Hoo boy.
    • The tutorial subverts this, in that killing the Cyclops causes Poseidon (father of the Cyclopes) to get pissed off at you. In other missions, he's Zeus' special monster.
    • Poseidon's monster is the Kraken. Note that it's not the Giant Squid of Norse Mythology, it's a giant talking fish-man (closer to the actual Sea Monster killed by Perseus, named Cetus).
    • The Sphinx is taken out by Atalanta rather than Oedipus.
    • In Poseidon, centaurs are apparently a civilized race, responding with complete politeness when defeated.
    • There are two entities named Atlas in Greek Mythology: the Titan (son of Gaia and Ouranos) holding up the sky and the first king of Atlantis (son of Poseidon). The game conflates the two after the latter ascends to Olympus.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: Zeus is considerably easier and way more forgiving than Caesar III and Pharaoh; buildings are automatically staffed, as there are no labor-seeking walkers anymore. A single building provides maintenance and fires can be put out before the building is consumed. There is only one single type of food required for requests and fewer types of goods and services required to fully evolve houses, and no complex land fertility system. Taxation can be implemented from the start, as unlike in Pharaoh, the infrastructure to set it up is quite cheap. Wages can quickly lower or raise the labor pool. There is no rating system, no gods to appease by default (the hostile ones can still damage the city), and no painfully slow recruitment system, as the basic housing provides weak but free and numerous soldiers from the start to defend the city, with elite housing providing strong soldiers and cavalry. Invasions are not always inherently deadly, as the enemy can be bribed off or the city can lose/surrender once and become a vassal, even to several cities. Everything is cheaper, and fortifications are no longer prohibitively expensive. In campaign mode, all the treasury is carried over from one mission to the next, which usually translates to only the first episode being a financial challenge.
  • Sex Sells: Aphrodite is particularly unsubtle about the way her services work.
    Worship me, and no one will leave your city's embrace!
  • The Show Must Go Wrong: The drama school shows the actor walker dangling upside down, tangled up in the mechanism that descends him from above. The theater uses the same animation.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Just about every line issued by a walker refers to a character/monster from Classical Mythology or a famous ancient Greek (regardless of whether or not said famous Greek was even born at the time).
    • The actor school's line "Build me a pyre to roast my friends upon" is almost a literal quotation from Lysistrata, as is "For Athens' sake I will never threaten so fell a doom" and "If only they had been invited to a bacchanalian reveling, or a feast of Pan or Aphrodite!" (and is indeed one of the women's lines, being spoken by Lysistrata herself).
    • "My advice to you is, get married. If you find a good wife, you will be happy. If not, you'll become a philosopher" is from Socrates.
    • "You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" is attributed to Plato.
  • Skippable Boss: Curiously enough, the monsters don't always have to be killed (unless specifically required), only blocking off one area from urban development. In campaigns, leaving them alone until the last mission can actually be beneficial, as this leaves you with extra heroes for battle abroad (as heroes' halls disappear from mission to mission and can't be rebuilt unless a quest/monster requires their presence).
  • Sssnake Talk: Sssscylla and the hydra, with ssssimilar lines to boot.
    Ssssuffer my sssstingsss! / Our ssstinging bitessss, are our giftsss to you!
  • Small Name, Big Ego: The actor walker refers to himself as the finest actor in all of Greece. When returning from unsuccessful games, he wonders if the audience are becoming barbarians.
  • Smash Mook: The Cyclops, who proudly proclaims himself one when selected.
    Smash smash smash! Bwahahahahahah!
  • Sore Loser:
  • Suckiness Is Painful: According to the narrator, Hercules scaring off the Stymphalian birds was less the effect of his playing the castanets and more the fact that Hercules decided to dance the flamenco while doing so.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Gods that were friendly in one adventure may become enemies in the next (and vice-versa).
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Heroes on their way to kill monsters will take the most direct route, instantly producing rafts if they need to cross water.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: After Jason retrieves the Golden Fleece, the dragon that was guarding it follows him and attacks you (and gets there before Jason does).
  • Super Speed: Hermes' speed rubs off on traders and deliverymen so they can make more trips in a year.
  • Super Strength: One of Hercules' quests in Poseidon is to widen the strait that connects the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Atlas himself performs a similar feat after tricking Hercules into holding up the sky for a while.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Very surprising: The Atlanteans, under Ares' guidance, are building a superweapon to deal with Greek threats once and for all. Unfortunately, Odysseus manages to infiltrate and fire the weapon at Atlantis itself, destroying the sanctuary of Poseidon, before sabotaging it so it can't be used again. It's used in the final level to weaken Mycenae, and in another campaign where it succeeds in destroying Atlantis.
  • Support Party Member: Building Atlas' sanctuary first greatly speeds up construction of other monuments.
  • The Starscream: Miss a deadline by a parent city, and your deputy tells he he's starting to think he might be better at running a city than you.
  • Taken for Granite: The fate of people who run into Medusa or orichalcum-enhanced towers. This can include gods.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The trader does not mince words if you have a bad rep:
    Are you talking to me? You and your city are scum, and everybody in Greece hates you!
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Bellerophon turns out to be one, demanding sumptuous living quarters for himself in just about every level he's in (in the Biminis mission, you need to summon him on a tiny, cramped island that barely has enough resources for the city, so that he can go look for the Fountain of Youth for Aphrodite).
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Monsters can be defeated by using military units and very rarely by the "wrong" hero, but it takes so long you might as well develop the infrastructure needed to get the appropriate hero to the city so he can one-shot the monster.
  • Tiny-Headed Behemoth: Hercules and the cyclops share this design.
  • Top God:
    • The gods are arranged in order of strength, with Zeus naturally being at the top. However, he's not entirely invulnerable, as having Hera (the 4th strongest) around will cause him to flee.
    • Aphrodite isn't a very high-level goddess, but she prevents Dionysus, Ares, Hephaestus and Hermes from attacking.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Medusa appears like this on a loading screen.
  • Uriah Gambit: The narrator suggests you use Bellerophon to conquer the Amazons and Persians, as they're said to be good shots.
  • Unblockable Attack: Gods and monsters can't be prevented from rampaging around without a stronger god/hero/sacrificial troops. Ares and Artemis' troops can be engaged as normal, however.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Atlantean narrator seems blissfully unaware that his actions might be interpreted as Blatant Lies by people unhappy with Atlantean expansionism.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Aphrodite's title is "Goddess of the Tender Passions".
  • Unwanted Assistance:
    • Hermes will sometimes fulfill a request with his own supplies whether you want him to or not, leading to rival leaders condescendingly thanking you for caving to their demands.
    • Tributes and offers of aid are often sent when you have no need of them, and building storage facilities or giving away surplus goods can be a major hassle. Despite the offended tone of the reactions to refusing the gifts, it doesn't affect intercity relations in any way.
    • You can do this to other cities by continuously sending them goods until they tell you to stop (even with money).
    • An In-Universe case during the Odyssey campaign, where the suitors figured out Penelope wasn't making any progress on her tapestry because their gifts of fleece kept getting refused.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty:
    • Inverted with bribing armies. This is much faster than actually fighting, which cuts into your manpower, slowing down production for months, and frees you from having to maintain expensive troops. That said, if you maintain zero troops whatsoever other cities will happily attack you.
    • Played straight with the auto-combat system in which troop movements are handled by the computer, usually resulting in entirely avoidable losses because the troops only go to their preset positions instead of defending outlying suburbs.
    • Honoring the gods can net you some very interesting blessings such as increasing trade frequency or instantly killing enemy armies. However, to prevent you from getting overly reliant on them there is a limit to how often you can pray/hold festivals per year. Furthermore, sacrifices regularly eats up your sheep/goats/cattle/food, which need to be manually replaced (there's no automatic warning that your livestock population is getting low, meaning your first hint is all your housing simultaneously devolving to hovels or shacks and the catastrophic loss of manpower that entails).
  • Voice of the Legion:
    • Scylla speaks with multiple male and female voices.
    • Demeter usually has a refined accent. But if she's your enemy...
    At my bidding, fertile farmland will no longer be fertile, and all that is growing upon it, will die.
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinks: The College (which trains philosophers) prominently features a guy getting drunk, while the University (astronomers and curators) has two guys endlessly repeating the "Thank you sir, may I have another" scene from Animal House.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Theseus and Hercules.
  • Walking Wasteland: If Hephaestus is an enemy, he sets buildings on fire just by walking past them.
  • War God: Ares can be prayed to go alongside your soldiers, while Athena stays at home but boosts their ability.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Averted: Atlas regularly approves his child's achievements, and in fact ends the campaign claiming to be proud to be your father.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Some buildings such as theaters and podiums have a few lines they endlessly repeat.
  • We Need a Distraction: Hera comes up with a quest to aid the Atlanteans against the Zeus-sponsored Greeks: Have Zeus catch her and Jason in a compromising situation, distracting him long enough for you to fire a weapon against Mycenae.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happened to the Oceanids after Atlantis sank, preventing contact between Europe and America for centuries.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Despite everyone's best efforts, Bellerophon just will not die. Even falling from a flying horse fails to do him in.
  • The Worf Effect: For a War God, Ares is quite low on the ladder, and sending him on far-off campaigns isn't the surefire success it should be.
  • Worthy Opponent: A title bestowed on you by rivals if their opinion of you increases (usually by winning pan-Hellenic games or attacking a rival).
  • Your Size May Vary: Sculptures are taller than most buildings when in storage and in temples, but shrink to human-size while transported.

Alternative Title(s): Poseidon Master Of Atlantis


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