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Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends
Information about Rise of Nations: Rise of LegendsRise of Nations: Rise of Legends is a real-time strategy game for the PC made by Big Huge Games, and published by Microsoft. It is the spiritual successor to the popular game, Rise of Nations released in May 2003 (13 years ago). However, rather than being a historical game, it is based in a fantasy world, where technology and magic coexist. It was released on May 9, 2006 (10 years ago) in North America and on various dates around May 26, 2006 (10 years ago) in the rest of the world.
Rise of Legends retains most of the features from Rise of Nations, like city building, borders, attrition, assimilations, non-depletable resources and the CTW, Conquer The World, Campaigns. However, Rise of Legends also introduces new features of its own, such as city districts, heroes, dominances, a more simplified economy (with only two resources) and neutral, siegeable units and buildings. The reality-based resource wood has been replaced by Timonium. Unlike its predecessor, which offered the player 18 civilizations to choose from, Rise of Legends has only three races. These are the technological Vinci, the magical Alin, and the alien-like Cuotl, who replace the Wealth resource with Energy, offering a new gather strategy. Each race is completely distinct from the others, allowing for different gameplay depending on the player's choice. The game has better graphics than its predecessor, resulting in a much more realistic gameplay experience. It also makes use of the AGEIA PhysX physics engine.
GameplayRise of Legends has a number of unique features that set it apart from its predecessor.
City districts and buildingsUnlike most RTS-type games, in which a player starts with a city center and expands from there, Rise of Legends gives the player a city center, but adds a second, distinct building class: Districts. There are three districts in the game; they vary between the three races, but mostly serve the same purpose of increasing the size of the city, as well as offering benefits that will be elaborated upon later. The other buildings include the standard unit factories and defensive structures, as well as unique buildings for each race. The following is a list of the three districts inclusive to all of the races:
Military: Increases the population capacity of the player, as well as adding to the defensive force of the host city. Each Military District also gives the player free Infantry units, as well as one retroactively given per Palace upgrade.
Merchant: Used to increase the player's caravan limit, the player's resource collection capacity and trade income capacity for the city. It is only available to the Alin and Vinci. The Cuotl utilize a Reactor district to gather their Energy resource, which negates the need for a caravan unit by directly adding to the player's coffer, according to the total number of reactor districts and the number of neutral sites owned.
Palace: Used to expand the city in size, which affects the overall effectiveness of all the other city districts. It is also the most expensive of the four districts, with a base price of 250 Timonium (or 150 of each, energy and Timonium, for the Cuotl) as opposed to the previous district costing 75. A Palace District can only be built if at least three non-Palace districts per Palace upgrade level exist for that city. A Palace District turns a City with at least three districts into a Large City (the first of which is designated as the player's Capital city, or home city), and a Large City with at least six districts (plus the Palace District necessary for the earlier upgrade) into a Great City. As well as increasing the aforementioned effectiveness, upgrading to a large or great city unlocks more powerful unit types and research abilities.
Master unitsMaster Units are enormous compared to standard units, and are extremely powerful. A player may only have one Master Unit at a time. Each unit has its own set of powerful abilities, and is equally effective against infantry, large units, or buildings. Master units can only be accessed after creating a Great City; they also require huge amounts of resources.
The Vinci control the Land Leviathan, also upgradable to the King Leviathan. The Alin have the Glass Dragon, also upgradable to the Elder Glass Dragon. The Cuotl hold the City of Vengeance, upgradable to Great City of Vengeance. Three other master units, the Elder Glass Golem, the Moon Gorilla, and the Scavenger Boss can be created by the neutral sites the Glass Lair, the Moon Core, and the Scrapyard respectively. The Elder Glass Golem is a massive beast that resembles the Alins' Glass Golem but is much larger, has no ranged attack, and has a mana counter just like an Alin hero's. It also splits into 2 Adult Glass Golems when killed. The Moon Gorilla is a giant relative of the Cuotl Sun Idol with a powerful attack and siege attack ability, supplemented with a strong air attack and devastating trample. The Scavenger Boss acts like a Land Leviathan. Yet another unit that can be acquired in another map, created in the Moon Temple, is Ix the Moon God, the fourth Cuotl deity.
Hero unitsEach race has its own set of Hero Units. Hero units are generally stronger, faster and more powerful than normal units, as well as having their own unique skill tree, which gives the hero powers, or upgrades existing powers. For the most part, powers act like spells, and are cast during the game, though there are some passive powers too. Heroes also level up (the conditions for levelling up varies), with each level increasing their stats. Heroes have to be summoned into the game, which costs a certain number of resources (different per hero), and multiple heroes can be summoned at the same time. As well, if a hero dies, he can be resummoned. There are three heroes per civilization, and these heroes have larger roles in the single-player campaigns [along with other heroes not included in Single- and Multi-player Random Maps].
PlotThe game takes place on the world of Aio. Years ago, an alien ship fell on the planet, broken in 3 parts. Those parts fell on 3 regions.
The game begins as Lord Petruzzo, ruler of the Vinci city of Miana, his brother Giacomo, and General Carlini are sent with a group of soldiers to recover an object found in a mine shaft that is making the miners sick. When they arrive, they are attacked by the Doge of Venucci, a bloodthirsty warlord, who has already captured the mysterious device. The Doge fires a laser beam at a nearby outcrop, causing an avalanche. The rubble crushes Petruzzo and many of the soldiers. Giacomo sets out on a quest to kill the Doge and avenge his brother.
Along the way, Giacomo’s army helps the land of Pirata break a Venucci siege, and Lenora, their leader, joins Giacomo on his quest. Further on, they liberate Venucci political prisoners, and discover that Venucci has access to unknown technology.
Giacomo levels Venucci using a weapon that the Doge intended for Miana, Giacomo’s home city, called the Doge Hammer. However, he discovers that the Doge has taken another Hammer to Miana while the battle at Venucci was fought. On returning to Miana, Giacomo finds the city destroyed.
He pursues the Doge into the Alin Desert, where the army is attacked by the Dark Alin Marwan. They are saved by an army led by Giacomo’s friend, the Alin princess Arri. She takes Giacomo to the Alin king, who gives him rest but does not offer military aid. He tells the story of Sawu, the Dark Alin who was driven mad by an object that fell from the sky. Sawu began covering the land in a substance called Dark Glass. To stop the spread of Sawu’ influence, he was sealed in the city of Mezekesh. Giacomo leaves to break the seal and stop Sawu once and for all. He is accompanied by Arri, while Lenora returns to Pirata to prepare her armies.
Defeating Sawu cures his insanity. As Sawu is defeated, however, the Doge arrives to take the object that drove Sawu mad. With the help of the armies of Pirata, the object is kept away from the Doge and the Doge is killed. An alien ship arrives at this time to take the object and the one the Doge stole at the beginning of the game.
Giacomo wants to know more about these “aliens”, so he travels to Cuotl Rainforest, where there have been reports of them being seen. When he arrives, he finds Ix, the Moon God, one of the False Gods that rule the Cuotl, searching for an object like the ones mentioned before, now revealed to be pieces of Cuotl technology. Giacomo battles with Ix, but is nearly defeated until Carlini arrives and kills Ix. Czin, the god of death, then arrives, seeking the device. Giacomo attempts to stop him, but is badly injured when the device explodes. Carlini challenges Czin, and he kills Carlini with little fight.
Giacomo has gained strange new powers from the explosion, which have altered his body and mind. He spends some time building a robotic walker suit to simulate the power that Ix had, so that he can avenge Carlini’s death. He is joined by Kakoolha, rightful leader of the Cuotl, in his assault on the Cuotl gods. When Giacomo's army reaches Czin's capital city, they discover that the Death God is preparing a massive machine that will bring about the apocalypse. Giacomo confronts Czin inside the massive machine, and eventually kills him. After slaying Czin, Giacomo is faced by a mysterious holographic image (wallpaper) of what appears to be an alien. Giacomo then destroys the machine while still inside it, and the entire structure explodes.
Later, in the Vinci city-states, statues of Giacomo are made in remembrance of him, and Lenora is now tasked with the matter of unifying the Vinci under a single banner. Arri leaves to travel the world, exiled by her father, the king, for helping Giacomo. The Cuotl, under Kakhoola's rule, are adapting to the new technology the False Gods spread among them.
CivilizationsThere are three unique races in Rise of Legends - the research-driven Vinci, the magic-using Alin, and the technologically advanced Cuotl.
VinciThe Vinci are a highly technological, steampunk civilization, whose buildings and armed forces rely heavily on the steam engine, clockwork and gunpowder. Its designs are highly influenced by the 16th century Italian Renaissance inventor and artist, Leonardo Da Vinci. They are led by Giacomo, the Inventor of Miana, who provides the Vinci with a wide variety of creations to use on the battlefield. The main Vinci adversary is the Doge of Venucci, who has created a giant city-leveling cannon, the "Doge Hammer," and was responsible for the death of Giacomo's brother, Petruzzo, Lord of Miana.
The Vinci national power is Industrial Devastation, which causes giant bores and drills to rise from beneath the earth, damaging anything in the area, throwing smaller units to the ground, and prohibiting the construction of buildings on that area for a short time. Further research into the Mining research track increases the power and radius of the attack. The Vinci also have access to a unique form of currency, "Prototype Points," which are gained by building Industrial Districts. These Research Points are spent at a specialized structure, the Prototype factory: for each point, the player is allowed to choose one of three topics, which may grant them army-wide upgrades, unique units which cannot be gained any other way, or an increase in Timonium income.
AlinThe Alin are a magical civilization, relying on Sand, Fire and Glass magic to create their infrastructure and army. The civilization is based on Arabian and Middle Eastern mythologies, such as 1001 (1015 years ago) Arabian Nights, and contains units such as Giant Scorpions, Salamanders and Dragons. They live in the Kalahese desert, mainly in the capital city of Azar Harif, and are led by the King and his daughter Arri, a master of fire magic.
A large portion of the Alin territories have become "infected" with Dark Glass, a powerful magical element, created by the Genie Sawu when a mystical object fell from the sky (it was actually a powerful, and destructive, piece of Cuotl technology), that drove him to madness. In order to attempt to contain the infection, Sawu was imprisoned inside the city of Mezekesh, which was subsequently buried within the sands of the desert. However, the infection still spread, causing intermittent periods of Dark Terror, in which hostile Dark Glass creatures became berserk and attacked the Alin without mercy.
The Alin national power is Summon Army, which immediately summons a temporary army to fight for the Alin. The power and size of the army increases with further research along the Evocation track, ranging from a minor battalion to a medium-sized cadre. This, along with the general cheapness of their units and the ability to build unit-making structures anywhere on the map, even enemy territory (though this doubles the structure's cost), makes them adept at hit-and-run and number-based tactics.
CuotlThough the larger bulk of Cuotl civilization is made up of subjugated indigenous humans, the race is headed by an alien civilization, inspired by the ancient Mayan civilization and the ancient astronaut theory from Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past. Their name resembles that of the Aztec God Quetzalcoatl, and indeed a Cuotl air unit is called a "Quetzal Fighter". Four Cuotl beings, possessing high technology indistinguishable from magic, installed themselves as gods over the tribes of the Aio rainforest: Ix, the Moon God, Xil, the Sun God, Shok, Goddess of Storms, and Czin, God of Death. The units of the Cuotl army have both Mesoamerican and science-fiction influences to their design, seemingly constructed from both metal and stone, and many of them feature energy shields or personal cloaking devices.
The Cuotl are logistically different from the other two civilizations in the game. Instead of collecting Wealth via caravans, the Cuotl harvest Energy through reactors, which is used to create buildings and fund heroes' powers. Similarly, rather than purchasing neutral sites with Wealth as the other two civilizations do, the Cuotl expend Timonium to "subjugate" them. (Because Timonium is so much easier to obtain than Wealth or Energy, this creates game-balance issues which are resolved by the sharply-increasing costs of subjugation overall.)
The Cuotl national power, Star Bolt, summons a contracting halo of intense light, which damages all enemy units and structures within its circumference. Curiously, it is selectable by mouse and can be moved, allowing the player to chase opposing units with it or use it for reconnaissance. By researching the Divine Power research track, the size, power and duration of the Star Bolt increases.
Some pieces of Cuotl technology are dangerous or unstable. One was found by the entity who would become known as Sawu the Dark Alin, and prompted the creation of the corrupting Dark Glass. Another was found within a Mianan mine, and started killing those miners who were exposed to its presence. Yet another piece of Cuotl technology was given to the Doge of Venucci, who incorporated the destructive laser cannon into his personal walker; this cannon overloaded when Giacomo pulled some wires from it, resulting in the Doge's death.
Neutral factionsEach area of Aio (occupied by the Vinci, Alin and Cuotl) also contain a number of neutral factions, which often have their own unique army units, and can be captured, purchased or subjugated in order to join the player's army. Each neutral faction is only available in one of the three civilizations' territories, and each civilization can obtain the power to create camps belonging to one of their neutral factions. Examples of neutrals are the unindustrialized Vinci men who still ride on horses and live in castles, known as Condottieri, the tribal nomads of the northern mountains, clockwork units created from scrap metal, known as Scavengers, and Cuotl humans who have refused worship of the false gods, known as Fallen Cuotl.
ReceptionUpon release, response to Rise of Legends was generally favorable, with a current average critic score of 82% at Game Rankings.
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