5 A gem for gamers and history buffs!Plato67 | 04/04/2009 | See all Plato67's reviews (45)Top 100 Reviewer Top 100 Games Reviewer Top 100 Books Reviewer When back in 2004 Activision announced the release of the first Classical Age follow-up to the Total War series, I hastened to get my own copy of the game, being passionate about Roman history and having at last found a video-game that was entirely centred on such historical period. I eagerly paid the game full price and I have devotedly been playing it to this very day, regardless of later releases, such as 'Medieval II: Total War' and the most recent 'Empire: Total War', which I have enormously enjoyed playing but which have never stopped me from playing 'Rome: Total War'.Virtually the link between classical history and real time strategy video gaming, 'Rome: Total War' offers the chance to relive and, to a certain extent, rewrite the history of the Roman empire, either by subjugating its foes scattered throughout the then known world or by turning against the Senate and the people of Rome from the very beginning of the game, thus shaping a personal vision of what the Western Roman Empire may have been.In 'Rome Total: War', gamers can control one of the three foremost Roman families in their quest to establish the "Romanitas" ( a Latin term which denotes the Roman culture) upon the rest of the known world. Whether playing as the senate-championed Julii dynasty or moving your troops from the sweltering regions of Southern Italy, home to the Brutii, or even preparing your invasion on the Italic peninsula from the scorching deserts of North Africa, where the headquarters of the Scipii are, you will first have to annihilate every enemy of the Empire, which range from the Gauls of Central Europe and the Carthaginians of North Africa to the Thracians of Anatolia and the Celts of Northern Europe, relying on the support of the other two factions, and then, once the entire world has been united under the watchful eye of the Roman eagle, you will want to clash with the other two rivals to prove that your dynasty is the only one that deserves to hold the reins of Empire.In terms of game play, the developing team truly warrants kudos for having created such an outstanding product that stretches far beyond the concept of video gaming. After choosing the faction of preference, gamers will be aided by an all-embracing tutorial system that will provide them with comprehensive tips on pretty much each aspect of the game. On the battlefield, it is possible to devise strategies that will allow players to triumph against their foe, even when the odds are staked high against them. In the management of captured provinces, the tutorial system will provide useful tips on how to run a city effectively, suggesting which buildings should be constructed in order to keep the city working at full efficiency and prevent its inhabitants from revolting. In addition to that, the game boasts an exhaustive and historically correct explanation for each unit, whether it is a building or a military unit, which will surely appeal to fellow history devotees, but will also win over gamers who wish to learn more about this period of time. Then again, who said that history cannot be fun?My recommendation to fellow gamers and history buffs is to purchase this game as soon as possible. After all, how often can one find a gem priced at just a little more than a fiver?