Spartan: Total Warrior is a hack-and-slash spin-off action game of the Total War series, developed by The Creative Assembly and published by Sega. It was released in 2005 on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. The game has 14 different levels, in which the player is a lone Spartan warrior, fighting alongside his Greek allies against the Roman Empire, guided by Ares.
While the Total War series has traditionally focused upon historical and legendary scenarios with each installment, Spartan: Total Warrior is more liberal in its approach to history, drawing elements from the Greek and Roman mythology, and has more in common with games such as God of War. It is also the only installment in the series thus far to be released for consoles, and not for a personal computer system.
The story is told using a five-act, three-scene structure made popular by Ancient Greek plays.
The game takes place in the reign of Emperor Tiberius, and the war between the Romans and the Greeks. Most of Greece has been overrun by the Roman Empire, and only Sparta remains. The Spartans prepare to go to war, and an unnamed Spartan is contacted by Ares, the God of War, who offers aid in the war against Rome and to help the Spartan uncover who he is. The Spartan (controlled by the player) fights alongside the Spartans, led by the brothers Castor and Pollux and their king, Leonidas, defending the walls. The Romans are repelled, but the Roman General, Crassus sends Talos, a giant bronze man, to attack the walls. The Spartans hold the Romans off long enough for the Spartan to destroy Talos using catapults.
That night, Ares instructs the Spartan to infiltrate the Roman camp and recover the Blades of Athena, which the Romans had looted from the Parthenon in the conquest of Athens. He succeeds, aided by Castor, and in the process frees Electra, leader of the Amazons, and several other prisoners, before fighting their way out with the aid of Pollux and Spartan reinforcements. Electra warns the Spartans that the Romans have a new, powerful weapon, capable of obliterating the city. She is proved to be correct when the Romans attack with a weapon powered by Medusa, with the capability to turn entire phalanxes of troops into stone. As the Spartan army makes its last stand in the city ruins, the Spartan fights his way to the Roman headquarters in an abandoned temple, slays Crassus, and destroys the weapon, taking Crassus' enchanted sword and shield in the process.
In the battle's aftermath, Ares once more speaks to the Spartan, and instructs him to go to the ruins of Troy and recover the spear of Achilles in order to save Sparta. The Spartan travels through the Badlands north of Greece with Castor, Pollux and Electra to Troy, saving a village from barbarian warriors under the control of Beowulf, and recovering his hammer, Death-Biter, along the way. Upon their arrival at Troy, the Spartan enters the underworld of Troy, alone. He fights his way to Achilles' tomb, where the spear is buried, along the way encountering Aelius Sejanus, the Praetorian Prefect, Tiberius' right-hand man, and a powerful necromancer. Sejanus resurrects many undead Roman, Trojan and Greek warriors to kill the Spartan, but he fights his way through the ruins of the city, passing by the tombs of Priam, Hector and even the Trojan Horse. Upon reaching the tomb of Achilles, the Spartan is once more confronted by Sejanus, who makes him fight his Nemesis, an exact copy of him who has the same abilities, and who knows the Spartan's every move and thought. The Spartan again survives, and takes the spear of Achilles which his nemesis was armed with. The Spartan fights his way out of the underworld against the dead of Troy and Sejanus's minions (living and undead), rejoining his allies, and then tries to leave the city. However the Spartans are informed by Sejanus that Sparta fell to the Romans in their absence, as they were not there to protect it. After this conversation, the Spartan defeats the Hydra, awoken from its slumber by Sejanus to kill him.
The Spartan is now more determined than ever to kill Tiberius and destroy the Empire. He travels to Athens, where he meets the scientist Archimedes, who leads the Athenian Resistance against the Romans. The Spartan aids the resistance by protecting Archimedes from Roman assassins, saving several resistance members from execution, and leading the people of Athens in a revolution and storming a mansion occupied by Sejanus and the Praetorian Guard. The mansion is taken, and the Romans slaughtered, but Sejanus escapes. The Spartan then re-activates one of Archimedes' inventions, the Eye of Apollo, to power a lightning gun, which he uses to shoot down the dragon Ladon, employed by Sejanus as a steed. Once dismounted, Pollux charges Sejanus, but the Prefect defeats and kills Pollux easily, turning him into an undead minion, and Castor is forced to fight his brother, while Sejanus then proceeds to battle the Spartan and Electra. The Spartan prevails and cuts down Sejanus, remarking afterwards that Sejanus was right; he was more of a challenge than Crassus. The group mourn Pollux as the Romans are driven from Athens.
Leaving Athens, the Spartan and Castor travel to Rome, via the Gates of Saturn, a fortress in the Alps that blocks the way to Rome, where they encounter an undead Sejanus, who has survived his death in Athens and escaped the underworld. The Spartan kills Sejanus' Priestesses, the sources of his power, before finally defeating Sejanus, destroying him for good, while the Spartan army massacres the Roman garrison. With Sejanus truly dead, the Spartan remarks to Castor, "Now Pollux can rest in peace." The Spartans then continue to Rome, where they plan to kill Tiberius. The Spartan goes through the Roman sewers and catacombs to get into the city, while the others travel on the surface to the Colosseum, where Tiberius is attending an event, at which they hope to kill him by blowing up his stand. The Spartan succeeds in navigating the sewers, and reaching the surface, after killing a Minotaur loose in the sewer. Unfortunately, the others are discovered and detonate the bombs too early, with the result that Tiberius survived. The Spartan saves Electra and Castor from being executed on the spot, and makes his way to Tiberius. The Spartan then confronts Tiberius, but the Roman Emperor commits suicide out of fear of an unknown 'master'. The Spartan then makes his way to the arena, where he meets the true antagonist of the story: Ares, who reveals the truth to him.
The Spartan, who had never known his identity, in truth was the son of one of Aphrodite's handmaids, who revealed Ares' affair with the goddess to Hephaestus. Ares killed the handmaid, but was banished by the other gods. The Spartan had all knowledge of his past was removed from history, (including his name) and was sent to live with the Spartans, having been granted superhuman powers and abilities to protect himself. He was hidden from Ares, who had helped the Romans conquer Greece purely to find the Spartan and bring him to Rome. Ares also reveals that Leonidas is dead, having died calling for the Spartan to aid them: Ares sneers that had the Spartan stayed in the city, the Romans would never have taken Sparta. Driven by their desire for revenge, Ares and the Spartan duel, and the Spartan emerges victorious, killing Ares. After killing Ares, Castor, narrating, says,
"It was over. our epic quest to stop Tiberius and the Roman Empire had ultimately drawn us to this moment. The Spartan had discovered his true identity, defeated the Empire, and battled a vengeful God to free his people. A warrior, a hero, a legend."
In Spartan: Total Warrior, the player is able to play two modes, the campaign or arena battle mode which the player and allied Spartan soldiers have to hold out in the arena against a variety of opponents.
Spartan Total Warrior features fast hack and slash gameplay. The player is able to use two main types of attack, a simple attack which damages one enemy, and a radial attack that damages multiple enemies over a large area around The Spartan. The simple attack is fast and causes the most amount of damage, whereas the radial attack is slower, but damages multiple enemies at a time with a moderate power.
As the player progresses through the game, he 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). Each of these weapons have some good and bad points. The blades of Athena supply very fast attacks but cause a moderate amount of damage, the Death-Biter is extremely powerful and causes a great amount of damage but is very slow, and the spear of Achilles is very fast with semi-powerful attacks, a good all-round weapon. Aside from melee attack the player can use a bow and arrow with limited ammo to destroy enemies from a distance. It is also possible to use the 'power of the gods': when the magic tank is full, the player can use a simple or radial magic attack, and each weapon has a special magic power. Another important feature of the game is that when the spartan lands a certain amount of attacks, his rage meter fills, and then he can utilise powerful attacks with each weapon which causes a lot of damage.
The Spartan has some Greek allies who help him in his battles, and they play an important role about the fate of each mission. The Spartan is their leader and they follow him in his missions.
Combat is focused on large battles with multiple combatants. The player will often take on scores of enemies at once, often completely surrounded and totally 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 offence and defence 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.
Allies and enemies
- The Spartan is the ultimate warrior. Abandoned at birth, his unknown past hides a dark and terrible secret...
- Castor serves as the Spartan's second in command. He is more calm and analytical than his hot-headed brother.
- Pollux is Castor's twin brother and is one of Sparta's best swordsmen. He serves as one of the Spartan's lieutenants, but is slain by Sejanus in Athens.
- Electra is an Amazonian princess and a skilled warrior. She serves as one of the Spartan's lieutenants after he and Castor rescue her from Crassus's camp.
- Leonidas is Sparta's king. While initially uncertain about the Spartan, Leonidas grows to respect his courage and skill. However, he is killed in Sparta after the Spartan leaves on his quest for the Spear of Achilles.
- Archimedes is a great scientist and philosopher, leader of the Athenian Resistance and inventor of the Eye of Apollo lightning gun used to shoot down Ladon.
In addition to the main heroes the player will mostly be aided by large numbers of Spartan swordsmen, spearmen and archers.
- Crassus is the Roman general in charge of the siege of Sparta. Egotistical and arrogant, he lives to enjoy the spoils of war and enjoys using extravagant, grand weapons to fight his battles.
- Beowulf is a fierce warrior, chieftain of the Danes and commander of the barbarians. He wields Deathbiter, the undefeatable hammer and seeks to make his tale known across the world by killing the Spartan.
- Sejanus is the Praetorian Prefect. The leader of the Praetorian Guard, he is also an amoral, sadistic lunatic and a powerful necromancer with extensive knowledge of black magic.
- Tiberius is the Roman Emperor who has gone mad with power. He fears the Spartan, and demands that he be killed on sight.
- The Priestesses are Sejanus's spiritual guides, the means by which he is able to cheat death and his Achilles' heel to his sorcery.
Featured mythical creatures
- Talos: Crassus uses Talos as a weapon to break down the gates of Sparta. However, Talos is felled by Spartan catapults before the attack succeeds.
- Medusa: Crassus uses Medusa to power a weapon that fires deadly beams of light which can turn men to stone. She is believed to have perished when the Spartan destroys the weapon.
- Gigantes: The barbarians keep these feral giants as pets and beasts of war.
- Minotaur: Having escaped from its cage at the Colosseum, the Minotaur goes on the rampage in the sewers of Rome.
- Hydra: Sejanus awakens this beast from its lair in the ruins of Troy, in the hope it will kill the Spartan.
- Ladon: This undead dragon is used by Sejanus as a powerful steed in the final battle in Athens.
- Ares: The God of War and the Spartan's protector and guide.