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Age of Mythology is a spin-off from the Age of Empires series. It had similar town-building structure, and similar units, but veered away from the traditional realism of the Age of Empires series. Rather, it was based in ancient Earth, where there were real Gods, and followed consistent, original storylines through characters and in-game cinematics. Also, while it shared some Tropes with Age of Empires, it contained many which weren't applicable to the mother series.
The plot of the original game follows Arkantos, an Atlantean Admiral who battled monsters in his time but is getting old, and since no one's really attacking Atlantis, he doesn't have much to do. That is, until Atlantis is attacked by strange monsters and men in black ships, prompting Arkantos to go off to Troy and help Agamemnon finish the Trojan War to curry favor with Poseidon. After taking Troy and sailing to Greece for repairs, they stumble on a plot by Gargarensis, a cyclops demigod who is trying to help Poseidon release Kronos from Tartarus. Naturally, Arkantos needs to stop him, and to do that, he journeys from Atlantis, to Greece, through the Underworld, to Egypt, up to Scandanavia, then back to Atlantis.
The Titans expansion, set 10 years after the original, adds one more civilization and only a third as many missions as the original game. It revolves around Arkantos' son Kastor being tricked into weakening the gods by destroying their monuments so Kronos can escape Tartarus.
There's also a much lesser-known tabletop game made by Eagle Games.
Tropes used include:
- Age of Titles: Continues the trend from Age of Empires, obviously.
- A God Am I:
- A Kind of One: Many unique creatures from mythology became standard unit types that you can train any number of.
- Altum Videtur: It's impressive how they make scientific names for myth units without resorting to Canis Latinicus.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: There is a Population Limit, and Mythology added "each unit uses X people" - i.e. a villager counts as one, a soldier counts as two, but a Nemean Lion as 3. One of the few where villagers cost different from soldiers.
- Army of the Dead: The "Ancestors" god power, and the mechanic whereby the Hades-worshiping Greeks recieve free "shade" units (exempt from the Arbitrary Headcount Limit) whenever they lose a normal soldier.
- Arrows on Fire: Burning Pitch upgrade for archers. Does bonus damage against buildings, but does nothing against units. Still looks awesome.
- Artistic License: They did do the research. They, however, decided to ignore the results of it where necessary.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Arkantos drowns after the sinking of Atlantis, but is raised to immortality by Athena as a reward for saving the world.
- Ascended Extra: Kastor was merely a minor character in Fall of the Trident, in the Titans he becomes The Hero.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Titan Units. The time and resources spent summoning one could easily go into fighting the enemy with normal units- but then again, its fun to watch your opponent squirm.
- Baleful Polymorph: During a Campaign mission in which you visit the isle of Circe, Arkantos and Ajax get turned into pigs. Thankfully, whilst ordinary soldiers turn into ordinary piggies, heroes become boars, for some reason.
- Big Bad: Gargarensis in the original, Kronos and his shape-shifting servant in the expansion.
- Big Badass Bird of Prey: The Rok is an aversion, as he simply act as a transport. There are also the Egyptian Phoenixes, which are on fire and the Atlantenean Stymphalian birds.
- The Big Guy: Ajax in the original campaign. He was even bigger in the original myths.
- Big No: Gargarensis does this pretty often. Some examples:
- When witnessing the rebirth of Osiris.
- After Thor seals the gate to Tartarus right before his nose.
- Right before he gets skewered by the collapsing Poseidon statue's trident.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Greeks, Egyptians and Norse speak their respective languages.
- Bigger Is Better: The really big myth units such as Cyclops, Colossi, Mountain Giants, Scarabs, etc. destroy buildings in a jiffy. And of course, the really really huge Titan can raze entire cities to the ground (unless, perhaps, you make him face the endless waves of armies the enemy might send against him in the process).
- Blob Monster: The Argo creatures from the sequel are clearly described as floating amoebas with tentacles and many eyes.That can cry a stream of acidic tears as his special attack.
- Catch Phrase: Ajax's comments about pulling off his enemy's head border on this.
- Classical Mythology
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Blue for the good guys, and red for the bad. This is a plot point in a scenario that takes place in Arkantos's dreams where he unwittingly destroys Atlantis. His first clue that something is off is that he is dressed in red, the enemy colors.
- Construct Additional Pylons: Building a base is essential.
"You need to build more houses!"
- Convection, Schmonvection: In Erebus, the game's Fire and Brimstone Hell, the environment does no damage. Unless you knock over a Boulder Rolling Pile.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Most units only have one ability, though some have a special ability.
- Critical Existence Failure: Everything, though buildings will appear to be burning as they are more and more damaged. It's purely cosmetic.
- Crossover Cosmology
- Curb Stomp Battle: The opening cinematic seesaws between this for the humans and then for the mythological creatures.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The two Age of Empires have one and two-button interfaces... Mythology had only the two-button option.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most people get their moments, especially Ajax.
'Arkantos: A giant fortress in the middle of the countryside, protecting a huge pits which leads...here...and a cyclops that rains fire on us from the skies...I'm starting to think this might not be a 'bandit' we're dealing with, Chiron.
- The Dragon: Kamos and Kemsyt. The statue of Poseidon on the final mission.
- In the expansion campaign, Krios is this to Kronos.
- Demonic Possession: Kronos does this to Krios, turning him in a winged devil.
- Drop the Hammer: The campaign requires you to build Thor's hammer Mjolnir.
- The Atlantean civilization in the expansion can get Fanatics, which dual-wield swords. They will beat any human soldiers they get in melee range with, and when upgraded as heroes to do bonus damage against myth units, can pretty much beat anything on the ground. One-on-one though, since upgrading them as heroes will get them easily get horribly outnumbered. Unless you choose the deity that gives hero units a Healing Factor.
- Kastor wields two swords as well, though it is never stated he is of the Fanatic cults.
- Two Egyptian myth units, Anubis' Anubites and Horus' Avengers, also dual-wield their weapons.
- Easy Logistics
- The End of the World as We Know It: What will happen if the heroes can't stop Kronos getting loose.
- Enemy Exchange Program: The 'Traitor' god power can convert units.
- Egyptian Mythology
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The Blessing of Zeus, which transforms Arkantos into a demigod capable of fighting the Poseidon statue.
- Everybody Hates Hades: In the first campaign, most bad guys either were aligned with Hades, Set and Loki (the last two being less assholish in earlier versions of their mythologies). Subverted that the real bad guys are working for Poseidon and Kronos, while Hades himself is not evil (in fact, he never shows up).
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Besides the ones you hunt for food (use many villagers, at least one will get killed!), a cheat gives you a "Lazer Bear", which has monkeys and the Lazer Bear is described as making demands from world governments, and the only way to kill the Canadian Ultimate Bear is to spam it to death using cheap military units or use the Traitor god power. Titans will be obliterated slowly without the slow regeneration of Hecate versus the hyperspeed regeneration of Lazer Bear, Prometheous, Gaea and anything healing or repair post-hyperspeed building cheat.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Kraken. Therefore, the sound anything with a large amount of crushing damage over piercing or slash damage on anything that isn't explicitly non-fleshy with a high crush resistance. You hear the squishing.
- Expy: Many of the myth units look like they were modeled after Harryhausen's miniatures. The Colossus and the cyclops are good examples.
- Face Palm: Arkantos indulges occasionally, usually during Ajax's more spectacular Comically Missing the Point moments.
- Faction Calculus:
- Taking into account the Titans expansion:
- Alternatively, each faction has an area of specialty:
Greeks - Balanced
Egyptians - Human Soldiers
Norse - Myth Units
Atlanteans - Heroes
- Taking into account the Titans expansion:
- Fan Service: Is it necessary for the drawing of most of females within the game to have large breasts? Or the goddesses to be Stripperiffic? And it's not just the girls - Apollo's image pictures him pretty much naked until a few centimeters above his crotch, and Anubis has a quite well defined chest...
- Fire and Brimstone Hell: Erebus. Tartarus - the part where the Titans are imprisoned - is never shown, but presumably it's much the same. Interestingly, the Norse refer to it as Niflheim, which in actual myth was more like a Frost And Icicles Hell.
- Finish Him!: When Arkantos's army defeat "Gargarensis"'s in the Norselands, the heroes manage to capture "Gargarensis" (take note of the quotation marks; he's actually Kemesyt, but transfigured into the form of Gargarensis via Loki's trickery magic. In the end, Ajax even resorts to asking Arkantos whether or not to put him in a cage somewhere in Atlantis, rather than cutting off his head. Arkantos refuses, saying he has done too much against the Atlanteans, and orders to kill him. Ajax chops off his head with a large axe, with no remorse.
This is for Chiron.
- Flavor Text
- Foreshadowing: During the opening cutscene, when the temple begins collapsing, it is Poseidon's trident that breaks from his statue and almost crushes the protagonist.
- Gaia's Vengeance: Gaia helps the heroes fight the Big Bad throughout the campaign by granting them the use of her powers to weaken the power of the Titans. She also appears in person to fight Kronos, and helps to imprison him once again.
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: The campaign heroes. Justified for Chiron and Regenlief, who are both actually immortal.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The information attached to everything shows that the developers know how everything really worked in the relevant civilizations and time periods, but the gameplay doesn't reflect it.
- Giant Spider: Leto's Divine Power summons some spider's eggs which hatch in full grown ground spiders. They'll catch and drag a single enemy soldier underground, and then disappear.
- Glass Cannon: Phoenices can make a short work of anything without ranged attacks with their area-damaging fire breath, but once they're confronted by some archers they won't last long.
- God's Hands Are Tied: Justified by Athena when she tells Arkantos that the gates that imprison Kronos can only be opened by the hands of a mortal, and that direct intervention by Zeus could spark off a war among the gods.
- Gods Need Prayer Badly:
- Favor is a resource you acquire through worship. Greek gods are worshiped in temples, Egyptian gods are worshiped by constructing monuments, Norse gods are worshipped by fighting, Atlantian gods by controlling town centers.
- If you play with the Major Greek God Zeus you start out with half of your max favor already waiting, which is the max you can get for the other gods.
- There are also upgrades you can purchase to gain Favor faster.
- This shows up in the story of the expansion, as well. At one point, our plucky hero causes Mount Olympus to collapse without even trying (too hard) because there's not enough belief floating around. It's also why the seal on the Titans' prisons is weakening.
- God of Evil:
- Kronos, and the rest of the Titans apart from Gaia.
- In the first game, Poseidon for siding with Kronos.
- Gravity Sucks: Atlas' divine power, Implosion.
- Greek Mythology
- Hell Gate: Five kinds: one the Atlantis can build one as a passage although it looks more heavenly (it is a sky passage), the Tartarus Gates, Apollo's Underworld Passage, the decorative or plot passage that can't be used, and the Titan Gate.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Chiron pulls one, by causing a rockslide that traps him with a bunch of giants but allows the other Heroes to escape This may be a form of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as it is mentioned that Chiron is immortal.
- Hollywood Tactics: The cinematic for the original game and the expansion shows the spearmen charging, despite how dense formations were the method of using them of the time period. Since the spearmen were just rejuvenated and ready to attack from being previously getting beaten before (plus, their formations probably would've been useless against the ridiculous brute strength of the mythological creatures they were facing), their lack of discipline in the situation may be a Justified Trope. Also, since the unit information on them notes the use of formations, it was at least the Rule of Cool.
- Hook Hand: Kamos. To be specific, a simple hook isn't badass enough for a minotaur pirate, so he use a whole khopesh blade.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first battle against the Titan Prometheus during the campaign.
- I Surrender, Suckers: Loki and Gargarensis order to Arkantos' forces to surrender in exchange for a quick death. Cue Ajax impaling the herald with a ballista dart and shouting "We surrender! Come a little closer!"
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Many within the soundtrack. Names like "Meatier Shower" and "Of Norse Not !" come to mind. If you couldn't guess, they are the theme that play when you use the Meteor Shower power (and a few cheats that involve an explosive chicken meteor shower at times) and the Norse theme, respectively. Also, a few of the titles like "Eat Your Potatoes"
- Interservice Rivalry: While it isn't really mentioned through the game, the information on the Murmillo and Destroyer Atlantean units state the two units are rivals.
- Kraken and Leviathan: The former is a giant octopus and the Mythical unit of Njord. The latter looks like a giant red whale with tiny arms and can carry troops around like a transport, and can be hired by the Egyptian.
- Legions of Hell:
- You fight them on several occasions. They usually consist of dozens of different types of Myth units.
- There's even a god power available to the followers of Hekate, in the expansion, that creates opens a hole in the ground to let them out!
- Living Statue:
- The Statue of Poseidon during the final mission of the original campaign.
- Leto's Automatons from the expansion.
- The Colossus unit is not living, like the Automatons, but follows this anyway.
- Luke Nounverber:
- The Norse Hersir units are shown by names, which are randomly generated from a pool of first names and last name parts. It is possible, through editing some text files, to add some more variety in Hersir names. Some examples include "Hamal Refreshingbeveragemaker", "Hrolf Eggpuncher", and "Egill Griffonminer".
- There is also the possibility for the more badass "Surtr Firesword", which is something of a literal Mythology Gag, being a fire giant in Norse mythology which... has a Flaming Sword.
- The surname "Womanlicker" shows up occasionally as well.
- The Man Behind the Man: Several levels. Gargarensis is the man behind Kamos, Poseidon is the man behind Gargarensis, and Kronos is the man behind him.
- Man-Eating Plant: Oceanus' power summons a giant carnivorous plant on both land and sea. Said plant possess a special attack, allowing them to eat a enemy soldier alive.
- Near-Victory Fanfare: When you finally get your army and your myth units and your siege engines together for one last huge battle against the enemy base, the music changes to a truly epic orchestral piece. This also plays briefly when you unleash a particularly devastating God Power (like Horus' Tornado or Artemis' Earthquake)
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Plot of the Titans expansion.
- Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe: The Spider Lair power. The poor victims scream in terror as a human-sized spider drag them underground.
- Nintendo Hard: The Titan difficulty on Random Maps, with the AI set to Attacker. The AI opponents are brutally efficient, and will have easily both outclassed and outnumbered players who were used to the (comparatively) leisurely pace of Campaign maps. If you haven't got a working, fully stocked army by the 15 minute mark, you may as well throw in the towel, as the odds are high that your foe's legions are already en route.
- Non Standard Character Design: All of the Titans in the expansion pack look like humans (Barring Oceanus who is a Fishman, but look at the name) except Kronus who looks like a giant rock demon.
- Norse Mythology
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The menu themes. This is also the sound of the "Age of Mythology theme song", played intensly, epic, mild Grecian piece, and others.
- One-Hit Kill: Some powers and special abilities works like this, like the Medusas' petrifying gaze, Argo's acidic tears, Leto's spiders or the Mummy's sorcery.
- One-Man Army: Titans can dispatch average armies of human soldiers with ease.
- Party Scattering: The team of heroes is scattered by an avalanche caused by Kronos and must regroup before they can build a settlement.
- Physical Gods:
- Athena, Osiris, Zeus, Gaia, Thor and the other Olympian/Egyptian/Norse gods. Arkantos becomes one after his ascent to godhood.
- Manifesting physically, only Osiris in the campaign, Gaia and Kronos in the Xpack, and Arkantos.
- Physical Heaven: The Greek version, of course. And Arkantos's son wastes no time in wrecking it either.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Norse faction.
- Public Domain Artifact: The Relics system is taken from Age of Empires, but in this case each relic is a unique object that gives you a different benefit. They range from "the Nose of the Sphinx" and "Trojan Gate Hinge" to the more whimsical "Boots of Kick Everything".
- Purple Is the New Black: In the cinematics, the "evil smokes" are usually purple and black; Kronos has purple-black smoke oozing from his body, his shapeshifting servant arrives with a purple-black smoke, and transforms from Krios to his demonic self in a puff of purple and black energies.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The Big Bad does this, in order to free Kronos. It's up to the heroes to stop him. Also, when Kastor goes to Mount Olympus and proceeds to destroy it with Atlantean armies and Myth Units from all cultures.
- Reinventing the Wheel: You have to keep redeveloping technologies. Who cares if you've already "researched" the Ax 20 times before, do it again in this level!
- Regional Riff: When you started a game you heard something vaguely appropriate to the nation you chose play.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Kronos, and every Titan barring Gaia.
- Shout-Out: When you play as the Egyptians, you might get a pharaoh named Bubbahotep.
- Shown Their Work: Everything, from the trees, to the cows, to the rocks, to the Cyclops have optional descriptions for you to read. You can even access the in-game encyclopedia from the main menu just for some information.
- The city of Atlantis is shown as built on a hill, divided into tiers with fountains between them, accurate to the original myth but often overlooked.
- Silliness Switch: The cheat codes, which provide things like the 'Chicken Meteor' God Power.
- Something Completely Different: The mission midway through the original campaign that takes place in Arkantos' dreams, which exists mainly as a framework for Athena to provide exposition on Gargarensis' plot. Also, the mission on Circe's island, which also serves as a humorous Breather Episode between the Egyptian and Norse segments of the campaign.
- Speaking Simlish: The Atlanteans.
- Stealth Based Mission: More like Stealth-Based Objective, really. A mission in the first chapter of the main campaign has Arkantos, Ajax, and Odysseus sneaking through Troy after infiltrating it in The Horse. Since there's only three of you, you are encouraged to avoid fights. This only lasts until you reach the gates, which aren't all that far.
- Stealth Hi Bye: In the second mission of the 'Golden Gift' campaign, Skult pulls this off with Eitri. When the dwarf begins his rant, the man turns and walks behind the Town Center...and promptly disappears. Even better, this happens during the camera swing that happens at the beginning of every campaign, so he quite literally teleports from behind the buildings. It is impossible for him to do anything else. Granted, 'Skult' is, in fact, Loki, so he has an excuse.
- Story Overwrite: If you somehow manage to defeat the final boss without using demigod Arkantos, the final cutscene will show Arkantos finishing off the boss anyway.
- Summon Bigger Fish: This is how the Titans' threat is stopped in the expansion: the Anubis Guardian is used againts Cerberus in Egypt, Nidhogg is released against the Nordic Titan (though it's possible to defeat it without summoning the dragon) and Prometheus and Kronos are defeated by the power of Gaia.
- Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors:
- Infantry > Cavalry > Archers > Infantry as well as Heroes > Beasts > Normals > Heroes. The explicitness of this various, with many baseline units beating their opponents due to statistical superiority against them (most cavalry will be outnumbered by melee infantry, while the melee infantry will tend a lot of damage from archers' piercing attacks), while dedicated counter units tend to have low stats and only beat their desired targets due to doing bonus damage against them.
- Titan > Everything. Technically, Titans count as normal myth units and do have a negative damage multiplier against heroes and siege weapons. It just does so much damage that multipliers matter little. Spamming heroes is the suggested way to defeat a Titan in a random map. When cheating, spam other titans or a single Lazer Bear (because Everything's Worse with Bears,) and send in other units at you leisure. Flying units will cause an insane amount of damage over time due to the fact that other than a plot cutscene with Prometheus and a Roc, it is impossible for the majority of stronger units to attack them due to the fact they are flying, and can redirect the dumber of A Is into your gigantic trap fortification.
- It's a bit more explicit in the board game; certain units get extra hit dice against other types of units according to their classification.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Build a Titan Gate, and get a beast that can destroy an entire civilization. But not necessarily the army attached to it.
- Technicolor Toxin: Green poison and acid.
- Technology Levels: Classical Age, Mythic Age, etc.
- Tech Tree: A twist on the tech trees from Age of Empires and Age of Kings by making a different one for all civilizations in the style of Starcraft. Mythology adds a further twist by making you choose one of two gods for each age (3 for the first, which determine the available minor gods). Each of them offers an unique god power, myth units and upgrades. The base tech tree on the other hand is practically identical among all races and main gods - the names and images are different, but what they do is mostly interchangeable.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The soundtrack gets action-based when you use some devastating god power like Meteor, or when you order your troops are in close proximity to a fortress or town center they're attacking. The latter starts with hearing men yell out a War Cry to help pump you up.
- The Time of Myths
- Units Not to Scale: Especially when you compare units to Transport Ships and 5-person monsters to 10-person houses.
- War Elephants: The Egyptians' strongest unit.
- When Trees Attack: The Walking Woods power. On a technicality, the Dryads too.
- Word Salad Title: The titles of the pieces in the soundtrack are silly at best, but a few are nonsensical and irrelevant at most.
- You Require More Vespene Gas:
- Food, wood, gold and Favor.
- Subverted somewhat by the Egyptians, who can build the basic buildings at no resource cost. Presumably they are using mud bricks and slave labour.
- You Shall Not Pass: When Arkantos and Co. are being chased by Fire Giants, Chiron kicks down a nearby large boulder, sealing off the path between the Giants (and, unfortunately, himself) and the heroes, allowing escape. So, he's presumably killed by the Fire Giants. Which makes no sense because he is immortal.
- Zerg Rush:
- Egyptians to an extent, as they have the cheapest and weakest base units. The main god Set even provides you with free animal allies to bolster your forces. Quite a few of the minor gods support that kind of tactic as well.
- Leto's Automatons in the expansion campaign being the most memorable. The Tartarian Spawns near the end of said map qualify as an extremely deadly version of this.
- The Norse seem based around this strategy. They can make their basic soldier unit from town centers, this tactic can cripple an opponent early in the game by wiping out his villagers. Their buildings are weak so they rely on rush tactics to gain and keep an early advantage in the game. And their infantry are the ones that actually build buildings. So you can rush your troops in, throw down some training centers outside the enemy's base, and have a steady stream of soldiers rushing them. You also gain Faith from Norse fighting, so attacking with a steady stream of sacrificial lambs is a surefire way to get a massive army of fire-giants relatively quick behind. Oh, and if that wasn't great enough, Loki's decently cheap heroes can randomly summon myth units in battle, which can lead to an early victory just due to luck.
- Averted with the tabletop game. There's (usually) a set number of units that each side can bring to a battle.