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Rock beats everything.—game tagline
Sisyphus... the king who was cursed to spend the rest of his days push a giant boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back to the bottom, forcing him to start over again. After many hours of frustration, he gets fed up and decides to rebel against Zeus by rolling his boulder into Zeus' castle in order to escape from Hades and to freedom. From there, Sisyphus and the angry boulder go on a journey throughout the ages of art (from Ancient Greece to Medieval times, all the way up to the Romantic era), meeting powerful historical figures and smashing their defenses to pieces.
This is the story behind Rock of Ages, a game developed by Ace Team (the minds behind the also-very-bizarre Zeno Clash). The objective is to roll your boulder into your opponent's castle gate, while preventing him from destroying your gate by setting up towers, catapults, elephants and other traps to slow him down.
This game has nothing to do with the Def Leppard song or the musical.
Tropes used in Rock of Ages:
- Angel: Michael.
- Art Shift: Each era takes images from artwork from the era. Cronus transforms into a picture of his in-game model (which is in 3D) during his intro.
- Ascended Meme: Winning your first online battle wins you a rock with a Trollface on it.
- Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever: There are quite a few massive enemies. The bosses are even bigger.
- Ax Crazy
- The Black Death: Personified as a skeleton simply named Plague.
- Blow You Away: Fans can be placed to blow a boulder off-course. Some of the higher-grade fans are cow-powered.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Leonardo da Vinci knows and tries to explain to Sisyphus that their world was made for "A deranged activity they call "Video Games"." Not that he really cares.
- Christianity Is Catholic
- Dem Bones: Plague.
- Dracula: Vlad Tepes.
- Everything's Better with Cows
- Excuse Plot
Advertisement: Your neighbor quite dislikes you. This probably explains why they've decided to roll a gigantic boulder in the general direction of your castle and it's denizens. And you know what? You haven't really been their biggest fan either. Which is why you will: A. Do everything in your power to deflect and destroy their little rock. B: Retaliate with your own enormous globe of crushing. Because they're jerks and they deserve it.
- Extreme Omnivore: Bacchus.
- Fat Bastard: Bacchus.
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The Heavens.
- For Massive Damage: Each boss has an obvious weakness.
- Gainax Ending: At the end of his struggle Sisyphus is crushed by the falling Cronus during his victory dance. After the credits the Rock hops into a random hole and discovers its master dancing with the rest of the characters in what seems to be Hell.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The hand that replaces the Rock whenever it falls off the track is never explained. It's styled after medieval portrayals of the hand of God, however.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Each battle ends with one player running over the other, followed by a squish sound and am immediate cut to a victory screen.
- Grapes of Luxury: Some cherubs feed them to Bacchus...until he eats the cherubs.
- The Hedonist: Bacchus.
- A Hell of a Time: The ending.
- I Have Many Names: Cronus A.K.A. Saturn. That's exactly what his subtitle says.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Bacchus.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: The Plague. Unfortunately he vomits rats and anything he approaches dies.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Gandalf
- Kill'Em All
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Louis XIV's intro has him using the loo in his throne.
- Which, incidentally, did happen. That's where the term "throne" as slang for the toilet comes from.
- Mythology Gag: In this game, Castlevania's Dracula and real life inspiration for the original Dracula, Vlad "The Impaler" Tepes, are one in the same.
- Only Sane Man: Leonardo da Vinci
- Naked People Are Funny: Bacchus and Michaelangelo's David.
- New Media Are Evil: Leonardo da Vinci sure thinks so.
- Petal Power: Marie Antoinette throws massive flowers from her balcony, smothering and crushing nobles below.
- The Pope: Julius II, AKA "War Pope."
- Rage Against the Heavens: Sisyphus vs Hades. FIGHT!
- Ramming Always Works: The only way to win is to ram your opponent's gate until it breaks. Size and velocity determine how much damage you deal.
- Rewarding Vandalism: Driving your boulder into opponent's structures generates gold, which you can use to bolster your defenses between turns.
- Siege Engines: Catapults and trebuchets fire projectiles that chip away at a boulder's strength.
- The art is a tremendous love letter to Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
- Ancient Greece recreates the pit scene from 300 (The game numbers each Spartans in case anyone misses the reference), but it doesn't work out so well for Leonidas.
- In the Middle Ages, a copy of the Castlevania is instead inhabited by Vlad Tepes.
- Leonardo da Vinci explains the fourth wall to Sisyphus while reenacting The Architect scene from The Matrix.
- See You Shall Not Pass and This Is Sparta
- Sinister Minister: Rochiele.
- Songs in the Key of Panic: When your gates are close to collapsing.
- Standard Snippet: The soundtrack uses plenty of stock classical pieces, most notably "Dies Irae" by Mozart for when you break through the enemy's gate and when you fight the final boss.
- The Man Behind the Curtain: Most of the characters become this during the level.
- The Unfought: The major boss battles end when the boss is defeated and the characters introduced in those levels apparently escape being squished.
- This Is Sparta: Performed by none other by Leonidas.
- Upperclass Twit: Marie Antoinette
- Walking Wasteland: Plague. Played for Laughs.
- Weaponized Landmark: Michelangelo's David.
- World Gone Mad
- Villainous Glutton: Bacchus.
- X Meets Y: Contains the ball-rolling, maze-traversing action of Marble Madness and Super Monkey Ball, as well as the defense-building gameplay of the Midway arcade game Rampart.
- Yandere: Marie Antoinette
- You Shall Not Pass: Performed by Gandalf, only to be Killed Mid-Sentence.