Age of Mythology

Age of Mythology

] Mac OS X
media = CD
requirements = Windows version:
450 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM, 1.5 GB hard disk space, 16 MB GPU, 56k modem for multiplayer
Mac version:
Macintosh computer with a 450MHz or faster processor, Mac OS X 10.2.6 or higher, 256MiB system RAM, 16MiB RADEON/GeForce2 MX or better video card, CD-ROM drive.
input = Keyboard and mouse

"Age of Mythology" (commonly abbreviated as "AoM"), is a mythology-based, real-time strategy computer game developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on November 1, 2002 in North America and a week later in Europe.

"Age of Mythology" focuses less on historical accuracy than previous games in the "Age of Empires series", but instead centers upon the myths and legends of the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse. [cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology civilizations on||accessdate=2007-05-11] However, many gameplay elements are similar to the "Age of Empires" series, and thus can be considered a spin-off. Its campaign follows an Atlantean admiral, Arkantos, who is forced to travel through the lands of the three civilizations in the game, hunting for a cyclops who has turned Poseidon against Atlantis.cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology|accessdate=2007-05-26|publisher=Eurogamer|first=Rob|last=Fahey|published=2002-12-10]

"Age of Mythology" was critically successful, and went platinum four months after its release, selling over one million units.cite web|url=|title="Age of Mythology" Goes Platinum With More Than 1 Million Units Sold|publisher=Microsoft PressPass|accessdate=2007-07-22] The game's critical reception was generally positive; it scored 89% on Game Rankings and Metacritic. Gameplay elements were received positively, though some reviewers were critical of the campaign's length and issues of repetitiveness.


Like many other real-time strategy games, "Age of Mythology" is based on building towns, gathering resources, creating armies, and ultimately destroying enemy units and buildings. In this way, players are able to defeat and conquer rival towns and civilizations. Players advance their tribe through four "Ages": starting in the Archaic Age, the player may upgrade to the Classical Age, the Heroic Age, and finally, the Mythic Age. Each upgrade to a higher Age unlocks new units and technologies for the player, which strengthens their settlement. However, upgrading requires a sum of resources to be paid, and certain buildings to be built. [cite web |url=|title=Apple Games page on Age of Mythology|accessdate=2007-07-04|publisher=Apple Inc.]

There are three playable civilizations in "Age of Mythology": the Greeks, Egyptians, and Norse. Each civilization has three "major gods"—deities; they are: Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon for the Greeks; Isis, Ra, and Set for the Egyptians; and Thor, Odin, and Loki for the Norse. The player chooses their major god before the game begins. Every time a player advances to the next age, a "minor god" is selected. Minor gods are slightly less significant historically than their major counterparts. Some minor gods include Bast and Aphrodite.cite web | last = Burrell | first = M. | title = Age of Mythology Review - | publisher = | url = | accessdate = 2007-04-20 ] All gods grant to the player unique technologies, myth units, and a unique god power—a special ability which can either benefit the user or damage his/her opponent. [cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology page on Ensemble Studios Website|publisher=Ensemble Studios|accessdate=2007-06-04]

There are four major resources in "Age of Mythology": food, wood, gold, and ; unlike previous games by Ensemble Studios, this game does not include the stone resource. Resources can be used to train units, construct buildings, and research technologies, among other things. Civilian units—namely, the Greek villagers, Norse gatherers and dwarves, the Egyptian laborers, and fishing boats—are used to gather resources. Hunting animals, gathering berries, harvesting livestock, farming, and fishing are all methods by which food can be gathered. Wood is gathered only by chopping down trees, and gold is gathered from either gold mines or from trade. Each civilization can purchase upgrades that increase the rate of gathering these resources. Favor is acquired in different ways by different civilizations: Greek players gain it by having villagers pray at temples; Egyptian players earn it by building monuments; and Norse players receive it by fighting or by possessing heroes. [cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology Heaven Hersir info|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-06-05] Resources can be exchanged at a player's market.


The bulk of each civilization's army is made of human soldiers. Each player has a maximum "population", although the player does not start with the ability to use this entire "population". Building additional houses or Town Centers—the main building in a player's town—increases the population capacity. Each unit takes up a different number of population slots: civilians take one, whilst some myth units can take up to five. Most units can be upgraded, making them better at certain tasks. [cite web|url=|title= Age of Mythology Heaven Unit Guide|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-06-05]

Units can be classified into seven categories; infantry, archers, cavalry,—the three of which are broadly classified as human units—siege weaponry, naval units, heroes, and myth units.cite web|url=|title=GameSpot review on Age of Mythology|publisher=GameSpot|accessdate=2007-06-04|first=Greg|last=Kasavin|date=2002-11-02] The rock-paper-scissors model governs most units in battle. For example, infantry do additional damage to cavalry, cavalry do additional damage to archers, and archers do additional damage to infantry. The same rock-paper-scissors formation exists in the three different types of naval units—arrow ships, siege ships, and hammer ships. Siege units are generally exempt from the rock-paper-scissors model, but are instead able to destroy buildings easily, while being vulnerable to cavalry attacks. Heroes are extremely effective against myth units, which in turn do large amounts of damage against human units. [cite web|url=|title=Greek Hero Units|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-06-05] Heroes are also able to collect relics, which grant the player additional economic or military bonuses when deposited in a player’s temple. [cite web|url=|title= Relics page on Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-05-04|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven] While heroes are generally more powerful than human units, they are not generally as cost effective as using myth units or other human units against them.


Buildings in "Age of Mythology" can generally be split into three categories; economic buildings, military buildings, and defensive structures. The most important economic building is the Town Center, which is similar to the building of the same name in the "Age of Empires series" games. All civilian units are trained at the Town Center, as are some technologies. Most importantly, players advance Age via the building. The Town Center provides fifteen population slots, and building additional houses will earn the player ten additional slots per house.cite web|url=|title= Buildings on||accessdate=2007-06-04] Other economic buildings include the farm and market.

Buildings are able to research technologies and upgrades, as well as provide resources for the player. All units except civilians are trained at military buildings. These buildings differ in name and usage between civilization, but all are able to train similar units. Military buildings are also used to research military specific technologies, such as armor upgrades, and attack improvements.

Walls and towers are defensive structures, which are not able to train units, and are used only for the purposes of defense. They are able to research some upgrades, although these are generally only useful to the building performing the research. Another type of building available to players, is a Wonder: a grand building that represents an architectural achievement of the civilization. In certain game modes, once a player builds a wonder, a ten minute countdown begins. If the wonder is still standing after the countdown ends, the player who built the wonder wins.


Multiplayer is a highly popular aspect of "Age of Mythology". Most multiplayer games are played through Ensemble Studios Online (ESO), or via a direct LAN or IP connection.

"Age of Mythology" includes one free multiplayer account on ESO. Similar in function to Blizzard Entertainment's, ESO allows players to play matches, as well as chat with other players.cite web|url=|title=Ensemble Studios Online (ESO) FAQ|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-07-22]

In multiplayer games, there are seven different game types available, all of which are provided as standard with the game: [cite web|url=|title=How many game modes are there in AoM?|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven Forums|author=ES_Bigdog|accessdate=2007-07-22] "Supremacy"—the standard game mode—includes randomly generated map and all gameplay aspects; "Conquest" is similar to Supremacy, but victory is only possible by defeating all other players; in "Deathmatch" players begin the game with high resources, but the game is otherwise the same as Supremacy; in "Lightning", the gameplay is identical to Supremacy, but the game plays at twice the normal speed; in "Nomad" mode, players start with one civilian unit, and no Town Center, and must build up on a settlement; the goal of "King of the Hill" is to control a monument in the center of the map for a set period of time; and in "Sudden Death", a player loses if their Town Center is destroyed, and they fail to rebuild it within a set period of time.

Multiplayer tournaments and LAN parties are popular throughout the world, with many players visiting to computer

cenario editor

The "Age of Mythology" editor is far more advanced than that of its predecessor, the ' scenario editor.cite web|url=|archiveurl=|archivedate=2007-08-19|title= Age of Mythology on MacSoft Games|accessdate=2007-06-04|publisher=MacSoft] As well as standard unit placement facilities, the editor allows units to be overlapped, and it facilitates for large mountains, and steep terrain. [cite web|url=|title=Elevation in Scenario Editor|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-06-04] Triggers, a popular aspect of scenario design in ', are also present in "Age of Mythology"’s editor, as well as cinematics and other special effects. [cite web|url=|title=Scenario Editor Glossary|accessdate=2007-06-04|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven]


Unlike the campaign modes in "Age of Empires" and "", "Age of Mythology" only has one central campaign. The campaign is significantly longer than campaigns in previous games, however, with a total of 32 scenarios.

Age of Mythology’s campaign is entitled "Fall of the Trident", and tells the story of Arkantos, an Atlantean admiral who is sent on a quest with the goal of regaining favor from Poseidon, God of the Atlantean people.cite web|url=|title= Age of Mythology review|accessdate=2007-05-26|publisher=Eurogamer|first=Rob|last=Fahey|published=2002-12-10]

Arkantos’ quest takes him to the Trojan War, where he meets Ajax, Agamemnon, and Odysseus. After assisting them in winning the war, he continues in his travels and meets Chiron. Chiron advises him to follow the cyclops, Gargarensis, a son of Poseidon. [cite web|url=|title= Age of Mythology overview|accessdate=2007-05-26|] Arkantos, Ajax, and Chiron travel through the Underworld in their search for Gargarensis, and end up in Egypt.

In Egypt, Arkantos meets Amanra, a mercenary queen, who asks for his assistance in resurrecting the slain god Osiris. He obliges and assists her in defeating an ally of Gargarensis, Kemsyt. While in Egypt, Arkantos learns the true story about Gargarensis: He hopes to gain immortality by freeing the Titan Kronos from Tartarus. He continues North, still in search of Gargarensis.

In the Norse lands, Arkantos meets Reginleif, a valkyrie, and together they attempt to prevent Ragnarök from taking place. They encounter Gargarensis again in the underworld where dwarves Brokk and Eitri rebuild the hammer of Thor to seal the Tartarus Gate once more. After his failure, Gargarensis traps the heroes in a small valley with no escape in sight. In this valley, they must survive onslaughts from Gargarensis' forces while waiting for aid from Odysseus.cite web|url=|title= IGN Review|accessdate=2007-05-11|publisher=IGN|published=2002-11-04|first=Steve|last=Butts]

Whilst the heroes are fighting Gargarensis' armies, he establishes himself in Atlantis, locking up its former leaders. To conclude the campaign, Arkantos and his allies march on Atlantis, and Zeus bestows his blessing upon Arkantos, giving him the power to defeat Poseidon and Gargarensis. After killing Poseidon's living statue, the statue falls on Gargarensis killing him as well. Arkantos falls in exhaustion, and is then immortalized by Athena, becoming a god.

A new official campaign, entitled "The Golden Gift" and developed by Ensemble Studios, was also released to download from Microsoft's website. The campaign followed new adventures of Brokk and Eitri, the same two dwarves who appeared in the initial campaign. The two dwarves quest to make the golden boar before Loki interferes by tricking each other to fight while he steals it. After the dwarves unite they get the boar back. [cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology Downloads|publisher=Microsoft Game Studios|accessdate=2008-01-23]


Ensemble Studios began work on their first fully 3D engine in parallel to their development of "". Christened the BANG! Engine, this was announced in January 2001, for use in a new game, codenamed "RTSIII". "RTSIII" would eventually be revealed to be "Age of Mythology".cite web|title=Ensemble Studios Interview|url=|work=Amer Ajami|publisher=GameSpot|date=2001-01-31|accessdate=2007-07-24]

In developing "Age of Mythology", Ensemble Studios decided to move away from the center of the "Age of Empires series", history, to avoid becoming stale and repetitive. This allowed them to work with new ideas and concepts.cite web|title=Interview: Rock of Ages|url=|author=Stuart Bishop|publisher=C&VG|date=2002-08-19|accessdate=2007-07-24]

Following the announcement of the game for September 2002,cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology announced|work=GameZone Online|accessdate=2007-04-27] a trial version was released.cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology Trial|publisher=Age of Mythology Heaven|accessdate=2007-04-29] It contained five scenarios of the game's campaign, and two random maps. In the trial version, the player could only select Zeus, but there are nine gods available in the full version of the game.

"Age of Mythology" underwent a large amount of play-testing during its developmental phase, as Ensemble Studios attempted to create a more balanced and competitive game than its predecessors. Greg T. Street commented that one of the reasons "Age of Mythology" became so popular was because the development team spent many hours working on the game through active testing, rather than just taking advice from a "faceless drone in another building." [cite web|url=|last=Street|first=Greg T.|title=Age of Mythology: Volume III|accessdate=2007-04-29|date=2002-09-05|publisher=GameSpy]

There was much debate during "Age of Mythology"'s construction concerning the unbalanced nature of god powers and how to make them "fair" while still maintaining an element of fun in them. It was concluded that the best way to make it fair for everyone was to limit the use of god powers to one a game. [cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology: Volume II|publisher=GameSpy|accessdate=2007-04-29|last=Street|first= Greg T.|date=2002-08-21]


"", an expansion to "Age of Mythology", was released on 21 October, 2003.cite web|url= |title=Age of Mythology: The Titans Info|publisher=MobyGames|accessdate=2008-01-14] The expansion added a new civilization, the Atlanteans, as well as several new units, including the titans. Critics and fans received the expansion with enthusiasm, although its ratings were not as high as that of the original version.cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology:The Titans GameRankings page|publisher=Game Rankings|accessdate=2007-07-18]

' is a turn-based sequel of ', but with the unique mythology-based gameplay elements of "Age of Mythology". It was developed by Griptonite Games for the Nintendo DS. [cite web|url= |title=A sequel to Age of Kings is on the way.|publisher=IGN|author=Daemon Hatfield|date=2 June 2008|accessdate=2008-06-14]


The soundtrack to "Age of Mythology" was released on October 22, 2002, under the record label "Sumthing Else".cite web| url=|title=Age of Mythology Soundtrack CD|publisher=CD Universe|accessdate=2007-07-23] The score was written by Music Director Stephen Rippy, and artist Kevin McMullan. Rippy cites musicians such as Peter Gabriel, Tuatara, Bill Laswell, Talvin Singh, and Tchad Blake as inspirations for the soundtrack. The musical work done on "Age of Mythology" was unlike anything Rippy had done before; an example of this was "writing for a seventy-piece orchestra and then flying out to Washington to record it."cite web|title=Age of Music| url=| work=Steve Butts|publisher=IGN|accessdate=2007-07-23]

Music 4 Games' reviewer, Jay Semerad, heaped "Age of Mythology"'s soundtrack with praise. He summarized his review by declaring: "In all, the Age of Mythology soundtrack is an experience that should not be missed. It's easily one of my favorite soundtracks from this past year." Semerad was also astonished, and appreciative, of the use of instruments such as the ney flute, tabla and toy piano, all of which he said produced "some innovative analog and synthesized electronic effects". His only critique was that at times some of the background melodies were "bound to a simple harmonization," and lacking any "real bold or innovative purpose."cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology|publisher=Music 4 Games|work=Jay Semerad|accessdate=2007-10-04]


VG Reviews
PCGUS = 86%cite web | url = | title = PC Gamer review | accessdate = 2007-10-06 | author = William Harms | publisher = PC Gamer]
IGN = 9.3 out of 10
GSpot = 9.2 out of 10
GI = 9.5 out of 10cite web | url = | title = Game Informer review | publisher = Game Informer | accessdate=2007-12-06 | first = Kristian |last = Brogger | date = 2002-12-17]
GameRev = B+cite web | title = Age of Mythology | publisher = Game Revolution | url = | accessdate = 2007-10-05 ]
MC = 89%cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology (pc: 2002): Reviews|publisher=Metacritic|accessdate=2007-07-23]
GR = 89%cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology Reviews|publisher=Game Rankings|accessdate=2007-07-23]
"Age of Mythology" was well-received by the public, reaching an estimated one million units sold within five months of its release.

The game was nominated for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' Interactive Achievement Awards for Computer Game of the Year and strategy computer game of the year. [cite web |url= |title=6th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards|accessdate=2007-07-22 |work=The Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences]

"Age of Mythology's" graphics were praised by the majority of reviewers. IGN reviewer Steve Butts stated that "some fantastic effects and believable animations make this one a joy to watch. The differences between the armies and environments are awesome." As such, he gave the graphics a rating of 9 out of 10.cite web|url=|title=Age of Mythology review|publisher=IGN|work=Steve Butts|accessdate=2007-10-05] Meanwhile, GameSpot reviewer Greg Kasavin also rated the graphics 9 out of 10, stating in his review that "Age of Mythology is a great-looking game, filled with bright colors and carefully detailed animations."cite web |url= |title=Age of Mythology Review, Page 3|accessdate=2007-07-22|work=Greg Kasavin |publisher=GameSpot] Game Revolution also appreciated "Age of Mythology"'s graphics, stating in their review that the "new 3D landscape looks good," and including graphics as one of the positives in the review summary. PC Gamer reviewer William Harms admired the graphics, "The environments, units, and buildings are packed with detail," and excitedly commented on the effects: "What really impressed me, though, were the game’s animations. When a Minotaur smacks a dude with his club, the schmoe goes flying, skids on the ground, and then bounces back into the air."

The game's sound was also approved of by reviewers, although several commented that it was repetitive and predictable at times. IGN in particular described it as "great, if repetitive, music," whilst Game Revolution declared that the sound "really showcases Ensemble's continued attention to detail," before going on to praise the audio snippets in various languages.

IGN was particularly pleased with "Age of Mythology"'s campaign, and was not bothered by its length. Instead they stated that "the meaningful and engaging single player campaign provides a nearly flawless experience." However, GameSpot was slightly critical of it, claiming that "while some of the campaign missions do feature some unusual circumstances or objectives that change, the game's story isn't incredibly engaging." This was compromised by stating that "Age of Empires" fans wouldn't expect an amazing campaign; they would "make a beeline for the game's random map mode, anyway." PC Gamer elaborated more on the campaign however, saying: "many of the missions are extremely well-crafted," and that "sprinkled throughout these encounters are moments of genuine comedy — a truly delightful surprise." However, they still found reasons to criticize: "Regrettably, most of AoM’s missions suffer from one recurring, frustrating problem: a severe case of “build base-itis." The reviewer elaborated: "I know base-building is inherent to the genre, but even the most ardent fan will be put off by just how much there is. What’s most disappointing is that AoM’s setting really lends itself to imaginative mission design — and I don’t think the designers took full advantage of the backdrop, which is a shame."

Review comments were generally positive, with only minor issues concerning repetitiveness or length.Overall, the opinions of reviewers seem to have been summed up by Greg Kasavin, when in his review summary he stated: "Of course, what's most important is that Age of Mythology plays remarkably well. Featuring lots of interesting, inventive design decisions, plenty of fun-to-use units, and tons of variety, Age of Mythology is the last real-time strategy game you'll need for a long time."

Use in scientific studies

"Age of Mythology's" AI was used by four Austrian researchers—Christoph Hermann, Helmuth Melcher, Stefan Rank, and Robert Trappl—in a study into the value of emotions in real-time strategy games. According to the abstract, "We were interested whether incorporating a simple emotional model to an existing bot-script improves playing strength." [cite web|url=|title=Neuroticism – A Competitive Advantage (Also) for IVAs?|publisher=SpringerLink|accessdate=2007-10-11] The results of the study determined that of the four bots they tested, the neurotic bot was most capable of defeating "Age of Mythology"'s default AI, followed by the aggressive one. Neither bot was defeated by the standard AI, but the neurotic bot won, on average, twenty five percent more rapidly. [cite web | url = | title = AI research | accessdate = 2007-10-11 | date = 2007-10-05 | publisher = New Scientist Technology Blog] Plans were made to extend the research in the future by pitting the neurotic bot against a human player. [cite web|url=| title= Neurotic software has a winning personality|publisher=New Scientist Technology Blog|work=Tom Simonite|accessdate=2007-10-11]


External links

*Official Microsoft "Age of Mythology" website: [ AoM] , [ AoMTT] , [ AoMGE]
* [ Official Ensemble Studios "Age of Mythology" website]
*Xplosive Age of Mythology site: [ AoM] , [ AoMTT]
* [ MacSoft "Age of Mythology" website]

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