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The first game of the Age of Empires series, simply called Age of Empires, was released in 1997. It had 12 civilizations (Assyria, Babylonia, Choson, Egypt, Greece, Hittites, Minoa, Persia, Phoenicia, Shang, Sumer and Yamato) and was set between the Stone and Iron Ages. The campaigns were set in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Babylon, and Yamato. (Ancient Japan)

An expansion pack Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome adds the Roman empire and 4 related civilizations. (Rome, Carthage, Palmyra and Macedonia) The campaigns were set in Ancient Rome, where the player, depending on the campaign, will side with Rome itself or with their enemies.

Age of Empires I and Rise of Rome give examples of:

  • Arrows on Fire: Alchemy
  • Carry a Big Stick: If you are dumb enough to send villagers out to fight in the Stone or Tool Age, you will find them wielding a giant bone. A Big, Fucking, Bone. At least that's what it looks like.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: All the units had only one attack.
  • Classic Cheat Code: E=mc2 Trooper
  • Did Not Do the Research: Averted. The civilizations are designed to fight the same way their historical counterparts did. The Egyptians, for example, are good at farming and have powerful chariots, but no access to elephants or decent infantry. And the campaigns follow historical events much more closely. There's a decent amount of history which can be learned from the games.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: It's not as refined as the sequels.
  • Edutainment Game: The first purpose of the game is entertainment, but there's plenty of historical information available: the campaigns in the first game dealt with the history of four civilizations - Egypt (the tutorial), Greece, Babylon, and Yamato. While the missions themselves certainly sacrificed historical accuracy for gameplay, the mission intros gave decent background information. Rise of Rome's campaigns covered the history of Rome from both Rome itself and their enemies.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: The priests can convert your enemies' units. And their priests can convert yours too!
  • Final Death: Some unique units trigger your defeat when destroyed.
  • Firewood Resources
  • Foregone Conclusion: One mission in the expansion has you playing as Hannibal, bringing the elephants over the Alps. You know how it's going to end, even if you win, and the victory text basically says, "Well, you'll be remembered as a genius for this tactic, at least."
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted, carelessly deployed catapults would do as much to your own units as the enemy, sometimes more. This makes attacking someone with a fleet of triremes armed with catapults a very bad idea if the ships are all very close together.
  • Glass Cannon: Siege weapons.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Priests in the expansion get the Martyrdom technology, which allows a conversion to be automatically sucessful provided you sacrifice the priest. It falls pretty squarely into Awesome Yet Impractical, though.
  • Horse Archer
  • Isometric Projection
  • Lead the Target: The "Ballistics" upgrade.
  • Made of Explodium: Birds. It's...weird.
  • Mighty Glacier: War elephants and elite infantry.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: This series is very bad at this, featuring American bald eagles and alligators despite being set entirely in the Old World (though a relative of the latter could have been seen by the Shang) and while lions, gazelles and elephants fit in the Ancient Middle East they are a very weird vision when you are playing a campaign set in Europe or Japan.
  • Shoot The Priest First: And with good reason.
  • Scratch Damage: The buildings have enough armour that this is all the average unit can do.
  • Siege Engines: Catapults and ballistae.
  • Speaking Simlish:

  Roggan? Wolololooo...

  1. For those of you who can't get the joke, that's the time the player must held with all the Relics/Artifacts in their power or the Wonder built in the first game in order to win without destroying the enemy.