Reviewed: December 22, 2005
Reviewed by: Jeff Gedgaud

Strategy First

Slitherine Software

Released: December 21, 2005
Genre: RTS
Players: 1-2
ESRB: Mature


Minimum System Requirements

  • Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
  • Pentium III or Athlon 1 GHZ
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 64 MB Video Card Direct X Compatible
  • Direct X Compatible Sound Card
  • 8X CD ROM Drive or higher
  • 500 MB Hard Drive Space
  • Direct X 9.0c or higher
  • Keyboard and Mouse

    Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)

  • Veni, Vidi, Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. Those famous words were said by Julius Caesar in 47 BC to the Roman Senate describing his recent victory. Follow in the footsteps or hoof prints of great military strategists in Legion Arena from Slitherine Software, creators of other historical RTS titles such as Legion and Chariots of War. You play as either a Roman or Celtic general and command armies on the field and in camp. Hire, equip and train your units correctly and you could win the day. Choosing the wrong type of squad or poorly equipping them could lead to defeat.

    Legion Arena features:

    • Gamers recruit and train their troops.
    • Buy equipment and choose their skills. Over 100 skills to choose from!
    • Personalize the appearance of each squad by selecting their textures.
    • Command vast armies in epic 3-D battles.
    • Earn experience and denari for every victory.
    • Choice of two campaign paths—play as Romans or Gauls. Get drawn into the story of the rise of Rome.
    • Over 100 scenarios.
    • Over 20 unique unit types including Legionaires, Praetorians, Elephants, and Naked Fanatics.
    • Special effects including water, particles, lighting & night battles, weather and grass.
    • Detailed combat model design by twice world wargaming champion, Iain McNeil.
    • Deploy troops and issue orders before battle.
    • Real time control in battle using Slitherine’s innovative order time system.
    • Every unit has strengths and weaknesses. Gamers learn how to use their strengths and exploit their enemies’ weaknesses.
    • Real terrain effects—cavalry are weaker in woods, light infantry are weaker in the open.
    • Easy to learn, hard to master.
    • Two-Player head-to-head mode over LAN & Internet.

    Legion Arena is all about the battles; you control units or squads of infantry, cavalry and others trying to defeat different armies thrown at you. You must equip and train the units after each battle in the army camp screen. You can also hire new squads of soldiers here to use for your army. But you need to choose not only the correct squad for the upcoming battle but the right training and equipment for all your army.

    You control both your general and other units on the battlefield using basic and advanced commands such as hold and then attack or flanking maneuvers. You must decide what units to use and when to have them attack using your commands before the battle. During combat you can change orders and move units around adjusting to the need of the moment. You have a limited amount of command control at your disposal depending on how well you have trained the units and yourself during your camp.

    Before the fighting you equip and train units at an army camp. You can also hire new units and train them after they have become seasoned in combat. When units rise in experience, referred to as levels, you get to train them in different combat techniques according to their level. The higher the level the better the squad can become. Swordsmanship, feinting and leadership are some basic skills to teach your troops with things like the wedge attack as special tactics for the legionaries.

    The types of units you choose, how you equip and train them determine how well they will be able to fight against specific types of enemy units or on what type of battle field. Some units fight better on open ground such as cavalry while foot soldiers such as legionaries and archers do better in woods and boggy ground. Many times I found myself going back a few battles and starting over from an earlier time so I could hire and train different troops than I had picked due to battles that required specific types of troops.

    Legion Arena's battlefield and troops are well detailed and look good. There are settings to control the level of detail, shadow and even the damage numbers that can pop up for each unit taking hits during combat. I found that during combat the frame rates weren't any problem and the game looks really good during the fiercest of battles.

    Legion Arena plays in an overview or god type viewpoint with you able to control the camera and move it around the battlefield using your mouse and keyboard. Quick camera movement all across the field is accomplished with a small battlefield screen in the corner of your desktop. Your different units are on a toolbar across the bottom of the screen for you to easily choose a certain unit in combat if you can't pick them out during the confusion of battle.

    Before combat you are given a background of the upcoming battle using historic battles that occurred and splash screens of the units you will be fighting. The different units are easy to pick out with their colors that you can choose from during your army encampment. Both the army camp and battle screens are well planned and look good as well as being easy to understand and use. The game has been well designed and looks good for your enjoyment of fierce combat on an epic Roman scale.

    Clash of swords and trumpets blaring are common in Legion Arena. Even the startup screen has the different sounds of trumpets and such when you choose the different game installation settings and startup sections. The trumpet announcing your rally and the forlorn retreat sound great on surround sound.

    Your men fighting and the horses neighing as they clash are great additions to the music so appropriate to this Roman and Celtic clash of warring troops. The music playing during your combat adds to the enjoyment of this great game.

    Legion Arena is one of those games that I just have to finish, but it will probably take awhile. I have played more than twenty hours of the game just on the Romans side and have to keep going back to change my troop types and what training and equipment I give them due to upcoming battles. Not because of poor choices but more in part to different campaign types and the wide variety of troops you will be encountering, trying to make a better well-rounded army.

    This game has over 100 battles to play as the two types of army generals. You play as the Roman or Celtic either expanding and conquering for the Roman Empire or defending your homelands of the Celts. You only have the battles to prepare for and fight so you do not spend much time other than going back trying to get it right when the tide of war doesn't go your way.

    Legion Arena is all about the combat, no deciding what crops to raise or whether to feed your troops or the starving peasants. You equip and train your troops after deciding which types to hire and then it's off to war. Combat can take awhile but victory can be a trial and error type of affair.

    The games graphics are pretty good for this type of game with good sound especially in surround sound but the best part of the game is the value. You can be playing this game for a while before you conquer the European Continent for the Roman Empire. Or it may be a long siege defending your Celtic lands against the invading Roman troops.