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U.K.-based developer Slitherine Software returns to historically based empire-building with Spartan, a 3D turn-based strategy game. As in the studio's earlier games, Legion and Chariots of War, players take command of a nation, including both its political and military operations, and attempt to spread their people's influence across a map of the ancient world.
The game world in Spartan is based on real maps of ancient Greece and the Near East. Gamers can choose to play as the Spartans themselves, or as one of 100 other historically based factions. They can ply their nation's will in a variety of ways, including trade agreements, espionage, and tribute. When diplomacy alone does not produce the desired effects, and it is time to take up arms, a wide selection of available fighting units suggests numerous possible military approaches, including castle sieges and naval battles, as well as large-scale infantry warfare.
Spartan has been compared to games in Creative Assembly's Total War series, as it also combines a gradual expansion across a portioned overview map with a more intimate interface in battle scenes. The battles of Spartan are turn-based, however, and are designed to promote precise, carefully planned tactics that might be impractical in the real-time immediacy of Shogun or Medieval.
For players still waiting to upgrade their computers, Spartan offers a special 2D battle mode that is less technically demanding of older machines. Multiplayer contests for two competitors are supported by the GameSpy Arcade services. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide