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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2007
Although "Medieval II" has been out for over a year now, this first "Medieval: Total War" remains a classic. This Gold Edition contains both the original game and the "Viking Invasion" expansion pack, allowing for a variety of campaigns set between the years AD 793 and 1453.

The game is split into two sections. The first of these is the campaign mode. In this turn-based mode the player uses the map to control the kingdom at large, setting taxes, building units and facilities, managing his/her generals, moving armies and fleets, conducting diplomacy with rival factions and employing spies and assassins. The second mode is the real-time battle mode, in which the players commands his/her armies directly, positioning troops, selecting formations and tactics and engaging the enemy. The level of detail in this mode is excellent; the 3D landscapes are rendered with trees, hills, water and bridges; even the weather changes.

There are 15 playable factions on the standard (European) map and 8 on the Viking (British) map. Each of these have their own characteristic units (longbowmen for the English, Teutonic Knights for the Germans, Varangian Guard for the Byzantines, for example) and each demands a slightly different style of gameplay. The standard map can also be played in one of 3 time periods, chosen at the start of each game, with more or less advanced units and facilities available according to each. There are also five levels of difficulty, making the game adjustable for all levels of expertise. Aside from the main single player game, there are a number of historical campaigns to undertake, including the Hundred Years' War (featuring the Battles of Crécy and Agincourt) and the Third Crusade. There are also four standalone battles (including Hastings in 1066), a custom battle option, a quick battle option (ideal for filling coffee breaks) and a multiplayer mode.

Indeed there are few faults to be found with this game. My biggest disappointment (and it is a small one) is that there is no manual booklet included with this Gold Edition, only a PDF copy on the disc. Because it isn't possible to view the game and the manual at the same time, it does make learning the game somewhat difficult - and it does take some time to master its full complexity. On the other hand, its very complexity means that once learned it is very immersive - almost as if one were really running a medieval kingdom.

Addictive and challenging, "Medieval: Total War" is an excellent game, and even years after its original release, still highly playable. For people with older, lower-specification machines who may be unable to run "Medieval II", the original will prove ideal. Moreover, at the low price Amazon are currently offering it, it is an excellent buy.
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on 20 December 2013
This is actually a 5 star game, but considering the number of people stating the same fault with crashing on loading the campaign, I'll post here what the problem may be in many cases.

I had the problem with crashes until I realised that the screen resolution on the PC must be the same as that under the video options of the game. The highest setting in the game under options->video is 1280x1024 resolution. Most modern PC's and laptops are greater than this.

If you right click on the PC screen an option will be screen resoltion. Simply change this to 1280x1024, and when starting the game also change the resoltion to 1280x1024. The campaign game should now play fine.

It took me two years to realise this!

Edit:
The ongoing problem with crashes concerns the graphics card and drivers.
The above solution is correct for the Geforce 210 Nvidia graphics card.

My PC crashed since that revue, and I changed to an ATI Radeon X600 card for a few days. I could not get that card to work at all, not with any fix suggested on the net. ATI cards need an older driver to work apparantly.

I am now using an AMD Radeon 7480D card with the latest drivers. Sometimes the PC will want to auto adjust the resolution, and then while it does this the monitor will eventually go to sleep. Turning off and on the monitor at this point took me to the correct screen? Also the game is less likely to auto adjust if the campaign settings under Options -> Video -> campaign resolution is 1024x768.

Appears there is no single correct solution to the problem, but if you can play the campaign it is very addictive.
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on 21 February 2014
I'd not played this game in easily seven years before I picked it up again. Still thoroughly enjoyable, with a very impressive roster of units, a nice selection of campaign maps and an AI that puts that in most subsequent Total War titles to shame. Graphically it hasn't aged well, but given it was over a decade ago when it was released that's hardly surprising. I did originally try this on a 2004 laptop which was well within the specs for this, but suffered an extreme amount of lag; moving it to a newer computer, I've had surprisingly few issues with it, given the mountain of problems with other games from the same era, but there have been a few freezes and occasionally the audio doesn't seem to be in synch.
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on 2 May 2016
Hello I am writing this review based of the steam version and I want everyone who intends to buy this game to be able to play it, best bet is steam for modern day computers as most disk versions will not work

This is the major reason for crashes based of the steam version works perfectly now on alienware R2 computer
UPDATE CHANGE THE DEFAULT RESOLUTION SETTINGS FROM 800-600 to higher resolution as this will probably be the major cause of crashes it was for me most computers are to powerful for the lower resolution causing the game to crash.

Thank you creative assembly for bringing this game to steam as was unplayable before on modern computers applies to disk version
I remember playing this game years ago when it first came out this game made creative assembly it's a classic hit still highly playable today beats a lot of strategy games on steam, when I saw it on steam I added it to my cart instantly bought it do not regret it playing on a 32inch screen easily visible ratios like it was built to be played on bigger screens.

Pros
+ classic total war the reason why they were bought by Sega
+ good interface both on Battlefield and campaign map not like Rome two or Attila
+ Music and sound effects are nice
+ Four Campaign periods to choose from all offering unique challenges
+ all factions unlocked to play with there starting positions change depending on the period you choose each comes with a good backstory set up that adds to the nostalgic nature of the game.
+ surprising amount of depth from crusades, agents, family heirs, traits, rebellions, vast construction tech tree, unique faction units all descriptions, fleet construction, trade routes, Historical events, disasters, you can even marry your daughter and son together through your warned of the consequences, long lost enemies reappearing because an heir escaped. The list goes on custom battles, historical campaigns, religion.
All the ideas of creative assembly are in this game even if it can be seen as a little simplistic now the game makes up for it's nostalgic depth of character that's perhaps missing from games such as empire and napoleon.

Con's
- Graphics are old now but suit the game
- Simplistic interface but suits the game
- no blood and gore dlc wait that's a pro sorry
- Maybe new total war fans won't like this game due to it's older style

Overall definitely worth getting.
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on 20 August 2011
A brilliant blend of grand strategy and real time tactical battles. Initially I missed the exotic forces of Japan from Shogun, but before long MTW captured me and never let go.

There is rich historical detail, certainly enough to make this educational. It will give youngsters much greater enthusiasm for history (as will the others in the series).

I love all the Total War games (even the latest ones, patched up). This remains my favourite though. It's hard to say why. Perhaps it's because I prefer the area movement of this edition. The capturing of provinces struck me as being more realistic for the period and makes the game more like a computerised boardgame. Perhaps it's the history incorporated into each of the rival powers. Perhaps it's the challenge of playing as the Holy Roman Empire and always knowing that any defeat could fracture your precious empire.

In any case, everyone who enjoys historical wargames should have this. I will buy another copy and play it with my nephews. They loved Rome and I know they will love this, plus they get all that history brought to life...

Oh, if you have an old PC, no worries, this will run on old hardware better than more recent kit.
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on 11 March 2013
first: the game itself, which I have owned and thoroughly enjoyed for many, many years, is fantastic.

but: this gold edition is more or less useless. It is impossible to start and play the campaign game with this gold edition, as soon as you try to start a campaign - any campaign - the game immediately crashes. this is on both XP, which it is made for, and Vista and Windows 7, which I didnt expect it to work on.

it is possible to play custom and historic battles with this gold edition, but that is a meagre comfort when the grand campaign itself for some reason is not playable.
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on 29 July 2009
Ok so a few reviews here have complained about the graphics(this is an old game) and controls which are fine btw, and crashes which is something they could fix with maybe a patch or visiting the total war forums for help, these things can 90% of the time be fixed in most games.

What you should know is that out of all the Total War games the first Medieval game(along with the Viking expansion) is widely thought of as the high point in the series. If you add in some of the excellent player made free mods you can download for it you easily end up with the best game in the series(and i've played them all).

Really it's about the AI and the graphics. For some reason after this game the AI in the total war games went downhill, maybe because the games were getting too complex in the battle engines? But anyway if you want a good challange rather than just a walkover this game is the best of the bunch(bar Shogun possibly). Graphics are fake 3D, the character models are still sprite based rather than the full 3D models that followed in the later games, but really in the thick of battle you wont really notice too much, and importantly this is a game where not most of the development effort went on making nice graphics, this game is more than that.

So dont be put of by the couple of negative comments, get this game(it's very cheap!) and visit the Total War website for patches and mods and enjoy this epic strategy game, the best of the Total War games.
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on 16 October 2013
Have always loved this game and played it to death when I first it bought years ago. However having just re-purchased it looks as though this version has a distinct dislike of newer machines. It refuses to work on my new Lenovo office PC, my year old Samsung laptop AND my three year old Dell home PC. So word to the wise go for Total War 2 and sadly ignore Total War1 (unless you have an old PC!!!)
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on 10 November 2013
I had previously bought the original game, but had lost somewhere, so a year or two later, I had bought this version and tried to use it with my newer laptop that had Vista. As with a few other users, I cannot get the campaigns to load up. It gets to the progress bar, and once that finishes, it decides to shut down. I'm not sure if it is because the game does not like Vista, but I'd not bother with this.

Shame as the game is actually very good.
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on 7 January 2012
The game itself is brilliant, but its campaign layout is so different from what I'm used to, I find it extremely difficult. You battle for regional control instead of individual battles. In terms of graphics in the battles I would struggle to find better, even in Empire and Napoleon. For those who have played the total war games, you will recieve negative results but it would be a brilliant game for beginners to the total war saga, as many people can find them complicated :)
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