For the glory of Rome!
This is the original game in the Rome series of Total War games which kicked off with Shogun and which has provided real time strategy fans with heaps of entertainment over the years. This one remains a fine example of large scale combat even after a number of years, and anyone with any interest in the period or the genre would be well advised to check it out. The game throws you into a richly detailed world where Rome has united Italy and are now turning their eyes to grander things. As leader of one of the grand Roman families, you are in charge of powerful armies and must take the fire of Rome to your enemies, conquering all for its glory. There are two main sections here, a turn-based management aspect where you look after your cities, hire spies, send out your armies and so on, and the combat which is played out in real time and which sees you commanding vast forces composed of various units and which requires heaps of strategic thinking in order to emerge victorious. As far as historical strategy games go, this one has rarely been bettered. It's got everything you need in such a game, starting with some fantastic cutscenes that really set the scene for what is about to unfold. It only gets better when you get into the game, and all the various elements here are implemented perfectly, with the management side proving fascinating, and the combat being compelling and genuinely thrilling. The visuals and interface are both top notch and there's so much to do that you'll be playing for some time, so if you're even remotely curious about the genre, pick this up now.