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Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III was released in October 2005, developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft. It has a completely linear single-player campaign, and the multiplayer system. Beginning in Florida and the Caribbean during the early 1530's, newfound knowledge and riches from the Aztec empire form the basis of the starting scenarios. The game jumps forward to the Imperial Age of the mid 1700's, where every European power vies for control of North America and its colonies. Finally, the Industrial Age of the early American 1870's conclude the plot and single-player campaign. It differs from Age of Empires 2 by the incorporation of a 3D game engine, respawning "heroes", "shipment cards", and a new system of unit upgrades.

 

Easy run: 1:31:52 by Bart 'TheVoid' de Waal, done in 24 segments

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Thanks to the SDA crew (Naturally) and to Cortez for his previous run (I helped him with his run, but he also had some strategies/tricks from his own).
If you've watched his run, you'll see that my run is quite a bit different. I've used better unit management/hotkey usage, and I also found new strategies and tricks.
And I was quite surprised myself with the improvement amount actually, I didn't expect it to be this huge.
Unfortunately a couple of the beginning levels have a bit of overpeaked sound... I noticed it when I finished level 4 and at the time I didn't feel like redoing those levels. I asked others about it and they said it wasn't too bad so I just continued.

There's a nice trick in most levels where I skip the victory dialogs/speeches. In most levels if you complete the last Primary Objective, a victory dialog is played and after that the level ends. In order to skip this dialog, you need to trigger another dialog. This way I could save some seconds skipping the victory dialog so that the level ended immediately, and it was great to figure out ways of triggering other dialogs.

Enjoy the run.


Level 1 - Breakout (5:15)

I found out that the majority of this level is put on a timer. The only important things are destroying the Bombards as quick as possible and lighting the fire on the hill with the Settlers.
So in the beginning I destroy my army because they're quite useless. You could say that I could kill those enemies near my base with those units, but if you kill them they'll respawn (That's also the reason why I later on destroy the Outposts). They're also slow units, so walking past the enemy mass doesn't really work. So everything is focused on the fast moving (And good against Bombards) Rodelero's units.
With Morgan Black I open the terrain a bit for easier overview, and I also put him in the bushes in case any enemy units would respawn so that they would walk past him ;)
Putting the Settlers on top of the hill in time to gather the Wood there and make a fire. The annoying thing with Settlers is that they, unlike other units, don't use formations. So if you select them and then direct them to walk to another spot, they'll always walk in the same position instead of all getting together as a group. So in the run I tried to get them all nicely together on the hill, which is quite tricky to do actually ;)
Well, not much else to say about this level I think, Alain didn't even show up... Why the hell did I need to light the fire? ;)


Level 2 - Into the Caves (2:11)

The first objective is actually killing those enemies at your base, but that's not necessary to do. Just destroying all the Weapon Caches is enough to complete the level. When there are 2 or more Weapon Caches next to each other, it's enough to destroy one of them since the explosion will automatically destroy the other ones next to it.
I'm creating 10 Hoop Throwers to get a bit of extra XP, it's a Secondary Objective :) Not much else to explain about this level, pretty straightforward.


Level 3 - PIRATES! (1:38)

New strategy applied here compared to the run from Cortez (Where he took Morgan Black to collect all 3 Navigation Charts). I just drop off Morgan Black at the enemy base and let him collect the Navigation Chart there (Which failed very often, the dude was constantly dying there...), meanwhile I load my units and Settlers (Acquired from deploying the Town Center) onto the ship and drop them off at the 2 other Navigation Charts. Settlers can collect them too, just as fast as Mr. Cool Irish Talking Dude. Of course they're not very capable of killing the Treasure Guardian so that's why I send my other units with them.
This way, I don't need to travel Morgan Black all over the sea, and Navigation Chart 2 and 3 are collected at about the same time.


Level 4 - The Ottoman Fort (3:32)

Building 2 Trading Posts isn't necessary in this level, just destroy the Command Post and Town Center. I also create a lot of Maya Holcan Spearman since they have a high Siege Attack amount. The ship takes care of the shipyard and a little tiny fishboat for some extra XP. The rest is just rush and crush.
One thing to note at the gate is that I put Morgan Black in front so that the Outpost targets him in order to keep my other units (Especially the Maya Holcan Spearman) alive. By the way, did you also notice that 1 Maya Holcan Spearman suddenly started to attack the Outpost instead of the gate? Grrr...


Level 5 - Temples of the Aztec (3:25)

I think there's only one thing to point out about this run which is that I luck manipulated the enemy Settlers to NOT build a Stable (Which is normally built next to the Town Center), so that saves time destroying 1 extra building (And also often later on a Settler would very sneaky start to build a House on top of the map, so I also luck manipulated that by simply not paying attention to it and just pray the level would finish :D).
Once again I create some Native guys, most Natives tend to have a huge Siege Attack which is pretty darn handy ;) The rest of the level is self-explanatory I think, all enemy buildings need to be destroyed.


Level 6 - A Pirate's Help (2:23)

I found out here that if you destroy the Canoe it simply spawns way up on the map, saves some walking... And again I use a Settler to collect the treasure on the island (And a Cavalry unit to distract the enemies so that they stay away from killing my Settler), this way Morgan Black can just walk to Lizzie in the meantime instead of taking some boat trips. It's also funny that it's not necessary to take ALL cows to your farm, just 1 is already enough.


Level 7 - Spanish Treasure Fleet (2:07)

This is a bit of a "pingpong" run where I switch from spot to spot to try to keep everything on the move ;) I love the end part of this run where the last 5 Outposts all go down at pretty much the same time, the flood of messages on the left side of the screen is just pure awesome. And Morgan Black, greedy bastard, STILL wants to capture 1 more Treasure Ship at the end... The dude just can't stop anymore!
In this level I also build a Church and get the extra XP upgrade, you'll see me doing this in a couple of levels.


Level 8 - The Fountain of Youth? (3:18)

This level also doesn't need too much explaination. I just get a shitload (11) of Mortars on the little island all shooting at the Fountain of Youth (This is also the big difference compared to Cortez's run and caused quite an improvement amount). Those guys cause a lot of damage against buildings much more than ships can do (Except the Monitor maybe, but I can't get that one), and they're cheaper, too. Even when the ships that are available to me in this level are upgraded, they can cause about 1/4th of Mortar damage (A Mortar does 500 damage), so the choice is obvious :) The annoying thing is that Mortars are very retarded. There were always one or more Mortars that did not start to attack the Fountain of Youth when I told them to, and so it also happened in this run. But because it always happened I was a bit used to it, and in this run I very quickly noticed that one of them didn't start to attack. In order to make them attack again you only need to move them a little...
That's about it for this level. I also use the Fixed Gun and the 2 ships that I can control to attack the Fountain of Youth, and all these units combined turn the Fountain of Youth to scrapmetal in no-time.


Level 9 - Defend the Colony (15:48)

This is one boring level with a long fixed timespan, except for the short beginning part where I improved the level with 2 seconds compared to Cortez's run :) Because the long fixed waiting time for this level is triggered when the 4 Cherokee Rifleman (And only this unit, not the Cherokee Archer) are killed. The annoying thing here is that those 2 units look like each other quite a bit (Especially when you're in a hurry...), so it's a bit tricky to target the Cherokee Rifleman only and fast.
Well, the rest of the level is just waiting and screwing around basically. It's funny that if you build walls around the enemy spawn point, they won't attack anymore nor spawn extra units. They don't even attack the walls... They're just standing there, doing nothing.
Also, reinforcements? I don't need no stinkin' reinforcements!


Level 10 - Strange Alliances (4:00)

I've found a very strange and whoopass strategy here which saved more than 4 minutes compared to Cortez's run! I'm pretty sure you're completely baffled as to how the hell I win this level since that's not very obvious from watching the run :)
The Primary Objective of this level is to kill all the British, but that's actually not true. The thing that triggers the victory level condition is when there are no British in the original base area. A funny thing is that if you attack the Covered Wagon 3 times shortly after each other, the Covered Wagon will be pissed off at your units and it'll follow them around the entire map :D So I attack the Covered Wagon, lure it out of the enemy part towards my own base and start attacking it there again. Other enemy units often get pissed off at you when you attack the Covered Wagon so then they come towards you, meaning that they'll leave the base area and thus you win the level. The reason I kill the 4 Settlers is because they won't move out of the area, so unfortunately I needed to kill them first. All the other enemies moved out of the base area VERY fast in this attempt, usually I killed the Covered Wagon and needed to wait for some moment till I won the level.
Note that it's pretty darn random for this strategy to succeed, fortunately I found a somewhat more consistent way of getting it done, but all other attempts were like 30 seconds slower. Unfortunately this attempt doesn't look too good because the Covered Wagon got stuck on its own units quite a bit, but like I said I won the level very quickly.
By the way, building the Barracks was completely useless, but it didn't matter much. I did it out of habit... ;)


Level 11 - The Rescue (4:43)

The attempt doesn't look too pretty because I was a couple of times too slow with directing a group to the next building and other small things, but it was still the fastest and the main reason for that is because of the enemy units. They didn't interfere much so I didn't lose any units early on (Or needed to stop attacking a building and needed to attack the enemy units). The 2 Coin I needed just before the Grenadier was finished building, that's just harsh!
I also prevented the enemy from building a Market, which saves some time destroying an extra building.
An annoying thing in this level was that I needed to luck manipulate the resource drop when the Town Center was finished building. When a Town Center is finished, you always get some random resources and I needed to get 200 Food and 200 Wood. Wood wasn't a very common drop here, so getting both Food and Wood didn't exactly occur often... I needed the Food for the Grenadiers and the Wood to build an extra House.
In this level you need to pay attention to so many things that it often gets quite hectic. I had attempts that were much smoother where I nicely directed all groups from building to building in time, but unfortunately they were all slower.
The victory dialog skip in this level is quite nice. I destroy the Trading Post on the top of the map which triggers 2 dialogs after each other. When the last building of the enemies is destroyed, there's a short pausing moment and then the victory dialog plays. So when the building was destroyed, I destroy the Trading post so that the first dialog starts playing. Then the victory dialog will skip the first dialog, and because that dialog is skipped the next one is triggered which in turn will skip the victory dialog. Instant skipage! I did forget to direct group 3 (Cavalry and Grenadiers) to attack the last building though, because the building was already almost destroyed so I was on "stand-by" of destroying the Trading Post and thus completely forgot about that group... Would've saved a little bit of time.


Level 12 - The Seven Years' War (2:42)

It's faster to attack the enemy base from the right side because there's much less resistance there. I also quickly build an Outpost to get the 2 Falconets faster towards the Command Post. Something that also greatly helped in destroying both the Wall and the Command Post was the fact that a lot of my Cavalry units were still alive, they have the biggest Siege Attack of all my other units (Besides Falconets).


Level 13 - The Great Lakes (4:24)

There isn't really much to comment on this level. Taking out the enemy ship that spawns on the top of the map needs to be done as fast as possible because it triggers the 2 Monitors to spawn at the bottom. With all my other units I only need to damage the enemy Town Center just a little bit so that the 2 Monitors can finish the job. And that's about it.


Level 14 - Respect (6:31)

This level, compared to Cortez's run, has the biggest improvement amount (8:53). This level can be completed in 2 ways, either gather 10.000 XP or totally/completely/entirely/literally annihilate the enemy off the map which is quite logical since then there's no threat for the Natives anymore :) It was quite annoying though if 1 enemy unit would slip past me... The victory dialog skip in this level is funny, one of the "odd methods" ;)
Heh, when I take the Settler to reveal the Native girl and the 2 Horses and then sent him towards the Canoe to gather Coin on the little island, I completely forgot about those things when I was attacking the enemy base :D While you're attempting it often gets pretty hectic. The Coin could've maybe provided me with 1 extra Falconet (Perhaps 2), and the Native girl and 2 Horses could've given me a Home Shipment a bit sooner because of the XP I get for bringing them back to the Native village. The destruction of the enemy base and its units in this attempt was very quickly done even though I directed group 3 (It's a curse!) of the 4 Falconets on the right a bit late towards the Outpost on the hill at the top. The main thing that made destroying the enemy base hectic was because I needed to stay constantly on the lookout if any unit would slip past me. A Settler, Archer, or a Cavalry unit quite often had the habit of leaving the base unnoticed.


Level 15 - Warwick's Stronghold (1:33)

This level was very simple. The only important thing is to get your Falconet and Mortar immediately to the enemy base and then start attacking the Town Center, that's all that needs to be taken care of to complete this level as quickly as possible. I also took my other units with them to provide some protection.
There was something unfortunate in this level. The victory dialog consists of 2 dialogs. I couldn't find a way to skip both dialogs, well, there was a way but that resulted in a mission failure which was destroying all my buildings. If you destroy your own Town Center, a dialog is triggered, if you destroy all your other buildings, another dialog is triggered but the mission will be failed. And unfortunately this didn't work, apparently the "mission failed" has a higher priority than a "mission completed" :/ Because then you would get the "You are victorious" message while the screen fades because you failed the mission, and then a little moment later you get the "Restart scenario, quit, etc." window. So I needed to choose which of the 2 victory dialogs I wanted to skip, and the second dialog appeared to be about 300 milliseconds longer, so I'm skipping that one :)


Level 16 - Bring Down the Mountain (6:06)

A simple and relaxed level. I've improved Cortez's run with quite an amount (3:04) because of a better bridge destroying strategy. Basically I'm working my way from bottom to top. While my 3 starting Miners are working on the bottom bridge parts early on, the additional Miners later on (Coming from the top of the map) can start on the top bridge parts, and so the middle and top bridges are destroyed at about the same time. I've tested all kinds of different "Miner configurations" and the one used in the run proved to be the best method.
I'm also showing that it's possible to delete a bridge part (Don't do it though since you wouldn't be able to complete the level anymore :D) and also to delete a destroyed bridge which is pretty funny since the barricade is gone but the level can still be completed.
The Elk watching the first battle is pure awesome.


Level 17 - Race for the Rails (1:53)

Amelia Black can nicely construct 2 Trading Posts in the meantime while the other units take care of the middle Trading Post. The reason I'm directing all those units a bit strangely in the beginning is because if you send them immediately to the Trading Post spot, they make a bit of a detour around a big rock. So this way they walk more straight towards it.
Pretty strange in this level, if you completely exterminate the enemy, you still won't complete the level even though there's no competition anymore :)


Level 18 - Hold the Fort (1:38)

I discovered a new unit retardation here concerning the Heavy Cannons. If you direct a Heavy Cannon to attack something, it'll go into its attacking stance BEFORE it can even reach its target...
Heh, I accidentally added the 2 Rocket units to group 2 (The Falconets on top of the map) while they needed to be added to group 1, but I corrected it and no harm was done :D Also, I took the 2 Rocket units instead of 2 Mortars because Mortars are very slow. As you can see the 2 Rocket units delivered a few hits on the Town Center while Mortars would've delivered none in time. And the Rocket is also a bit stronger (And have the same speed) as Falconets.
Amelia Black's special attack against those enemy Pikeman was a perfect shot. I actually thought there was only 1 enemy unit attacking my Artillery, but then the shot nicely killed all 3 of them. And after that my Artillery perfectly lined up there to shoot at the Town Center, usually they (Especially the Falconets) will start moving around a bit before they'll start shooting.


Level 19 - The Boneguard's Lair (5:55)

Heh, you can see me twitch when the first wagon comes under my control. I didn't expect it to come under my control this fast (I did move my units next to it since I knew the wagon would become available faster that way) so I was a bit surprised ;) After I destroyed the first prison, I could've used Amelia Black's special attack at some enemies on the way to the second prison. I completely forgot about it... But the end fight went very good and I couldn't seem to improve the level anymore. Also, I walk with my heroes in front the whole time to preserve all my other units so that they can all assist in the final battle.
At the end battle I do not attack the Treasure Gaurdians (Wolves) just yet because if I would, they would be constantly attacking me while the Boneguard army is also attacking me. So I concentrate on the Boneguard army first, then the Wolves. I also acquire some extra XP at the end just in time ;)
There was one pretty annoying thing in this level. The 5 Natives I get from a wagon tend to stop and shoot at the 3 Boneguard units near the place of the first prison. And when they shoot at them, 3 Cavalry units and 2 tigers get spawned which would kill all my Natives (And the next shipment if the first Native group would attack them), those enemy units will follow them throughout the entire map so just keep on moving didn't help anything.


Level 20 - The Lost Spanish Gold (2:16)

A simple and short level though the Mortars (Which I, throughout the whole game, always liked to call "Mortaretards") could act quite retarded by either not shooting or moving around a lot before they were going to shoot at the Town Center, and in this run they lined up perfectly. A bit of Market resource exchange so that I can build 5 Mortars, and 1 click for Wood so that I can build a Trading Post and an Outpost. The Trading Post is used for a nice victory dialog skip, pretty tricky to finish the building at the exact moment :) Not much more to comment on this level.


Level 21 - Bolivar's Revolt (3:11)

Originally (And Cortez also used it) I was constructing some Falconets in the lower enemy base, but this was just taking too long to do. Then I found out you can already destroy the Command Post with your existing units, the newly acquired Mortar (This was necessary otherwise I couldn't get the Command Post destroyed), and an additional ship. I also use those fishboats as decoy so my other 2 ships can survive and keep on attacking the Command Post.
I'm killing those Black Bears (The Treasure Guardians at the bottom) for a bit of extra XP to get the Falconet shipment faster though it didn't really affect much :) But hey, it keeps the ship busy.
"Fun fact", I used Amelia Black's special attack but apparently (And I didn't notice it in the run) she didn't use it most likely because the enemy unit got killed...


Level 22 - Journey through the Andes (3:43)

This level was very simple to do. And the improvement amount compared to Cortez's run is quite massive (1:10) considering it only requires some walking :) The big amount is mainly due to a very simple fact, the fact that I walk with 1 unit instead of the whole group. If you walk with a whole group, the speed of the units is reduced to the slowest unit in the group, and the slowest unit in this level has a speed of 4. Both heroes have the fastest speed of 5, and since the "Find Explorer" hotkey targets Kanyenke first, I'm using him.
Then I noticed a very useful item in this level which saves me from taking an extra pause to fill health (Which is pretty strange, because the description of the item says that it "improves the collector's hitpoints by 60.00%", while my other hero gets it, too...). So with the rest of my units I acquire that item since they don't have anything better to do anyway ;) Unfortunately I couldn't find a way of getting to the finish without pausing, but when I needed to pause once, I nicely moved on at the right time. As you can see in the run, I direct Kanyenke manually through some parts. If you would send Kanyenke to the finish and just let him walk, he won't walk in straight lines in some parts.
Also, it's pretty odd that this is the only level which has a loading screen with a Continue button. Normally you only get these screens before a movie, not before a level...


Level 23 - Last City of the Inca (2:28)

I love those Natives! :D Those guys are so destructive against buildings. When the Incan Huaminca is upgraded, he has a Siege Attack of 60! So in the end I'm attacking the enemy Fort with 13 of those guys which causes 780 damage per attack wave. I also put my other units in front to preserve them.
I found something interesting in this level regarding the victory dialog skip I'm using. If you put the Heavy Cannon under a group hotkey, the dialog won't be triggered. The only reason I can think of as to why it happens is because then the Heavy Cannon belongs to you, not the Inca's anymore.


Level 24 - Last Stand of the Boneguard (1:12)

I've found a genius strategy in this level if I may say so myself :D Why not use their own weapons against them? Haha. I was checking in the level for anything to speed up the level and I suddenly thought "Fixed Guns always get under your control if you're close to them, I guess that also works in this level". And it worked. Of course they're located next to the enemy so keeping them under control was a bit tricky. The bottom Fixed Gun wasn't a problem, but the top Fixed Gun was always taken over by the enemy because when I would move there the enemies followed me, killed me, and took over the gun. Until I found the strategy I'm using in the run which includes something that's very strange, and if that didn't happen the strategy couldn't be used and the time for this level would become much longer (45 seconds or so) since I couldn't be in control of the 2 Fixed Guns and my other units would also be killed.
This strange thing I'm talking about is the disappearance of Beaumont. Whenever Beaumont got into that spot in the corner of the Ossuary, he just vanished... Which is majorly useful since that guy is damn strong (He has a Ranged Attack of 600 and a Hand Attack of 700...). Performing the strategy as smoothly as I did wasn't easy, Beaumont very often wasn't cooperating at all. He either attacked me from range twice (And then the top Fixed Gun would kill me), or he wouldn't disappear because he didn't move into the corner, or he would start attacking my other units and would completely wipe the group (I could fight back though and some units would survive). In other words, he was often still alive butchering my units.
Another thing to note is that I need to order the Fixed Guns quite fast to attack the Ossuary, because otherwise they'll start shooting at enemy units which then would go to the Fixed Gun and thus take it over.
Also, sometimes the level didn't finish when the Ossuary was destroyed and so I needed to take a hero to the Havana Town Center. I don't know exactly why it happened but I have a suspicion that it somehow has something to do with my ship "Zeehond"... Yes, it doesn't sound logical but I have no idea what else it could be, and this ship often seemed to be involved somehow :P
Anyway, finishing this last level in such a fast time with this strategy is just pure awesome.


That's about it for comments. I'm thinking of maybe running this game on Hard sometime in the future.

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