«Medieval: Total War is a computer strategy game where the player builds a dynastic empire in medieval Europe, North Africa and the Middle East within a time span from 1095 to 1453. Gameplay is both strategic and tactical, with strategy played out in turn-based fashion on a province-by-province level, somewhat like the 1980 board game Empires of the Middle Ages, while military units of varying types and capabilities fight against each other in real time on a 3D tactical map.
The game contains hundreds of connected buildings and units, in a tech tree, which can be constructed in every province on the map. There is no specific technology research, but several advances, such as gunpowder, do become available over time. Castles are the base building in the game, with players having to upgrade to the next castle level to be able to build more advanced buildings. Many buildings are either economic, such as Trading Posts, which generate money or military, which allow the training of more advanced unit types. There are many common unit types, although several, such as Spanish Jinetes, are unique units restricted to a single faction or units that can only be trained within a single province.
Fights take place on a 3D battlefield, with full tactical control given to the player, although battles can also be automatically resolved from the campaign map, which speeds up games with extremely large confrontations. The campaign takes place on the strategy map, where the player controls construction, unit recruitment and controls the movement of armies, fleets and agents.
Faction leaders, e.g. kings, emperors, sultans, and their family lead free elite units of their own. These ‘royal units’, such as Royal Knights, are more powerful than other unit types, but make them more expensive when training normally.
The Viking Invasion expansion pack brings the Viking campaign beginning in 793, which takes place on an expanded map of the British Isles and western Scandinavia. The Vikings goal is to conquer the islands, receiving cash bonuses for destroying buildings and powerful ships to achieve this. Factions on the British Isles, such as Wessex, Mercia and the Scots, have to defend against the Vikings and ultimately control the Islands.
The main campaign receives several changes, such as the pre-battle system; allowing the player to organize units in the initial deployment and reinforcements. Several previously unplayable factions, the Aragonese, Hungarians & Sicilians, have been made playable and new units were made available, some from the Viking Invasion campaign, others brand new units. Several bugs were fixed in the expansion, such as the «swipe» bug, where cavalry received an unlimited charging.»