Montezuma is the Aztec campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors that focuses on the three city-states that ruled the Valley of Mexico, the Aztec Empire (also know as Triple Alliance or, in classical Nahuatl, Ēxcān Tlahtōlōyān) from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521. It is named after Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin or Montezuma II (c. 1466 – June 29, 1520), the 9th Tlatoani of Tenochtitlan and the 6th Huey Tlatoani or Emperor of the Aztec Empire at the time of the Spanish arrival.
|“||After centuries of conquest, the Aztecs now rule the mightiest empire in Central America. But when strangers appear on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Montezuma, emperor of the Aztecs, is unsure whether they are conquerors…or gods. Can a vast empire of warriors using obsidian spears and cotton armor hold off mounted invaders armed with metal armor and gunpowder?||”|
|—In-game campaign description|
The Montezuma campaign consists of 6 scenarios. The player plays as the Aztecs and the player color is green.
Despite its name, the campaign's narrator and arguable real protagonist is Cuauhtemoc, Montezuma's eventual successor as the (last) emperor of the Aztecs.
- This is the only campaign that takes place in the North American continent (only featured besides in the scenarios Vinlandsaga and Dos Pilas).
- Neither Montezuma nor Cuauhtemoc appear physically in the campaign, though there is a Cuauhtemoc unit in the Scenario Editor (since The Forgotten).
- The campaign is notable for deviating from recorded history perhaps even more than any other, to the point of attributing key episodes of the Spanish conquest to the Aztecs.
- The Triple Alliance presents a Tlaxcala-Aztec war that did not happen (although the Tlaxcalans were traditional enemies of the Aztecs) but is loosely similar to the Spanish-Tlaxcala War (only referenced in the cutscenes).
- Quetzalcoatl offers the player a chance to save Tabasco from the Spanish, which is depicted as an ally of the Aztecs. In reality, Tabasco was independent and was attacked by the Spanish before they and the Aztecs knew about each other.
- The Boiling Lake substitues the Battle of Otumba, where the Spanish first used cavalry charges to defeat the Aztecs decisively, for the Aztecs training their own cavalry to defeat the Spanish.
- Broken Spears has the Aztecs win the final siege of Tenochtitlan.
- Montezuma is claimed to have died in the Noche Triste and Cuauhtemoc to have succeeded him. In reality Montezuma died before the night (but in the leadup to it) and the Aztecs chose his brother Cuitlahuac as successor. Cuauhtemoc succeeded Cuitlahuac after he died of smallpox.
- The spelling "Cortéz" used in the game is actually a combination of the original Spanish surname Cortés (meaning "Polite" or "Kind") and the Latin American Cortez, which evolved from the former as an imitation of Spanish patronymics (ex. Ramírez, Sánchez, etc).
- The campaign icon is a Chacmool, a statue of a reclining man used in human sacrifices. It is also present in the Aztec Wonder (Templo Mayor) and as decoration in the Editor (in the Definitive Edition).
- The colors used cause the player's Jaguar Warrior shields to have a green background, Eagle Warrior shields to have a green symbol over yellow background, and Tlaxcalan Jaguar Warrior shields to have red backgrounds. This is obviously deliberate, as all such combinations are found in the Codex Mendoza.
- Furthermore, the green Jaguar Warrior shield becomes the Aztec civilization's icon in the Definitive Edition.
- Two of the four omens mentioned in the cutscenes of the first to fourth scenarios took place during the Spanish presence in Mexico. However, there were actually eight omens, and all of the omens took place before the Spanish landed in Mexico.