Age of Empires Series Wiki

The VMDL (labelled as Elephant Archer in the HD Edition) is a cheat unit in Age of Empires II. The name stands for "Villager Male Dave Lewis", which is named after David Lewis, an Ensemble Studios employee, who also provided the voice for the unit.[1][2]

They are very fast and good for exploring but cannot attack (despite the attack value shown in the infobox), gather, or build anything. However, they can lay foundation for buildings when being assigned with the 'build' command. They also can be garrisoned inside buildings, granting an attack bonus.

Unlike all the other cheat units, VMDL are not available in the Scenario Editor.

In the original unofficial Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires, if the VMDL is being attacked by any wild animal, or such a wild animal enters his Line of Sight, he will turn into a normal female Villager and retaliate or attack the animal. This does not happen in the official Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. In the Definitive Edition, this happens yet again - when attacked, the VMDL permanently turns into a female Villager.

No matter what civilization the player is using, the VMDL always speaks modern English, except when being assigned to build a building (which he would respond in the usual native language of the civilization). He tends to respond in odd sentences like "Bongo drums on the head." or "Now that's a good idea."

In-game dialogue language[]


  • The VMDL appears as a naked man in the original game. Sandy Petersen stated that the portrayal is based on a real occurrence involving David Lewis, without disclosing further details.[2] When killed, the unit explodes using the same animation as the Saboteur, Petard, and Cobra Car.
  • In the Definitive Edition, its appearance was changed to that of a wooden mannequin. When the VMDL explodes, the Petard can be seen for a very short moment.
  • A reference to the "monkey head" reappears as an easter egg in Age of Mythology, as the name of a Relic.



  1. Ask Sandy III (October 1999) on Age of Kings Heaven
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ask Sandy XI (January 2000) on Age of Kings Heaven
Cheat units in the Age of Empires series
ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of EmpiresBaby Prez BabyPrez (removed) · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Big Bertha · Horse Archer Black Rider · Returnofrome crocodile icon Crocodile (Alpha)  · Dragon Icon updated nuRoR Dragon · Returnofrome elephant icon Elephant (Alpha) · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Flying Dutchman · Return of rome gazelle Gazelle (Alpha) · Photonman aoe2DE Laser Trooper  · Returnofrome lion icon Lion (Alpha) · Cavalry111 Medusa · Nuke Trooper Icon updated nuRoR Nuke Trooper · AoE2 DE priest icon Saint Francis · Composite Bowman Stealth Archer · Winsett other Z Icon updated nuRoR Winsett's other Z · Winsett Z Icon updated nuRoR Winsett's Z · Zug 209 Icon updated nuRoR Zug 209
AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires IIAoE2 DE alfred icon Alfred the Alpaca · CobracarDE Cobra Car · Monkey aoe2DE Furious the Monkey Boy · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · Photonman aoe2DE Photonman · Saboteur aoe2DE Saboteur · Sharkatzoricon Sharkatzor · AoE2 DE stormy dog Stormy Dog · VMDL DE icon VMDL
Aom original icon Age of MythologyBella icon Bella · AoMR Football icon Football · Hippo icon Flying Purple Hippo · Aomaxemanicon Forkboy · BrownBear icon Lazer Bear · ChickenIcon Methane Chicken · AoMR UFO icon UFO · WalkingWoodsIcon Walking Berry Bush
3Icon48px Age of Empires IIIMonster truck blue aoe3de BigAndy · Hot dog cart aoe3de Flaming Hot Dog Cart · Fluffy aoe3de Fluffy · Flying purple tapir aoe3de Flying Purple Tapir · Gatling camel aoe3de portrait Gatling Camel · Crushington aoe3de George Crushington · Guardian Lion icon AoE3DE Guardian Lion · Honey Badger portrait Honey Badger · Lazer bear aoe3de Lazerbear · Learicorn aoe3de Learicorn · Italians leonardo tank portrait Leonardo's Tank · Great bombard de Mediocre Bombard · Ice cream truck aoe3de Monster Ice Cream Truck · Penguin portrait Penguin · Monster truck red aoe3de The Tommynator
GameIcon-AoE4 Age of Empires IVAoE4 PhotonMan Photon Man