Skip to content


Cotropitorii is a third-person shooter game developed in 2005 and based on the Zamolxe engine. The game was developed with a focus on story which was pretty inflammatory, especially for the times. To paraphrase it a bit: Romania and the United States are at war, because Romania invaded led by Ceausescu’s communist regime — somewhere during the late 1980s. Yes, that’s right. As implausible as it may sound, that was the backstory that was used. However, the single-player campaign was never made and the game only ran in multi-player, in a 32-player shoot ’em up mode. There are a number of weapons to choose from but no vehicles were ever implemented.

Cotropitorii Poster and game box art.

The box art

You can buy the current (and final) version of the game on Valve Corporation‘s platform Steam.

The game comes with a single demo level and two playable characters. The game requires DirectX 9.0c, 256 MB of RAM and 64 MB of video RAM. The game does not support widescreen resolutions. It will run, but will show 4:3 only (maximum resolution is 1600×1200 pixels, it can be changed in the options menu). The only game mode available is multi-player. LAN connection only, no Internet servers were ever available or implemented. It may work with Evolve, Hamachi, GameRanger or other virtual LAN services.

Disclaimer: It was tested and it does work on Windows 10.

Here is an independent review of the game, archived through the Waybackmachine. The game won an overall score of 6 out of 10.

Geeesh, it’s hard to write about a low-budget game like Cotropitorii. First of all I’m taking a gamble here writing about an interesting single-player and MMOFPS, but that lacks some graphics, not much, and physics, totally. Maybe for its genre, that’s acceptable, but we’ll soon see.

The story
Short: Romania wants to invade USA. Haha. I’m not ironic, no. It’s just that the idea is kind of funny, taking in comparison the two countries, their economic power and military development. But nonetheless, an interesting scenario. It’s something different from what massive first-person shooters have accommodated us with. History starts somewhere in 1988, during Ceausescu’s reign in Romania, an age of terror and fear. To give some hope to its people, the dictator started building an army. An year later, a war broke between Romania and USA, fueled by the hate that Romanians had for those big-fat Americans that failed in World War II to protect Romania from Stalin, as was the agreement. Today, 2004, the Romanians have landed in USA, with over 1 million troops, and 200.000 tanks and the USA Airforce is down at 10%, leaving the country only with infantry and tank support. Ceausescu’s plan to conquer USA seems imminent. Ok. STOP. This is where the player comes in. You can either choose to play as a Romanian Mountain Hunter in a single-player, 10 level campaign provided by the game, or go multiplayer. The fate of the game stands in the hands of the player. I enjoyed multiplayer more, a whole lot more.

It will also play good
Yes. 10 levels of heart-racing action seems interesting, but I for once found multiplayer Deathmatch to be more interesting. Why? Cause it doesn’t care who you kill, it can have up to 32 players at a time in single or cooperative play and it’s perfectly well suited for LAN play, having no support for Internet play as I’ve seen. Another interesting shift is that we’ve been used in first-person-shooters to the first-person view. Cotropitorii brings the third-person view back and allows the player to use whatever view he’s more comfortable, by the press of a key. We only have 10 weapons, including a Med-kit [nice!] – but only usable once in a round, the usual AK-47, pistols, HE and smoke grenades. Limited inventory in comparison with other games, but, taking in account the development low-budget conditions, it’s acceptable. The game’s powered by an in-house engine entitled Zamolxe, used in Cotropitorii and “Romanii in Spatiu”, a sci-fi space exploration/annihilation game developed by the same guys. Although a limited engine, textures, shadowing and fog have been the best I’ve seen in a while in any self-respecting FPS. Let’s end graphics here. It’s not eye-candy, it’s better than Half-Life, and better than Counter-Strike 1.6 in terms of details, although performance improvements are needed to work well on low-end systems. Nice, quality textures, nice DirectX 8 shadowing, supported on older video cards, nice overall design. No wonder they call themselves “2 Bad Design”, a small studio that managed to develop a rather good shooter.

Pioneers in sound
“Pioneers of 2000” and “Three colors I know …” are some of the songs you’re going to hear throughout the game, patriotic music that still delights my ear, even if Romania is not communist any more, and I was born after the communist era. Another feature I liked, feature that complemented the lack of others was in-game music, even in multiplayer mode. Counter-Strike, Half-Life and many other first-person-shooters lack a good multiplayer soundtrack that really puts you in the game. The introduction of a small soundtrack to the multiplayer mode is a proof of concept that even low-budget games can be playable, nice and overall interesting.

Last ideas
It’s a free game, a free MMOFPS, freely downloadable, that works “out-of-the-box”. Even if the game’s interface is in Romanian and partially English, all English-knowing gamers can make it through the interface and enter an already created LAN game, or maybe, create their own, without to much knowledge. Finally, I’m going to judge the game in comparison with today’s expectations in terms of graphics, sounds and gameplay, even if it’s an October 2005 release. So, it may just barely get a 6, or more, but remember, it’s a free game, well done in terms of graphics and sound with an extremely low-budget. So yes, it deserves a good mark, and a try.

There was an official soundtrack released at the same time as the game. You can listen to it now.

There were two promotional videos released for Cotropitorii. One was a teaser trailer that did not feature any actual game clips, but rather served to set-up the setting of the game by using archive footage of Nicolae Ceausescu. The second video was a showcase, showing the current state of the game. This one was shot entirely in-game.
This teaser trailer uses traditional communist propaganda music. The song name is Trei culori, Romania’s national anthem during the communist regime. The video does not show any in-game images or footage. The video uses archive footage of a parade attended and organized for Nicolae Ceausescu.

This video is a showcase of the game, recorded entirely in-game, during a multiplayer match. The video uses a song by The Von Bondies. It is used without permission.

This is the readme.txt file that was included with the original release of the game.


This game is a 3rd person action shooter game
with a fast paced story that changes history and
incredible multiplayer co-op and deathmatch

Cotropitorii is powered by 2 Bad Design's Zamolxe
engine which is in the beta phase. The game will
actually be based on the beta version of the engine,
since this is going to be a FREE game.

The game will run on a Pentium III 1 GHz machine
with Windows 2000/Me/XP on it. It will require
256MB RAM and a 64 MB DirectX 9 compatible video
card. Yes, it will require DirectX 9.0c. We
recommend a Pentium IV with 2,53 Ghz machine and
1 GB RAM and a 128 MB video card for the best

Cotropitorii will be released on a level-to-level
basis. How does that work? Well, at first we will
launch a game-base that features the engine and
one or two fully-playable levels. Afterwards, we
will release only follow-up levels. Naturally,
the game-base is going to be quite large, but
add-on levels will not take too much space or
download time.

The game soundtrack will feature themed Romanian
songs from the Ceausescu era, adding to the
overall feeling. Also, video footage with
Ceausescu will be included to enhance the
atmosphere and setting of the game.

Although the game will have a strong singleplayer
campaign, the most fun is in the multiplayer
experience. 32 players can batte in deathmatch
mode under a LAN or Internet connection.
However, there will be no server or GameSpy
support, so Internet connections will be made
through your IP address.