I'm not sure exactly why I keep playing AOE3--maybe it's the nice graphics, the enthralling siege effects, choosing new home city cards, or that I just needed an RTS to replace Rise of Nations--because I generally dislike the game's style. It feels like they're trying to market the game to a young audience with the history-lite campaign and missing advanced tactics. One of these style niggles that bothered me is how the heros are knocked out. The sounds that play are in their native tongues but come across as comedic (especially the Portuguese guy, who sounds like Watto from Star Wars Episode One saying something about a possum ship). Also, the text bubbles that show above their bodies are just plain stupid and obtrusive. After being fed up with them long enough, I set out to find a fix. This short guide assumes you aren't a total noob.
Damnit Jim! I'm an Explorer, not an Actor!
The text thats shows up in the knockout bubbles is easy enough to remedy. You just need any program that can edit XML files (I like XMLSpy, because it shows them in intuitive grids) and open \Age of Empires III\data\stringtable.xml. Search for "knockout" and you should find cStringExplorerDogKnockoutTooltipText and cStringExplorerKnockoutTooltipText as part of
<String _locID="34264" symbol="cStringExplorerDogKnockoutTooltipText">Horatio, I am dead; thou livest; report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied.</String>. (*Shakes Head*) Just replace the text between the string tags with whatever you want. I think "Zzzzzz" would work well or just a blank if you want more realism. As usual, don't forget to make a backup.
I can you thank that you'd ransomed me?
Next on the agenda is the stupid voiceovers that explorers say when knocked out. Luckily, AOE3's filesystem works like games such as Half-Life 2 and TES4: Oblivion, whereas you can invalidate the original archived files (like sound.bar) with your own files by having the same path and filename. The only problem is knowing what to replace. As such, I made a file list of all the sounds in the game, download here. You may also want to snag a useful tool for reading and previewing bar files here. I replaced all the revive and ransom sounds with...*drum roll*...the Dragoon from Starcraft: "I have returned". Ah, memories. We will enjoy them.