Posted on 07/13/03 @ 12:00 AM (updated 08/04/03
The explorer looked around. "Have I died?" He muttered to himself, "Is this Hell?" He kicked his boot into the coal black dust that covered the ground and stared at the intimidating scene around him. All around him, there was nothing but molten rock, hissing and belching. Unnamed creatures leapt from the fires, snapping at his heels, and distant howls sent a shiver down his spine. Twisted skeletons of trees reached skywards, clawed hands against the night-black sky. Looking nervously around, the explorer set off on a journey that, unknown to him, would take him through terror and out the other side...
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This is a horror scenario, set in a land devoid of hope. Hideous nightmares enslave and torture humanity, raiding villages, killing women and children and eating their flesh. For centuries, the people of this land have prayed for salvation, and now it comes in the form of a lost explorer, tired and weary, who will deliver them from the nightmare that is their lives.
This zip file includes the cpx. file, 4 sound files and the Lava/Volcanoes modpack by HIGH EMPEROR.
The modpack greatly inhances the campaign gameplay and map design. Although not essential, lack of the modpack totally deflates the horror theme of this scenario.
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THE WAKING NIGHTMARE
When I first downloaded this campaign, having heard only good things about it, I booted up the mod and ran it right away. The mod was incredible, but once I figured out A.) the author didn't make it, and B.) Without the mod there was really nothing at all, my level of intrest drobbed quickly.
The playability is above average in the way that it mixes many different elements, but in the second scenario, things meant to increse the playabilty ruined it. For one, the constant noise drove me to muting my sound. Also, the village chores were ridiculous. Go to the stable and get hay. By the time I found the stable (it wasn't revealed, no view change, etc) and figured out that villagers were just Joans renamed, my horses had died. Next, my arches arrows are running out. So I look for the archery range (eventually resorting to MARCO POLO) and then the arrows run out and I lose my archers to an owenship change. I figue that once I get arrows, they'll come back, but they don't. It gives me a message when I get the arrows, but I don't get my men back. The enemy then kills my city becuase I have no decent fighters left.
Not too easy, not too hard, but it was still a little rough around the edges. The first scenario was good, with cool stuff like garrisoning inside a tower when I stand no chance and killing my enemies that way. It also had a nice mix of fighting and running away, except for the last part of the first scenario, were I need to run and I'm not told where. The second scenario would have been fine, but issues in the playabilty made it impossible to win without knowing exatly what happened when (see above).
A scenario in hell is something I've never seen before, and it used good use of a mod. The creative elements in the second scenario were creative but pointless. The things in the first scenario were good, like people falling off cliffs and someone burning alive, but the farm was totally unhidden, so the burning looked kinda chezzy.
MAP DEGISN: 3
The map had two terrains. Lava and lava rock. With the dead trees it looked okay, and the city was fairly well degisned, but the mod limited the terrains TO use, and therefore drops the score.
STORY / INSTRUCTIONS:
So I end up in Hell? How? Who am I anyway? I have no name. I never leave Hell, only free the people at the end. Why am I the chosen one. The writing in the scnarios is very good, which is why the score is decent at all, but there was really no story to follow. This was the plot.---> I end up in hell for no reason. I fight my way through hell with no idea where I am going. I save hell by hiding myself and commanding some soldiers.
~Good use of a mod
~Good first scanario balance
~Mod limited terrains to use
~Second scenario was annoying
~Second scenario sound gave me a headache
[Edited on 03/02/07 @ 12:38 PM]
‘The Waking Nightmare’ is a single player campaign, a RPS and FF compilation. The file contains two scenarios; both based on a weary explorer caught in the depths of a Hell-like world. As the explorer, you are to rescue a people oppressed by an army of demons, known to the locals only as ‘Nightmares’, and led by fate, liberate them.
I very much enjoyed this campaign, an eerie type thriller that I myself was thoroughly drawn into. I loved the story, walking through a Hell-like world, confused and alone, not knowing what to expect on the road ahead. I liked saving people from demon attacks, to see them join me on my unlucky expedition. In addition the body sucked dry from all blood, impaled villagers, an insane figure attacking me by the tree line and roaming foul beasts added to a great atmosphere. In a city I had to help hold off a massive demon army for some minutes, and all the while trying to preserve a beleaguered people’s strength. As enjoyable as it was, however, the scenario lost points for bugs and a lack of detail that would have furthered my enjoyment of the scenario, because as it was, I was a little disappointed with some things. During the second scenario the enemy could have attacked more using looping triggers, because as it was they just stood around attacking walls, with only so many coming into the city when I was ordered to retreat to the keep. This not only made the scenario perhaps too easy, but less ‘tense’ and ‘chilling’ than what it should have been. Other than that there were a few bugs that I encountered as well. The lady being pushed from over the cliff sometimes did not work, instead ‘sliding’ out of sight somewhere, and the sounds were annoying and hurt my ears as they incessantly played in the background. Needless to say I removed them from the sounds folder to avoid further playing. The part in the second scenario where I had to get hay or arrows, at times the chat messages never showed up, probably overlapped by other chat messages, and I lost my horses and archers without having a chance to avoid it. An overall good scenario with a great theme and atmosphere, but lacking that essential detail that would certainly set it apart from others.
For me both scenarios were not very challenging. I played on all three difficulties, no one of them with advantages or disadvantages for my unit. Instead battles consisted of charging, using hill formations, a tower or by running to the objective to win. I used micromanagement tactics to beat my opponent, but the enemy never dealt a very big blow to my men or hero for that matter. In the second scenario one had to really play it smart to avoid his small force from being crushed. I did this, keeping my men at a distance and the enemy hardly attacked, lacking tasking triggers to task them in and around the city; defeating enemies or actually fighting them for that matter hardly existent, needing only to defend for twelve minutes. I could avoid a fight for that whole time, which is bad for the scenario. In addition some tactics were needed to overall help overcome your enemies, but nothing difficult.
CREATIVITY: (4.0) +
Here the scenario shines with an overall “hellish” and “demonic” theme ringing about. I saw impaled villagers, burning corpses, a lady jump off a cliff and an eerie map design that was both realistic for the theme and gloomy. I particularly enjoyed the many leafless trees, the foul earth and in the city the way the houses had been laid with many mudpaths and damaged roadways. Throughout I battled gigantic foul beasts, demons and possessed dogs. I encountered a city under siege, in need of my help, and in between all the invading demons surging through my gateway, a city that rebelled and attacked me from behind. I liked the jobs needed doing during the intensity, to supply hungry horses with hay and arrowless archers with more arrows. The nightmares bursting from the well was a nice touch too. In addition a creative story, an awesome mod pack and a well use of sounds.
MAP DESIGN: (4.0) +
With the mod pack installed the scenario (though some computers will experience a little lag) suddenly becomes a Hell-like world with ashen earth, boiling volcanoes and hissing lava. The result is truly atmospheric, very dark and eerie. I loved how the darkness complimented the dead trees, how rocks were great piles of black boulders and how the hills looked like mountaintops, contrasting magnificently with the ashen terrain. Even without the mod pack installed the map design was still very good, a well-crafted and eerie map fitting well for the theme of the scenario. I enjoyed the leafless, bone-like trees together with the complimentary raw, unhealthy earth. The use of elevation was great, and the designs of small villages under attack by demon raiders were nice. The city in the second scenario was awesome, with nicely placed houses, a keep and second ring, with mud paths, rock, rubble and ruined buildings, adding to an already intense and dark atmosphere. The map design overall, however, was probably something that is a little under detailed, remaining a bit rough around the edges. Still, the idea behind was great, the design overall a very fitting one for the theme of the campaign.
STORY/ INSTRUCTIONS: (4.0) -
The scenario has a very good story, and a creative and well-written one at that, but hints are next to non-existent –the player probably needing a few hints along the way for the second scenario, which he does not have. For the first scenario, however, the lack of any kind of hints was actually good, the player forced, like a weary and confused man, to explore his surrounds without guidance and to later go about on whatever quest he finds himself embarking upon. In addition there were plenty of chat messages to bring the story forward, to develop it right in front of our eyes, which was enjoyable. Still there were next to no in-game objectives and no bitmap, and though a bitmap does not lower the rating, it would certainly do more to boost it. Good, but not enough.
‘The Waking Nightmare’ is an overall inspirational scenario for those who enjoy highly atmospheric and eerie themes. The story, the map design, the idea behind, is simply creative, attention-grabbing in all regards. And though the scenario may lack in the sort of detail that some of us will come to expect, I certainly recommend this scenario for those who enjoy this kind of work.
In a word – Chilling.
In closing – A recommended download.
[Edited on 03/14/08 @ 07:14 PM]