Carlos Ferdinand 2-- The Mediterranean Drizzle
Posted on 07/09/10 @ 09:57 AM (updated 02/12/11
Carlos Ferdinand had captured the town of Castellon from the Moors in the scenario - "A Kingdom's Dawn", establishing the Kingdom of Castenada. Ferdinand wants to liberate Spain from the Moorish rule. In this scenario, he attempts to take control of the Baleares Islands in the Mediterranean. Your ships, although are technically inferior to Moorish ships, are lighter and more agile.
Carlos escaped capture from the troops of Aragon (to the north) pretty luckily as he left Tarragona. He can no longer get support from Tarragona, as Aragon holds sway there. However, the Castenadans still have Cuenca and Tortosa as Allies.
You begin this scenario as Aragon's troops are about to launch an attack on Castellon, inorder to capture Carlos.
I have used a few sound files too. Special thanks to Dave Earl as I used 1 sound file from his campaign "Macbeth".
UPDATED: OCTOBER 3 (upto 157 downloads) ---
Fixed small glitches in dialogues and added small enhancements to the map. If you havent played my SEP 23 update, please play this one.
UPDATED: OCTOBER 10 (upto 171 downloads) ---
Small refinement to make balance perfect, after testing the scenario a few times.
UPDATED: FEBRUARY 12 (upto 241 downloads) --- Fixed some minor things again.
NOTE: There are 2 difficulty levels - Standard which is somewhat easier, and Moderate and hard works exactly same - are tough, for players who are really upto the tough challenge!
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The scenario has had a couple of updates now and each time it gets improved for the better. Previous versions had the player wandering around as well as being quite difficult. Gameplay consist of rpg, micromanaging skills, and stealth/spy portions. This scenario requires patience and calmness to complete as intended. Players will definitely be tested and those without the requirements shall likely never finish this scenario. Multiple saves and reloads will be required because of the way the game is set up. That is, your units in general are weaker and limited compared to your enemies. Though, if you replay it a couple of times like me, you’ll learn how to overcome that obstacle. You’ll also learn to use your hero more effectively (hit and run), which is a downside as it makes some parts of the game too easy.
The scenario starts off with an invasion where you must fend off the attackers. This was done very well as it is challenging but not hard enough to anger the players though reloads may be needed.
From there, the game turns into an rpg style of gameplay. You are required to search for navy supplies and you meet people who sells them as well as people that requires your help. I should add that throughout this, instructions are a little vague. Generally, the Hints section covers a lot of your task. The instructions are given to you as dialogues so if you want to reread them, you better hope that the chat history box isn't glitched. I spent quite a bit of time basically exploring the whole island. A lot of the exploring yield nothing. There are signs at certain areas and they point out the villages which is helpful.
For some dialogues, the talkers often appear to be omniscient, such as a village talking to you when you're on a different island and things like that. As of now, a lot of the dialogues have been fixed so that they are more informative and less vague. A note for future players, the town centers in the middle island are glitched. After converting to your ownership, they somehow remain as the enemies and your units will auto attack it. This in turn will lead to a bug I believe because the town center is required for the objective. Lastly in this area, the objective of saving the daughter has no ending if she is killed. The father doesn't say anything and the game just goes on which is very unusual.
I have completed the scenario on Standard and Hard so to those who are stuck, keep trying. I’m quite sure that there are subtle differences among the difficulty settings but I didn’t notice anything that stood out. The navy portion of the game can be very hard and frustrating for players. Some can breeze by but others may get very peeved off. The gameplay requires microing and saving very often. Generally, saving very often is not a good thing as it detracts from the gaming experience. There are a good amount of ships patrolling the seas and losing ships is not an option so players really need to be attentive. In addition, losing units on island skirmishes is unfeasible so that's another factor to all the saving/loading.
Creativity is the best aspect of the scenario. From story to gameplay, you can just tell that a lot of thought was put into it. The gameplay portion when you're heading out to sea is like a stealth mode on water which is something new. Then, when you get on the islands, it's now stealth mode on land. One could say that the gameplay here is like a puzzle even. The RPG portion of the scenario has a couple of missions for you to do but it's quite bland. Even though I praise creativity, some extra thought can be added to make it more wonderful. If the creative aspect of the scenario is improved and expanded upon, a perfect rating will be easily obtained here.
Map Design: 4
Effort is clearly seen in the map design. It appears that the map was made from scratch so you can be sure that it was crafted to entertain the players through its gameplay tasks. The map design uses the simple approach. Eye candy and terrain blending is minimal but it still looks good.
However, some areas are too simple that it starts to look ugly and you can even see blockyness sometimes. Certain areas have questionable terrains, I’m sure you’ll spot it too. I myself find it highly unusual. Some cliffs are positioned poorly as it gives the effect that boggles the mind because it can't be possible. An example would be the cliffs to the right of the river on the left side of the map. The water blending did not look too pretty as I can see straight edges between the different types. There is also an area where shallow water blends right into deep water which really is strange to look at. But overall, the seas weren't bad.
Story is adequate for such a scenario. I’m quite easy on all stories that I review though the very poor ones will not get pass. The way how some of the story progresses seems unrealistic. It's hard to explain this so you’ll just have to find out yourself. Or, maybe it’s just me.
Instructions has definitely been improved since the original version. They are less vague and indicators are given to the player on where to go and what to do. With that said, you still have to do quite a bit of roaming around. I would suggest that you add in the objectives inside the tab so players can look at the tasks at hand.
Perfect score for effort. You need to rethink the actual gameplay aspects as if you're a fresh player to the map. Look at your dialogues, events, and tasks from a different view and see if it makes sense and plays smoothly.
[Edited on 01/15/11 @ 01:59 AM]
Carlos Ferdinand 2 is a challenging scenario based around the adventures of the titular character. He begins as a warlord who has invoked the wrath of the kingdom of Aragon, in Northeastern Spain. The beginning is a very fixed-force affair, as one must defend not necessarily the spot, but resist the attacking enemy in one way or another. The remainder of the game is taken up by a long questing affair, before assaulting the enemy on various islands in the Mediterranean sea.
Initially, the game is fast paced and exciting, with combat to test your mettle from the start. However, this gives way into a long, boring trek around the land portion of the map, doing chores for civilians in exchange for various resources. All must be done, however, or else you will not have enough to build a navy capable of taking to the ocean. The naval portion is much improved from its original state, flowing smoothly around the Western Mediterrainean sea in several small-scale engagements before one fully assaults an island. While the game does have several fun moments, it occasionally feels like a grind. Providing the play the ability to train villagers after capturing one island would do a great deal to balance the gameplay and give the player some fun. After capturing Iviza the game rapidly accelerates into fast-paced island hopping action, which almost forgives the earlier boredom. However, since this accounted for less than half of my playing time, I cannot award full marks in this category.
Fair. Carlos Ferdinand 2 has obviously been designed by a random-map player. A large degree of micromanagement is required for victory, something not usually seen among custom scenarios. While it is still possible and indeed playable, it will err on the hard side of the difficulty scale. Removing enemy AI was a shrewd move, allowing the player to outmanouvre his opponents.
Some flashes of originality are present in the game, such as having to distract towers with a fast unit to allow another to sneak by. Capturing towers by crowding them out is also a nice move. However, the quests are often short and one-dimensional, and require a lot of (avoidable) travel. It is, ultimately, a glorified build and destroy.
Map Design: 4
The map is of a good standard in most areas, with others shockingly under-developed. Even so, the areas that are good could use a little more work. It feels very much like the eastern Iberian peninsula, drawing heavily from the El Cid campaigns in terms of style. There are some large blocks of a single terrain type which coukd be rectified. There are some sharp terrain edges on roads. The waters are bland. Correcting this could take perhaps fifteen minutes, but would go a long way towards raising this score. As it is, I've rated much better maps 4.
The instructions given are always just enough to give you an idea of what to do. Usually, the way forward is obvious, but the hints give enough background information to pull you through. The provided backstory is developed and detailed. The scenario's story is the section worthy of most merit, and shows the potential of the designer in its fullest extent, while other categories are perhaps lacking.
Vastly improved from its original outing, Carlos Ferdinand 2 is not a shining gem but a rough diamond. Play this if you want a Single-player challenge.
[Edited on 01/31/11 @ 03:18 PM]
This scenario is the sequel to Carlos' scenario "A Kingdom's Dawn," depicting the Spaniard Carlos Ferdinand's attempts to repel the forces of his new enemy, Aragon, and to eventually evict the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. To realize this goal, Carlos Ferdinand decides to take control of the Baleares, a group of three islands which are an important midpoint for the transfer of supplies from Africa to the Moors in Spain. However, Carlos Ferdinand's kingdom of Castellon is just newly founded, so his army and navy must rely on determination instead of military strength to reach their goal.
The attack from the Aragon cavalry is an exciting way to start off the scenario, and it was challenging enough that I had to restart the game to defeat the attack. However, after that point the game becomes rather dull as you try to gain the support of the surrounding towns to build your navy. I probably spent over an hour exploring the mainland looking for possible sources of new resources, making sure I didn't miss any possible ways of strengthening my forces. The biggest cause was because of the large map size. Most of the map, though fairly interesting to look at, was mostly empty space.
That was one major detractor. The other detractor occurred during the sea stage. In order to defeat all the soldiers on the Baleares islands, I had to use hit-and-run tactics to kill the soldiers one by one, which took a long time.
However, I still give this scenario a 4 due to the more exciting and fun moments, which were often the most creative ones (see the Creativity section), and overall it is fun to play.
The scenario as a whole is difficult, requiring the hit-and-run tactics and then healing Carlos Ferdinand afterward. This would not have been so bad if the player didn't have to do this continuously. I also found the sea warfare difficult, since the sea was almost a minefield.
Personally, I would have liked a bit more breathing room. Perhaps adding additional resources to create a larger navy and army would help. However, the game is still quite beatable, and I don't see a reason to rank this lower than a 4.
The scenario had sparks of creativity here and there, such as rescuing Ramiro's daughter, capturing towers by bringing soldiers to them, and looking in the prison on Minorca. These were the parts that made the scenario enjoyable.
Map Design: 4
I found the map design generally pleasurable to look at, with a good mix of eye candy. The map obviously took hours to create. The parts that keep the scenario from a perfect score were the rather large blocks of terrain, and the cliffs don't seem to fit with the landscape. They were either too long or two straight.
The scenario has a decent backstory and storyline, and instructions are generally clear. There are usually a few times where I wish the current objective was more clear, but these moments are usually covered sufficiently by the hints.
One part that was somewhat confusing instruction-wise was the part at the Cuenca market. It appears like there are four choices, but when I've played it, it only seems like the player is allowed to receive supplies from the throwing axeman's tent. I mostly figured this out by accident, and it's also unclear how the player is supposed to select and receive these supplies.
Most of these comments are negative in nature, mostly because I am trying to point out sections where the author can improve. While not a masterpiece, it's clear that a lot of effort went into creating it, and I found it an enjoyable game to play. It should be worth the download.