The concept of the scenario is quite enjoyable, however, many of the missions take far too much time to complete for them to remain interesting. For example, taking out the Chinese takes an awful lot of time , cutting through multiple layers of forest to get to either the icy coast, the treasure mount or the white flowers, takes more patience than most people would have, considering nothing else happens while you're doing this.
The gameplay isn't awful, but it has some severe letdowns. The focus on wood-cutting and mining for example, as well as the fact that you pretty much can not get to that relic, seeing as the ambushing forces loop indefinitely and you only have four monks to use. Considering how long it takes to get the chief's medicin together, the witch doctor might as well ditch the medicin and find a way to resurrect the chief once he's dead instead. :P
I never felt threatened. The wolves don't attack unless you walk right into them (that's the problem with Dire Wolves), the Chinese, while taking forever to beat, never get out of their fort and attack, and the bandits and pirates are only passive guardians for treasures and fish. Maybe send some attacks my way, change the wolves into more aggressive ones, and give the players an AI so that they don't resign two minutes into the game.
The concept of the scenario is quite fresh, I don't believe I've seen anything quite like it before. However, the execution is a bit bland as completing most missions consist of cutting down trees and mining stone. There are a good few creative ideas, like the white flowers, saltpeter mines and so forth, but nothing mind-blowing. The concept is quite unique, the execution less so. A medium score I believe is warranted.
MAP DESIGN: 3
The map does seem like a mish-mash of climate zones, from an icy coast to a wet swamp, directly to a jungle and a tenmpered forest west of it all. It comes across as weird that all these climates fit into the same 72x72 map.
I wouldn't say the map is especially good looking, but it's not horrible either. There are some nifty design tricks used, like the shoreless water and snow creating waterfalls, rather well-made swamps and so forth. However, the base of the map is often quite bland, with little terrain mixing and a quite squarey look. Again, it has it's fair share of good points, but they don't bring the map up beyond a three.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 3
As I said before, the concept of the scenario is quite unique; your tribe chieftain becomes very ill and it's your task to find the ingredients needed for the cure. The story is hastily presented without much background, and while it might not give a lasting impression it's enough to get you to understand what the world you're supposed to be doing. Instructions are adequate, although it would've been nice with a more detailed hints section telling where and how exactly to get all the ingredients, should you get stuck (I know I looked long and hard for that white flower for one). There are no spelling mistakes that I noticed, which is a plus.
If you want to up the xcore here I think you should make the story a bit more developed, explain a bit more about who the characters are, where this tribe lives and so forth. Make it more involving. As it stands it's acceptable, but it would make the scenario better if the story was more detailed.
SUGGESTIONS: Make it less of a chop-and-mine scenario, make the Chinese easier to beat, give the player better access to gold (not having to cut through six layers of trees to get to it), fix the looping ambush, make the story more detailed and... maybe add some music to it? It would be nice to have something nice listening to while you're looking at people chopping down trees. ;)