Posted on 10/30/03 @ 12:00 AM (updated 11/08/03
The Artali Empire was the greatest kingdom ever to stretch the earth. In its conquests, it absorbed dozens of kingdoms. None dared to defy its strength and, through the centuries, its weakened. With no enemies to fight, the army discipline died out, its numbers shrank. No longer did it have the reputation of the old days, when every soldier was the elite of the empire. Now, it was barely more than a police force. And now, disaster. Rebellion in Ialter, revolt in the Karthin provinces. Half the empire breaks away, centered at Vantorium, to try to avoid the doom that will swoop down. Barbarians from beyond any known lands are putting the entire north to flame! Few were ready to face invasion, but one of those that was ready was known as the Order of the Flame. Made up of five thousand members, it marched out with the rest of the militant orders and legions to do battle with the invaders. It came back after fighting to a stalemate and losing more than four thousand men. In the skirmishes since, it has lost more. Now, there are only nine remaining men in the Order. The remaining defenders of the empire are holed up in Artal, waiting for the final blow. The enemy has gained the walls after two days of desperate fighting, and now are poised for the final thrust. The end is near, and will flood the city with blood.
This is my last project for AoK:TC, which I have worked on over a long period of time, off and on. You control nine units and you must survive for forty-five minutes in this 100% city map. If you deem it too easy, use the cheat \'aegis\' so that the enemies spawn faster. Hell, do that first, just to taste how it really should be. Are you up to the challenge? Will you survive for forty-five minutes?
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PLAYABILITY: I enjoyed playing this amazing scenario very much. It is great to play over and over again. With only 9 elite units you steadily retreat as the enemy's horde sends more and more attackers.
Great challenges of surviving in the city, nice map design and creative unique aspect of each area in the city give a grand stage for the siege. 5+
BALANCE: This was the only weak point of the awesome scenario. The player is able to survive for as long as possible by hiding in one of the allied towers; it is an unintended loop hole.
The game was very challenging for the player, and I personally found surviving for 45 minutes impossible to do. I played on "standard" and on "hard" with 'aegis,' but could not muster more than 25-30 minutes of gameplay. The author should account for all players, and make it a little easier. The challenge on "hard" can be kept, but on "standard" difficulty the player can enjoy a little higher stats maybe. 3+
CREATIVITY: Each soldier that the player controls has an individual name. Many buildings in the city that fills the entire map are renamed, giving it, and every one of its mulitple neighbourhoods their own character. 5
MAP DESIGN: Several building sets are used to deliver a truly realistic looking city. Trees and mixed terrain only add to that. The only complain here would be that the author makes little use of elevation. 5-
STORY / INSTRUCTIONS: The awesome story sets the player up even before he begins to play. Artal, the Empire is stormed by the innumerable hordes of barbarians, and is about to fall. The player decides the way Artal falls.
The instructons were short and easy to understand. 5
-The Fall of Artal
-by Talon Karrde
The Fall of Artal is a "survival" scenario where the player is challenged to keep a small band of soldiers from being killed by a horde of enemies in an overrun town.
Playability: A fun scenario to play overall, but fleeing from enemies can become dull, especially considering it is what the player will spend basically all of his time doing. The only way I was able to hold my own in combat was by having my units stand ground at the end of alleys as my archers picked off approaching enemies, which wasn't exactly the height of excitement either. Also, the scenario includes a very damaging bug - by simply garrisoning your units in an allied town center belonging to the destroyed town, the player can survive the full time and win. Despite these issues, I did enjoy playing The Fall of Artal, as the gameplay, while repetitive, was often very exciting. 4/5
Balance: Aside from the aforementioned bug, The Fall of Artal was one of the best balanced scenarios I have played. The choice of whether to use the "aegis" cheat code makes the difficulty very variable, meaning the scenario can be fun for the newest player and a challenge to the more experienced Ager as well. Unfortunately, the bug heavily impacted the scenario balance, so I can only award another 4 here.
Creativity: The "survival" style of gameplay seen in The Fall of Artal is not a style employed by many scenario designers, and certainly not with this degree of success. But even with this unique style, the actual gameplay of the scenario bascially comes down to the standard hack-and-slash. 4.
Map Design: The map in The Fall of Artal is among the nicest urban scenario maps I have seen. The different sections of the town are varied, and the terrian is mixed and blends well. Overall, a nicely varied map with few flaws. 5.
Story/Instructions: The story given in The Fall of Artal not only adequately explains your situation and sets up the plot, but is interesting and draws the player in. The instructions tell all that is needed to complete the scenario, and instruct the player as to changing the difficulty level. A fine job in this category. 5.
In Conclusion: The Fall of Artal was an enjoyable scenario, and very deserving of its recent selection as a Blacksmith Feature. My only suggestion for improvement, aside from obviously fixing the town center problem, is to vary the actual gameplay somewhat, by adding smaller quests, or something. Anyway, well worth the download.