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This scenario is based on the song of Roland, a very popular medieval story. Take a role in the story by commanding the Frankish army and lead them into battle.
Play the scenario on normal speed so the music doesn't get mixed up.
Kill counter and different difficulties don't work yet.
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"MLH - The Song of Roland" is Den Cekke's submission to the "Myth, Legend and History contest", hosted by Gojosseon. It is a short scenario which manages to quite accurately depict the final battle of the historical character of Roland, Charlemagne's best knight, against the Moors. His courage has led him to become one of the major mythical figures in the European Middle Ages, and this makes for a very good competition theme, that the author has put to generally good use, despite some false notes that I imagine were not due to a lack of skill, but mainly due to lack of time and the determination to submit the file before the deadline.
It might seem a little odd that I've chosen to rate this category a 5, when I've found some problems in the other aspects of the game, especially the balance. However, the honest truth is that I enjoyed playing this a lot. The gameplay is simple (you need to defend the hero from being killed by the endlessly spawning Moorish troops) but it has big replay value thanks to the possibility to improve your "score"(no. of kills). It also presents you with quite a few possible tactical approaches, which are also included in the hints. What I would have done differently is I would've given the ownership of Roland to the player instead of making him an allied player for the whole duration of the battle. After all - the scenario is about him.
One other thing that might've improved playability would've been to put more emphasis on the "score" aspect of the game. One of the resources keeping track of kills would have been a splendid addition, because this game is similar in atmosphere to Lord Basse's arcade games such as "My fort, my empire", and this part of the gameplay is the most appealing here.
This is the real problem of the game. The unsuspecting player will most probably not be able to win it, because there is a hidden catch: the game does not get won by the player unless all of the player's heroes (excepting Roland) are dead. This includes all the Frankish Paladins, the priest and Oliver, the other knight hero. And this is pretty damn near impossible to achieve because the Moors concentrate all of their forces on wasting Roland and couldn't care less about your other heroes. Add the huge hit points that the priest has , for instance, and by the second time you're playing it, you'll be trying your best to put him right in the middle of the enemy forces, to get that damn priest killed.
To make it short: the first time you're playing you will probably die, because the instructions tell you to protect "all" your heroes, and by the time that most of them are dead, Roland will be in a very bad shape at best. The second time you play, if you've learned your lesson, you will try to put your other heroes in harm's way as much as possible. Yes, that's basically cheating (that's why the author didn't include it as a hint), but it's pretty much the only way to see the game through. Sending the priest in the enemy lines or just deleting him at some point is almost a must, if you want to see the ending.
Though there weren't any outstanding moments, the game has an overall good presentation and map design, and also manages to set a nice atmosphere right from the start, very fitting for this kind of historical scenario. I especially loved the religious medieval music in the beginning, it got me into the game straight away.The music that runs during the battle was a very short piece which was looping every 20 seconds or so, which made it annoying pretty fast, though I recognized it from my older scenario Mongol Invaders (not "Chuck" :) but it's ok, I don't have any copyright over it anyways).
The bitmap in the beginning does not display colours correctly. I do believe that if you put in the effort of including a bitmap, you should make sure it does not have this problem, as it negates the mentioned effort. However I do understand that you were in a rush.
Map Design: 5-
The map design was above average, the visible parts being fairly enjoyable to look at, and at the same time painting an accurate picture of the rocky Spanish countryside. What I don't really understand is the size of the map, which could have been a lot smaller. Also, there's visibly an intention of designing the city of Zaragoza into more detail, which is odd considering that it is unreachable, and leads me to believe that the designer might've had other plans for it, but did not have the time to implement them. It does leave the impression that it is unfinished, but as far as the visible part of the map goes, I don't really have complaints. It is accurately designed, not overly eye-candied (and that's great, as it wouldn't fit with the environment) and at the same time conceived with tactics in mind...good job.
There is nothing I can criticize about the story: neither about the introduction and the historical infos given which are very accurate and comprehensive, nor about the in-game story, which has a good flow and a good ending. The reason why I am deducting a point here is because of the instructions, which kind of confuse the player as to the aim. You are told to take care of your heroes, when actually what you need is to get rid of them. However, I believe that the better way to solve the problem is to just change the victory/loss conditions a little bit, make it reaching a certain kill count or something.
With all of its weak points, "The Song of Roland" remains a very good, albeit short historical battle scenario, which could become great if some of the issues described above were solved. I believe that the author did not have the time to properly test the game, or maybe playtested by himself, which is sometimes misleading as other people might approach the game in a totally different way.
I had been waiting for a good scenario about Roland's story for a while and this was indeed satisfying. In my book, this is surely a recommended download.
"The Song of Roland" is Den cekke's entry in the MLH contest. It tells the story of Roland, a popular story when it was written. Set on a well-designed map, it was an enjoyable way to learn the story of Roland's stand and defeat at the hand of the Moors.
I enjoyed playing this scenario quite a bit, although at times, it was a little frustrating. The scenario was mostly bug-free and except for the lack of specificity about the exact objectives, was easy to play. One little thing that confused me a little was that sometimes Sargossa would resign partway through the scenario. This didn't really affect anything, so it's more a note for the designer than anything.
It was frustrating to be told to protect all of your heroes when in reality, your goal was to let them all die, while protecting Roland. This was especially difficult given two factors. The first is that your main heroes (Oliver and the priest) are extremely strong and it's almost impossible to get them killed before Roland. Now, this wouldn't be as significant a problem if it wasn't for the second factor: all the enemy units are trying to kill Roland. They don't care about our other heroes, unless they're in the way and hacking at them. Because of this, the only way to get your heroes killed is to send them into the largest group of enemy units you can find and set Oliver on No Attack Stance and hope the priest gets stuck, because otherwise, he'll run away and no one will follow him. Aside from the two over-powered heroes, I greatly enjoyed playing, and wish it could have been longer.
This scenario was both easy and hard at the same time. If you were playing by what you thought the rules were (protect all heroes), it would have been quite easy, given how powerful your heroes are. Unfortunately, your goal is to lose all your heroes while keeping Roland alive. This sounds easy, but because of the two factors mentioned above, it's actually quite difficult. I was able to defeat the scenario only after I realized this. I had to send my heroes immediately into battle while keeping my other units in reserve, essentially sending my heroes to their death. The paladins didn't last long standing alone against the enemy, but Oliver and the priest were a pain to get killed, especially that darn priest. He always ran away and the enemy couldn't care less about him once he was out of their way. And with 8000 HP, killing him took a lot. Still, it was difficult, but not unbeatable once you knew what to do.
One of the underused methods that the author used quite well was the high-HP armies, which allow for battles to last longer without needing enormous numbers of soldiers. Scenarios with this method are fun to play, simply because battles take a while. The story itself was also creative, both in the fact that this was the first scenario telling the story of Roland and in the dialogue itself. Overall, the map design, the story, the concepts and methods created a fresh new scenario that, while it didn't unveil any new discovery or trick, was still well-done and quite original.
Map Design: 5-
While the author only used a small portion of the map, it was very well done. Not only was the cliff area where Roland's army was traveling and the canyon where the battle took place well done, Sargossa and Charlamagne's camp also evidenced the designer's care and detail. About half the map was nearly solid forest, but since this was merely excess space, this didn't affect this score much.
The story of Roland is one that I'm not overly familiar with, and I enjoyed the background information, not only about Roland and the setting of the story, but the story itself. While the story itself is not developed overmuch during the majority of the scenario (the battle), it is more than made up for in the setting up of the story and the post-battle dialogue. The only reason this doesn't score a five is a number of grammatical errors or confusing phrasing and the distorted bmp at the beginning of the scenario. If these were fixed, this would get a 5 as well.
Overall, I enjoyed this scenario, but it was frustrating and confusing when the goal of the scenario was actually the opposite of the stated objective. If it weren't for this, and the over-powered heroes, this would be a great scenario. As is, it's nothing to be ashamed of and I would heartily recommend this for download.