(Updated on 04/02/08
The sounds are essential to playing the game, it makes an unmistakable difference in your enjoyment of the game. I put many hours into crafting the soundtracks, the sound effects, and getting them timed perfectly to the game; I promise you it is the only way to go. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other than that, I must point out to you a bug that I have sometimes encountered with the taunt system. If you save your game and exit AOK, returning to the saved game later might cause the taunts you use at the end to quit working. To get them to start working again, simply click the actual chat button, (horn, third from the upper right) and then type the number there. Sometimes you have to click the all/ally/enemies buttons a few times as well. Then after that procedure, the taunts should run smoothly again. Sorry if that inconveniences you! This bug should be worked out soon...
Thanks for playing!
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A sparkling gem of a scenario has finally reached the Blacksmith after spending the better part of a year almost in obscurity. "Attack at Dawn" was used by crasher as an entry to a contest headed by ex-cherub Brand New Car. Since it was the only entry, "Attack at Dawn" won the contest. Looking back, crasher probably would have won the contest, even if many other designers had entered. After the contest, "Attack at Dawn" was available on DGDN's website, but it only was downloaded a few hundred times. Now "Attack at Dawn" is obtainable through a medium which should give it the attention it deserves.
An evil minion and his hordes are bringing death and destruction to a few peaceful Middle Earth communities. You'll follow the exploits of three human heroes who'll fight to save a small village called "Akuror" and eventually defeat the evil, which ravished the countryside. Crasher did a masterful job of blending role-playing with classic build-and-destroy.
PLAYABILITY: "Attack at Dawn" was quite frankly a blast to play. I played it through several times and my enjoyment ceased to wane. The role-playing theme of the scenario eliminated any chance of dull moments appearing while gathering resources for the town. The atmosphere of urgency and valor gripped me to the end. I'm not the world's biggest LOTR fan, but I was enchanted by this small world full of Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, and Humans. Needless to say, the scenario had now bugs and played smoothly on my 350mhz CPU.
BALANCE: Unfortunately the Balance, while above average overall, left something to be desired. The only really tense part of the scenario was the enemy's initial attack. In addition, once you accumulated enough troops, the enemy's base camp was easily pillaged. This is in part due to the custom AI, which was necessary for the game; it's also probably somewhat realistic because the camp was really a burned out village. However there is another problem. It's quite possible to gather all the powerups for your heroes and get reinforcements from your allies quite quickly. If you combine that which the strongest soldiers that began in Akuror, you have a small army that packs a lot of punch. These troops could be used to execute a sneak attack on the enemy base that could cause significant damage. In fact, a strong micromanager could severely weaken the force that's used for the enemy's initial attack.
CREATIVITY: Crasher redefined what a build-and-destroy scenario is. In my opinion, it remains such at it's core. Nonetheless it strays quite far from a basic random map scenario. You must guide your heroes to the village and supervise it's economy, while training enough troops to repeal the initial attack. Meanwhile, your heroes can explore the land as if "Attack at Dawn" was a role-playing scenario. While you'll find a number of clever trigger tricks in the neighboring towns, and maybe some extra soldiers, the real bonus is finding special weapons for your heroes. Also, the scenario concludes with a riveting taunt-based final fantasy style showdown. Finally, the superb sound track sets the mood perfectly. Even after saying all this, I'm still holding some back for you to discover yourself.
MAP DESIGN: The map design was almost beyond reproach. Crasher's excellent map design in "Attack at Dawn" would teach most scenario designers something about eye candy. I was especially impressed by how skillfully crasher used the grass terrains. The surrounding towns looked royal or war-torn depending on how involved they were in the war. In summary, crasher's map design was not just excellent; it helped create the appealing (from a player's perspective) setting of the scenario.
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The story was riveting. The player is given the option of reading a history on the land before playing. One cannot help but instantly become attached to the quaint village that is threatened by evil. Crasher also did an excellent job of helping the player become endeared to the heroes he controls. All the text is easy to read, and I noticed no spelling or grammar errors. Finally, the objectives were clear. This is important because you are sometimes playing a build-and-destroy and role-playing scenario at the same time. Crasher makes juggling the tasks as easy as possible.
"Attack at Dawn" is simply is fantastic scenario. It's a great example of how to incorporate role-playing elements into a build-and-destroy themed scenario or vice versa. It's minor balance issues aren't easily noticeable the first time around, and they are easy to ignore. Crasher didn't create the "Middle Earth" but he created a great way for you to experience it. This scenario is a worthy download for everyone.
This was an extremely fun campaign with an excelent replay value. I enjoyed the point of time at 30 minutes, when dawn came. The enemy poured out of the mountains and almost eradicated my base! It was very realistic.
Although the healing of my character went above his normal Hp to the 300s it was still difficult to win with him alone. I thoroughly enjoyed the odds steeped in my enemies favor. It is not bad that this is getting a 4, it just means the enemy may be a bit too strong for people new to age of empires, maybe tone it down on standard. For me, I found it exilerating.
Although it is another Middle-Earth-based campaign it is quite different. The only realavence I could find was elves and Dwarves! None of that typical 5,000 Hp Legolas junk. The map tricks were stunning and perfectly engineered.
Flying meteors and fireballs, arrow infernos and wonders firing arrows like castles. The one thing that will spoil this effect would be MARCO POLO. Don't use it. It completely ruins the illusions and the feel of the map. I especially loved the names of the characters.
Not too much eyecandy and not too little. I liked the realistic waves, the were used in a great way. The various loot that can be found from destroyed carts scores this campaign some extra points.
I thoroughly enjoyed the captivating plot. I rarely feel like this but I thought it was real! (Atleast it felt that way!)
My final thoughts---
A great all around scenario. I suggest that you download the soundpack, it brings great life to the game. It is obvious that alot of time went into this campaign. Nice job Crasher!
Attack at Dawn is a single scenario, a B&D with RPS elements. The story is fiction; the events take place in a peaceful valley of a land of elves, men and monsters.
PLAYABILITY: The scenario is a lot of fun to play, with a good story and excellent balance. You need every second to prepare your defenses and the constant enemy attacks will keep you on your toes. While defending, building up, there are weapons/upgrades to find, small side quests to attend. The scenario has a high replay value, not a boring minute. 5
BALANCE: I played the scenario on all levels, a true challenge, maybe a tad to the difficult side at dawn though. After you manage to build up it does not get too easy, the number of units attacking increases, imperial age, monastery, castle, gates and walls are disabled. 5
CREATIVITY: A very creative scenario, the opening cut-scene and the final fight with a good use of triggers to mention, as well as the good mix of B&D with RPG. Creative balance, story, sounds and music, map copy features, good names and great effects deserve the highest rating. 5
MAP DESIGN: I liked the area with the dwarves, the waves and the mines, realistic approach to start with a mix of oak and pine up north, coming from a not so high mountain pass. The more south the more unrealistic the map design becomes, a mix of jungle, palm trees, oak, pine and bamboo. Overall, the blending left to desire and the water looked awkward, lifeless with one water depth only. 4
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The scenario has a themed bmp, history section, interesting well-told story, clear objective and helpful hints and the scout section is a good read too. 5
IN CLOSING: Attack At Dawn is a fantastic scenario, download now you will not regret it.
Crasher's Attack at Dawn is not your average run-of-the-mill build-and-destroy scenario, instead incorporating many new and varied tricks as well as an impressive hero battle system.
Attack at Dawn is set in Tolkien's Middle Earth - a fact that might put some people off, given how that setting has been done to death and appears clichéd in the extreme. But don’t let that happen. Crasher’s version of Middle Earth has almost nothing to do with the popular mythology, and nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books/films. It is set in a hitherto unseen area of Middle Earth, and introduces a storyline that is radically different from that which has gone before. For once, the enemies are not Orcs or similar – they are humans, a pseudo-Mongol race of horsemen that are on a path of destruction through Middle Earth. You play as three heroes who come to a human town – Akuror – and set up a defence and counter-attack against these horsemen, aided and abetted by an Elven city and a Dwarven mining stronghold.
From the off, you are drawn into the scenario, with an impressive cinematic-feeling cutscene giving the background story. From there, you gain control of your three heroes, and shortly after that you start to marshal the defences of Akuror. There is a calm-before-the-storm atmosphere present throughout these opening minutes, for the player knows that it will not be long before the enemy attacks with full force. The music aids this mood brilliantly – even though we will all have heard that particular track a hundred times over already, it still retains an element of impending doom. When the attack does come, your small force must do its best to fight off the seemingly endless waves of attackers, and this huge running battle is great fun. When the tide does begin to turn, and you take the fight to the enemy camp, the exhilaration at having defeated such a superior force is boundless. Then the scenario is capped off by a pyrotechnics display in the form of a ‘boss battle’, which links back to the opening cutscene perfectly and completes the story arc. I found no bugs except one that is related to the AoK engine rather than the scenario, and with such fun to be had I see no reason not to award a 5 here.
The scenario’s weakest point has to be the balancing. I played on Moderate difficulty, and found that the actual battle difficulty ranged from well-balanced and even-handed at the start to over-easy at the end. I found the main attack of the enemy to be a challenge, and I had to use all my micro-management skills and concentration to beat it off – and even then I had lost most of my starting troops. However, once I managed to beat the deadlock and constant subsequent attacks, ransacking the enemy base was a simple matter. The end boss battle, while spectacular and enjoyable, was also fairly easy – I didn’t come close to losing at any point of it. This change from balanced to unbalanced comes as quite a surprise in view of the rest of the scenario, and should be penalised as such. An above average yet disappointing 4.
If it were possible, this category would have to be rated even higher. Crasher uses all the tools available to him in both the scenario editor and AI scripting to great effect. As has already been mentioned, you have an impressively spectacular hero-oriented magical duel as a supplement to the main build-and-destroy section of the scenario, incorporating various ‘spells’ such as arrow storms, fireballs, and the like – all of which are represented through cunning unit placement and triggerwork. In the build-and-destroy section, you can expect to find special weapons, armour and items for your three heroes, which adds another incentive to explore. Apart from that, we see wonders firing arrows, Dwarven mines, a practising archer, and many other sights. Crasher’s creativity knows no bounds (despite the scenario’s setting in a pre-existing and over-used fantasy world), and easily merits a 5.
MAP DESIGN: 5
This scenario presents to us an intensely believable environment, one of grasslands, plains, valleys, rivers, forests and high mountains. The town of Akuror is especially well-designed, with a unique wall system and realistic street and building planning. The map is well-designed and uses terrain mixing to great effect – distinctive areas help to immerse the player, and to me as a fellow designer it was interesting to work out how certain elements were done. The map cannot be faulted, and as such deserves another 5.
Crasher uses the already familiar setting of Tolkien’s Middle Earth to tell a rather atypical story of heroes fighting against evil invaders. He does the unprecedented in killing off 2 of the main characters before the action even begins, and he continues to buck the trend in other areas of the story. The very fact that the battle is between two groups of humans rather than against the ubiquitous Orcs gives an unusual twist to the tale, and the story grips you from start to finish. The instructions are clear and the usual hints and scouting information are present, with spelling and grammar errors being almost non-existent. A solid 5.
This scenario was a pleasant surprise for me – I first discovered it in lying in a dusty corner of DGDN’s website, hidden from all but the most inquisitive eyes, and was overjoyed to find such a wonderful playing experience in what was to me a hitherto unknown scenario. The storyline, the setting, the map design – all the elements combine to make a very high-quality scenario, let down only by the off-key balancing.
I did mention that there was a bug in this scenario, and it's one that can't be helped. The taunts that work the magic system at the end sometimes don't work if you save and reload the game. Sometimes, you'll strike lucky and the taunts will still work. But the majority of the time, they won't. I recommend playing out the main part of the scenario first, and then seeing if the magic system still works (if you saved and loaded at all, that is). If it doesn't, then restart the scenario and use cheats to kill off Player 2, so that you skip the build-and-destroy section and get straight to the final battle.
"Attack At Dawn" by Crasher takes place in a town in Middle Earth called Arkuror (J.R.R. Tolkiens fantasy world[I am a Middle earth fan too.]) A human force goes up to fight The Evil Minnion and His Horde. The are easilly crushed. As three human heroes come to Arkuror, they ask where the force is, the soldiers told them that they didn't come back. You and a small force of men must deffend Arkuror to the square...it's up to you if Arkuror will last.
This is an amazing game, so i gave playabilty a 5 because you are just hanging on to survival as continuos forces come and attack Arkuror at dawn. It deffinatley keeps you on your toes
The one lacking thing it had was that once the stop attacking your town, it is easy to take over the hordes base. But besides that its great
This is one of the most creative games I have seen. Great cutscene in the begining, especialy with magic the people were useing. I love the Plants that are actually tree stumps with a cactus on it (supper auwsome.)
Map Design: 4
The Map was verry good.
-A shore with a low tide and high tide.
-Good eye candy with battle feild.
The story i give a 5. However, the instructions were not very clear sometimes.
In conclusion: Download the game. It's Auwsome!!!
[Edited on 03/25/08 @ 07:47 PM]
'Attack at Dawn' by crasher is one of the very first scenarios I ever downloaded, and has remained a staunch favourite since. Its strong fantasy-inspired game play coupled with a good storyline and beautiful map design has allowed the game to maintain its highly replayable style since 2004. That said, I'm a huge fan of crasher's designing style, and this is right up there with the best of them.
The scenario is described as being a Tale of Middle Earth, and while I'm not sure if this is of the author's own design or something set in Tolkien's world (it does however use Elves and Dwarves), it is generic enough to be an original fantasy scenario in its own right. The enemy we face is indeed human and not orcs or monsters as a scenario befitting of this universe might entail, although magic does play some role here as you will find out.
From the north of a hidden valley a barbarian army of horsemen led by the voracious leader Slangam has made little work of a human expedition led by two wizards sent forth to stop him. As night falls over the valley, the warlord looks to make camp before he strikes at the rest of the valley come dawn. Enter three warrior comrades and the small temple-town of Akuror who have little time to prepare defences. It is the valley's last hope for survival, and a hallowed place of age and magic. Will you survive the onslaught?
PLAYABILITY: The author has a monopoly on these kind of scenarios, with intriguing game play and a fantastical storyline, complimented by the beautifully-designed terrain and well chosen music overtures. There is not a boring moment; from start to finish you are kept on your feet, while the threat of invasion grips your mind with constant vigilance. I was impressed by the standard of detail to every aspect of the scenario, from the game play to the map design, and the little moments that breathed life into my overall experience. This isn't your average build-and-destroy scenario, and you can expect some well-designed cut-scenes as well as plenty of role-playing elements to keep things interesting. There is really not a dull moment. 5
BALANCE: The scenario is initially very challenging as waves of enemy warriors assault your small town, and wear down your meagre forces. Quick micromanagement and clever resource management will prove vital in overcoming the enemy attacks, while the utilisation of save points has never been so important. As the crux of the scenario is based on build-and-destroy game play, inexperienced players who are slow builders will undoubtedly have a hard time with this. My only complaint is after the initial waves the intensity of battle diminishes rather quickly, and then it's only a matter of time until you're at the enemy's gates. 4
CREATIVITY: Even though the scenario was designed well over ten years ago, the creativity still rates strongly against more modern designs, whereby many trigger tricks and terrain practices have since been discovered. The author has an uncanny habit of exploiting the best of what the editor has to offer, and this is no exception. From the magical warfare, to the little quirks found littered throughout the map design, there can be no complaint here. 5
MAP DESIGN: Not only is the map aesthetically appealing, it also fits nicely into the context of the story and really looks and feels like a fantasy landscape. There is always something to draw the eye, and quite often you are more interested in admiring the map than in playing the actual game. The author utilises a number of design tricks such as shoreless water, use of the TWAL, the moving shoreline, the Dwarven mines, among other things, to bring life into the design. The building placement of the various towns is also to be commended. That said, the water was perhaps the design's only weak point, which looked flat with only one water depth only. 5-
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The story is a common one, if not fairly simple and cliche, but as the scenario is among the first in its category there can be no deduction here. It is however well-written and conveyed throughout the game. In addition, there is an extensive hints section, player walkthrough, detailed history and character profiles for our heroes, which sets the game up with interest. 5
CONCLUSION: 'Attack at Dawn' is a definite classic of the Blacksmith. Its timeless design wields an alluring fantastical atmosphere and the trough of creativity is bound to inspire and intrigue most.
In a sentence - 'Attack at Dawn' by crasher sets up an intriguing build-and-destroy game with an inspired design and loads of creativity.
In closing - A must download!
[Edited on 03/13/18 @ 06:16 AM]