"The Maid of Orleans" is a re-upload to the blacksmith, having been made in 2001 by DeKont for an ES scenario contest. The author claims that it takes an hour of realtime on fast to complete, but I would say 2+ hours ingame is already an optimistic outcome. The scenario certainly shows it old age with some tedious game mechanics that slow down gameplay for little reason.
The game was quite slow paced, with certain mechanics like the day\night system not actually adding any benefit to the gameplay. The battles were somewhat epic with the player commanded a large swarm of infantry, and it was quite fun to storm in recklessly to enemy forts taking casualties but smashing aside resistance. The last siege section with a lone trebuchet was quite tedious however. The long length of gameplay discourages me from experimenting much with the multiple opening results and the different possibilities presented to Joan through the game.
The difficulty was surprisingly low, however the strength of the enemy fortresses made frontal assaults seemingly impossible so the player is induced to engage in very slow moving siege warfare. This is really just waiting for your siege weapons to wear down the enemies defenses until your foot soldiers can have a clear shot at the victory line. The section with a single trebuchet was particularly tedious, waiting for it to whittle down tough enemy defenses. I was rather relieved it was all over when I finally pushed through to victory. Oddly enough for an old scenario, the pop limit is a bit too high;commanding this many units in a FF was a bit tricky.
The scenario is filled with custom gameplay mechanics, an alternative opening system hinging on how many carts\heroes survive, and even day\night stuff. In all honesty its too creative for its own good, and these convoluted mechanics tend to harm rather than help gameplay. All of these ideas are nice in their own right, but you should pick one idea like the day\night system and build every aspect of the scenario around it, rather than try to make one supreme scenario with every mechanic possible. As is typical for the era of 56k dialup, there is no audio or music provided so I would recommend playing some Brandon Fiechter albums on youtube while playing;a medieval themed track will fit the bill.
Map Design 3+
I enjoyed the map quite a bit;a throwback to simpler times it had a pleasant aesthetic feel. The towns were surprisingly well detailed and the enemy camps with their fortifications were very well done. Probably would earn a 5\5 in 2001, though time has certainly passed it by as one would expect this level of mapping out of any current scenario.
The story was quite sizeable, consisting of ingame dialogue driving events forward. The quality of the writing made me suspect the author was not a native English speaker, unfortunately. The auxiliary items such as pregame history tabs, scouts reports, objectives and hints were somewhat lackluster. The story didn't portray Joan very kindly which was a bit unfortunate, making her look a bit weak and easily pushed around by a bunch of jerks. However she was key in battle, giving miracle benefits if placed in the most dangerous situations.
Final Thoughts:If your in the mood for a slow paced siege scenario with a retro feel, this may well be worth playing still.