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Downloads Home » Single Player Scenarios » ESRC12_Shadows of Betrayal

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ESRC12_Shadows of Betrayal

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File Details
Version: The Conquerors 1.0c
Style: Mix
Historically, the Battle of Manzikert was such a shattering defeat that the Byzantines were never able to speak of it as other than "that terrible day". It was on that terrible day in 1071 that "Anatolia, heartland of Byzantium... was lost forever to Christendom". In one catastrophic day the eastern Roman Empire had lost its major recruiting region, its major grain producing region, and its vital trade route between Constantinople and the riches of the East.

But today, you'll find yourself re-living what-if scenarios that will be based on your decisions - decisions that will either follow history or reverse it.

+++ Seven Playable Characters
+++ Thirteen Unique Endings
+++ An aggregate 8 hours or more of game play replay value.

+++ Updated to Version 1.5, thanks to Sword of Storm (aka Jatayu) (changelog included)

Enjoy! :)
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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
File Author
If that is possible in AOK, then I would love to know how to do that. I'll try to find where I can learn it. Really appreciate the feedback, Sam! :)
Mayank Sharma
Official Reviewer
Map Design3.0
Playability: 3
Although the game had several playable characters and 13 possible endings, many of them were slightly similar to each other. Some endings merely wanted us to click a castle and end the game. While this should be in no way incorrect, it doesn't give you the fun you expected. There are several game breaking bugs which can make you very frustrated. For example, if in some campaign you stood near the southern shore, the tower from across the lake would shoot you! And then when I was Tamis the Turk and the Byzantine army attacked, I couldn't touch their onager just because it just stood there in the restricted area! Another time when I was Roussel, I wandered off a bit to explore the map and across the bridge to the south of Manzikert, all the Turkish cavalry archers shot down my army, while I watched helplessly that my men just couldn't cross the bridge, but their men could! Also, a major problem with the game is that whenever your resources go up to 1000, there comes a screen that tells us not to cheat and takes away our hard-earned resources. One time I left my computer for two hours for the resources to pile up, and I returned just in time to see another 1000 of my wood being reduced to 250. This made me extremely frustrated. Also when you change your diplomacy to attack a character, his troops stand idly until after you have killed him. This is very unrealistic and breaks the seriousness of the scenario. Even though the scenario has a lot of re-playable value, their shortness and slight redundancy are too much for me to grant more marks. EDIT : Although most of the bugs I listed are avoidable, they are present in the scenario all the same, and can trouble you. For the avoidability of most of the bugs, I have changed my original scoring to three.

Balance: 3
The balance, as other reviewers pointed out, was dependent on the character being played and the player playing it. It was too easy for most of the characters, but when I took Khliat, the Turks attacked so suddenly that I had no time to recover. I was left with a handful of units and had to wait for 2000 precious seconds to get all the resources required to fill my population cap. Then again, after taking Khliat, if you couldn't beat all the Turks, they raze your houses, and since you can't build houses, I was left with a 40-population cap. Also, when playing as Theodore, I tried to gather up Light Cavalry first and then the others. But as soon as my population was over 30, I could no longer build any more units and I was left with 4 pikemen (that too the guards) and an army of horsemen to face. Another problem was that we were allowed to create only trash units, which made fighting the units a long task, although it was easy to win.
The leveling mechanic also has severe issues. Perhaps the author made it for a short scenario, but as I mentioned above that I waited for the resources to trickle, I noticed that my units were ridiculously overpowered compared to the enemy, with the king's onager shooting 12(!) times to kill a single skirmisher! EDIT : After reconsideration and an omission on my part where the author said not to pile up resources, I change my views. However, 200 seconds are still too much to wait for, and I think that justifies my marks.

Creativity: 4
This scenario was very creative, with the game offering seven playable characters and three different endings. The most I had seen yet was three endings, but this scenario sets an example in the field of non-linear gameplay with so many endings and paths to take. The scenario features the old styles of fixed force and build and destroy in such a way that it seems very fresh. The only problem I have with the author in the creative aspect is that if he had utilized a bigger map, the game would have been better; right now it seems too crowded. I also would have liked more diverse paths and endings, for the current ones seem too similar.

Map Design: 3
Overall map design was excellent, but quite a few particular irregularities in between. The terrain mixing was expertly done, representing one of the best terrains I have ever seen. Elevation was also liberally used, but I noticed its lack in the cities, where it would have provided some much needed elevation bonuses. The flaws were numerous: the water was too single-toned; the lake was so small that, as I have noted, the tower from the Turkish side could easily hit my units on the other shore. EDIT : After going through the review once again, I notice that I had deducted marks from Map Design when I should have deducted them from Playability. Since the overall design was excellent, I have increased my marks to 3. However, the bug listed above is concerned with map design and will remain as such.

Story/Instructions: 3
The story is very well thought, and it is evident that the author has put in a lot of work researching into the real facts, and even provided a 'scenario companion' which gives many details about the back-story of the scenario. Moreover, at the end of each playthrough, the author provides a little insight into the future as to what happened as a consequence of the player's actions. Most of them are quite detailed and informative. The companion also provides a map to us to be familiar with the areas. There are a few flaws, however. The scenario starts assuming the player knows all the details about the story. This makes the starting dialogues of some paths quite awkward for those who only glanced over the story section. Also the dialogues are very short sometimes and contained annoying ^^^ signs which made me doubt the seriousness of the scenario.
The instructions are precise but lacking. Although the author has included a detailed map in the 'scenario companion', there are only so many times you want to pause the game and look up s map. The least that could be done is to provide general directions in the Scouts section. For example - "Manzikert, to the extreme West". Also the diaries in the instructions are irregular and confusing. There are a few entries in third person, and a few in first person. (This is aside from the ones which contained the name of the author below them)

Additional Comments:
Shadows of Betrayal by Shieldwolf23 is a fine scenario which can inspire a lot of non-linear games. The method by which we select the characters and then follow up their respective parts in their story is quite innovative. The scenario, however, is not perfect and has quite a few flaws which I have pointed out. I hope I'm not too harsh in my judgment. If the author makes amends to the pointed mistakes, I would be happy to give him as much marks as he deserves.

This scenario in a line - "A buggy, but innovative game with lots of replay value"

[Edited on 09/24/12 @ 02:52 AM]

Taichud A sequel would be amazing, but I don't just want a sequel :), I want to see another part of history scenarioized like you did with this one.
File Author
Thanks Taichud! :) I have a scenario about Crecy (around 25% map done). I know it has been done here in AOK, so I don't know if it'll be welcome. Any special battle/ campaign you have in mind?
File Author
I greatly respect your opinion Mayank, although I think you have missed the one thing that could have prevented your major frustration. I am quite sure I have told the player NOT to pile up resources. If that sentence is there, and you just missed it, I'm quite sure it is totally right for me to at least request a revision of your review? :P -3 points for bugs that could have been avoided, and another deduction for the map design already reduced against playability? You are a hard man to please, buddy. Hehehe...

Yep, it was made to be a quick scenario, precisely because there are a lot of characters to choose from. I'm working on an update and a sequel too. Hoping to release a more polished version before the year ends. :)
Mayank Sharma
Official Reviewer
I am sure you will accept my apologies, because it was only after submitting the review that I realized how harsh I had been. I will edit my review as soon as possible.
However, my complaints against the 1000-mark restrictions will persist. ;)

[Edited on 09/24/12 @ 02:15 AM]

File Author
Will beefing up timed resources address the issue? Coz I don't want to get rid of my "anti-cheat" system. :)
Mayank Sharma
Official Reviewer
The problem will still remain even if you beef up the resources. You leave it for a minute while waiting for the resources to come, and it resets itself again. Personally, I wouldn't care if this map was mine and people cheated. You can only train trash units anyway, which doesn't make much of a difference.
File Author
Hmmm... You have a point there. Okay, I will get the 1,000 limit out. Thanks Mayank! :)
VenGalen Shieldwolf, congratulations on winning the ESR12, with great scenery Shadows of Betrayal, is a very good scenario and in my opinion the best of 2012 :)

I hope you can work on the sequel that you had mentioned earlier, would be a great scenario

I also hope you upload the next update you dimensioned Had you also, if you have time, I would like you to comment if you work on a sequel enverdad and updating from the shadows of betrayal and the progress of the same.
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Map Design4.0
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Size:23.00 MB