Posted on 03/22/04 @ 12:00 AM (updated 04/08/04
This is an Updated version of The Departure. This is a small cutscene scenario, but you will move the person around the city.
*Note: To load the ship, Take Haris down the pier, not the dock.
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The Departure is a short, cutscene scenario, where three childhood friends (all born on the same day, and commanders of the Italian Army) depart to fight the German antagonists, who are raiding Italy's shores. The attack goes horribly wrong, and the good ship Interceptor is lost on the high seas. The scenario ends when a message in a bottle is picked up on the shoreline, giving a hint that some of the crew may have survived. After I had finished wondering why a king would be so foolish as to cram his entire army aboard a single ship, I concluded that it was not a bad effort. It would have been much more enjoyable, however, it hadn't been marred by several trigger bugs and cutscene issues. At the beginning, where Joseph and Francis tell you to get aboard the ship, I wasn't sure where the ship was. Both of them were being loop-tasked to the dock, so I figured I had to move Haris to the dock to board the ship. After some time of running my unit around the dock, I figured out that the ship was actually on the pier next to the dock. I moved Haris next to the ship, he boarded it, and I waited for Joseph and Francis to follow me. However, they didn't move, as they were still being tasked to the dock. D'oh! The ship set sail a few seconds later, leaving my two friends still on land. Nothing happened after that, I had reached a dead-end in the cutscene. When I played it again, the cutscene continued past that point as normal -- just a strange quirk. One last major bug I noticed came at the part where the German ships kill the Interceptor. The triggers were set so that when the Interceptor is sunk, your view is tasked to the location where the ship is. This is a rather inefficient way to do things, as the player doesn't really see the ship get sunk, and leads to confusion about the plot. When I played it, I didn't know that Interceptor was sunk, all that happened was that I was tasked to an empty bit of water and got a text message of "JUMP SHIP!" +3
According to Review Tutorial, cutscenes (or scenarios where combat was not the author's intention) are not subject to balance, and will get an instant 5 rating in that category. 5
There are a few fairly novel tricks used in The Departure, such as realistic waves lapping the shoreline and the pier beside the dock. It has a nice looking .bmp to complement it. Unlike many other cutscene scenarios, there were playability elements in it (it is your job to move your character around). In a cutscene so short, there isn't very much to review in creativity. 5
A mixed bag. On one hand, the city where the game plays out was very attractive, with nice use of proximity that could have been done by a professional city-planner. The palace of King Jacob was situated on a promontory facing out to see, and the rest of the town was houses aligned along a road to the palace and docks. However, there could have been more eye-candy, and the oceans looked a bit bland, especially in the bit where the Interceptor is sunk -- just lightish water with no colour gradients. And in the city all of the civilians have been loop-tasked to the ground to prevent them from wandering about. This completely paralyses them, and gives the impression that you are wandering around a town full of statues. It looks very unrealistic, and is detrimental to the score. +3
It has an OK (if somewhat predictable) storyline, but the designer could have explained a bit clearer where you are supposed to go. Maybe a pure cutscene would have been better and a lot less confusing? -4
Short, but well worth playing. Provided the bugs are corrected, this could turn into a very enjoyable campaign.