Posted on 08/17/14 @ 03:59 PM (updated 08/28/14
Rome, 80 AD
||Age of Empires II (2013): The Forgotten
Antonius, a common Roman civilian comes back from a long, hard day in the fields to sell his goods at the Forum Romanum. Rome never has a normal day, but today is even more eccentric, as today, the Colosseum is bound to open.
Puzzle your way through Rome, as Antonius, a pissed off Roman who holds a grudge towards the Emperor at the day of the grand opening of the Colosseum.
1. Please only play the scenario on standard difficulty. The scenario relies on game mechanics that break on higher levels.
2. As it is a puzzle scenario, only 1 difficulty level is available. If you want to make it harder, you can play without reading the objectives. The in-game dialogue should provide you with enough information.
3. The scenario has background music and dialogue, because of that, it is advised to play on normal or slow speed.
4. Save after a puzzle!
Made by Cysion for MGC14
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"The Colosseum" is a puzzle scenario with several challenging puzzles to solve. When it works it's a lot of fun, such as when you let loose a pair of elephants on the Emperor. Unfortunately the scenario has some bugs: it's possible, for example, to enter the tower with Germanius without taking the keys from the Sagitarrius, thus setting off triggers that aren't supposed to go off yet, and having dialogue bits with Germanius playing even after he's gone from the game. All in all it's fun, but it could've been better had the bugs been fixed.
Judging the balance of a puzzle scenario is tricky, as a puzzle requires more than micromanagement and war tactics from the player. What you're basically judging is how much thought, knowledge and reasoning the average player has to put into each puzzle to complete it, if this level is reasonable, and if the puzzles make sense. Most of the puzzles in this scenario were well-balanced in this regard. The first puzzle, where you have to find your way into the city, was not unfortunately, due to the bug that makes it a lot easier to finish. I also thought the final puzzle was pretty nonsensical: the main character talks about an abandoned siege engine he saw somewhere, but there is no such thing on the entire map; it also seems highly unlikely that the Emperor would go drink from his water supply immediately after it was bombarded with strange rocks. It's a nonsensical way to win and it seems like an arbitrary solution rather than a well though-out puzzle. Also, when you're walking around the city in armor, it's nearly impossible to survive, as the guards attack you and follow you around wherever you go.
The puzzles and the gameplay is pretty creative: for example, having to scare away elephants with fire was a pretty inventive trick. The high point here, though, is the voice acting: every line of dialogue is spoken as well as written, and even though the fake Italian accent can be a bit jarring at times, it's still a big plus for the scenario.
MAP DESIGN: 4
The scenario looks good, and the Italian building set is put to good use to create a believable Roman city. Nothing stands out as amazing, but the map is still solid, and above average.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 4-
To put it bluntly, the story makes no sense. The main character arrives in Rome to sell his crops, and then out of the blue decides to assassinate the Emperor for no apparent reason. The motivation for his wrath (the Emperor built the Colosseum where his old family home used to be) is pretty weak and not well-conveyed, as the main character is forgettable and has little to no personality. The instructions, on the other hand, are generally good and helpful; the only time I was lost was when the scenario bugged out on me, and that doesn't drag the score down here.
The Colosseum is a Puzzle Minigame scenario by Cysion which was an entry to the 2014 Minigame Competition. The scenario placed well in the competition tying for third place.
The Colosseum is a Puzzle scenario set in Rome at the height of the Roman Empire. The basis of the scenario is to complete a set of puzzles around the Cory which will provide you with access to the Emperor in order to assassinate him. The puzzles in this scenario where clever and very well thought through and provide some great entertainment for players who like to engage their brain. It’s a different type of gameplay for this sort of game. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of puzzle scenario but this was enjoyable. There were a few bugs but nothing that won’t stop you from finishing the scenario.
Judging the balance of puzzle scenario is more of a personal judgement as it all depend on how good you are at these sort of puzzles. For me I get that the scenario was on the harder side as I’m not the best at these sort of things and there weren’t as many hints and clues as I’d have liked to help me. I got stuck numerous times trying to figure out what to do next. Whilst some players may find this easier than myself, others will find it a lot more difficult so it’s all to do with how well you do with problem solving and lateral thinking.
Puzzle scenarios always require a great deal of creativity to come up with well balanced puzzles which require a lot of thinning for the player. Cysion has certainly done this well and there are some very creative design tricks found within this scenario. The ultimate highlight though is the voice over that comes with the scenario. Each line of dialogue is not only written as text but heard through a recorded voice over which is absolutely brilliant.
Map Design: 4
It takes a great deal of skill to make a good looking map of such a small base. Mini games are designed on a 25x25 sized map, which is incredibly small. You have to plan out your scenario first before making your map to ensure that everything fits into such a tight place. This map recreated a small part of the city of Rome and utilises the Italian Building Set found in the Forgotten Expansion. New buildings such as the Colosseum and Aqueducts can be found all places on a map that utilises excellent terrain mixing and eye candy. The map is made well but there isn’t anything that really stands out exceptionally. Elevation could also be used to further extent.
This is probably the scenarios weakest aspect. While there is an element of a story it’s pretty nonsensical and Plot points come up out of the blue. The reasoning behind the characters motivations were also weak. Instructions were included and helped the player through the scenario but as I said previously, more hints and clues were needed to help the player complete certain puzzles, especially if they’re not as skilled at thinking in the way the puzzle intends.
Overall this is a good scenario and well worth its podium position in the competition, but could do with a few tweaks to perfect its idea.