Out of the four entries to the AoK Vanilla Contest, this one was my favourite. It has a very nice medieval, Arthurian feel, which stems from the soundtrack as well as the atmosphere created by the story and design. Even though the gameplay is pretty basic, and even though the story often jumps through events very quickly (Gawain and his men go through TWO storms in the title screens in between the scenarios!), it's quite fun to play. The final boss is the best part, even though it has its flaws: for example, you can only win by destroying the trebuchet, but the most logical thing to do is to destroy the palisades which have less HP.
Probably the weakest part of the campaign, as it is overall very easy. You can run through most of it the battles without breaking a sweat, and it's only during the final segments of each scenario that you face a real challenge. The final boss is pretty well-balanced, though.
There were quite a few creative touches, like the cracked bridge used as a pier, the trail of dead bodies, the fact that other ships can ram you if you get too close. The boss fight in particular was quite clever. The side quests honestly didn't add much to the main gameplay, though, and should've been scrapped altogether or extended (although if they were extended, the main story would need to be extended too as it's quite short!)
MAP DESIGN: 3
The first scenario is very nice to look at. It mixes packed towns and castles with open clearings and fields in a very natural manner, and when you're playing it feels like an open world even though you're actually restricted to a few set paths. Some places are a bit too simplistic, like the open sections of leaves, but overall it looks quite nice. The second scenario is not quite as pretty. The design is more blocky and flat, and the brown mountains surrounded by palm trees look out of place. The design of the cave and the two towns is still pretty nice, though.
STORY & INSTRUCIONS: 3
The story is fun and pleasant to follow, but it does feel rushed. The first scenario throws you right into the action with little backstory, and the aftermath of the second scenario is very brisk, a bit of an anticlimax considering we've just ventured through half of Europe to save the princess (although granted most of it happened in between the scenarios!). There are quite a few spelling errors, but none of them are grave enough to affect the score as the story and instructions are still easy to follow.
ALL IN ALL: A pleasant ride through Arthurian times!
[Edited on 01/03/15 @ 06:34 AM]