Last Hope of the Great East
A religous empire has sprung to life in the wastelands of the Illakrien Sea fueled by hordes of fanatical devotees and perpetuated by the insatiable greed and blind arrogance of men. In the East the once great city of Gamel clings to the fleeting memories of its legendary former glory. Now the last bastion of high culture, a remnant of a more civilized time, Gamel is the victim of a changing world and a failing economy. Though Gamel has lost much of its affluence and power it is still a great place of learning for within the city is a great library built so long ago that neither it nor the tomes it contains bear any remembrace of the noble race that laid its foundation
||Age of Kings 1.0
|Number of scenarios:
Inside its walls and catacombs is stored most of the worlds material knowledge, the oldest histories, the greatest works of science, the most insightful perceptions of the natural world. Now the Jearkahn Empire marches east to lay its hands upon all the wealth of Gamel that is yet unspent and to destroy the last great regional opposition to their faith.
The player must aid the city in making preparations for war and then defend the cities walls. The Siege of Gamel scenarios, the second of the two, if very very difficult but certainly not impossible. It has been carefully designed so that only the most clever player will succeed. You must use every element of the game to your advantage to acheive victory and success may not come on the first try. The only advice ill give is that things will probably get so bad as too look beyond hope before you will have an opportunity to win so dont give up.
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This campaign is the oldest of those not reviewed, and a wonderful find. Given it was made around the same time as "The Quest" it is all the more impressive.
The campaign consists of a role playing level to start with where you must secure alliances from the surrounding peoples, then a defend style B&D mission. The levels are put together with skill, and are a lot of fun to play. The gameplay can be very exciting at times - even in the first level there was a part where you pretty much clear out the pirates base, only to have transports appear loaded with men who try to take the area back. In this scenario there is an issue with the sheep mini-quest - you mustn't kill any of the sheep while they belong to the enemy or you will not be able to complete the mission. I somehow managed to kill one on my first attempt and had to start again.
The campaign is balanced perfectly - the first mission is an easier and enjoyable role playing mission, which involves some simple puzzle, and has a few skirmishes. The main mission is a fast paced defend scenario where the enemy attacks continue late into the game - the triggers and AI are set up perfectly and the base is designed to have many weak points. The enemy attacks you from every possible angle, and you need to think quickly and make good decisions, as well as be a little innovative to stop each attack. Although it is very difficult, the nature of a B&D mission like this means that there is always a way, and you will get better at it each time you play. The campaign took me a few restarts and was never frustrating, and "hard" difficulty offers a new challenge should I replay it some day.
The scores of creativity and map design are a little higher based on when this was made - the sheer skill and use of triggers is surprising when most campaigns at this time were remixed random maps. The computer players behave intelligently and often surprise you with sneak attacks. The story is entirely the author's creation, and a lot of effort pays off here. The map has a unique layout providing very interesting gameplay in defending the city.
Map Design: 5
The map is very beautiful, with nice eye candies, and skillful use of Gaia objects - a whole forest is made out of Gaia trees, something I always look for. This is so much better than dragging a terrain across everything, which most people still do today. Given the low profile of map design at the time it is all the more impressive. The eye candy is well balanced and not overdone, while the city is designed for functionality and realism as well as beauty. It serves all 3 purposes well.
The story is skillfully written and very detailed. The invasion is a fiction story, but your people are very much like a Middle Eastern civilization, and it could just as easily have been a historic campaign. Many dialogues are used, and the story is very dynamic and well thought out. Instructions are made very clear, and change during the level, making effective use of display instructions triggers. Victory is a little sudden in the two scenarios, not giving time for a message to appear first, and there is no bitmap, but it's not surprising given how young scenario design was at this time.
An unrecognized classic of old, and a recommended download.
Last Hope of the Great East is one of those Forgotten but brilliant campaigns.
The Campaign consists of one RPG type scenario and one B&D/DtS scenario. These two scenarios are both very fun and very exciting out. They blend together well and are very well laid out.
The balance is perfect. The first mission is an easier and enjoyable role playing mission, which involves some simple puzzle, and has a few skirmishes. The main mission is a fast paced defend scenario where the enemy attacks continue late into the game. The base has some weaker points that you must defend even more and some soldiers arrive by boat too.
I have made the scores of creativity and map design are a little higher based on when this was made - the sheer skill and use of triggers is surprising when most campaigns I have played from this time were remixed random maps. The story has come from nowhere and a lot of effort pays off here. The map has a unique layout providing very interesting gameplay in defending the city
Map Design: 5
The map is very beautiful, with nice eye candies, and skilful use of Gaia objects. There is a whole forest is made out of Gaia trees. The eye candy is well balanced and not overdone, while the city is designed for functionality and realism as well as beauty
the story is very fun, entertaining and interesting. I found it skilfully written and well laid out. The instructions were very clear and I knew what I was doing at all points.
Edited for typos
[Edited on 02/03/11 @ 02:47 PM]
"Last Hope of the Great East" is a two part campaign depicting a fictional city under threat from an emerging power in the region. While there is an interesting story hook, the gameplay is quite simplistic.
The two scenarios both take place on the same map;one is a build up mission where the player must walk around to various tribes to elicit their support for the upcoming struggle. That leads into mission two, with a large army appearing in front of the walls of Gamel. This first scenario involves a great deal of walking back and fourth between objectives with little gameplay;only some pirates that can be smashed with your imperial age army.
The real deal starts in mission two, with the siege situation. A seemingly powerfully enemy with many elite units such as Elephants and Huskarls alongside Trebuchet and Siege Rams. Later on scripted transport ships land even more units, though oddly these men often stand passively for long periods of time before finally waking up. Even with me sitting back and letting the action unfold on its own, it took over 30 minutes for the attackers to finally reach the main keep and slay my hero.
In summary, I found the gameplay to be quite boring with long walks or sluggish AI that barely puts up a fight.
The problem here is the player actually starts in imperial age, with multiple layers of fortified walls and massive resources, similar to a death match. The few siege units are quickly sniped by cavalry, the elephants can be converted or pikemen spammed, and huskarls clearly dont do well against cataphracts the Byzantines like to field. Defending this fortress is simply a cakewalk, and the enemies the can actually replenish themselves have only feudal age upgrades. You will see long swordsmen with +1 against any fully upgraded imperial age unit the Byzantines would like to field. The inbound transport ships can either be preempted by towers, destroyed where they start, or simply ignored as the player can overpower the landing troops anyway.
There are some good concepts here that could result in a great campaign, but the simplistic nature of the game betrays any expectations there. Two scenarios that take place on the same map, with one being a build up to the next, is good but when you arrive in the second scenario you will find the results you worked for have been eroded instantly. Your allies are enemies again, and you have new objectives to accomplish to gain their support and neutralize them. The story hook is quite nice as well, with an intriguing fictional world that is not explored ingame. The gameplay itself simply relies on the games AI to carry the weight, with their units carelessly placed adjacent to the walls and some triggers to deposit the contents of some transport ships on some fixed locations.
Map Design 2
Struggling to compete with a random maps on a technical aspect, this scenario has vast stretches of completely blank terrain. There are elevations utilized to break up some of the flat territory and some terrain mixing at points, but its entirely of a simplistic nature. City areas consist of vast stretches of both the ordinary white cobble and the broken cobblestones with symmetrical building placement. Tree placement on the map is entirely inadequate, with tiny forests not sufficient for a wood-hungry B&D and the city area left looking quite sparse.
Plotwise, its quite interesting. A fanatical religious empire rises from the wastelands directing its fury at the last bastion of civilization in the East. However, there is little of this ingame with just some dialogues interacting with various tribal leaders. The writing quality is reasonable and its style makes a compelling read. The hints are substantial but of little value, seeming to be of value only to the most rank beginner and rather inexplicable at times in their instruction.
Final Thoughts:Some may say this scenario has merits due to its being one of the very first, if not the first acceptable and playable scenario on AoKH. However, AoK did not release in an empty vacuum, and if you include the existing AoE1 scenarios as equal competitors at this time, the game is clearly not at a high tier. Nonetheless, I would recommend a download based on historical interest alone, but if you want a campaign with good gameplay to spend your time on you should look elsewhere.
[Edited on 10/08/17 @ 03:59 PM]