(Updated on 06/18/05
|Ingo van Thiel
||Age of Kings
|Number of scenarios:
This tale begins where The Quest ended.
You are Charles, one of King Bernard's best commanders. The last war has turned you and your friend Siegfried into heroes, but King Bernard has claimed the glory for your deeds. But all this is a thing of the past for you, Charles. You have seen too many battles, and you know what glory is worth. Actually, you even grinned when King Bernard gave himself the title 'The Brave'; Oh well. Why not let him if he wants to?
Unfortunately, Siegfried finds it much harder to deal with the outcome. Whenever he has had one drink too many, he will roar about the room that King Bernard is the greatest coward who ever walked on this earth. Dangerous words indeed, words that should not even be breathed in public. You have been watching over Siegfried, and you have managed to keep him out of trouble.
You should never have walked into this doomed country inn...
Just one minute ago, Siegfried was silently staring at his beer cup. But now he slowly rises from his seat, pressing his knuckles on the table. He bursts out into a song of defiance, a song that mocks King Bernard the Brave for his lack of bravery.
You pull Siegfried by the shoulder to stop him, but it is too late. Three men at the next table are jumping up and casting fierce looks at you and your friend...
Recommended settings: Normal speed, moderate difficulty, music turned off. Most of the time you'll be playing a fixed force game, but sometimes you'll have to build up... and to do it fast. Like its prequel 'The Quest' this campaign is designed to be tough, but winnable. If you have some experience with the game and like tactical challenges, go for it... and don't forget what the Save button is good for! ;-)
Important: Sound files are a must for this campaign! So let me talk you into downloading them as well. Each sound zip is about 2 MB big (I know, I know, they'll take some time to download - but they're worth it!). Extract all files to your Age of Kings folder - they should go to the right directories. You can get the first file Here and the second Here
Special thanks to everybody who playtested this campaign! The playtester's names are mentioned in the 'History' section of the first scenario.
The story starts in The Quest
For more of the author's work click Here and Here
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
As soon as I saw "The Kings' Best Men" on the top of the newly added campaigns list, I quickly downloaded it and the two accompanying sound archives, without any second-thoughts or hestitations. I just spent the last couple hours playing and re-playing the 5 scenarios which this masterpiece composes of. Conclusion: This is probably the best campaign yet to be released in the Age series.
I would give it a 6/5, no, a 12/5, if I could. The designer of AoE and RoR classics like "Bundonian Tales" and "The Tai Gun" is back, big time, with "The Kings' Best Men", a campaign you will not want to miss.
I totally speechless, as it concerns playability. Each and every one of the five scenarios is so fun, you will want to play it again. And again. To see how the plot changes, according to the paths you take. Do you remember those old "Choose your own ending" books for kids? This campaign is just like it. It shows that the designer spent countless hours completing each of these elaborate and highly enjoyable scenarios.
Though I usually don't stray away from my "One paragraph per critrea" review formula, I must commend the designer for making hilarious jokes in each of the scenarios! ROFL half of the time, I guarantee. I would tell you one or two of the jokes and puns, but I wouldn't want to spoil your surprise... I'm still giggling over one of the jokes in the second scenario...
Creativity left me totally flabberghasted. The dazzling circuses, the intense and touching cut-scenes, the human cannonball, the message in the bottle, the dock with the cranes... the list is endless. This campaign demonstrates skillful and creative use of the AoK Map Editor, showing us that our complaints about the editor's confined limits are downright dumb... With an imagination like Ingo's anything is possible.
The Map Design left me bewildered as well. I had no idea that making a believeable waterfall was possible, but Ingo Van-Thiel proved me wrong. I had no idea that making realistic inns, escape routes, capital cities, sleepy villages and other pleasant surprises were possible, but... well, you know the continuation. Ingo Van-Thiel definately sets the design standard all designers should aspire to achieve.
The Balance was absolutely perfect, in the perfect meaning of the adjective. None of the scenarios were too easy, yet they were all winnable with some careful reading of the instructions and the hints. There will not be one time you won't be on the edge of your seat, and there will not be one scenario in this campaign when in its end you won't feel relieved and victorious.
The Story/Instructions were great as well. All the introductory stories are unforgettable stories, built on lucid characterizations and elegant prose. Ingo Van-Thiel reaches a great achievement -- without so much as a flashy phrase.
The hints are numerous and helpful... you most likely won't win without carefully reading them.
Another point I would like to commend Ingo for is the credits in the history sections of the scenarios... Ingo demonstrates maturity and morality other designers should aspire to.
Will we ever achieve a perfect scenario/campaign? Will we ever accomplish this incredible feat? I don't know the answer, but with the release of this classic, "The Kings' Best Men" it seems like we are approaching that point very much indeed.
I played this campaign on hardest in the AOK,It proved to be a worthy challenge.Thank goodness for savegame.The intensity was great,whether you were doing battle or on a quest. Also, there wasn't a single bug or any lag.
This was a role playing with strategy and some build and destroy aspects.The balance was great,never was there a moment where you could let your gaurd down.
This is the crucks of this campaign.There was alot of things that I've never seen before.The triggers were smooth as glass.Don't get me wrong,every catagory is full of creativity.
This was a masterpiece.Great use of elevation,texture,terrain and plenty of eye candy.The towns and fortresses were laid out good.If all the trails were laid out straight,they would stretch a mile.
The campaign had a interesting story,with great dialogue and plenty of good hints and instructions.
In closing,If you could only download one campaign,this is it.
This is a masterpiece of work!
In the first scenario,gunmens almost killed Joan before I exit.Being a fugitive is very exciting.
I must confess I cheated in the last scenario using marco polo at the countdown.Panic!
This campaign kept me playing due to the hard parts like when armies try to kill you because you stole something important and hard attack to defend against.(Excuse me for my English)
A great map design-5
Playability overwhelm what I ask for-5(6)
Balance is just perfect-5
The story is something unavoidable and instructions are clear-5
This was the best AOK Campaign I have ever played. There is never a dull moment and never the so-called "grind" that we are familiar with. In "certain" scenarios (don't want to spoil the suspense) it takes more than brute force tactics to win battles. The trigger work is absolutely fabulous and the story is extremely fluid.... and very unexpected.
As balanced as a tight rope walking act. Never unwavering and though difficult at times, never impossible. All the scenarios require really shrewd use of military tactics, as brute force won't always win the day. Tip: The monk-Hero combination is a very very potent weapon if manipulated by a skilled player.
Well... if I could give six, I would have done so. Triggers and heros notwithstanding, I think that the story was the best part of this campaign. It was VERY well thought out with carefully added aspects of subtle humor, suspense, drama and plain adrenaline rushes.
Map Design: 5
The trails leading to the objectives were as twisted as the plot and always full of giddy adventure and danger. The maps were very well designed and they never gave the feeling of been-there-done-that. A lot of hardwork has gone into the maps and it shows in the 30000+
I have already talked about the story line in "creativity", but I again want to say that it is the best story line in an AOK campaign (including Microsoft's).
What are you doing here and reading this? Produce more scenarios, damn you :p. For the record: This is simply the best AOK campaign ever designed. Congrats Ingo van Thiel, keep up the good work mate.
It's just so well done... And it's a real campaign, with 5 episodes, and everything went just smooth and easy, even when it's time to use your brain.
It gets a little tough sometimes, I played on the middle difficulty level, as asked, and still lost almost... no one. But I hate waisting friends, and there is always an... interesting way around...
Mostly the story line is amazing, sometimes it gets huge and sometimes it's just a nice, and even very funny, moment with just a couple of close people. And some tricks are just way too smart for... words!
Map Design: 5
Everything looks beautiful but real!
Perfect... as much as it could be.
AoK Master piece. I'll take a little rest before trying your other pieces.
[Edited on 07/03/06 @ 03:41 PM]
Excuse me for my bad english - I'm from sweden. ;-)
Fun and addictive! That's the least one can say. I didn't found any bugs whatsoever and every scenario went on smoothly right to the very end.
The balance was very good! You can feel a big difference between Easy and Hard when you are playing TKBM. Sometimes it can be tricky, but it never gets too easy or impossible to finish a level. Great job on balancing the game.
We couldn't ask for more creativity. There are lots of tricky and especially funny moments in the game that nobody had seen before 2000. The cirkus on "Level 4" is one example, or the prison with the message. All conversations are also good and in the right tempo. Of course the Dam-explosion in Level 3 is the creative highlight of this campaign.
Map Design: 5
For a map made in year 2000, this is absolutely phenomenal. It has certainly been much work done to design these maps. I love the town in level 4. Taking control of that was like a dream. Captivating. The map is really good while not going overboard with eyecandy. Ingo also like to use "Tree A" to "F" for additional design support. A clever idea.
Perfect instructions! I knew exactly what to do without a doubt. Even the hints were good and helpfull. Nothing to complain about here.
Mr. Van Thiel started his AOK Journey with "The Quest" and then went on with "The King's best men". It's absolutely worth to download this campaign, despite it being so old. You will have a fantastic playtime with good music, much puzzles to solve and a good laugh. TKBM demonstrates the possibilities of the editor which Ingo perfected in this campaign.
Download this. You won't regret it!
[Edited on 03/31/13 @ 10:25 PM]