Posted on 08/13/03 @ 12:00 AM (updated 08/21/03
Defend the Castle is a strategic game in which you must use your micromanagement skills to their full extent to last as long as possible.
The object is simple: Keep your castle standing as long as possible. Waves of Teutonic Knights and War Elephants will come charging as fast as they can run (which isn't very fast) and attempt to take down the castle. To kill them, you can use a variety of ways:
Your Engineers (villagers) can put up explosives (palisade walls) in an attempt to kill the enemy. Five seconds after an explosive is planted, it will detonate, killing or severely damaging everyone in its blast radius. Be careful.
Your main line of defense. You can train converts into archers or knights (explained below) to use against the enemy.
You can also train converts to be suicide bombers (petards with + attack). Especially effective against War Elephants.
Technically not a kill, but it is more effective. You can use Alchemists (monks) to convert enemy units to your side, and train them to be certain units using the menu to the right of your castle. Animals are not converted, but poisoned.
The game is based off the original game by XGen Studios. (www.xgenstudios.com) The original game can be found there.
This game has been tested many times over, and I believe all the bugs have been worked out. So, have fun!
To those who downloaded before 8/20/03: I have resubmitted the file before it appeared on the Blacksmith. If you have gotten this file before it appeared on the Blacksmith (via URL manipulation), please redownload it, because I have made an important bug fix.
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EDITED REVIEW OF DEFEND THE CASTLE!
Defend the Castle! is none of the common styles, it is more like a video game, arcade style, based on the original game by XGen Studios. Defend the Castle was the Blacksmith Feature on March 4, 2004. Your mission, to defend your castle against increasing waves of attackers.
PLAYABILITY: I liked the game. The enemy sends units against your castle and you defend as long as you can. You do not loose, the game continues until your castle is down, that is when you get your victory signal and the victory screen invites you to try again for a new record. The enemy units get stronger after every level you achieve. You rely to build up an army, get units for converting and units for achieving levels, which you train. Due to only one spawn point for trained and one for captured units you do not get all units you train or capture. After round one, I got five units to train, which I tasked individually, but got only three new units due to simultaneous arrival. In round two, my three monks converted three TKs, but I only got two units back, that are three extra units missing after the first minutes of game and even more on the following levels. When the computer cheats you out of the levels, it is best to add some heroes to see the rest of the game. Level 15 is supposed to last until the destruction of your castle; but the enemy unit production is too fast, and the attacks stop whenever a trebuchet and a ram block the bridge diagonal. 3+
BALANCE: I played the scenario with its initial setting; the difficulty varies with the civilization you chose. The first six levels are easy, meant to get into the game, but already level seven had many reloads, too many compared to level six. Level 10 was my limit and I was not motivated enough to beat it without editing due to the missing units. This is difficult to rate; I do not know how it plays when you get all units you are supposed to, the idea is that your castle will be destroyed sooner or later, so the game has to be unbalanced. Still I presume that already level twelve is unbeatable even with all units this game intends to offer. 4-
CREATIVITY: The best part, a unique style I did not play with AoK before, it is a great adaptation of the arcade game style. The custom made defend the castle AI by Tonto_DaVe is impressive with its increasing challenge and creative unit choice. Good explosive defence on the bridge, so you cannot amuse yourself with spawn point blocking. The games intro with instructions and credits was creative as well as the cheat control, which was surprising and funny; you have to see for yourself. 5
MAP DESIGN: The category is lacking effort; the castle area consists of a castle, a stable, a monastery, some towers, a gate and an archery range surrounded by one kind of tree done with a big brush. Outside are burning houses and a bridge across a river. The design served well the intended game play, which brings this category to average. 3
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Clear objective, well explained in the games intro, but there was no story. From the tutorial "If there are instructions but no story, the max score is a 3." I wished for the original games history or at least a bmp. I was confused at the games start, the resolution to use to line up the ninebands is necessary in the hint section. In addition, you get messages that food represents hours, gold minutes and stone seconds of game play for your records. In reality, food counts minutes, gold seconds and nothing for stone. 3
OVERALL: Defend the Castle is an adrenalin-pumping scenario.
SUGGESTIONS: Playability: Try a spawn point for each trained unit around the castle. In addition, different spawn points for the converted units in the training area. The player should get a unit for each conversion. Balance: The increase in difficulty from level six to seven is too much; it is like going from easy to hard in one level. Story/Instructions: Try a bitmap, inform us about the original game and tell a story.
OBSERVATIONS: The above is an edit of my original review from the 2003-09-25. I raised the rating for map design and creativity by one point each.
IN CLOSING: Download now, some entertaining evenings guaranteed.
Defend the Castle by zyxomma100 is a great single scenario, and is pulse pounding, nonstop micro-strategy. The challenging arcade game play is a creative AoK twist on the game of the same name by XGen Studios.
The game play is fast paced arcade action, and I had great time playing the challenging levels called rounds. The unique game play is awesome, and only the balance of difficulty and some confusion with the unit menu slightly diminished my playing experience. I did experience mild frustration at not being able to play beyond the 7th Round, but I had fun just getting there. Sometimes it seemed as though I didn't get one or two units after a conversion and I was also receiving units in the training menu and I wasn't sure if that was related to the way I was playing or something else. The just short of excellent rating could easily be improved by visiting the Balance and confusing elements. 4
The Balance of difficulty really is the weak point of the scenario; I only played on Moderate to the sixth round, and switched to Standard but didn't find any easier time of it really. The seventh round was where my castle was destroyed every time on those two levels and also where I finally lost interest. Since the intention is to achieve a personal best, I can rate this category without finishing all the levels available. The ideal balance would have let a Moderate player that I think I am achieve all levels on Standard or Easy. Then what happened in the Moderate level would have proved my lack of skill. I suggest enhancing the Standard Level through
triggers, and remove some of the attacking units or better yet don't spawn so many in Round 7. A more gradual increase in the enemy's strength and numbers was needed so that players can reach the top levels more easily on Standard or Easy. Also some additional instructions and hints could be given for the Standard and Easy levels. The balance created made for very challenging play, but unfortunately and rather abruptly the game becomes too difficult for the player to manage. 4
The creativity in this scenario is excellent. From concept to unique game play this is one of the most outstanding creative efforts in scenario design. The unique units created were interesting and fun to use while also creating new and different challenges. The start menu in the beginning was fantastic and is operated by a King or Hero King unit. The very calm King was new to my playing experience and the unit choice for the menu was perfect. From the very imaginative start menu one can
choose instructions that are given through an impressive cut-scene. The training menu was equally creative, and its concept purpose is a highlight of the game. I played with the saved civilization using standard settings, and the player unit choices were skillfully chosen for counter and defensive strategies. I don't know of a limit to creativity in regard to scenario design, but this design definitely has reached my threshold for excellence in this category. 5
The castle and town design is just above average, but the menus are precisely designed for function and are very intuitive. A few Gaia objects and the burning Towers do liven the castle design, only they are not enough to create a visual experience equal to the other creative aspects of the design. The menus are great and the stark plain design creates a favorable contrast to the more intricate castle and town. I suggest some more unique elements like map copied buildings, hand painted forest, and a complete perimeter wall might also complement the castle theme. 4
Story and Instructions:
There is only a brief description of the concept, and for the arcade theme it was adequate to forward me into the game. The maximum a review can give for a scenario without a story is 3. Hints, History, and an introductory bitmap could have raised the rating here. A suggestion would be to add a creative story about defending a castle and tailor it to the game play. Another suggestion is to give a more creative description of the concept or game play to improve the history aspect. There was confusion when I played where I couldn't determine why I was receiving units in the training menu, and this should have been a part of the instructions, and/or description. If I was receiving these units for achieving a level or some other reason like kills, I should have been made aware of it somewhere in the scenario. Other than the described experience the instructions were excellent and especially the exceptional in-game instructions given in a cut-scene presentation. 3
This is an outstanding scenario!
One of your stronger categories, this take-off of an arcade game is unprecedented in AOK (to my knowledge). It requires swift thinking, micromanagement and serious persistence to survive. The idea of rewarding the player for making it through each round is helpful, and I really enjoyed the exploding palisades to add to playability.
This scenario was extremely difficult for me. Yes, it's supposed to be, and the idea is to keep improving on your score, but I still had trouble. Perhaps adding a few more units or a bit stronger defenses at the beginning would sway the balance more into my favor. Or replace war elephants with a different unit.
Superb! As I said, this is unprecedented and it obviously took a lot of time with 317 triggers. A great idea and you definitely earned points with your exploding palisades, your remedy for the Marco-Polo cheat (I got a good laugh out of that), and for your walk through instructions at the start of the game.
Map Design: 3
You utilized only a very small portion of the map. My town was far from elaborate, with only a castle, another building and a bit of eye candy. This category could have been improved with a bit more effort on the hometown and perhaps I would have enjoyed some eye candy on the "chute" between my town and the river.
I'd give you a four because your instructions were so well thought-out, and I loved the walk through tutorial. However, the highest you can receive without a storyline is a 3. This easily would've been a five if you had spent a little bit of time to come up with a creative storyline. Why am I defending this castle? Who are these mysterious attackers? Why are they attacking me? Things like that would've raised this score.
A worthy download if you're looking for a different type of scenario that involves nonstop micro-management. This is definitely a thriller, but gets repetitive after a few tries.
Defend the Castle by Zyxomma100 is an arcade-style scenario in which the player must use a unique training system to defend a castle, as the name suggests. The scenario is well throughout and good all around.
Playability: VERY good indeed! The player must use a combination of skill and luck to hold off the never-ending enemy force. Not only is the gameplay good, the scenario has replay value, which is fairly rare.
Balance: Too hard. I felt the author did what he intended with the gameplay, making it extremely difficult, but in my opinion the scenario is just plain too hard. The designer used War Elephants and Teutonic Knights for most of the enemy force, which are two of the most powerful units in the game. Perhaps weaker units, like long swordsmen and archers, could be used to make the scenario easier.
Creativity: This is where the scenario truly shines. The player converts enemies, at which point he can create knights (paladins), archers (longbowmen), suicide bombers (super petards), alchemists (monks), and engineers (villagers). I should note that engineers can set up bombs, and the bombs would go off with deadly effects. The author went to great lengths to make this system work, and I feel that this should be rewarded with a five.
Map Design: The map is simple, with a short north-south playing arena. The inclusion of burning houses and some flowers and paths makes the area look pretty good.
Story Instructions: The instructions are clear and well thought out, but no plot is included. The author could include many different plots, such as an explanation of this mysterious enemy attack, or a hero character who explains more and more of the plot as scenario progresses.
Overall: An awesome scenario, worthy of a place in the best of Age of Kings. The author should continue designing; I am looking forward to more designs from him!