(Updated on 07/11/01
In the Caribbean, all it takes is a spark for tribal war to ignite...
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But when the tall ships of the Spanish and British arrive, the spark will be a blaze!
The Rogue el Guano is a vicious slave trader, an imprisoner of helpless tribesman and a master of the combat arts. Only through determination will the proud warriors of the Hakkasa tribe prevail. Only through careful logistics will the young British admiral John Sainsbury survive his war at sea against the Spanish traders.
Only through treachery will the good man Roberto become the Rogue el Guano.
This campaign has everything! From hidden temples to the Warriors Born of Fire, wild boar hunts to voodoo priests, zombie armies that rise from the grave and total body shaving, this is AOK as you've never seen it before.
Extra thanks go out to Guderian for all the sounds, Stan for playtesting and Kendo and Eraserhead for AI/trigger help.
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The War against el Guano is definitely a campaign you don't want to miss. I was impressed by everything about it. You want to know why? Read below.
This campaign had everything I expected it to... and more. I enjoyed some scenarios so much that I played them over and over and over...
Anyway, there are many things in the game that make it more playable, for example the many things you can do besides the objectives make this campaign playable. I played some
scenarios over just to make sure I didn't miss anything.
This was wonderfully done. At first I was thinking "Shoot... this is impossible!" But after a few tries there were things I realized that I'd missed. Then I found myself laughing at my foolishness, and when I went the "easier" ways that I'd found, there was still a challenge. Excellent work.
VERY creative. Another Aztec vs. Spanish campaign, but with many twists. For example, we start out as a fleeing Mayan tribe shipwrecked on an island and must rebuild and free our comrades. Then, in the next scenario, we are a British Admiral fighting against the Spanish and the Mayans/Aztecs. THEN, we are el Guano telling the story of his life...
That wasn't the only thing though, in the first scenario we can find a tribe that lives in a volcano and requires a Spanish Conquistador, which you must convert, and many things that were brand new and sometimes, exciting (including finding the remaints of the British navy before it sinks...). Only complaint: this was mostly B&D, so it brought it down a bit.
I really want to emphasise the author's work. This was beautiful. The jungles and islands look real and even the unimportant (so to speak) places were wonderfully done. After going over this a second time and using the "Marco" and "Polo" cheats (to see the map) I noticed little drawings in the minimap. And I saw a very nicely done swamp. To make this a long story short. I was there. I was in the Mexican area. Simply marvelous, the exotic jungles...
My only complaint is that some scenarios were mostly water and the overuse of flowers... which still looked good.
Brilliant. I'm running out of synonyms for great. The story was well told, mostly through the scenario, but parts were in the Opening (if I may call it that) and the ending. The instructions were very basic "Defeat so and so" and things like that. Still, what brought this up was the third scenario as el Guano explains his life.
-- +Plus/Minus- --
-Fun (for the most part)
-Some instructions hard to follow
To the author: You've done a wonderful job and I hope to see more scenarios from you in the future. Thanks for making such a great campaign.
To the readers: Download it, you certainly won't regret it! I really enjoyed it, and if you like B&D, all the better!
Well, if you have been waitng for a nice build and destroy campaign, the War against El Guano probably will make your heart content. If you prefer RPG kinds of scenario, move away from this one. And if you like a bit of both, you probably will be satiated in some points and get profoundly disappointed in others, like i was.
About the map design, i have only a sentence to say: It is fantastic. Period.
And not only the map design is great, the custom AI can make you sweat cold and make you grin when you finally overcome it. And to add more to the mix, the pre-scenario bitmaps and text, as well as the aftermath ones are beautifully drawn and written.
But by now you should have noticed that i gave story/instrunctions a puny 2, and here is the negative point that bogged down this entire campaign, and turned a promise of great fun into a deep, dank pool of dissapointment.
As much as the intro ext is good. The in-game text about characters talking to each other or putting detail in the story is, to say the least, insufficient. There are so many situations that could have deeper impact if only somebody said something when a important event happens. But that's not the problem really.
The problem is the scenario completely lacking instrunctions. You can see by the sheer size of the map and players that there is more to the scenarios than just beating up the other guy. And yet i got the strong feeling that the author either wanted me to not think that there were any side quests, or that he sickly wanted me to go out on stupid wild-goose chasings seeking some side-quest or some line of text that probably doesn't really exist.
In scenario 2, the hints say that you may or may not achieve peace with one of the foes. However, considering that this particular foe has seemingly unlimited units, it attacks you all the time, and exactly in the most vital part of your armies, you cannot help but look for some soluton to this. Well, guess what. The intrunctions have no clue at all as to what could possibly allow you to make peace with your enemies, it gives no indication that there may be a clue somewhere as to what needs to be done, and, considering the previous lack of story-deepening text, the only conclusion that i got was that i would either not find that way to make peace, or that would lose tons and tons of time and STILL not find any way to make peace. So i had to swallow hard and go the ignorant way, killing that enemy, knowing that i was losing a side quest.
And then, as if this was not frustrating enough, in scenario 3 it gets worse. You have but a single unit in what would be a mini RPG and the only thing you have in your objectives is : "that unit must survive". No Hints. No scouts. I walk around the city in err a merchant tells me he wants a rope, i walk around and absolutely nothing happens. Irritated, i emailed the author, who then told me i should find some barber shop. Turns out the barber shop is some blacksmith (without any sort of change name trigger or sign pointing that this blacksmith is a barber shop), and i found the rope i needed in there. I would NEVER (yes, never) have gotten any further in this scenario without emaling the author.
So, basically, this ghastly lack of instrucntions has pretty much RUINED the entire campaign. his could be in the best of the blacksmith. This could be a perfect 5. Hell, this could be a AOK CLASSIC! But it is not with this lack of instrunctions.
So, in the end, this is one of those campaigna in which the lacking of a simple thing ruined the experience. A shame. I have bogged down all scores because of this but Map design. They are based on how the campaign "feels", and when it feels dissapointing, these scores suffer. I have given a 2 to the story/instrucntions because, truth be told, the bitmap screen and aftermath screen deserve some justice.
A last word: Hope lives. If the author updates this campaign, and correctly solves this instrunctions problem, then this campaign might just become one of the most memorable ever.
|Ingo van Thiel
A very good B&D campaign with some interesting side-quests.
Pabsthooligan is one of the best map makers that AoK Heaven has seen. If I was to describe his map design in one word, it would probably be “hypnotic.” Definitely the best jungle terrain I have seen so far, with gorgeous towns on inviting islands... if it wasn’t for a couple of very unfriendly people who guard those islands, but that's all part of the fun. Even the currents of the ocean are crafted with a lot of attention to detail.
The balance in the first two scenarios is very good. You have to build up quickly to be able to survive, and the enemies will keep you on your toes.
The creativity of the scenarios is above average, although not outstanding. There are some nice side-quests that lead to more variety, and a few nice story twists.
The story and instructions are very well done. I liked the bitmaps as well as the style of writing: At its best, pabsthooligan's writing can create an image in the reader's head, so that you really see the waves crashing on the beach. Every now and then, the style shifts from an atmospheric setting to something more humorous. Sometimes the change from atmosphere to humor works well, sometimes it feels a bit inconsistent. A full score here, although a narrow one.
Before I start my main criticism, let me get something clear: I enjoyed this campaign very much! If the critical part is the longest, it’s only because problem parts take much more text to explain. So, here goes:
The last scenario needs some more work on the triggers and the gameplay. While you’re still walking, talking, or sitting at the barbershop to get a good shave, the enemy pirates build up and decimate the town’s fleet and army. The longer you take, the more enemies will be there, and the smaller your army will be when Los Gringos changes ownership to you and gives you the remainder of its forces. There should be a hint for players to hurry up. Then I didn’t find the excremental name of that French town very original or humorous... I am not opposed to swearwords if they contribute to the gameplay or if they help to depict a character (e.g. an old battler who constantly spits and curses), but here it just felt superfluous.
The main problem with the last scenario is that it is a bit hard if you don’t know what’s coming... but if you have a saved game, you can shamelessly exploit some events and make the game very, very easy for yourself. Suggestions for improvement: Los Gringos should definitely get some land units (hand cannoneers, paladins, champions etc.) when it turns against the player. Otherwise, players can park one or two bombard cannons in a safe spot of the town while they are still allied to it, and wreak havoc on the town from their safe position later. Another problem are trigger bugs. I got told to bring El Guano to the town center, but I had long razed the town center. The trigger still worked because it was an "bring object to area" condition. After that, I was supposed to talk to the town mayor, but my army had killed him already. Still the trigger worked when I brought El Guano to the place where the mayor had been, and the dead mayor still talked to me. I think there should be a condition that makes players lose if the town center of Los Gringos gets destroyed or if the town mayor gets killed, and they should be warned about that in the objectives. Another bug: A looping triggers creates some trade cogs near an enemy dock. This continues even if the enemy dock gets destroyed, the trade cogs keep appearing out of nowhere. Adding a "dock in area" condition to the trigger will fix this.
Last, but not least, the enemies were a bit weak when I was sailing with Los Compadres. The opponents did not stand a chance against my elite cannon galleons who bombarded their fortifications at the coast. I think they should have a stronger navy to keep up the pressure, and maybe one or two bombard cannons to fight back.
After this long list of bugs and suggestions, let me say it again: This is a good campaign, and it will be even better if the bugs in the last scenario get addressed. I had a lot of fun playing this work, and the map design alone is breathtaking.