As Britain Lay Bleeding: A Pendragon Saga #1
Posted on 10/27/01 @ 12:00 AM (updated 10/31/01
Britain is in a time of deep crisis. She lies defenseless as hordes of barbarians swoop down from the north. But out of this anguish, a new ruling family will arise. It is the House of Constantine… the royal family that will eventually produce a legendary monarch known as King Arthur. This campaign tells the story of Arthur’s royal house decades before he himself was even born. Here you will encounter the villains and heroes who shaped the early history of the Arthurian Age: Constantine the noble, Vortigern the ruthless, Guithelinus the holy. Witness the birth of Merlin and the invasion of the Saxon horde. The Pendragon Saga begins here.
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Be sure to download and install the Campaign and Sound Effects File (entitled Pen#1CPX+SFX), as well as the Music File (entitled Pen#1Music). Both are necessary for playing the game.
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Designer’s Notes: Several weeks after completing my work on Empire Earth, I found myself getting the old scenario-designing itch again. I resolved to complete an unfinished dream: the complete history of the House of Pendragon, leading up to King Arthur’s birth. And so I returned to the same material from which I’d created THE COMING OF THE UNBORN KING for AoK so many months ago. But now I have turned back the clock even further to commence the tale of Arthur’s family with his first royal ancestor, Constantine.
But also I decided to draw more heavily from the historical records which claim to document Arthur’s time, primarily Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “History of the Kings of England,” written in the 12th Century AD Gone are many of the romantic trappings of Sir Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte de Arthur.” This is the saga of a brutal age and a brutal ruling family. I hope you enjoy where I have taken the tale.
The special music files I created for this campaign were composed by Jerry Goldsmith for the feature film "The Lion in Winter." Do not copy or distribute them. If you dig this music, go and buy the cd of the movie soundtrack!!
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Note: the previous review should be deleted.
This will probably be the last AoK campaign/scenario I will have played, and I am glad it was this good.
The game was perfectly laid out. Each segment of each scenario led on seamlessly to the next, and the storyline, however predictable (as I know quite a bit about the history), drew you in and didn't let go. I must also say that this is the only camapign that has ever invoked any emotions in me, and that, to my mind, gets a 5.
In some battles (the winnable ones, that is) the enemy almost overwhelms you. You are left with small numbers of advanced troops to continue. Although you can make "trash units" like scout cavalry, these are soon slaughtered by the siege onagers of the enemy in the second mission. By contrast, in the 3rd mission, the waves of Saxons are quite easy to repel, as long as you follow the hints. Not quite perfect, then, so, a 4.
The idea of King Arthur scenarios is not new at all, but not many people think of making a prologue to his life, if he existed. Gordon Farrell uses it to great effect in this campaign. Although there are no really new tricks, the guidelines specify I cannot subtract points for that. A solid 5.
Map Design: 4
The map was attractive, yet nothing special. It was good to see the same map changing subtly in each scenario, but the design does not merit a 5. Another 4.
Here, Farrell has excelled! The instructions are clear and the story, as mentioned earlier, is brilliant. The history is well written, and, although there are no Scouts, they are not needed. A 5.
I recommend this campaign to all AoK players out there.
As soon as a saw this campaign in the blacksmith i said to myself "I must review this". I downloaded it and played thrue it. Even if another review was already posted i will review this, and i hope that i wont dissapoint you.
Playablitiy:(5) I give playability 5 because the scenario was extremely fun to play all the time and i did not find any really bad parts. I found some bugs, but i wont let them lower the score. 1. Under the seige of the small fishing town, the AI got stuck whit the Seige Onaglers and never entered the city. Try to make a bigger path. 2. In the 3rd scenario you where able to research cartography and se all allied units on the map... Not good. Disable it! I loved the music and it almost made me cry sometimes. Great job!
Balance:(5) I found the scenario almost perfect in difficulty. It wasnt inpossible anytime but some scenes where pretty hard. I had no problems in the 2nd scenario whit the onaglers, i took down most of the whit the Capatracts and the rest whit Light Cavalery.
Creativity:(5) I found many nice and well-made scenes in the scenario, like the fleeing villagers in the 1st scenario and the first scene in the 3rd ( I wont spoil it for you, but you almost cry)
Map Design(4) I wasnt sure if i should give map design "5" or "4" but i gave it a "4" because of some pretty ugly map-parts. In some places there where lots and lots of Sea-rocks gathered in a small area and that didnt look very nice. I like the way you used different grass and dirt, but there where to little evelation in the scenario and the ground looked to flat.
Story/Instructions: I think the instructions where really well-done and you never asked yourself "What am i supposed to do now?". The story was amazing and never boring, and the music added lots to it.
Final Thoughts: Great scenario that everyone should play! Download now! And dont cheat yourself... Download the music pack!!!
Introduction - There are many reasons why I downloaded this scenario. The author did a nice description of the whole campaign in the description area. And it's a nice name for the campaign. Nice.
Playability - The playability deserves a "5" because one thing of course is that it's really fun. I'm being dragged into the story, and waiting to go to the end of what happened! Every scenario had a easy and a hard part. Even it out.
Balance - Not all too bad, but with less units to command and to destroy a large mass of army is really outmatched. I tried not to do cheats. The author could even the power a bit. But I like challenges.
Creativity - ...You might played several Medievil scenarios or campaigns but this one truly a masterpiece of the story of King Arthur. It's not new, but somehow it sounds new to me after I played and finished the campaign.
Map Design - I saw nice mixed of terrain, but I can't spot any eye-candies anywhere. The map design was wonderfully layout but with no attractive eye-candies.
Story/Instruction - Magnificent!I can't tell how much I loved the story and the description of it's history and how astonishing how he writes these hints so well. Sotry was truly great. He explained all the basic of the history. The intro, and the conclusion was well written. The hints and instructions is great, and no trouble of what to do! Great!
Overall - A nice campaign, and a must download. Nice Job!
Improvement - More map design of use of eye-candy, and balance the power a bit more to the good guys. =)
I played this campaign on hard and found it to be fairly easy.The first part was a hybrid cut-scene with some role playing and mostly running.The second part was a little one dementional.There was a couple of minor skirmishes in the beginning,but you only had one objective,which was eliminating a small fixed force in one town.Which by the way,does not attack you unless attacked.In the third part the action heats up with wave attacks,which can prove deadly.I enjoyed it immensely,but it was over too soon.The final objective came too easy,too fast.There were no bugs or lag in any part.Don't get me wrong,this is a good campaign,but playability is one of the major things that keep this from being a great campaign.
This was a pure role playing campaign with a little strategy involved.It was one of the better role playing campaigns i've played lately,but;when i finished playing i felt as though it could have been made great with some build and destroy integrated with the role playing.The heros and opposition had a good balance for a pure role playing campaign.
This is the most important aspects of any role playing campaign and probably the strongest point of this campaign.There were alot of good,well placed triggers.
The 3 maps were great.Good use of elevation,terrain and plenty of eye candy.
There was a exceptional story to this campaign.Along with some historical notes.The instructions were clear and easy to follow,with several good hints.I loved the incubus part.
In closing,i would recommend downloading this campaign.Especially if you enjoy role playing.
The campaign has 3 playable scenarios; it is interactive cut-scene supported story telling, a mix of RPS, FF and B&D. As Briton Lay Bleeding was the Blacksmith Feature on July 18, 2002. In chronological order it is the first part of the three-set Pendragon Saga. The second part, “The Sons of Constantine” will be released any time from now, while A Pendragon Saga #3, The Coming of the Unborn King is already available as an AoK campaign and will be re-released as a TC version at a later time.
The Roman occupation of Britain lasted 450 years, Emperor Claudius invaded England in 43 A.D. and founded Camulodunum (Colchester) the first Roman Base in England. The occupation practically ended when Constantine III withdrew the last Roman legion, the Second Augusta in 407. The campaign starts here, at the doorstep to the Dark Age, when Rome’s ruler Honorius, being asked for help, stated that it is time for the Britons to defend themselves. The events of the campaign are based on Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote his “Historia Regum Brittanniae” in 1136. As Britain Lay Bleeding is a great adaptation of Monmouth book; accompany Guithelinus on his quest to save England when the Picts breach Hadrian’s Wall, witness the birth of Merlin, conquer the city of the Legions with Constantine, repel the Saxons with Vortigern and find out about the secret of a boy without a father.
PLAYABILITY: A great campaign, absolute entertaining, captive story, challenging game play, interesting history, great fun and it is self evident that I encountered no bug or lag, all triggers and taunts run perfectly smooth. Even if the legend is known to you, the story takes you captured, being on tenterhooks how the early legends of the Pendragon Saga are interpreted. The Intro, “The Long Night of Tears”, an interactive cut-scene, is illustrative of the situation which was prevailing in northern Britain after the Roman protecting power left the country. Resistance is futile; you turn tail, scorched earth behind you. Gordon introduces the player to the Dark Age of Britain in his own unmistakable style, has you feel the powerlessness of the Britons, how helpless they were against the Picts after 450 years under Roman predominance and makes you understand how desperately they search protection, offering nothing less than a crown. 5+
BALANCE: The campaign was played on moderate and hard and is perfectly balanced. The intro, introducing you to the Pendragon Saga, has the entertaining tale spiced up with challenge. Experts will have reloads in the Welsh hills and the village sequence thereafter is well timed; you escape, building the harbour directly south of your town centre. For the hesitant player another location for a harbour is provided. The dark blue water colour is not only used for stylistic reasons, but also to balance the scenario, only where the player should be able to build a harbour, the water changes to light blue. In “The House of Constantine” I liked the defence aspect of the enemy’s AI, which demands micromanagement and hit and run from the player. The city of London was well defended by the Picts and the scenario’s balance creative. As a contrast the Saxons are sending attack waves in the “Son of Incubus” and give a good fight. The detailed work of balancing the scenario is impressive and was well play tested. Some triggers you won’t always notice; the survivors of the fight for Hadrian’s Wall are killed with a trigger if they follow to the welsh hills, not to unbalance the scenario. 5-
CREATIVITY: First of all, the epic story which is one of my all time favourites. The Pendragon Saga leading to the birth of King Arthur is historical and legend, mystical, situated in a time of political instability, when Britain did not know the right of succession and the crown was disputed between brutal usurpers and strong, noble warriors. The interpretation of the events, which are hidden, if not in total dark, so still in the shadow of time, was wonderful, the orchestration divine and the atmosphere at St. Peter’s Abbey, witnessing the birth of Merlin ingenious. I recommend your head phones for the sequence with the burning coastal village, to witness the great choice of music. The campaign has many well placed triggers and nice scenes. My favourite is the start of the third scenario, astounding from music to sound, from the choices of items to the design; another great scene shows villagers rushing to the boats, fleeing the enemy; small well-made scenes like the camp fire, good triggers like the mounting of the horses. 5
MAP DESIGN: The map design is great and far above average, the maps are well crafted, good terrain mixes with various dirt and grass. The basic skeleton-map shows England and Amorica (Brittany, La Bretagne) across the Channel, inside the outlines the map changes for each scenario. It is a realistic approach to concentrate the elevations in the Welsh mountains and enough, meaning few not very high elevations for the rest. The story is set up in England, where the landscape’s dominant appearance is vast flat areas. For his portrait of the Dark Age the author does well without too much Gaia, but still, even less would have been better. With the maps for the second and third scenario a widely followed new experiment was started, the “embellishment” by means of sea rocks. For my personal taste, sea rocks in front of cliffs and flower patches above, look unrealistic and the heaping of sea rocks unsightly. As isakmalm in his below review I had map design between 4 and 5 and was not sure how to rate. I opted for a 4 in the first version of this review, overlooking my above statement referring only to “my personal taste”. 5-
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The campaign comes with an informative, excellent, critical historical part about the start of Britain’s Dark Age. The author explains parallels of the Pendragon Saga and the authentic Roman history, which is worth to study further by the interested player. Clear objectives, an exhaustive hint section and you always know what to do. Throughout the campaign the many hints served almost as a walkthrough and should be disregarded by the experienced player. The campaign comes with a wonderful, well written story, which keeps you interested, connects the scenarios and never looses the thread. Three bitmaps with the places of interest confirm the highest rating. 5+
OVERALL: This is a great campaign, a must have and it is imperative to play the campaign with the sound effects and music files. I also recommend “The Coming of the Unborn King”, “The Last Viking Prince – Book I and II” (all AoK) and “The Persian Wars 1 – 5 Gold Edition” (AE), of the same author.
OBSERVATION: Gordon Farrell is a professor of screenwriting and playwriting at New York University. He worked for Stainless Steel Studios before starting this campaign, creating single player campaigns for Empire Earth and I thank him for still finding the time to do this magnificent campaign for AoK.
SUGGESTIONS: The “sea rocks” in front of the cliffs do not give the visual impression of a water-fall and could be replaced by a more realistic looking one and to remove the flowers/plants from some unrealistic places could help the design. Helping hints are a plus for every campaign, but can affect balance too much to the easy side; fewer hints or more challenge could be the solution.
IN CLOSING: If you want to become a professional designer yourself, Gordon Farrell’s campaigns are the calling cards to look at for entering one of the successful studios for game design.