Dancing Days are Here Again: Final
Posted on 11/09/01 @ 12:00 AM (updated 11/11/01
Dancing days are here again
||Role Playing Strategy
As the summer evenings grow
I got my flower, I got my power
I got a woman who knows.
You know it's alright
I said it's alright
You know it's all in my heart
You'll be my only, my one and only
Is that the way it should start?
Crazy ways are evident
In the way that you're wearing your clothes
Suppin' boze is precedent
As the evening starts to glow.
I told your mamma I'd get you home
But I didn't tell her I had no car
I saw a lion he was standing alone
With a tadpole in a jar.
Dancing days are here again
As the summer evening grows
You are my flower, you are my power
You are my woman who knows.
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When I first opened up Dancing Days I was impressed by two things. Firstly, the music. The music fitted the scenario perfectly and added to the tension and the " you're there" experience. The second thing that interested me was the way the author portrayed the game. "I see you have came to play the game, no?" was a very interesting thing. This being because it felt like you were in a normal conversation with someone.
Playability: The campaign was fun to play, it was quite different from most campaigns because of who you represent in it, a Druid. It was good to play as it features character progression. As you played through "Dancing Days" Aethelfrith the Druid interacted with the environment. This raised the playability along with choices. Another good thing was the fact the creator made it seem easy then a last obstacle would get in you're way.
Balance: This campaigns balance was good. As the druid travelled around he was attacked and on several occasions I had to run away to return after being healed. The game wasn't too easy to complete but you could complete it the first time if you think before you act. The only thing that lowered the score in this category was the fact that you could skip the road on numerous occasions missing enemies making it a lot easier.
Creativity: I'd say the creativity was good. It has some interesting features such as burning wood, a swamp, and different routes. The best thing though was definitely as you get to a certain stage in the scenario you swap roles for a time. In search of Druids to kill. This was a superb feature and made it much more interesting and helped continue the plot well.
Map Design: I only played through around half the map. However, this can be forgiven because it was well drawn out and the terrain changed wherever I went. The map was good to look at and helped keep me playing through it. They're a few improvements that could be made to the map. For example, at Kirremeir (a town/city) you can see empty space if you look past the walls with you're units. Also travelling through the forests, the path in the forest was a little too predictable. This was strange though because the other paths are well implemented.
Story/Instructions: The story was the best part of this campaign. From the objectives to the scenery everything helped portray the story well. Temporarily taking charge of the enemy lets you have a deeper feel for the story. The story was strong and the end of the campaign made me seem to want to ask more questions than solve any as I played through Dancing Days.
Overall: I think this was a great campaign and it definitely deserves its place in the Best of Age of Kings. If you want to learn how to portray a story almost to perfect look here. Although it's best point is the story it has many other alluring features to make you play through it. A worthy download.
Dancing Days are Here Again (DDaHA) is a campaign by the illustrious designer Bon. I've never really liked RPGs in the past, but this campaign has changed my opinion. There is always something to think about, whether it is a party of fanatical Druids blocking your path or a new plot twist which further imperils the character. It revolves around the story of a recluse living in the forest named Aethelfirth, during the age of the Druid sorcerers in around the 7th century. Aethelfirth is making a sacrifice one day, and suddenly has a terrible vision. Unable to make sense of it, he journeys to the High Druid Beauregard for help. It's a pretty standard RPG, but extremely well done. One major bug plagues DDaHA, however. If Aethelfirth dies, you DO - NOT - LOSE. Obviously, this is very damaging to an otherwise great campaign. This bug aside, DDaHA is my favourite RPG. While it lacks complicated weapon systems, spells, food meters and other add-ons which fans of the genre rave about, it instead concerntrates on an underrated aspect of many RPGs -- storyline. It carries a lot of replayable charm. Other then the Aethelfirth bug, DDaHA has no real bad points, and many many good ones. -5
Balance was good, if perhaps slightly leaning towards the easy side. Even though you don't lose if your character dies, you might as well, as the scenario is then impossible to complete. Aethelfirth's opponants are well-matched, the militia are easy to defeat, but things become very hairy once they start using Hunting Wolves. Save often, and give your character time to regenerate, for you can never tell when a party of militia will come crashing through the undergrowth to attack you! 5
As I've said, no leveling-up systems to be found here, folks. And yet, I've never seen a campaign really like it. Not only does DDaHA synthesise a great storyline with terrific gameplay, I think that having all those fancy extras would actually be detrimental to this campaign. Seriously, so things are best left simple. The plot was an absolute treat, all of my predictions of "what's gonna happen next" were wrong, as the storyline took a new turn. The main character -- whom I originally though was the good guy -- suddenly displays a psychopathic streak as he murders an innocent familar without a qualm on his superior's orders. Later in the scenario, you change sides, and lead a ruthless bounty hunter. Last, you go back to guiding Aethelfirth to the scenario's end. The City of Kirriemeir was a fun part of the scenario, each of the people in the city says something different. And the walkable water trick was put to good use as you visit a tribe of Druids living out in the marshlands. 5
Like the Battle of Evermore series, DDaHA has a brilliant map. Each of the trees in the forest seems to be placed one at a time. Bon makes use of multiple tree types to achieve a mottled forest effect. Having palm trees, pine trees, bamboo, and oak -- far from looking bizarre -- actually makes it look like a real forest. The design of the City Kirriemeir was equally admirable, buildings have been map-copied and placed to utmost effect.
It might seem natural that I award a automatic 5.0 in this category, but a 4.0 will have to suffice. Why? DDaHA storyline may be great, but it is nonetheless unsatisfactory. Once the scenario ends, there are still many unanswered questions dancing in the air. Why have my friends suddenly turned against me? Why did I need to murder that family, am I a good guy or bad guy? What about that dream Aethelfirth had in the beginning, with women being raped and slaughtered and demons rising up from the bowels of the earth, what relevence does that have in the scenario? The scenario finishes...anticlimatically...with the death of Aethelfirth. So my main character DIES? After all that I've been through? None of these questions are ever answered. If I could sum the plot of DDaHA up in three words, those words would be "good, but incomplete". It is as if the story had been written down on paper, and then the end bit of the story removed, and then a scenario built around what was left. 4
DDaHA is a great campaign that well deserves its place in the Best of AoK.
-- Good map design
-- A unique flavour of its own
-- Balanced almost to perfection
-- Immensely replayable
-- The player doesn't lose when Aethelfirth dies
-- Storyline had an unsatisfactory conclusion