A little known town stands in the way of the Hellbeing and his minions that blackens the land. The people there are sure of death, and death sure of them, but they do not flee, but remain and charge out the gates to deliver their gallant hearts and blades of steel against the Hellish forces. They know they cannot win, but they will meet the enemy nonetheless. It is here that one man by the name of ‘David Horler’, unsheathes his sword and charges out to slay the Hellbeing, and as ancient scrolls recount, with his death, so too will his army be driven into the earth.
The story starts here. You control one man, a soldier who had taken up his country’s call to fend off this approaching evil, this undeviating storm and you alone must slay the Hellbeing in hope that his insidious armies will be no more, and the world saved from sure destruction.
I enjoyed this scenario; it was fun, challenging and creative in its own right. The map design was good, the story creative and quite unique, and just plain entertaining. I enjoyed the tactical decisions one had to make in order to break through the Hellbeing’s army, and confront the Hellbeing himself, so that you may be able to slay him and once and for send his army back to the foul, molten depths of Hell. I particularly liked the strategic areas you could fight from, such as the hilly countryside, or narrow paths of the forest, or defend from the town itself, although by this time it may be too hard to take down the Hellbeing as his minions swarm the grounds in all their numbers. I’m a sucker for these sorts of games. I just love defending against a vast enemy against all chance and hope, where the only way you can win is using the hilly countryside, or narrow fronts to your advantage.
However, this game is not without its flaws. When the game starts up the view has been set off to one of the corner’s and so you have to change view and find the respective area you start at. When the Hellbeing was slain and his army dead with his passing, the spawns continuously creating the Hellbeing’s minions did not deactivate, although the AI telling them to continue their attack did. When you go back into the town after this the “Go on and fight you coward!” trigger kept coming up even though the Hellbeing and his army were no more. What’s more is that when I took my single hero over the bridge to kill a lone militia, it crashed. Probably because the looping triggers in the area spawning the enemy soldiers malfunctioned. Also, there was no victory condition which is an even more serious playability degrade. I would suggest these minor errors be fixed and an update uploaded. However, I am sure that the author has long abandoned this game, let alone Age of Kings, and so I hope he will come back to designing again sometime in the near future.
There were no difficulty levels one could try out for an either easier or harder play, to get Hp bonuses etc; rather what was in the scenario was it. It was just a matter of dodging the hundreds of undead troops, and slaying the Hellbeing. Your actions become a matter of luck, rather than skill or the intelligent use of terrain to overcome your objectives. On standard I killed the Hellbeing and pulled through with most of my Hp still left. On moderate I survived with just 2 Hp left. But I think it is mainly about your luck, whether the army driven by a blind AI attacks you or not, which they hardly do, and as you will see, only the occasional skirmisher will attack you and so it comes down to just getting to the Hellbeing and slaying him. But still the scenario remains hard for beginners, fairly easy for those who have played it several times and gotten the use of things.
Creativity was indeed good, though very little. While not much in the way of trigger tricks, fancy map design or creative names, the scenario did have a good and creative story, and was entertaining nonetheless. You play as the veteran fighter, David Horler and from a sparsely populated town, must venture outside of the walls to find the undead army, and there, draw the Hellbeing away so that you may be able to slay him. With the passing of the Hellbeing so his undead army falls to the ground. This aspect is creative in itself, and reminds me of the German romantic tale about Dietrich von Bern and his slaying of the evil witch king, Janibas, whereby his vast army fell to the ground with his death. Other creative aspects of this scenario was the overall storyline, the names of the main characters of both the good and bad side and the nature of the gameplay, which was to defend until you can take the fight to the enemy leader.
Map Design: (4.0)
The map design was good, certainly above average. It was well laid out, with thought going into the structure of the town and countryside alike. Forests comprised of pines and oaks huddle in clumps along the many hillsides and flats, and have been applied in a way that allows you to walk through them, defending the narrow spaces against the vast enemy. The terrain mixing is relatively good with grass 3, grass 1 and dirt 3 making up most of the land. A lone church sitting atop a hill and a mill surrounded by farms looks very nice and adds depth to the land. The town is not too bad looking, by means of which not much thought has gone into how it was designed, and although it does look nice, I think the author could fix up more here. What stands out about the town though is its layout of walls. I particularly liked how the walls were extended in the corners, forming protruding squares with a single watchtower in the centre. Overall, the map design was good, above average with good terrain mixing, but could do with more if the author wanted to achieve a 5.0. Such that could be improved on is more detailed terrain mixing, attention to the town’s structure, attention to the better layout of forests and more Gaia objects should be used like rocks and plants, even tombstones to add depth and effect to the countryside.
Story/ Instructions: (4.0) -
The story was good, creative and as I said earlier, quite unique. I enjoyed the idea of Hell “spitting” out its lieutenant and hundreds of its undead troops, which are sent out to destroy all in their path. There were clear objectives, and hints detailing several notable tactics one could try out in order to confront and slay the Hellbeing. There was a relatively good introduction story in ‘History’ and in ‘Scenario Instructions’, detailing what had happened and how the Hellbeing came about and who your hero was. Overall, there was little dialogue and so forth bringing this category to a 4.0 -.
For the continuos loop of spawns create a system which will only spawn up at least 100 soldiers, and when the enemy army is down to about 50, have the spawns start up again. This way the scenario would not become flooded by lag because of the dozens of soldiers spawning every few seconds.
In a word - Fun.
In Closing – Give it a go!
[Edited on 11/06/06 @ 09:10 AM]