The Second Kretharn War - The Feud between two Kingdoms
(Updated on 06/01/06
THE SECOND KRETHARN WAR - Part I
~The Feud between two Kingdoms~
'It had been this way for as long as Akxarix could remember ..The Feud between a Dragon, and a Bear.'
This is a short cut-scene set four days after the Siege of Prethonia (See The Second Krethárn War: A Day of Hatred and Lost Memories). It is here that Akxarix, a powerful General of Krethár, the son of a dead leader fusses over a thirty-year-old war in which he plans on finishing in the weeks to come.
Make sure you read the story and hints. Enjoy!
Latest Update 1.6: Dialogue has been fixed.
The story starts in The Second Kretharn War I - A Day of Hatred and Lost Memories, continues here and then in The Second Kretharn War - The Night of Long Tears
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Introducing your campaign with a teaser seems like an in-thing right now. I know, I made one myself a few months ago. The primary goal with a teaser is of course to raise expectations, and I must say this cutscene by Mashek clearly did so to me. The designer has taken his time to create a nice introducing .bmp and to include custom music and sounds, which all added to my positive experience of this game. The cutscene itself has a dark, epic feeling over it and the snowy landscape reminds me of Ulio. All in all it is a joy to watch this cutscene.
The scenario is a 100% cut-scene and it is in the intention of the author that there is no fighting, according to the tutorial that is a 5.0.
After Mashek's latest update I have decided to change this rating, not only because I feel I was a little hard last time. The dialogue is more captivating now and the main character has become even more interesting. Another creative aspect of this scenario is the use of music and sounds. My favourite part is after the siege of Prethonia when a distant horn signals the arrival of a second army. Also, Mashek's brilliant use of the display instructions effect and the army charging down the hill while trebuchet boulders fly through the air are other creative things in this cutscene.
Map Design: 5
Mashek proves that he is a first class map designer. The terrain blending is terrific and the use of map copy, beta units (such as the TWAL wall) and different kinds of farm terrain is also excellent. This map is definitely on a par with any winter map in the Blacksmith. Also, thanks for getting rid of the paths. :-)
Mashek has given the story a much appreciated dark atmosphere which fits well with the cold and gloomy map. The main character had a tendency of repeating himself in the earlier version but that has been changed now. I have taken the time to read the whole history section and watched the cutscene a few times, and I must say this is one of the most ambitious and well-written stories in the Blacksmith.
I recommend everyone to download this cutscene scenario. Mashek is definitely one of our best contemporary scenario designers and I'm looking forward to play more of his stuff.
This review was updated on 4-15-06.
[Edited on 04/15/06 @ 11:14 AM]
The Feud between two Kingdoms is a pure cutscene scenario, setting the stage for the next installments to this saga. Let's get on with it, shall we?
This was a very interesting scenario, to say the least. The level of detail and effort the designer put into this cutscene astounds me. Like his other works, his combination of custom sounds, fog of war effects, novel tricks, and story draw you in and leave you wanting more when it's all over.
Since this is a cutscene, it get an automatic 5 for balance.
This is where the scenario shines. I like how the designer uses tricks that really aren't common, but really add to the overall effect of the game. A perfect example? His use of display instructions. He can type in the entire line of text, but he seperates 1 trigger into 3 and adds in pauses, just like one would speak in real life. Not only that, but his 'units in tight formation,' use of beta walls, and strategic placement of sounds really shows his creative side, earning him a 5.
MAP DESIGN: 5
A well designed map is what most hope for in their scenarios, but lifelike terrain is what Mashek strives for. The seemingly serene winter setting quickly erupts into bloody battle after battle scene, with a beautiful backdrop highlighting it all. This map reminded me of an actual winter forest, which is definatly a plus.
Instructions are pretty clear cut, you know what to do and what settings to do it on. As for the story, the idea of a decades-long feud being fought over a few generations is just captivating. Not only that, but the story is easy to follow, and complex at the same time. This isn't your old, cut and dried, attack the fort, capture the king story.
Well done, Mashek! You're truly a rising star in AOK:TC. Keep it up, and you'll be seeing plenty more fives in your reviews. ;)
If you like cutscenes, dark atmospheres and good story telling, you will enjoy this. Unlike many unplayable scenarios this holds the interest and is directed to a good quality. The music, sound effects and dialogue are all very well done, resulting in a finished article that will keep the attention of most and meets the designer's goals well. It is not entirely without flaws however, with some of the cutscene very slow and filled with character introspection while not much goes on in the background. Not a fatal weakness, and that said, with the unusual atmosphere and good quality of composition, it is a very enjoyable end result.
The player is not intended to face struggle to survive, the cutscene is balanced well and meets the designer's goals. No reason to deduct, and so a straight five.
The bulk of the creativity in this cutscene comes from the author's unique angle on the well used backdrop of a war between two great nations. Expect an unusually chill feeling to this cutscene, and an interesting viewpoint for the villain of the piece. Motives beyond the typical inbuilt desire for acquiring more land were well appreciated. Apart from this there are a couple of good touches such as the dialogue appearing gradually and catapault stones flying overhead during a siege.
Map Design: 5-
The map design was competent without being anything new or special to the table. It is always bleak and empty, and sometimes bland. In addition there a couple of minor irritations such as an overuse of mud paths and flowers in a winter scene. However, it does suit the purposes of the cutscene well for the most part, and taking into account the author's intentions, I rate it a weak five.
The story is part of a series, and although not complete, does more or less stand alone. The story itself is well written, if not stunningly original, and the different angle on the story would make it a five. There are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors, but nothing serious enough to damage the rating. The directing of the story in this cutscene is of above average quality, although it left a little to be desired in terms of pace. However, the reason this does not achieve a five is that while it does hold up in its own, it is not on its own a great piece. It lacks any sort of real conclusion, as this is primarily a precursor to the main item. Therefore it is not strong enough in itself to gain full marks, particularly with the other minor issues taken into account.
[Edited on 06/05/08 @ 07:36 PM]