Posted on 02/19/06 @ 04:42 AM (updated 03/21/06
||Build and Destroy
|Number of scenarios:
The kingdom was in turmoil. Rebellion raged across the land. King Duncan relied upon his two generals, Macbeth and Banquo, to quell the uprisings and maintain order in the nation. But Macbeth, having heard rumour of a prophecy, had his own plans.
Few characters have caught the popular imagination like Macbeth. Was he a conniving rogue, as Shakespeare would argue, or one of the nation's greatest kings, as some Scots nationalists have recently argued? Spanning four scenarios, the Macbeth campaign may help you decide.
Follow the career of Brother Gregory, a young Franciscan friar who witnessed the events first-hand. Experience game-play elements including
- Over 160 custom sound files,
- Two avis,
- Custom bitmaps,
- Very realistic maps,
- Gripping gameplay,
- Over twenty custom ais,
- All difficulty levels supported,
- A comprehensive history section,
- The full text of Shakespeare's play, and
- A total file size of less than 5MB.
Some comments from respected scenario designers who've viewed the campaign:
"It's a very enjoyable campaign. There's no doubt that this will be in the Best of the Blacksmith." Stephen_Richards, winner of the 2005 Age of Kings Heaven's "Historical Campaign Contest"
"The game was perfectly balanced for a casual player... This is simply as good as b&d gets in my humble opinion" Oliver, author of 'Lightning and Thunder, the teaser" (5.0 at the Blacksmith) and 'Teuton in Love" (4.8 at the Blacksmith)
"Good luck on your project too, it looks promising to be one of the 'greats' released this year" Mashek331, author of "The Feud Between Two Kindoms" (4.8 at the Blacksmith).
I hope you enjoy Macbeth
Version 1.01: Non-critical update. Cheat function updated in Scenario 1 to prevent players inadvertently winning. Some grammar and spelling errors in about.html and Scenario 1 victory screen.
Version 1.10: Recommended for beginner players who are struggling on "Standard" difficulty. "Standard" difficulty made significantly easier. The computer now attacks less frequently, attacks with less troops, and builds fewer troops to defend in seige-type scenarios. Some small bugs on level three (training villagers at the barracks and a cliff graphics issue) are fixed. Some other small modifications.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Macbeth is a four scenario B&D campaign that mixes in fiction and history to tell the story of a famous Scottish king. The gameplay is mixed, being structured around B&D, but with plenty of short breaks in style, switching to fixed force, cutscene or role playing style as necessary. It is a terrific campaign that almost anyone should love, and stands comfortably alongside the best of them.
The first scenario gets straight into the B&D, a nice opening level. I felt this one particular mission was a tiny bit lengthy, taking me over four hours to complete, and not being particularly fast paced at the later stages, but a solid start to the campaign, easing the player in and featuring some entertaining cutscenes.
The second level is very interesting, the right tactics are needed and the urgency is high with both attacking and defending aspects. With both Macbeth and an area to defend, it’s going to keep you on the edge of your seat, and if you aren’t careful you’ll fall off it. The level has a natural dynamic throughout as you are forced to defend an area, where the base and the terrain there will both change as you build up your forces and cut down the forests. You will also have to go in search of new resources, attack from different angles, and try to manage your areas of priority and population while doing this. Many interesting elements also spice up this level, like the excommunication.
The fourth scenario begins with a big open FF adventure, a nice break from the B&D, and the options at the start on what to do give the scenario good replay value.
I found some of the scenarios lagged a little, especially towards the higher pop limits, but taking my PC into account it isn’t something I would mark down for.
I played MacBeth on MODERATE
The second scenario is where the challenge really kicks in. It is much harder than the first, and the pressure is high. Defending is a job in itself, but attacking is even harder, requiring a cool head, some planning, and good micromanagement across the map.
The third scenario is equally challenging, and tremendous fun. The B&D part here was very good, with a classic defence from two sides of a small town, it’s AoK the way it is meant to be played.
In the final scenario I thought the Reavers’ intelligence was quite impressive, they seemed to be everywhere, running this way and that, and retreating often, just when you thought you had them.
A siege is a great way to end a campaign, one used in many campaigns, including The Kings Best men and Ulio. This one is a terrific siege; quite hard, but not with an insane pressure from troops coming at you – you can plan and execute it at your own pace and in your own way. It’s hard to win, but not overly hard to lose, which is pleasant.
One of the things designers should take note of is that this campaign doesn’t go over the top to impress with loads of eye candy on every screen or tricks stuck in there just for the sake of showing off – everything is very subtle, and suits the scenario well. Little features like the waves trick with water sounds timed perfectly to go with it make for a top creativity score. The druids healing ritual and Aztec walls – again – amazing. It wasn’t thrown in your face; it was just a little feature that blended nicely in with the countryside.
The units often speak more than once when clicked on in the second scenario, and say some pretty hilarious things at times. The ‘Royal Guard’ of King Duncan was a classic!
Another area of creativity is the artificial intelligence. The AI effects are brilliant, especially the Scone AI in the last scenario, it felt like playing with another person.
Map Design: 5
Macbeth’s maps are made with a delicate and skillful hand, beautiful without being too complicated. Some good use of beta units like the palisade gate was great to see. It was well balanced, being realistic and beautiful. The level of attention to detail was exemplified when I cut down the forests in the third scenario only to reveal even more beautiful undergrowth lying beneath.
I love the swamps in the last scenario, and when I saw for the wisps I was frozen for a second before I could even raise my eyebrows. Some skillful trigger-trickery must be involved here!
The simple and beautiful looking bitmaps are outstanding. Every scenario has an in depth history that flows well and informs the player of the differences between the play and what really happened, often with notes on the play as well. Instructions take on a first person tone, and only occupy the page they start in, with no scrolling, a technique I like.
The story is presented in play-like cutscenes – voice actors, with real Scottish sounding accents, and text displayed in a similar form to the script of a play. It's seldom we even see a campaign with any voices, let alone of this quality - well done to all involved!
There is quite some effort concerning the smaller details of presentation, for example after trebuchets were used to reveal the map (beats using dozens of map revealers, doesn’t it?) the chat message was overwritten immediately with many empty messages, which I noticed when looking in the chat log. This highlights a great deal of effort put into the presentation. The precision is brilliant, e.g. how each trebuchet is removed in the last scenario, and tallied up, and then again with the killing of the reavers and the sound played when each is killed.
A five star is seldom something an author can expect to achieve in their first submission. Dave has reached a standard most would take years to get to, which few are even capable of reaching. Macbeth stands equally alongside the best campaigns we have here, and that says a lot.
Sorry that the review has been a long time coming but I have finally had time to do this.
This actually is the first B&D I have ever reviewed and as a genre is somewhat neglected. However this game was very enjoyable, and having played it quite a few times it is still good fun. The mix of FF in with it was a nice change but I think what they are discussing in the tavern right now is what makes a good B&D and this is so much better than just a random map game with a pretty map. Apart from Sabato and a few others not many have achieved that but any way it was great fun.
On this front I did find it quite challenging over all and I got my sister to play the opening scenario, she got crushed in under an hour though she is not the best players of Aok. I am also not actually sure whether she has actually completed all the ES campagins without cheating. Bringing up what rwilde said the last scenario was difficult to win and difficult to lose, literaly took me hours to complete especially on hard. Though I think that you have now made the campagin easier by modifying the A.i so a 5 I think here is needed.
I actually don't have much to say here but it was quite creative and does deserve a 5 with 28 different A.i's, it was definatly a well thought out campagin. Also I have never seen a campagin with an Avi attached which is new for me anyway.
Map Design: 5-
I wasn't completely sure on the map design score here because for example in the Loch Watten scenario there is a beautifull river and in Durham the woods which you start in are also very beautifull, as rwilde said underneath some of the woods are flowers but there are parts which are not quite there. I do understand that it is a B&D scenario and it is not practical to go over the top on gaia objects though a few more may then help, but all four of you maps were well done.(As you got a 5 anyway it is not that big a deal)Something which I forgot the swamp was also v.good.
The instructions were as clear as daylight, though a small thing which doesn't really matter which is in the first scenario, once you deliver the resources to the town center I was thinking that you could deactivate the triggers to wipe it clear of your achieved objectives. I think I am being a bit picky but oh well you still got a 5 here, now, the story was well done and the cutscenes were good quality though the genre does limit how much story telling there is which for me is great as with long cut-scenes I do get a bit bored.
Additional Comments: Firstly I recommend this scenario to anyone as it was great fun. Secondly I liked the bonus scenario thirdly you should in the far future design another campagin pity that you aren't, oh well.
(Also supercell? I haven't tarnished the scenario with a 4.8!)
[Edited on 03/30/06 @ 11:08 AM]
Macbeth, a historical campaign about the life of a celtic warrior who is destined to become one of the greatest kings of Scotland, is a four scenario Build and Destroy campaign. It takes place in England, 1039 AD.
In the first scenario, the objective is simple. You must defeat the militaries and leaders of Macbeth's two enemies, McDowland and Sven, king of Norway. It, as all the scenarios are, is a 'Build and Destroy'
scenario. What I particularly liked about this sceanrio is the setup of the map and the cities. You're city is divided by a river, and it has no bridge that is close to your city, so you are forced to use boats to cross the river. The Viking enemies have a strong navy, so you have to constantly be on guard, since your town is accessable by water. I especially had trouble with the longboats the enemies sent. The layout of McDowland's fortress is clever. The Ai files were extremely agressive, especially on moderate. I didn't like the fact that I won by food victory after playing for two hours and thirty minutes, though. Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the first scenario. The Druids little ceremony was a creative touch to the grassy plains and hills of England. The rolling country on this level was plain, yet beautiful. The resources were limited, but that offered realism and a challenge. I found gold to be extremely scarce, but there was adecent amount of stone if you looked for it. Relics and trading was the only source of gold in the long run. What I think is significant in this scenario is, that Dave know how to take a plain landscape, and, althought it is plain, it somehow looks good and professional.
The second scenario I found to be quite a challenge. You are having a conversation with your wife, who wants you to come back to her with a crown and nothing less. Then you must not let the royal household come to harm, while setting up you camp. The Green sent some huge armies and Siward's Household didn't take it that easy on me either. The Green's army consisted primarily of longbowmen and longswordsmen, with some mangonels and knights mixed in. Siward's Army was composed of mangonels, longswordsmen, spearmen, knights, and some battering rams.
You had to be alert at all times, for the enemies were constantly attacking. Also, you have to make sure that the royal family and your heros do not get killed. I liked the side quests, and like they say, "The adventurous ones shall be rewarded." Well I found that out in this campaign. With many scenarios, especially Build and Destroy campaigns, there are no secret places or hidden quests that you might find somewhere on the map. I am pleased to say that in 'Macbeth' that is so. I explored and found quite a few side quests and other little secrets. I liked the fact that there was a little fiefdom supplying the main enemy in this scenario. They sure put up nuisance in this scenario, which was their purpose. The third scenario starts out with a little bit of FF and then moves on to B&D again. I liked the part were you must train the villagers to be soldiers. I appreciated the oppartunity to play on both sides, which not many campaigns can offer. The cutscene in the fourth scenario was nice, and I was especially interested in the forest moving in on Macbeth's fortification. There was more eyecandy on the fourth scenario than on any other scenario in the campaign, which made the map look nice. The Dunnisane fortress looked really nice, and I liked watching the villagers building the fortifications. One thing I noticed about the third scenario is the map. It resembles the 'Baltic' random map alot, which is all right. It still looked decent. Macbeth's wife commiting suicide by jumping out of the castle was an interesting touch.
The playability of this campaign is simply astounding..."This is AoK TC the way it was meant to be played; Build and Destroy," as I recall someone saying.Most of the scenarios took me over two hours to camplete. It is a very enjoyable campaign. I did not expirience any bugs whatsoever. The campaign flowed smoothly from beginning to end, with no lag at all.
Although I found it a challenge, at no point was it impossible to finish any one of the scenarios. I appreciated the fact that the Ais supported difficulty levels, thus, I played it on moderate. Your fortress and the armies of the enemies in the first scenario were pretty balanced overall. The thing that made it harder was the fact that in most of the scenarios the enemies was able to build the same units as you could. To me, that creates a greater challenge when I do not have different units and advantages. Dave_Earl said that Oliver and some other playtesters had finished this campaign on hard, which I find hard to believe, since I had struggled on moderate. Overall, this campaign is a great challenge and is great fun to play. I had fun at all times while I was playing. The Ai files were very well made, and as Dave said, "they offer the players a different personality and it offers diversity", so the players play differently according to conditions. I found the Ai files very interesting, since I am also an Ai scripter. One thing I noted in particular, was, in the first scenario, the 'ability to maintain distance' parameter. It provided me with a greater challenge when I tried to convert the enemies longboats, which would back up and to were my monk got within their range. When that happend, the longboats were able to fire upon my monks. Like I said, a great challenge, and a very enjoyable campaign...Like I have said, "If you want a challenge, this campaign is for you". If you think you got skills, this campaign may very well be your proving ground. Great job on one heck of a challenging campaign.
Simply amazing. Dave_Earl took the story of 'Macbeth' and transformed it into this wonderful campaign. Good job Dave. It is one of the few campaigns that has amazing eye-candy, yet it does not have a map cluttered with useless junk like a lot of campaigns these days. I especially like the rivers and the waterfall on the second scenario. It was awe inspiring to chop down wood and find the flowerbeds underneath. The piles of stone with rocks and some piles of food provided good looking scenery, even for the flat rolling hills of England. You added alot of creativity to the generally plain looking terrian that England has to offer.
Map Design 5.0
This was the jewel of the campaign in my opinion. The map design. O.k., I'll admit it. I used 'marco polo' to see the maps at the end and Wow! Am I glad I did...Don't get me wrong, I'm not recommending the use of the 'marco polo' cheat, But what I saw amazed me. The cities where very cleverly designed. I noticed the lengthwise design of Macdowland's fortress in the first scenario. Most of the fortresses that I saw where designed that way. Very clever. I enjoyed the mapshots a lot. In the mapshots, you can really see the outline and the setup of the map, which shows you alot about the designer and how he executes the scenario. I am also a scenario designer, and I look up to Dave as an expert map designer.
The story, which concerns Macbeth and his rise to power, is professionally executed in this campaign...The story unfolds and takes twists and turns as the story developes. It had me interested the whole time I was playing. The instructions were clearly understandable and straightforward. I did not have a problem reading the instruction at any time. The story was very intruiging and I was totally into the story at all times. Another good thing was, I did not find any grammar errors or spelling mistakes. Congratulations Dave, at least someone learned something in English class.
If any campaign deserves a five, its this one. Its got the whole package: Awesome gameplay, excellent sound files, avi files, ais that actually are agressive, plenty trigger tricks, amazing map design. Dave, I'm a huge fan. I would definitly have to say this is the best Build and Destroy campaign I have ever played to date. It sets new expectations for the world of Build and Destroy campaigns.
Anybody who favors a good Build and Destroy challenge, or if you are just "hellbent on self-destruction", which is quoted from Berserker Jerker, by the way, should definitly download this campaign. Nevermind that. Anyone who enjoys playing AoK TC should download this campaign.
As rwilde already said, "A five star is seldom something an author can expect to achieve in their first submission. Dave has reached a standard most would take years to get to, which few are even capable of reaching. Macbeth stands equally alongside the best campaigns we have here, and that says a lot." Wow, that says it all right there...
I don't know why anybody would struggle with the decision of whether this campaign should be rated a five, but I think this campaign deserves a five and nothing less.
Thank you Dave_Earl, for giving us this wonderful campaign. Maybe one day you will make another campaign or two. Who knows?
[Edited on 04/12/06 @ 07:06 PM]
Passes the fun test with flying colors. (Which is more fun, the Building, or the Destroying? Hard to say.) Nice heroes, and good, straightforward objectives that don't require you to spend a long time mopping up. My favorite scenario would be #3, where you stalk around the Scottish Highlands winning whole villages to your cause.
I played the campaign on Standard difficulty, and that's definitely tough enough! Your opponents field HUGE armies from well-constructed bases. But Allied players are available to even the score, and they play key roles, particularly in later scenarios.
Perfect. Makes an inspired choice of subject matter, while resisting the temptation to simply retell the classic story. The focus on history was what made me stand up and take notice.
Map Design: 5
Clearly a LOT of work went into map design. Some of the buildings, such as the sea-gates, I had never seen before.
The designer is a history major, and supplies a truly academic attention to detail.
This was my first time playing a user-created campaign, and I was blown away. I am perhaps an atypical player, in that I care as much about good history and good storytelling as I do about good gameplay. This campaign is truly excellent in all three categories. Though I lack the skills to appreciate the intricacies of the special AI scripting, triggers, etc., I think I know genius when I see it!
I don’t usually play B&D scenarios as I find them quit boring at points but when I saw this I had to Download, having just finished a piece of work about Macbeth I had to see if was anything like the Shakespearian story it certainly didn’t disappoint me. It is an extremely fun campaign and it is fantastically executed. You can play for hours without getting bored and it is also a game you can play more than once
I found Macbeth quite challenging. It was quit a hard but not impossible. I struggled to complete the game on Moderate, but found it easier on Standard. The campaign suites all difficulty levels and it is still great fun no matter what difficulty level you choose.
Although Macbeth feels a lot like an ES Campaign it certainly isn’t. When playing it I felt like I was back on the ES campaign section not the Custom Campaign. However it has a much better map design and much better trigger tricks. It has waves, fun instructions, and a great story. Macbeth also has its own set of custom AIs and sounds, and it is also the first campaign I have seen which uses an AVI. Macbeth is a very creative campaign.
Map Design: 5
Macbeth’s map design is another great aspect. Even if it feels like an ES Campaign the map design is completely different. It has great uses of cliffs and elevation along with a great use of terrain mixing and eye-candy, like the waves. It also has an awesome use of GAIA objects. As for the cities and fortresses…WOW! They were so detailed I thought I was actually in them.
When you play Macbeth you leave your homes and go back to the time of William Shakespeare. Although dave_earl didn’t write the story of Macbeth he certainly implemented it into the campaign extremely well. It is a great story and it makes the whole campaign go around much better. Without a story a scenario is unclear, dull, boring and doesn’t make sense. The Instructions too were a clear as crystal. I knew exactly what to do at all points and if I did get stuck all I had to do was go to the very useful and helpful Hints page for a few helpful hints.
One of the best campaigns ever! A Highly Recommended Download!
Thanks a lot!
'Macbeth' is the first and only submission by designer Dave_Earl, submitted to my astonishment nine years ago. Indeed, I still remember the day of the file's release, and I've played the campaign perhaps a few times since. It's been a long time since I've been meaning to review this, so here goes. Better late than never, I suppose.
Macbeth is classic B&D (build-and-destroy) that provides hours of solid game play, illustrated against the colourful backdrop of Macbeth's tyrannical reign over Scotland. This is most popularly presented in Shakespeare's play of the same name; a melodramatic tale of how a general, at the behest of his ambitious wife, murdered King Duncan in order to take the throne and succeed as king himself. Following in these very footsteps, what follows in this campaign is a complex tale of two sons looking to revenge their lord, with sweeping landscapes, well-designed scenarios and plenty of great voice-acting in between, too.
PLAYABILITY: Don't be dissuaded into thinking this is just another B&D. Sure, it is of that classic game type many have seemingly grown bored of over the years, but this brings new life into an old concept. That being said, whenever I'm in a "B&D" mood I come to this. Macbeth is vintage AoK, and as another reviewer said before me features some very "old school" game play. Players will appreciate the to-the-point storytelling and short intros, before you are quickly thrust into the game. My first impression of the campaign was just how well each of the four scenarios are designed, with stunning attention to detail in just about every compartment. The map design compliments the game play very well, especially when considering this is a B&D after all, and you can spend many long moments enjoying the vivid scenery while enemy forces ransack your town because you were too busy star gazing. As a whole, the missions are very reminiscent of Ensemble's campaigns with straight-forward objectives (e.g. defeat enemy army), but from then on it gets very challenging rather quickly. This is no simple hack-and-slash, and you'll need to be on your feet from start to finish against multiple opponents, and use cunning and strategy to win the day. Most players, even those considered veterans of the game, will be forced to use the save button a number of times. There's always enough going on to guarantee you hours of quality entertainment, and the timeless game play means it's always fun to replay the campaign a second or even third time. Heck, make that a fourth time! 5+
BALANCE: Even on moderate, the scenario is very challenging, frustratingly so at times. Not always a bad thing, but inexperienced players may find this off-putting, which has been made clear to me in some of the comments above. For me personally I find it is a welcome change, and for someone who's been at the game since it was first released well over a decade ago it is a good decision by the designer. In most scenarios, you will have to gear up quickly with base building, if you want to avoid being caught out by Macbeth's soldiers. They seem to strike at your base quite early, and in numbers sometimes too difficult to confront by military means alone. Once you have consolidated your position I find it is useful to scout the enemy's positions thoroughly before assaulting. No simple attack will bring you victory, as in most random map games. You'll also have to use some wit to overcome strong enemy defences, while utilising some underhand tactics and striking at the economy, in order to dampen the enemy's resolve. It leaves you thinking, rather than simply attacking, and every scenario presents its own challenges. 5-
CREATIVITY: Macbeth is one of the more polished campaigns of its type, and what it lacks in fancy trigger tricks, it makes up for in doing everything else right. From the very onset you notice the extra attention the designer has given to pre-game instructions, with a custom-made cinematic, tailored bitmaps and a concise storyline. That said, where this campaign truly stands apart is with the voice acting, which is done as about as well as can be, and always leads the player on with interest. The unique map design with beautifully designed towns and fortifications is also complimented by the custom made AI. 5
MAP DESIGN: The map design is aesthetically pleasing, and clearly very skilfully made. Indeed it is hard to believe that this is the author's first submission. The author has adopted a unique yet minimalist approach with the bold use of forest and Gaia placement, but blends in with great effect against the sprawling hills and well-designed towns and fortified cities. Even the settlements are technically well made and difficult to assault, forcing you to opt for different angles of attack, sometimes from different directions at once to gain some vestige of supremacy. There is not a dull part in Macbeth while some areas are simply eye-opening. The castle on the rocky island in Loch Watten or the haunted marsh in Dunnsinane with the eerie will-o-wisp are inspirational. The design in general utilises a lot of well-known design tricks, but in a way it blends in with the rest of the map and creates a seamless experience. For me, this is without doubt the best part of the campaign. 5
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: Designing a campaign around the popular Shakespearian play in 'Macbeth' would be, I suspect, a daunting task. Yet the author has done this seamlessly. While much of the story is kept in-game, and some of it augmented for the sake of playability, the general tone of this tragedy is clearly set and easily accessible by anyone unfamiliar with Shakespeare's work. The voice-acting complete with a Scottish undertone only adds to an enjoyable telling of the story and keeps the viewer's interest from start to finish. There really isn't a dull moment. Dave was also kind enough to supply some interesting notes in history regarding various aspects of the campaign, as well as that of the game play. Insightful. The pre-game bitmaps were also a delight in that they were well drawn imitations of each scenario, looking the part of a treasure map of history. 5
CONCLUSION: Macbeth is one of my all time favourite campaigns with classic B&D game play, an entertaining story, and hours of entertainment. This is one that surely deserves to be kept permanently on the hard drive.
In a sentence - Vivid map design, classic game play, and an absolute gem of the Blacksmith.
In closing - A must download!
[Edited on 02/20/18 @ 04:40 AM]