~The Last Battle for the Swamps~!! UPDATED!!
Posted on 01/21/07 @ 08:21 PM (updated 02/08/07
The Last Battle for the Swamps is a campaign based on the last stand of Captain Navar and his hundred strong force. Their great pride makes it so that there is no way that they will ever surrender. They will deal brutaly to any person that asks for it also. Their only hope is to destroy an relentless, merciless army called the Urks comprised of about 500 men, their merciless captain-Captain Veers (Who will lead the battle at first), and the great-General Zugros. Navar's only advantages are that they are defending while Zugros attacks; they are rested while Zugros' men are exaused; and they have crossbowmen while Zugros has none.
What to expect from this game:
An approxomately three minute long cutscene,
About 100 triggers for a single battle,
A relentless battle,
A final duel between both commanders.
Many thanks to my playtesters:
Reviews, or at least a comment, would be greatly apprciated.
And now, strap in for,
~The Last Battle for the Swamps~
by Dantares IV
~More sounds added~
~Navar's men weaker, Zugros' men stronger~
~Zugros is doubled in health~
~If some of you wonder if the game even is beatable now, trust me, it is, I tested the game about thirty times myself, so I ought to know~
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This review has been updated to be relevant to the updated version of the scenario.
Although some report lag I didn't encounter any, although the ai used seems to be quite taxing. The scenario is fun and the music has a nice effect and is very suitable. There are however a few bugs and other issues. With the enemy trapped in palisades it is easy to convert some of them before the battle even begins by changing diplomacy, or shoot them with crossbows. Thirdly, a little exploring with the crossbowman allowed me to shoot Zugros very early on and win. Also the priest seemed a bit pointless as men lost health much faster than they could be healed and didn't add anything. There's also a very odd sound effect where the desperately battling army suddenly breaks into a round of applause, more suited to a concert. Lastly, the map design hindered the scenario as it was almost impossible to use strategically and I couldn't see where my men were going because of all the clutter, it was difficult to even set up my men within the time allowed. But overall it was still fun enough for a good mark.
The balance is now much improved, and should be a challenge. However the exploits (such as killing the enemy general early) and lack of possible strategy (due to the impossible-to-navigate terrain that made manouevres useless), mean that I still cannot fairly award a top score.
The idea of setting a battle in a swamp is original and I liked the idea of a flooded outpost, which added interest and variety. I saw a new type of torch which was also good in this category. The battle itself however wasn't really creative at all, the standard massive hp system and nothing new here. The name of the enemy was especially disappointing (Urks). Not very creative overall, but enough to be above average.
Map Design: 4
An unusual idea and fairly well carried out. An averagely designed swamp but still better than a random map. The torches I mentioned earlier were nice as well. The map was a little too crowded which made tactics impossible and didn't function fantastically. The aesthetic aspects of design were also only average, with large amounts of clutter, far too many flowers and large blocks of palisades visible. But it was still reasonable, and matched the author's intentions slightly better than a random map.
A decent story that took the unusual position of having the hero's side already defeated (dead king and few survivors) and was above average, although nothing fantastic. Despite the update, there were a few typos (sertainly) but overall the dialogue and instructions was clear and easy to follow. Captain Navar is actually not a particularly virtous character, which made the story more interesting. He kills emmisaries and uses some rather evil sounding lines (bears about to slaughter sheep), but this made him a better character and the story more unique.
Overall it was pretty good, but nothing amazing.
+ New idea and setting
+ A couple of creative things
+ Quite fun and not overly complex.
+ Quite well balanced
- Map design hinders playability
- Overly cluttered design
- AI causes lag and doesn't function particularly well
- A few typos
[Edited on 06/15/08 @ 11:34 AM]
The Last Battle for the Swamps is a regular defend-the-spot scenario with several nonregular and creative aspects put into it.
Here is my review of it
Playing the scenario is very entertaining, even if its not too much of a challenge. You start off with an army on slightly more than 100 men, all boosted up to make the battle more realistic. You then have a short moment, one minute, to arrange your formations and plan your strategy on how to defend.
After that, the enourmous Urk armies arrive from all around and start attacking your men. With right formation, the urk armies can be hold of for a while, but they break through after all since you cannot hold every place in the swamp that they attack. Even when you barrage the urks with arrows you will not win easily. Since the enemies are on patrol, most units will walk back and forth without attacking so its rather easy to kill them. But their numbers make them very dangerous. Attack them and they will fight back. The battle is very hard.
When Zugros comes, most of his soldiers are dead and he can walk up to Captain Navar. However, as I had around 35 men left when he came, and almost all crossbowmen surviving, I could kill him without any effort.
These problems is what makes the game not as good as it could have been. On higher difficulties, the soldiers do attack more but its still not very hard, unfortunately.
However, defend-the-spot scenarios are an own kind of scenarios. You can play it a hundred times and win it in a hundred different ways and it doesn't get very repetative.
I always, or mostly, find defend-the-spot scenarios very entertaining only thanks to the style itself. With some real story, and a cut-scene as this one has, it gets even better. Therefore this gets a high score, even if it has some flaws it gets a 4+ here.
The balance of a defend-the-spot scenario is very important. Its the most important part of all defense scenarios. This scenario is well balanced. You have around 30 soldiers left when Zugros comes. Zugros and his men are very strong and their forces are much bigger than your'se. I had a rather hard time keeping the urks as far away from the outpost as possible. It was possible, but it didnt last for long. Even the standard level that I played on is challenging, and as it gets harder the higher you came in the levels, the scenario gets tougher.
However, there are more positive points, bringing this part of the scenario up to a top level this time.
You have to choose a good strategy to win. Leaving all soldiers as they stand can result in a slaughter of them. If you let the crossbowmen stand in front of all others, the Urk infantry will kill them first and then you will have a much smaller chanse of winning. The best stragety is the most simple: put your heavy infantry in front of all, backed up by the light infantry with crossbowmen on the back. Shoot all enemies from there while the infantry holds them back, making them an easy prey for the crossbows.
Another good thing is that you have a very short time to make up your strategy and arrange your forces, all bringing it up to a 5!
For being a defend-the-spot scenario, this scenario is rather creative compared to others.
This is the first scenario in this cathegory that I've seen that takes part in a swamp. I've seen several others. Most take part on normal land. Some in forts, some on plateaus etc. etc. but no one, but this, in a swamp. That is a good point in the creativity mark!
But apart from this its more or less a usuall defend-the-spot scenario. Good made, nice terrain but not much new or over the usuall things for a defend-the-spot scenario. You have a small base, a force to defend with and the enemy attacks from all sides. The traditional.
But since it introduces a new theme to the defend-the-spot cathegory, it gets a plus on the 3 :)
Map Design: 4
The idea of having a great battle in a swamp is a fun and new type of battle. Enemies coming from all around the outpost, but they can still not walk everywhere, making it easier to defend. The swamp itself is good made, with shallows and water covered partly by flowers, bushes and stuff, looking very different to many other maps.
With the sea towers and yurts as an outpost in ruins, it gives a prefect feeling to the game.
Around the swamp, the places are filled with flowers and weeds. It looks quite boring, since it's all the same with the nature around the swamp itself, no big differense from one place to another.
Apart from that, the map looks great with eye-candy, base terrain and ruins.
The scenario only includes the end of a story that could have been much longer. The author cuts the story down to the very end, giving a short summary of what that happend before the scenario sets off. It gives the player room for detailing the story him/herself and make it just as he/she wants it. Thats positive to some people and negative to others. I like both kinds, full scale stories and stories where you have to figure out the end or beginning yourself, out of the facts the author leaves you with, just like in this scenario!
The instructions run past you very quick even on normal speed, which is the speed you want us to play on, isn't it Dantares? I couldn't find any place telling the player on which speed to play on, so I assumed it was on normal after seeing the text flying by on fast.
I guess the 'special style' of dialogue was the text getting longer and longer with new triggers, not removing the text but adding more to it. Its not new however, I've used it myself many times and I got it from Mashek. Oliver did it too, but its still not very usuall to see in scenarios.
The music, even if already used in your previous scenario The Zanthosites are Coming, suits the scenario perfectly and gives a special emotion and touch the the action and story of the scenario, making the player (at least for me) really feeling that "This is it. If we lose now, we lose forever!", just like the men on the battlefield is thinking.
Summary, very good but could have been more detailed in-game. The pre-scenario story is not neccesary to make longer, but the in-game story could be a little longer.
Good job Dantares :D
[Edited on 02/16/07 @ 09:25 AM]
'The last battle of the swamps' is a fixed force, defend the spot type of scenario, situated in a most unusual place - a swamp.
Well the game was certainly very interesting, the cutscene was well done, though I viewed it on fast speed. The music is really appropriate, it really adds a battle like feel to the scenario. It is a bit short, but actually about the right length for a 'last stand' type of game. However there is an issue of lag, which I experienced and another issue which no one has written about- the choice of colors. Green and gray really sort of blend into the swamp background and when hordes of enemies come it is difficult to see how many troops you have left.
After editing many of the things seem to be fixed as Navar doesn't stand behind a flag, and it is harder.
Well for a desperate 'last stand' kind of game it was certainly easy. Even after editing the game is not fundamentally difficult, as I won on my first try at moderate and on hard I needed one reload, and I had 31 soldiers left after winning.
Actually the way to win is to concentrate all arrow fire on General Zugros. This focus fire method effectively easily kills him no matter what amount of HP he has, and he is also confused by being attacked by so many archers. Captn Navar just needs to be away from the thick of the battle and separated from Zugros by player/enemy troops. The huge numbers of enemy troops and the tendency of the players green colored troops to blend into the map causes a psychological impact, but it is easy to hold them back by bunching the infantry together and holding the gaps. Most of the time a large no. of the enemy that is not being attacked just stands around and does nothing. Killing Zugros effectively ends the game, the objective is therefore not to kill all the enemy soldiers but to hold out till Zugros comes and then kill him.
This game was certainly very creative. The idea of defending a certain place is not anything new, but having it in a swamp definitely is. The part with the emissary is good, and looks realistic. The outpost with the new kind of flags and sea towers adds to the creativity of the scenario. I liked your idea of having a priest in the cutscene so that you wouldn't lose (rather than the usual method of trapping a unit in an allied transport ship)
Map Design: 5
Map design was excellent, it really gave the feel of a swamp and the use of ruins, broken carts, jungle trees and other kind of eyecandy enhances the view. The outpost with the sea towers is good.
A good story and clear instructions, the history and initial instructions tell you what happened. The story is made quite clear by the cutscene.
(Insert Story/Instructions analysis here)
-good map design
-some minor lag
[Edited on 02/25/07 @ 11:36 AM]
Hmm, seems I am one of those people who promised to review this and forgot. Better late than never...
Ahh, the hardest catagory to really rate. I say 4 on the basis that if you like the one level, fixed-force battle campaign, then you will enjoy this. The music set the atmosphere that made this overall quite fun to play.
BUGS: Nothing major. As a matter of fact it really wasn't as laggy as people have commented, but I did play on a 512GB RAM, 1.6GHz processor laptop. It may have lagged for a second or two during the beginning of the battle. Nothing serious.
I think the best part of the campaign was its balance. I never lost while playing the finished version, mainly because I playtested and had already seen the whole thing. That said, this was at a easy difficulty for me. If a version that is harder is made I feel it would be a 5 but as it is, I won with too many men left nd too easily to warrant a perfect score.
Also, the archery units were excessivley powerful, but no point was deducted as you may have intended for this. Still, it is something to consider in the remake...
There were a few creative things, like what seemed to me to be an original music theme and the whole swamp idea in general. That being said, it was not very original. The music consisted of one looping piece, the battle consisted of little strategy, etc. 4.
Map Design: 4
The parts of the map you could see (and that is all the grade is based on) were very well done. The main problem I had was that your units are not restricted, so you can while moving them aroud see areas that were left undesigned. This would be alrigtht if it took a while to reach this area, but you almost coudn't help seeing unatractive scenery in certain areas (CLARIFICATION: the swamp itself was well done, but as wou moved out it was very bland). Hence the 4.
Still a bit of a weak spot for this creation, but vastly improved from the playtested version! I personally felt there was still not enough of a storyline, but it is a considerable improvement. Personally I didn't love the story, but I have changed this rating to a 4 as the previous one was too harsh. I still feel though that the whole story has a very contrived feel.
This campaign is probably your best(but hopefully not for long), and if anyone downloads it you will most likely have fun playing it. And isn't that what we play AoK for ;)
[Edited on 02/24/07 @ 04:52 PM]