The Myth of the Shadow Gods is a short fictional cut-scene depicting the arrival of a great evil overcoming the lands of the humans, slaying gods and heroes alike in its malignant conquest. It is a story, a myth, that has been passed down from the oldest of elders to the youngest of children, a story of unforeseen evil, of lost strength, with only hope now left, standing in the way of the mysterious force destroying all in its path. With the balance broken, the stage set, the land awaits a hero, a saviour.
To say the least this cut-scene was definitely well done, an interesting prologue introducing a much larger scenario that sadly will never come out, the author long absent from Heavens Games. The story is certainly creative, and indeed does raise expectations. The dialogue, the plot and the various threads and stories of heroes sallying forth to save the land kept my interest, but with such a small cut-scene, I felt that sound effects would have been best used here, though this does not effect the rating, but the lack of something to factor into my enjoyment does. I also felt that the scenes unraveled too slowly, the timer probably meant to be set to ‘Fast’ but we are not told so as there were no Hints, no History and no Instructions. On the side hand, the story, being a prologue to a campaign, perhaps a series, is too obscure, not evolved enough to be considered worthy of 5 material, let alone 4. We actually do not know what is happening at the start, the cut-scene seemingly taking off from something else and this is in itself the cut-scene’s major drawback. A good job nonetheless.
When rating this category, reviewers must take into account the author’s intentions and goals of the design. It is in the intention of the author that this scenario evolves plot and story, and to show a cut-scene whereby the player receives no units to control and no struggle to survive. As such there is no deduction from the overall score because there is no fighting for the player.
Creativity was reasonably excellent in this cut-scene with creative renaming, use of terrain, a “Illeptic portal” and an intriguing plot and map design that seemed quite inventive and interesting at that. In addition you will find a Troll God, Triceel, a Human God, Humeax and a Ghost God, Spirit tied off with a different style of teleporting, the unit disappearing followed by a flash of fog, dialogue that has a movie trailer feel and a mysterious figure that sucks the very life from Gods and mortals alike.
Map Design: (4.0)
Map design was certainly very good, a design of a fantastical theme set around spring and winter, and was beautiful, detailed and in some areas, well mixed with terrain, trees and Gaia alike. There was a very good use of paths, designed using road broken, road fungus and in one scene, road snow. I liked how nature was conveyed as something thriving and lush with the beautiful placement of flowers, mud paths and forage bushes, even the occasional deer, the ground mixed with dirt 2 and leaves making for a great spring-like setting. However, in some parts the terrain lacks realism and thought, seemingly thrown on for looks. An ugly use of too much leaves and jungle trees with forage bushes looks ill presented in one area and could be better, and the winter scheme in another area looking unrealistic with flowers and forage bushes, better they had been replaced with something more “wintry” such as hedges from the jungle list. In addition good use of elevation, rocks, statues and terrain make for an excellent design. A job well done.
Story/ Instructions: (3.0)
The only thing presented in this game is an obscure story, the viewer not knowing where or how the cut-scene started, why the gods were at a meeting and where any of it was going, the story overall unable to stand on its own. Throughout the cut-scene there was some game chat messages, which did open up a few things such as the identity of the Shadow God, the mystery of the Black Cloud and the loyalty of the gods, Spirit and Triceel. Nevertheless it did not bring the story forward enough to counter for a good rating in this category, the story remaining too obscure, with no introduction as to how it all came about, no information on the fictional events, simply nothing. The cut-scene’s introductory screen itself is blank, absent of anything written in ‘History’, ‘Instructions’, not even so much as anything in ‘Hints’. This in itself is a huge downfall since the cut-scene itself was quite intriguing. This fault not only effects this category but Playability as well as it ruined my enjoyment. It is an issue that needs addressing by the author. Nevertheless, well written dialogue and a ‘story’ factors into the rating it has now.
The author denotes that the story can be found at the forums, and the link is provided below for your benefit. Still, an introductory story should have been placed in the cut-scene itself to improve the rating a bit more, and so we knew what was going on.
In a word – Intriguing.
In closing – Lacking in its entirety, but a recommended download nevertheless.
[Edited on 07/02/08 @ 10:39 PM]