Posted on 09/17/08 @ 10:54 AM (updated 04/16/18
The land of Valgard is in great peril. The mighty giant Throbalof leads his jotnar from the frozen mountains and into the rich plains below. Leaving horror and death behind them, the jotnar push deep into the heart of Valgard. They seek the greatest goal of all: to dethrone Odin and the other gods and rule the world as unchallenged deities. All that stands in their way are the meager forces of the humans, elves, and dwarves. With the gods powerless against Throbalof's powers, only one thing can stop him and his mighty hordes from destroying Valgard. Odin calls upon Rastulf, whose brother was killed by Throbalof, and makes him his champion. Rastulf's great quest begins as he sets out to avenge his brother's death and restores peace to the realm.
||Role Playing Only
|Number of scenarios:
Place The Fury of Rastulf .cpx in your Age of Empires II/Campaign folder
Place the sound files in your Age of Empires II/Sound/Scenario folder
Place the empires2_x1_p1.dat file in your Age of Empires II/Data folder. Be sure to backup your original data file before moving the new one in.
Game Speed: Normal
Screen Size: 1024x768
Sound Volume: High
Music Volume: Off
Difficulty Level: Moderate (suggested)
Playtesters: Matty 12345, Julius 999, Jatayu, and Impeached
Sounds: Sound files were taken from Stronghold, Total War, Marco Crnigoj, and other sources.
Ykkrosh for creating Genie Editor
Zanzard Lothar for creating Immobile Units
DiGiT for creating AoK TS
Oliver for creating Renaissance, which I used as a base for my data file
Special thanks to Matty 12345 for his extensive help creating this campaign.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
'The Fury of Rastulf' is a two-part campaign, centred on RPS and FF game play. The story is fictional, with many references to fantastical creatures and locations, and told in the tradition of a Norse Saga. The campaign is heavily modified, containing a new data file featuring new units, objects and dimension for game play.
Within the mind of a bard pondering over a campfire one night, the din of war consumes the great realm of Vagard. The mighty army of jotnar descend over a land unprepared and outmatched, leaving butchery in its wake. Led by their power-thirsting warlord Throbalof, the giants have only a single goal established in their sights: to dethrone Odin and rule the world, unchallenged and extolled. When the fate of the land jitters on the pinprick of a needle, the giant Throbalof slays the count of Flagmore, Gruflik in a one-sided battle by the foot of the Aramor Mountains. However, unbeknownst to him, the consequences of Gruflik's death brings upon Throbalof the rage of a man for which he is unprepared.
PLAYABILITY: 'The Fury of Rastulf' is a two-scenario campaign that will surely entertain and surprise its audience. Told from the tradition of Norse mythology, the campaign is highly enjoyable, with an immersing beginning and good plot. The story is dark, suspenseful and absorbing; I've rarely been entertained so much by an AoK scenario this year alone. The creativity is surely something else, featuring devices I have never before seen, which become possible only through data modification. Tunnels of enemy soldiers are swallowed by fire, activated simply by selecting a fire vessel (a modified relic) and deleting it. Other devices are less commendable but equally as exciting when the buildings of an enemy encampment can be set on fire before its inhabitants come charging out; when the only way to get across a river is to run past a group of soldiers and steal their longboat, which can be garrisoned. The campaign is challenging, covered by many points of fighting and trial, but seems a little too hard in some places. I enjoyed the good replay value with the creative objectives, like in the epic defence of Thornoff, the Dwarf underground mine, fighting alongside the dwarves in narrow tunnels to overcome a larger force; or charging across a bridge in the face of a troll hurling long, streaming balls of fire, where manoeuvring in zig-zagged patterns will be the only strategy that will garner success. Introspectively, I would have enjoyed this campaign even more had it been less linear and predictable and featured difficulty-level-dynamic triggers to cover some frustratingly difficult scenes. After an update by the author, I encountered only one bug, which is unfavourable toward playability once discovered. Running past the ambush in scenario one, the player can skip the scene by forcing his way past the looping trigger tasks and fleeing into the forest where arrows take the pursuing enemy down. As well as this, numerous map revealers continue to reveal past objectives later in game. 5
BALANCE: As this game is not difficulty-level-dynamic, both scenarios play the same regardless which difficulty level the player happens to stumble on, although it is recommended by the author to play on Moderate. For the most part, this game is simply too difficult, where, it seems, difficulty-dynamic game play would have been useful (and more so helpful) for amateur, average and experienced players alike. My attempts at completing some objectives required countless reloads, like when I tried to get past a group of mountain trolls, manoeuvring fruitlessly in between bursting fireballs, my brain agonised after relentless unit deaths over and over and over again. This later led me to hit F3 to pause the game and use on-the-spot saving, hoping to pass the last two trolls in the valley before me, which, after several tries, eventually worked. On difficulty-level-dynamic game play, a troll or two less would have been helpful. Other mentionable points of incredible difficulty included the ambush scene with several horsemen, the defence of the Dwarven town where even a few units getting past the statues would declare defeat, even though realistically a few men would make no difference. Ten would have been better. Again, difficulty-dynamic game play would have helped in either situation. However, apart from these instances, the campaign is challenging enough that the player will always have to work hard to avoid dying, in an otherwise exciting game. 4
CREATIVITY: With the campaign modified by a newly customised data file, the campaign has additional scope for creativity. There are many such devices new to the table, including trolls that hurl balls of fire at their opponents, jotnar (giants), battle-axe wielding dwarves and elven warriors. Units come with altered face graphics, different skills, and names, like the throwing axeman unit that now features as merely an axeman. A different experience is created when one sees the Dwarven forge billowing with flames of fire, a new kind of pile of gold and campfires that exist without the need of a burning farm. Sound effects and music were chosen very well for this campaign, supporting the interjections of story, told creatively through poetic stanzas, like the bard reciting from memory an epic Viking saga. The atmosphere is as such, strong and suspenseful, keeping the viewer always on his feet and wanting more. There is much more besides that goes into the overall perfect rating of this category, things which I will leave for the player to discover. 5
MAP DESIGN: The map design is above average with many well-designed places, including villages, valleys, caves and in-general countryside. The Nordic landscape is conveyed well through the deeply lush shrubbery and foothills of Valgard and the chilled scenes of snow and ice in the Ospak Mountains, but there were a few parts where the eye candy looked over-done and messy. The design is also perhaps a little too linear for my taste. Both scenarios in this campaign consist of straight paths, rarely no open fields or multiple directions to travel, leaving me with much to be desired. However, I liked the little details such as the bush (a renamed forage bush), small rock (pile of stone) and reed (bamboo stumps), which go well into a spring or winterish countryside. 4
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The story is distinctly original, told in such a way that the bard's part of the tale melded with game play rather smoothly. Following the journey of a vengeful protagonist with a hot temperament was exciting and engaging, it was fun to watch his enemies being cut down with no mercy as they fled from battle. Hints were adequate and succinct, and the dialogue was generally good and evolved plot well. However, a few too many spelling mistakes, which could have been picked quite easily during play testing. "You murderd" should be "murdered", "Your trapped" should be "You're", "recieves" which should be "receives", "IT'S HANDLE" would be better as "ITS", and many more besides. In addition, the campaign comes with a decent bitmap, a different one for each scenario, adding to an overall perfect rating for this category. 5
In a sentence - A bloody and vengeful tale of Viking honour with style.
In closing - A must download.
[Edited on 04/16/18 @ 09:15 AM]
The Fury of Rästulf shows both the best and the worst of Age of Empires II. On one hand, the game is gripping, addictive and a joy to behold. On the other, it is hugely frustrating. This campaign has a huge variety of gameplay, from fighting huge battles, to sneaking across mountains, to battling formidable foes. However, it isn't so much of a challenge as an impossibility. The difficulty bar is set so high that unless you are determined to finish, you will give up.
Unfortunately, this means the maps are less enjoyable, and the overall experience is greatly diminished.
Here the campaign suffers greatly. As I have previously stated, the difficulty is so great each section requires near perfection to complete. Ironically, the scenes where there is greater margin for error are the more enjoyable, for example, defending the dwarven forge. Others, such as sailing down the fjord, are incredibly hard, and as a result, boring. The most irritating aspect is that even if you have the right tactic, imperfect technique can result in coming within sight of the finish, maybe with just one of the six enemies left with 20 hp, and then you die. An example here is the ambush, which I managed to complete by luck alone.
With regard to the fjord section, using "kill object" effects was a fatal flaw, as the terrain is not square, while the effect area is. This means that you can be killed even if you haven't passed over the ice. I personally would have placed more alternate obstacles and used snow terrain instead of ice to stop the player sailing straight to the end.
The campaign shines in creativity. I've never seen a map as diverse as this one. The ideas present here are purely original, even if the Norse Mythology from which the game draws is not. Flamethrowing trolls, underground cities and legions of coreographed soldiers, to name but a few aspects.
Map Design: 5
The terrain is equally dazzling. Even the areas requring space, such as battlefields, are never dull, broken up by elevation changes or placed obstacles. To think that this was ever a random map is an insult, it has been beautifully crafted to suit its purpose in the gameplay, which, I would argue, is even more important than the looks. Almost every battle is won or lost according to the map.
The story is not so much saga as epic. Each cutscene may be accompanied by three-lined viking-esque prose which tells the story in a poetic manner. The dialogue is well thought-out and flowing, and the story, ultimately, makes the player want to continue. It is the beating heart of the campaign, making the player want to continue in spite of the extreme difficulty.
One of the great scenarios of our time, The Fury of Rästulf certainly merits download. However, as to it meriting completion is up to you, if you are prepared to spend more of your playing time in failure than in success. It is unbelievably frustrating, but then again it is unbelievably enjoyable. I think it's worth the pain.