ACSC07 - Jones Blond and the Ultimate Mission
||The Conquerors 1.0c
and the Ultimate Mission
This is my entry to Mashek's ACSC, Age of Kings Heaven Cut-Scene Competition, of year 2007. The cut-scene you'll see is part of a bigger project to be released sometime in Spring 2008... hopefully*.
I hope you enjoy the cut-scene as it is now, and that you wont fall asleep in the middle of it. Read carefully and follow the hints given. Read all instructions to get a wider perspective before you actually watch the cut-scene.
Credits are in the eftermath. Now, download and ENJOY!
* as with all my promises of this sort, it wasn't fulfilled. There might be a full version sometime in the future. Some time.
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‘Jones Blond and the Ultimate Mission’ is a cut-scene-style movie introducing the fictional and parodied character of Jones Blond, renowned member of the TAL, or Tyringe Agent League, which is situated in modern-day Sweden. Jones Blond is on a much-deserved holiday after a long list of nominal successful mission. However, when two strange men dressed in medieval armour cross his camping site and try to kill him things begin to get worst for Blond, and he suspects his old nemesis Doctor Maybe might be involved… The cut-scene has a running time of just over forty minutes, and is the first in a series of cut-scenes designed purely for watching.
It is doubtful that the title of this strange cut-scene simply isn’t enough to tell you that we’re in for one wild, witty and lampooning experience. The story is hilariously refreshing and the scenes of cliché sunrises, misguided bandits and evil professors and thieves is so humourous that this parodied adventure of James Bond (and most certainly other elements) works so wonderfully-well together that we forget we’re even watching something of borrowed imagination at all. Each part of the cut-scene, or movie if you will, was simply immersing and its modern day setting in Sweden added to the delight and feel-good atmosphere. I loved the sight of an Aston Marton accelerating down a road winding through valley floors and the surrounding lush countryside of Sweden. Elevators broken, walking up thousands of flights of steps and husky agency bosses almost brought tears to my eyes, and laugh out loud scenes of an evil professor’s lair, exploding booby traps and a cliff-hanger ending sent shivers running down my spine. This is tongue-in-cheek at some of its greatest. There are things in here that will have you bursting out in laughter. In addition the music and sound effects suit the cut-scene perfectly – my enjoyment and experience are made ever so more. After forty minutes of intense, witty viewing this brilliant cut-scene, which is dearth of the boring moments one might encounter in a large-scale cut-scene such as this, sadly ends with the promise of a follow-up sequel, which I most eagerly await. This is one mission you will not decline.
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, as the review guidelines quote that “just because the player cannot die in such scenarios, that doesn't mean the scenario isn't balanced.” Seeing as the author’s goal was not to face the player with a struggle to survive, a challenge, the scenes, which all help to evolve story, are perfectly balanced and suit the author’s goals to bring the story forward perfectly.
In this category every aspect of a design is garnered and the creativity in this is well above average. The modern day setting of Sweden was creative enough, but an Agency Headquarters complete with an office, a flight of stairs and a reception add to the joy of this cut-scene’s originality and frequently-changing environment. I spotted fake office plants, statues of legendary agents in an agency headquarters building, Aston Martons and even car parks. A car reversing, steering into position, was awesome, and the complimentary sound effects and driving down the wrong side… right side of the road are things I have never before witnessed. Roads with white markers indicting driving lanes and creative directing with intercutting scenes to flick from one moment to the other brings tension and delight to a humourous story.
MAP DESIGN: (4.0) +
The map design was a pleasure. Lush, picturesque surroundings of nicely placed trees, elevation and excellent terrain mixing is beautiful. Roads aligned on either side by hedging, cliffs and mountains is simply captivating, and the town of Tyringe, complete with parking spots, parked cars and an Agency Headquarters centering the view pleases the eyes. There were areas in this, however, that were not disappointing but nonetheless did not meet up to the quality we came to witness earlier; such being, in particular, the interior of the Agency Headquarters and the Evil Professor’s home and underground lair which seemed a little bleak with sometimes unnecessary empty space and too much of one terrain used.
STORY/ INSTRUCTIONS: (4.0)
The story was an obvious cliché here but a good one at that, with its in-depth characterisation and evolved plot, winding around a variety of settings and concluding with a cliffhanger. In addition a good bitmap, excellent pre-game instructions screens of history and instructions, and good hints. There were, however, some inconsistencies in the story that hurt the overall score of this category. Such as mentions of the year 200, even though the tale is set in modern-day Sweden, with later mentions of 1999. Probably mean as 2000. In addition the cut-scene featured Agent M as agency boss, whereas it was mentioned that only Agent F was still on the job. Peculiar, really. Still, as entertaining as the story is its unresolved ending leaves me awaiting the next scene. The story therefore cannot be perfect and is deducted because of the 'unfinished story'.
‘Jones Blond and the Ultimate Mission’ is truly a unique and entertaining cut-scene. It’s a one of a kind telling and the character and story, parodied from James Bond, are so cliché and Hollywood that it works surprisingly well with the surrounding background and plot. The novelties are a treat and really enhance the cut-scene’s performance, and countless witty scenes induced generously with humour and clichés cause laughs. ‘Jones Blond and the Ultimate Mission’ is a must download. You will not be disappointed.
In a word – Witty.
In closing – A must download.
[Edited on 07/02/08 @ 11:03 PM]
This cutscene is immensely fun to watch, particularly if you have just watched a lot of the more serious entries, or played a hardcore campaign. The humor makes a great change of pace, and while you might get sick of funny scenarios if that is all you had, the occasional one is a nice change. At over 33 minutes on FAST speed, this cutscene is quite longer than most, but it doesn't ever get boring. It can be quite entertaining to watch this character who is Bond's polar opposite in many ways bungle around while uncovering the story. While the story doesn't finish, it isn't really worth the deduction of a point here or in the story category, as the enjoyment level isn't affected by it.
My only serious complaint is that it is on fast speed, and combined with its quick paced style can often seem rushed and hurried. I am not
sure if it supposed to be a little bit rapid fire to give an action feel, but slowing it down so it takes maybe 38-40 minutes instead may have been wiser.
The bottom line though is cutscenes should be fun to watch, and this one hits a home run here. Great music adds to the fun, and when the James Bond theme starts playing while the title character is flying around in his sports car, you realize this isn't your ordinary AoK scenario. A good mix of actual story and direct parody combined with a great soundtrack brings the cutscene to life in a very entertaining way.
It is a cutscene, and because of this it is like almost all cutscenes perfectly balanced and plays as the author intended.
The scenario is very creative in most areas, such as storyline and the actual theme itself. The thing that prevented me from giving the 5
here is the way the story is brought into Aok. Some scenes are very creatively approached, but most are rather simple and don't create the
modern agent movie style feel that great. Certain scenes with the car (using great sound files and such) are very good, but others don't
show the creativity that would really create a modern feel or, more importantly, a James Bond style feel. Some of the indoor scenes are
good examples of this.
All that mentioned, the story alone is good enough to score a 4, and the cutscene is still quite creative, if not completely worthy of a
perfect score here.
Map Design: 4
As a whole the map design is very good, bordering near 5. But a lot of the detail that would bring the story to life is lacking in areas, and at times it aproaches on boring scenery. The scene at the beginning when he is on vacation is very good, but others fail to look the part in many cases. Usually these are the modern scenes, which are difficult to design I admit, but a little more detail would have helped a lot. It is certainly better than average, but a lot of scenes look almost rushed, which makes it impossible to go over 4.
I would suggest for future installments in this series to concentrate on creating scenery which really looks the part of a spy thriller as much
as is feasible in AoK. The story may be great, but it is the effects and scenery thast make it come to life.
The best part of this scenario is the witty dialogue and the deliberately cliche, corny story. If you like humor in scenarios, this one
is a great example of that style working well. Quite often it is difficult to convey humor through AOK, and the end result is just annoying; this scenario is actually funny however, and the plot despite being rather easy to guess ahead of is fun none the less. The story doesn't complete, but the value of this cutscene is in the entertainment department, not in intrigue, so the humor isn't lessened much by its incompleteness.
Sometimes the story seems to follow the copy cat style, mimicking the actual character, James Bond, but other times it is more its own
storyline. This is a great mix, because a direct parody would get stale fast, while this keeps it quite fresh.
As far as mistakes, there is the odd typo and a few poorly timed chats, but the whole is well done and there isn't anything I deemed worthy
of deducting a point for.
Basse has carved a bit of a niche for himself with humorous scenarios, and this is perhaps his best attempt at wit. It isn't perfect, but it does its job well enough to make it one of the finer cutscenes in the blacksmith.
[Edited on 06/05/08 @ 08:42 AM]