Scenario single player
130 animation (5 submarine),
dialogues between the protagonists,
all very best music of Age Of Mythology.
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Overall, there was the same problem as with most cinematic-heavy scenarios: The author seems to have forgotten about the gameplay. The player spends his time mostly watching the cinematics and waiting for the game to continue. The movie parts are nice, no question about that, but what I really want to do is play a game here. (If you feel the cinematics are the important part, get rid of the playable parts altogether and make it a real movie!)
Then there were several problems with the triggers. First, some of the soldiers get left behind at the beginning when everyone else walks to the harbour. If the player doesn't realise this (which is probable with a map crowded like that) he is stuck, because the story only continues when all soldiers step up to the temple later on. Worse, some soldiers can get stuck on the rocks on the island. This means game over, it's impossible to free them again. The player's fleet can even interfere with the battle in the caves at some points, because the ships can simply fire across the cliffs. Pegasus and phoenix are also able to fly into places they were never meant to go.
The worst point is that some triggers which drive the story only fire when Arkantos steps up to a specific (but completely nondescript) point of the map, especially in the caves. If the player misses these hotspots he is stuck. Only if he is lucky enough to hit them the game continues.
If there's one thing this scenario is not, then it's a challenge. The only problem the player may encounter is with the confusing objectives. Any opposition is easily swept away thanks to the enormous amount of resources available; the enemy is just too limited in his options to pose a real threat. And when I was told not to let any of my troops die I simply left them behind and worked with my heroes only.
This is a tough one. The scenario may have earned a 5 here just for all the good ideas that went into the map design and the cinematics. But I couldn't bring myself to hand out a perfect score here for a scenario with objectives right out of the tutorial campaign, like "Train more villagers and gather 2000 wood." In my mind the gameplay offered nothing creative at all, which would have been far more important to me than some nice map-making tricks.
Map Design: 5
The map looks just great, no question about that.
I didn't like the background story too much, I felt it was way too predictable. But this is purely personal, the author obviously spent a lot of time working on it. The real problem was with the objectives. I'm not talking about the language – my Italian is good enough that the crude English translations were sometimes more confusing than helpful. The objectives were very vague. Example: "Sail to the island of Athena." No clear instructions where to go or what to do there. Even worse: Once on the island nothing happened, I had to find out for myself that only killing all animals (for no obvious reasons) would open the door. The same with "Find a way to get into the realm of Hades" which actually meant something like "Attack every enemy you see and hope that it gets you somewhere." Basically I think it's not a bad idea to have the player find out for himself how to solve a problem. The solution however should not lie in something more or less absurd (why should killing harmless monkeys open a door?), it should logically evolve from the story.
Oh, and one point I have to criticise in almost every scenario: Why in the name of the gods do the players have no names?
One point about the cinematics: I think you've overdone it a bit. I mean, they're good, no question about that. But in my mind they're just not good enough to justify the length of some scenes, say, when 'Kastor' turns back into Kemsyt. I think it would look just as impressive with a single good effect instead of this looping through all flashes available in the editor for two minutes or so. Less might have been more here, on several occasions.
Since this scenario was apparently meant for mostly watching the cinematics and follow the story, I can't mark the score in this category based only on the ability to play it. Therefore, I evaluated it based on whether or not the cinematics had any technical flaws (such as trigger stop working, etc.), and it was without a single bug.
The story-telling technique used in this scenario involved cinematic sequences that has about the right amount of conversation with the right amount of visual attractions that made it fun to follow the story (as opposed to getting bored).
One word that I would use to describe the overall creativity of this scenario would be "Brilliant". One of the best thing about this scenario is its creative map design, and I feel that even a score of 5 is still not enough!
Map Design: 5
Truly unique and artistic, and it is an eye-opener! Scenario designers looking for inspirations for new ways of designing map should definitely download this!
Since the version that I have is in Italian, I will only comment that the story was beautifully carried out with one of the most interesting camera angles seen since the official AOM Campaign by Ensemble Studios and "The Battle of Marathon" by Baron Lopi.
I'm always amazed thinking of so many triggers, and most of them permanently active, and that the game could be so smooth still, and so fluid. I have a better machine now than 2 years ago, and it runs amazingly. But if you take a good look at the way the triggers are " sort of " smartly organized, it's a great lesson to be teached by Mago Merlino, aka Grande4 now.
It's a real challenge, even if this not the first goal of this kind of " creative " scenario. Not difficult really, but a couple of times, you better get yourself ready for some big fights, and stay alive only by using your brain.
This is the most creative ( Vanilla ) scenario I ever ran into. Grande 4 used the art of triggers as Leonardo Da Vinci used the brushes combined with the mathematics. An incredible amount of triggers chained one into another, and used in new ways than probably the AOM designers never thought of.
If you want to look at triggers doing... what they are not supposed to do, BUT doing it so well, this is the place for you.
Map Design: 5
Very interesting, especially if you realize this is probably one of the earliest scenarii ever submitted, even before HeavenGames existed maybe?, in italian at the time, with no updates or any of these recent add-ons and creations brought to AOM since.
I don't remember seeing anywhere else animated buildings!
It's basically a one line story, so, I found it really easy going this time, but I'm probably a little more experienced. 'still sad I had to kill these monkeys though...
I played this game again, maybe 2 years after my first try.
I had to come back to this amazing scenario, The Challenge ( or LaSfida ) by Grande4 ( or Mago Merlino ) to give it the rating it deserves... since apparently I never did? I played almost every single Vanilla scenario around and this one is probably the most brillant one of all. It took me straight to designing, since it's probably the one with the best creativity regarding special uses of triggers, showing the incredible power of AOM, beyond the basic AOM itself.
This guy is a true genius. I'm offering you my Polka Bear, Mr. Merlino. With all my heart. And thank you for the piece of art... and brain.
Something weird happened here by the way. I'm almost sure I already reviewed this scenario with a 5,0 ( What else could that be? ) I guess we've got a couple of jealous kids fooling around with master pieces...