I really enjoyed the strategic side of this campaign. Few designers make all their levels in such a way that you need a certain strategy to win. Imhotep is a fine example, and so is Phill Phree. In this 5 scenario campaign you follow the journey of a man who has lost everything, and seeks only revenge.
Every level has an optimal way to play, and if you don’t find that path, you will certainly struggle. The first level is a probably the weakest. I was not certain of my objectives at all, but I eventually managed to finish it, after leaving it on the shelf for many months. The overall lack of clarity was a little annoying, and affected gameplay, but I soon got used to the idea that most levels were conquest. The second level presents a fixed force challenge, which I believe changed into a build and destroy.
The third really brought in some strategy, but the map wasn’t designed well to suit gameplay, where the forests along the west side were too narrow to build storage pits. It was however, a very good naval level, and took me many attempts and a long time to complete. The fourth and fifth levels carry on with the story, taking it to the climax where Amon can find the people who killed his entire village. As is the case in most levels, the Egyptian priests play a central role in your success.
The balance was very good, and I had difficulty completing every mission, but eventually got there. In the third mission you have a shortage of both docks and wood, and you must play aggressively to win. In the fourth level you have to take on a huge army, and you really need to out-priest them. You’ll probably find yourself massing priests and chariot archers, and deleting everything else lest the enemy convert it back again.
Starting from the worst area, the map design wasn’t very creative at all, but the way it was used in the scenario was original at most times. For example, deep water is used in the third scenario to prevent the building of docks. The story was brilliantly creative, while the victory conditions were just plain conquest usually, but the levels themselves and the tactics were very fresh.
Map Design: 2
You won’t be seeing a lot of fancy tricks and eye candy in the levels, but most of the time the map works well to fit the scenario. Placement of resources is good in some levels, not so good in others.
Story is the highlight of the campaign. Whereas most new designers would say “Baet the enemy UP!” this one has a magnificent story and the plot slowly unravels. The story ties the scenarios together well, and is very memorable, such that I can remember it clearly without having to reread it even though I took many months to beat the campaign. The ending is great, and the story of Amon Ra continues in Phill’s second campaign, “The Glory of Amon Ra”.