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Little Big Nordic Adventure

Author File Description
Andrea Rosa
File Details
Number of Scenarios: 5
Difficulty: Mod-Hard
The 8th of June 793 was a beautiful spring day on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, situated on the north east coast of England. The island had a monastery which was founded in the 6th century and was famous for producing some of the finest literature of its time. The monks, who didn't suspect anything unusual, went down to the shore to greet the strangers who had arrived... And this is what an author wrote some years later: "That year the heathens arrived from the north with a fleet. They spread in all directions like horrible wolves, wrecking, robbing, shattering and killing. They went to the Holy Church of Lindisfarne, killed everything alive, dug up the altars and took all the treasures". The Vikings had arrived.

The attack came as a shock to the rulers of England, and rumours about the fearless Norsemen began to spread across Europe. Striking at easily accessible and poorly defended targets, the Vikings earned a formidable reputation of raiders and pirates, and the chroniclers paid little attention to other aspects of medieval Scandinavia. It was only over time, as historians and archaeologists began to challenge the one-sided descriptions of the chroniclers, that a more detailed portrayal of the Norse culture became apparent.

In this campaign you have the chance to show your braveness and gain the respect of the Norse community. Playing as the Norwegian Vikings, you will leave an indelible mark upon the European Dark Age. You will plunder cities. You will build ships of ever increasing power. You will settle in extreme environments, challenging the elements at every heartbeat. Wrap up well, a Little Big Nordic Adventure awaits you.

Little Big Nordic Adventure features 5 scenarios. Carefully read "Readme.txt" for detailed informations about game settings, known bugs, etc.

Andrea Rosa
Cittiglio, Italy
Pages: « First « 1 [2]
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
bogzy89 best campaign ever made in any aoe game...
fryslan it should be a great idea to make this campaign for age of kings
Senseisan Great job !
Brillant puzzles , never too boring , maps are eyescandies , a masterpiece .

Just a tip , as I was stuck in the last scenario , unable to reveal all the hidden walls whith the trireme , I used a stone thrower to reveal the last ( out of range of the trireme , I fear ! ).
Map Design5.0
Andrea's last campaign before his vanishing falls a bit short of the classic status his earlier efforts can grace themselves with, but is fun to play nonetheless and, as expected, a pleasure to look at.

This time you're following the Vikings on their raids, beginning with the expansion of their first humble settlements and ending with the Vinland saga, an opportunity to explore America with your Vikings way before Amerigo Vespucci did.

While the whole campaign is carefully crafted with a lot of effort spent on portraying realistic settings and offering interesting objectives and scenarios, it suffers both from a lack of difficulty and a sometimes frustrating playing experience.

The latter problem is caused mostly by Age of Empires' limitations. While it's been long known that the game's AI has as much independence as a toddler, causing you to constantly have to baby your units, this is further augmented by these maps' lack of space. The game worlds are often very narrow, with lots of cliffs and other obstacles restricting your movement. Admittedly, the huge amount of cliffs is an important element in making the levels work as they do (scenario 3 especially making brilliant use of them), but on the other hand it's just no fun to lose a battle because 18 of your 25 swordsmen got stuck at the entrance of the enemy town (scenario 5). Giving the player a little more space would have helped tremendously to lower the frustration and add to the fun.

Not all is bad, however. When it doesn't make you scream at your computer, this story is actually very fun to play. There's an interesting mix of playstyles here, with all scenarios apart from the first one severely limiting your options. This forces the player to be creative and develop a strategy to adapt to the circumstances. The best example is the third scenario, where the player must raid coastal towns while exploring land inwards to find hidden units and build outposts to support his naval assaults, only to end up right at the starting point again at the end to engage the scenario's last enemy. This is achieved with extensive use of cliffs and trees blocking vital resources, in addition to a limited amount of available technologies and units. The result is a very strategic scenario that is incredibly fun to play and balanced perfectly.

Unfortunately, the difficulty level isn't adjusted as well in most other missions. The first one, for instance, provides you with two powerful allies that will hold off enemies on their own and, given just a little help, will even do most of your work for you. When I played my red ally pretty much finished off the Brits on his own, with me just having to clean up a little in the end. My enjoyment suffered from this fact, as I could just lean back and let them do the work for me. The second level starts off with your camp pretty much immediately under constant attack with nothing to fend off attackers but two priests and a lone cavalry. Finding a way to survive while gathering enough gold to be able to pay the orange guys was really fun, sadly the difficulty curve took a nosedive after that, with all the pressure suddenly taken away to let me build up an army undisturbed with only so much as an occassional Berserk or two disrupting the peace every once in a while. The same fate befalls the last mission, which after a really cool starting puzzle just doesn't offer much enemy pressure anymore.

This is unfortunate, because the concepts are very original and sound like a lot of fun, but most of the time the campaign just isn't very challenging. When looking over that, however, there's still an enjoyable experience to be found here, and playing the campaign is worth it for looking at the once again incredible map design alone.

[Edited on 12/16/11 @ 08:32 AM]

Map Design5.0
After spending time home sick, I decided to play some Age of Empires, except I didn't know exactly what to do really. I was bored and frustrated trying to make my own scenarios work properly that I decided to go on to the Granary and download something to play. After looking, I found Little Big Nordic Adventure. As with all of Andrea Rosa's works of the past, I thought that it had to be fun and worth the time. After playing it, I was absolutely blown away by this campaign by all of the stuff it had in it. The little tricks (both visual and functionally) in the scenarios, the gorgeous map design, the well organized bitmaps, etc. I can tell quite a lot of effort, time, development, and playtesting went into making this genius work of art, so I'll list off each section in more detail.

Playability: 5
Perhaps one of the most overlooked parts to a campaign's playability is the style or the environment. By that, I mean what do you have to do, how do you do it, that sort of thing. Many people (myself included) are huge fans of having to build up a huge army and go destroy everyone else. That can be fun, provided it be done in a unique way. But what about those like myself who love maps where the focus is exploring and solving puzzles along the way? Little Big Nordic Adventure is the answer. This campaign had a lot of parts to it that created a setting in which I had to take my time and be patient with what I had on hand. Many parts of the missions included numerous cliffs and natural barriers in them that meant restriction to your troops movement. Why some would consider this a downfall (due to it being frustrating moving units around and the bad path finding in the game) is totally understandable. I have that happen all the time as well. However, I take this as an opportunity to enjoy a much more slow-paced style of scenario and a break from the typical build-up-then-conquest scenario.

Balance: 5
Well-done. Each mission had its easier and harder moments, but the balance was totally manageable. The first mission had a few parts to it that seems a bit too easy, specifically your red ally pretty much obliterating the Britons, allowing you to take the artifacts. However, it got very challenging trying to reach one of the ruins. I mostly chose to go for the Slavic, and it stumped me as I was thinking how to approach around all of those cliffs and not lose more men. The fantastic map design truly played a part, and made it more fun thinking about the tactics and movement of an attack rather than making a huge army of cavalry and chariots. The second mission was really cool at the beginning, having to use your hero and Priests the way you do. To be honest, it felt tense for a little while whenever I'd need to send units out, since I could be attacked by the Berserks or the orange at the worst time and be set back. The end is fun with the introduction of the Trebuchet and having to destroy the castle. It was definitely satisfying to see it crumble after you kill the army guarding it. The third mission takes a very long time to complete, but is far from a boring one. The series of city raids culminating into a search for units and ending up right back where you started to lead a final attack was genius. This mission was all about tactics and positioning your units, and because you couldn't replace some of the units you find, it's vital that you plan accordingly. The fourth mission is a puzzle scenario that shouldn't take more than two minutes, once you understand the puzzle itself. :) The fifth and final mission is my personal favorite, because it embraces the feel of exploration and navigation of the sea to the fullest. I like that you can't rebuild any of your boats and also most of your units, since it makes it feel like you don't have many men for the expedition. The entire scenario is slow, but in a cool way that makes you careful of what you have available. Having to avoid the whales was genius addition to the scenario as well. The end was challenging for me when I had to destroy the Irish Monastery, but was so rewarding when I did.

Creativity: 5
As with all of Andrea Rosa's campaigns, nothing falls short in terms of the creativity. Parts that are vital to scenario function were made in such a way that seemed to flow well with the maps. The victory conditions were well implemented, using certain heroes and special units in the way he did, the introduction of the Trebuchet in the form of a Big Bertha, the intricate puzzle that is the fourth level, converting the Trireme on the last level, the cool names units get with the language.dll, it goes on and on. All of it really enhanced the playing experience and made it feel just that much more realistic and the setting much more suited to the 9th and 10th century Norse period as opposed to the ancient times the game is normally set in. That seemed hard and tricky to pull off and integrate into a campaign, but Rosa did it in spectacular fashion.

Map Design: 5
Ok, this alone could make the campaign a 5 out of 5 to me. Everything just looked phenomenal because it all looked so different because I had never played a campaign about Vikings, let alone the Norse. I immediately fell in love with how all of the scenarios looked as they captured a look I had not yet seen before. Just booting up the starting mission, I looked around my starting position and saw beautiful landscapes with the cliffs, forests, grass patches, and everything else in between being so well put together. Or how about the forests with the rocks hidden in there, the stone and gold mines mixed with rocks, the cool mountains with the snow effects. These little things make a huge difference in the map look. All of it so carefully thought out, with every detail to reflect the part of the world you're in really makes the maps phenomenal. Then in a couple of levels, the use of discoveries as snow was really well implemented. The trees around it made sure no units moved on them and created silly blue flags on them that would take away the look. That alone looks like it took forever in playtesting to make sure it was done right, but it definitely shows the care put into the maps. I loved the map design for the third and fifth missions the most, with the third restricting your attack to the same position as where you started, then going to explore the inland to find allies brought me through beautiful forests, and the fifth feeling like it was an expedition as opposed to conquering. It's hard to put into words how incredible the maps are to someone who hasn't played them already.

Story/Instructions: 5
All of the scenarios have a cool introduction or monologue to start off, with the instructions below. Superb bitmaps for each of the scenarios added that extra bit that made it feel that much more real. Unless your computer screen is really tiny or you use small resolution, all of the story and instructions can be read without any scrolling. The hints for the scenarios were just right if you ask me. They give a good idea of what you'll need to do in a specific situation, but don't give away the answers. For example, the fourth scenario being a small puzzle was very tricky and will leave you stumped if you don't want to read the spoilers to figuring it out. But I kept going back to the hints where it said you had only a few seconds to do something, and thought to myself "What is that something?" After thinking about it for five minutes or so, I finally figured it out without looking at the spoilers. Don't worry, I won't spoil it for you. :)

Additional Comments:
After playing this campaign all the way through, I must say that I was totally blown away by all that it had going for it. I can't stop telling everyone how fun, creative, and different it was, because I loved the way Andrea Rosa presented it. When I played it through, I felt like it was one of the most professionally made and tested campaigns to ever be submitted at the Granary. A few things to note about this campaign however:

- Make sure that you play this on the original Age of Empires and not Rise of Rome. This is (1) for the graphical differences between them (where the original looks ten times better) and (2) so the last mission will work properly. If not, the Trireme will only have 10 range and not the 14 range it should.
- All of the missions will work fine if you play them from Moderate to Hardest, but Hardest might hurt the playability a little on the second mission.

Other than that, a 5 out of 5 from me, and I hope whoever plays this afterward can share the same appreciation I did. Almost ten years after Andrea Rosa released this, I'm here to review and tell you that it's still one of the best around. Well done Andrea, Little Big Nordic Adventure is truly a phenomenal work that you put together that has and will still stand up to the test of time.
This campaign is a masterpiece and one of my personal favorites.
I think LittleFreak in 2011 did raise some valid criticisms, even if the scoring is a bit harsh. While it was really cool to see how Andrea dealt with the possibilities brought on by the EE2.0 (very well IMO), and I just love seeing the landscape of Scandinavia brought to life (even though he should probably just have covered the whole map in spruces to be accurate lmao), I have to say trying to row your longboats down the narrow rivers of continental Europe in the later scenarios does get a little bit messy.
Pages: « First « 1 [2]

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