Murder in Derventio V_02
The aim of this scenario is to find the murder, through clues and hints, and execute him. It may sound easy, but I can assure you, its nothing but easy. You must learn how to think outside the box, square, circle, or whatever, in order to solve it.
You will need to install the language files, because without them, there is virtually no point in playing this map.
This entry got forth place the Microscopic Map Contest. Only contest reviews will be allowed and any other reviews made will be changed to comments by the Granary moderators. This will be moved to a permanent section when it is created.
UPDATE: Since no-one bothered to update it, I went through the trouble myself and did it. Here's the updated version. I fixed the auto loss bug.
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Review of Murder In Derventio(Updated version)
This is the first ever murder mystery scenario I've ever seen. Requiring the custom language.dll to play, you play as a detective and have to interview people around the city to determine the culprit of a murder. The only problem was that I could kill many innocent people in the city and not lose, although I'm not sure that can be helped. It was also a bit frustrating at times to have to walk all around the city to get information. A great effort, but I think scenarios like these are better suited for AoK.
The scenario was pretty well-balanced, although everyone is frozen and won't attack you even if you attack them(Although that is necessary). There were no enemies to fight, so balance isn't much of an issue. A warning though, determining who the killer is certainly isn't as easy as it sounds!
I'd have to say I've never seen anything like this. Very creative idea, and great use of the language.dll, like we saw in Bushido. I'm not sure how Nezon had the patience to do all this, it would have driven me crazy! Nezon also makes a new trick(One I haven't seen at least), renaming the raft "Door" and putting it inside a building, thus making it possible to garrison units inside a house.
Map Design: 4.8
Nezon did an excellent job here. There was good eye-candy, well laid out buildings, nice scenery, orderly paths, and overall a great city. The only problem was that all the stuff in the city made it take a while to get from place to place.
Nice story, tells what it needs to tell without giving too much away. Excellent use of descriptive language.
Official Review and Scoring
Nezon's "Murder in Derventio"
First Thoughts: Murder in Derventio is a single-scenario campaign unlike anything else. It features unparalleled, detective gameplay, which relies heavily on the modified language and languagex dll files. At first I did not know what to expect, I had no clue what the author want me to do. Find the killer?
But I soon got to realize that this scenario is just like an Agatha Christie book - only in Age of Empires! You have to go around the place, gathering answers from all the citizens, and find the murderer.
1: Playability (3.4)
This is just not right. It would be so nice. Why does the map have to restart every fourth minute? Every fourth minute, you are automatically defeated and are forced to start over. This is such a pity, at least in my opinion.
I have taken the liberty to extract the scenario from the campaign, naturally, only after I finished playing it and solved the case. The automatic defeat is caused by the brown axeman (suspect) moving out of position, always exactly at the fourth minute. This is caused by a simple overlook of player 4 in the players tab. Just set player 4 to computer and give it the same personality file as the others. Such a simple mistake.
2: Balance (4.8)
Here, I will rate how much you have to think to solve the case. It could have stood to be a bit tougher, but you will see this for yourself; but then again I had to think about it, re-think it a couple of times, before making the decision.
So, solving the case is not necessarily easy, but it can be done, and it involves a very lot of fun. I can't say more than this, I do not want to give away any clues (I sure hope the other judges won't either!!).
3: Creativity (5.0)
Hahah, what else would you want? Ever wanted to see something new? Different? This single-scenario campaign IS. It includes gameplay unseen before, at least for me, and it is using the Age of Empires engine for something completely different. Just love it. Can't get more creative than this. Go ahead, and see for yourself is all I can say once again.
4: Map Design (5.0)
I feared that the map will be neglected in favour of the new gameplay, so I decided to go strict on this one. Well, to be honest, no matter how hard I tried, I did not find anything. Every little square meter of the city is painted in meticulous detail, looking after almost every single pixel on your screen. In one word, magnificent. This is the exact method to model inner cities, or an urban environment, ladies and gentlemen; a fine example for everyone, to serve as a starting point.
All the sights, the ruins, the small lakes (ponds), the streets, the buildings, everything - not excellent; downright perfect.
5: Story/Instructions (4.8)
The campaign includes a relatively high quality scenario instruction bitmap - still not perfect, but extremely nice; down to the point instructions which will give you an idea on what your job is, what you have to do in order to win, and a nice story. You are navigated among the tabs, which is nice, considering that you need to be briefed in on this new form of gameplay.
I found the story very well-scripted. It is amazingly descriptive of the environment, which is terribly important for this kind of gameplay - however, I found it a bit short. Or was it just me, wanting to read on? I will never get to know.
-- Overall (4.60)
Hats off! I hope the other judges will be kind and not take the restarting bug much into consideration - it is a nuisance, but then again it was a simple mistake, a matter of turning on a Per file or not. Of course, the lack of beta-testing definately shows here, but I have no heart to blame this map, or the author. Wonderful job.
A word of advice to the author: Before you leave, be kind and update this scenario; just set the personality tab of the brown player, and you are finished. That should solve the bug.
This scenario here has a reasonable potential for starting a new era in puzzle-type games. Excellent.
JUDGE'S NOTE: The author went through the trouble and updated the map one day after the official deadline, and corrected the automatic defeat issue. This was done AFTER the review was finished. The fixed version does NOT contain this bug; however, as it is a modification past the deadline, I do not take it into account as concerning the scores. Yet, I ask the competition management, that in case of a tie, give this scenario the advantage in position.
Playability: 1.8 The Murder in Derventio is all about walking around and asking the different citizens of the roman city Derventio for clues about a murder, unfortunately there is a bug which causes you to loose the scenario after a couple of minutes, so you must restart the game and go to new places of the city every time. Otherwise it would be a really good scenario…
Balance: 5 Finding the killer is certainly no easy task and getting past those guards ain’t easy either… Some people in the town are very helpful, others are just annoying… The scenario isn’t about fighting and the only way to loose is to kill the wrong suspects. Some areas are restricted and tricky to open, otherwise there aren’t many things you must do except asking the townspeople…
Creativity: 5 A very good use of the Language/x.dll, the player will have to search every corner of the city to solve the mystery. Some historical characters (or maybe just having the same name) such as Tacitus, Vercingetorix and Tiberius appear in the city and all have specific comments, even the dog rex says Woof! Roman justice is fun as I get to kill the murderer when I know who it is! :P
Map design: 5 The city is only using Greek buildings, but is yet very varying, In a scenario without battles the map design draws a little more attention than usual, and with good map design, it makes a good scenario! There are nice cacti gardens, overgrown ruins and other things that distract me from finding the murderer….
Story/Instructions: 4.5 The story is a little bit short, which is fine with me… The Intructions are clear, execute the murderer! Hints don’t tell you very much, only to use the ? button to ask the citizens…