Coke vs. Pepsi !
Before playing against real people I recommend to at least take a look at the scenario in single player mode first. Study the Hints well so you don't get pwned too easily.
The custom AI and Per files included do not need to be installed; they are there only for the convenience of the contest judges and other interested people.
This entry got fifth 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.
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Review of Pepsi vs Coke
This map is meant for multi-player, but since I have no one to play against I played it against the AI. This is a fun little scenario about the war between Pepsi and Coke. You take the side of your favorite drink and must either make 64 conversions, destroy everyone else, or build a wonder and protect it. Your allies will defend you for the most part, but there are several undecided cp players that you can convert. However, the map is a bit crowded and difficult to work with.
The scenario is well balanced, both players have essentially identical starting positions: A priest, Hero Mor Havoc, Hero Amon Ra, A BLP, a Heavy Transport, and an immoble Saint Francis(your mascot). You can use your priests to convert a few villagers at first, and then you can either build a temple for more priests, or build military buildings if you want to win by conquest, so there are several ways the match can play out.
I don't think I've ever seen a scenario about dueling soft drinks before!:) The VC's are quite good too, giving you several ways to win.
Map Design: 4
The grass could have used more clumps and desert patches, and the thick trees often limited building sites. The forests were a bit bland too, but all in all, pretty good.
The story was creative, but pretty brief. It conveyed that in (Insert your town here) soft drink companies had sent emmissaries to win over the residents to their side. At the end it states that the loser of the match must drink the winners soda.
Official Review and Scoring
Zapdotep's "Coke vs Pepsi"
First Thoughts: The first thing that struck me was the theme. I do not remember seeing a scenario with a theme of a similar caliber - the first word that came to my mind was "creative". Indeed.
The second thing I noticed was the author's care for detail. The multiplayer scenario allows two players to play simultaneously; the scenario name fits the AoE system of naming multiplayer maps, and the multiplayer instructions were well laid out - which is, incredibly important.
The idea is a fictional fight between the Coke and Pepsi marketing departments, over a town called (insert name here). You have everything you could have ever asked for: Your men, your opponent, your fans, and even some neutrals, who will just try and keep out of the way - that is, if you leave them alone.
I had to get back to this scenario a week after finishing the review, because the scenario instruction bitmap has arrived. So I will modify the review accordingly.
1: Playability (4.2)
The scenario functions perfectly in multiplayer, aside from some minor lag caused by the computer players trying to make a living. Keeping in mind that this is a multiplayer scenario, this actually is an important point. Not that lag would be horrible anyways, I consider it a lame excuse when people say "I lost because you added PCs!".
Playability of the scenario is only hindered by some slight mistakes. The barbed wire fence is a wonderful idea, but too bad a skilled player will just place foundations over it, remove them, and gain vast advantage. Another mistake is the placement of trees and elevation. The pathfinding errors are not a fault of the author, but the game itself - yet still, trees placed all over the place in the beginning will restrict troop movements.
2: Balance (4.3)
Nice. The two sides start completely equal, exactly as it should be in a multiplayer scenario, while the neutrals give a fine touch to gameplay. Still, I would say the scenario is a tad bit too easy - well, only as concerning the neutrals. They could have stood to be a bit stronger - after all, villagers fall amazingly fast at the feet of your marketing specialists (not to mention the bowmen and axemen of the opposing fan club). A stronger neutral player could have forced me and my opponent to go for more varied tactics.
Balance is of utmost importance when it comes to multiplayer, and this scenario fits the job almost perfectly - except for some stronger residents who would be a greater challenge to "persuade".
3: Creativity (4.8)
What an idea it is! Bringing the world of the "Cola wars" into the realm of an RTS game - it is just magnificent. Unfortunately not everyone around the world knows exactly what this is all about, in many areas, this sort of fight is inexistant, with Coke and Pepsi sharing a nice portion of the market. But then again, it is not the author's job to fill us in on international soft dring distribution politics, nope?
The scenario just seems to keep on going with ideas, for quite some time at least. I particularly liked the new "Twin Machine Gun" layout of the defensive Town Center, which was a clever trick forcing me to rethink troop movements - twice at least. This is the kind of trick the scenario needs more of. A barbed wire fence, well-executed, but still having a simple bug, as mentioned before - surely there must have been a workaround!
Whilst trying to convert my opponent's BLM, and finally succeeding, a huge flash of light hit poor bloke from the skies reducing him to some carbon fiber chunk in a matter of seconds. What's Francis got to do there? Yes, we all know he is the mascot of the company. But what's the point of his presence? It's so nice to have him there, we need to know more about him!
By making the PDZ a broad 20 tiles in width, the defending computer players kept on building towers both on the frontline, and home defense as well (though, they particularly like offensive towering, which is well-executed in the scenario).
Creativity earns a minor bonus for the scenario instruction bitmap, as it uses a trick I have never seen before. Overriding the original content is amazingly clever. I had to add the bitmap to the scenario manually - please watch out for that when submitting your entry to the granary!
4: Map Design (3.4)
Map design is slightly better than average, or, by today's standards, it is downright average. The author focused a lot on micro, and forgot about the macro. The individual parts of the map are okay, or even nice, but altogether the map is, well, go and see for yourself. The twin shores of the settlement are completely straight, with straight, edgy blocks of elevation, cliffs and vegetation. The fact the map is mirrored is not a bad thing - multiplayer maps need that - but it still could have lived to be a bit more curvy, and interesting.
Judging by the story, I would have expected to see a close-quarters city combat where you have to fight your way from one building to another - but the map was unfortunately a bit different. In fact - where is the city? Where is the urban damage? Map design just did not line up in sync with the story.
The micro part, however, was well-executed. You can see nice arrays of trees, hills, and an amazingly convincing barbed wire fence. The fortified Teuton TC was a great hit, I just loved that rapid fire trick. It would have been nice to see some Teuts, though.
5: Story/Instructions (4.3)
The instructions are clearly laid out, you don't have to go back to the instructions screen every so often to check back on them; which is, in the case of a multiplayer map, of ultimate importance! Clear and simple instructions. One of the many positive trademarks of this scenario.
The story, on the other hand, is a bit lacking. Sure, it did give you a view on the present situation, and it did make your job clear enough - but what has happened in the background? Why is this town or city so important? Maybe the citizens have been recorded as the most fanatic soft drink consumers in the country. Or maybe not? Lots of questions from the player, few answers from the story.
Clear instructions, lacking story, but a very nice scenario instruction bitmap. Not one of those with superior quality, but still better than most, and what is even more important, it is descriptive, and highly decorative. I recommend the author to take a look at instruction bitmaps from days gone by, to perfect his bitmap-making skills. Not if they were bad anyways. Hmm. Nice, actually.
-- Overall (4.20)
A multiplayer map full of fun, and a welcome break from the everyday Build and Destroy. Combining elements of Fixed Force, Puzzle, and B&D gameplay, this scenario should provide hours of fun, for a very number of people. The author has magnificent creativity, so be sure to check his other works as well - especially be on lookout for multiplayer maps, as this scenario should only be the beginning of an array of amazingly creative maps. Well done.
In the long run, the addition of the bitmap pushed your score up by (almost) 0.1 points, which might not seem much - but then again, unfortunately it has little to do with the map design part, which is the primary menace of the scenario.
Playability: 4.2 One of our newest members, Zapdotep has created this funny and enjoyable Scenario. The players play as either Coca cola or Pepsi, in a crazy city where Coladrinkers and Pepsidrinkers fight. The city is splitted by a barbed wire wich is made by an elevation with dead trees and invisible trees on. The city is a little crowded with lots of stuff, wich makes you unable to build all the buildings you want. also, in an MP battle it is a shame that I must Check the Achievements screen to see my progress, after all my opponent could attack any minute...
Balance: 4.5 Being an multiplayer battle, with both sides almost exactly equal, it is incredibily hard to find anything bad about the balance, if it would be anything it is that when the Choson priests attack they have monotheism, while I’m very unlikely to have that... Saint Francis and the BLP in the corner are rather wasted, as the enemy never is stupid enough to come that close, and my priests already can heal each other... Otherwise unbalance could be caused by the Choice of Civs, wich makes the map a guaranteed loss on the first try if you’re not informed before. As the players totally lack gold at start I would reccomend Egypt for rushing, or Babylonia for defending.
Creativity: 5 If this Scenario doesn’t show Cretivity I’m a duck! (In lack of better expressions) Zappy Invented a barbed wire, a garrisoned town center and finally found a good way of using the Convertions VC, although the way this is explained is a litttle lame it is better than no explanation at all! Something I would’ve liked to see is spritedrinkers (what? I like sprite!) and 7updrinkers as names for the teal and grey players, but that’s just my own stupid opinion... :p
Map Design: 3.8 The way Zappy has compressed a full map in microscopic format gives both good and bad effects, Some buildings are “all in one buildings” wich gives them a rather messed up look, so do the Gold and stone mines, my opponent said that the stone mines looked really ugly and artificial. Threre’s little Eyecandy apart from the genial barbed wire, although there’s little room for any either...
Story/Instructions: 5 The story is really funny, the City of (Insert name here) would normally be treated as uncreative, but here it only adds another laugh! There are still some things wich are confusing, wich age is this? There are archers, but Coca cola exists… The story is in fact a pile of garbage, but for some reason it is still really good...? (I don’t really understand myself) As the bitmap was turned in it became even more fun to look at it! Unfortunately the axemen look unrealistic as they have been coloured with colours not used in the real game.