The Merciless Battle to the Death of the Banana Canyon of the Apes
Posted on 01/10/09 @ 03:25 PM (updated 01/11/09
Follow the Tragic story of a group of Monkeys who learned the joy of war... The setting is a tropical paradise, and the objective is to kill your opponents Monkey Cheiftain!
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btw, Zappy came up with the name, which made me come up with a sick story! :P
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I downloaded this scenario feeling pretty exciting - before realising I couldn't do the multiplayer-designed aspects any justice. I do, however, have dozens of maps (ugly and pretty) under my own belt so I feel qualified - at least for now - to review the Mappy aspects of this game.
Playability & Balance: Not Rated
So I played for about 20 minutes on single player - unfortunately the scenario instructions didn't really tell me anything useful (see below!) so I spent some time simply exploring.
I was playing on hardest and the default AI didn't make a threatening move (except the yellows, before I saw they were my ally! - see below). The resources are nice-looking but perhaps the camps are a little claustriphobic for a 2-v-2 multiplayer game.
I'm not sure about the tactical possibilities- good players will ageup early and do Tool raids, slower players will simply wall up their team so the experiences have good variability potential I think. There aren't any traditional choke points but the joines between north and south have potential to be very defensible - use of cliff blocks make for small routes.
Overall I think the gameplay aspects of this scenario would be generally enjoyable, with potential for some exciting moments in combat but this doesn't grab me especially exciting/thrilling.
I cannot judge the experience holistically of course... no friends = no multiplayer :( ... but as I said this has potential but isn't going to be a wild ride. Definately 3.5-4.5 range, but I will give no final score.
Obviously, as one can judge from the title, the idea is unorthodox - pretty amusing little backstory in the SI texts.
In terms of realising the idea I think FF has done a good job - none of the design elements seem to be afterthoughts (as is sometimes the case) and ideas are either original or a new spin - eg defending Mor Havoc (an ally who won't really do ANYTHING) will make for a player to make choices - wall him in? Or guardian spam?
Diplomacy/player choices are also creative - one player attack, one defend? Communication will be important but not morbidly essential.
Most of my analysis is covered by Map Design, but the creativeness of this map is something special - not perfect - but unusual and feel-good.
Map Design: 4.4
Herein lieth my most mixed feelings. The first thing I saw after starting was the swampy watch tower and thought "YEAH." Taking a furthur look around showed me the strengths and weaknesses of this mapmaker.
Firstly, if you viewed this valley from outer-space it would look damn fine. The cliffs are perfect, the water is perfect, and it's all intergrated with the foot terrain well.
Unfortunately gazing at the foothills of the valley reveals a dissapointment - there are no foothills. I cannot find any elevation whatsoever - and I'm afraid it does rather show - the cacti and grass patches are nice - Very Nice, but its just lacking that eyepleasing variety.
My advice is to splash in spots of desert and vary the heights a little - just one patch each of E1 and E3 put in selectively would make a world of difference... it all looks flat.
The story was 5... the instructions a 2...
Quite obviously the story was going to be fictional and slightly bizzarre - well, in that sense, it is perfect - and what other sense would you wish for?!
Unfortunately let down by the instructions.. I knew I had to defend my Mor Havoc and kill the enemy team's Mor Havoc, so I started and went... where's Mor Havoc? Turns out he's an ally and my own allies are on one "side" of the valley (which I took to mean side of the water, too)... I looked in the Scenario Editor to find out exactly what was going on.
Clear instructions would have made this a much better and less puzzling experience. Not awful but leaves some to be desired!
I have no final comments as I've tackled stuff in turn. Bascially some stuff is excellent, mostly concepts and map design, just needs a little more variety and realism in the terrain (eg not being perfectly flat) and, of course, the Instructions.
Overall pretty enjoyable though.
Didn't get far enough to comment on victory conditions people seem to be stuck on... so I've stuck to reviewing mappy aspects.
PS I have to add a rating for all sections so I'll put in a mixture of average, guessing, and what I thought of similiar relevant bits.
Basically read each section for detail.