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Agent Of A Foreign Power

Author File Description
Julius999
File Details
Number of Scenarios: 1
Difficulty: Mod-Hard
AGENT OF A FOREIGN POWER

Sarion is a jewel of the coast. It is a city of broad streets and sumptuous villas, grown rich on trade. It is no surprise that the hungry eye of King Darius has now turned to it, and even now his fleet lurks just beyond the horizon. Yet Sarion is not weak, and King Astigo has ensured that the formidable defences have not been neglected. More importantly still, the man himself exerts iron discipline and commands utter loyalty. While he still lives, Sarion is as strong a city as any on the coast.

It is two years before the events in Kharoun, but Darius is the same as ever. As always, he has no intention of fighting his enemy at their strongest, so once again he turns to his spies and assassins. However, news has filtered through that even as the invasion fleet draws close the plot has been foiled. King Astigo still lives, and the ringleader of Darius' spies has been imprisoned. With Sarion at risk of slipping from his grasp, he looks once again to his greatest servant - Jason.


I hope you enjoy this second little offering, all comments and reviews will be warmly appreciated.


UPDATE I (after 9 downloads)
- Loopholes closed
- Final battle made more difficult
- Instructions slightly clarified
- Bitmap added

UPDATE II (after 13 downloads)
- Another loophole closed. Player should no longer be able to build.
- Instructions clarified further

UPDATE III (after 20 downloads)
- Victory condition bug fixed/
- Optional objective to capture Gaia units fixed.
- Wall foundations trick disabled.
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AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
TailSpray When I kill the King, the Ruin timer keeps going. I can't gain control, even if I kill all yellow units in the area, so it's likely that I just can't get close enough to the Ruins to convert them because they're too far behind the Government Centers.
Gumble
Rating
4.2
Breakdown
Playability4.3
Balance3.9
Creativity4.2
Map Design4.2
Story/Instructions4.4
Review updated for Author’s bug fixes
SPOILER WARNING – Game secrets may follow
Genre is a sort of historical fiction
Currently this scenario can be completed in under an hour
Difficulty can range from difficult to easy depending how you play the game
Game style is a mixture of fixed-force, quest, Puzzle-Escape, and assassinate against the clock

Playability 4.3
Much improved since Gumble lasted played the updated version. Because a lot of the tricks and player ‘variables’ have been seen too, Game play is a lot more linear but very much more stable. One’s mission sounds familiar: Bust out of jail, assassinate a King, escape a city, and search and destroy. Every one of these objectives has unique aspects which new and experienced players will enjoy. Stick to the objectives, don’t try anything fancy, and you should have a good time.

Balance 3.9
There limitations to this score because of the fact that there is only ONE way to complete the scenario. Sure little short cuts can be taken here and there but if one tries to anything silly it’s liable to blow up in one’s face. A completely novice player will have a lot of difficulty with this scenario. For example: jumping off a bridge into a boat needs more than simply a vague hint of ‘leap of faith.’ Unless one keeps failing the scenario there is no real need to do it more than twice. This scenario is great and fun sure, but more of a 1 hit wonder type. Play it, enjoy it, put it away.

Creativity 4.2
Now this is a cool scenario. Very well mapped out city with many little design tricks here and there including water spray and alternative water rocks. What takes the cake is the ‘land Merchants’. These simple trade boats that move around in shallows. But the water has been covered with desert paths making it look like land boats. A very clever trick. If one ‘interacts’ with them they will also be rewarded. The story is concise and clear but is clearly part of a larger story. The added bitmap is neat too. The assonate trick is interesting but is buggy at best. A trigger is nasty if one can actually see the Hero Hannibal stomping around in the trees. The raft escape is especially exciting.

Map Design 4.2
Not a lot of new things to say here. The city is definitely unique if a little lifeless.
There also seem to be a lot of pine trees for a Mediterranean port. Again there is a little inconsistency with the story citing that Darius is military weak but he has quite a formidable army hiding in plain sight in front of the city. The Merchant ship puzzle is cool as is the villager quest in the royal palace. Last bit of advice: Hide the triggers and make sure they are permanent.


Story/instructions 4.4
The story is interesting and there are a few clever jokes hidden in the text. Objectives are so clear now there is no room for confusion. Making the hints however less subtle would certainly help. As is making a walkthrough in the history section would help A LOT. Also a brief piece explaining the greater situation of the campaign’s story would also be nice. The bit map adds more completeness to the scenario.


Final comments:
These updates have vastly improved the quality of this work. This Scenario is recommend by the reviewer, Gumble.

To Improve even further: (subjective opinion)
1. Add a back story to the scenario as well as a walkthrough
2. Add an alternative means to assassinate the King
3. Move the cataprachts around the city to make interesting tactical challenges
4. Make a mobile (patrolling) guard to add more strategy and a randomness factor
5. The city needs life! Boats, villagers, trades people, priests, officials! Make the city breath!
6. Move the fleet back behind an island, adds realism
7. Unseen triggers are better than seen ones
8. The surrounding land could see a little bit of work.
9. The prison puzzle could be trickier
10. The raft can discover the fleet before the king turns on you. This is a major flaw and needs to be seen too.
11. Also King Astigo eventually becomes your ally again, this may need fixing.
12. This may be a bit much but another seaside village between Jason and the fleet would add another interesting challenge as he would be a wanted man. Perhaps shifting the ‘Common Peoples’ little village?

Meeting these points would most likely see this scenario receive a perfect score.

[Edited on 10/04/09 @ 11:55 PM]

Gumble Your probably not doing it the 'set way' Ninetails. there is a gaia scout that uncapture the ruins if you use the 'libary discovery' method. its funny, on Gumble's game the ruins eventurly jumped out of the government centers.
Julius999
File Author
Thanks very much for the review, Gumble. You certainly managed to foil my carefully laid plan!

I'll update in the next couple of days, and then I'd be grateful if you updated your review (no doubt with some new scheme!).

By the way, I had a lot of difficulty trying to make a bitmap. Is there any sort of helpful guide?

[Edited on 09/29/09 @ 05:20 AM]

Gumble There is no set way of making a bitmap and they are certainly not Gumble's area of expertese. the siege workshop offers some advice and Ninetails is AoEH resident bitmap expert. Try making a thread in scernario design asking for help.
The Dark Archer Bitmaps can be a time consuming and rather difficult area. However they can also be rather fun. :)

We currently only have one article in the Siege Workshop http://aoe.heavengames.com/siege/MapDesign/bitmaps.shtml but I know an old forumer Mero did do a website on bitmaps as well. I might track that down at some point if I remember.
Julius999
File Author
Okay, I've updated with a few fixes to (hopefully) all the loopholes that slipped through.

I've also had a go at creating a bitmap. Finally got over the issue where it was appearing in garbled colours. It's not the best ever, but better than nothing.

The story things you mention Gumble are all there for a reason. The broken leg is supposed to explain why a secret agent is hunched over and hobbling around with a stick. The fleet being so close to the city is so the player doesn't get bored moving his ships across miles of water. The "macho" dialogue is there for the sole purpose of setting up the two thousand years joke (okay that reason isn't so great).

The map design will stay as it is. I feel it is adequate, and I'm not inclined to make any significant changes.


Ninetails: Sounds like you're going about it the wrong way. I've prevented the player using brute force (which sounds like what you've done). The correct method works fine, just follow the instructions and read the hints if necessary.

[Edited on 09/29/09 @ 08:14 AM]

TailSpray How did I do it wrong? I captured the Gaia scout, killed all yellow units in the area, and did everything possible there.

I also managed to grab the fleet and transported all of my men to shore before angering player 7, therefore allowing me to set up things to my liking before going on a rampage.

Why does the player start with resources and the ability to build? It would seem to make it easier to cheat.

I am playing on Hardest.


By the way, I really enjoyed reading your review, Gumble, nothing seemed to escape your scathing gaze. I honestly couldn't have found that many mistakes with a microscope! Although, like yourself, I do always find an alternate way to beat things (it's so much fun to break the rules).
Gumble A well designed scernario deserves a thourough review. Gumble diddnt mention all the bugs he found, he diddnt want to seem overly patronizing. Julius999 is a good designer. Gumble will update his review in a couple of days.

Played lions of Kauron. That was fun but couldnt finish it. Read the walkthrough found Gumble played it absolutly upsidedown. Somehow managed to make a tame lion invulnerable.

TailSpray Am I supposed to be able to convert the assassin unit? The hidden priest can't reach him, and I lose if my other priest departs by the back door of the library.
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HGDL v0.8.0

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Rating
4.2
Breakdown
Playability4.3
Balance3.9
Creativity4.2
Map Design4.2
Story/Instructions4.4
Statistics
Downloads:3,793
Favorites: [Who?]0
Size:178.03 KB
Added:09/27/09
Updated:10/01/09