Instructions: Copy the *.cpn file to Age of Empires/campaign. This campaign consists of six scenarios starring a humble Hero named Jason. He is not the toughest or brightest guy in the world of AOE, but he is a dreamer with a magnificent destiny. Part 1- The Escape: Jason has to escape his home City with his stolen goods. Part 2- The Portal of Penzod: Jason must find clues to escape this lost land with his life and sanity intact. Part 3- The Cleric and the Creek: Jason must help a kind old Priest to earn a favor in return. Part 4- The Seeds of War: Jason must raise a mighty army in a land thaught to exist only in legend. Part 5- The Test of Myst: Jason must pass a test to earn the loyalty of his army. Part 6- Blast from the Past: Jason must lead his army to victory. HAVE FUN questions or comments to: Joe (firstname.lastname@example.org) Thanks to Microsoft for getting it right this time.
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Most of these scens were highly playable. Some were slightly draggy and some Victory Conditions weren't strictly implemented. I enjoyed almost all of my play-through.
Some scens were total walkovers and some were quite difficult.
Even this early in the history of AoE we see highly creative situation setups.
Map Design: 3
Some of the maps were random, some were highly creative, and some were quite plain but very functional and created endless opportunities for strategic decision making.
Starting with a possible 5.0 for extensive, engaging, and well strung together History, Instructions, Hints, and both Aftermaths, the designer was hit with some deductions for instructions that did not match the actual victory conditions, and the last scen, which had almost nothing to say to us.
Scen 1: Escort a chest to a checkpoint past enemies. Just like taking a 2 year old to the grocery store. Hey! What are you doing? I told you to stay with me! Quit wandering around and getting lost. All over in 3 minutes.
Scen 2: Set deep in the jungle. Hint: Play very close attention to the Victory Conditions. They are correct, and you don't have to kill everything to win.
Scen 3: Jason and his dog Spot -- I mean his tame lion wandering in the desert. Following the path, he meets the Priest and his pet Helepolis. Now the brave little band sets off on their quest, looking for all the world like Dorothy and her friends in the Wizard of Oz. The cowardly lion can't cross water, but he can run fast if you set him to attack something in the distance. This scen has so many decisions to make. Who should you attack, and who should you convert? Oh and did I forget to mention, while you are making these decisions, a countdown timer is ticking! Now we run into confusing events. We need to get the chest to a temple in the West, then the priest (the old goat!) will give us a boat. But we found the boat first, without getting the chest. Is this all for the worst, or all for the best? So we sent the lion back, by making him attack. He brings the chest here, so there's nothing to fear. We sail for the west, to accomplish the quest. But we're so frustrated, that the author has created, a scen so confusing, we keep on losing, that we bust his little town, till we pound it all down, a sight so glorious, it says we're Victorious! We never got to fill, the Victory Condition, we just went for the kill, with a lot of ammunition. So my question right now, with the victory we wrested, is exactly just how, was this scen ever tested?
Scen 4: Jason is alone on an island. All you need to do is create 30 mil units. Well, actually just 29 because Jason is a mil unit. I was never attacked and just built them. But I noticed something strange. My first play through, P2 and P3 took 18 losses. They were at war. Second play through, no losses. This suggests the designer is using Random/Random for the enemy Strat/Per. On my second play I peeked and discovered the designer created really neat little enemy islands with cities which the player will never see (unless the Random/Random somehow defaults to attacking P1)
Scen 5: OK, this is really creative. It's Jason and a heavy transport in a tiny map of all shallows. You have to own all the ruins for 2000 years or else kill the troops guarding the ruins. Here's a couple hints: Jason can't beat up all the guardians, he'll probably get killed. A heavy transport can sail faster than a cav unit or chariot can trot.
Scen 6: OK, here the designer departs from his usual style and has absolutely no history, hints, anything except instruction -- kill the enemy. Maybe he was getting burned out. But the map and setup is totally functional. You have landed several transports on an enemy coast and established a bare toehold on the beach. The enemy immediately attacks and tries to drive you into the water. This map has many, many decision points where you can fall back and regroup, lure and snipe, mass attack, convert, build up slowly, or anything else that suits you. I went through all these modalities in constant cycles. A thorough knowledge of the mechanics of AoE is needed here, but for beginners just one vital hint: You have priests. They can convert enemy villies, they can heal your troops after a tough fight, and most importantly, they can convert an enemy building, since you start with no resources of any kind.
Overall: Recommended for download.
[Edited on 08/25/08 @ 12:11 AM]
Overall it is quite fun. Each scenario has something different, and the beginning and end tie in nicely. The third and fifth scenarios are quite good.
In some areas it is too easy, but the third and fifth scenario can be challenging. Even the first scenario must be replayed a few times (if playing for the first time).
Overall the designer has given a good impression of their creativity. I would say the only one that looks like a standard RM is scenario 4, but the rest are good. Scenario 3 is a timed mission where you have to get an artifact to a temple, using a priest, lion and helepolis. Each scenario follows the previous very well, and main character is throughout.
Map Design: 2
There is a lot of plain terrain in the scenarios, although in truth you won't see this too much. Some bugs exist in scenario 3 which let you bypass the need to use the ship, although I need to put the ship near the temple to complete the scenario (wasn't described in the instructions). There are also some cliffs where towers cannot hit your helepolis. Scenario 1 and 6 are effectively the same maps.
Decent storyline but a bit more work is needed to make it more interesting. The final scenario contains no detail.
Possibly worth a download as the storyline is okay and is a good RPG-style scenario.
The existing reviews are pretty good, so this is not a full review. However, they missed some points, so I will state them here.
Scenario 1 is very easy. Scenario 2 is fairly easy. The only difficulty is that you are Persian, which is a weak civ. Scenario 4 is too simple. Scenario 5 is easy.
Scenario 3 is a bit tricky. Your priest is as weak as possible, and can never be healed, so you cannot afford to expose him to enemy fire, ever, or to risk trying to convert any units, except in very special situations. If he dies, you don't automatically lose, but may lose for tactical reasons. Your Helopolis needs to destroy at least two enemy towers, but does not outrange them. Each enemy tower will beat your Helopolis straight up. Your Helopolis cannot shoot across certain elevation differences. Your Helopolis cannot be risked against enemy mobile units except in certain special situations. All of these factors need to be taken into account. Enemy units do not attack Tame Lions except in self-defense, so they are good scouts. You can recruit a Transport, but not practically, because to get there you have to destroy not two, but four enemy towers, and you first have to eliminate all 10 enemy units, and you don't have time for that, and in any case, the boat has no tactical effect in this scenario. All you have to do is get the artifact to the western temple while preserving Jason.
Scenario 6 is hard, because you have certain weak, irreplaceable, and critical units that you have to expose constantly, and your enemy is strong tactically and economically. The scenario is very hard at the beginning because you have no room to maneuver, and you are almost immediately attacked by at least 4 heroes, including a priest, and two Heavy Catapults, and other strong units. The only viable approach appears to be to immediately exfil everyone, except that you do not have enough transport capacity for all your units. Therefore, you have to leave your HHAs behind and maneuver with them against the enemy catapults, avoiding the other enemy units, and then retreat them along the narrow coastal strip to link up with your priests and healing. Then you need to recover your converted HHA, and then try the landing again. All this may require restarting multiple times. After that, you should win with careful play.
Overall, I would say that the campaign rating should be at least 3.5.