Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:36 AM
A Visit to the Madhouse
From Jemand on the CSR
Wow! Once again, Niemand makes one of the most technically advanced scenarios yet.
I'll start off with the bad points: It's short. Well, what with the whole 24 hours thing, that's pretty much expected. Besides, it's pretty long if compared to some 24h scenarios. The outdoors part is pretty much empty, some messages or something might have helped to alleviate that feeling. Fortunately there were some wandering monsters.
Sadly, there isn't much to do in Mertis, which kind of bothered me a bit. You can to to the commander for the main quest, but there are no side quests at all. Oh well.
Now for the good parts: It felt like it was straight out of Avernum 2! Things have changed, yes, but AVM is supposed to have taken place years after A2. You can talk to almost everyone in the town to see more similarities. Many of the people are the same, or direct descendants of characters in A2. I loved the nutcase priest of Elgar.
The Madhouse itself was very different, but you could see obvious similarities to the original, the chasms, the secret passages, the weird entrances... But it makes sense that with the eye beast dead the brigands had no powerful magic user to make any portals or anything. Once you get in the madhouse and have stolen the candlestick, the plot is very open ended. You can opt for the patented Kill Everything That Moves approach, or be super stealthy and knock off occasional guys and stuff them in closets. I spent a very enjoyable half an hour luring guys into closets to kill them. I recommend the prison and secret treasure storeroom as good places to store bodies. Scripting goodies like the crimedoor script and guards seeing you with corpses setting the alarm off made AVM especially good. The fact that you can dispose of corpses at all is a major feat of scripting. I was also impressed with the way that the guards will periodically decide to go check the barracks, storerooms, or guardposts. You can also have fun little conversations with all of the brigands from Ol' Jimbob to "Slice". What a wonderful guy. People complained about typos everywhere, but I saw none. Some people had accents, but those were intentional.
It's nice the way that you could do more stuff to get better rewards, like return the candlestick, or find the documents. The non-linear feel AVM especially good in my opinion. There were no major bugs as far as I could tell. A frequent complaint was that if you kill people, leave, and come back the whole place was hostile. That makes sense though, If you kill have the base personnel and then leave for two days, they'll figure out who did it right?
Overall, AVM is a well made scenario. The great features outweigh the few problems by a long shot.