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A Visit to the Madhouse

10 posts in this topic

A Visit to the Madhouse

Mac/Windows

 

Author: Niemand

Difficulty:

Version:

 

[composite=eyJ0aXRsZSI6IkEgVmlzaXQgdG8gdGhlIE1hZGhvdXNlIiwidGlkIjoiMTI0MDAiLCJ0YWdzIjpbXSwiYmdhc3AiOnsiNSI6MSwiNCI6NCwiMyI6NCwiMiI6MCwiMSI6MH19]

Composite Score: 3.7/5.0

 

Best: 11.11% (1/9)

Good: 44.44% (4/9)

Average: 44.44% (4/9)

Substandard: 0.00% (0/9)

Poor: 0.00% (0/9)

[encouragenecro]

 

[/composite]

 

Keywords:

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium

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This scenario has a gimmick. That gimmick is stealth. I can safely say that I never expected this to be implemented in Blades of Avernum, much less in a scenario made in 24 hours. Sidebar: It got panned in the 24-hour contest, and that’s just flat-out unfair.

 

But yes, stealth. I very much enjoyed the sheer adrenaline of being able to take out a guard, then panic about where to hide his body, only to have another guard appear... repeat as necessary until fun. And it was fun.

 

There were a few minor typos and at least one minor bug at launch, and I wish Mertis had been a bit fuller, but yeah. Awesomeness. I loved how it played, and I'm quite impressed with the design.

 

In the end, it’s a quick play, but it’s a very fun play.

 

Rating: [rating]Good[/rating]

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I generally don't like stealth/sneaking games (which is why others seems to think better of this scenario than me), but it was nice to see how Niemand rigged the engine to suit the needs of a stealth game. For example: if someone sees you picking locks they'll get mad, when you kill a bandit he leaves behind a beautiful corpse and when you attack someone who isn't hostile the rest of the town won't telepathically know about. This in itself is pretty awesome.

 

That's about it in terms of pros. Downsides in A Visit to the Madhouse include the plot, which isn't exactly bad, but it really is just an excuse for a stealth mission. The outdoors were also a bit too big and empty. At first I thought they were completely empty, but then I ran into some kobolds, but that is not good enough; twenty-four hour designing time or not!

 

Technical tricks aside, AVttM isn't anything special, but it is worth a play-through.

 

Rating: [rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

 

Oh, and it's set in Avernum. That's always a plus.

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I really liked this scenario. The technical aspects were amazing, and I loved having to hide the bodies of the brigands I killed. Once I had just finished hiding someone and another guy walked in. I had to silence him before he could raise the alarm.

 

There wasn't really any combat. Well, there was, but it was just coming up behind someone and putting a dagger in their back before they could do anything. That was a bit disappointing.

 

The plot is okay. It's not Shakespeare, but as has been mentioned was just an excuse for a stealth scenario.

 

Rank: [rating]Good[/rating]

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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.

 

[rating]BEST[/rating]

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From Nioca on the CSR:

 

 

AVM is a good scenario, but this is no masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. I pretty much agree with the above on positive aspects, but there were a lot of negative aspects too, some that severely deduct from the score. First, the combat was severely underpowered. My L18 singleton priest with mediocre melee prowess was able to mow down any opposition he came across on torment, and never took a single point of damage. Also, Niemand decided to lock a plot-crucial door that some parties may find impossible to break through. A piece of advice to both Niemand and other designers: If the player needs to get through an obstacle, make sure any party can get through it or around it. This wouldn't have even been a problem if he had either made sure there was something in the vicinity (a key, perhaps? or maybe a Rogue's elixir and some magic lockpicks?) that would have ensured that the door could have been unlocked, or had provided an alternate way in (like a cracked wall that could be broken with Move Mountains).

 

There were typos as well. Niemand would have done well to run the scenario through Alint and a spell-checker that also does grammar. Also, advanced path-finding and scripting is not necessarily a good thing, especially when you have dozens of creature scripts running simultaneously no matter where you are in the Madhouse. As it was, a single step required an entire 2 seconds for everything to run. Also, you can't report the death of Whisper, which I know full-well is a bug. The ending also left something to be desired, mainly because it didn't actually feel like I'd accomplished anything. With almost any other scenario, even Undead Valley and Proving Ground, you feel like you did something, and the end is most certainly the end. With this one though... it felt like there should have been something more.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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From TM on the CSR:

 

Am I the only person who next-to-NEVER trains in tool use? It was really frustrating to have to reload and make a whole new party with enough tool use to break in.

 

Well, that aside, the deal's relatively clean. I mean, I liked the stealth tricks pulled-- even if the scenario itself isn't that great, I appreciate the doors Niemand opened in terms of letting us make stealthy scenarios in the future. (Then again, having bloodstains on the ground without alerting anyone doesn't make much sense, but hey-- it's neat.) There is the one "kill Whisper without getting rewarded" bug, but it's pretty minor. Who cares about gold rewards nowadays anyway, when everyone knows that real money is earned by selling artifacts?

 

It's obviously not best material, but I won't go too harshly on AVM to compensate because I'm sure more level-headed reviewers will come around soon to eliminate the effect of that bloated rating. Play it, I guess-- it's kinda fun.

 

[rating]AVERAGE[/rating]

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From Thralni on the CSR:

 

Now, this I liked. Right there in Avernum, a place I know, a situation I can understand. It made me feel quite good. I also thought that the scripting was quite clever, although some things might have gotten more attention. Also some parts of the quests might have gotten more explanation, though, on the other hand, it *is* an undercover job sort of thing.

 

Yeah I liked it. [rating]GOOD[/rating]

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From Enraged Slith on the CSR:

 

Decent scenario, well done for a 24 hour time frame.

 

I think there were quite a few bugs in the version I played. Nothing that crashed the game, but I was a little confused when all of the brigands became hostile to me for no particular reason, maybe I smelled offensive? :x They just started attacking me, so I fought back and crushed them with ease. You can earn A LOT of gold in this scenario, which should then be used to buy some very useful skills from the priest at Metris.

 

I'm not sure why people have been rating this scenario so high. Having missed the point of the whole scenario due to bugs, I was pretty confused. Even the captain seemed unaware of what I had accomplished. Oh, and I hated having to march back and forth between the fort and Metris. Still pretty impressive and ambitious for 24 hours. [rating]AVERAGE[/rating]seems appropriate.

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From Ishad Nha on SV:

 

If you want a decent scenario, you don't put a deadline on it. Maybe the 24 hour time limit is a bad idea?

An interesting scenario maybe rated [rating]GOOD[/rating], more if you take into account the time limit. A lot of original ideas were tried.

 

I found that until I moved them to the load_scen state, there were no Special items or quests listed in the information screen.

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