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Rats Aplenty



Author: Smoo

Recommended Levels: 1-5

Version: 1.0.2



Composite Score: 3.9/5.0


Best: 15.79% (3/19)

Good: 68.42% (13/19)

Average: 10.53% (2/19)

Substandard: 5.26% (1/19)

Poor: 0.00% (0/19)





Keywords: Avernum Universe, Humor, Dialogue Heavy, Beginner

Edited by SylaeBot
Automated Sybot edit; worker IPB::csrThread/vanadium
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  • 2 weeks later...

Rats Aplenty has all the things I look for in a good scenario: quests and rewards (including a number of side quests), shops (including skill training and spell levels) and enough loot to shop with, interesting NPCs and dialogue, and a flexible plotline. One thing I really like is that there's more than one way to achieve most of your objectives.


The humour is a bonus. So are the various cool tricks--there's a bit of crafting you can do, for example, and I love the noise the potion merchant makes. I go talk to him even when there's nothing I want to buy. The oddball characters and strange encounters are too numerous to mention; suffice it to say that it's worth talking to everybody. I mean everybody.


The balance seems right in regard to both rewards and difficulty, although I have yet to beat the first fight with a level one singleton right out of the box. Fortunately, Smoo has provided a way to avoid that fight, though it might take some trial and error to find it. Or a peek at the walk-through which is helpfully included.


The writing is good; humour can be hard to do, but the designer pulls it off. There are a few very minor typos, but nothing that would detract from the enjoyment of the scenario.


It seems to be amazingly bug-free, especially considering the quantity and intricacy of the dialogue options, and the fact that your choices have a real impact on subsequent events.


The plot is a farce, of course, but it works.


There is a bit of tedious dungeon-crawling. The only other complaint I have is about the design of Scurftown or whatever it's called: I don't understand why the interiors of some of the buildings are located in a different "town" than the exteriors. I'm sure the designer must have had a reason, but I'm completely mystified as to what it was. The upshot is that when you pass near the entrance to one of these buildings, a dialog box pops up asking if you want to enter. This is ever so slightly irritating. Especially when you just happen to be passing by on your way to somewhere else.


That aside, I still think Rats Aplenty is one of the best scenarios out there. I would recommend including it in your roster of party-building scenarios just on those merits, but it's also worth playing just to enjoy the designer's inventiveness and sense of fun. Definitely a keeper.


Rating: [rating]Best[/rating]

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(ported from SV)


It's a good joke scenario. And like a good joke, it can be taken too far. RA treads the line, and occasionally oversteps it. Some of it gets tiring. Generally speaking, though, it's a very competently-designed and interesting scenario.


I've enjoyed most of Smoo's work (growls in the direction of BC), and this really feels like his kind of work. This is a really respectable scenario.


(The original review had a bunch of nit-picky comments here, which I have deleted. You're welcome.)


Rating: [rating]Good[/rating]

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Rats Aplenty is a pretty good (albeit short) beginning scenario. I played through it with a brand-new party, and found it to be moderately challenging (I kept having to leave the dungeons to replenish my spell points).


The humor & dialogue really helped this scenario a lot, though I don't care for most of the crude bits. A lot of the characters were a bit on the quirky side, which also helped; and the pack rat in the city ruins really reminds me of the way I play the rest of the Avernum games.


Overall rating: [rating]Good[/rating](would've been higher, except I prefer the language to be a bit more family-friendly)

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  • 4 weeks later...

I find this scenario to be overrated, and quite frankly, I was bored most of the time while playing it.


Rating: [rating]Substandard[/rating]


(This review is pretty long...read at your own risk)


Click to reveal..




Combat - Substandard: The combat in the first half of the scenario is suitable to a level one party, but I felt a lot of it was hack n' slash (and not the good kind). I found the encounters with undead and bandits to be run-of-the-mill and kind of uninteresting.


What I felt was lacking, though, was the second half of the scenario. There are creatures which cast ice lances, which usually isn't a problem, but there was an instance where there were four of them at once. My low level party was repeatedly frozen to death, and I became irritated because I had to keep reloading (at least 15 times). There's also creatures, albeit slow, that can inflict ~140 hitpoints of damage. My party was becoming rather tired of getting disemboweled.


Overall, the combat was a drag.


Outdoor Design - Good: There's pretty, custom trees, which occasionally form nice groves. The swamp is well-designed, and there's a convincing display of crumbling rocks as well.


Indoor Design - Average: The buildings in Scurftown range from typical to exceptional in design; however, I wasn't too fond of some of the buildings being in a separate town, as I didn't like the long pause resulting from the transition.


There's a winding descent at one point in the scenario, which would have been cool, except for the fact that the walls are irregular and choppy. It's difficult to design a good descent in that small of a space, but there was room to extend it, which would have probably made it better (There was a pretty large space that was occupied by nothing but grass, and I think the entrance could have been moved farther to the left).


Writing - Substandard: There was a lot of dialog, which I like, but I didn't think it was well written. It rambled and rambled, and I found the dialog was a chore to read, and didn't add to the scenario as a result. Also, what's with all the typos?


Plot - Average: Basically, there's rats aplenty, and you need to get rid of them. I make it sound like it was manufactured, but it's actually better than that. Yet, I was confused by the explanation for the rat leader's existence, and I had no clue about the Pied Piper.


Technical - Substandard: For some reason, the cut-scenes let you see beyond the walls and view the whole dungeon, which doesn't make sense to me. One of the puzzles is buggy: you can see through one of the walls (it looks very awkward), and when you leave it the rest of your party is suddenly fifteen spaces away from its leader.


Balance - Average: The spectre joining the party doesn't make you overpowered, and there aren't any spells sold which would be too powerful for a low level party. On the other hand, you can buy a sizable amount of the blademaster skill for a low price, and I don't think a low level party should even have access to the skill, let alone receive the amount that it does (though some might not consider it to be too much).


Humor - Poor: I laughed once...once, despite the numerous jokes I had to read through (I kept a stoic face). A lot of the humor seemed childish (The barbarian was particularly annoying), and I didn't appreciate the use of foul language with the humor. Seriously, my young siblings were watching when the f-word flew across the screen (The scenario had been totally innocent up until that point, and I had forgotten the mature rating because of it). Is there any justifiable reason to have that kind of language? I think not.


Replay Value - Poor: As mentioned earlier, I was rather bored. Please, I don't want to drag through the rats again.


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  • 2 months later...

This scenario was a mixed bag. The dialog was hilarious, and there was tons, which I mostly liked. However, some of the profanity was unnecessary, and I got sick of reading through all of the dialog by the end of the scenario. As far as balance goes, it started out pretty easy at the start and later moved towards more challenging combat, but there was nothing throw-a-hammer-through-your-monitor difficulty, which was perfect. I was a little disappointed that I could avoid the boss-fight with Attorosi, though. So, while this scenario was mostly great, there were some things I didn't like, too.


Rating: [rating]Good[/rating]

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  • 3 weeks later...

I very much enjoyed this scenario, never regretting to have chosen it for my current party’s first adventure. It features plenty of dialogue, which is a plus in my book, and a lot of polishing.


The humor was decent and the NPCs, while not particularly memorable, were interesting. In the scenario’s main town, everyone has individual dialogue, even the guards, and that’s really noteworthy. I don’t mind the two-town setup, but perhaps it would be best not to ask the player whether to enter a shop more than once. As for accidentally entering a shop, it could be averted by placing some decorative terrain around each door.


The puzzles were nice and proved a minor challenge, even though I broke the one with the taunting mouse (If you exit the floor and re-enter, the bridge is restored.)


The combat was pretty good, if a bit on the easy side. The blue-red combo never really threatened me. It doesn’t matter how strong your enemy is if he walks one space per round. The white rats were more dangerous. Between the ice-lances and summoning swarms of nephilim (the irony!) I died perhaps eight times. Fortunately, a mage walking in their range, hasting himself and spamming two ice-lances as soon as the next round starts owns them cleanly.


My highlights were the joinable specter and the search and rescue side-quest.


Loot was a bit on the weak side, especially compared to the official scenarios.


The ending boss is not exactly an original idea in fantasy settings, but serves his purpose nonetheless. The fact that you have the option to skip that fight is good, too.


Rating: [rating]Good[/rating]

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  • 1 year later...

From S M Adventurer on the CSR:


First to review, oh wow!


Well, boy was this a very interesting scenario. It was very humorous, like the priest who curses alot in the town. It had very interesting side quests too.


The plot is, well, a Rat Plague. Well, at least it's original, as it has never been done before in the history of BOE/BOA.


A few new types of Rats were thrown in, like White rats that could cast spells, and there were some pretty neat custom graphics for these new types of Rats.


I certainly laughed a lot while playing this scenario. The blacksmith who could only talk about metal was priceless.


Dialogue was seriously worked on very well. It seems like every piece has every detail set into place, with some humor thrown into places. I loved the sequence where you can make the innkeeper run out of the starting inn if you prod him about it enough.


They were very few cutscenes, but where they were, they done pretty well.


Well, with some variety added to the regular Vapor/Mung/Giant Rat assortment, combat was interesting.

Although I think those White Rats summoned a bit too much.


Overall, I had a pretty good time playing this scenario, and it should be played by anyone who wants to get away from it all, away from goblins and other normal brawls.



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From Salmon on the CSR:


Honestly I have no idea what Smoo was going for in this one. It was almost like he sat down one day, cursed the government for mandatory military service, and suddenly decide to write a scenario about nothing. Sure, there are rats and undead and brigands and item quests and service quests and stealing and fakers and and and a sumo potion maker...???, but mostly this is about nothing. And that is a good thing!


There was no need to make sure each bit of dialog meshed seamlessly together, advancing the plot or leading the party from point A to point B. Hell, if you wanted to do something, you did it. Otherwise, fuggedaboutit. Speaking of dialog, it was nice to see a realistic portrayal of regular folks. The soap operaish rich folks, the crazy soldiers, and the insane clerics all added flavor to the scene.


Aside from a few minor bugs, which Smoo assures me he will look in to as soon as he remembers about it, all the coding was well done and the combat effective and managable. The only downside would be for someone looking to strengthen their party. It ain't gonna happen. You may level up, but this scenario is not for "buffing" your characters. It is what it is, and does a good job at that.


I enjoyed playing it from start to finish. Well done Smoo.



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From Nioca on the CSR:


What can I say? Another good scenario by Smoo. This is one of the few L1 scenarios that actually has any length. The only other one I can think of at the moment being A Perfect Forest. It has plenty of dialogue and humor, and was probably one of the few scenarios that actually made me laugh. Loved the priest of shuub, by the way. The only real thing that detracts from this scenario is that it's easy to lose the main plot. In this case, though, it isn't too bad.



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From TM on the CSR:


Okay, so it's not bad. It's pretty funny. Like most Smoo efforts, the plot really doesn't matter at all; and like most Smoo efforts, the sidequests are worth the time. Unlike MoC, the combat never truly got egregious (though the albino spellcasters got annoying while dragging the party along through ruins you thought you cleared out due to their casting Create Illusions all the time).


The sidequest where you have to rob the vault, as an aside, is one of the more interesting ones I've played through in a while. Perhaps not the most compelling, but at least the idea was novel.


Anyway, nothing you see here is going to truly make your jaw drop, but it's all pretty solid in its scripting. The first rat fight has a nifty cutscene introducing it and there's a really neat trick with a switch in the final dungeon.


The scenario is, overall, fairly fun. Whether that makes it top-notch material is up to debate, and it's not the largest ever made, but it's humorous and solid at the same time, and it's worth a playthrough.



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From The Lurker on the CSR:


This scenario is a fairly short scenario for beginner-level parties.



Any scenario that manages to make me laugh wins points with me.

This is one of the really humorous scenarios out there - nearly every dialogue script has some humor in it, and there sure is a lot of dialogue. I recommend trying to talk to anyone, even a generic-looking character such as a guard can have his/her own dialogue. You play as first-time adventurers (or a first-time adventurer, if you're a singleton) who have yet to complete their first quest, and you end up in a rat-infested/undead-infested place known as Untitled Land. Although it doesn't take itself seriously, the story actually makes sense and Attorosi (the final boss) was certainly an interesting character.



Great gameplay. New monsters, new items, the gameplay balance is very good for the most part, there are quite a few interesting subquests and neat tricks, there are several ways to win some of the main quests (in fact, there's even an alternate way to win the game by getting rid of Attorosi peacefully instead of killing him). The few puzzles in the game are interesting and not nearly as infuriating as the ones in, say, Dilecia. The overall difficulty level is quite low, Rats Aplenty is harder than A Good Beginning, but easier than A Small Rebellion. In fact, I found Attorosi to be a bit *too* easy if you do choose to fight him. That big fight against five rat spellcasters in the Cave Entrance was a lot harder - probably the only genuinely difficult battle in the game.



Yup, there are some new graphics in the game. Some of them are a bit crude (hornets), but most of them are good.



No more bugs, it would seem!




A great scenario, with lots of humor and crazy characters (a Fat Orange Bunny comes to mind...). Interestingly enough, the scenario, while being fairly short, manages to be longer than I expected, with only two outdoor sections and five towns (okay, ten towns, but four of them are sub-towns and one of them is an Easter Egg town). Smoo used the sections very well, and managed to make quite a lot of subquests for such a small scenario. Which is good, because I strongly dislike empty towns and empty outdoors (Undead Valley anyone?).

Expect to have to replay Rats Aplenty several times before you find everything.



PS - I mostly agree with what Ephesos said, except that :

1)The specter is not overpowered. Sure, it hits very hard, but it can die pretty quickly, even if you cast Enduring Barrier, and the slug rats can tear it to pieces really fast. Furthermore, you need all the help you can get when fighting the white rats.

2)I don't think the characters have too much dialogue. The game is a bit like Monkey Island in that respect - lots of dialogue, but definetely worth reading.

3)Are you sure that 'Woman man' is a typo?


EDIT : Smoo fixed most of the bugs (only one or two extremely minor bugs remain, which you probably won't notice - I noticed them only because I replayed the game a lot) and you can now get the doll back from the bunny (who now has more dialogue, by the way)



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From Thralni on the CSR:



I liked this scenario. I even liked the sense of humour, which rarely happens in the SW community. For that alone this scenario will get above the six.




I liked and disliked the plot at the same time, and I got confused at a number of occasions. I was wondering, for example, what exactly happened to the piper. Also, I wondered where Attorosi, although being quite interesting, came from. I just came into that chamber, and next thing I talk to a rat with three personalities, it seems. It would hav been nice if I would have known where exactly he came from, or I simply missed the part in dialogue where that got said.


Speaking of dialogue, with most scenarios I just skim over the text to see if something important is being said. With this scenario, hwoever, I read most of the dialogue, simply because it was funny.




Most of the time combat wasn't too hard. The only fight with which I did have difficulty, was that fight against the five white rats in the rat caves. Overall I liked the enemies. They weren't very tough, and still not to easy.




Some things I wanted to mention but didn't quite know in which category to place, are the following ones:


- I guess this is a scenario that I wil have to play another time to understand what to say to certain characters. For example the mayor: I told him that there were no guards outside his room, when i came back there were guards, and I couldn't get my reward.


- I hate it when I can't manage to understand what a certain thing is for. For example: There is a secret door with a button behind it in these undead caves, but I had no clue what it opened, gave me, or generally was usefull for. I searched through the caves, but I found nothing.


In general I really liked this scenario. Something I wish would have been included is something like a secretsguide, that would make it a bit easier to find some things. Although I greatly enjoy thinking about stuff and finding my own way in a scenario, I also want some reference to help me find things if I can't find them myself.


So, my verdict:




That's mainly for the humour and the well-presented story.

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From Enraged Slith on the CSR:


An overall entertaining scenario. I laughed a lot, especially at the "you must live until you die!" line.


Combat was easy in this scenario. Even with the difficulty cranked up to torment and no spells, there were very few times I had to reload my save file. The cheeta rats never hit my party members, the slug rats couldn't get close enough to attack, the white rats went down in a single crossbow hit, and the wererats only summoned generic cannonfodder giant rats.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to express how easy combat was in this scenario. Not only did I fly through this scenario on torment with no spellcasters, my two melee party members were stuck at a total of 0 health the entire rat dungeon, due to disease. Every single "difficult" combat sequence could be easily conquered through a series of "snipe a white rat and retreat" and or "fall back and take care of the masses in single file" tactics. The only hard fight was with the foul rat, who didn't go down in a hit or two.


The story and detail in this scenario more than made up for the easy combat.


In the end, the only frustrating thing about this scenario was that I couldn't accomplish everything in one playthrough.


A nice, well designed, and hilarious scenario.



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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:


I really liked this scenario. It was humorous like other reviewers have mentioned. Basically it was a spoof on all RPGs especially Spiderweb ones. The honey tree encounter was funny. "Do you climb up the tree to get some honey that most likely is of no use?" "Oh hell yea!!" Oh and the beginning dialogue is humorous upon trying to leave the first Inn without a quest. Just keep trying to leave, and you'll see why. I basically didn't take it too seriously and just trudged around leveling my beginner party. This is the last BOA scenario I'll be playing for a few months. And it was definitely good way to end off.



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From an unknown reviewer on the CSR:


I remembered I began playing BoA when it came out, but since the first scenarios were not promising some other games caught my attention (Morrowind and the GTA trilogy) and then I was too busy with university and now work.


However, this last week I decided to return to play BoA, since it wasn't fair to let it rot on my HD. The first scenarios I played were not buggy, but were a chore to finish, Rats Aplenty is the first one that was really funny and I enjoyed playing.


First of all, the combat is not frustrating, but not easy either. I think I may be more of the kind that like the hack & slash of the Vogelian scenarios, so don't hate me for that O:-)


Rats Aplenty is well though, every town has a reason to exists and I really liked the whole mood of Untitled Land, a lot of work was put on dialogs. Side quests are also good, which makes you want to explore every single detail of the scenario.


The bad things about RA? Not many, maybe the portcullis puzzle, which was too much trial and error and finding the ancient boots. Also, sometimes I couldn't bother to read all the dialog on the starter town, but I guess that is not a flaw from the scenario.



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From BainIhrno on SV:


Didn't have much plot at all, but that doesn't really matter much in a humorous scenario. For some reason, it didn't really make me laugh as much as other humor scenarios. Had some neat coding tricks (like the rat puzzle), but fighting got too repetitive in the dungeon. Overall, it was okay, but I can't really give it as high a score as the previous posters.



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  • 6 years later...

The difficulty is good good for a beginning party. Not too tough or too easy. The 1-5 level difficulty rating is accurate. It increases between the main map and the final dungeon, so it gives your party a chance to grow before fighting the toughest areas, so I liked that.


There are lots of secrets, which I very much enjoyed.


Lots of humor, which I very much enjoyed, but how much you do will depend on your taste in humor. 


Some nice items are here too for a low level party...though nothing to dramatically overpower your party. 

Rating: best


Four years later, this is still my favorite scenario. 




Edited by Clintone
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