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Emulations


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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

Ya know what? I started typing something down, but I decided to copy+paste it to a text document, because I have more than enough to say for a full review. Suffice it to say that this is a scenario you really should play. Good

 

EDIT: Like in my review, I will average my score with Brett's rubric's score. Unfortunately for Emulations, the rubric gave it a 9.1

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WILD KARRDE SMUGGLER

 

Best

 

The best scenario I have played to date. It was captivating and intriguing. The story flowed beautifully. I liked the straitforward linear design but the best part was the plot. I actually cared about the characters. A masterpiece. (Continues on for multiple pages in this manner). laugh :rollin laugh

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ALCRITAS

 

The first 1/3d of this scenario comes off as a sort of Election or Zankozzie light; less choice and fewer obstacles, but more narrative. The narrative will make you feel like you're reading bad Harry Potter fanfic (with an obligatory and vague reference to Stareye's larger scenarios), and railroads you into a few too many Stupid Party Tricks. Ultimately, this isn't that much of a problem- Stareye wisely keeps the pace very quick, and your actions fit within the plot. Yes- everyone knows what happened, and what's coming, but luckily we don't have to dwell on it too long. Since there's no suprise, we don't need to spend all day building to it, and we don't, which is a huge plus. Ultimately, the first 1/3d is a decent length movie scenario, plus a fight against some bats & rats.

 

The 2nd 1/3d is far better, to the point of being truly great. With the big "surprise" out of the bag, we get some absolutely superb gameplay rescuing various students. The imprisonment escape is excellent; and the "gimmic" of absorbing the strength of those you kill is very cool- although it's not in effect long enough to realize its full potential (imagine an epic length scenario that uses this gimmic from start to finish). We have the final battle, some cool sequences- perhaps a bit too easy (the player literally cannot fail to figure out what to do)- but it strikes the right note within the narrative, and then the scenario ends on the perfect note....

 

Oh wait, no it didn't. Instead, we get this tacked on afterlife section, which accounts for the final third. Up to this point, Stareye had really broken out of his Epic-Supersized Mold. But the need for several frustarting technomagobabble puzzles apparently is inescapable. Whatever their relative value in the epics Exile IV and Exile V (a.k.a. At the Gallows or Spy Hard and Spears respectively) - they are terrible here.

 

(On a side note- is it just me, or is nuke tech Stareye a bit too enthralled with these power plant puzzles? Yeah, yeah, me and giant librarys... Point taken.)

 

To say that the 'puzzles' encountered in the final 1/3d ("Prime the Schmeckenfluid and Isofrapinmore!") are worthless is wholly innaccurate. They are worse than worthless, they're narrative killers. Emulations works (or the first 2/3ds work at any rate), because of a fast flowing, fun narrative, filled with lots of neat stuff. Searching library stacks, then poking various buttons until you've got the right orders down.... Well, the narrative is dead at that point, and you're back in Exile V. Not that there's anything wrong with Exile V- it just shouldn't have shown up in this scenario. And the scenario just drags on and on and on from there... For the first 1/2 hour you think, "Wait, isn't this scenario over?" After that, the memory of all that green and good in the scenario is lost. Instead of finishing a great and fun short scenario hours earlier, I finished feelin bitter and frustrated. Emulations suffers most because it ends on (by far) its lowest note.

 

Stareye, I think, resembles Spielberg a bit, and Emulations is a bit like A.I. A.I. would have been great... if only Spielberg had the common sense to end the movie on the bottom of the ocean, instead of going on and on and on..... Emulations is in the 9s... if only it ended at death. As it is - Good

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THE CREATOR

 

I agree with Alcritas to a large degree. The first half could have benefited from more subtle writing, but overall it was awesome. It's fast, enthralling and exciting. Truly superb.

 

I didn't dislike the afterlife bit though. The puzzles were, well, not really helpful, but the whole Nexus concept and appearing back in the real world as a ghost was fun and very competently handled.

 

That said, the latter half should not have come immediately after the first. Zankozzie's Big Mistake is a fine scenario, but try sticking that on the end of An Apology. The de-acceleration of Emulations is really painful, like shifting down from fourth gear into first. Having a slow-paced puzzle-based adventure that halfway through turns into an adrenaline-pumping scenario with a fast-moving story could work. The reverse does not. At all.

 

It's a very curious work. Despite having two very good parts, the way they are put together robs both of much of their quality. The first half feels somewhat unfufilled. The second feels bland in comparision. Good

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MILLA TALYYN

 

I give this scenario Best (9.7) after using the rubric plus extra marks for pure enjoyment. I thought this scenario fun and interesting. I don't mind playing with a singleton party, infact I pefer it.

My favourite bit was how you gained spells,talents and knowledge through your kills and the whole possession fiasco.

My least favourite bit was the whole Ramahl puzzle dungeon.

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BOOTS

 

Good

 

I wanted to like this one more than that score. And I still like that it signals Stareye is directing his innovating inclinations toward the telling of his stories and not just toward their technical execution; but ultimately, I'm in the camp that feels the scenario loses its way -- though for reasons slightly different than those described by Alcritas and The Creator (otherwise I wouldn't pile on another mildly negative review: of course people should play this thing). The problem as I see it isn't the downshift between the two parts. In itself, the first half already doesn't quite have the right rhythm. On paper, it's a tale of suspense; yet it's told as if it were an action thriller: no time for menace and portent to creep over things. The disappointment isn't that it is easy to figure out what is happening to your character. It is that the scenario simply tells "you" how you should feel about it. Let me learn more about this guy who claims to be my best friend from birth and the other quirky types hanging around, let me live some more with them (which, among other things, might have led somewhere beyond the world according to Rowling), and I might not have to be instructed in the proprieties of feeling miserable when I sacrifice them on the altar of professional advancement and self-realization. I agree with Alcritas that a scenario which hoped to make a mystery out of the cause of these events would have been unbearable -- good to have that dealt with quickly -- but more space the slow gathering of their consequences would have asked something unexpected of a player. Absent that, an intriguing idea for a plot -- want skills? kill your friends -- turns into a typical insipidly coercive Blades "tragedy."

 

Well, it doesn't entirely turn into one. The scenario is better than that. For one thing, there's the prickly second part. I didn't mind the slower pace or even the puzzles (some slightly counterintuitive mechanics, but no big deal); I minded the yet-one-more-time-the-world-hangs-in-the-balance storyline, a storyline remote from what hooks you in the first part -- not to mention a storyline that differs from Spears by a slim shift in names and skins. So a scenario that begins by uniquely reworking the basic structure of an RPG -- a reworking not just for its own sake, but for psychological effects RPGs rarely try to deliver -- concludes by making you microwave up the fixings for a pre-cooked game of Risk: it's Exile V in more ways than the library work-study and button-pushing. Worse, it's Exile V as told by text box -- you're left standing around wondering whether your fingernails need trimming.

 

In all of this, Emulations reminds me of Quintessence. Both go astray (for me, at least) not because of a fault in their design, but because they don't trust the value of their basic experiment -- they don't let it arrive at the extremes it would find simply by playing out its own internal logic. Maybe this is only inevitable as designers think up stranger and more sophisticated things to do with Blades: even they won't respect how compelling what they've done is in and of itself; the temptation will be to stitch on a conclusion written in safer, more recognizable Vogelese.

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BRUCE MITCHELL

 

The first half to the Nexus evoked various emotions and was compelling. The second half was not so compelling but still enjoyable like the ghosting through doors. I liked the graphics and went wow on viewing the obelisk for the first time. The Chancellor reminded me of Saruman. I thought the Electroflux monster had a lot of potential in a scenario. Definitely worth playing. Good.

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DRAKEFYRE

 

Best

 

Well, this is definitely my scenario of the year (2004). Miles ahead of any of the other finalists, it has a story to tell and tells it well, and the game flows smoothly from point to point, which is a major strong point. And it's fun while doing it, and there are new and innovative 'missions' that the party must complete, and they were a welcome change.

 

If you like this scenario, play Quintessence or Roots tongue

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KELANDON

 

Restoring a rating...

 

The first half of the scenario was my favorite part of any scenario I've played so far. I loved how fast-paced it was, how naturally the story progressed, how the same town could be used over and over to different effect, how the relationships between the characters developed, how the situation complicated itself until...

 

... the second half. And the buzz-kill was really the "prime the Schmeckenfluid" puzzle. I am pretty incompetent with these sorts of things, and after losing all my excitement, I had to look online to find the answer, which I always find annoying. Yes, it was interesting, but it killed my excitement.

 

The rest of the scenario progressed pretty well for me, though, so I can't deduct too much from it for that.

 

The first half gets a solid 10. The second half is good, but just not nearly as good, so I rate it at around an 8.4. Therefore I give the whole scenario a 9.2: great, but ach, it left me feeling disappointed.

 

GOOD

 

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Upon replay, I didn't find this scenario to be as good as I did the first time.

 

It starts off very exciting, with suspense, and the idea of sucking up people's power. I really enjoyed the idea of playing as a possessed character, trying to figure out what's going on. Great atmosphere, very exciting. My only main complaint with the first half is that I was basically told I wanted to go see Aavian's experiment... if I was really there, I wouldn't have actually wanted to.

 

Then it goes into the second half, which is good, but not great. The idea of solving the scenario conflicts as a ghost was cool, but more could have been done with this idea.

 

The main problem, though, is how the second half came after the first. I agree with previous posters that it slowed down, but to me, it also seemed as if the storyline was changed. The first part was about the obselisk and the posession, but once the character enters the ghost storyline, the story changes to Wrexus' evil plan to start a Slith war, which I found disappointing because the whole plot with the obselisk was unresolved and more interesting anyway.

 

Overall a good scenario worth playing.

 

Good

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LAZARUS

 

The comments about the 'shift shock' between the first and second half of the scenario have truth to them, but for me this didn't significantly hinder my enjoyment of the scenario. Every one of my favorite scenarios has had some aspect that annoyed me, whether it was Roots' & FS's combat or Revenge's poison system, but Emulations was the only one that I never actually got so frustrated that I had to put it aside. Anything that can keep me so interested that I was driven to complete those techno-puzzles must be great (and yes, the puzzles were quite bad.) Combat was awesome, and was one of the few times I actually enjoyed combat in a BoE scenario.

 

Highly recommended. My favorite scenario until FS came along and blew my mind. -Best-

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