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Nebulous Times Hence


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ROSYCAT

 

I loved runes. I loved the Realmz-y scenery. I didn't think it pretended to have towns; TM has mentioned that he thinks of towns as necessary only to stop in, check out the local shops, and move on, and, besides picking up the required plot coupons, that's exactly what the towns in NTH were like. They would have been tedious distractions otherwise. I liked the plot, I liked running from the authorities. The sense of panic was very well done. I liked the linear Apology-like play. I guess I don't like to have to think a lot. :b

 

My objections? Quastro made everything too easy, especially with the skeleton leg of the journey; I just stood back and let him take out everyone. Also, I found the mid-level runes were mostly useless, and the ending, where we get a whole bunch of time-stuff and philosophy and all that jazz dumped on us in a series of rapid-fire dialogue boxes, was a little too jumpy for me.

 

But yeah. Good

 

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KELANDON

 

This scenario rocked.

 

The runes system was great. Tracking down the different runes was exactly hard enough and exactly rewarding enough. I didn't feel the NPC made the scenario too unbalanced, because when I relied on him too much, he died on me and I was screwed for the rest of that combat. The scenario never dragged, although it slowed a bit in one or two places -- right after it tells you to RUN LIKE THE WIND, you have to do two sidequests or else you die in the next battle, which was too ZKR for me. Overall, it was fast-paced, the narrative was well-written, the premise was pretty good, and it was an enjoyable play-through.

 

On the other hand, it had me smacking myself in the forehead at virtually every turn, at names, at images, at ridiculous philoso-babble that probably would've made sense if I'd tried really, really hard to understand it but clearly wasn't worth the effort. General Autorita? Decapere, which I can only guess is a cross between the Latin verbs "to deceive" and "to capture"? And mixing Latin and German names together is a crime in some states, although evidently not in TM's.

 

The noding here is outstanding, the engine manipulation is top-notch, the plot is good, and (bonus points!) it has WONDERFUL documentation (readme/walkthrough/etc).

 

This scenario felt like a 9. From there it gains points for great noding, loses a bunch for philoso-babble that at times made the plot not make sense, gains some back for gameplay and fun, ending up at Good: this was a great scenario.

 

EDIT: Agh, now that I really think about it, it deserves an extra .1 for the docs, which truly were great.

 

EDIT 2: And yes, Thuryl's suggestion is a very reasonable interpretation of Decapere, too. I asked TM, and he said the name was related to "decipere," though, so it's probably some combination of all of that.

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THE CREATOR

 

TM's best work by a long way. I liked that the focus was on one character and his situation instead of huge inter-dimensional wars or something. The plot is fast-paced, and there's always something happening. And that intro sequence kicks.

 

What I didn't like (and keep in mind that many of these complaints are minor):

 

1. The combat just wasn't as good as it could have been. Once you get your NPC friend, many of the fights lose any sort of challenge at all - he can take down most foes with minimal assistance. Also, the Runes are of unequal value. This means that rather than using different weapons for different fights, you're falling back on the same ones time and time again. While there are about two dozen Runes, you only really use five or six.

 

2. My biggest complaint - the ending falls apart. You get half of the Runes in the last section, when there's no longer much use for them. And while you're running around collecting runes, the story stops dead. You can just skip this bit, though it's good to have at least one of the super-runes for the ending sequence. However, the plot also falls apart at the end. The story, at it's best when it's most personal, becomes abstract and philosophical. The questions that hooked me at the start of the scenario (Who framed me? Why?) are never answered in a satisfying way.

 

3. Though this scenario rates itself PG, it contains such lovely things as one NPC (the good guy) shouting "I will rape you!" to his opponent before battle.

 

4. There are a number of things that are a little sloppy. Small, obvious flaws that really should have been picked up. For example, a bunch of starving people are described as 'emasculated', and the Phoenix (who radiates flame clouds) is not immune to fire.

 

5. This scenario is afflicted with Shakespearean Monologue Syndrome. No one seems capable of doing anything without making a big speech about it first.

 

6. There's a bunch of real world references that the scenario would really be better without - Tolkein's Ghost and Ah-nold the trainer spring to mind.

 

All that aside, I really did enjoy this scenario. There are a lot of moments that I absolutely loved - at one point, while one of the bad guys is in the middle of a big speech, your NPC friend rudely wanders up and attacks him instead of waiting for him to finish. Classic.

 

I've said previously that I feel much the same way about this scenario as I do about Spears. I still think that's an accurate comparison, so I'll give it the same score I gave Spears.

 

EDIT: Score dropped on account of being a shameless rip-off. Good

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THE GREAT MISTER

 

I've said it a couple times before, but repetition can't be harmful. The best BoE-scenario I've ever played. Even though I'd like it to be a little longer, and easier to understand (you complain about the philosophy, I complain about not being able to get around the language barrier as well as would be needed), but otherwise, a truly magnificent piece of art!

 

My score would otherwise be a round 10, but because of the few negative points, and the fact that I still might see something better in the future, 9.7 Best

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WILD KARRDE SMUGGLER

 

This scenario was well... good.

It could have been great, but, due to a few problems, it was prevented from achieving such a status.

 

The "you were framed" bit was a nice, if not especially original, pretense for the senario. The details were not as good. The side bits were illogical and unnecessary. Do we really need to meet Tolkien?

 

I actually liked the outdoor towns. It was the outdoor fights that bothered me. As always, combat was a bit on the hard side, although the runes somewhat counterbalanced them.

 

Overall, this scenario was worth my time playing it, but doesn't quite leave you with the same feelings you get from a 9+ scenario. Thus, Good.

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S.M. ADVENTURER

 

I just finished playing this scenario. My response, it was quite amazing. The restriction TM put on this scenario primarily was the fact that the entire scenario took place in several outdoor sections. No towns. An amazing Shark Restriction.

 

Another intriguing part of the scenario is the fact that even with the restriction, TM still manages to make a great adventure. Custom Graphics of houses and buildings in cities and forts really worked well.

 

So, well. We start the adventure, you are a man named Colonel Hito, who is charged with the murder of the son of Lord, uh,.. Oh I forgot his name already. Well, anyway,

then the story proceeds on with the escape of this character,

and boy, was it amazing.

 

You meet many interesting characters while in the adventure.

I have to say, the fights with that Decapere demon guy

got tough, and I had to cheat using the character editor.

(I was using the provided 1-PC party.)

 

The Runes system was quite nice as well. It's kind of like Special Spells, except when you use a Rune, the Runes abilities appear in your inventory.

 

Also, the ending, quite amazing. This whole scenario is like a whole new game for everyone, as it works different from

the normal way of playing in BOE. (No towns, as I said before. Oh, and how TM used Outdoor Store nodes to make shops

in those outdoor 'cities'. It really workrd out nice.

 

So, my rating, well, let's see. I'd love to give it a 10, but I detected one error. In the first city after you come out of the well, the inn doesn't charge you gold when you stay at it. It may say it costs 5 gold, but I had no gold and I still was able to stay at the inn. But it's a minor bug, so it's not that much of a deal.

 

So, the final rating: Best

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FLAMEFIEND

 

Undisputedly TM's best work so far. The sense of urgency was good, the rune system was interesting, and the tighter focus helped a lot.

 

Unfortunately, the high points were mixed in with low points. The continuous undead fights in one section bored me to tears; not because they were hard, but because they were incredibly annoying. Walk two steps... oh no, undead popping up out of nowhere! Hack, slash, hack, combat over. Another two steps... more undead! Hack, slash, hack, two more steps, hack, slash, hack, step, step, hack, slash, hack, step, step, hack, slash, hack, step, step, hack, slash, hack, step, step, hack, slash, hack, step, step, hack, slash, hack... Reminded me of Final Fantasy 7.

 

The turgid philophising was frankly boring. I know that whatever I say won't convince TM to leave it out of his next scenario, so I won't try too hard. Suffice it to say that the ending sequence had a great build-up, but a rather deflated ending. It wasn't so much disappointing as "Um, oooookay ... So what?" Despite all of its elaborate supposed-meaning, it comes off... bland. There's nothing particularly enlightening in this scenario. I wouldn't mind the philosophising nearly as much if it actually had an obvious point; but as it stands, we're left with something vague about time and... crystals...? Uh, yeah.

 

The symbolism at times is blatantly obvious, but the point of it all is shrouded in the murky depths of TM's mind. Who knows, the ultimate meaning of life might lie in there somewhere ... if only we could FIND the damn thing.

 

But don't let all that put you off too much. It's still a great scenario, and worthy of the top bracket. Good from me.

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ALCRITAS

 

A very peculiar scenario

 

And certainly worth playing.

 

So, yeah, it has no towns.

 

Designed for the "Don't Fix the Shark Contest", NTH decided to make do without any towns. That was a mistake. NTH isn't designed around towns, rather, it's designed to fake towns, and hope you don't notice/care much. I noticed, I cared. NTH spent far too much time faking towns, it should have either bit the bullet and included towns, or changed its general focus. Either way would have made it a far better scenario.

 

The writing is painful. Very painful. There a scene at the end where the main character (you) yells out something to the extent of, "Cut the crap! What the hell is going on?" I nearly cheered! :lol But then the badguy just blabbers on some more indecipherable pretentious sophistry, and I lost interest again.

 

It's not even the plot/substance that's the problem. Oh - don't get me wrong - it certainly wasn't a strength. It's that in NTH, TM felt the need, for whatever reason, to use the most incomprehensible, akward, grammatically incorrect, and indecipherable language imaginable! If something could have been said with 3 words, in NTH, TM uses at least 30.

 

Half the time, I couldn't even understand my own character's Internal Monologue.

 

I'm not sure. Maybe all that blustering was supposed to make the scenario seem smart. For me, it just made my head hurt.

 

The rune system is extremely imaginative, handled superbly, and gives the player an interesting tactical challenge to work through in most combats. (Except for the Skeletons in the Body Pit), combat was always very very fun, and presents the player with interesting and engaging tactical challenges.

 

The Dread Curse was a neat idea too.

 

With crisper writing, and some towns to flesh out some details, this could have pushed the upper 9s. As it is:

 

Good

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BRUCE MITCHELL

 

I preferred to die in the desert as a grain that escaped time than be eternally caught in the convoluted/complicated world of the winning ending.

The basic plot was exciting (fleeing) but the philosophy and clock/Germanics/complex explanations was offputting. Technically seemed to be great.

Combat was challenging, required strategy - I didnt find you could just sit back and let the other colonel do it all for you. Tackling the lich early on was an example (a field rune really helped here), as was second Natus (had to wait till bought cool weapon). After you got Natus though, most fights are so easy.

Found that I could prepare for a fight by using two runes (haste then equip another rune). The ending was yucky after such heroism and so only Good

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MILU K

 

Good

 

Finally, a premade party that works on my computer! I'm tempted to give bonus for that.

 

I liked the rune system and the battles were even winnable. Some took several tries but the only point where I felt need to cheat was the final battle.

 

The hint page is very good.

 

The plot seemed to become more confusing towards the end.

A few text dialogues contained an unfinished sentence or two, and I got wrong directions in Poeirsburg (east, not west). Otherwise, not really bugs.

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JEWELS

 

This scenario was very fun to play. The special combat was really great. Even though it seems you have a 'god party' when you have all the runes, you still have to choose carefully which one to use, keeping combat challenging but(for the most part) winable. The high paced linear storyline bugged me a little bit, since many times I was unable to go back and do something I had skipped by earlier. The combats were well thought out but I found a few to be too difficult for any rune. Especially the final combat which I tried with many different runes. None seemed to help enough. The main demon being able to run away 12+ spaces each turn was my real bane. It would take me two turns to catch up.

 

That said: technically brilliant, almost bug free(I'm not counting the corruption problem as a bug), great custom graphics, and original(although confusing) storyline with original execution.

 

This is a great scenario. Kept me entertained throughout.

 

Good

 

 

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ALEC KYRAS

 

A damn fine scenario. I consider myself relatively generous and would give it a 10 if it weren't for a few things.

 

1. The assumed knowledge of German in naming and symbiology. It's not as if he's using, say, German mythology, or a world immersed in Faust -- in that case, it would be more excusable, but he just uses German words as symbols. This is NOT a big issue, but it still hurt the feel of the work a bit for me.

 

2. The somewhat counterintuitive nature of things: you gain gold automatically for killing monsters, you have to load one and only one rune before combat, and so on. Again, a very minor point -- maybe .1 off at best -- but worth saying.

 

3. In some vital ways, this scenario just does not feel like a Blades work. It's almost -- and necessarily -- divorced from any sense of artistic perspective, and a good, solid majority of the graphics are just awful, IMO. Very pretty, but they just have a non-Blades feel to them. The problem here is that the monsters, on the other hand, try to be Blades monsters graphically.

What I mean to say here is that the work feels VERY graphically inconsistent -- the same villain at one point looks like he belongs in a 2d version of Warcraft 3, and the next like he fell out of Redemption.

 

4. The fact that there's basically 'made for the Shark contest' watermarked on the bottom; it wants to have towns, it tries to pretend it has towns, and it in spite of being good, it is intensely self-conscious about being crippled in a vital way.

 

5. Finally, the plot. I really would recommend a good book to TM on this one if I knew of one, because it's a common syndrome with a lot of writers -- to put it simply as possible, choking the player/reader/whatever to death with plot twists. If TM had directed 'JFK', the Nigerians, the Chinese Triads, and Augusto Pinochet would have been in cahoots to shoot the President and set up a small railgun on the grassy knoll in order to foil the efforts of the secret and complete political union between Japan, the Soviets, and Turkey, specifically the bionic supersoldier who they had stationed in the book depository and who would transmogrify into Lee Harvey Oswald when threatened; the bionic supersoldier would send signals to Japan-Russia-Turkey to initiate the next phase of the plan, in which they grew Jack Ruby from a vat and had him shot in order to turn the Chinese Triads against the Nigerians and banish Augusto Pinochet from existance.

 

Okay, okay, so that's more Echoes TM. Remove Turkey from the equation and you still get the general feel of the end of the scenario, though...

 

In conclusion, Good. Worth playing, but not by any means flawless.

 

 

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ARACHNID

 

I could have sworn I rated this one already. Ah well.

 

First off, the good parts: Combat was fun, and the runes system really shined. I liked the towns, and the story was enough to keep me entertained. (Right up until then end.)

 

Then, the bad. Many of the mid-to-high level runes were pretty much useless. I also would have liked to see some non-combat appilcations of runes: using ice magic to freeze a bridge, for instance.

 

Also, for a scenario with no towns, it sure did have a lot of towns. Admittedly, the self-imposed requirement was only to restrict the use of town levels, but still, it would have been a lot easier if either they were used or the scenario avoided citylife entirely. I won't lower my rating too much though, since I'm rating it as a scenario of its own, as opposed to a Shark entry.

 

Finally, the ugly: Good god, the ending. I'm not going to lie, I didn't have any idea what was happening. There was all this great buildup right until you meet the big bad dude whos been pulling the strings all along and... it all crashes to a halt. Perhaps I'm not smart enough to understand, or perhaps Terror's Martyr was just being pretentious. One can never be sure.

 

That being said, it is deserving of a decent score. I'll give it Good, if only for the first 98% of the game.

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On replay the scenario was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did previous playthroughs. A lot of the character names felt really silly, and there was too much to find and not enough time to use it. This wouldn't be as big a deal in a scenario where you use your own party, but for a prefab party scenario, it seems wasteful to have so much treasure to find/buy, but you never get to use it. The rune system was neat but again, there were too many to enjoy it all. That being said, it's still worth a playthrough and I liked the ending, even I couldn't completely figure everything out.

 

Best

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