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I rather liked the plot myself, but the best aspect of the scenario was the gameplay. Puzzles were of a reasonable degree of difficulty (they weren't always well-justified within the scenario, but that's so common among scenarios that it can hardly be penalised), and the combat was balanced perfectly (although experienced players may want to go in with a level-1 party for a reasonable degree of challenge). The tactical puzzles in this scenario were brilliant for their time, and hold up quite well even by today's standards. Graphics were used well - I see little point in using an excessive number of custom graphics when they're not necessary. Good

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Blech, disgusting.


Personally, if I had to review this scenario on mere personal enjoyment, I might give it something higher than a 2. I even think I preferred Inn of Tramps to Rubacus- at least IoT was shorter. (Patty's Quest; however, is a much less stunning scenario than Rubacus. See? I'm not evil.) Fortunately for Mr. Lin, I'm not so vindictive as to judge like that. This scenario... It had a decent plot, I guess. It felt very much like a Bond Film, but that inherently means the paradigm is action. This paradigm... Apart from the version I played being unwinnable without uncanny use of the editor (teleportation is necesarry, and this I checked!), it's met with some degree. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, here. Again, node use was... ...it... ... ...nodes were used. Combat was decent. Figuring out what to do was a horrible pain in the ass. Finding the damned adventurer's guild took me friggin' hours the first time I played, and the scenario never seemed more fun at all, even on subsequent playings where I knew where the guild was. No graphics was a problem personally, because when you make an entirely new group of people, you really aught to make yourself at least some new graphic that looks like the creature you have is doing anything close to what they should be doing. Combat was decent... I never saw anything special in it, but it existed. Overall, do I reccomend this scenario to you? Personal instinct shouts NO! NO! NO!, but I'll push that aside. I reccomend you play it, until you've beaten the first dungeon. If that section at all intrigues you, you might want to continue. Otherwise, it's time to stay far away. Average

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I can say that I really liked the scenario. The feel of a Bond element gave the scenario a definite boost. Some parts like escaping the Duke's Easily Escapable and Overly Elaborate Death Trap were hilarious. However, the scenario suffered from being insanely difficult and vague. The Tower of Nado was perhaps one of the most illogically contrived dungeons ever built. Also, I found the end battle to be a little corny. However, overall, I liked it and would place this on the Solid Adventures table.


My Score: Good

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Jaws would have been proud.




“What’s your least favorite country, Italy or France?”


“ Hmmm. France.”


“No one ever says Italy.”


— Scorpio and Homer, from the Simpsons’ James Bond Parody


No scenario has left me more frustrated then Leon Lin’s (leonlin AT ix.netcom DOT com) Rubacus. When it’s good, Rubacus is really good, great, even perhaps the best scenario I’ve ever played. When it’s not good, it’s downright aggravating. There’s just no in-between here.


The main plotline of Rubacus involves the title character, Duke Rubacus, and an apparent tax scheme that might be more than it appears. I’ll start with the good points.


Rubacus has an intense, detailed, and well thought out plot, which at times is very well executed. When Rubacus is on, it has all the feel of one of the better 007 films (not the recent trash, but the early Connery stuff) — highlighted by a hilarious overly elaborate, totally unnecessary, and easily escaped death trap; which, of course, the chief villain can’t quite spare the time to observe, all done in classic Bond style. I even whipped out the theme from “Dr. No” at one point to salute the effort.


Certain parts of the scenario work very well on traditional levels, of course. The Palace De “Rubacus” is VERY well done, the fight with Orthonos is imaginative — one of the best “boss” fights I’ve seen in quite awhile — and I really like the Adventurer’s Guild (once I found it).


Unfortunately, there are also some VERY aggravating parts to the scenario:


You’ll spend far too much time wandering around, trying to figure out what to do. I spent the better part of the first day playing this scenario without ANY idea of what was going on. Eventually I wandered into the Adventurer’s Guild (way too easy to overlook) and the plot really took off from there. That is, until I was forced to contact the resistance. I wandered around the ENTIRE province, blurting out their password to whoever would talk to me. Finally, when I find someone, that person tells me I need to find SOMEONE else. The resistance better change their password, every single person in the province who would talk to my party heard me blurt it out to them at least once, most twice.


Logic puzzles that just aren’t very logical. The Watery Caverns make absolutely no sense to me — I mean, I could figure out how to solve it easily enough, I just can’t figure out why anyone would design something like that. And I’m STILL scarred by my Tower of Nado experience, which I am voting “Most Annoying Dungeon Ever” the next time I get a chance. Do yourself a favor, don’t bother trying to figure out the conveyer belt puzzle, just read the hint file, and move on.


Last, but unfortunately not least, the combat just drags on and on and on. Apart from thwarting the schemes of the resident bad guy, I also managed to kill several THOUSAND of his best troops, at least it felt like that many. I don’t even want to think about how many Muck Maggots (split when you hit ‘em!) I smushed.


If it sounds like I’m being too harsh on Rubacus, it’s because I am. This scenario is really good, it’s just that it’s SOOOO close to being truly great. And the part that frustrates me is that what keeps it from being great isn’t that anything is missing — Rubacus has got it all, and then some. This is one scenario that could truly add by subtraction. McDonalds is wrong (as usual) — “Less is more”. However, beta testing for Rubacus ended a long time ago. Should you download this scenario? Yes, unambiguously. Rubacus is rated PG, and is designed for medium to high level parties.


My score — Good

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You're too crule!


I LOVED this scenario! The characters were fun, the storyline was actually great, and it was of a great leangth. The best thing about it, though, was that it had the 'false ending.'

Just when you think you've reached the end, something else pops up and suprises you, for this alone I think the scenario deserves a good 8. I'd love to give if five, but I think I'll be respectful of other's opinions on the board, and give it Good

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This is a very nice, entertaining, very well balanced (with one nasty exception) scenario.


The custom monsters are very well done. They give a nice mix of challenges when taken in different combinations to keep the players on their toes. Many of the big battles are well staged, and fairly cleanly balanced. Several of them are quite memorable.


The plot is fun, and as noted is a well done spoof in the spirit of spy movies, in particular James Bond. You keep coming back to certain NPCs over time, which generates more of an illusion of reality. It's also a linear quest that has the feeling of non-linearity because you're not being force-fed your directions, but there are enough clues to keep going. (In other words, you're moving the plot, rather than the plot is moving you.) There are a few side puzzles as well, some of which I never figured out. One or two of them may even be red herrings.


The scenario appears to be bug free. The next-to-last level does reset (nodes/buttons that change terrain) every time you leave it, so if you leave it in the direction of the last level, you can't return, and the only way through is forward.


The puzzles are interesting, well coded, sometimes creative, and fair. The problem is that a number of them don't make sense in the context of the dungeon. (As noted in another review, the Tower of Nado is the worst offendor, but it's not unique.) This hurts the overall atmosphere.


The one real flaw is the challenge level at the end. Using the recommended starting party, I hit the hit point doubling cap at about the 3/4s way point. This did really bad things to the last dungeon level, which became nearly impossible. I had to call up the character editor seven times to reload hit points and spell points, something which I rarely do even once. The last battle, especially, was insane, fighting many fire-storm slinging demons without the benefit of Revive or Anti-Magic.


Despite the bobble at the endgame, this is a highly recommended scenario. (Without custom graphics, no less.)



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