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Echoes: Assault


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BRETT BIXLER

 

E:A was TM's best scenario to date when written. The plot is straight-forward, and you move from scene to scene in a timely manner. There are interesting nodes, and enough twists and turns to keep you happily occupied.

 

I didn't like the instant-death rooms - walk in and you die without warning - but that's minor.

 

Good

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BRUCE MITCHELL

 

That death can come so instantly so often may make this scenario unappealing to inexperienced BoE players. I found it difficult to progress at one point near the start - remember your special spells! I must have been killed over a 100 times in another place until I made it across the courtyard (?). I found the overall plot very confusing - however it is fairly (?) clear what you need to do next (especially if you remember your special spells). Combat and scenario progression is full of tension and excitement. Good

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BOB THE IMPALER

 

Some bits of this were counter-intuitive in the extreme (traversing the courtyard was irritating and the method was pretty dumb) and some just irritated the hell out of me in their overuse of instant death sequences.

 

The plot tended to make some sense, although there were instances of weirdness and the many goatse references were not exactly wholesome.

 

Nice graphics, mind. Good

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THE CREATOR

 

Just realised I'd never rated this one.

 

At the time it was TM's best scenario, and it's still one of his better ones. The first half is actually really good, barring some annoying insta-death parts.

 

First serious flaw: In the 'win' path, you miss out on a lot of the best stuff (replaced by a bunch of gobbledegook), meaning that the 'finish' path is the better of the two by a fair margin. There is something fundamentally wrong with this, if you ask me.

 

Once the two branches coincide again, we are treated to what I honestly believe is one of the dumbest plot points in BoE history. I MIGHT be able to buy the attack on Sparrowshaft if I felt totally divorced from the party (see my 'Player vs. Party' article), but even then it would be a stretch. TM would have had to set up Boston's character to be a bit unstable. As is, you come to the place of safety - and then attack it, making the world twice as dangerous. Really, really dumb move.

 

After that point, things kinda degrade. The Solarion fight is quite cool, but as the scenario goes on it gets more and more incomprehensible and you have less and less idea who you're massacring or why. It reaches a peak when you get sent to tell the Sylvians to talk with their leader - and slaughter the bunch of them. By this point you're so fazed that it just doesn't matter anymore. You've completely lost any association with the scenario.

 

The first half benefits from clear goals and motives (don't die!). If that had been carried through the scenario, it would probably be TM's best work. As is, Average

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IMBAN

 

Hmm...

 

...One of those prefab-party scenarios. Was a bit easy when I played it, but your mission is usually clear, even if the plot is, as with most of TM's early works, at times strange.

 

A decent scenario for the challenge and style, but with several shortcomings that prevent a truly high rating. Good

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THE LURKER

 

This was the first BoE scenario I finished (though not the first I played). If I was rating it based purely on personal enjoyment, I'd give it a 10. Or perhaps a 9.9.

I loved the "going from one place to another while trying to stay alive" concept.

 

Really Good:

-NPCs.

-Said NPCs can die, so you've got to save as many as possible.

-Interesting special spells. I especially liked the "break barriers" one. While useless if you keep your NPCs in good shape, it can help a lot during the fight with Solarion if you don't have many NPCs left.

-The winning path/losing path feature.

-The night versions of Fort Earthford and Greendale.

-The unexpected jokes.

-I personally liked the plot, although it was a bit confusing at times. Attacking Fort Sparrowshaft may have been a huge mistake on Boston's part, but he did have lots of Illithids running after him (assuming Illithids can run). Furthermore, Kazaros in Echoes : Black Horse clearly states that Boston is a bit psychotic.

-The graphics.

-The first half of Greendale was an enjoyable challenge.

 

Not so good:

-The gameplay is a bit unbalanced at times... The toughest fights (except perhaps for Solarion) are at the beginning of the game, in Fort Earthford and Greendale. I don't really mind, but Tetraspire at the end of the game was just way too easy (with the possible exception of the Sylvian Queen and Sathoj, and even then; they're really not that tough).

-The Executioner/Asteradam/Puma fight on the winning path was probably too easy as well.

-The instant death rooms... I don't mind having to reload, but they were a bit too confusing, in my opinion. It took me a while to figure out how to get past them.

-You'll have problems getting on the winning path if you haven't played Inn of Blades or Echoes. The whole Wands of Binding thing is a bit obscure.

-A spellbook in Fort Sparrowshaft gives an error message.

-Some typos.

-The "Retreat" special item is completely useless.

 

Overall, this scenario may have some flaws, but it's still great fun to play.

 

Good

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S.M. ADVENTURER

 

Before I went on to finish ATG, I played this. I have to say, it was pretty good. The plot proceeds as this, Ithillids are attacking the land. The scenario started in Fort Earthford, where you and your fellow warriors/mages are defending the fort from Ithillids. The Ithllids were pretty crafty, as they some rode dragons and used cannons. Anyway, you fight off the Ithillids and then you go to sleep. Then Ithillids attack during the night. Graphics show well here, as TM used Darkened Terrain to signify that it was night.

 

Right here it took me a while to figure out how to get out of this. If I jump in the portal, I lose the scenario! How was I supposed to know to use that spell! Spells, that's another thing about this scenario, TM has some special spells in your Special Items list that you have from the start of the scenario.

 

Anyway, after I figured that out, then I was in the ruins of Greendale. I'm not going into much detail here, just saying that Ithliids are everywhere! Then I reach the gates, and two dragonriding Ithlids show up behind me. It took me a while to figure this out too. So, I blasted my way past those dragons.

Now came the part that baffled me for a while.

 

I like to call this the gauntlet. You have to move very slowly to avoid having the Ithliids see you. This area was

just a bunch of timed Kill Party nodes. I managed to get through after about 10 attempts.

 

So I made it past that part, and now I'm in a fort. May I just say that TM really did well when it came to the spell animations. Watching the Cosmic Seige spell blow those gates up and leave rubble as debris was an excellent noding techinque. I blast my way in, and fight, fight. Then, anyway, I fight some mages, and I'm thrown in the Execution Yard, then a portal appears and I teleport, a Mysterious figure talked to me, and then another portal appears. Teleport again, and Disco Joe has some "wisdom" for you. Scenario end.

 

Overall, this scenario was pretty good for one of TM's earlier works. Although they were a few minor bugs, for example, TM forgetting to set Stuff Done Flags for some of the encounters. But that's not too much of a problem. Anyway, I enjoyed this scenario very much.

 

My Rating: Good

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I liked this one...

 

E:A is an enjoyable scenario with rather challenging combat. You get lots of cool items, have level 3 mage/priest spells, and fight with NPC's. The fights themselves are pretty good.

 

I agree with Creator that blasting an allied fort as a result of them not letting you in is just stupid! Who would really do that??

 

Second, I would have never found the winning ending without looking into the scenario editor.

 

Third, the instant death rooms are just plain old evil.

 

Finally, your thrown items seem *much* more powerful than anything else combined.

 

Despite these, this scenario was fun to play, and the story was okay (except blasting the fort!) I also really liked the music file that came with the scenario (I've even listened to it in other scenarios).

 

Good

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