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Demon


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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

Finally, the last entry in the 1–10 Contest entered its final release (or at least, the final one I planned on reviewing). I have used a rubric in grading this scenario, and I am averaging it out with what I feel it deserves. In using the rubric, I have rounded up. In my review, I will begin discussing things portion by portion. First impression is, as always (I am a Mac user, and the .meg file was damaged, as it always is), the graphics file. For some reason, Khoth used the window graphic again. His anvil graphic is okay, and so are his mist graphics. Then again, his cracked floor graphic is absolutely awful. This sin is exacerbated, seeing as a far superior cracked floor graphic is on his own site.

 

Gameplay in this scenario was, well, mediocre. Combat in this scenario was; however, a significant shortcoming. I don’t think it was balanced all too well, but it worked, to an extent. What Demon failed on was making this combat interesting. None of the fights were different from the last, not even by custom graphic! If you want to enjoy the scenario to its best, just bring in a god party. In this case, the combat is best if it does not exist, it’s all just a bore, anyway. In terms of puzzles? Well, there are literally no tactical puzzles nobody hasn’t seen hundreds of times before, but they exist. They are also bad. Logic puzzles? There’s one of the now-cliche ‘collect 4 crystals’ puzzle early in the game. One of the crystals is in the old puzzle of ‘walk through a gauntlet of portals’. Another is guarded by another mundane fight. Another is accessed by some temple guardians, which can be killed by a nearby quickfire. A neat little trick used on the final puzzle is; however, setting the crystal as stored in something on a non-storage terrain. The item appears in a crate, when the crate moves into that space. Neat. The puzzle of the final dungeon is more a well-designed and creative dungeon. By far, it is the highpoint of the scenario— I won’t spoil it for you. It won’t be the best dungeon you’ll ever see, but you’re bound to see many worse.

 

Nodes used in this scenario are, well, lacking. While it’s no fault to the designer (this being a first effort, and all— for being one, it’s pretty good), it is to the scenario. The final dungeon had decent nodes, but the rest felt rather barren. Nothing hit me as special (other than the crate puzzle— neat trick). The plot was, well, lacking. The entire premise is that another wacko mage is out to do bad things to demons and conquer the world, etc. This person created shapeshifters, and made a barrier that protects the secluded caverns he just took over from demons. The demons made one to keep out Shapeshifters. You are sent to the demon world in an experiment by a wacky ho-hum wizard. Now, your portal has blown up, and you need to get home. When you get the crystal, you can leave, or do one final mission, by slaying the shapeshifter master. Obviously, this plot is not the main focus of the scenario. Then again, that brings me to my next argument.

 

This scenario suffers from a serious lack of advocacy. The plot, as I have already stated, is not the focus of this scenario. If I had to pinpoint any one aspect of the scenario as its high point, I’d have a difficult time doing that. Broaden it to two, and you’d have humor and action. The thing is, neither of these are fleshed out at all! (Well, I amend— both were augmented by the final dungeon, but not nearly enough. Still, it is for this reason that the final dungeon is such a sterling silver highpoint, compared to the rest of the scenario.) The humor aspect is less humor, more less plot replaced with quirkiness and lose logic. I didn’t find the humor funny at all. I got maybe a chuckle near the end, but that’s about it. This whole aspect of the scenario is a long groan, with maybe a dry laugh at the end. The other advocacy of this scenario is outright horrible. It’s almost as half-assed as the first, save the final dungeon. (It seems as if I advocate the final dungeon alot, doesn’t it? It really does peak the scenario, seeing as it defies the gaping theoretical and fundamental flaws present in the rest of the work.) The action was bare-bones minimum. I don’t know if I have noticed this before, but many scenarios with strong advocacy do well. Scenarios such as Requelle’s Nightmare or Echoes: Assault focus heavily on action. Scenarios such as Farmhands Save the Day!! and Attack of the Black Mark Cabbages focus heavily on lose plot and humor. Some of the elitest among them all such as An Apology focus on both action and plot, and are much stronger works for it. Demon has little to no advocacy to itself whatsoever.

 

But looking back, indeed, I am beating this scenario up more than it deserves. My enjoyment of this scenario was inhibited in a theoretically identifiable manner. If you believe that such advocacy is necessary for a scenario, then steer clear of Demon. Then again, you might also find Demon humorous. I’m not in a place to judge a scenario based on its humor, so I won’t. I’m also not in the place to judge whether or not people enjoy the gameplay or puzzles, though I have already noted such aspects of the gameplay to be weak. It was difficult giving a score to this scenario. While I found my experience in this scenario quite distasteful, I have found others to have enjoyed it. I will give the scenario its benefit of the doubt and grade it on its maximum probability to produce utility. Therefore, my personal score of this scenario is a 7.5. It has many gaping problems, but has a potential to be enjoyed. Judging it under a rubric, it earned a 7.1. Averaging this out, I found myself with a score that I found optimal as a representation of this scenario’s equality. Does this mean you should play it? Perhaps. If you find your enjoyment to align to no paradigm, you might enjoy this scenario. It’s generally short, and is far from awful, though many things keep it from achieving greatness. Demon is rated G, and is for Very High level parties.

 

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