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The Leaving


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THE CREATOR

 

I really liked this one. The entire concept was very original and somewhat refreshing. It's biggest flaw was the huge amount of secret passage finding required with no logical justification. There were also a few bugs that hampered my playing experience, but the great plot and characters outshone the flaws. Good

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DRIZZT

 

I liked this one, if only for the good story. Nothing new node-wise and some bugs, but it kept me interested. See the review.

 

This will be a short and simple review, because the same could be said about this curious scenario from Milu Kantola. Curious, because of how this scenario is different from many others out there.

 

The Leaving has NO custom graphics. The Leaving does NOT have an epic plot with baddies everywhere to destroy. The Leaving is merely adequate in special node and item usage, a few good sequences here and there, but nothing special. This scenario really breaks no new ground, but instead does a fine job of doing what a good Blades scenario should always do, with or without technical advancements — it tells a good story.

 

The author apologizes right away for his English, as Finnish is his native language. However, I’ve seen much worse grammar and spelling from my fellow native speakers, so the author deserves much commendation for a very high level of English proficiency. There are a few mistakes here and there, but nothing major or horribly distracting.

 

The story starts simply enough, there is a loud crash outside your Exile village, and you are sent to investigate. You are quickly tasked with finding a new home for your small village, as the crash was the sound of a cave-in that now threatens your home.

 

And that’s pretty much it. You wander around the caves of Exile, encountering and dealing with various inhabitants, until you finally find a place to live. Of course, as in any Blades scenario, it’s not quite that simple. You’ll quickly find that while you have many neighbors, some are hostile, some will require something before they will help you, and some (usually of the monster-variety) need to be wiped out.

 

What I liked most was the characterization of some of the people you will meet along the way. The old bridgekeeper Anton, the mage with an interest in sociology, among others, were well developed personalities that felt . . . well, more real than most others met in Blades scenarios. They didn’t even have a huge amount of dialogue, but what they did have to say and how they responded to some things was rather nicely done. A small thing, to be sure, but I enjoyed it.

 

Unfortunately, the scenario is not perfect or bug free. You can get yourself trapped quite easily, if you pass by the previously mentioned bridgekeeper and wander into a town before you have gotten a required piece of information. Later on, there is a coding error, where a special will not be called and you will be stuck. Fortunately, the scenario has no password, so this can be changed easily (in Town 11, special node 19 should Otherwise Jump To node 20), but it is still a rather ugly bug.

 

You also have an “Orb Of Communication” Special Item, that allows you to talk with the village chief back home, fill her in on your progress, and get a few nudges in the right direction occasionally. Again, nothing special is done with this, and thedifferent messages are repeated endlessly if you haven’t reached the next message point, but it is adequately interesting.

 

The scenario does come with a hint file, which should help you past any difficulties, other than the bug in town 11, that you might encounter. Perhaps this is not a great scenario, and it certainly breaks no new ground, but for what it is, I recommend it. Beware the bugs, and enjoy a few hours playing time in a nice corner of Exile, with some interesting people to meet, and a decent story. I rate this scenario Average

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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

Nothing extraordinary. Hell, nothing all that interesting. I'll admit that I didn't play the whole way through, so

I'll give it a 1. Considering how bland and cookie-cutter the dungeon I first encountered was (and how laughably easy the combat was for a medium-level party), I had no desire at all to even look at the scenario anymore. I trashed it after 15 minutes, 14 of which were spent bashing my head against a wall, figuring out how to get past the portculli in the undead dungeon, despite my beating its ridiculously easy "boss", which is a Demon, something most parties should be able to beat at least 10 times in a row without breaking a sweat. I found a great challenge to the scenario while playing as a level 1 party, and considering that I am at best a mediocre Blades player, that's pretty sad. I'll give it a few points for the concept, because with the depressingly poor gameplay, it will need all of the points it can get. Substandard

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ORGGG

 

The basic concept is a nice one for a change, that of finding a new home for your people. And the theme is continued throughout the game by having various conversations with the tribal elders on the suitability of various places. The first half of the scenario is rather linear, though it's usually clear what to do next. The second half opens up into some more options.

 

The dungeon variety is nice, as many have their different feels and approaches to solve. The puzzles make sense within the context of the story -- they don't feel like they're artificially inserted. The dialogue and NPCs are solid. There are some nice side bits and dungeons as well that are integrated cleanly into the overall story, rather than feeling like stapled-on filler.

 

The main problem is the difficulty level. While a level 5 to level 10 party would have no problem with it, there are magically locked doors at far too high a level. And to get past the second dungeon (to the rest of the game), you need to have built up your party to a high enough level to cast ritual of sanctifcation. The combat is somewhat on the easy side, and the treasure is somewhat on the overpowered side, but neither imbalance is huge.

 

I ran across one serious bug -- in the outdoors before the ogre fort, if you cross a pit outdoors and then retreat back to other stuff, the special goes away and you are never allowed to progress.

 

Fun, but oh, the locked doors!

 

Good

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