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Pyramids


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TERROR'S MARTYR

 

The premise of this scenario is good. It's certainly an intriguing plot, with far over par graphical work. The hills and mountains were annoying, but I'll opt not to penalize the scenario too much for that. This scenario's beginning was definitely it's better half. I actually felt immersed, when I was exploring Pharos. Nodework was used to flow the scenario, and the plot was great. The first portion of the Pyramid was well-done, also. Unfortunately, that's the first part. After which, the scenario is defined by monsters, with weak reasoning for being there (but better than most). I found it incredibly annoying that when I needed an item to jump a pit (buy some rope!), it couldn't at all be accessed inside of the dungeon, and I had to reload to a far earlier save, and go though whichsoever portions of hack'n'slash I did, the first time. Then, towards the end, the plot thrust itself on me. That was unpleasant. I want facts, and maybe background emotions on how I feel about religion, the gods, etc., but not how I feel. There was a semi-neat dream sequence at the very end, but it was short, and hardly memorable. Overall, do I reccomend you play this scenario? Absolutely! But it's not one of the greatest. Good

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JAYNE

 

Hmmm...

 

I actually agree with a lot of the specifics in TM's review. The first half was good, the ending was very weak. Since the pyramid is really what this is all about (everything else is just leading up to this final, big dungeon), I expected a lot more than just a gauntlet of monsters as I traveled along a very linear path to reach the final goal. I agree that it seems like a real designer no-no to require a specific object to advance in a dungeon that you can't leave otherwise and not provide a way to get it or make do without.

 

On the other hand, kudos for an original plot and charactor concept. I liked the NPC and his occasional contributions and enjoyed the rather operatic plot. I give it Average

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BRUCE MITCHELL

 

The town of Pharos was good. The graphics were excellent! The atmosphere evoked was superb. However, I feel so much more could have been done with the pyramid. The pyramid was too linear. The hardest fight in the pyramid was early on (the eye room), whilst the great goddesses were very weak when attacked by a 6PC low-medium party, even more so if you use a high level party as recommended by the scenario (the ReadMe says a 1PC high level party works well). Also, often in the pyramid, I was in combat mode and a barrier would appear cutting my first character off from the rest of the party making the scenario unable to be continued unless you go back to an earlier save. This was all disappointing. The ReadMe says it was designed in only one month a competition - but perhaps it could have been polished/expanded/revised after? Average

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ALCRITAS

 

Pyramids, by Juliet Rowley, starts off superbly, and sinks steadily everafter.

 

As an entry to the (elongated) short contest, Pyramids is quite laudable. There were no noticeable bugs, the storyline is fair, and progresses adequately, and the scenario does not come across as forced or rushed.

 

The scenario receives very high mark for aesthetics. The pyramid itself is very well done, and provides a nice background atmosphere to the entire scenario. The various reliefs on the walls all contribute effectively, both in their creation, and execution. Along with the ‘tour-guides’ commentary, they provide an extremely effective atmosphere early in the scenario.

 

Unfortunately, this atmosphere does not last. Once the baddies start to attack, they never really let up, and their assaults never vary much. The scenario, which starts off as a nice, murky, tense exploration of an mysterious crypt quickly degenerates into a hack ‘en slash fest, where the only point in progressing to the next room is to clean up the next batch of monsters hanging out there. To be fair, the scenario avoids the illogic problem many scenarios encounters when placing these obstacles — it makes (some) sense that they’d just be hanging out in the next room, waiting for you to arrive.

 

The repetitiveness of the monster barriers is, unfortunately, also encountered overcoming the traps of the pyramid. This was, IMO, the place were the scenario really had a chance to shine, by making the party overcome all of the deadly and varied traps guarding the final resting place your party is seeking out. Unfortunately, they really aren’t varied at all. A dozen or so darts coming from the walls, and a quickfire explosion, are the only real non-monster barriers encountered. Neither is particularly unique — they both can (and are) found in dozens of other scenarios — and neither is particularly difficult to overcome.

 

But to me, the biggest failing of the scenario is its heavy handedness. The moral dilemma imbedded in the scenario involves far too much telling, and far too little showing. The scenario perpetually informs you what you now know, what certain symbols mean, and how you feel about them. This presentation is entirely ineffective. The scenario should make the player feel certain things, it should not tell the player they feel certain things.

 

What’s worse, this presentation actually undermines what otherwise might be a fairly effective demonstration. To be sure, the ‘obviously the religion is true’ part of the plot is exceedingly silly, but the presentations in the dream sequence might have been effective enough to convey the meaning without the narration telling you exactly what they meant, and how you felt about them.

 

As a whole, the scenario itself never offends. As noted, no bugs frustrate the player, there are no real “guess what the scenario author” was thinking moments, and the combat is never truly difficult. In the end, however, the narration and the devolution into a hack ‘en slash prevent the scenario from greatness.

 

My score: Good

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MEASLE

 

I'll pretty much mirror what everyone else said before. The town sequence was by far the strongest part compared to the Pyramid itself.

 

At times it felt a little like a history lesson with a lot of facts about Egyptian burial practices being shoved at you but I always liked History at school so that wasn't much of a problem.

 

Good

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THE GREAT MISTER

 

I just finished the scenario (7th February, 2004, 20:40 Finland time), and damn, I enjoyed my time spent on it!

 

I loved the first part. The town-sequence was done well, though I never found out about the thing with the weird mage..

 

The second part, in the Pyramid itself, was a bit tedious, as well stated in all the posts above mine. It was just 'run in labyrinths, fight monsters, escape from quickfire, fight more monsters'. Still, it was fun. I don't know if it was just the atmosphere, and the fact that I love history, but..

 

Good

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I quite liked this scenario. Alot of effort went into creating an atmosphere and a world to put it in, which I feel is always important.

 

Others have mentioned that they liked the town, with its heavy nodework, and I agree with that.

 

The pyramid itself was quite good in parts, but, again as mentioned by others, got rather long. On the other hand, it was one of the few large dungeons I didn't mind getting stuck in. It got a bit tedious at parts, but in my mind, that is alot better than frustrating. Also, the pyramid came across as being somewhat creepy, which is something of a rarity.

 

The custom graphics were quite nice when they worked, though some (the scorpions come to mind) have patches of off-white were they should have been white, which aren't transparent as I assume was the intent.

 

The thing about religion was a bit odd. IMHO, it didn't quite work...but having it somewhat work is still better than not having it, and the scenario would be much poorer without it.

 

Somewhat torn between good and average...I'm going to go with

 

GOOD.

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