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The Black Ghost

Author File Description
The Dragonheart
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Difficulty: Normal
----------NOTE BEFORE PLAYING: At the start of the map, DO NOT order your horsemen to destroy the enemy's trebuchets BEFORE they destroy your gatehouse. Otherwise, the AI will not attack the way I have set them up.

The fog silently creeps its way across the ocean like an assassin preparing to kill. All is quiet in the harbor as the calm waters are black and still. The city is ghostly; its dark structures rising high above the harbor and the streets empty like the depths of space. Every soul that lives in the city sleeps mindlessly in their homes, warm in their beds. An hour before sunrise, at the time when the light slowly begins filling the darkness, one man is sprinting along the path that leads down to the docks. The sound of his heavy breathing flies out ahead of him into the empty street, but he knows the way.

The dark figure of a cat pounces from an alleyway and lands on the path. The man staggers trying to avoid it and then falls forward onto the paved road. The cat runs off but the man remains absolutely still, not even the slightest breath. He listens for what he is afraid of: but nothing cuts across his ears. He turns and peers into the darkness: no sign of anything. Relieved, but knowing he is still in danger, clambers to his feet and resumes running in the direction he was heading. His mind is not as hectic as he realized he has gained length and time between him and his enemy.

His enemy… an anonymous human being with an unbelievable gift; the gift with which he was born with. The ability of the gift is to detect a chosen life form in a distance of no more than three miles. And, for some unknown reason, this gifted person cannot be in sunlight, or has never been seen in sunlight. Some call him “The Black Ghost” because whenever an individual catches sight of him, it is always in the dead of the night. The only people who have seen The Black Ghost in full detail and up close, are the people who have died by his hand… or either, witnesses to his work. This gifted being is always open to be hired. Hired as what? An assassin or a spy. At this moment, The Black Ghost has been hired as both. One reason: “If the assassination of the most important man in the world fails, then spy and report all details back to us.” Those were his orders given by King Hadrian. Nobody knows why the king wants this man dead, but they do know he will do anything to succeed.

As more light is cast down upon the city, The Black Ghost retreats and the fleeing man escapes to hide wherever he can. The assassination of the most important man in the world has failed, but as soon as the letter of details from the assassin is opened and read by King Hadrian, an army of ten thousand men will siege the city the next day. The king does not care if the city is ally or enemy, he will do anything.

The man that had escaped hid himself carefully upon a boat docked down in the harbor. He hides down in the hull, not knowing of what dangers are bubbling outside. A peaceful and boring day passes in the city, then to night. At the next sunrise, the citizens awake to find an enormous army standing ready a few hundred meters from the city. All the army needs now is confirmation.

King Hadrian speaks to his 2nd in Command officer. Suddenly, breaking the conversation, a small grayish hawk lands on the shoulder of the king. King Hadrian pulls the tagged envelope from the bird’s leg and opens it. The hawk lifts off and flies away as the letter is read.

Sorry once again for failing the assassination.

I detect he is still hiding in the city… down in the docks is the highest possibility. Once you surround the exits, he can not escape.

I’m sorry it had to come to this. Good luck.

King Hadrian looks up as a slight breeze lifts the letter out of his hands. The 2nd in Command officer speaks.

‘My lord?’ he asks. ‘Do we have confirmation?’
‘We do,’ the king answers, coldly. ‘Prepare to attack.’

At that very instant… at that very precise moment… an unsuspecting captain rallies his crew. Totally unaware of the danger, they leave the docks and sail off on a transport mission to another city… the hidden man concealed on the below deck down in the hull.


Well, here is a map which I have been working on for a very long time… but not every day of my life! Here and there, I would touch up on a few things once every few days when I felt like it. And now, it’s finally finished for you all to enjoy (or hate), either way, it’s the best map I’ve ever produced.

I had a go at making Himalayan mountains. It seemed to have worked fine, but there are a few spots where there are glitched squares because the tiles aren’t meant to be that high.

That large structure that sits in the ocean is not a huge ship. If you open the map, you can see it’s part of the city. So when/if I get any reviews, don’t mistake that for a ship and put the “Map-design” down. I actually don't know what it is, I added it to the map because it looked good. It may be a large sea lookout for ships or a barrier for the docks for out of control ships that are moving too fast.

MAP UPDATED: Just a small touch up, nothing special. I made all four trebuchets attack the gatehouse, not just two. So now the invasion will move faster then ever! Good luck!

UPDATE #2: The enemy now has killing pits around each trebuchet. So you will lose many horsemen if you try to destroy them.

I have a feeling I’ve left something out… some imperfection. But anyway, enjoy the map!

The Dragonheart
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design4.5
Playability: 4
I loved playing this map. It was thrilling and exciting. This is all due to the large invasion force, and the precise timing. The lenght of the map was also excellent and it was very hard to beat. I was sitting on the top of my chair constantly. It was excellent in any way but not outstanding. The only thing I missed was the way of completing the map in different ways. I always love a map when it can be completed in several ways or with several strategies. The only thing I could do was with the horseman but it became very hard when I lost them. These are very essential units. This makes the map a bit less replayable.

Balance: 5
Simply stunning, outstanding. It was very hard to beat for me, but after looking over it again and again I almost screamed full of happiness when I finished the map. It was hard but good. Again outstanding peformance on the balance. This is balance as it should be. You are forced to move units trough the city, which you can use for your advantages against the invading enemy force. Bravo!

Creativity: 5
Although it may remind people of Reckless Hate Part 1, the map is totally different. The city has such extraordinairy design and other creative supplements. Let's start with the already preplaced set-up force. There are directly reinforcements coming ( Knights ) which you don't see a lot. The little island in the sea is also a very creative supplement. The custom farms are used more times but it is still an outstanding way for making maps look great and shows effort in creating a good looking and creative map. It is also different from Reckless Hate Part 1 because of the invading force. And the Himalaya is something unused in every map I know. All by all it has so many creative things.

Map Design: 4.5
The city was so beautifull. It breathes, it lives and it is really a city. It is big it has a beautifull shape and it is full of eyecandy. The landscape is realistic and the custom farms breath even more atmosphere. All by all it is excellent in any way but there is one little thing I didn't like. Although the Himilaya is a very creative thing and it is unused in many maps it has a reason. Simply because it doesn't look good and it is a bug. When I rotate the map it looks not good and I have some pixel bugs ( which everybody will have I suppose ). I would prefer to keep it on high plain with rocks.

Story/Instructions: 5
The story was very creative and it was very well written. I don't talk long about story's in map but this story is just excellent.

Additional Comments:
This map deseveres it to be played by everybody. It is great and stunning and is one of the best invasion maps I played in Crusader.
Map Design5.0
I've played on your map some months ago. And, for some days, I've tried to make a review, but I didn't have the time... But, finally, I write this review, so this is what I think about your map.

Playability: 4.5
Once the map launchezd, we're immediately attacked from a strong army. We have a lot of knights who come from into the city... Well, we do not have the time to analyse the city, the position of our troops, the strong and the weak points of the defense... And the final assault comes very quickly too. Now, I unterstand why you circle the trebuchets by killing pits. The objective is clearly to make a hole in the defense. Thanks to these trebuchets, the last assault is very difficult, because all the enemies go in the hole to kill our Lord. So, the game was very intense. I've to gather all my troops (especially the wordsmen and the pikemen) around my Lord in order to protect him. It was a really good assault, but the end is quite bad. We have to destroy the trebuchets, but they are protected by the killing pits. So, I've brought my archers. Well, it was a little bit boring. I think using a lot of catapults at the beginning is more useful than the trebuchets. Anyway, the playability was very good.

Balance: 4.5
It was a strong fight. In my opinion, the only means to triumph in this map is to send quickly all of the troops dispersed in the castle at the keep. After that, we just have to kill all the wordsmen or pikemen who come. It's really pleasant, but, well, not very difficult.

Creativity: 4
Well, in fact, the mission is to defend a castle against a strong assault. We can't make a lot of troops, or make another defense. Everything is already done. I like the idea of the reinforcements played by the knights. Yet, I can't say it was a map really original. The castle is very beautiful, the playability is good, but this is not a very original map. So, the creativity of the maps come above all from the castle. I never saw before a castle like that.

Map Design: 5
I don't have a lot of things to say... The city is very beautiful, the architecture is something between a quadrilateral and a circle, more like a kind of crossbow. Very beautiful, with some "level", a level composed of the structures of the castle (ateliers, or building which produce food), the large level to the castle. Next, the second level is composed of a lot and hovels, where is the keep. And, the last level is a short place, at the bottom of the castle. And I think the structure in the ocean is something like a very strange boat, or a prison island, I don't know... Anyway, it's a very beautiful map.

Story/Instructions: 5
With a good writer, the sotry is more like an introduction of the map. A very good introduction, I must say. A great work. I liked play on it. So, I give you my congratulations.

Additional Comments:
To conclude, I just can say it's an excellent map.
Map Design4.0

Playability: 4
Sure it plays, but mostly it is computer who is playing. I don’t need to do much.
Put all bakery/brewery to sleep and buy all troops you want. Cut off ale and food and set taxes to max. Make sure knights take out enemy archers. Place all ground troops at entrance of upper level. Move all arrow units to front of castle (either near front gate or on upper level). After this, you only need control engineer with oil.
The biggest bug in playability is the ‘happiness factor’. As a ‘ruler’ of this castle, I’m encouraged to treat my people badly, so they leave the castle. The less people I have, the happier they are and my army get big combat bonus to make them strong. There is no reason to run castle ‘realistically’. Just cut off ale and food and set taxes to max as soon as possible to get rid of people. If you want a game with no economy, but only big fighting, make sure at least I’m not encouraged to kick my people out of castle.
All the discussion regarding trebs and wooden traps makes it a ‘cheating’. I know it is waste for my knights to go take them down. I would prefer this solution (I don’t know if it works): place few enemy swordsmen guarding each treb. Also add few crossbows on some hills so they can reach treb, but not the castle. This way, any player can see trebs are defended without needing the ‘cheat’ information about wood traps. Maybe even add some low walls in front of or around trebs, so knight cannot get there quickly.

Balance: 3
I had 41 archer, 36 crossbows, 46 knights, 49 swordsmen, 56 pikeman, and few other units left when game was over. Not one single enemy got into inner section of my castle. After playing the game, I discover I can buy any amount of weapon I want. I can easy buy 100 swordsmen! How can anyone possibly fail this game. Sooo easy.
Why have the silly enemy laddermen? The game is built onto one single fact: the front gate fall early. Once this is gone, laddermen are useless and they just stand to wait and do nothing until they leave at end of game.

Map Design: 4
Sure, plenty of eye-candy with lowered walls and huge castle. The nature is also relaxing to look at, not too busy, not too empty. But a few things make it not be top grade. The most annoying is of course the armory that the weapons maker cannot go to. The wall surrounding armory make it unreachable. I can't believe no one has mentioned this yet. 4 pages of comments and not a single word. Maybe there is a bug in my Crusader (v1.1) but not in others?
The most important detail is the narrow choke-point at the front gate. Once the gate is down, you know all enemy is coming in one very narrow spot. This makes the game very easy to beat and there is no thinking or tactics to do.
What’s up with the island outside the castle? I guess it is for protection against sea-side attacks. But if this is correct, there should be army units on island. For completeness, it should probably also have engineer tower unit such as mangonel to crush approaching ship.

Story: 4.5
Engaging, but still somewhat disconnected. I would love to have seen the ship or 'ghost' on the dock.

Creativity: 4.0
Just another invasion. It is better than average for two reasons: it is quick game (very few 5 minute type games are enjoyable as this one) and the initial attack by trebs makes it a little different than usual.

Additional comments:
A highly recommended quick game. Unfortunately, not much replay value, since there is no variations.

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Map Design4.5
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