UPDATE-This mappack contains two versions of the mission map 'south of Damascus' one is for crusader(map v1) and the other is for crusader that comes with the extreme package.
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1130AD,you are a captain in the Emir's guard wrongly accused of treason you flee for your life vowing to prove your innocence.
The mission starts ten years later.As a sucessful renegade you and your small band have raided rich merchant caravans on land and at sea,but all that is going to change very quickly as tension between Muslims,Christians and Jews become strained,there is a new foe from the east which is sweeping away the old order.You are as yet unaware of this as you have your sights set on a trading post-full story is included in the file.
I would like to mention that i have added the concept map'Hashara' which is a working invasion map and have made a multiplayer version for crusader extreme-four players.
Main map-This is a cede-style scenario,you appear to be out numbered but there are ways to capture the keep.You have few supplies left so do you wait until the new'owners' get their economy started or do you attack immediately?
There are several events at the start to trip you up,one is a force of horse archers sent by the Emir(due to a traitor?)others are non -military,such as plague,fire and a few lions!The invasions,well seeing as this scenario is loosely based around the time of the second crusade,you have made a lot of new enemies,and as a 'high profile' outlaw may have bitten more off than you can chew,the question is do you make a stand and maybe get the chance to reveal the traitor and prove your innocence or will you go and hide in the mountains?Hints-there is iron on the map but is well away from your castle,there is also stone available to quarry from the ruined town to the south-east,but is very close to one of the signposts.When you've completed the mission why not try the multiplayer version that is included?
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This review deals with the original map (to be played with Crusader v1.2) and the later one "v1" (for v1.1). They have similar course and requests.
This is a classic cede-invasion scenario that may seem easy in the beginning but is going to engage you the longer the more. Enough thrill and fun built-in.
You start with an obviously scratched little army of robbers that aim to take a ruined castle by killing its lord. Next you have to reflate the economy (rather easy), expand and meet requests. Invasions will appear and get more frequent and stronger.
The player has the choice. Either he/she can build a wonderful town growing more and more and in the end face huge trouble in defending it. Or you act determined towards the fulfillment of the requests. If, for example, the castle has to be completed nobody tells you that it must look nice (good things can help to make walls stronger). I took this way in the third attempt and gained victory in April 1144.
I think that balance is the strongest aspect of this scenario because the real surprise is the variety, mixture and number of the invasions. Also it was a wise decision to allow all kind of trading (at this merchant point) but to disable portable shields (and wooden traps). Taking the castle you gain a good reinforcement of troops (excluding marksmen and occupy a comparatively high amount of starting gold. The "v1" I found more difficult / exciting at this point as you start with less population and there are only few quarries prebuilt (on the other hand too many knights). A third sign post in the west would have increased the threat.
The game provides two crunches. When the first invasion arrives you won't have produced any range weapons (and your markmen are very few). So you learn to make a virtue out of necessity by using your mobile units, knights and maces, to catch the invaders. This turns out very exciting. For example you want to overrun a row of bowmen but a line of melees with lower speed walks the same way just when your troops arrive. Some horse archers or a slave will make it through a tease you.
The second crunch is the awareness that you eventually have come into the hell of a mess. Your castle has become a stronghold, the economic requests may have been met - but there is big invading from two sides of the map. Why ever did you choose this location at the crossroads south of Damascus where Crusaders and Arabs meet: you. Even high fear factor bonus cannot prevent your melee troops from melting away. May you run out of gold? Well, the invaders' only disadvantage is that they lack sufficient siege equipment.
The cede event always adds to a good course.
Special are the types of invasions. Special is also the player's colour: pink.
In v1 you get an Arab lord of the castle. There also appear some strange objects, "glitchy-looking" figures like ghosts and fighting birds (with no relation to the story though).
Map Design: 3.5
The design is all right and feels realistic. Plenty of greenery, stones sources scarce inside the ruins of an older settlement. The map is fittingly planned and the scripting timed well. The big size allows for tactical movements. But the valley is left too sparse and flat.
All together not really new.
A short story, in its end introducing the current situation. The map's outline doesn't require many instructions.
LD, this scenario is not your most outstanding creation but still a good and challenging job.
[Edited on 09/16/08 @ 04:07 PM]