The desert stronghold of Parhelis (a corrupted version of 'Beside the Sun') has not yet been discovered by the Saracen army, although they are on the lookout for it. Small scouting parties are being sent in front of the main force to locate this Crusader outpost.
The garrison of Parhelis is small, and cannot withstand a full assault by the Saracens. Enough supplies must be stored for the long trek to the coastline, and safety, before the Saracens arrive! You will not have long to do this, so hurry! Suffering may be necessary for the greater good...
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Playability : 4
This map has most of the key elements which make a map more playable...It continuously throws challenges your way in the form of fires and small invasions. which keep a player on his toes and doesn't give him any time to lay back
Balance : 3
The frequent invasions are hardly worth your concern and I found that just 3 more archers on my front walls were together able to hold back all invasions. It's the fires which you must worry about as they destroyed my farms early on in my first attempt...this is the first map i've seen where such simple scripting can cause such complex problems...aslo the objestive may seem hard to teh average player since fertile space is enough for only 3 or 4 farms...
Creativity : 5
The map alone may seem unremarkable when someone open it in the editor...but once you play it, it magically seems to come to life after you read the pre-mission story and play the mission halfway through...I don't know why, but it seemed to have hit a chord somewhere and I was totally immersed. The map design also adds to this as the keep is based around a dried out oasis with just a spark of life left and it signifies the end of their stay here (which is true according to the story).The map has got me hooked like no map has. It's simple elegance personified...
Map Design : 4
As i said, the map design is great. It may seem a bit sparse but it fits the story like a glove and the castle itself is simple, functional and realistic.This map is not like other maps who just try to make a functioning castle...This map makes you feel like you're looking at a real outpost/castle with its best days behind it.
Story/Instructions : 4
A neat little story which provides a basic framework for you imagination to build on. I suspect this is what has made me like this map so much.
Overall : A rough little gem of a map. If it were landscaped a bit more and the invasion aspect were made lengthier and more challenging, it would definitly become a much higher quality map.
But I must say that for an unremarkable looking map...it's still one of the best.
Keep it up Mechstra ;)
Playability (4). ‘A Parched Land’ presents you with a stronghold that comprises a few assorted towers interspersed with some functional walling. This basic structure encloses the only vegetation to be seen for miles, together with one small pond. An oasis it is not, but it’s infinitely better than what’s outside your compound. The surrounding desert is fit only for mangy camels and carrion crows. Your simple aims are to survive military action and to acquire enough food for some future exodus.
This Invasion scenario is an Economics mission in all but name. The fighting is almost incidental to the urgent need to build up your food stocks and correctly juggle your resources. The military attacks shouldn’t present too much of a problem, but if they do give you palpitations then it’s already too late. You’ve lost.
Balance (4). This mission is assessed as ‘hard’ and I have no reason to disagree. You have a very limited amount of arable land at your disposal and a tiny stockpile that can’t be extended. The market only deals in raw materials. You are continuously presented with problems. Do you provide half-rations? What will that do to your popularity? Can you afford a bribe? Do you increase iron production? Where’s the priest? What’s that you’ve just stepped in?
I can imagine this scenario being play-tested to distraction. The results are well worth the effort. It will surely take an excellent crusader to achieve victory at the first time of asking.
Creativity (4). I needed to quench my thirst as soon as I started playing this mission. It’s got atmosphere. Ignore the military angle and everything about it feels right, from the story to the simple map design, from the economic requirements to the eventual hard-won victory.
Map Design (3) The small map is dominated by the stronghold to the extent that it takes up half the available acreage. There’s only one signpost so you have a pretty shrewd idea where the attacks will be directed. The design is a deceptively simple concept.
Story/Instructions (4) The download comes with a read-me file containing basic installation instructions and an e-mail contact address. There’s a nicely composed story to whet your appetite for the task ahead.
Conclusion. Don’t bother playing this map if you are just looking for fighting on a grand scale. Please download it if you like a challenge that’s far more economic than military, and one that presents you with a series of interlocking problems. I grew enamoured with it. All that's missing is a more challenging military environment in which to test your skills. I did have minor sound problems on both occasions that I played it, but this was quickly resolved by saving immediately, exiting the game and then reloading.
I enjoyed this quaint map. It is small but to the point. An easy castle to manage and a fairly easy map all together. I rated the playability high because it didn't take much effort to run the castle. You had more time to defend and to manage. I like the title, it fits quite well. A good all around map.
This map has the grabbing effect mentioned by previous reviewers. Its a cool map, period. You get sucked in by the simple but detailed design. I played it all the way through, with some good challenges. Excellent.
This is almost perfect with the attacks just a little light, but all around great job. The farmland is enough to make the goal, if you run your economy with an iron fist. Getting your granary working right with cheese turned off is critical. I enjoyed this map.
Keeping the map simple and fun is the creative part. Knowing how much is too much is considered by far one of the most deciding factor when I rate a map. This one is solid work, with a little room for fleshing out.
Map Design: 4
Castle design is basic, but sound. Some problems with the original placements of the starting buildings had me moving stuff around. But after that, it worked out great. I did shave some walls down (they are 2 layers almost all around) and sold the stone or repaired the towers. The two lookout towers seem to draw the most enemy attack.
Short and a little hard to follow on the write up. There is also basic instructions in the zip file. This map is over 2 years old so I will have to say it's light story.
This map is fun and should be downloaded and played. Check out some of my maps too.