Monday, January 31, 2011

Original Age of Empires Complete

The Age of Empires campaigns have been bested! And oh my, was some of it a slog.

Stone throwers and priests, the secret to 90% of the campaign missions.
Some of these maps were definately put together in the era before RTS refinement.  A lot of them just suffered from a lack of detail on the levels.  The mountain temple above was by far the most well put together piece of map.  The Greek and Egyptian campaigns rarely had an aesthetic touch to them other than a couple of walls.  They didn't even bother to add hills!  The final Babylonian campaign levels and the entire Yamato campaign picked up in pace, both aesthetically and gameplay wise.  Still, every campaign suffered from a lack of AI steam.  After fending off the first couple of attack waves, the AI pretty much collapsed in on itself.  Or maybe they were just distracted building TONS of towers.  Most campaigns consisted of defending off a couple waves of attacks and then slowly dismantling fields of towers with a couple priests and stone throwers.

Designing a base around cliffs added a subtle challenge.
Bashing aside, the game did at least off a plethora of objectives and some of the latter levels had a fair bit more gameplay to them.  The cliff-side level above required you to defending some attacks, knock out a nearby village for resources, relocate to another island for more resources and finally penetrate an island fortress. Another level that was extremely frustrating, but quite satisfying was basically a gauntlet that required micromangement to make the best of unit strengths for each obstacle.  You had to run scouts through tower fields, convert siege weapons with priests, and focus fire archers like no tomorrow.  The final campaign levels actually made me quite excited to try out the Rise of Rome ones, where I think the refinement will carry over.

No crappy campaign stuff this time, thanks.
I should also mentioned I followed along with a great guide posted on Gamefaqs by BigglesTh9.  It helped in a couple tough spots, but was also interesting to see how someone else handled certain situations.  He also added difficulty ratings for each level, which gave me a good idea of what my frustration level should be at before tackling a level.

It is super satisfying to finally beat the campaign for a game that I constantly played as a kid (it was my favourite game for a solid year).

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