The Charge Of The Light Brigade
Posted on 04/22/04 @ 11:30 PM (updated 07/24/04
||Empires: Retail Release
(1) Cinematic presenting entire charge, and events leading up to it.
(2) High degree of historic accuracy.
(3) Background info, maps, pictures compiled into an accompanying webpage.
(4) A README file for technical issues.
(5) Installation of the scenario and support files made easy with an installer program.
Version 281: fixed a few things mentioned below-
worked on opening Charge cinematic
fixed Heavy Brigade ownership trigger
improved odds (added some artillery/infantry reserves);
made it a .zip file wiht just the scenario, rather than the self-installing .exe with all the historical background such as units, map, dialog, etc.
for other fixes/improvements since 1.8 rating, see below
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
The Charge of the Light Brigade is one of the most famous episodes of the Crimean War, and one that has inspired poets and novelists for 150 years. This scenario does it no justice, presenting a chaotic, bugged, and at times plain laughable version of the most heroic/stupid military action of the 1850s.
The scenario opens with a cinematic sequence depicting the events leading up to the charge. We are treated to wildly swinging camera angles that could induce motion sickness, hilariously ridiculous speeded-up sections, and more - including a noticeably faked sequence where the cannon kill off the charging Light Brigade. The cannonballs' impacts and the dying horses do not coincide, and it's quite funny to see a whole lot of the cavalry die in synchrony. The actual battle is similarly random and confusing. Your men are mingled among the mass of allied cavalry, and it is impossible to tell them apart in the chaos of battle. They are also spread over a large area, and you cannot effectively manage them (if at all). If you let them carry on with their charge, they'll all die within a few minutes, and if you divert them, you only prolong the process. Your objective is to "Recover the cannon", but no more are you told, and it seems very strange as to how you recover cannon. You can only recover some of the cannon at most, and even then there is no victory. Once all my men had died, there was no defeat message or event. I saw that my population counter showed 12, and so I searched the (entirely visible) map for them, finally locating a tiny group of cavalry and a cannon at the very back of the battlefield. I killed them off, and still no defeat. The lack of victory/defeat triggers makes the scenario lack any purpose whatsoever, and the lack of any inherent fun makes this field's score a very poor 1.
The incredible amount of enemy troops makes your fight a futile one - as in reality - but the objective (which, incidentally, is only shown in a chat message and not in an objective box) seems to indicate that you are expected to succeed. The author's purpose is unclear, and either way, the fight is hideously uneven. Another very poor 1.
The Crimean War is not a subject often broached by scenario designers, and is a very interesting subject indeed, being one of the few wars of Britain's Victorian period. However, it is badly implemented here. Some interesting touches like the renaming of all the troop types (Scots Greys for some mysteriously inactive cavalry to the south, for example) and the naming of individual officers and commanders contrasts with the unimaginative battle itself, and the low fun-factor detracts from the interest piqued by the premise of the scenario. The possibility of a high score in this category is nullified by the implementation. A disappointing 3.
Map Design: 2
The map shows improvement over previous designs, with some mixing of terrains
and the like, but still features blank expanses of Grass Base 1. The fact that
the whole map is visible (once again) means that you can see all the blank areas around the main battlefield. Areas like the heights (which are on the battlefield itself) are under-detailed, and the author once again seems to be relying on the units to provide pleasing detail in the map. A below-average 2.
The storyline is the well-told tale of the Charge, and utilises extracts of Tennyson's poem to further the plot. But these extracts, which could have been used to powerful dramatic effect, are not. They are only employed twice, and in place of more of this we get clunky dialogue. The author does not seem to know that units can be specified for the dialogue to originate from, and instead puts "Captain Nolan:" and the like in front of the dialogue. But this is inconsistent, and half the time we're meant to guess who's speaking. The dialogue contains mis-spellings and misuse of titles; the author seems confused about how to employ the aristocratic titles of the various commanders, and uses the wrong forms of them on most occasions. The instructions are almost non-existent and you spend most of the playable section in total and utter confusion. The only reason this category receives a 2 is because of the poem extracts, which are even very slightly misquoted.
A very disappointing scenario from an author that does not seem to learn from his mistakes. Take in the comments, spend time on the scenario, test it out to perfection, and most of all stop arrogantly claiming that because it's an "artist's tool" you don't need to make everything perfect, while using your 'artistic temperament' as an excuse for abstract terrain design and the like.