Posted on 02/19/06 @ 01:58 PM (updated 02/24/06
Welcome to “A City on the Hill”, the goal of this scenario is to utilize your units in order to stay alive for the longest possible period. Your enemies will assault what remains of the shattered city you are hopelessly defending with a wide variety of unit types. As you play you will be updated on your “score” via a chat message. The objective is to achieve the highest possible final score.
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||Empires: Retail Release
Be forewarned, the units in this scenario have been highly altered. Unit relations are very strict, counter units are highly effective at killing what they have been designed to counter.
Every 120 seconds you will be promoted with a message window. In this window you can either choose to receive reinforcements, or to alter the scoring modifier. If you choose to alter the scoring modifier you will receive a greater number of points for each second that passes.
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"A City on the Hill" is a simple "Last Stand" scenario in which you are to defend your ruined hill city against a horde of enemies. It's a good experience if you're looking for something quick and fun, and it's very action-oriented.
- - - Playability: 4 - - -
A city on the Hill is a "no-win scenario": The enemy keeps coming, and your objective is not to "win" as such, but rather to survive for as long as possible, and the longer you hold the city, the more points you receive. At the end of the scenario, when your last soldier is dead and the ruins are firmly in the hands of the enemy, your score is shown for you to note down, improve, and perhaps brag about on-line.
Your units are very varied, and several are completely invincible to certain units (only certain units can attack heavily armoured spearmen, for example). In addition, some units, such as cavalry, instantly kill nearby units they are designed to counter (one-hit-one-kill units are a mainstay of Intrepid's scenarios, which I personally love). You constantly have to use your units to the best of their abilities, knowing which units counter which and rallying troops around the city to fend off attackers.
Every two minutes, a menu appears that lets you either request reinforcements or increase the rate of which you receive points. This is an interesting twist, and makes the game more open-ended: Do I call for another batch of horsemen, or can I make do with what I have and instead receive a point bonus?
The only downside of the scenario is that it's still slightly linear. I'd like it if you received some "special" units such as elephants every, say, tenth minute, or that you could spend points on receiving them. It'd also be interesting if you had several layers of defenses that crumbled one by one, akin to how it was in For Empire Earth's "Love of the Land" (first you defend the outer Paris wall, then eventually it falls and you retreat behind the inner wall - then, if it goes really badly, you retreat to the Keep itself). Maybe you could receive more points as long as you held the enemy out of the inner city or something?
- - - Balance: 5 - - -
The scenario starts off light, with only a few scattered troops being slaughtered by your units. This lets you get used to your army and which units counter which.
As the game progresses, though, the attacks grow more and more frequent. The enemy attacks in greater numbers and, worse yet, from several directions at once, which means you either have to split up your forces, or retreat into the city to fight as a single unit.
Every unit in the scenario has a good counter, and hence there is not really an "over-powered" unit as such.
- - - Creativity: 3,5 - - -
This is the weakest point of the scenario, as I feel there was simply not too many new things in it. There was the ability to add to the rate of which you receive points, but that was pretty much the only thing.
- - - Map Design: 4.5 - - -
The city is nicely portrayed, with burning buildings and trees, ruined walls, and ruins troughout. The only thing I missed was perhaps some more detail outside the city itself, and maybe some more eye-candy such as blood or corpses?
- - - Story/Instructions: 4,7 - - -
The instructions were quite clear and easy to understand. Each unit is described, and you're informed of which units can counter it and what abilities it has.
- - - Additional Comments - - -
The scenario features a battle-themed musical score.
Final rating: 4,36