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Crossing the Volga

Author File Description
File Details
Style: Fixed Force
# of Scenarios: 1
Version: Empires: Retail Release
The Volga River, Stalingrad
1100 hours
18th September, 1942

Thousands upon thousands of Russian conscripts and soldiers have assembled on the banks of the Volga, close to the centre of Stalingrad. A massive German push through the city has let them reach right through to the opposite side of the river, and set up high-quality defences along its sloping banks.

Artillery, machine-guns, mortars, bunkers, barbed wire, and crack Wehrmacht troops are lining these slopes, and the task given to these 10,000 men of the 13th Guards Division of the Soviet army is to break these defences. Boats will ferry them across the river, where they will fight and they will die and they will win. At any cost.


An epic, bloody battle with casualty figures in the thousands.
Desperate uphill fighting in the war-ravaged city of Stalingrad.
Call in artillery support, aid your fellow Russians, and use tactics to get the better of your enemy.
Music from the best-selling World War II game Call of Duty.

By Mechstra, Second-in-Command of Woad Creations. (http://www.woadcreations.nl)
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 » Last »
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Map Design5.0
Playability: 4

The crossing of the Volga is wonderfully recreated here. Your task is simple yet the carnage is non-stop. Mechstra has done a good job in allowing the player to easily keep focuses on the task at hand. Reinforcements arrive automatically and all you have to do is use them to kill the Germans. Occassionally in a boat load of troops you get a Commissar, which is the one thing I began to really look forward to. Which brings me to why Playability is not a 5. For what the scenario is, the execution and playability are great. Besides for targets changing or choosing to focus fire on specific units, the action generally remains the same. Which is why I looked forward to getting a Commissar, as it gave me two more 'options' to play around with (Killing a conscript and molotov cocktail). Overall though the scenario was refreshing and a lot of fun, but lacked the extra 'spice' to make it a 5.

Balance: 5

The balance was great, considering as Russia you get hundreds of disposably weak units while Germany has handfuls of very strong units. In the end it struck a fine line that allowed me to constantly feel like I was making progress, even if I was only bringing down a MG42's health down to 50%. Mechstra made sure the German strength was felt by the exteme loss of life, but at the same time made you feel like it was worth it because slowly but surely you were making it up the hillside. I finished with 9 minutes left on medium difficulty, so felt it was a bit easy. Playing on hard would probably had been better.

Creativity: 3

First off, a 3 in any category isn't considered bad by any means. From me I'm simply saying there wasn't anything extraordinary, yet what was presented was done very well. I liked the objective to find the radio, but felt the objective to take out the mortars was a bit moot (Either I or the CPU would have killed them eventually anyway). I also had wished I could have seen my AI ally, but I understand it may have added to the confusion by seeing more of the map and more units not under your control. I liked the artillery support, but I never knew who they were going to target or when so once in awhile I'd see them shell a German position and go, "Oh, good, that helps". It would have been cool to be able to select a target and then be presented with a Questions Box, asking whether to focus artillery on that position (Then not have another strike for 3-5 minutes, or whatever). Then the player would have had more control on the artillery strikes, but not to the point where he can obliterate everything with them.

Map Design: 5

Job well done! Mechstra has done a great job recreating a war-torn hillside with burned out buildings, barb wire and dug in German positions. I rarely had any pathing problems and felt the spacing of the German positions was just right so as to not have focused impossible firepower against my men.

Story/Instructions: 4

The story is simple and based from the historical event. The instructions were clear and I never had any problems understanding what I needed to do, however "finding the radio" proved to be a matter of chance since it was near impossible to see it. I feel the scenario should have been part of a larger campaign, but even if it was there was no other story than the one presented by history so that wouldn't have changed the score anyway.

Additional Comments:

I didn't find any bugs or issues that affected my enjoyment of the scenario. You're given 50 game minutes to complete the scenario and it really just flies by as the action is fast and furious. You'll be wishing for more though, once you're done (On to Red Square, comrades!!). So what are ya waiting for, go play it already!
File Author
Thanks for the prompt response! :) I'm pleased with the review, and I think you'll be pleased to hear that I'm working on a follow-up to this - although it's very different in style.
Solo Fighter
Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
Very fun, couldn't stop playing it. So much killing. I thought it was stupid at first when my squad of Conscripts was deomolsihed by the pillboxes and the MG Teams. I liked how Conscripts kept on coming. I especially liked it because it would take several small objectives to do the big objective.

Balance: 4
It was true when you said "countless men". No matter how many fell dead, there were still more. It was kind of cheap, but it worked good with my strategy. I would have given it a 5 except for one reason. I had to kill one Neuer Soldat and one MG Team to finish off the first defenses. But I lost at least eight Conscripts doing that. Maybe there was a glitch in my strategy, or it was jjust kind of cheap.

Creativity: 4
Who would've thought of doing something like Crossing the Volga, let alone doing something on Stalingrad. Most people have ignored the Battle of Stalingrad and what happened in it. But it has been a big part in my World War II studying.

Map Design: 5
Very great map, it looked better than in the movie Stalingrad. Destroyed houses, tank obstacles and barbed wire. I've only been wishing that I could have had that great a map. At best, I would rate it 6 out of 5 (if possible).

Story/Instructions: 5
Nice instructions and choice. I explained how good the objectives were in the Playability part and I've explained how good the story was in the Creativity part.

Additional Comments:
Make a campaign about the Russians in World War II and include this in it. It probably took you at least half a month to make this, or possibly even longer.

Midgard Eagle When one of the game designers give you a rating of 4+, your scenario is good:).

I think I'll try it sometime. I don't think I'll review it, though, seeing it's already got two solid reviews.

Would the reason you bought Call of Duty be that its trailer was on the Empires disk, by any chance;)?


[Edited on 01/29/04 @ 10:56 PM]

WarLord_ZeZar Playability: 5
Really great, is there anything to add? no.

Balance: 4
I think you did some great balance, a bit more stronger units would have made it more fun i think ...

Creativity: 3
Well, its not VERY creative. Its ok, but some taken from CoDs map ... ;)

Map Design: 5
Really great map!

Story/Instructions: 4
Its ok, nothing more, nothing less :)

Additional Comments:
Like it, when does do you release a new map? ...

[Edited on 01/30/04 @ 10:02 AM]

File Author
Middie, no, I got Call of Duty on the strength of the demos, and the same day I got Empires - but it did inspire me to make this map, true enough. :p
Midgard Eagle Oh.
Excellent scenario, though. Congratulations!

I agree with the others, though: Make a campaign!

[Edited on 01/30/04 @ 01:46 PM]

The Crazy Person I thought this was quite the scenario, very fun, however I'm gonna play it again before making a review. Very fun, creative and the map was beautiful (from a destroyed, bombard city point of view). BTW, casualties from my last run through this: 2171. Keep up the good work and I look forward to see more stuff from you.
Angel Park Played through it once, since everyone else is already reviewing I'll let them do the main job. Just a few cents of my thoughts though.

Stalingrad is no minor event, and I've seen it covered pretty well, no where as much as D-Day, but it is up there. So creativity is a bit of a sinker, and using CoD's loading background for your scenario background struck me a bit negatively weird. Just brings back memories of debates on original content and using movie/other game media.

Still, I can see as you said yourself that you based it a lot on CoD, which it does very much with the artillery calling, even the dock landing, and encouragement heard from the commanders.

It was fun though, I thought it would be really easy seeing as I have endless conscripts, but surprise, I lost with 1 artillery left standing.

I also found the radio a bit hard to find. It happened, but I have no idea how, and I couldn't really tell if the Russian artillery was shooting randomly or in my position.

I would score highly in playability (4 or 5), map design (4), and balance (5) if I actually made a review. But creativity and story would probably be a bit down (3ish probably) since the objectives and map were nearly a copy of CoD's. Not really a bad thing, but just the way it is.

A few suggestions might be to add a couple of twists, maybe planes fly overhead ripping your men apart. Also, killing 2 germans with 15 conscripts seems a bit odd, even if most of the conscripts don't have a gun :)
And for some reason it just feels incomplete like I should of used more of the map or fighting in the city. Maybe, in the future go the FPS approach and control just a Hero Joe with all your ally men dying around you.

[Edited on 01/30/04 @ 03:14 PM]

File Author
Crazy Person, I'm glad you enjoyed it - your figure for the casualties is interesting, because with my constant testing I've become quite expert and knowledgeable about the terrain and the best approaches - on my final playtest I clocked 679 casualties and finished with 13 minutes to spare.

Many people seem to be having difficulty finding 'the radio' - in fact, there are three on the map, and I had thought that two of them were fairly obvious, but I'll take this into account for my next scenarios.

Park, your comments are helpful, and I'll bear your thoughts in mind for future works. You'll be interested to know that the follow-up scenario, Stalemate, has a central character, not a hero as such, but a main character in a self-contained storyline, following his fortunes in the aftermath of the initial fighting in Stalingrad. You control a maximum of 5 soldiers, and it concentrates mainly on small-scale street fighting and taking part in larger offensives as a small group, and it focuses in a big way on set-piece battling - in other words, more or less what you suggest there. *wink*

About original content, though - I see no difference in taking a computer game as a reference point or inspiration than taking a book, or a historical account - if you take this to extremes, using any freely available photos, or sound clips, or anything like that, would be classed as plagiarism.

[Edited on 01/30/04 @ 05:14 PM]

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