The Family III: Into The Lungs of Hell
The wait is over, and the trilogy is completed.
Two years ago, when I finished The Family, I did not expect to release a sequel ...twice!
In this scenario -
- 100 + Triggers
- Extensive object effects to create relative realism
- Movement on the map, as a true battle would suggest
- Return of the full living cast of old
( Saki, Bruno, Demetrios and Vasiliko Kaita )
- New characters ( Prime Minister Xenoss, Jimmy, Stavro, and Patric )
Prime Minister Xenoss; the man who ruined all that Demetrios had inherited and worked for, is now on the run.
The armies of Greece are weakened, scattered, and make their final stand against Demetrios and his soldiers.
It is time to make his family and empire.
Thanks to Empire Creations for your help, support, and overall awesomeness.
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(To dispel any "potential" accusation of bias, I am outlining here that I have based my review closely with the guidelines set forth by Phil in the Review Guidelines: http://ee.heavengames.com/downloads/guidelines.php. I've also used a "merit-demerit" system, with the highest rating of 5.0 as base. Kindly read on.)
Hands down, "Into the Lungs of Hell" is the best of the "THE FAMILY" trilogy. It's action-oriented, mix-style play is a fitting climax to the successful "The Family" 2 years ago. It's tactical sense is very well developed, with strategic planning on a well-designed islands map a necessity in gameplay. Although much of the "demerits" it has earned are mostly concerned with balance issues, I know that Altec Tek, if he revisits this, could change them easily. Here's the summary of the merit-demerit system, and a brief explanation on each.
-.2 for Trigger Works. The timing and spawning of the patrol groups, and the unfreezed generators have each affected gameplay. The reviewer has played this scenario a couple of times, and had a difficulty in getting the generators offline, but a chance reload allowed him to accomplish it with almost no scratch.
-.5 for Replayability. Phil says that a reviewer must "consider also a scenario’s replayability value. Is it one you could play again and again, or maybe dig out at times for another go?". Given the linear style of gameplay, and a couple of balance issues which is related to replayability, this is expected. BUT! before tek cuts my head on this
+.3 for (in the words of Commando) "enjoyable hours" and the overall effect the scenario has made on the Trilogy taken as a whole. A climax indeed! (no pun intended! =p )
-.1 for easy taking of initial base. The military base is too easy to capture. You could have the military base initially owned by the enemy player, but since it will belong to the player afterwards, the player is supposed to be careful on destroying buildings he need later on. (Don't forget to say such in hints.)
-.1 for Long Range bombers. I still don't know if altec really intended for the long range bombers to be there, but it made all the trouble of blocking the land route moot and academic. (now, that's legalese!)
-.5 on civpoints. I think this is where you really needed to improve upon in this scenario tek. I suggest you reduce the starting civpoints to 10 (for you gave 25), and the subsequent one to five. This way, the player has the option to strive piling up the civpoints they get from successfully destroying transport ships. This will also make the AI not too vulnerable in the end.
Phil says that "probably the biggest creativity factors are the starting position and the victory conditions." Given this line I had given a -.1 for the Victory Trigger, since the player could send in only the long-range bombers to kill the Prime Minister. But I added +.1 to the brilliant maneuver of putting out the generators first and taking a built-in enemy base.
(To the admins: Given my merit-demerit system, can I add in additional points for the tactical objectives the player must perform to neutralize other islands and their defenses, or the way civpoints are given to the player whenever an enemy transport ship is destroyed? Oh, nevermind. I just remembered I gave it a 5.0! =)
Map Design: 5.0
"Don’t just look at the pretty flowers – look at how the terrain features enhance gameplay. Does the layout make for some interesting battles and allow a range of tactics to be used?", Phil asks. Now, my answer to that is a definite yes! The map is beautifully constructed, with good elevation, and very much relevant to the tactical and strategic management of the game.
Story/ Instructions: 4.9
I deducted .1 due to some spelling mistakes and the inexistence of an introductory bitmap, but those are minor points. Who ever thought of a campaign based on a gangster ending up displacing a whole government? Revenge and betrayal is not commonly tackled in scenarios, and I believe that The Family brilliantly depicts the ruthlessness necessary to achieve this goal. I truly believe that The Family, more so this last installment, had allowed us to look into these primal instincts embedded in us all.
Now, is there a Family 4 tek? You know, a government based on revenge and constant betrayals, not to mention illegal activities would be a good plot! But one thing we all know from our hearts, keep those scenarios rolling!
In this third part of the Family "tetralogy"
the mafia feeling have almost
Specially after the first island had been captured, with all the warships & aircrafts,
made it feel more like a ww2 scenario set in
the Pacific Ocean with an unbalance problem.
it's definitely above the average scenario,
with many working triggers and good cinematics.
You could litterarly bomb the islands back to the stone age without worry about losses because of the civ. points and unit upgrades
made the bombers very endurable.
Despite the islands where filled with enemy AA-guns, it was way too easy too win,
because the enemy had very few,
if any at all upgrades to counter balance you.
the only balance was at land and at sea,
the enemy had quite a large navy,
altough it since your air force was so powerful
& the enemy air force only came from one predictable way & was quite easy,
it didn't mather much.
the best balance was at land after the first island, not to hard and not to easy.
the power generators was a great idea,
the new setting entirely in the Aegean Sea
was a cool step away from the other Family scenarios which where mainly set on mainland.
the thought was good, but honestly,
the civ. points & unit upgrades ideas
where poorly executed and caused great unbalance.
a slight plus point for the military supply ships, they made it all more realistic.
Map Design: 4
the first island was the best made,
with good vegetation, atlast! =)
the Prime minister island looked good,
except for a big deep hole with two AA guns in.
th other islands where okey,
specialy the cliff works where impressive(!)
but they had next to no trees/vegetation, rocks etc.
the main tree type was palms,
which made it look like you where in the Pacific Ocean during ww2 O_o
altough there was some maple trees
and overall it looked okey,
but din't suit for a scenario set in Greece.
the instructions where easy to understand,
well made & writen.
But there's even less cinematics / dialogues in this scenario then the two other parts,
which was a dissapointment.
They where good though,
but the lenght & quality had dropped
quite significant from the two first parts.
( - 0.2 )
the history section where less impressive;
it was just a summary of what had happend
in previous scenarios,
nothing about how he conquered the rest of
the greek mainland in between the second and the third scenarios
or how the Tionos family was defeated. ( -0.1 )
a totally playable
fixed / build & destroy scenario,
set around the WW2 period.