The Quest for El Dorado

General Information

  • Name of Scenario : The Quest for El Dorado
  • Final Score : 26.5/35 (Adjusted: 23/30)
    (Breakdown: 0-10 terrible /11-15 Average/ 16-20 Good/ 21-25 Excellent/ 26+Best possible)
  • Type of Scenario :Historical
  • Name of Author: Jesús Balsinde
  • Name of Reviewer: Morten Blaabjerg

Summary of Scenario:

A band of Spanish deserters struggle through the amazon jungle in order to attack the Spanish settlements there.

Playability – Section Sub-total: 5.5 / 6

Were you able to finish in a reasonable amount of turns? (Score: 1 )
Did the scenario avoid being tedious or repetitive? (Score: 0.5 )
Did the scenario capture the essence of what it was portraying? (Score: 1 )
Were you impressed with the overall sound effects? (Score: 1 )
Was the choice of and interaction between races appropriate? (Score: 1 )
Did you enjoy playing the scenario? (Score: 1 )

me be frank. This one blew me away. And that’s unusual. Right after
discovering this very special scenario, I sat all night long and
struggled to get my Spanish rebels through the jungle, and succeeded
too. I managed to take about 3 out of the 5 Spanish objective cities.
On my first go, I played at King level, but this probably doesn’t
matter so much, as the scenario is very much based on the events-file.
Most of the playability comes from the carefully scripted manner in
which everything is done.

You have no cities. The object
of the game is simple. Survive long enough to get through the jungle.
The more men you get through, the more likely you are to be able to
take the Spanish cities and win the scenario. I won’t ruin the game for
you, but there are a few surprises along the way. But what really is
great, is the somber atmosphere which encompasses the whole thing.

Units – Section Sub-total: 5 / 5

Were the majority of units changed from the default Civ2 units? (Score: 1 )
Was the scenario free of ‘unbalanced’ units? (Score: 1 )
Were there innovative combinations of special unit abilities? (Score: 1 )
Were Barbarian units appropriate when they appeared? (Score :1 )
Any other unit related problems (like shield placement)? (Score: 1 )

scenario is quite unique in that the player takes control with a number
of Spanish soldiers, arquebusiers and pikemen, as well as a few hero
units. The opposition consists primarily of barbarians, unusual
encounters, as well as forces from the Spanish settlements that needs
to be taken to complete the scenario. Saying too much would spoil the
playing experience for you. But, yes, this scenario is probably one of
the most innovative I have seen, also in this department. The units are
very nicely drawn, and adds significantly to the atmosphere. You really
have the feeling that you’re leading a bunch of Spanish renegades
through the amazon. There are a few graphic glitches here and there,
but nothing that gets in the way really.

The opposition
met with consists mostly of powerful barbarian units like mosquitos and
indians hiding in the forest. There was a consistent decision to make
these quite deadly, so you lose units every other minute. The challenge
is to survive with enough men to be able to conquer the cities at the
end of the journey. However, there’s little to do really to avoid the
disasters of the jungle. This provides a certain hazardous feel to it
all, which is quite intentional, because it recreates the hazard of the
historical journey of these men. But after playing it, I can’t help but
think the author could have provided an additional strategic element to
the game play, by giving more thought to different unit qualities.

Research – – Section Sub-total: 1 / 6

Was the progression of advance to advance done properly? (Score: 0 )
Were advances properly related to new units and obsolescence? (Score: 0 )
Was the tech tree of a high level of complexity? (Score: 0 )
Were non-event messages amended to suit the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )
Was the civilopedia properly updated? (Score: 0.5 )
Were there dysfunctional improvements or useless technologies? (Score: 0 )

no research whatsoever, which of course means that this scenario misses
that aspect of civ2. The tech tree was tweaked to support the quest
scheme, and functions quite well. Its clear that the authors intentions
were to create something totally different from the traditional civ2
game. And in this he has succeeded. That said, lack of tech development
etc also means that the scenario is not so deep and multifaceted as a
scenario with a full blown tech tree. The depth of the scenario comes
from the clever use of events, and the multi layered text messages that
tells the story line.

Map & Terrain – Section Sub-total: 5 / 6

Were you impressed by the Map in general? (Score: 0.5 )
Was terrain properly adjusted to fit the scenario? (Score: 0.5 )
Was attention given to geography and historical details? (Score: 1 )
Were you happy with the city, fortress, and terrain improvement graphics? (Score: 1 )
Were city names and the placement of cities correct? (Score: 1 )
Were there innovations used in relation to Terrain? (Score: 1 )

The map layout plays a large part in constraining the player. Exploring
the map and meeting with the various hazards of the jungle simply is
the scenario. The tedious dullness of the jungle is clearly intended.
However, the terrain graphics used are nothing unusual in themselves.
That the map and scenario manages to stay interesting despite of this
is a credit to the innovative use of events and barbarians employed.

Care & Details – Section Sub-total: 5 / 6

Did you find the documentation adequate? (Score: 1 )
Was the events file sufficient for the needs of the scenario? (Score: 1 )
Were you happy with the improvement and wonder icons? (Score: 0 )
Did you like the changes to the player interface? (Score: 1 )
Did you find any very apparent errors? (Score: 1 )
Do you think a lot of effort was put into doing this scenario? (Score: 1 )

The documentation and presentation are top-notch. You get an unusual
insight in a small chapter of Spanish history, from the events and the
background story in the documentation, which fires the imagination. It
is very interesting to see this kind of multi layered events, that not
only supports the story that is taking place, but also tells the
background story as well. You don’t spend your time looking at city
icons at all, simply because you don’t have any cities, until the very
end. This is not what is important. This is in some ways a very simple
scenario, but one that grips you with that simplicity. Making it look
and play so smoothly has taken much effort and consideration as to how
to tweak the appearance and presentation of the game.

Originality and Technical Proficiency – Section Sub-total: 5 / 6

Were there any sounds you had never come across before? (Score: 1 )
Did you discover many units not used in any other scenarios? (Score: 1 )
Is the theme of the scenario completely novel? (Score: 1 )
Were complex events used to carry the story line or enhance the AI? (Score: 1 )
Did the author deal with all areas which could be modified? (Score: 0 )
Any other innovations worth mentioning? (Score: 1 )

and events-created barbs carry a great deal of the story line, and add
considerably to the already solid atmosphere provided by the graphics
and sound work. The clever use of events and other innovations in many
ways serves as inspiration for other scenarios, quest based as well as
more strategic scenarios.

The only problem with this
scenario that I can see, is that you will probably only play it once.
It has been clearly designed as an interesting story to be played out.
And once you’ve played that story out, there’s no more to do. No more
tricks to discover, no new units, no nothing. This is not necessarily a
bad thing, but it does mean that this scenario is a one time thrill.
The events-controlled setup is simply not as flexible as a
tech-controlled setup could have been, if that would have been possible
at all, given the authors premise.

Overall Assessment and Other Points of Interest: 26.5/30 (23/30)

The fact that this scenario in its essence isn’t well suited for replay
ability is its biggest drawback, because once you’ve played it, you’ve
really acquired an appetite for a bit more. But you deserve to play it
that one time to see what a civ2 scenario can also be. It has been a
truly inspiring experience for me to see and play this one, and I
strongly recommend you to give it a try.