Reviews Backwater Calls
Note: Hints included in some reviews. You have been warned.

Below are some reviewer's comments which we thought might help you decide on whether or not you'd like to play the scenario. This page is not a list of all the reviews the scenario received, only those that had thoughful and/or useful comments to make.
Rating:3.5 Comments: Moral of the story: Demons are bad. Well, the scenario isn't THAT mundane, even if it's merely a series of dungeons whose impetus is a Haakai lord. If the plot were any more interesting, I would feel a tinge of doubt, but since Smoo himself professed in an email to me that his plot is mostly tertiary, I feel no such thing. Combat works, and is fortunately limited in dungeons. Alas, this "no-nonsense" town design does not apply to outdoor encounters; eventually, souped-up sliths, worgs, demons, etc got on my nerves. Another thing- the "final battle" is in actuality less difficult than many of the other fights in the scenario, such as the ambush in the Bat Cave, a group of wandering "Infernal Troopers" and a group of wandering "Skeleton Warriors". The plot itself moves forward at a brisk pace. There is no real guarantee that you will do everything in order (especially since your first mission is obnoxiously concealed by repeated secret passages), and there is no guarantee that you will find items required to complete the scenario. On the other hand, there is a legitimate sense of prey, even if it isn't very pressing time-wise. Script useage is mostly simple. But that's okay. (And coming from the designer of Canopy, that ain't saying much.) Spell levels cannot be obtained, which is irritating. Also, the treasure is a bit frugal considering the party level. DwtD is for a lower party level, and is simultaneously more opulent with its payload. It's minimally a few steps beyond mediocrity, and I recommend that you try it.
Rating:4.10 Comments: The scenario is very Jeff Voglian if I may use a that term. Basically the plot and game play is so similar to any of Vogels games one may not be able to differentiate. Of course the real draw back of Backwater Call is its somewhat unpolished state. There are numerous spelling mistakes and certain special encounters are a bit flakey. But I will say the flaws do not make the scenario any less enjoyable. It is totally open ended. Your party has one major quest to complete, which is re-opening iron shipments with the Empire, but there are a multitude of side quests which tie into the main plot. Your party may fight demons, sliths from Avernum, a reclusive Vampire, or super-powered goblins, along the way. You are however not forced to complete all the side quests. One may choose to rush straight into the demon fortress and forego any other adventures. For those of you that appreciate scenarios with less forced movement and direction Backwater Call may be for you. Just think Jeff Vogel but less polished and you'll now what to expect. So 4.10, ReSpeK.
Rating:2.5 Comments:Major mapping errors. Considerable spelling and grammatical flaws. Numerous event sequencing problems, especially if you deal with the demon(s) before visiting the rebels. Would be a nice game if these glitches were rectified.
Rating:3.80 Comments:I have only begun to play this, as I completed two of the quests but the authors scripting does not allow the quest to actually complete itself. The author needs to review this. Quest flaws aside, this appears to be a very solid scenario with plenty of references to the Avernum world and I enjoyed the slight touches of humor (Enema/Anama, The goblin in the Inn, etc). On a slightly more cosmetic note, the author needs to check the in-game spelling a bit more.


Comments:Backwater Calls is a pretty good scenario. The main quest is very straightforward, and the combat is challenging but not frustrating. There are several powerful, but not overpowered, items to find. I only have two complaints. First, the dialogue is not very polished and contains numerous errors in spelling and capitalization. Second, there is only one place to identify and sell items in the scenario, and you can only sell items for 20% of their value, which is quite frustrating.

Rating:4.5 Comments:I was very impressed by this BoA scenario. When you first start you are dropped into a fort and do a simple task, but then learn all is not right in the valley, I won't spoil it for anyone, but it is pretty surprising. I think the best part of the scenario was easily the valley itself, while not giving allot of history, the author gives such vivid descriptions of each town that they actually seem real. This is also the first BoA scenario that I actually got attached to some NPC's, one thing I think the author did best was filling the great towns with vivid and imaginative NPC's, there is also much humor, one particular part is so unexpected, that I could not stop laughing, I will only says it involves a familiar character from "A Small Rebellion" who is crushed. Another great thing is the different branching paths there are, later on you get special privileges and can order commanders to do certain things in those towns, such as tell them the location of rebels, and order them be killed, it really is a great thing. After that the combat it perfect, the author really did well on each dungeon, while none or dreadfully large, none of them or too small (just how I like it). Also the puzzles, while few, are good ones, while not to easy, and not to hard, I enjoyed them. One more plus is the added graphics and monsters, while not huge; it is fun to fight new monsters. For the negatives, there was sometimes that I was lost at what I had to do to advance, but figured out what to do. Also some points if you make one wrong decision and save, you cannot change it. Overall Backwater Calls is one of the top BoA scenario's out there I think, it has a great story, great NPC's to fill the story, and an addicting gameplay, download it NOW.
Rating:4 Comments:Enjoyable scenario with few bugs. The writing is good-- 3-dimensional NPCs to interact with-- with a generic plot (arrive in valley, pick up missions in the towns, defeat the evil monsters ravaging said valley). The combat was balanced for the recommended party and there were plenty of neat stuff to stumble over in the outdoors sections.
Rating:3.5 Comments:Well, I must admit that this is a fairly good scenario, in that there are no major bugs or plot holes. The monsters and encounters are all very interesting, and the charged goblins were a particularly good idea.

However, there are problems. First and foremost is that the whole thing plays like a condensed version of A3. I mean, you're fighting monster plagues sent by an extraplanar force... AGAIN. Granted, having the haaki feature in this plot was interesting, and it was good to tie the slith part of the plot back to Avernum. But still, some of these ideas are clearly recycled (another friendly vampire seems too much like DwtD). Also, the sliths in the mine was straight out of A3.

The other big problem was that the scenario was too big for too little plot. There are huge, empty, swampy bits which don't really enhance the scenario at all, and really annoy players.

Lastly, the rebels seem like they were added at the last minute. They don't figure into the plot very much at all (until you realize they started the whole demonic invasion thing), and once you've won, they disappear (I'm not sure if that ever got fixed).

In summary, it's solid, but also unoriginal and too big.


Comments:I agree with the other reviewers that the spelling errors detracted greatly from the gameplay, and that the demons were no harder to fight than other wandering enemies. However, in this scenario I especially appreciated the humor and the little details that made it interesting, for example the Anama/enema joke, the Kenny incident, the unusual NPC's (e.g. the hunter and the sculptor), the random caches of supplies or herbs, and particularly the giant slug who would join the party and fight alongside you for the rest of the scenario. I love an open-ended scenario with side quests, where I can choose what I want to do next.

Comments:Wow. This scenario was great. Nice items, hard bosses, new graphics, great plot. This could pass for a Spiderweb realeased scenario. I only noted two minor problems, the least of which was the typos. The other was that there were no puzzles, but that's just something I like to see. Overall, this is the best scenario I have played that wasn't of Spiderweb's creation.
Comments:This is one of the finest gamer-made scenarios I have seen so far. It has an intriguing plot, with sufficient levels of sophistication. My only problems with it were that in some places the terrain was kind of monotonous, and the Iron Mines doesn't have a town script. It does have a dialogue script, though.

I thought the script for Kaejil (something something, can't spell it — imaginative name, though, very well done) was innovative because he could kill his lackeys to regenerate himself. I wonder if the author had prior scenario-writing experience.

All in all, this was an excellent scenario. Its many jewels of scripting totally cancelled out the one or two flaws.

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