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Let’s Play Hyrule: Total War Intro

howdy doody all. welcome to my let’s play of

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mr23 sends me steam messages apparently. No, actually, it’s the Hyrule: Total War mod for Medieval II: Total War. Basically, it’s a total conversion that sets the grand campaign in the Legend of Zelda video games, specifically a mashup of Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time. As someone who is miserably bad at Total War games and has little experience with Zelda games, this is clearly the best of all possible games for me to play for an audience.

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I’m going to be playing as the Gerudo, a mostly female race of desert raiders. I’m also going to be playing on hard difficulty, and only reloading if something really stupid happens that would embarass me if I make a serious and easily avoided mistake. I want to show off this game as a game, that it is possible for me to lose, but I also want to show off what will hopefully be at least semi-optimal play so that you don’t all get angry at how bad I am at this game. I’m also playing a long campaign, meaning my objectives and the AI factions’ objectives are somewhat more difficult to achieve, hopefully meaning a longer and more involved game.

Okay, let’s get started.

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DOSSIER: The Gerudo

Let me start this off by saying that the little badly edited summary you see up there, and the faction summary above it are complete lies. The Gerudo do have good archers, and they are good in deserts, but their neighbors are only arguably friendly (in my preliminary game before starting this LP I actually lost because of having to fight a two-front war against my so-called “friendly neighbors”) and allying with every neighbor is a losing proposition in any case.

So what are the Gerudo’s advantages?

  1. Good starting position. The Darknuts and Zuna may not be our best friends (yet), but they certainly aren’t hostile, which is more than most of the other factions can say. We’ve also got a straight shot into Hyrule to the east, a major empire that is surrounded by semi-hostile factions we can ally with to take them down piecemeal. It’s worth noting that we do need to hold Hyrule proper to win the game.
  2. Incredibly fast troops. The Gerudo are pretty speedy in battle, but on the campaign overworld they’re insanely quick. Because of this, worrying about individual towns’ troop garrisons is unnecessary. We can just reinforce them with neighboring garrisons in case of emergency, which leaves us a great deal of flexibility
  3. Mounted Marauders
  4. Mounted Marauders
  5. Mounted Marauders okay but seriously. One of our earliest units is the Mounted Marauder, a light melee cavalry unit. They’re more expensive than their infantry counterpart, but in some cities, particularly the capital and our eastern border city, we can actually get them out faster than the infantry equivalent. Also, in M2:TW light infantry are very, very weak to cavalry of any kind. Hyrule’s basic troops are almost entirely light infantry. We’ve also got Mounted Dune Archers, horseback archers that will serve us well for skirmish warfare with enemy infantry.

So what are the downsides?

  1. Awkward starting location. While the Darknuts to the west and Gohma to the north aren’t really threats in and of themselves, if they ally with Hyrule we’re going to be in bad trouble. We can’t afford to get into a two-front war, because we just don’t have the economy to fight it. Plus, we don’t have anywhere to expand that isn’t Hyrule or a minor faction, so an actual war is inevitable at a sooner point than most factions.
  2. Mediocre economy. This may be partially a consequence of my ineptitude at playing the economic game, but we’re going to be facing a bottom-line difficulty very quickly as the Gerudo. We don’t have any sea trade and our farming has to be started from the bottom up, meaning we’re slow to get going and slow to improve. This is bad because our cash flow directly influences how many troops we can recruit and support, and early on a raiding economy simply isn’t practical.
  3. No melee option. This is especially bad because we’re neighboring the Darknuts. Hyrule we can school on with Mounted Marauder spam, but Darknut units are incredibly tough and difficult to take down with anything other than encircling attacks by elite infantry. If we get into a war with Darknuts, or even Darknut rebels, we’re in trouble.

So with that in mind, let’s look at our starting position.

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Not awful. We’ve got the capital, an eastern border fortress that can hold off an incursion by Hyrule, a northern border town we can use to expand westward, and the Arbiter Grounds which are strange

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We’ve also got the location of the Hylian capital, which is something. My opening moves are pretty standard, and I didn’t screenshot them but the gist is that I build roads in the northern and eastern border towns, as they will increase trade and thusly my bottom line, and I start building a stable in the capital, so as to get Mounted Marauders faster.

I also do this.

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As I said, the ruins are strange. They have, among other things, a twilight gate, which is extremely not good if the Twili, the extradimensional invaders from Twilight Princess, decide to invade. For the moment, I think it’s probably safe, not least of all because gates work both ways and I don’t want to demolish my only way of attacking them. It also has the option to “excavate ruins” which, as far as I can tell, is a 500 gold per pop random event generator. On my last playthrough I got very little benefit from it, but on this one I did pretty well, as you’ll see.

Notice we have no military forces. All units and generals spawn in on turn 2 and following turns. This is probably to prevent an early-game rush with starting armies, but I am also convinced it will lead to some of the problems I face in later turns.

Well, that’s our starting position. I’ll do a writeup of the first few turns later on. Look forward to some serious absurdity, both in our favor and against us.