Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cold Steel for Quake4


Level name:Cold Steel

Author: eLuSiVe

Release date: 28 Janaury 2006

Size: 25 108 ko

Number of maps: 2

website: none

download: At Doomwadstation



Review :

This was the first descent release for Quake4 back in 2006 from an author that had been mapping for sevral month for Doom3 on a huge project after making a map called prowler.

According this release it's starts like in the original Quake2 release with a crashed cuscenes well scripted after you will neede to progress through the place the destroy the master of this place.
Design is perfectly manage in a cool dark and spoucky ambiance more related with Doom3, attention has been put on details that surrounds your progression, events that occurs and ambush that are happening add the fear to this experience, all part are well linked together in a non linear way adding despites a cohesive storyline some cutscenens that put perfectly the player into the Quake 4 theme

Gameplay is correctly balance with some thaught part where you will see you health dicrease fast (perhaps too fast) the progression is a mix beween suprise (from thinks falling to mad ambushes) and activating switch (you don't always know wher to go next...). The Challnege really increase till the end arena where the nightmare seems to never stop...but when it's over it's in an abrupt way that just throw the end generic at you face.

In conclusion: back when it came out this one was considered as a must have. Regarding the small amount of release for this game it still is but since then other maps have shine to the community and provide something more releated with what Quake4 offers (pilotable vehicles, squad progression, on screen objectives,...) . This one is enjoyable well put together with a good time enjoyement but for me wont let any memorable souvenirs...simply because the originality that comes with the intro scenes just fely appart after that with it's weak storyline.

Playtime: 50 min

Rating: A B C D E (82%)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Forward Motion for Half-Life 2


Level name: Forward Motion

Author: Justin 'SneakySpeckman' Carlton

Date of release: 26 May 2008

Size: 47 389 ko

Number of maps: 10

website: none

download: here

Author's Note:
This map pack is really just group of ideas. Any constructive criticism would be appreciated. Each map proceeds in order. Every map can be played individually, so you can load any map and start with weapons. These maps may have some bugs. You can consult the walkthrough if you get stuck. If you get stuck you can always just load the next map.

Review :

The short Note from the author explain directly that there was no real story just idea after idea through wich the author wanted to create something enjoyable.
Design was well put together in a simple but efficiant way increasing (but at start is was quite average) in quality and realism as you will travel through all the 10 maps. The feeeling was really great and archtiecture well manage, everything is present from the original game but never let a feeling of dejà vu. You will travel from outdoor to indoor with limited weapons using the hovercraft for quite a while with tips and tricks.
All in all and even if the author didn't pay a lot of attention to details, but this doesn't really bother, every new part with it's traps, effect surprise and even more will really want to play this one in a sinlge experience.

Gameplay is really the major interest from this map pack from fight to puzzle passing through it's 'wierd' storyline, you will never have a moment that's lack from interest, action is always present and will increase with you progression sadly reaching a kind of moment where the author was perhaps a little submerge by what he wanted to create and starts to make things a little to complicate in my opinion. hoperfully the readme contains a walkthrough that will certainly b you friend.
What was really put in evidence is that the author manage the engine to it's quite complicated features and with a better thaught storyline from starts to end, I'm pretty shure the author could really catch the full attention from the community.

In conclusion: Even if the readme doesn't come with a lots of information and that maps were simply linked together, letting the posibility to play them each separatly, without no story, background map or 'new features' if was defenetly a great enjoyable surpsise for me, that i highly recommed to everybody.

Playtime: 3 hours

Rating: A B C D E (86%)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Absolute redemption for Half-Life

Title : Absolute redemption

Author: Maverick Development

date: 01 November 2000

38 779 ko

Number of maps: 32

website: down

download: at planetphillip


It was written in the ancient scrolls of Xian that, during the last Crelat of Xen time, a portal would be opened between two universes and a being would cross the void and cause the second re-birth of Nihilanth, and all Xen would be drained of their lifeblood, their knowledge. And that, in this time, the Xen race would be oppressed by the armies from the far side of the portal.
It was also written that once the portal was opened, a human known as "Freeman" would cross the galactic transverse into Xen space, and set free the three sacred Telnorps, the guardians of the gate who had been captured from the ancient enemies of the Xen, the Zan from the Theldran galaxy.
And so it was that the prophecy came to pass, and the weakened Xen were powerless to resist an onslaught from the Zan. In the dawn of the first Ashaan of Xen time, the elders of the high council sanctioned an uneasy alliance with the perpetrators of the impending disaster, the Human race, in order to restore the sacred telnorps, and thus sealing the Zan gateway... forever.
The ambassador of the Alien Investigation Unit on earth was called upon to "redeem" the situation by employing the use of the very individual who had inadvertently caused the situation...

Review :

Before Wanted a western conversion for half-life (check it here) and after Drug-Barrons (one of the first interesting HL release Maverick Dev came with a huge release containing 32 maps were once more you will need to stop the evil machine!

We will say that the mission is divided in 3 separate ones with a final travel to xen, the gman will constently stay in contact with you through cutscene mission breafing and so on, so you will need to catch back in every mission the 3 sacred Telorps to close the portal on xen. so travelling through well thaught and design mission will keep you busy during a correct time.

Design is impressive back in 2000 r-speeds is really well manage by placing map change in the place they should, from the first mission that take place in the himalayan montain to a carnival full of impressive attraction witch reminds me from the first chapter of Blood: the criptic passage game to a end research complex, the design is really put on a high quality, attention to models was also well done and interconnectivity in a way you could easily be lost in a non linear progression add certainly a great touch to the management layout. There is really too much detail that could be described here that it's noncense to spoil them. The mix between storyline and the gameplay is for me really well handled and push you to play this one without no break which is for me really a sign of quality. The small break through cutscenes and briefing mission with a quite enjoyable voice acting (that is not always from the best quality), is enhanced by the personality of Gman and add even more value to the whole content.

Gameplay isn't that easy in fact that you could easily be lost or don't directly know what the next objective, regarding combats and traps they are well balanced to make it challenging but not frustrating, puzzle are mosltly absent or easy to solve but all those things flows perfectly to create a memorable mission.

In conclusion: like other production from Maverick this one is another enjoyable map pack that really create a new mission guided by the Gman i'ts for me also the best one and is defenetly worth to be play and replay especially regarding the details, effort and humour that has been put in it.

Playtime: 3 hours

Rating: A B C D E (92%)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chronicle episode 1 for Half-Life


Title: Half-Life: Chronicles

Episode One : Traumatic Experiences

Author: Radioactive Software

Release date: 9 August 2000

Size: 10 005 ko

Number of maps: 5

website: none anymore

download: at planetphillip


Half-Life: Chronicles once again places you in the boots of scientist Gordon Freeman. Trapped in the Black Mesa Research Facility, and pursued by humans and aliens alike, you must use your wits (as well as firepower) to stay alive. However, Chronicles takes place in what could be called an "alternate timeline" wherein certain events in Half-Life unfolded differently.

Review :

So i have still a lot of HL stuff to play and decided to give a try to several one that seems back then, in HL stoneage, to catch the attention... This one, release as a preview of upcoming stuff that never did tried like for opposing for to imagine at a certain points another storyline...for making this more attractive, there are some new sounds, weapons and texturing.

Design is great, you really have the impression to play something professional; texturing, flowability through the collection of maps is perfect (especially taking in account it was released more than 8 years ago) new weapons model are also fitting well, the architecture is well put together with a well balanced use of texturing from classic to newest one. The architecture and use or environment layout make it easily linkable to the original game but this is more a valuable comparaison.

Gameplay is also well put together more oriented on grunts combats (you won't see a lot of aliens) than on puzzles, progression is quite obvious and misses perhaps some outdoor area, there aren't a lot of stuff required to make you progress: from a moving element to a keycard all seems quite obvious, the G-man is always present and will in some place appears.
The travelling is mostly done by foot progression with the exeption of a memorable subway ride with some shooting that remind me from the experience that happens in movie like the Goonies or Indiana Jones first opus...but sadly the expeirence just stop abruptly with a 'to be continued...' on text message that never happens after this release.

In conclusion: Back in 2000 this first release from radioactive software looks really promising with a classic mission start used some original element but also a really good design...sadly there was never a sequel to it. for the one who never gave this one a try it's not to late and regarding the small playtime experience it's defenetly worth.

Playtime: 25 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (78%)

Friday, December 05, 2008

sp_valley for Half-Life

Title :sp_valley

Author: [fpsb]agressor

Release date: 30 july 2008

Size: 4 977 ko

Number of maps: 1

website: none

download: at fpsbanana


none, but as author's note :"This single player map was created using prefabs from fpsb (this site). There are a house with garage and two floors and one waterfall. If you want to play on this map in multiplayer, please tell me about it in feedback. [I'm sorry, my english is not good enough))))"

Review :

Not a really old release (4 months) i found this one at FPSBanana it's quite short and just provide 2 main places there is no puzzle or objectives it's just a grunt feast.

The architecture even if not realistic regarding the house location isn't that bad, for the design and if the author only use prefabs it's then a little bit weak and also provide some mapping error like the lighting that appears in the mountain wall and the part of the toilet that is...out of the house. But in a way of just looking and walking through it , it's not really bad, and could easily be use for multiplayer purpose.

Gameplay is short not that intense and well balanced to create a short but not frustrating experiences, like told before there is no puzzle, no search just shooting (include a chopper)

In conclusion: don't expect to much from this one it's for me just correct enough to give it a place at 'SPmapcorner' for the rest don't blaim me if you didn't like it there is no aim just elimate all resistance and i didn't even find an ending ...

Playtime: 15 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (52%)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Half Secret for Half-Life


Title: Half-secret

Author: TTK/Freeslave

Release date: 8 August 2008

Size: 5 597 ko

Number of maps: 5

website: none

download: at planetphillip


none, it's just a classic black mesa type episode with a good nostalgia feeling

Review :

Here is another recent release that came out during summer it's a classic straight forward experience that exactly begins as the official HL version but hand maded with the qwest following the same path.

Design is well handled with nothing really special and perhaps sometime a lack to details and a use of repetitive walls textures especially the hallways at the beginning, but after it's becomming beter, you get into the complex and the design will be more representative. Even if most of the part are not perfectly crafted or designed to be great eyes looking, it's enjoyable to progress into this sientific complex. There aren't a lot of new features (except some new wads) in this small episode but it's just about nostalgia so this wasn't really what we were looking for.

Gameplay was build also like the original game with a mix between fight, events and puzzles integrating or not some barneys (only for fights) to help you, it's well handled and balance to increase your interest with your progression. There is even a new 'aliens' weapon (i think it was the first time i saw it but i may be wrong), the experience quite obvious but i prefer it in this way than when i encounter lots of puzzle that frustrates me.

In conclusion: another interesting release from this year... it may looks too classic and perhaps you will prefer to replay the original game but for the not too long playtime and the effort from both authors it's another enjoyable experience.

Playtime: 50 minutes

Rating: A B C D E (80%)