Level name:Operation Deus Ex Machina
Author: Andrea Rosa
Release date: 15 january 2006
Size: 10 054 ko
Number of maps: 8
download page: author's page
At the beginning of the Strogg War the Earth forces gambled essentially on two factors: the destruction of the Big Gun and the assassination of the Strogg Leader. While destroying the major planetary defense of Stroggos gave us a considerable tactical advantage, killing the Makron did not sort the expected results. We sought to drive the Strogg Warlords into internal struggles by eliminating their leading mind, however no turmoil happened. Instead of choosing a new Makron, the Warlords revolutionized the political structure of Stroggos, abandoning the old hierarchies and turning their world into a collection of feudal states. That way, they could continue to keep firm control over the strategic locations they were given and were able to organize defensive positions independently.
Operation Deus Ex Machina:
You are part of a small group of TCM marines currently scouting the region of Stroggos we refer to as Ishtar Chasmata. Headquarters have been monitoring this area for some days since evidences of anti-matter experiments were detected. If the Strogg can develop anti-matter weapons the equilibrium of this war could be drastically changed. They could even be able to restore the interplanetary gateway between Stroggos and Earth and launch a terrible counterstrike. We urgently need to know their plans, thus your primary task is to infiltrate the underground arsenal and steal whatever weapons designs or schematics you may find. Once you get the secret information, you’ll need to find a Com Center and transmit your data to the mothership. Intelligence will elaborate further strategy and orders according to your findings. You will be likely sent further deep into Ishtar Chasmata to find the source of that a-m relief and attempt to neutralize it. But beware, it won’t be easy. The local Warlord will surely track your moves. He has a loyal and well-trained army at his disposal, and he’s ready to deal with you with his own hands, if necessary. We wish you the best of luck in accomplishing this mission.
This episode made of 8 maps including some feature only available through lazarus engine is the first one from the author and even if the srart may look a little average it really grow up while you progress and will make you cross some intense and great looking area.
Design: For a first release and even if the author took some inspiration from other well done level (this is mentioned in the html included in the zip file), I was definitely impressed. At start and especially for the two first maps the design looks OK with some interesting detail features but honestly is quite average with a feeling of putting together some squared placed well interconnected but lacking spirit and atmosphere. After and when you enter the base the author slightly and surprisingly increase is mapping skill and the size of places you are going to travel through, it’s not just the design but also the use of moving things the way gameplay is oriented, the traps, the secret places everything just catch you attention in the way we like this game (first screen)… it will not just continue on the same level till the end and some place can be minored by a simple use of repetitive texture and minor lightning but this happens not too much and is normal to all human who are working on a whole unit to have some decrease in inspiration.
Gameplay: is most of the time correctly balance but sometimes, and especially at the end of level 3 and start of level 4 the challenge was put a little too high (with the help of the quite harmful turnable canon) and nearly turn into frustration. The use of the new feature coming with the lazarus engine really put an interesting additional point, also the way you need to travel cleverly through each level never look confusing and add a immersive feeling to each level you need to travel. Features are always well put together (included ammo, weapon you receive and health) but the fact that at the middle of the episode there were some tight moments, when you receive something extra, you just keep it, so that both end battle look somewhat easy to accomplish due to those extra quad damage and invulnerability… The search for those secret features and secret places was also well put together to add more stuffs to people who are looking for everything but without letting the one who won’t take too much time without nothing.
In conclusion: for a first attempt, Andrea really creates an enjoyable and challenging experience in a mostly well put together environment, it’s not perfect but not far from it so this is a mission that everybody should test if it wasn’t done before.
Playtime: 3 hours
Rating: A B C D E (90%)
Note: for the one interested in the statistic releated with the release here are the details:
map 1 : Hydroponic labs_________54/54______ 1/1__________ 2/4
map 2 : Greenhouse____________24/25_______ 1/1_________ 1/2
map 3 : The Arsenal____________70/73________2/2_________ 0/4
map 4 : Terminal 2______________62/62_______2/2_________ 4/5
map 5 : Spare parts factor________56/55_______5/5_________ 2/3
map 6 : Factory Engineering_______29/32_______1/1_________ 0/2
map 7 : High tech academy________80/80______3/3__________0/1
map 8 : Inner City______________134/136_____1/1___________0/0