Author Topic: The Half-Life Resurrection Thread: Preface (i.e., Read This Post First)  (Read 9940 times)

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#13: Gman Island Part1
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2016, 11:47:26 AM »
Gman Island Part1

Map Title: Gman Island Part1
Author: Jack Amano
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: ja.zip
Filesize: 1,798k
Number of maps: [?]

[Note: "You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead." – Stan Laurel]**

[** From the Laurel And Hardy short, "Brats." One of their best, I say.]

Abstract:
For those people whose first language is not English, I sympathize. It really is a difficult language, made all the more treacherous by our ("our" meaning "English-speakers") penchant for off-handedly inventing new words and phrases constantly, sometimes even in our sleep (this is my theory as to why Bob Dylan sounds like he does...he’s always in R.E.M. sleep and can’t wake up).** So I am impressed whenever  someone even *tries* to communicate in this, the Nightmare difficulty of languages (I understand there are several dialects of various Native American languages that make English look like monosyllabic grunts, but let’s ignore those for a moment, as it tends to put a crimp in my sweeping generalization). So what does this have to do with this map? Buckle in, porcupine...the opening text will clue you in.

[** A Bob Dylan reference. Once again, I prove my "humor" is timely and relevant.]

Basics:
Lighting: Adequate.
Architecture: Nicely done.
Textures: Some slight misalignments here and there, but nothing we’d have to break his thumbs over.
R_speeds: High in some places, especially the last map.

Story?
Direct quote from the text file: "You are Gordon Freeman. What is 'Gman Islnd'?  It will become clear by part2. Your mission in part1 is pursuing Gman. Hurry!" [slight mechanics formatting by me] Well, there you have it. Try THAT on for size, James Clavell!**

[** Because James Clavell wrote these really long books that could double as doorstops, see...]

Onward!

You start out in a jail cell, and quickly learn that all cell doors are subject to breaking when there’s a vague explosion nearby. Have you ever wandered through a level, wondering what the hell is going on? Well, here’s your chance. Your first serious opposition is a couple of turrets. And silly me without my HEV suit; you eventually get the HEV. The trick to this release is a little creative thinking; if you can think around corners, then you’ll be fine. I have trouble *turning* corners without running into them, but that’s just me.

Some of the solutions to certain problems are surprising; for instance, dropping down into a room, only to see five or six Grunts just standing there. They didn’t see me right off, so I decided to turn around and walk off. And then...well, you’ll see.

The downside to all of this is the slightly irritating framerate hit in the last map. ("slightly" as in "Yoko Ono is slightly annoying")** There’s just so much going on, what with the submarines and the other stuff...y’know, a great name for a submarine sandwich/sundry items shop would be "Subs ‘n’ Stuff".*** Never mind.

[** Apparently, I couldn't think of anyone more annoying than Yoko Ono. But she's an easy target, isn't she? Just laziness on my part. Right off the top of my head I could rattle off five people I find far more annoying than her. Miley. Adele. Bieber. Mariah. Gaga.]

[*** No, it wouldn't be.]

The design shows an interesting mind; at the very least, these maps are an interesting ordeal.

Summary?
Fun! This guy definitely shows promise, should he stick to his craft. I await the next release with high hopes. Oh, and don’t e-mail him, for he claims he’s not good at English. I say, his English is much better than that of American high school students. (If you are an American high school student and can utilize the English language well, then my apologies for offending you in such a broad statement. After all, I was an American high school student once. Of course, I was the only one in a class of thirty-five who could find Norway on a map, so I may be an exception.** For the rest of you, here’s my advice: hitch up your big-ass pants, crank up that paragon of dumbass teen angst, NIN,*** and load this map!)

[** While I knew where Norway is on the map, everyone else in high school was getting laid. Still, I don't think I made the wrong decision. Better to be alone than have VD or 18 years of responsibility.]

[*** I used to hate Nine Inch Nails. Now, I merely loathe them.]

[And ever on...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#14: Assassin Mark 2
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2016, 12:04:04 PM »
Assassin Mark 2

[This review is the reason that I finally tracked down and installed Apache Open Office. Because not even Notepad++ could handle the MS Word .doc.]

Map Title: Assassin Mark 2
Author: Stuart Maine
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: mark2.zip
Filesize: 2,248k
Number of maps: 4

[Note: When Yosemite Sam says "Whoa!", he means it. And whatever happened to DangerMouse??]**

[** Looney Tunes and British cartoons on Nickelodeon. Hooray for youth.]

Abstract:

I know the Assassins are women, but exactly do they look like under those masks? (Please don’t point to that Walter’s World** article) It just bugs me...I have no trouble obliterating enemies that look like me, in race at least (a little self-hatred is a good thing), but when it comes to killing lithe lovelies, I tend to balk. I mean, what if I’m shooting a rare, exotic beauty? Her eyebrows arching over almond-shaped eyes -- which disappear in a cloud of blood thanks to my French-made shotgun. If THAT doesn’t give you the willies late at night, I don’t know what will. So do what I do: envision them as butt-ugly...or the babe that looked at me in high school with an expression more commonly reserved for a fly-blown skunk corpse.*** But aside from that, let me tell you, I had some real trouble with Soldier of Fortune. After the Siberia and Japan maps, I had a sick feeling in my gut. I told myself that I wasn’t actually killing *real* women, but it didn’t help. I admit, I’m a little weird in that respect, but...somehow, it was empowering (I can’t believe I just typed that! What’s next? Co-Dependency??) to see them fall in a bloody heap. It was the high school thing, I think.**** “Take that, [name withheld]!” It was cathartic, in a way, as I cut every girl who ever rejected me into little shreds. I think that I may also need to see a psychiatrist.

[** No, I don't remember it, either.]

[*** That happened a lot.]

[**** That was (and remains so) my theory on why so many pretty girls die in horror movies. The director's tiny little knob was snubbed by an unattainable beauty and he spends the rest of his life killing her over and over again by proxy.]

Basics:
Lighting: Great.
Architecture: Terrific.
Textures: Nicely done.
R_speeds: Bearable.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Interesting. Limited to Grunts 'n' Turrets (y’know, a good name for a store that sold Grunts AND Turrets would be...).**

[** ..."Grunts 'n' Turrets." Rim shot.]

Story?
You’re an assiss...an assassiis...an asssissi...a skilled killer of living things. You are an experimental ass0ssk...bludgeoner of human entities, who has been sent to find out why the previous team of asssimm...takers of human life didn’t report in. Y’see, they were there to assisinss...reap the immortal souls of five scientists at a government laboratory. Why, I don’t know. So you’re there to complete the mission of assiisisn...of asdeini...of delivering the final existential snicker-snag upon the pasty white foreheads of their hapless mortal coils. I have no idea why, but you are in a bright orange HEV suit, which I think might possibly have a detrimental effect on your efforts at surreptitious infiltration. Maybe it’s just me.

[I hate typing the word "assassin." So I just had fun with it.]

Onward!

You’ll start in a cavern with a dead Grunt for company. Hey, don’t knock it...they’re great for puppet shows: "Say hi to the nice people, Grunty!" "Hi, nice people!" Anyway, you have a crossbow and five bolts…and you must break a tough pane of glass that shields a button that you absolutely MUST push. There’s no getting around it. But don’t waste that ammo! Did you see that other corridor? The one with the dead asssinopi...chick in the middle? There’s an important bludgeoning device there. But be quick about picking it up...

You’ll find the first scientist, then dispense with the Grunts that pour out of the elevators like...like...like Grunts pouring out of some elevators, or something. Take an elevator. The second map is where you find a couple more scientists, and more Grunts. Where next? Did you notice that there’s a damaged column with sparking wires in the room with one of the Scientists? Hmph. Onward. There are asdasmo...!!#@!$@ purveyors of the lethal art of death-vending here, which you must massacre like the stagehand to the Final Curtain that you are. Anyhow, there is a way out of this map, in the room with the aswweub...objectified results of the Valve modeler’s lust. Just follow the harmful cold and note that there are grenades and a red light behind a metal shelf. If you need any further help, please consult your own skull for options on leasing out the unused space to interested parties.

Some cold you will endure (shut up). After a refreshing little jaunt around a mountain path, you’ll be back inside. Then there’s more Grunts. The various rooms in this portion are mostly observation areas looking into locked rooms with turrets, through some really high-quality glass. There you’ll see some a--...um...you know, those women in black? Them. There’s a couple of them laying splayed out, much like a Mariah Carey video, or something by one of the ur-Jacksons.** If you get stuck (since there is an impassable laser grid in front of the elevator), take note of an open diary on a table in one of these rooms. Walk up to it. Read the text. Correlate the information you receive with the numbers posted by the computer stacks in the room with the transparent Gargantua (!!). You have an RPG for a reason, you know. No, not the Gargantua! Geez. Take the elevator to the next map.

[** Such as LaToya or Jermaine. But I'm still not sure what I meant by the reference.]

Now. Look at that laser obstruction. Now look at the walls. No further help from me. Next, you’ll need to use some crouching/jumping ability. Don’t ask. You’ll get the idea. Then on to an airstike, past some somnambulistic tanks, who wake up just to blast the crap out of you. Press the buttons, Slappy. Next, the bridge! (anyone seen the bridge? Shut up, Mr. Plant) A small amount of physical coordination is needed to get to the other side (why did the chicke--SLAP!). More Grunts. Back to the beginning, past the turrets, now broken. The end.

[Somehow, this was more of a pissed off walkthrough than an actual review. I don't know why.]

Summary?
Quite good. And, might I add, there’s a very nice community bathroom complete with showers. You can’t get any better than that. Well, you could, but it would involve skylights and natural lighting. Maybe some blonde wood, with glass bricks? That’d be nice.

Rating? 4 out of 5.

[Movin' right along...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#15: Total Evasion
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2016, 12:15:22 PM »
Total Evasion

Map Title: Total Evasion
Author: Tylak Alpha
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: totalevasion.zip
Filesize: 422k (yes, you read that right)
Number of maps: One

[Note: This is a really short experience. Quite possibly my shortest review submitted. You're welcome.]

Abstract:
I did have semi-coherent rant here about the dismal SP offerings available for FPS games these days, which I ultimately blame on DM,** but I hate getting e-mail from DM aficionados. They tend to write like Jeff K.,*** but without realizing that they're stupid...they actually write like that. Youth today. Yeesh. Why, in my day, Hong Kong was still a British possession, and you could visit anytime and get laid -- and then stabbed in the groin with a snake-shaped dagger -- by some evil woman named Poon Yi!**** Ah, the 1980’s. How I miss them. I can only console myself by looking at dirty pictures and stabbing myself in the groin, but it’s not the same thing.

[** That is, DeathMatch...now known as "multiplayer." No matter what they call it, it's still stupid.]

[*** He was a thing once, apparently. I don't remember the specifics.]

[**** Was that bit supposed to be funny? I can't really tell anymore.]

The Basics, in a nutshell:
Lighting: Okay.
Architecture: Not bad.
Textures: Fine.
R_speeds: Unbelievably high.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Grunts. Believe it.

Story?
You’ve been imprisoned for crimes against animal kind. No, wait, that was my cousin. It is unclear what your crime is, but you’re in the clink ("Hoooogan!"),** regardless. One quote from the text amused me to no end: "Now you wake up in your cell with only your wits and your compact super-secret CROWBAR." I’m easy to amuse, I admit...but it is pretty funny.***

[** You know..."Hogan's Heroes"...Colonel Klink...]

[*** In retrospect, it isn't.]

Onward!

A good concept...but the wheels came off sometime around the point when I set foot in the courtyard. There were Grunts on the roof, the ground...I didn’t check my wallet, because there might have been a Grunt on the $1 bill.** The severe choppiness and audio stuttering (“yupyupyupyupbravovovovoclearerer”) made for an unappetizing hors d’oeuvre. If he had perhaps broken it up a bit, taken out some details, etc., it would’ve gone nicely.

[** Get it? The lone $1 bill in my wallet? I could be subtle sometimes, yeah.]

But this isn’t a BAD map; on the contrary, if it weren’t for the aforementioned minuses, it'd be good.

Does it end? I mean, there’s Barneys and Grunts in an apocalyptic firefight (some exaggeration on my part), but is that it? I am left with a feeling of incompleteness, somehow...like I just sat through an Adam Sandler movie without slitting my wrists.

Summary?
A potentially good map crippled by framerate stuff. On the plus side -- and this is an essential feature of any good map -- there is enough ammo for the MP5 to shoot every box, crate and vent grill in the map, and still have enough ammo left over.

Rating? 2.5 out of 5.

[Waste of time.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#16: Road Of Destiny
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2016, 01:38:18 PM »
Road of Destiny

[This one's all over the place, if just a little.]

Map Title: Road of Destiny
Author: Tanis Lee (Ideology)
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: rod.zip
Filesize: 2,270k
Number of maps: Five (the fifth is an end map...an epilogue, if you will.)

[Note: I have been listening to far too much King Crimson, Spock’s Beard and Quidam recently. I apologize for any weird comments I make from here on in. Okay, not really. I revel in my weirdness. It’s not often you can hang out at the mall and shout “Thela Hun Ginjeet!” at passing pregnant women. It makes sense, in a way.]**

[** "Thela Hun Ginjeet" is an anagram of "Heat In The Jungle." One of the few King Crimson songs I find tolerable. (YouTube link...a live version, as someone keeps taking down the album version.)]

Abstract:
Read the above note. You don’t get more abstract than that. Well, you *could*, but I don’t see how I can fit a mention of Robert Fripp and/or Procol Harum in this review without feeling a little self-indulgent. So call it a cream-faced loon, damn it black, and be done with it. (Don’t ask.)**

[** My musical tastes are far superior to YOURS. You got that, right?]

The Basics:
Lighting: Not bad; but some overly bright spotlights are in evidence, but that’s on purpose. But a word of advice: spotlights only point ONE way.
Architecture: Very nice; apparently no small amount of effort went into this.
Textures: Some misalignments in various places (mostly on boxes).
R_speeds: You can’t really go by me, as the PII 350 I bought two years ago** is woefully inadequate, obviously. I should be chastised harshly for not selling my plasma to buy something faster.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, No, A nice new red sky.
Gameplay: It’s more than a feeling, when I see Marianne walk away.*** (Avast, ye wastrels! Curse thee for scoundrels, ye white-coated devils! Get away!)**** Good, but a little overbearing at times.

[** Ah, the good ol' days, before anyone thought to inflict the phrase "quadcore" upon us.]

[*** Reference: Boston's "More Than A Feeling." (YouTube link.)]

[**** Reference: an article Kevin Murphy (of MST3K) wrote a while back; I don't remember it exactly, but it contained the phrase "Get away! Devils!"...something that charmed me to no end.]

Story? You’re still the HEV-suited enemy-of-the-razor, Gordo-licious Freeman (I, on the other hand, am The God Of The Razor**...as well as pulling down a primo gig moonlighting as the Supplicant to Heck Fire and Goshdarn-ation). You are part of a convoy transporting weapons to a mountain base in the mountains, assumedly (shut up).*** The convoy is ambushed by some sort of revolutionist movement, quite possibly the militant wing of The Duckies And Bunnies United Front (DABUF), although this is never confirmed; you can’t go back. You must fight for your survival. Let’s face it: if you want to sneak around, you play Thief. If you want to blast the living excrement out of hostile lifeforms, you play a Quake-engine game.

[** There was a Batman short story written by Joe R. Lansdale, called "Subway Jack," featuring his character, The God Of The Razor. Great stuff.]

[*** When you pose assumedly, you make an ass of you and me-edly.]

Onward!

The whole thing starts out interestingly enough, in the back of an overturned truck as the sounds of conflict rage without (I am not going to make that joke again).** It still amazes me how resilient Barney is when faced with a Grunt. 75% of the time, he’ll win in a one-on-one. Not this time, though. He just stands there with a stunned-fish look on his face, much like you see on Demi Moore in virtually every film she has appeared in.*** There are many Grunts in the first map, and you owe it to yourself to check the other overturned trucks first before facing them empty-handed. Climbing a ladder takes you to a pipe of some obscure function where you drop into the next map.

[** Setup line: "The conflict rages without!" Punchline: "Without what?"]

[*** Ah, but I'm being unkind to poor Demi and her vast repertoire of two facial expressions.]

The next map features both aliens and Grunts, as well as a big watery-type area. No map pack is complete without one. But don’t rush through that left door just yet! Not unless you want to look like a lobster. Take the right doorway, and muck about in the third map until you can throw some switches, find the crowbar, etc.

Of course, back in the second map, you’ll be privy to the use of steam to fight off some Grunts. There’s nothing I like better than steamed Grunt. Pop open the helmet, garnish with shallots and wild mushrooms...delicious!

On the minus side, there are a few crates marked as being explosive, but they don’t blow up. This is a caning offense, I think. Or at least it should be.

The penultimate map features an impressive -- if framerate-expensive -- fight between Grunts and a Gargantua. There’s a tank with a nice red button on the top. You want to push that button, don’t you?

The last map is a real bumper. I mean, it’s a total bringoff. It’s really bringing me over, man...mellow off! (fans of Better Off Dead will please observe a moment of silence) Malapropisms (minor ones, at that) aside, it’s a strange, oddly depressing experience. But don’t take my word for it, since I get depressed everyday: day in and day out, I await the moment when Marie Osmond will appear on The Donny and Marie Show wearing little more than a spiked dog collar and thigh-high leather boots.** And day after day, my expectations are crushed. I don’t think she has ever seen herself nude, to be honest. More’s the pity, as Vincent Price once said before going out to drink himself "into a state of stupefaction."***

[** She never did. Oh...that was the talk show called "Donny & Marie" that aired back in '97 or '98, by the way. It's odd, but I think Marie Osmond looks better today than she did in her 20's.]

[*** Another Comedy of Terrors reference. Sometimes I think that movie haunts me.]

Summary? You young rakehells and hooligans will enjoy yourselves silly. Now put down the Cole Porter albums and load these maps!

Rating? 3 out of 5.

[No comment, except that now I suspect I know how my teachers felt when they read my papers. Something akin to sadness mixed with pity and a deep-seated loathing.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#17: Jailbreak
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2016, 01:53:23 PM »
Jailbreak

Map Title: Jailbreak
Author: Brendan MacLean
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: jail.zip
Filesize: 1,115k
Number of maps: 4

[Note: OpenGL games hate my MS Office shortcut bar.]**

[** Who gives a shit?]

Abstract:
This is the author’s first release, or so he claims. And he also adds that his "intentions are honourable and I certainly don’t intend any problems." Obviously, under such a statement I cannot accuse him of being responsible for the complete disappearance of Jack’s Super Cheese pizza from grocery store freezers,** or even make the baseless accusation that he is to blame for the script cuts to the excellent 1985 film, The Goonies. Also, in light of such an disclaimer, neither can I put him to fault for the disappearance of actress Kelly Randall (1990’s Ninja Academy*)*** from the public eye, nor for causing John Travolta’s chronic Tourette’s Syndrome, which Mr. Travolta has bravely used to his advantage in his film career, most notably the laughably stupid Battlefield F!#kin’ Earth, Motherf%$kers. Also conspicuously absent from his list of sins is the curious question of whose fault is the Bermuda Triangle, exactly.**** On a different tack, he is also not the inventor of Chili Cheese Fritos©, which is a definite step forward for him. He also had nothing to do with Timecop, Pia Zadora, or even the very embodiment of Evil itself, that person who writes that The Far Side rip-off in my local newspaper. It isn’t even funny, for Christ’s sake! So there are many things we cannot blame him for, and -- most significantly -- that includes the fact that these maps will not screw up your version of Half-Life.

[* Now available on DVD! Now I HAVE to get a DVD player!]*****

[** I still miss Jack's Super Cheese pizza. I also miss Moose Brothers pizza. No one cares, but there it is.]

[*** I expand on this in a later review where I express horror at the possibility that Ms. Randall is buried in a shallow grave somewhere.]

[**** The Bermuda Triangle "mystery" was the work of pulp fiction writers who were using the so-called "weird occurences" to make a buck. Nothing weird is going on there that doesn't go on anywhere else.]

[***** Yes. I was still using a VCR at the time. I still have it, stored away, as if I'm ever going to use it again. Seriously...why do I hold on to this shit?]

The Basics:
Lighting: Adequate.
Architecture: Some interesting designs.
Textures: Slight misalignments here and there.
R_speeds: A little high in the first map, but it may have been just Win98** being stupid again.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Grunts. Aliens in the third map.

[** Yes. I was still using Win98. I held onto that for years, until I finally caved and got WinXP. And I held onto THAT until a couple years after Win7 came out. And currently I'm still holding onto Win7.]

Story? What story?

Onward!

After being sprung from your cell for some reason, you get to run around and pick up weapons while killing Grunts. Sound complex? Okay, let me elaborate a bit. You start out with three goals:

1. Acquire a weapon.
2. Find an HEV suit.
3. Find the switch that turns off THAT DAMN ALARM!!

Now, if you’re like me and are sound-sensitive (my meaning: repetitive, irritating sounds drive me batshit and I become a little violent), then the first map will be your Waterloo, as you wrap the mouse cord around your neck in a fit of self-destruction. Your final thought, as the mouse cord finally cuts off the blood supply to your brain, is that perhaps there is some way of changing Valve’s alarm sound to something different altogether, such as that unobtrusive little clicking sound in the Windows sound directory (under "media"). "Utopia Close," I believe it’s called. What a nice, quiet sound. That would be perfect. Or, your favorite lengthy song, converted to a wav file, might do the trick. My personal choice would be either Steve Hackett’s "Shadow of the Hierophant" (clocking in at almost 12 minutes) from his 1975 debut album, Voyage of the Acolyte, or even go so far as to use the 24½-minute live version of Genesis' "Supper’s Ready" from the Seconds Out album (1977). Your choice, of course.**

[** I don't think anyone gives a good goddamn what moldy old prog I'm listening to. I didn't realize that until I was in my late 30's.]

Anyway, the jail turns into a kind of warehouse (for the love of pudding, what the hell is in all of these crates?? Game developers: ENOUGH WITH THE CRATES, ALREADY!!), and it’s stuffed with Grunts. The button that turns off that bloody alarm is here in an upstairs security booth. Hooray. As Chiun said, "Blessed silence."** (of course, he also said "Watches are a confidence trick invented by the Swiss," and I agree with that.) Here is where you exit to the second map.

[** Reference: Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins. Strangely enough, that was the first and last movie in the franchise.]

This next map leads me to a further conclusion: your ultimate goal in this set is the silencing of annoying sounds. First, it was an alarm, and now a grinding energy sound that works more on a subliminal level than the full-out rip-out-your-hair-and-kick-the-cat attack of the alarm. When it finally turns off, you can tell. Anyway, this level features a nice laddery shaft-type place, where you go to...flip...switches. Yeesh. It also features an interesting scanner prefab. Thirdly, it features a choice: do you want to go straight into the final (fourth) map, merely by taking a lift up to a higher platform and going through a door, or do you want to go up the same lift (or a nearby ladder) and go through another door (to the shaft place I mentioned), and flip switches to reach the third level and kill aliens?

I chose the second option, because hey, I got the MP5, why not use it? [Side note: I am still amused by the Grunts whenever you blow them up, and you still hear them say either "Medic!" or "Is that all you got?" Ventriloquism from beyond the grave!] So in the third map, you get to kill aliens. Woo, and I might add, hoo. That’s about it for this map...and you also get to blow up an energy device of some questionable function. [I might also point out that some of the buttons you need to press once in a while in this release are tiny, making them almost unnoticable.]

Going back to the second map to get to the fourth map, your purpose here is to...do...um...something. There’s a tank, and Grunts and some sort of airplane which you can blow up via the tank, but you really don’t have to. Then you can go outside and push a button (with a misaligned texture, pick pick pick pick), which opens a door. Stepping through, you’ll appear in a teleporter-type device with Barney. Apparently this is the end, but it doesn’t actually end, if you catch my rather considerable drift. Now, I usually go out of my way to keep from killing Barney (I just like him a lot; he’s kind of like a meat-and-potatoes-type friend who comes over to watch old reruns of Seinfeld with you when your wife is working the night shift at Denny’s), but I was a little cranky at this point, so I lobbed a contact-grenade at him. I immediately felt remorse and tried to shove all of his entrails and various chunks of viscera into a more presentable pile, but to no avail. I owe you one, Barney. I am really sorry.

Summary? Despite my rash claim that you are merely here to turn off annoying sounds, this map pack will entertain you for a short while, should your desire for SP levels be so great as to preclude the need for a storyline, or even a sense of cohesion. It really isn’t a bad set of maps, and no glaring errors were in evidence (besides not having an ending). What it needed was a clear sense of purpose, a storyline, and -- not to just kick a dead horse but to also shave it completely [and] carve my intials on its butt -- an end. Just a simple fade-out, or perhaps even a refreshing crash back to the desktop. I have great wallpaper.** But it did have some nice visual-type thingies and contact-grenades, of which your MP5 should hold more than ten. Miserable miserly...

[** Most likely featuring a hot babe, of course.]

Rating? 3 out of 5, for being on the high end of average.

[You might think that my ratings were based on whim. You would be mostly correct.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#18: Kosovo 2K
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2016, 02:03:48 PM »
Kosovo 2000

Map Title: Kosovo 2000
Author: Tim "Kew" Jervis
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: Kosovo2k.zip
Filesize: 2,201k
Number of maps: One. Yes, just one.

[Note: The new Doom, which has been described as being an SP-intensive concern, gives me a clear purpose: to kill the first son of a bitch who makes a DM map for it.]**

[** I believe I was referring to Doom 3. And my feelings about multiplayer have not changed.]

Abstract:
It’s time to announce this month’s winner of the "Draw Your School!" contest. Our winner is Sally Thripp, age 7, who drew a wonderful piece entitled, "School Sux A**." Unfortunately, due to the graphic nature of the subject matter, we cannot reproduce it here; but we can send her the prize: a check for $12! In her note to us, she described herself as being our "DOOM," and said her parents were "[CENSORED]heads." Also included with her winning entry was a rather disturbing Polaroid of a stuffed bunny tied to a chair with a large hatpin rammed through its left eye. Congratulations, Sally! Seek professional help, you little monster!

The Basics:
Lighting: Appropriate.
Architecture: Incredible.
Textures: Believable, with some minor misalignments on crates.
R_speeds: Good.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Grunts ‘n’ Grunts. Oh, and there’s one, lonely Assassin.

Story? You were part of a peace-keeping NATO patrol, ambushed unexpectedly...and wouldn’t you know it, Y2K happened here, while it left the rest of the world alone. This really IS a toilet! What are fightin’ for? GIMME AN F!! GIMME A U!! GIMME-- anyway, the peace between these foreign dumbasses has completely gone down the toilet and your section has been caught in the middle of it all. You haven’t been given any orders to contrary, so you decide to take out the choppers that took out your buddies. Damn this war! GIMME A C!! GIMME A-- you are alone, faced with rather nasty odds. You may not survive. You final thought before moving out is a rallying cry: WHAT’S THAT SPELL? WHAT’S THAT SPELL? Your answer is unprintable.

[To illustrate my opinion of that paragraph, a scene from UHF comes to mind, where Weird Al smashes his head on a counter while screaming "I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"]

Onward!

Stark. Depressing. Cool. He really went all out to make this as realistic as possible; from the gritty, grey streets to the random piles of rubble, the detail here is exquisite. If anything, using my Aliens pulse rifle here is a little weird.**

[** I used the M-something pulse rifle from Aliens as an MP5 replacement. I still miss it.]

So what else is there to tell? There is no end, and you pretty much just fight Grunts. To quote from the text file (I can do that, I am a review), with my responses in brackets:

"This is a stark and dramatic map. It really has no features other than as a theatre for war.  The lighting is intense and the textures are employed to create almost a sense of the 'black and white' nature of war."

[I can live with that.]

"The map has no 'gizmos'; it does not even have an exit. There really is no way out..."

[You're telling me.]

"(There will be when I finish the next map in this series....)."

[It didn’t happen.]

"I tried to make the map look more like a documentary than a piece of glitzy fiction. Nothing glamorous here -- but I think it has an excitement of its own."

[And succeeds.]

"There is no climax or point to this map. It is designed to be pointless, and is no more than what it is claimed to be: a shoot-out."

[I won’t add to that.]

The layout of this map is quite confusing, which is what happens in real life, unfortunately. I used to give directions using the local Hooters, until it went out of business (why, you ask? They built it across from a McDonald’s. The draw of bad burgers and women in tight shirts is nothing compared to great burgers and Mayor McCheese). Then it became a Shoney’s. Then that went out of business and became a Burger King or a Baskin Robbins.** For a while, my directions went something like "You know where Hooters used to be? Well..." So I have enough confusion in real life without having to play levels that remind me forcibly of what a knothead I am. Despite my personal problems, this really brings a sense of place to the experience.

[** Now I think it's a Pier 1 Imports.]

Summary? Lovely, in a different kind of way. Quite good. If only it had an exit...

Rating? 4 out of 5.

[Another forgettable review. Movin' right along...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#19: Kosovo II - The Second Day
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2016, 02:13:25 PM »
Kosovo II - The Second Day

Map Title: Kosovo II - The Second Day
Author: Tim "Kew" Jervis
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: kosovo2.zip
Filesize: 2,027k
Number of maps: One, just one.

[News flash: in a recent commercial for grapes, today the Dole company has been overwhelmed by protests from the Religious Right, claiming “blasphemy.” A Dole spokesman reported that the company was stunned at the allegations, and have pulled the ads pending an investigation. The commercials depicted a woman standing in a sacred-looking sanctuary, clad in choir robes, singing: "Amazing grapes! How sweet they taste/To a hungry wretch like me/In convenient bunches, in the bin/they’re always at...your local store." In a related incident is the recent commercial advertising Fritos Chili dinners, in which race car driver Jeff Gordon is seen sitting behind the wheel before the race, singing "Hail Mary, full of grace/help me win this NASCAR race." The Frito-Lay company could not be reached for comment.]**

[** Sometimes I wonder: who hurt me?]

Abstract:
Imagine the most miserable, dankest, darkest experience available to human conciousness; then, imagine the toughest, most bleedingly difficult gameplay ever devised by the mind of man, to the detriment of actual gameplay; finally, make it so that the player will never leave the first map alive, much less the first 15 seconds of play...but enough about the initial release of the Nehahra Project for Quake.**

[** Google it.]

The Basics:
Lighting: Appropriate.
Architecture: Excellent.
Textures: Well done.
R_speeds: Good.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Grunts. What, did you perhaps expect aliens?

Story? Well, this is your second day of being stranded in the ruins of Kosovo. You overhear some enemy soldiers snickering over the fact that they ate the last of the Snickers. No. Um, what you hear them say is that a combination of a heavily fortified bell tower (don’t ask me) and a chopper will be the death of an approaching NATO force. So you, yes YOU, having no communications to warn them, take it upon yourself to take out the bell tower and the helicopter. Good luck on that, Chuck.**

[** A reference to Peanuts, perhaps. Probably.]

Onward!

Let me quote from the text (stand back! I am a review!); I respond in brackets ([]'s):

"Like Kosovo2K, this is also a stark and dramatic map. It really has no features other than as a theatre for war. The lighting is intense and the textures are employed to create almost a sense of the 'black and white' nature of war."

[Like I said before, I can live with that.]

"(There will be an exit when I finish this series....)."

[INSERT SARDONIC LAUGHTER HERE]

"You can see where the exit will go."

[I avoid all questions as to why he didn’t put one in anyway.]

In other words, this is a sequel, with even more stark, hopeless gameplay than you can shake something or other at, maybe a stick or something. The sound of a helicopter drones above you, as you run around, killing guys. This is quite effective, as the constant roar of its engines drove away all of the annoying people around me, especially after I turned up the volume a *lot*. I recommend this map as a deterrent to human company, potential acquaintances who will stand around your computer having inane conversations about the question of who drank the last of the tea. (Iced tea, that is; a clarification for our friends in foreign lands, who have not embraced the concept of the ice cube.) It’s a fine deterrent to the presence of that insidious virus, called "other people," and I shall one day harness this power in the form of a large "boom box" and carry it around with me wherever I go, the volume turned up all the way. I don’t plan on surviving that.**

[** I've never warmed to the human race. Cockroaches.]

This map is a little less confusing than the first (Kosovo2k) in terms of layout, as there are more obvious landmarks to be had. Still, give this place a few more years, and there’ll be a Hard Rock Café over there, with a Toys 'R' Us beside it, maybe a Cracker Barrel complete with gift shop...y’know, the most comforting thought for any American is the knowledge that there’s a McDonald’s everywhere we go. I don’t give a damn about observing local culture; if you’re in some godforsaken foreign country without the benefit of being able to super size those fries whenever you like, then I say subject the local populace to as much horror as you can muster. Put that war machine in motion and let’s invade with a few thousand crates of Quarter Pounders with Cheese! I mean, in Japan, there are even sightings of KFC! (Kentucky Fried Chicken. Or, as I call it, "Kentucky Fried Coronary.")** If the total domination of American culture over that of other, too-exotic cultures fails, then we may find ourselves stuck in, say, France, with no other option but to eat snails.*** Fortunately for me, I have no desire to visit other countries**** (but thank God there was a McDonald’s in Holland***** when I had to), so there is no danger of that...but what if? My, God...what if??

[** Now I just call it "Kentucky Fried Debilitating Stroke," due to all the MSG they put in the food.]

[*** Yet another stereotype. Sorry.]

[**** Consider yourselves lucky, foreign persons.]

[***** I was four. My dad worked for Raytheon, who moved us to Europe. I've never felt the need to go back.]

[I apologize if anyone takes offense at my poking fun at the tendency of my country to dominate your countries with our endless string of fast food restaurants. Thank you.]

Summary? The only thing I can suggest, should the author ever decide to finish the series, is to give serious thought to remaking it for OpFor. This would make more sense, and with the added benefit of "buddies" you can discover hiding out. My only reserve to my own idea is that maybe the cartoony hands of Shepard might ruin the effect? Well, it is an idea.

Rating? 4 out of 5. Just for atmosphere and architecture alone. Now, if he had put in an exit...

[Anyway. Moving on.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#20: Revamp
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2016, 02:29:47 PM »
Revamp

[#20. Yaaaaaaaaaaaay.]

Map Title: Revamp
Author: LEGION
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: revamp.zip
Filesize: 310k
Number of maps: One

[Quote: "'Life is just one damned thing after another.' -- 'And death is a cabaret'" -- Fran Liebowitz]

Abstract:
I just had to review this map. It was a moral imperative.** Having spent so much of my free time (we’re talking 19, maybe 23 or 24 hours a day) on Doom and Doom2, I felt it only natural that I should achieve a sense of closure (yeesh...what’s next, co-dependecy? Reaffirmation? Feelings??) by playing a map with Doom textures. Call it nostalgia. Call it insanity. Call it a small white trembling thing with long, beautiful ears.*** Whatever you call it, it won’t hear you. It is not listening. So, in the spirit of nostalgia, I loaded up an mp3 by Bad Company (not to be confused with Badfinger, whose drummer dated May Pang, who in turn had a publicized fling with John Lennon. Let me state the obvious: Ms. Pang was hot. Yoko was not. And still isn't. And still John stayed with Yoko. If this isn’t a good reason for having him killed, I don’t know what is),**** "Feel Like Makin' Love." After listening to it, I really didn’t feel like following their example (my blow-up Asia Carrera doll is being patched by the upholstery guy), so instead I decided to rearrange the lyrics in such a way that would actually inspire me. For instance: "Feel like makin' cookies/feel like makin' cookies for you!" Make mine peanut butter! Other attempts met with less success, such as "feel like roofing my house," or "feel like cleaning the cat box," and the abysmal "feel like mowing the lawn." "Feel like buying a new blow-up doll" has far too many syllables and ruins the premise entirely, but it is a good idea. I have my eye on this little Mimi Miyagi number...*****

[** Reference: Real Genius.]

[*** Whatever.]

[**** Reading things like this makes my left eye twitch uncontrollably.]

[***** Huh. Well, Asia Carrera and Mimi Miyagi were two of my favorite porn stars (both now either retired or semi-retired), and...well, you don't really care. And I don't blame you one bit, as you shouldn't.]

The Basics:
Lighting: Doom-ish (dark); some colored lighting ("some," meaning "suffusions of red").
Architecture: Good and blocky.
Textures: Pretty good. Green marble...hmmm...now, that seems familiar, somehow.
R_speeds: No problems.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, new textures.
Gameplay: Aliens. Some surprises, nicely done, though short.

Story? The stories I could tell you...but they’ll have nothing to do with this map. It’s sort of a given that whenever you involve Doom in any way, you don’t HAVE to bother with a story. It’s Hell! You have weapons! I only hope id hires a good writer to give thema decent story for the new Doom.** Somebody like Robert Louis Stevenson...can you imagine a 3D-rendered Long John Silver leaning over the crow’s nest, shouting "Avast ye swabs! You see your Doom afore ye!" I can, but it’s under control with the right medications. Adding further fuel to the fire, id should have Bobby Prince do the music. There. No arguments, please...I spit upon your opinions (no offense).

[** Again, I was referring to what was eventually released under the name "Doom 3."]

Onward!

Do you remember the "novels" based on the Doom series that came out a couple years back? The first was okay, but by the second one, they had added all kinds of odd ideas that went counter to the original story (as such), such as militant Mormons and the fact that they were actually aliens, instead of hellspawn.** That really ruined my day. They continued to whizz the entire series down their pantslegs by writing a third and even a fourth, which got worse and worse and finally inspired me to avoid these authors' works entirely. Possibly the only good thing that came out of these books was the name "Flynn Taggart" for the Doomguy. This map could possibly be a part of that universe. You never know.***

[** "They" meaning the monsters, not the Mormons.]

[*** Those novels were really bad.]

At any rate, you start out in a severely red-lit room. This goes way beyond "simply red" and into the realm of "mondo red," with aspersions to the Mega-red itself. (I’m raving) Now, if Doom had colored lighting -- and thanks to the source ports, this is now possible -- I’m sure there would be 50-50 chance that it’d look like this. Maybe. But besides the severe retina lashings, it does recall Doom. The architecture is nicely blocky, and once you get beyond the red section, that wonderfully cool green marble we all know so well makes its appearance. I’m not sure, but I think it’s all green marble, with a liberal coating of red light all over it. Even the Vortigaunts seemed a little depressed by this, but I really didn’t mind.

As for the gamplay, there were several traps, which also recalled Doom, but with a difference. I could say definitely that if it were, in fact, his intention to recall Doom, then he succeeded.

Caveat: this is an extraordinarily short map. About the length of half of a Casali brother level (I’m talking about the Milo and Dario magnum opus "The Plutonia Experiment"),** it leaves all too soon: after jumping down a hole, I got the message "could not load revamp2," and then a wonderful crash back to the desktop. That’s okay, I have a great Mirei Kuroda wallpaper.***

[** For Doom II.]

[*** Who? Ah. A cute large-breasted Japanese gravure model. She's been pretty much forgotten by time.]

Summary? Nice to look at, fun to play. Needs to be longer, and/or finished. FINISH IT!!**

[** I don't think he ever finished it.]

Rating? 3 out of 5.

[Okay, so what. Next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#21: Edge Of Darkness
« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2016, 09:57:35 AM »
Edge Of Darkness

Map Title: Edge of Darkness
Author: Chris Spain
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: eod.zip
Filesize: 7,826k
Number of maps: 12, including the logo map.

[Note: played on both v1.0.1.6 and v1.1.0.1, for once. Also, Little Debbie is putting less filling into her oatmeal cream pies. And more cocoa! That slut!]**

[** I found out the hard way that the Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies, which I love dearly, contain cocoa. :sickbay:]

Abstract:
Before I suffered through the Great Hard Drive Wipeout of a Few Thursdays Ago (it was a local personal thing), I had, over the course of three or four years, written short, detailed descriptions of all of the various Doom, Quake, Quake2, Unreal, and Half-Life maps I had accumulated since 1996 (most of these descriptions utilizing a variation of "sucks"). Thanks to that damnable tragedy, I am left without my review of Edge of Darkness, in which I made the insightful correlation between EOD and a nude Morena Corwin.** It was a scholarly work I assure you, and at no point did I resort to typing “nipples” thirteen times in one sentence (really). But now, that work lost to the ages, I can only say that it is humanity’s loss. We can only gather our loved ones together and mourn the loss of what was to be...as I was working on a further theory that connected Morena’s sister Lola*** with certain half-forgotten uses of the Latin verb "to love." It is only through such setbacks that we become stronger...looking upon such works as Edge of Darkness, the focal point of when things were good and decent in our lives (by which I mean "my life"; who cares about *your* life?), it is a heartening reminder that I should really back up all of my important stuff. I really do need a CD burner. And a good scanner, just to get rid of these In Style magazines all over the place.****

[** Who? She was a Playmate.]

[*** Who? She was the Playmate's sister.]

[**** I think I would've done myself and everyone out there a favor if I had simply castrated myself.]

[On a somewhat related side note, a high school friend asked me on Facebook (I've since deleted my Facebook page for numerous reasons) if I could say just four words to my 18 year old self, what would they be? My four words to myself were "kill yourself at seventeen."]

The Basics:
Lighting: Excellent.
Architecture: Exquisite.
Textures: Exemplary.
R_speeds: Extreme in places, but bearable on the whole.
Stan Lee says: Excelsior!**

[** Notice the pattern? Good. I thought I was being too subtle.]

Side note: He mentions the system requirements in the text. Quote: "It runs OK at 1024x768 under OpenGL on a PII 400 with a 16Mb TNT card which is roughly equivalent to the slowest machine you can currently buy." Great! Knock 50mHz off that PII, and you have my machine! Hooray!**

[** I was a little behind the curve.]

Story? You’re a secret agent man (no applause, please; I’ve been saving that for years).** Enter Lasky’s Books and meet with Sam Gl--no.*** I mean, you need to go to The Barbery Coast and insult Van He--no.**** Um...oh! You need to walk down an alley (very well done, btw), enter a door, and receive your mission orders from a laptop (take THAT, Peter Graves! And this! And that! And some of that!). I don’t want to ruin it for you. I’m also wondering about the possible effects of my own eroding sanity on my writing style. ANYWAY, the evil Dr. Smith has been screwing with the forces of nature and is planning on opening a dimensional rift to Xen, so that he can use the Xen-izens to RULE THE WORLD! Your mission is to infiltrate his mountain base via cable car and beat the living crap out of him. Essentially.

[** The song, I mean. "Secret Agent Man."]

[*** I have no idea what that is in reference to.]

[**** Okay, that's Curse Of Monkey Island.]

Onward!

It begins in an alley, where you, Gordon Freeman, a pledge to the Alien Counter-Insurgency Bureau (ACIB), are currently keeping yourself busy by kicking winos senseless until it’s time to receive your orders. Finally, it’s time. With one last full-bodied kick to the head of an undeserving soul, you mosey on over to a door. Inside is a laptop with your mission orders.

Unprecedented experiences occur, one after the other. This pack is chock-full of originality that it pains me to point out one crippling flaw: Mr. Spain isn’t getting paid for it. Besides that, I quite enjoyed myself, but not to the point where arrests would have been made. There’s just so much here, it’s pointless to expound upon them all. What I will point out are my absolute favorite parts (I’ll limit myself, okay??):

The large, airy rooms of the main complex on the mountain. Quite well done and beautifully lit.

The point where you’re stuck in an elevator, talking to Barney through glass. The scripted sequence that defines this scene -- what with the Assassins and the G-Man -- took a huge amount of effort, according to one interview I read. It was worth it.

The map where you finally catch up to Dr. Smith, once and for all. "No, Gordon! AAAHHH!"

Meeting up with Barney again, as a scientist helps him to his feet. Then you get to do to some Grunts what Dr. Smith did to you.

The final boss-thing. (find out for yourself) Very cool.

The scene where Moe says "Remember: 'Gritto' spelled sideways is ottrigruhgruh!" Okay, that may have been something else.**

[** The Three Stooges short, "Micro-Phonies." (YouTube link; at about the 5:20 mark is where the bit begins.)

The only problems I had were very infrequent between-level crashes, most significantly at the end of the tentacle map (of course, there’s a lot going on).

Summary? More fun than attaching yourself to the Happy-Fun-O-Tron.** In addition, I suggest finding his Doom maps and playing them as well. I also highly recommend his Quake2 maps.

[** I wish I had one of those.]

Rating? 5 out of 5.

[This may have been my first 5/5. Also, there are more preliminaries to the review than there is review. Stupid.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#22: Reviviscence
« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2016, 10:08:39 AM »
Reviviscence

Map Title: Reviviscence
Author: Tylak (Tyler Munden)
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: Reviviscence.zip
Filesize: 2,835k
Number of maps: Five

[Note: "Reviviscence" isn’t a real word. It isn’t in my thesaurus, which is exhaustive. Okay, fine, sure: the word shows up in my unabridged dictionary (which weighs just over eight thousand tons and can crush a cat instantly -- not that I’ve tried), but I don’t feel like backing the forklift up to the computer, just to figure out the etymology. So I reiterate: it isn’t a word. If the author wishes me to change my mind, he should send me a really good dictionary on CD-ROM...a current one, not one of those with "hotsy-totsy" listed under current slang. Oh, and this map was played with v1.0.1.6.]

Abstract:
I feel I owe it to the author to review another of his maps, after the mild disappointment I expressed over his "Total Evasion" map (which wasn’t bad at all, just a little on the slow side, framerate-wise). Of course, it all remains to be seen whether I praise him highly for this effort in front of you, or castigate him roundly, sending him away for a good mulcting. (damn this archaic dictionary!) So read on, MacDude! And damned be he who...no, no...I’m fine. I just need a moment, okay? Okay.

The Basics:
Lighting: Pretty good.
Architecture: Hmph. More on this later.
Textures: No comment.
R_speeds: Might be a little excessive in the last map.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: Weak to medium-strength aliens (with one exception), and Grunts.

Story? After the events depicted in Rescue 9-1-Freeman (which I reviewed as well, natch), Freeman and his scientist friends are hanging out in the Scientists’ Lounge, drinking Scientist beer and reading the Christian Science Monitor, when those revenge-minded maniacs, the Grunts, suddenly appear. The Scientists are surprised, scattering Scientist pretzels everywhere and wetting their Scientist suits. The Grunts mete out some punishment, and dump the bodies in the sewer (such disciplinary measures were common in my elementary school; we had a sewer just for the bodies of kids who didn’t finish their meatloaf), including Scientist friend and ally, Gordon "Butterwings" Freeman. Unfortunately for the Grunts, Freeman survives, thanks to his magic van dyke (I’m just jealous). So, wiping Scientist stuff from his HEV suit, he picks up a conveniently-placed crowbar and heads for the military bunker that’s somehow connected with the facility. There’s a helicopter somewhere around there, and thank God he knows how to fly one (that’s a standard requirement for a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics; in fact, Gordon flew twenty-three rescue missions in Vietnam).

Onward!

I hate to give two lukewarm reviews of maps by the same author in a row, but I just wasn’t too enthused over this one. It takes place almost entirely indoors, with a mixture of Grunts and (mostly) Vortigaunts. The problem here is that a lot of the architecture just didn’t grab me. A good part of these maps features the drab gray-and-green (together*) of the standard gritty military bunker. Very few puzzles exist – at least, none that the average fourth grader couldn’t figure out (what about third graders, you ask? Don’t ever mention those little maggots to me again!). Now, some glimmer of ambition occurs, most notably in the watery outdoor area before the Gargantua, but on the whole it’s...average.
[* gratuitous Marillion reference]**

[** Specifically: Marillion's "Easter." (YouTube link.)]

Don’t get the wrong impression; these maps are enjoyable, if you take a couple of breaks. Break it up into sessions. Because by the end, I was feeling that lethargic, blank feeling that accompanies mindless pixel-killing (as opposed to the constant excitement of real-life killing, I suppose; however, I assume that by the thirtieth Jehovah’s Witness massacred,** it tends to get a little boring). I just didn’t care anymore. Of course, I’m like that all the time, and it’s a wonder that I still dress myself before going out to the mailbox. So it’s probably just me.

[** I have something of a bias against Jehovah's Witnesses...or, for that matter, ANYONE knocking on my door to sell me anything, be it religion or restaurant coupons. Except for Girl Scouts. They sell cookies.]

He attempts to break up the monotony by throwing in a couple of outdoor scenes, which make for a good distraction. But they’re all over too soon, and before you know it, you’re back inside. On a mind-twistingly change-of subject side note: this may be nitpicking, but I’m a little bothered by the convenience of the long-jump module next to an area where you’d need it. Ideally, the author should make me work for it, then I can go back to use it.

The final fight -- where alien and human life meet! -- may wreck your framerate a bit. I’m running on a PII 350 with 128 megs of RAM,** so this map does okay (still wish I had gotten that PII 400, though). What confounded me about this area was the fact that there were Grunts rappelling into the room – through a solid concrete ceiling! That just made me tired and headachy, and I needed a little "Mexican Radio" to make me feel better. Sometimes, I wish I were in Tijuana eating barbecued iguana, too.***

[** I'm glad that I've upgraded since then.]

[*** Wall of Voodoo. "Mexican Radio." (YouTube link.)]

Summary? A little monotonous, but okay if taken in doses.

Rating? 3 out of 5.

[Next, next, next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#23: RES v1.0
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2016, 10:14:09 AM »
RES V1.0

Map Title: RES V1.0
Author: Deraj
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: res_v10.zip
Filesize: 3,135k
Number of maps: Eight.

[Note: played on v1.0.1.6, which I’m getting a little tired of reiterating. Just uninstall Half-Life and reinstall, download the v1.0.1.6 patch, and apply that. Who needs v1.1.0.1, anyway? Valve Software, stop screwing with my versions!!]
 
Abstract:
Have you ever been in the grocery store, trying to find a copy of Maxim that doesn't have some guy's DNA indelibly attached to it, and one of your favorite old songs comes on? And you're standing there, remembering when it was okay that she was an easy lover, just as long as Phil kept up those great fills, when some budding pimple-encrusted future-feminist cretin breaks in to inform Julie that there's a call on line one, at volumes approaching that of commercial aircraft. Then the song continues, and right when you're getting back into it, the same walking sphincter breaks in yet again with another message for that idiot Julie. Three seconds of song next air, and is then broken yet again by a pre-recorded commercial touting how wonderful the store is, how much you save, and how their pharmacists are close to finding a cure for leukemia or Aetna insurance, whichever is worse. This is usually when they drag me off, screaming obscenities at the ceiling. Next time, I'll just hit Julie’s song-disrupting friend with a rock, whoever she is. Now if you thought that was boring, try these maps. You’ll feel better.

The Basics:
Lighting: Great.
Architecture: Spacious, well done.
Textures: Appropriate.
R_speeds: [Empty. No idea.]
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, no, no.
Gameplay: A little Grunt-intensive in the first several maps.

Story? Once again, you are Gordon "Sugar Magnolia" Freeman.** Since the Black Mesa hiccup, you’ve been in hiding, only venturing out to purchase ponytail-holders and beard-trimming accessories. You get a message from a scientist friend at another canyon-based facility, code-named "Res," (the facility, not the scientist) and he informs you that the military is there, repeating the same behaviour they showed at Black Mesa: essentially, shooting anything that moves. So you pull on your ass-kickin’ boots, grab a few supplies, and head on over to the facility. Rappelling down the canyon side, it’s about the halfway point when you realize that a) you’ve left all your weapons topside, and b) the rope has just broken. You plummet 30 stories straight to the bottom, but fortunately you were wearing your marshmallow shoes and nothing was hurt. I think I’m taking too many liberties with the story here. Anyway, you find the body of a security guard and grab his weapon. Nowhere to go but towards the light...the spotlight, that is, belonging to a few Grunts.

[** A Grateful Dead song. Actually it's an MST3K reference (of course). An episode had Joel asking the 'bots what names they'd like to be known by. Servo said he's always been partial to "Sugar Magnolia," which made Joel dismiss the issue entirely.]

Onward!

From the start, the architecture and texturing are very clean and spacious. From the sparse, rocky canyon floor to the wide open corridors of the Res facility, these first couple of maps scream to my soul. Perhaps I’m just a claustrophobic...God knows I try to make the best of this little 4x4 cell of mine, but sometimes a man just needs a little space.

However, about the fourth map, things begin to seem a little...off. Call it the deserted corridors, the blaring alarm, the giant purple gunk growing in the hallways...methinks there’s something a little odd here. I’m not talking "Boy, that Long John Silver’s fish platter really hit the spot, but in a really weird way, Margaret," but more like, "Boy, I really hope someone comes along and puts me out of my misery before the alien queen rams her ovipositor down my throat and lays her eggs in my chest."* Slightly mis-matching analogies aside, I can say that as your surroundings get weirder, they will get tougher...and even more fun.
[Thanks to Tom Servo for making sure that bit stays in my skull for the rest of my life.]**

[** I didn't even pretend that I watched anything besides MST3K for ten years straight.]

As for the gameplay, there’s a good 70/30 mixture of Grunts to Aliens; the aliens are largely Headcrabs and Vortigaunts, while the Grunts are largely trigger-happy [rim shot]. There is the standard-issue Assassin fight -- which, believe it or not, takes place in a dim room -- a thing that wears on me as the years go by. "Great," I think, "another Assassin trap. Let me just go get my camera and Zzzzzzzzzzzz..." No reflection on the author’s set-up -- it wasn’t bad -- but I’m wondering if there is another way to do the whole Assassin thing. Other than that, there’s a set piece in there somewhere involving a Gargantua, but I don’t have to explain that to you. You’ll find out. Let me just say this: in one saved game, the damn thing *followed* me into a small elevator!

One room near the end stands out: my greatest fear has been realized; it’s a room filled with crates. Not just any crate room, mind you, no...it’s a MONUMENT to crates! It’s j--okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. It did look pretty cool, though...for a giant crate room.

There may be disappointment at the lack of a big finish; at that point, however, mere survival may be all you’re thinking of. But it does fade out nicely. And at least it HAD a finish, unlike some of the more recent maps I’ve reviewed lately...but I’m not naming names. No.**

[** I don't remember which maps I meant by that. Just as well.]

Summary? A well-realized set of maps, though kinda vanilla-like in some places. At any rate, the author’s parent of choice should be proud.

Rating? 3.5 out of 5.

[...next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#24: DAV Sub
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2016, 10:28:59 AM »
DAV Sub

[This review was never posted. I vaguely recall this was due to someone else reviewing the map before me, and Vnitro went with the first submitted review. I remember being perfectly okay with that.]

Map Title: Dav Sub
Author: DAV
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: davsub.zip
Filesize: 10, 652k
Number of maps: 20

[Note: played on v1.0.1.6, the only way to fly. Okay, you can go Delta, but it sucks.]

Abstract:
I’m looking into ways of misinterpreting blessings. For instance, when someone says "I’ll pray for you," I could ask, "Pray for what, my death?" The looks of irritation should be worth it. I’m also thinking of branching out in to the business of freelance Social Knothead, for when you need an awkward person for some reason or another, but can’t find one. I’m your guy. Why, just the other day, a brief conversation with a woman about where to find the step-stools at Wal-Mart left me with severe stomach pains and a bout with deep depression. The same thing happens when I get the mail, or turn on the TV (Howard Stern makes me pray for the total annihilation of the human race). Of course, all one has to do is crank up Deep Purple’s "Woman from Tokyo" or Rocket Scientists’ "Aqua Vitae," and everything looks just fine again. All in all, I’m just glad I didn’t tell her about my job as a Half-Life reviewer. Some things you just don’t reveal until the seventeenth date. "You like computer games??" she’d ask in horror, dropping her Happy Meal (I’m a big spender). Of course, it’s hard to work that in when the focus of the conversation is step-stools. ("The deluxe model is $8, I think," I said. I hate myself sometimes.)**

[** True story. As I was checking out at Wal-Mart, a woman walked up to me and asked where I found the step-stools. I told her. She nodded. I went home.]

The Basics:
Lighting: Good.
Architecture: Impressive in places, good in others.
Textures: Well done.
R_speeds: Bearable.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: Some borrowed models from OpFor, etc./No, I don’t think so/Yes, gfx and sounds.
Gameplay: Tough, but good.

Story? After the events depicted in DAV Train, you’re feeling safe on board an Osprey (them fish hawks are strong little bastards), when an Apache (the helicopter, not the mistreated people with valid cultural contributions) shoots your van dyke-wearing butt down (say, that’s a funny thought -- a van dyke wearing-butt...you know, with -- never mind). So now you’re on foot again. Never give Freeman a car...you should’ve seen what happened to his Ford Explorer.

Onward!

I am impressed. I’ve mostly enjoyed his previous releases; his Quake2 maps, released when there was very little going on in the Q2 SP world -- which has changed not a whit, to be honest in my exasperation -- were different, to be sure. As for HL, his davhl pack drove me slightly buggy, in terms of difficulty and gameplay, but DAV Train was a step forward. Now, I find myself hip-deep in DAV Sub, and I’m enjoying every minute of it. (I also enjoy Laura Gemser** movies and collecting everything Steve Hackett has ever recorded, so I may be an uneven source for what is or what isn’t good.)

[** To be honest, I didn't. They're all cheesy and stupid. But I needed an obscure '70's softcore actress to make my point. And that point was: I needed serious psychological help. Laura Gemser, by the way, was described as "Black Emanuelle" at the time. She isn't black. She's Indonesian.]

The maps here show great attention to detail; the actual sub, for instance, is meticulously done (although you won’t see it for a while). From beginning to end (which crashed...probably my system’s fault...the hamster keeps falling off the wheel), he shows a flair for place and atmosphere, which is helped considerably by some top-notch prefabs (the Ferrari, the private jet, the life-sized Princess Leia love doll...err...scratch that). I could go on and on, but I think some things are best experienced on one’s own (shut up). Soak it up and enjoy. Yeah. Whatever.

My only criticisms are few: One, the difficulty is a little much; it’s bearable on easy, but be warned that every enemy encounter is a hell of a fight, much like what happens when you tell a woman what you honestly think. Two, the "what now?" factor. Several times, I wandered around scratching my ever-retreating hairline, a little lost. With some effort, I did find the right way; my solution was to take a short break from the game when I got lost, pound down some Tylenol, watch a little M*A*S*H, and then return (that Hawkeye, what a card!). So it’s really a matter of exploring your every available exit (again, shut up). Three, some walking effort is required. This really isn’t a criticism...more of an observation. The hallways are sometimes long, and the rooms are sometimes huge, but this is no problem. I need the exercise. My mouse is so fat...how fat is it? It puts a dent in the desk! Ha! But that’s about it; I was amazed that there was very little slowdown in the urban area, but then again, there weren’t a huge number of monsters thrown at me, either. This isn’t Hell Revealed,** you know (Hi Yonatan...guard that cheese!).***

[** Hell Revealed is a megawad for Doom II, by Yonatan Donner and Hagay Niv. It was a supremely difficult bunch of maps.]

[*** A shout out to Yonatan. The reference...I think he was going into the Army and the joke was that his entire Army career would be guarding government cheese the whole time.]

One further note: I never experienced any of the problems he described in the text file; either I’m blessed, or v1.0.1.6 is far superior to its dumber, more repulsive brother, v1.1.0.1.

Summary? Download this. Play it. Enjoy. Seven hundred elves from out the wood can’t be wrong.*
[* Gratuitous Steeleye Span reference.]**

[** Steeleye Span, "Seven Hundred Elves." (YouTube link.)

Rating? 4.5 out of 5.

[...next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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#25: When The Army Came To The Office
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2016, 10:36:29 AM »
When the Army Came to the Office

Map Title: When the Army Came to the Office
Author: Andreas Jönsson [info borrowed from the 3dmr review]
E-mail: man-goat@netherhells.net (I’m only assuming)
Homepage: www.yokoono.com/pics/graphicnudes.htm (again, I assume)**
Filename: army.zip
Filesize: 38k of crap
Number of maps: One. Thank your God of choice for this.

[** That link doesn't work, thankfully. And it never did. I made it up. I also made up an e-mail address for him. That doesn't work either. I hope. It'd be funny if it did, though. Imagine man-goat opening his e-mail and wondering where all this hate was coming from...]

Quote: Ahhh...forget it. I’d just be wasting my time.

Abstract:
Since this map is negligible, let me tell you a story about what’s happening with my drums. Let me rephrase that: sit down and shut up. Now READ. After thirteen years of being known as The Analog Kid, I am finally giving serious thought to buying an electronic drum kit; I’m really tired of acoustics and the cost involved in maintaining them. When a relative suggested that I sell my acoustic kit, I realized that what I would recoup in the sale probably wouldn’t even cover a fraction of the cost involved in fixing the drums up to sell in the first place. After all, I need a new bottom rim for my floor tom, new batter and resonant heads for my 8” and 10” toms, new long-lug casings for the 13” and 14” toms, my 15” tom is looking a little worse for wear, plus fixing the butt-plate on my snare strainer is a must. Also, my hi-hat stand is a Frankensteinian horror of surplus parts, designed to keep it functioning, just barely. Then there’s my bass pedal…and my slave pedal...yikes.

I’d probably have to replace a lot of the rims, just due to wear alone. Not to mention the severe scuffing on the shell coverings, thanks to some @$$hole "friend" of mine, who rammed my hi-hats into them while "playing" them when I was away. My cymbal stands are in the same shape as my hi-hat stand, as are the base tripods for most of my stands (if anyone asks you if Tama hardware is any good, laugh at them in the manner of the Emperor in "Return of the Jedi"). Plus...oh, crap. Why go on? I’ll just store the things under the stairs and sell my plasma for an electronic kit. Now: if you thought all of this was boring, then play this set of maps. You’ll be screaming for more pointless stories about my stupid drums.

The Basics:
Lighting: Blatantly hideous.
Architecture: As inviting as an open sewer in the middle of August.
Textures: God-awful.
R_speeds: Don’t worry about them.
New Models/Skins/Etc.: No, thank God.
Gameplay: Like being beaten to death with your mother’s severed arm.

Story? You crack me up, man.

Onward!

A very short map. It’s so short in fact, that I only took two screenshots -- and I still felt that I took too many. In essence, it’s a start room (with a desk, MP5, contact grenades, clips and an HEV), leading out to a medium-short hallway stuffed with Grunts and a lone Assassin. You kill them, game over.

In retrospect, I really am glad that’s all there was to it. If it had been a couple more rooms with the same theme -- maybe even with a couple of doors that didn’t open -- I would’ve been a little pissed off. As it is, it’s more or less a 30-second exercise in what not to do with Worldcraft.

After killing the Assassin, the lights go out and are replaced with a soul-searing black grid-thing with bits of red in it. I’ve seen better lighting in a Junior High school. As for the architecture ha ha...um, as for the architehahahaaa...wait, no as for the arhahahaha...architectureheee k...it haha was a little heek heek on the bland sidebwa-hahahahahahahahahaha!

Ahem. It didn’t even come with a text file. Frankly, I wouldn’t put my name on this piece of cess-ridden filth either. I’d pin the blame on my worst enemy, or even say it was a Nazi experiment. If any member of the human race was ever in such dire need to play such a map, I would suggest an immediate mercy-killing. Of course, I am assuming the author is human and not, say, an errant cat who was sleeping on someone’s keyboard, causing Worldcraft to open, create and compile, then close. Then Winzip took over, zipping it up. Finally, the modem kicked on and sent the zip file to a level review site. The owner of the computer came in from his refreshing trip to the bathroom, shooed the cat off the keyboard, closed his 'net connection in puzzlement, and was ripped limb from bloody limb by an angry mob of Half-Life fans a week or so later. So it’s really all just a big mistake. It’s the cat’s fault! GET HIM!!

Summary? You think you can get all of the answers just by skipping my artful prose (go ahead and laugh...I am) and skimming down to the summary, don’t you? Well, not this time, pal! Suffer! The problem is, this map isn’t bad *enough* to work up a good hate over. It’s bad, yes, but not so horrible as to waste time hating it.

Rating? 0 out of 5.

[I once mentioned something to Vnitro about negative scores. He said something to the effect of "why bother?" Indeed.]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Lord Mantrid

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Re: The Resurrection Thread: Preface (i.e., Read This Post First)
« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2016, 04:37:30 AM »
I believe that the "why bother?" was what eventually gave birth to the toilet emojis that I used for my brief span of time.

I wish I could remembered much less had any of the reviews that I did. I think I called it Preparation FPS (I might just have to use that again at some point.) Naturally that all came crashing down with abortion known as The Gate, but all these years later I can still say NO RAGRETS.
Spoiler
valv softwer is 3d relms in teh futuer!!!!!!111!1!1one1!

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: The Resurrection Thread: Preface (i.e., Read This Post First)
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2016, 09:49:27 PM »
I think that by the time I got really into this reviewing thing I had played so many maps that I was jaded and contemptuous of the whole thing. Odd that I don't remember that (although to be honest, I remember very little between January of 2000 and yesterday), but it definitely shows in my tone sometimes.

Regrets? I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. Because I did it...my way. ;D

It's too bad the entire Hangar wents tits-up with Darkwolf; it'd be great to find your reviews and the others'... I've heard it said that nothing ever disappears once it's on the 'net, but that's just so much crap.
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

 

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