Author Topic: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews  (Read 103335 times)

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2007, 10:21:50 AM »
PART TEN: It's a Mod Mod Mod Mod World

Thanks for the encouragement! These should be my last additions for a while, as this brings us current with the latest HL2 map releases. Maybe we can look forward to Episode 2 next!!  ::)

Hammered Grapplemod
Okay, all you Spidey fans -- here's your chance to swing like the wall-crawler, all in the HL2 Source engine! This mod provides three distinct scenarios, all of which you can access through different Chapters. The first is a training mission; the second a several map escape mission, where you free yourself from prison and make your way through the city streets with Combine forces hot on your tail; and the third a puzzle that allows you to use the mod's signature weapon: the Grappler. Just flick it toward the appropriate surfaces, and voila!! -- you'll be pulled through the air at fast speed. All three modes were fun, level design was "pretty" good, and the Grappler is a fun tool to use. 4 out of 5
http://tom.wormsrenegade.com/grapplemod.html

Weekday Warrior
A very creative use of the Source engine to create this mod and its mini-games. The game itself plays like an adventure game mixed with The Sims, but you are able to play games of office golf, trashball and voodoo darts as well, as you take on the mantle of your favorite hero The Mongoose to unleash a terrible computer virus upon ... your office. 5 out of 5
http://students.guildhall.smu.edu/~weekdaywarrior/contents/html/home.html

Transitions
Ever wonder what happened at the end of HL1, when the G-Man offered you a position for the future? Well, here's another take on how it ties into HL2. You actually cause the rift to ... well, let's not spoil the surprise, shall we?? Regardless, it's back to Xen with you, at any rate. I found this very tough, because you have a number of spawning Vorts tagging you with electric burn, so you might want to start out on Easy Living. 4.5 out of 5
http://www.centrifugedesign.co.uk/Downloads.htm

Operation Crimson Dragon
A nicely detailed map that has you gain four bomb pieces to put together to attack a Combine facility. Lots of distinct environments in such a small landscape, but tons of Combine to duke it out with. 4 out of 5
http://travish.info/OCD.htm
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:41:35 PM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2007, 11:44:11 AM »
PART ELEVEN:
Nearly a dozen (that's 12 to you!!) maps have been released in the past few months for HL2, but of them, only the following were of note to me:

Awakening
[Ed. note: I thought I had already added this to my earlier sets of reviews, but find I didn't -- maybe I was just wanting to?! So here's my homage to Silver Sorrow, mad reviewer, may he RIP....  :'( ]

Anywho, you're Adrian "ADRIAN -- A -- DRI -- AN!!" Balboa, er ... Shepard, and you went to sleep as Black Mesa exploded, and now you've woken up to a hi-res update in your surroundings. You escape from a Rebel facility that's been absconded with by Combine; take a Sunday drive through stop signs, mean ships and a slope that swallows your car en route to a Submarine base; clean out said base of all sorts of undead (although oddly enough, still moving) life forms; jump through some hoops into a Combine Strider elevator shaft; attempt to figure out obscure clues to open doors; and finally bring Ant-Lions to life!! You lucky devil. And now back to sleep with you. I give it 4 out of 5.

Grace gives it: A slap to the back of the head. Twice.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/awakening-half-life-2/

Flipside
A wholly original conversion of the Source engine, Flipside is akin to a jumping platformer gone mad. Your character is a happy rag-doll that navigates through waves of cartoonish scenery, much as you would see on a stage production. He is able to jump high onto clouds and over bunnies, but all of a sudden he faces a cliff that he can't pass. With the push of a button, the whole world flips around 180 degrees vertically and shows its dark side. You are now able to climb up the cliff, but the cute bunny you saw earlier is now an evil murse who is trying to stop your escape from the mental institution. Your flipped character can now headbutt her until you can flip the scene back around.

I confess that I didn't get very far because my headbutting skills weren't quite up to snuff for all the nurses, but from what I saw and played, I was definitely impressed. The only other game I've seen use this "light/dark" conversion of the scene was Psychonauts, and even that wasn't quite as distinctive as this. You can gather cupcakes that extend your life, but it is a typical platformer in other ways. 4 out of 5, for accomplishing something really unique.
http://mods.moddb.com/9366/flipside/, http://files.moddb.com/7490/download-flipside/

Infiltration v1.2
This large (234MB) file is listed as version 1.2, but it probably should have waited until v1.3 for a final release. According to someone on the 10-4 forums, "Whoever packaged it up forgot to clean up the unused stuff. Over half of it is bloat. Delete the expressions folder after unzipping it, and you'll cut its size by over half." You can see the areas that need to be cleaned up all through the 14 levels: doors that open into corridors that fall through the map, roofs that you can access that then let you see all the unfilled textures below you, missing scripts that won't allow you to move to the next map, cutscenes that kill you with attacking troops and ships while you are immobile, etc. I had to noclip through several locked doors to get to the next scene, had to God-mode through several cutscenes since I didn't have enough health to proceed, had to load the next map twice to continue, and had to give myself the HEV suit when I did so. It lists two map testers but could have used a dozen. And all of these should be easy enough to fix.

So why am I even listing it here? Well, for one thing, it was a pretty good ride through the HL2 world, all things considered. You get to fight through City streets, take both the buggy and the swamp mobile on frantic rides, and end up in a decently designed Combine mothership. You also get to see the comic-style cut-scenes that have been crafted in lieu of the really bad voice-acting we've come to associate with mods, which I appreciate. In other words, a smaller version of the HL2 we already know and love, but different enough to succeed on its own. It's an ambitious, tough set of maps that could have used more play-testing by regular players, but I'll still give it 3.5 out of 5 (with room for improvement).
http://files.filefront.com/Infiltrationv1.2full_en.rar/;7829488;/fileinfo.html

Mr.Deathwish Part 2
The first Deathwish map was short and sweet, where you're a hired killer. The second, slightly larger set of 4 maps continues this scenario. This time, you've got to break into a bunker, get past a couple of traps, kill the mark, and escape. Easier said than done. These maps rely more upon brains than brawn, with some true puzzlers that had me stumped for a long time. For example, you have to open a locked door, but to do so, must accomplish 4 tasks, all of which are logical in hindsight, but nothing we've seen in recent HL2 maps. After the puzzles, the killing and escape are somewhat anti-climactic, but I'll still give it 3.75 out of 5.
www.vicegaming.net/downloads.html
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:41:11 PM by bobdog »

Offline dufferx

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews, BlitzKreig
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2007, 12:08:03 PM »
Regardless of what I do, I cannot get BlitzKLreig to run.  No problem with other mods, but this one almost has me defeated. :hammerhead: :devilpissed:

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2007, 05:52:48 PM »
DufferX, glad you're enjoying these reviews for your own play-throughs.

BlitzKrieg unzips for some reason into TWO "BlitzKrieg" folders, so it looks like this: BlitzKrieg\BlitzKrieg\all the files. Make sure you just have ONE BlitzKrieg subfolder under the Valve folder, as such: H:\Valve\Steam\SteamApps\SourceMods\BlitzKrieg\all the files. After you've placed the folder correctly, restart Steam and then re-enter. BlitzKrieg should now appear as one of your installed files under "My Games" in Steam. Double-click or Launch, and then be patient. The BlitzKrieg name appears on a black screen for some time (nearly two minutes on my computer -- a 3200 Athlon w/2GB RAM and 256MB video) -- before finally entering the main menu.

As I noted, this mod is very mentally challenging in spots. I spent some 15 minutes my first play through just getting out of the starting scene, so here's a handy hint: go around the corner to the yellow building. See that Combine fence? You've got to get over it somehow, so a little hop, a little speed, and there you go....

Enjoy!!  :onethumb:

Offline dufferx

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2007, 07:35:11 PM »
Thanks, will try that.  BTY I was on the old Hangar 16 forever and a day.  Still miss SW and the rest.    :onethumb: :thumbsup:

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2007, 10:52:10 PM »
Indeed: DarkWolf went AWOL from the original Hangar, and some of our leftovers who found this place have been gone some time -- Stubby especially. Imperator (the old Wintermute) and Grey Mouser (the old Diaz) stop in from time to time, but we sure miss all our old buddies. Any way, glad to see an "old" face in the new digs.  ;D

Offline dufferx

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2007, 12:20:45 PM »
Sorry, did mean DW.

 :hammerhead:

Offline dufferx

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2007, 05:39:29 PM »
Worked like a champ.  Merged the two Blitzkreig folders  and it worked.  I have always had to reboot before a mod will show up in Steam.  Not so with maps.

Thanks again. :onethumb:

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2007, 10:17:13 AM »
PART ONE DOZEN:
Sadly, I've been waiting for three months to post some good mini-HL2 mod reviews. Well, keep waiting ... it's been the Dog Days of HL2 modding during this time, that's for sure. Not only have there been few releases, but the vast majority that have been released have ... well, sucked, to be blunt. Not worth the time to download, if you know what I'm saying -- stuff like The Mansion 3, Otherworld, 28 Days, The Cage, City Rebellion, Simple Etape -- drivel, in almost every sense. Oh, each may have had one semi-redeeming feature but all are ultimately forgettable and not worth keeping.

However...
Riot Act
This is certainly one of the top 5 HL2 mods ever released. You play the role of Jamil Lee, a young member of the civilian resistance, taken by the Combine and currently imprisoned in Nova Prospekt. After you are miraculously freed, you spend the next several hours trying to get out of prison. Combine guards are a definite, but you also get to command some Antlion troops, one of the few mods to allow this option. Gameplay takes you in and out of the prison, and you are sometimes accompanied by other Rebels. The action is fierce, and you'll appreciate every step you're able to move forward, ending in a copter battle along an expansion bridge. I really appreciate how the mod felt like another chapter in the HL2 saga, only without Gordon as your protagonist. My rank: 5 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/riot-act-half-life-2/
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:40:06 PM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2007, 02:20:52 PM »
PART TRECE (13): HOT OFF THE PRESS!!

Minerva: Metastasis
Adam Foster is a venerable HL2 modding powerhouse, having developed some of the most highly regarded levels for the game through the first two installments of his Minerva series. Now that Part 3 is released (just in time for HL2's Ep 2 to come out), I thought it worth a play through of all three parts to get the overall storyline again. A tense 4 hours later, I've been on an amazing roller coaster ride from the top of the island to the bottom. As you may remember, Part 1 takes you around an island exterior until you get into the Combine facility. Part 2 takes you deeper into the facility, which is more like a Citadel in its structure; you learned that the Combine are doing something more than should be justified. Part 3 shows you just what they're trying to do, and you're told by the voice in your ear that it's not good. And as a bonus, Part 4 Pegasus details your escape back through the facility to the surface.

This is a GREAT mod, worth replaying all the way through, and I saw nothing to take away from the experience. It has action and lulls in all the right places; intriguing puzzles (one which stumped me for a bit but ultimately made sense); and a unique and inviting storyline. Some elements are similar to Episode 1, but different enough to stand on their own. And yes, because you need Ep1 content, it does have Zombines! 5 out of 5 and worthy contender to best HL2 mod ever.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/minerva-metastasis-parts-1-2-3-half-life-2/

And, as an added bonus:

A Frayed Stitch in Time
What starts as a somewhat unremarkable mod gradually grows in depth, climaxing with a surprise ending. I don't want to spoil it for you, but just be patient....  The gist of the story is that you're inside a massive cubical Combine City, with towers above you as far a the eye can see -- definitely piquing your curiosity. You manage to escape from a slow time portal that the Combine have trapped you within, only to seek them out yet again. The mod makes mostly good use of a variety of environments, including sewers, a housing complex, City streets and the interior of a Combine facility, although there are some repetitious mapping of rooms, especially in the housing complex. Puzzles are not overly challenging, and one area within the Combine facility has a neat effect indicating a nuclear hazard. My initial rating was 3.75, but after the *surprise*, I bumped it up to 4 out of 5 for doing something unexpected.
http://moddb.com/scripts/out.php?dl=8684&mr=2
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:39:38 PM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2007, 09:54:31 PM »
PART 14: POST EP2
Wow, a couple of pretty good mods all coming out in concert with Episode 2!

Dawn
This was another university classroom effort, like some others that we’ve seen, but it feels like the most polished I’ve seen from such (remember that these are high school and college age developing this). I was very pleased with the play and felt it was a very good mod that had the (mis)fortune of coming on the heels of Metastasis and prior to HL2 Ep2, and which are giving it some unfair comparisons.

It could have been a little tighter, such as the first river map, which I would have circled back around to tackle the Combine from the winding paths on the cliff. It also is very zombie and headcrab heavy, which is starting to get old. But the gameplay was spot on, with lots of set pieces to drive you forward, especially the "Western" Traptown area. I actually thought it would end at this point, and was pleasantly surprised to find the mod continue. Voice acting was very good as well.

I had some framerate issues in the canal with the helicopter, but those evened out after I entered the sewers. And the hospital was just daunting enough to inspire some chills, with one semi-hard puzzle. Overall, a good mod and I give it 4 out of 5.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/dawn-mod-half-life-2/

The Lighthouse
Another very good mod, although there were some bugs I encountered. This is yet another escape from a Combine prison mod, and mostly it's done well. After escaping from your cell, you meet up with some AI, and then lead them to a train that awaits you. After the train ride, you'll meet up with another set of rebels, and then tackle the final Combine outpost at a lighthouse.

As I said, it's mostly done well, although I noted some significant bugs that occurred between map changes. The first was at the end of the first map, and you are supposed to approach a door and change maps. The second occurred when I was supposed to board the train -- I think I was supposed to board the rear car, but I couldn't get the map to process; the only way I did it was to "fall" off the platform and run towards the back of the train, upon which the train left the station and I followed it, only to appear BACK on the train as the map changed!

The AI that follow you provide their own challenge, because if one dies, then you automatically lose -- and you can't order them around! I found myself simply getting in the way of the bullets meant for them, and hope I could heal up later.

Overall, a pretty good effort, and one definitely worth playing, but could have used some extra playtesters to finetune. 3.75 out of 5.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/the-lighthouse-half-life-2/
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:42:03 PM by bobdog »

Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2007, 07:31:00 AM »
I think I had the same problem with the Train issue you had in the Lighthouse, Bob. There is apparently a "correct path" to get to the train station and a "wrong" path that doesn't set off certain scripts.  I piled up boxes over the gate running directly to the train station; after figuring out I wasn't getting anywhere, I reloaded and tried again, this time jumping over the combine gate to the "east."  I think he needed to have some people test the map a little.  If we aren't supposed to go that way, make it impossible, fercryinoutloud!   :purplelaugh:

Another issue I had was when reloading in the first courtyard where the combine dropship shows up.  Arrow keys no longer worked and actually had to quit the application and restart in order to be able to move again!  Gaaah.

Still, all in all, a very good mod remniscent of the "coastal" levels from the original HL2 levels.  Could've used some great buggy action, though.  There really aren't enough of those levels, y'know?
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #27 on: October 15, 2007, 08:02:32 AM »
Basically, Lighthouse is Nova Prospekt going backwards to the lighthouse on the coast, if you really want the truth. Without the buggy, and without the antlions.

And this actually brings up a point I was pondering last night. We are now 3 years post-HL2 release (hard to believe, eh?) and at this point, many of the mods are starting to seem "same-y". Sure, there are a few standouts here and there, but basically they come down to zombie/headcrab infestations, break out of/into prison, and coastal jaunts. I'm still interested and excited enough to check out what's available, but at about this time in the original game, I was getting bored to tears. (In fact, the last good mod I played for HL was Invasion, and Migandi's mod was the one that forced me to uninstall the whole game.) Even thinking about going back to Black Mesa makes me cringe for the original.

Perhaps because Source is a more challenging development platform than HL's Hammer, we are seeing -- generally -- more higher quality mods than the original game provided, simply because it does take more dedication and skill, and such mod makers don't want to waste their time on a whim. So, at this point in HL2's long-term development, I am still looking at playing add-on maps and mods. And there are a few out there still to capture the imagination (see Amphian Mods' Upcoming HL2 Missions at: www.amphibian.myzen.co.uk/HL2/). I'm actually looking forward to Black Mesa (yes, yes, I know what I just said -- but this will be different because it's something "new" for HL2 -- understand?!), The Gate 2 (yes, yes, just to see if it can fulfill the hype), Strider Mountain (by Leon) and They Hunger: Lost Souls.

And maybe with more periodic "official" episodes, I won't get bored of HL2 as quickly as the original. We can only hope that is something to come out of Valve's "episodic" content.

Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2007, 12:41:51 PM »
Actually, according to some of what I read, Valve is rethinking the whole 'episodic' thing.

Y'see, Valve's whole problem with making 'episodic content' is due to the way they constantly play test stuff to death. Figure out what makes the players excited and redesigns it as possible.  While this may make for some excellent gameplay, they may have taken it to the extremes. Even for a full retail game the gameplay is pathetically short. Maybe they need a bigger staff?
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2007, 09:28:20 PM »
PART 15: No Title for This Review

Rebel Cache
This new map is one of the two (Metastasis being the other?) HL2 maps that have required Episode 1 content to play. In this case, I'm not sure it warranted it. It's a quick 15-20 minute map based in a junked out office building. The objective is to try and gain the Rebel cache of weapons in the building, but it's been taken over by Combine forces. The level layout is decent, and wraps back and forth on itself. It also features a Zombine, which requires the Ep1 content, but it is not used efficiently and is stuck in a back corner room that you don't even need to visit. Overall, a promising *start* to a real map or mod, but little more than that. 2.75 out of 5
http://halflife2.filefront.com/file/Episode_One_Rebel_cache_Map;83670
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:42:23 PM by bobdog »