Author Topic: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews  (Read 92431 times)

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2007, 09:20:10 PM »
PART 16: The Roots of Rebellion
Wow -- what a coup -- two awesome HL2 maps in a row!! The theme of the week seems to be "Join the Combine" as both maps have a section that allows you to indeed join the Combine forces!

The Citizen
Ah, those wicked Combine -- they raped and pillaged, and now you've FINALLY had enough. It was the Mexican Food Night that finally threw you over the edge. Anyway, this is an excellently produced masterpiece from Chris Fox (of Day 13, 14 and 15) and Kasberg (whose only HL2 map was a beautiful demo called Railway 21). The level design is excellent, the voice work is excellent, the scripting is excellent, and the story is excellent. Challenging, yet fun. The highlights for me had you thinking strategically about how to get around the Combine in various ways -- one time you must don the regular Combine uniform, while another time you don the Elite Combine uniform -- both with their respective different views. This mod also introduces the Advisor as an enemy, which can quickly knock your health down. I can't recommend it any higher: 5 out of 5!!
www.planetphillip.com/posts/the-citizen-half-life-2/#more-3453

City 7: Toronto Conflict
Another very good set of maps, this time designed by some Canucks, eh? Overall, I found this a VERY challenging mod, but not impossible as many have implied. You just have to use your brains a lot and think strategically. There are many great levels, such as a construction site where you must cross the girders, a train with traps, the City 7 Citadel, and the finale map. And the maps have many twists and clever use of puzzles, starting with the first level where you must draw some Combine guards from their posts, or turning off four electrical transformers to drop a forcefield. And interestingly, this mod too has you donning a Combine uniform to sneak past the enemy. A few bugs and sometimes impossible odds drop the score slightly to 4.75 out of 5. Good day, eh, hosers....
www.planetphillip.com/posts/city-7-toronto-conflict-half-life-2/
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:49:31 PM by bobdog »

Offline The Rogue Wolf

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2007, 09:24:35 AM »
I thought Citizen was a rather interesting and fun Mod, until I ran into a bug. Y'see, during one of those aforementioned "wear the Combine gear" sections, you have a team of rebels who are trapped. Well, I ended up having to quickload after ditching the disguise, and it seems I'm now stuck in "Combine mode", because whenever I open the door to release my teammates, they blow me to Kingdom Come. I can get around it by using the notarget cheat, but then the Combine don't see me and things go goofy.

Meh. I suppose I'll have to find some way around it.
"Choice one: we flank them using what military men called tactics, and what religious men call divine inspiration. Or, we charge at them head on screaming various obscenities, in what military men call bravery and religious men also call divine inspiration."

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #32 on: November 20, 2007, 10:15:06 PM »
Check out PP's site -- there was some lengthy discussion about how to hotwire that part, which was buggy for some folks and not for others....

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2007, 11:38:40 AM »
PART 17: Episode Two

A masterpiece in all respects. 10 out of 5

Bowing to intense pressure from the forum administrator, I'll flesh this out just a wee bit.  ::)  I am still in awe of my playthrough of Episode Two, for several reasons, which I may or may not elucidate upon below.

First, the change of setting to the great outdoors caused a change in my own personal mental attitude. I felt that escaping from City 17 and the Citadel really put me in a position of, if not power, at least some semblance that I could affect my own destiny. For once, I had the Combine on the defensive, and I was going to take advantage of it. Yes, I still needed to make my way to the base at White Forest, but now I had a firm destination in hand rather than slewing back and forth at someone else's whim.

The set-pieces themselves were another great example of why Valve's playtesting-to-death philosophy does seem to work. From the antlion dens to the industrial complex to the road to White Forest to the final climactic battle, it all worked and felt natural. And more importantly, it was fun.

The puzzles were mostly intuitive and helped frame the action set-pieces to offer a chance to catch your breath. And I like that Valve included the Achievement option, as it will appeal to another set of gamer that wants to brag about his actions.

Here's my only gripes for the whole game. The car, and the Hunters. The car, at least for me, felt like an overbalanced sled that one flick to the right or left would cause it to spiral out of control, making it nearly unmanageable in the last battle. And although I loved the Hunters as a new and exciting enemy, I would have appreciated some comment from Alyx or someone that you could hurt them with their own flechettes; instead I had to learn that from these forums.

The ending was extremely haunting, and I don't think I've ever felt so morose after finishing a game. I do wish however that Valve had never said anything about losing a major character, as the effect was diluted. From reading various fora, I knew someone would die (and I know all the ladies are glad it wasn't Barney), but Valve should have just shut the hell up, because I knew at the end something would happen, and I was ready for it. It would have been MUCH stronger to let me experience that loss on my own terms.

That said, Magnusson is a great character, although I'm not sure where we actually saw him from the original HL -- in the opening scene where you go to your locker? Further, your Vortigaunt companion is absolutely amazing -- I loved watching him whack away at the antlions!

Regardless, the drama evident in this episode felt much stronger than anything evident thus far in the HL2 universe, probably better than HL2 itself, and definitely much better than Episode One, which simply served as a transition piece. This, in my opinion, is Valve's masterpiece.   :onethumb:
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:36:03 PM by bobdog »

Offline Starfox

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #34 on: December 31, 2007, 02:10:33 PM »
That's certainly the shortest review you've come with :funup:

Hey! It wasn't meant to put any pressure you know. You think I'm capable of that?   

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« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 04:06:52 AM by Starfox »


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Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #35 on: January 06, 2008, 12:34:00 AM »
Part 18: Another Day, Another HL2 Mod Review

After playing Episode 2 (see my more in-depth mini-review above), I figured it would be ages until we saw something as good. However, a couple of recent mods have just arrived that I felt were worth your time.

First up is Offshore, an 8-10 hour mod specifically using Episode 2 content!! I don't know how they were able to incorporate these items so quickly with Episode 2's release, but I'm not complaining! Please note that this mod is considered in Beta form, and still has a few bugs in it. However, I was able to finish the whole game with only minor quibbles. It felt more like original HL1 gameplay in many ways, rather than HL2 -- perhaps because you are indoors for the majority of the gameplay.

It is not perfect, and needs to be much tighter, which probably would knock off several hours of playtime. Many rooms, hallways, etc. are copied over the course of gameplay. Much of the mod is trial-and-error exploration, unlike how structured HL2 and its other mods have been. The fish will kill your ass ASAP if you fall in the water. I couldn't ever find the rocket launcher and had to cheat it in. You can stack boxes and get to areas that aren't fully built out. And you will walk through more ventilation ducts than you've seen in HL2 and ALL of its mods combined!!  :o

But these are mere gnats compared to the juicy goodness of the extensive set of maps. Map sizes are huge (which does result in stuttering in 2 outside areas), with many areas to explore. Hunters (and Strider-busters) are present, as is your car from Episode 2, although you can't drive it; instead you get the buggy, and one heck of a doozy of a jump. And the arenas and other set pieces are extremely well thought out. Puzzles mainly consist of a few crate-stacking exercises, but do provide a relief from the intense fights you'll encounter.

I very much recommend this "beta" and know the finished version will be spectacular. 4.5 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/offshore-half-life-2-ep2-beta/


Project Secret Weapon
Although not quite as good, this is an amazing mod for several other reasons. First, this is one of the first true modifications of the HL2 engine, with many new weapons and new arm views. HDR is used to very good effect. And the graphic quality is amazing, with beautiful forests in the first map, and a neat helicopter ride in the second map. Additionally, it features a slo-mo button that you can hit on the fly and outrace bullets.

Gameplay is not real original, and level design is just okay. All text is in Russian. But it features enough new content to pique one's interest to a larger effort. BTW, to start the buggy in the first map, you'll need to find a key; you'll also need to pick up a briefcase. Also, in the bonus map, getting into the small helicopter will crash the program. My score: 3.5 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/project-secret-weapon-half-life-2/
« Last Edit: January 11, 2008, 08:50:14 PM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2008, 10:29:11 PM »
Part 19: The Final Exam
This group of maps is primarily from the group of students at the Guildhall, who work on game projects for their degrees. There are some interesting ideas in here, but in general, most all levels are on the beta release scale, but do have some potential. Also, I played 4 maps that required Episode 2 content (only 2 made my grade this time); I find this interesting in that we only had 2 maps total that required Episode 1 content (Minerva Metastasis being the most well-known). To have such a glut of Ep2 maps come out bodes well for the longevity of the HL2 mapping world.

Combine Raid - Get out Alive (Ep 2)
Consider it a beta, but it's a pretty ferocious firefight as the Combine attack you in your house. I had to noclip after finding the grav gun, and some people have reported that the AI is disabled. Features Hunters, so Ep 2 is required to play. A good initial effort, so 2.75 out of 5.
http://halflife2.filefront.com/file/Episode_Two_Combine_Raid_Get_out_Alive_Map;85950
 
Six Feet Under (Ep 2)
Ep 2 is required for this uneven map, which needs to be tighter to be more effective, but the author has stated he's not going to work on it further. The beginning is extremely well done, and worth playing just for that reason. You start in darkness and realize you've splashed under water from a train crash which is very convincingly detailed. From the water, you enter a gorgeous forest that leads to a cabin. And from this point on, the map becomes very uneven. I entered the cabin and was trapped inside, so I assume something was supposed to happen to open the door and also to turn off a Combine forcefield to allow me to enter a mine. Some good scares, but it's more of a killing box than a true adventure. The ending felt a bit abrupt but it was an interesting idea. I give it 3.25 out of 5, simply because of the great beginning.
www.twhl.co.za/mapvault_map.php?id=4955

Zombie Street
A cute but quick "puzzle" level that has you escape from a street full of zombies, but unfortunately you can get through it very quickly because of the way it's built. For example, you can merely run out the door, up the fire escape, jump the fence and get into the trainstation. Or, you can choose to play the way the developer wanted, which might take another 10 minutes. Shows some promise, so 2.75 out of 5.
www.emberdione.com/zombiestreet.htm
 
The Mole Within
A thoughtful level design makes this keyhunt stand above the crowd slightly. 3 out of 5
http://students.guildhall.smu.edu/c6/24403721/individual_01.htm
 
Zay 4
Another maze-like map with enemy confrontations. I only add it in because the end-boss is someone you recognize from the original HL and has never been used in any HL2 maps! 2.75 out of 5
http://files.filefront.com/zay4zip/;9438219;/fileinfo.html
 
No Freedom
Not a bad level, but short. From the street, you enter a Combine-infested building and must make your way to the roof, where a Strider awaits you. 2.75 out of 5
www.brandiaportfolio.com/dfs.php
 
The Haunted
Wow -- very, very good! This 2-level total conversion (TC) of HL2 really sets a new standard in modding. This is a student project from The Guildhall, and the team has managed to create something new and unique that actually manages to scare on several occasions. With new enemies, a new weapon, and a completely new form of gameplay, The Haunted is a stellar effort worth your playtime. The premise is that the general public has managed to be "infected" by some otherworldly virus, which causes their bodies to mutate into gangly, loping, neon-blue colored monstrostities that are somehow affected by bright lights. You have a pump shotgun and endless ammo, but to be effective, you've got to draw the Haunted into light beams, where they are weakened enough for your bullets to work. You also have a flash on your light that will blast a large amount of light at once to fry any Haunted before you; however, it takes time for the flash to repower itself, so use it strategically. Levels were detailed and believable, and the lack of light sources makes you think about your next step. Intros and cutscenes were well-done and voicework was good, although I had problems hearing some of the radios that were left lying about the city for you to discover. A very worthy effort, and my congrats to the student designers who worked on this successful project. 4.75 out of 5
http://students.guildhall.smu.edu/c6/24403721/team_02.htm

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2008, 09:41:49 PM »
So one may be wondering ... where are all the friggin' HL2 maps!? I know I certainly am. After a buttload in January, we've had a lull for the past month. I pointed Planet Phillip to some potentials that might be released by the Guildhall students, but we'll have to see if that pans out.

I do have an Ep 1 map I need to play and review, but I need to DL Ep 1 content again, and that's always a hassle. But ... hopefully by month's end we'll have the new multi-map mod Strider Mountain from Leon and CubeDude. I'm REALLY looking forward to this one. And who knows ... maybe by year's end, we'll get back to Black Mesa or see They Hunger: Lost Souls;D  What would be ultra-cool is if they packed either of these with a new game, like they did the Orange Box.

I did however do a second play-through of Episode 2, with the Commentary Mode on. Hearing how they designed everything, and how they play-test to death so many details, it just avowed my earlier appraisal and rating. And again, the ending was extremely poignant, especially after hearing Alyx Vance herself (Merle Dandridge) talk about how she put herself in the mood to voice-act the end-piece. Amazing work there.

One interesting tidbit: although the Ep 1 team did start working on some Ep 3 ideas, they were pulled off to work on content for Ep 2. Soooooo ... that means Ep 3 is even further away than we might have hoped. I wouldn't expect it until earliest Christmas 2009. Bummer. (And hope I'm wrong, but if not, I spelled it here first!  ;D )

Offline Joshua-kun

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2008, 07:33:07 AM »
Download it? Don't you have the Orange Box??
Jya-shu-a-kuun

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2008, 12:11:53 PM »
Part 20: Episodic Table of Elements
Just a few new mods out recently, all which require either Episode 1 or 2 to play. Also, the Final versions of The Citizen and Offshore have been released, so you've got some choices.

Explosions
This is a single-map playable in Ep. 1 that has you traversing a series of buildings, with many flammable barrels available to explode, hence the map name. I don't think there is a true purpose to the map, and couldn't find an "exit", so I think it's simply something you play through for 15-20 minutes. Your main opposition are antlions and the Antlion daddy, with some Combine tossed in. Unfortunately, my maps excludes certain textures, rendering them white rather than their usual colors. This makes for some difficulty in finding appropriate health and power packs, as well as ammo and weapons. Although it was semi-fun to play, with no story, no ending and missing textures, I can only give this a 2.75 out of 5.
http://halflife2.filefront.com/file/Episode_One_SP_Explosion_Scary_Map;86486

Delivery
Also developed for Ep. 1, Delivery is vastly better and a definite must-play. The author has created 3 really tight maps that make great use of vertical and horizontal space, with a number of enemies, some puzzles, some battle scenes, one map for the buggy, and an adequate (although generic) storyline to propel you forward. You start on a cliff where you've been hiding out for 2 weeks, and then must make your way down to try and get to your family's workshop. Snipers keep you on a tight course, but you can look down and ahead of you to eliminate your opponents. One great set-piece has you waiting to charge a battery for the buggy, and the Combine come after you in spades. After getting the buggy fixed, you'll take it for a spin along the beach until you reach the outpost at the top of the mountain, upon which you'll engage in a pretty fierce firefight with both troops and airships. No complaints and a lot of fun to play, as well as great map design, so I give it 5.0 out of 5!
www.planetphillip.com/posts/delivery-half-life-2-ep1/

Union
And finally we have a great 2-map set designed for Episode 2. Yet another "escape from Nova Prospekt" type map, but this one joins you quickly (in a "Union" -- get it?) with a Vort, who makes a great companion. The author has added some new touches specific to the Vort, such as the circular charge cylinders used to open doors; he further has forced you to assist the Vort by then going inside the door and finding a console button that will keep the door open or open an alternate route, so you both must work together. Toss in some Hunter battles to keep it interesting, and a doozy of a sniper's map at the end, and you have a heck of a good mod here. The ending is somewhat bittersweet, so I won't spoil it for you. Hats off to the author, and let's hope we see many more from him. 5.0 out of 5.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/union-half-life-2-episode-2/

Offline Starfox

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2008, 01:07:01 PM »
Good work on reviewing all of this bobdog  :ok:

I have to think of a way to include your work on the main site... For now I just provided a link in the Half-Life reviews sections back to this thread because... Well, I couldn't think of anything better. But that will come... hopefully...


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Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #41 on: March 09, 2008, 10:48:07 PM »
Part 21: Something Old, Something New
For this review, I've got two new ones and the final version of a previously released beta. I don't generally want to revisit a review of a previous mission, but in this case, I wanted to see if it met my expectations. But first, how about the new stuff.

Surgical Strike
The number of total conversions to HL2 are few and far between, so it's always exciting to see someone tackle one. In this case, we have mixed results. This mod is a student team effort, and as such, should be lauded. However, we've got some serious issues that accompany it. Let's check the positives first, shall we? The mod is three levels, two of which are fairly large, and feature all new graphical content. The NPCs (including an "Alyx" assistant) and enemies are all new skins, as are the weapons. And there is a story, although it's only found in the read-me -- something to do with a robot race that has come to conquer earth. So a pretty good start so far. But then....

The new skins are good, and slightly scary, but they still feature the original Combine and zombie sounds when they attack. Same with the weapons, which have the same firing sounds. And there is no voice-acting. I can deal with all these sound issues, because they are minor in the total picture.

However, the maps still need some fine-tuning. The first one was okay and well-designed. The second is a conveyer system that you have to ride certain parts, and it too is well-done. Unfortunately, the final conveyer that I needed to take into the next level did not work! Now, I pushed all the consoles I could fine, but I didn't get anything to work for me. If there was something I needed to touch to get it moving, it was not evident. So, I had to cheat to get the next map to start. Otherwise, I thought the second level had a unique design to it.

Now the third level was a gradually rising column with many different levels, and I noticed that there were three well-lit areas around the edge as you went higher that I needed to reach to advance; that much I figured out. So, when I reached the first one, I pushed the button in the middle, and a red light went on. All's well, right?! However, there is a ladder that you need to reach, and I could find no earthly way to do so. Thus, I noclipped up to the next level of the column. Same with the second button area, and same need to noclip to the next higher level. Now when I reached the third button area, I somehow hit a button just off-center. I then realized that I could hit all of the buttons in the hexagon, not just the center one!! Unfortunately, hitting all the buttons didn't do anything either. At this point (now at the third button), I noticed a piece of art on the sides of the buttons, and that it was different for all three areas. I now punched in the buttons corresponding to the art, and voila! It worked! This to me says there was some training that needed to take place to help me understand how to work the buttons.

But the showstopper is the serious bugs in the mod that force your computer to crash to desktop, anytime you shoot at the fast zombie replacement that has been created. From what I read on PlanetPhillip regarding this mod, the students modified the fast zombie with the new skin, but whereas the fast zombie loses his headcrab upon death, this mod has denied the loss of the head, which is causing fatal errors that will crash the mod. So in essence, you can't shoot the final enemy, and have to god-mode to finish the map.

What we have then is a very ambitious total conversion that succeeds partially in its efforts, but is hamstrung by the showstopping bugs that will crash your system. If they can somehow get it worked out, it will be a really successful effort, but for now, I've got to give it a 3.25 out of 5.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/surgical-strike-half-life-2/

Rot House
This is also a brand new level offered through PlanetPhillip. It's more a gimmick map, but it is interesting, at least. You must find 7 transporter beacons on the outside of a house and switch them on. However, the house continually spins on it's axis, making this just a little bit more challenging. Short map, but interesting concept. 3.5 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/rot-house-half-life-2/

Offshore
And finally, a replay of this lengthy (probably 6-8 hour) mod, which requires Episode 2 content. I liked the original beta, but it did have a few niggling issues. I'm glad to say many of them have been resolved. The mod does seem tighter and better optimized, and there is much less wasted time between set-pieces. You will still need to look around for grates to go between areas, and the mod is somewhat sprawling, with some backtracking required to get to new areas. Overall, though, it's a good mix of action, problem-solving and new gameplay. I did notice at least two or three new sets that weren't in the beta, as well as a working model of the Ep 2 car that you now get to drive.

Some gripes: 1) I still couldn't find a rocket launcher to fight off the flying pests, even though you'd find rockets on site. So, I just Impulsed one in hand. 2) Some direction would be appreciated so you don't go wandering all over a level to figure out how to exit. 3) One outdoor scene near the end could still use some optimizing because it goes into slideshow mode when you hit certain parts of the map. If you get lost, consider the walkthrough here: http://files.filefront.com/Offshore+Walkthroughdoc/;9754565;/fileinfo.html.

But other than these, I found it much improved from the beta, and I'm glad the author was able to address the critiques that came out of it. 4.5 out of 5, and a good contender for one of the Top 10 HL2 mods.
www.planetphillip.com/posts/offshore-half-life-2-ep2/

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2008, 12:20:04 PM »
Part 22: The Obscure, the Forgotten, and the New
It's been a slump lately for new HL2 maps, but I found some interesting maps to play through, and somehow managed to miss reviewing one that came out some time back. And also something new for you.

Something obscure: Blind Monks -- Interestingly, the best way to play this is with the monitor off and your headphones on. You see, some intrepid mod-maker has decided to "blind" you and use auditory cues to get you from one point to another, passing select tests along the way. In other words, the screen is completely black, but you'll hear sound from your speakers, forcing you to use your ears to steer through the obstacles facing you. The guides steering you are crafted in the "Monty Python" vein with their comments; i.e. sort of witty and Britty. The whole mod is supposed to last about 30 minutes, depending on how good your hearing is. I was able to make my way to the bell tower, skirt along the lake to find a wind-chime (and a pirate!!), back to the bell tower, and off on a wild woodpecker chase to find another bell. Unfortunately, I got lost from the woodpecker!! Still, for the ingenuity this mod brings forth, I give it 3.5 out of 5.
www.moddb.com/downloads/mirror/10400/2/960d46e03ab5f0e6b63ac0bf9eed8b3f

Something forgotten: Residual Error: City 34 Volume 1 -- I could have sworn that I already rated this thing, as I distinctly recall playing it. But, all's well for you for another map review. You start in a Combine citadel, and I assume you are some form of Combine soldier as you are able to pass through the blue walls. After grabbing some gear and weapons, you take an elevator down to ground level. At this point, you decide (for whatever reason) to turn against your makers, forcing both the Combine and the Resistance to fight you -- the Combine because you are a turncoat, and the Resistance because you wear a Combine uniform. And of course the Zombies are after everyone! The level design is a bit sporadic, but you do get some neat set pieces. In one, you'll cross a polluted river; if you look back over your shoulder, you'll see the Combine Citadel that you are escaping from -- kind of cool. In some other levels, you can use barnacles efficiently to wipe out hordes of zombies. Overall, not a bad effort, and hopefully we'll see better projects from the team if they continue. 3.75 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/residual-error-volume-1-half-life-2/

Something new: Crimson Dawn -- This is a very short, "Storm the Castle" type map, where you have a squad escort you into Combine territory. After an intense firefight with Combine troops, a Gunship will arrive to spoil the fun, requiring you to use a trolley up to the roofs, get the rocket launcher, and take the ship down -- all while being tagged by Combine coming from the roof. I'd say I was most impressed with the set design rather than the gameplay for this one. The initial view of the tower, and the Capitol Building that have been created are pretty good, but gameplay is a bit flat, and the map can be completed in about 15 minutes -- it might make a good single level in a larger mod, but that's about it. 2.75 out of 5
www.planetphillip.com/posts/crimson-dawn-half-life-2/

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2008, 10:04:17 AM »
Sorry for the lack of reviews lately -- it has been the doldrums for HL2 modding releases recently. Our buddy over at PlanetPhillip does have some new releases for HL2 and both Episodes 1 and 2, some of which I may review if they make the cut.

Most importantly, I am eagerly awaiting the release of Strider Mountain, which the mapper Leon indicates may be his final mod for the HL2 engine. Their news indicates the release is tantalizingly close. I can't wait!
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 07:16:53 AM by bobdog »

Offline bobdog

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Re: HL2 Mod Mini-Reviews
« Reply #44 on: April 29, 2008, 03:55:11 PM »
Part 23: You Mod Me Love You
I've finally gone through a number of the new mods that Planet Phillip has been listing and hosting (many thanks, PP!!  :ok:). Unfortunately, most of them suffer from various problems, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend that you play them. However, I am going to share with you the best Total Conversion (TC) yet created for Half-Life 2.

But first, the dross....

Shooting Range has been modified to allow the guns and rifles to use their ironsights, which is kind of cool. The first map is a shooting range to try out the new ironsights, while the second is based in a Nova Prospekt-type locale, replete with respawning zombies. The second map was buggy for me, with a phantom image of the ironsights on my screen at all time. Not to mention I'm not a fan of arena respawn maps. 3 out of 5

Cold Blood is another modification, providing an over-the-shoulder view of Alyx, as she enters a small facility akin to a Silent Hill episode. You'll have to maneuver Alyx from various camera shots, which is a bit difficult. You also do not have any weapons, so you must run past all the various zombies (made challenging by the changing camera angles). The mod was somewhat buggy and kept losing my preset keyboard commands through each map change. 2.75 out of 5

Farscape is another TC that provides new graphical textures, AI and weapons in a spaceship map based on the cult TV show. The enemy aliens you face against do still have Combine voices and their aim is 150% accurate, so I kept getting killed. 3.5 out of 5

Obscurity appears to be set on a battleship, but it has boxy layout, and the author plays mindgames with you. I think the only "mod"ification apparent are the tacky recolored weapons (Hmmm ... a translucent green machine gun ....   ::) ). 2.5 out of 5

Okay, enough suffering, so here's your reward. If you are as sick as I am of fighting headcrabs and Combine, you owe it to yourself to play Get a Life, which has done for HL2 what Poke 646 did for HL1. This impressive TC is set in a universe different from HL2, but still familiar, and features a new storyline, new skins, many new textures, new voice acting, and more, stretching over some 12+ hours of fun gameplay. At its heart, GAL is a zombie story with plenty of scary encounters throughout the mod's 24 maps and diverse settings.

The mod starts with a wake-up call as you head to work and traverse the subway system. You'll see many new textures and skins from the start. Once at work, all heck hits the fan, and the mod takes you through a bad dream sequence that helps to explain the new HUD and healing options for specific damage zones.

The skins for all enemy and NPC characters have been redone, some with some very eerie effects: headcrabs have become spiders, Metrocops have become a new type of enemy, as have Combine elite, gun turrets have been redesigned in a very cool way, antlions are now a very freaky and scary zombie style and fast zombies have become bruisers that also frighten the heck out of you. Yes, there are still zombies, but they have been given a great graphical makeover to make them truly scary and not someone you want to face in the dark.

Speaking of the dark, you'd better get used to it. Your flashlight is attached to a new flare gun, but you'll have to switch back and forth between your weapons and the light source as you enter a number of areas. All your weapons are brand new, with a couple of smaller pistols, one with a laser tagger, a machine gun, two with scope features, a shotgun, RPG and nailgun. All sound realistic and feel good. For several parts, you'll be without weapons, and these are truly tense moments.

Your environments vary from city surroundings, to sewers, cave systems, church catacombs, coastline, Arctic snows, laboratories, a large ship, and more. Mapping is very well done and features a variety of environmental puzzles, although one puzzle on the ship gave me fits (it's near the railing as you are about to leave the ship). I found them all very well done and fun to pass through. There's a VERY intense chase scene through the frozen wastes that causes some trepidation. And the ending ... yes, there IS a final boss battle. I can only say "shades of Nihilanth" as you try to figure out what to do. It's pretty cool.

The storyline is not fully explained and is a little nebulous, but it mostly makes sense. The only other minor gripe I have is that the enemy AI still has their original sounds and voices. But I can overlook that little nigglet, because this is a great TC. After playing every iteration possible in the HL2 universe, a mod like Get a Life is just what we need to see another view. My highest recommendation at 5 out of 5!!

I forgot, you might want to download the 1.1 patch from http://files.filefront.com/Getalife+patch+v11exe/;10091101;/fileinfo.html
« Last Edit: May 02, 2008, 12:03:40 PM by bobdog »