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I will post below my short reviews of each of the pack I recently completed playing.
Number One (that's terror)
Virtus Pack review.
Its been a while since I reviewed any Quake pack. I finished abyss of pandemonium after a long break earlier this year and I found myself wondering if there were any packs i didn't finish playing. Well yes, the commercial TCs or partial conversions like Malice, Shrak and SoA, but that's for another time. I did finish xmen and ended up removing it after raging in my review few years ago. I'd like to see that game as separate entry and not mix in with the Quake stuff honestly. I mean technically it was good, but the gameplay was terrible especially in singleplayer and its really bad they used the clones for repetitivness, the multiplayer was good apparently because you could play as all the different xmen yourself. Not in SP. God why...well because they did the shitty thing with the clones.
Okay well...there are other packs i didn't finish before and that I finished playing now and also one that I wasn't fully aware of. The pack in question is Virtus, that came as a bonus with the deathmatch maker editing program for Quake, this was a commercial release approved by id software. The maps are entirely just extras that you can use to modify or learn from, so you'd expect just some shitty example maps right? Wrong.
It feels like instead that this was going to be an expansion pack that for some reason got turned down and ended up released as a bonus for this.
Some of the maps are seriously less finished than others or have mistakes like a moving platform intersecting the base platform and other such nonsensical mistakes. Several of the maps are either called üntitled" or have the map title blank, which happened also to one particular qzone map.
But thankfuly the end credits reveal all map names in order so you will get to know that the missing map names are Underground Testing Station and
The first level being awesome while the second is one suffering from bugs and obvious unfinished design mistakes that it comes off as possibly the worst level of the pack.
This is not very long pack on its own and is mentioned as being a "demo".
One wonders how great the full expansion would have been if they got to make it.
This is one of few packs that doesn't replace start.bsp which is good. But it doesn't modify the progs entry so you need to launch the game with +map vstart.
Basically this pack has two episodes selectable and a final map. The second episode is really short with only three maps while the first has five of them.
Its pretty classic stuff you select your difficulty (including the hidden nightmare) and episode.
The maps difficulty is well balanced and sometimes a little on the easy side. Sometimes there could have been a little more ambient sounds and some of the map secret areas are unmarked as such. There are no new weapons or monsters except for the final boss and its a good one, he doesn't replace any existing boss so that's good too.
Now lets talk about the maps, the first episode is called military base because primarily that's what the maps theme is about. But don't worry, you don't fight only the grunts and enforcers and dogs, you fight a lot of other monsters, it kind of reminds of the first expansion pack in this sense. Some of the maps don't look as good like the max security prison could use some polish, and I imagine players will be confused by this map however I found the ideas challenging. Best maps are indeed the blank one Underground Tesing Station and in its interactivity kind of reminds of Quake 2. It was very reminiscent of the Quake 2 levels with the monorail. The final map is challenging but also provides helpful secrets.
The second episode is overall worse and first map is not blank but outright üntitled"and its a buggy mess of a map with misplaced moving platform that's supposed to somehow give a replacement for train? The empty square rooms elsewhere don't help this map at all. The second episode uses new textures more heavily than the first and there are really really good dkies used in this pack thorought. Those got to be the best quake skies i've seen on the plain engine.
Basically you start with the train station, end up on the "streets" and finish up in an office complex building and parking lots. Kind of like when Doom2 took to earth and cities and it also wasn't very convincing then (but that's only on the mapper, for example the xmen tc had some better urban maps and so did batman doom, some awesome city maps were there).
But it can be excused for lack of time etc.
Then you enter the final map after completing all this. And boy what a treat. This has to be one of the best final maps ever for any quake pack and in my opinion easily surpasses the original.
Final Confrontation is a master piece and the eery red sky is a win.
You don't just fight the final boss, no. You have to unlock multiple doors and go through series of challenges before you do. Those kind of boss maps are the best. The layout is fairly simple yet great. Floating platforms that aren't your standard squares are for the best.
The actual final boss fight is a little bit reminiscent of chthon, but you fight using your weapons only. The boss is some kind of a hell worm creature that must be somehow related to chthon (or was it cthon, i don't recall).
He attacks basically the same way but he has multiple spots in the arena where he can appear making the fight unpredictable unlike the C guy.
There is practically no story as the end text gives you some text about this demo and the credits list. But its good.
I wish that "zenimax" and co have done something like this instead of that overblown 25th anniversary pack that obviously reuses chthon as the final boss. This works pretty well and the model doesn't look embarassing at all compared to the original monsters.
So there you go. Pretty short and sweet pack. 7/10
Review of the conversion of the sega saturn bonus maps:
Eh, well apart from few bugs that I noticed they are alright. Finally
able to play these maps without any console or emulation whatsoever.
The watery grave map in particular is great and is reminescent of a certain quake 2 map but I like this better honestly.
I played this a bit ages ago but didn't get to really get much further.
Now I played the entire pack on hard mode. It didn't receive any patch and it should have. Because there was an instance of where Vore and Gold Rune key were at one spot in the Hard difficulty and the Key got destroyed thanks to that or the difficulty flags were not checked correctly.
That and the final map of episode 2 could not be completed reasonably after not having enough health left from last map. Those are the only two instances where I had to absolutely cheat. To make matters worse all the powerups were gone from that map while the first recorded demo trolls you with the powersups in the deathmatch mode. This is the same map, the difference is no powerups and hordes of monsters.
So...after describing the two bugs/oversights that forced me to cheat on two spots, let's get to descriving this. I mentioned qzone briefly when talking about virtus. Yes a map here also has blank title and unlike with virtus we never really get to know its intended title!
Well...enough talk and let's examine this.
What the heck is Q!Zone? Its a continuation in tradition of wizardworks releasing those "zone"addons for like every fps out there. D!Zone for doom was just a selected shovelware pack, while H Zone for Heretic and Duke Zone had actual exclusive levels and some of them were good afaik.
Now QZone has no shovelware content whatsoever from what I could see, however its episodes leave a lot to be desired and this might be the worst original "zone" content there.
In fact the map quality in this is so random and disjointed that the closest thing it reminds me of is Doom II. Yes. That game might be popular but the singleplayer rather sucked with all the random maps and gimmick levels.
This is the same story, gimmick levels all over the place, mostly DM maps (ironic since there's a DM Map episode that can also be played in SP except the final map has no ending).
Honestly if this was a little more polished this could have been very close to "what if" scenario with Quake 2. If Id Software had repeated the same steps as from Spear of Destiny and Doom 2. This is a very good approximation.
On the first sight you will hate some of it. But it isn't so bad once you realize you basically play an wquivalent of Doom II here.
There are new models in here and their quality isn't too great, but they are better than Shrak's for example. Those models were both intentionally and unintentionally terrible and disgusting. This is a different story, the models are of lower quality than Quake but they are not outright terrible, they are just meh and weird. I wanted to compare this pack maybe to Quake 2 Juggernaut but maybe that slot is better reserved for Shrak, so no, this is different...
Sometimes its hard to compare all these releases because some of them sit somewhere in the middle.
But yea, don't forget that wizardworks was a sub division of GTi, so in theory these are basically discount bin addons, no more or less valid than all that official stuff made canonical. In theory but still, the current maintainers shouldn't have a say whats canonical official or not. This was an approved addon and you can't change that.
I am not going to however review something like Q2 addon. Not Quake 2, but Q2 for Quake. It is not shovelware but I heard there are just too many maps that are basically copy and paste and there's no ending to them at all and you play them separately. Thanks, but no. And the approval status of that one is disputed as well and had nothing to do with wizardworks or any of those companies. So Q2 I will definitely give a miss. I have to set some limits here.
So, we mentioned new models...well
there's a weapon replacement for the nailgun. I have no clue why replacement if there are new monsters without them replacing old ones, but okay whatever.
It replaces nailgun but is supposed to be called the slicer. Its something like the razorjack in Unreal. Fires shurikens. Pretty neat even if a bit ugly.
Now there are no new items or powerups. Yes, forget about all that. Forget about multitools and international peacekeepers. You will only get GUTS.
Couldn't resist making a malkavian mod reference yet again....
So...yes there are three episodes and one fourth dm one that can be played in SP except there's no ending.
Honestly you could throw out all the DM and gimmick stuff and you'd end up with a decent pack that would be like episode and half long at best.
The last to final E2 map was also pretty irritating as the gimmick doesn't work always that well and you have to do trial and error. Basically it is using the wind pipe "zones" in a very peculiar manner and the entire level is above lava pool. Its basically just floating platforms in the air connected in strange ways with those "wind tunnels". Good luck figuring it out and most of the time you end up falling and dealing ton of damage to yourse;f. Which is critical in next level.
Okay that's most of the garbage out, but apart from some lazy design there are some enjoyable levels and moments of ingenuity.
As for monsters, well...there's this green dude that is like a zombie and he flails his arms around and his eyes shine in the dark and he comes in two variants or three if you count the sitting chair ones...that appear on an airplane level in the dm episode.
Basically his sounds are annoying but the other variant fires something even more annoying. He carries a gun with him and he can shoot this other new enemy from it. Yes, from a gun he shoots/spawns enemies. They are flubber like creatures and its like a combination of a spawn and a zombie. But without eyes or anything. It sounds like something out of synreal. Very disturbing. But it can get used to after a while.
Next there are enemies partially based on grunts and using their sounds primarily too. Except they are headless enemies. It makes me wonder if the serious sam enemies got inspired by this. There are like three variants and i couldn't tell difference between two of them honestly, but one of the variants can sometimes fire a spread of three projectile fire. Again, similar stuff happens in Serious Sam. So I wonder if there's any correlation there.
Next up we have...umm yea those boss enemies, multiple of them act as a final boss while you encounter a single one before at one point.
It looks like kind of like an alien (xenomorph) egg, with legs and it lays dormant until you awake it or piss it off. Then it starts walking around but its invulnerable until its attacking and spitting stuff and opening its "hatch". This is fucking weird. I never expected that. You need to kill four of those as the final boss of episode 3...
Oh and I forgot to mention. There is an enhancement to the thunderbolt. It now fires bolts that reflect off walls so you will have easier time dealing with enemies around the corner. So apart from shurikens that is your best bet.
So yea...this is so random like Doom II for Quake except slightly worse.
That's it, the three reviews for now...quite long if I want to keep it to a single post.
Sometimes I wonder if there shouldn't be an addon called "That's terror"
And when you select the episodes it would tell you "You enter the realm of terror. Terror of Terror Awaits you."
Episode 1: That's Terror
Trent "Terror" Reznor being the final boss of it all...
Also sorry for the typos and stuff, I wrote the reviews separately into text files that I wrote on a broken keyboard and I was pretty tired.
Aftershock for Quake
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