Just pasting reviews here, to keep the package together.
AAAAllllrighty then, here goes:
1. The plot sickens:
What struck me most about this level, was the 'Blood feeling'. Possibly because city themed levels are my favourite anyway. I started to wonder why you start where you start. The model from the second level showed caleb at the rear-end of the building, but you start in the hallway. Also it was logically construncted and felt real. There wasn't an object unshaded. Lots of different scripted events that gave me several panic attacks. Like the alarm at the gunshop, and especially that hellish hound at the bookshop. Also in this bookshop I started too notice your brilliant enemy placement. There's no angle from which you can see every enemy. In the end, I just ran backwards into every room and kept firing left and right from the door. The level was also huge. At three different points I thought I reached the ending, though far from. The second time I played it through and I looked at a certain cashregister I started banging my head , could have saved me alot of trouble afterwards. I did notice a small bug at that second square, with the hospital. There's a sector higher than the other one and the wall reaches till the top whereas the building it belongs too is smaller. Also when looking at the map i noticed you used the s.o.s. thingy to cheat a little. The sewers can't connect to that toilet-room but it does. And what the hell is that piramid? Also it took my a while to figure out how to get to the fire key and the answer is as brilliant as it is simple. Kudos. Also nicely connected to the next level.
2. another huge level. Castles are my least favourite theme, but I think you pulled it off. The rooms connect real nice and it feels like a real castle. The jump over the graveyard is another one of things I wouldn't have come up with but it's a great find. However, your reward, if you get the key, is just plain evil. . A funny thing was the giant elevator downstairs. The zombieheads just kept bouncing 'till the end. The worst part I think were the weirdly coloured Tchernobog related rooms. The colours and shapes were just not my thing. The 'the-chosen-labyrynth, was cool though. I did notice another bug where you could slip under the tilted sides f the small opening next to the sealed of entrance. Andthe Chapel with the chanting just made me afraid to enter.
3. sky rage
seemingly not connected at all, though there's logic behind it, no? After learning the bombardement plan in level 2, Caleb is out to stop the planes or something. Though I must say, the wing-jumps are just too difficult. There doesn't seem to be a trick to it and I fell down thousandts of times. But it is quite a rush if you make it.
The numberlocked door gave me a real headache. There seems to be a s.o.s. bug when you descend the stairs just over the moon key-button and look up, it looks like a wall without a texture. All in all the layout of this level is alot less complicated but when you're jumping from one plane to another, that not you're biggest priority Besides every cool expansion needs a vehicle level and yours is the most spectacular Ive seen. Also the speaking statue was cool, it even bleeds if you fire at it.
4. chateau darkfrost
first off, the Bloodlines requirement for only one level is just a pain, no other way around it. (though BL has cool levels, I hated that Butler-guy) It begins real sweet.
That's something I noticed. You practically make cutscenes just with light and sounds. I like that, working with whatever means you have to make the most spectacular outcome possible. The whole things practically screams for a story and to be elevated to a higher level but, you don't. I'm glad to see this will change with RATM. I really liked it when you go through to little hedgemaze and hear the Star Wars reference, into the cold, cold mansion. The Freddy room was nice, but there were rooms with 20 enemies and just a powerup. If that is the case, one tends to skip the room altogether. But all in all, this is my least favourite level. The whole mansion lay out doesn't really impress me either: one big center room and a hallway with different rooms around it, and no second floor. I'm guessing you used up your best ideas in the previous levels and were just eager to finish it. (I know what it's like, lazyness near the end. )
Well you like your levels hard don't you? 200 enemies per level is alot. It was just barely manageble for me but I also suck at FPSes. I seem to remember it was created with co-op in mind, anyway.
The best part was the fact the whole thing just breathes Blood. A lot of costum levels deviate from the Blood concept, but you don't. You obey most of the rules in the Blooduniverse if it comes down to secrets ad stuff like that.
There were a few minor bugs like enemies stuck at certain points, but hell, that happens in retail-blood too.
All in all, I've played every expansion available, And I'd say this one belongs to the top (meaning above Plasma and CP). Bloodlines was neat, but it wasn't Blood. You're not lying when stating mapedit is an extension of your fingers, and you know what makes something 'Blood'.
(P.s. But an engine doesn't make the level great. It's the whole idea and creativity behind it, so I'd really like to see you making some TransFusion levels, as I believe that is the future for us Bloodites.)
I'll probably will make another review later on as I replay it because undoubtly I have missed a couple of things now.
(And more importantly, I seem to have missed out on the introductory McCoop (?) level. That's right, I read your deleted post. I want that, please?)
Ðædalu§ Ðeathmask -
Thanks a lot, oBe. An excellent review! I just hope Hellen doesn't read it and spoil it for herself, as she's going to play it soon.
On a whole :
There was originally going to be a storyline to Sin, but I scrapped it. There is sort of a reminiscent feeling that there might be a storyline hidden in here somewhere.
This is the third campaign I've made. It began with my 'Junk Campaign', which is simply attrocious. I then moved onto 'MJEXP' which was of better quality, but linear and stupid. I then made two standalone levels, neither of which were very popular. I then worked on these doggies.
There are several things I severely dislike about these, that I'm trying to rectify and perfect in RATM, for starters, I hide it well at times, but there is always the same layout; a single passage with 'pointless' paths branching out of it'. Horribly obvious for the most part in 'The Plot Sickens'. I'm killing this habit in RATM.
Also, a horrible habit in these was that I got 'excited' about releasing them and seeing what people thought. In every level, every one you can tell that the end of the levels are 'rushed'. By forcing myself to not release stand alone levels with RATM I hope to rectify this.
As you pointed out - the difficulty is nasty, as I am wicked. I apologise deeply for this. I did 'market research' a while back and discovered that I was foolish in my arrogance. I built the levels around the difficulty that was comfortable (well, borderline comfortable, actually!) for my friend and I. I now see that there are gentle Bloodites out there who don't like to be murdered every five seconds. RATM will have difficulty levels fully implemented for this very reason.
If you couldn't tell, these levels are strictly Single Player, as there is barely any continuity between the areas. This is some juicy information, but I basically had the common beginner mindframe that 'Bigger = Better'. I don't only mean in level length, as these levels are damn long, but in the 'mould' of the levels as well. They are basically built in such a way that the ending of the mission is in the furthest possible spot from the beginning. The result? For Bloodbath you'd have to walk for +/- 3 minutes to get to another area of the map. Unnacceptable. So, in RATM, I am taking the approach whereby there will be many passages leading back to earlier parts of the level, making it more realistic, comforting and overall enjoyable for the player.
As I mentioned above, the levels will probably be shorter as well. My tendency to make the levels absolutely massive like this is sickening, risky and unnecessary.
I do not make enough use of 'rooms over rooms' as it was a little intimidating to me at first. I plan to utilize this much more in RATM.
LESS GILLBEASTS FOR CRAP'S SAKE!
'The Plot Sickens' received a lot of love as it was my 'first' level I made using Plasma Pak technology. My favourite is the sequence when you exit the bar in the beginning. You might see those again in RATM.
The 'box' jump was another big no-no! People do not like jumping puzzles of this sort and it frustrated many of the guys over at Transfusion. I will make the jumping puzzles far simpler in RATM, and none as terrible as this one.
'Hall of the Dreaming God' I'm very proud of, but there's a lot of it I would change if I went back now. The boss sequences, although fun, are very un-Bloodlike. The gillbeast maze was idiotic. That pissed a lot of guys off.
'Sky Rage' was an experiment. While fun, it has many problems, as you pointed out. Falling is the name of the game here. Also simply by the level's nature is was very restricting. I couldn't expand as I wished. I'm not at all comfortable at producing metallic settings either. Metallic settings make atmosphere VERY difficult to produce, so, if ever I produce them in RATM, they will definitely be mixed with other textures. This, of course, was not possible in Sky Rage's instance. One thing I was really happy with in Sky Rage was the atmosphere in the exterior areas. It feels like the wind is really in one's ears!
'Chateau DarkFrost', again, was a lot of fun, but I thought on too large a scale, so it came out wanting. Idiotically I wanted to try my hand with Bloodlines' stuff, but as I pointed out, I won't do this again as it upsets people and deters them from playing. A really challenging bit was making the opening sequence believable, but I think I pulled it off quite well.
I'm sorry that my mansion disappointed! It's no 'Overlooked Hotel' or 'Haunting', that's for sure, but I wasn't really aiming for those. The whole place is basically one big 'edge of your seat', scary experience. I'm sorry that it failed to appeal to you, though.
MCCo-op01 is sort of the prequel to the Sin Campaign. Almost everyone who's played it has hated it and it has many, many flaws, but perhaps you'll find some joy in it. I'll send it to you soon!
Hmm, quite a mouthful, but I could go on for days. Hope you enjoyed the read! Thanks for the lovely review. Now you need only wait a year or more for RATM.
Thank you again.
Oh man ĐĐ, I wanted to write about that. I'm on the second map. I'm playing it on Lightly broiled, is that an okay choice?
anyways... I died like 6 times on the first map and I got mad and frustrated cos it's pretty hard. Then I solved it, and I thought, man, what else awaits me.. Then came the "Hall of the Dreaming God". Again, I had some frustrations at the start, but then, the postman rang my dorbell. I opened, and I got my second free Ipod Shuffle! Yea man! That got me totally pumped up, I went back and I castrated those monks and raped their mothers! I opened their chests and let their blood splatter all over my face! Their guts smearing my shirt like a fucking sponge Bob. And I loved it man.. It was like, total action.
After my adrenaline layed back, I came to that underwater labyrinth with all those Gill beasts, I died twice and I quit. I'll be back there right now.
I wanna say, the part that makes the Sin campaign pretty damn hard is, the ammo is scarce. That makes things really complicated at times, and you gotta use tactics. OMG those 50 zombies at the cemetary!! Blood everywhere! Guts and brains and eyes and limbs! It was like a perfect shower!
The design overall is great. I'd give it 8/10. Which is pretty damn good considering there are some overlapping sectors (Hall of the...God has quite those bugs). Man, your enemy placement in that store house was wicked... And I mean, I literally said like 10 times while playing your campaing - "Damn ĐĐ, damn you!! You had to do that to me??".
Clever enemy placement is gold in games like Blood! Gold I tell ya. But this is hardcore stuff. U gotta have nerves to walk your campaing.
And I didn't wanna give up and start over on "still kicking". Cos I can sure kick my way out when I wanna dammit.
Anyways, like I said, the first map was wonderfully designed, but a bit too hard for the starting level. It might scare away your potential players. Since we're hardcore, we like it!
The hall, had a great start. BTW, you can get that ammo at the beggining, without blowing up the upper room. I can tell you, when playing your levels, you better get all the ammo u see cos u'll sure as hell need it!
As I said, it head a great start, in means of design. But, further in game, it started lacking a bit of detail. Like, that underwater labyrinth. Filled with Gill beasts, but I personally don't like too much of underwater action, and it's a bit too straight forward, not the best design too, definately lacking in details. Anyways, a hard nut to crack, not just cos you're fighting enormous ammount of enemies, but you're also fighting with your resources.
Hard, can be annoying at times, but it's one of those things you can't stop coming back to.
Blood + Focus = Love · Faith is the key · Heretics and traitors cannot stand before us · Some games are self-perpetuating - Blood requires conscientious communal effort to survive · We are the last line · Ask not for whom the main menu animates · Blood's promotion and survival - all other gaming considerations are secondary · More than just a game · Need a hint? · Make a stand
Kazashi wrote:Daedalus, I don't care how much you know about Blood, your attitude has to change.