- Title: The Tragedy
- Author: Westley Merlin
- Platform: Unreal Gold / RTNP
- Category: Small Campaign
- Review Score: 7%
I seriously didn't know whether to laugh or cry!Firstly, I must apologise to the author for taking months or maybe even years to respond to his request for a review of this two-map pack - however, since the author's web site is long gone, I don't expect he'll be reading this any time soon. I suspect that this is a good thing, because when I opened up the pack in Return to Na Pali, I seriously didn't know whether to laugh or cry!
I understand that this is the author's first release. Well, let me tell you, its gameplay puts Unreal Zero to shame! As you proceed through the two very short maps, you encounter a heaving mass of Brutes, Mercenaries and Skaarj with little or no logic to their placement or function. Random events seem to happen and you find yourself tossed around by never-ending earthquakes and running through solid walls and default-textured movers, whilst whacked-out dynamic lighting effects flash and an insane mélange of ambient sounds surrounds you. Several music tracks are used, but you won't hear them because of the cacophony, and I couldn't tell you now what they all were.
The design is of boxes and cylinders, with a couple of spheres thrown in. It's completely random and only begins to make sense in the very last area - that's where the one point for architecture comes from. Textures are from all over the place and are either completely unaligned or insanely scaled and distorted for no apparent reason, as if the author has been scaling brushes to extremes - additionally, several "effect" textures are used in completely inappropriate places. This is as close to "not present" as texturing ever gets. One room containing a massive generator (that will likely have you taking a dip in hot lava to progress) is particularly insane, as pictured below.
There are no scripted sequences, although there are several broadcast messages and translator messages that you simply won't have time to read amid the chaos that is this map. There are several new creature and item classes, each seemingly requiring its own .u file in the very small archive, and take the form of existing classes with altered properties and random skins. I didn't even have a chance to pick up the modified Flak Cannon before I was whisked away to somewhere completely different, and I didn't stop to fight the transparent, lava-textured Warlord in the generator room. I spent some time fighting the big bad end boss, but left after I realised that you didn't need to kill it to complete the map, so I don't know how difficult the fight would have been!
At the end of the map you are dispatched to the Unreal castle flyby feeling thoroughly confused about what you've just spent your last fifteen minutes doing.
SummaryI wonder what Westley Merlin could have come up with if he had continued mapping and tried to make something remotely normal: but that, I imagine, we shall never know. If you're up for something brief and totally insane, then this is the pack for you: if not, then avoid. A tragedy indeed.
|BuildThe combined value representing the technical quality of the level's construction.||8%||CastThe combined value representing the imagination and reasoning behind the level's conceptualization and design.||6%|
|ArchitectureImagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.||1||Conceptual GrandnessScale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.||0|
|TexturingUse of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.||0||Story ConstructionBacking story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.||1|
|LightingLighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).||1||Story ImplementationProgression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.||0|
|SoundUse of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.||1||Gameplay AweQuality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.||1|
|Technical ExecutionTechnical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.||1||Gameplay BalanceBalance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.||1|
Final Verdict: Atrocious