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04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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User avatar Jigoku
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Subject: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 10:53

Map Title: Ancient World
Author: Zora
From: Zora's Episode 3
Filename: ZM3Mobile.unr
Music Files: Fire.umx




Video Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLpxbpmuoMw

Synopsis: Time to take a lava bath...

Discuss!
I stay up late.

User avatar Sat42
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 12:17

LOL map.
I mean, I actually thought it was good for the genre (succession of trials sort of level), as it is very hard without becoming extremely hard (unlike the next map in this episode) and the environment kind of has a fascinating aspect to it.

But more so than before (probably because I've usually been playing increasingly better mods since then), the build strikes as being, well, poor. Only the skybox looks good and on a par with typical Unreal stuff. The natural terrain geometry isn't bad, though, and the general feeling of a... doomed world is somewhat carried through (it helps that the level is unforgiving). The choice of music (UT action track) is just bad: I spent over two hours struggling in here, so you can see how playing such a track throughout the entire playthrough can be aggravating.
No story, but I'll get back to that.
The Fire Slith ("Lava Worms") are cool, with napalm projectile attacks and a unique "flame out" effect when killed. The third screenshot shows an area where the action can get quite crazy (you start on the top floor, and the glass floor breaks as the fighting ensues and brings you down to next floor where the glass breaks again etc until you reach the bottom) and was especially welcome after some particularly annoying jumping puzzles.
Funny thing is, I played the episodes in the numerical order, but as it turns out you are "meant to" play them in the reverse order, which corresponds to the chronological order of the events. Of the overarching story, I mean. An overarching story! Haha, well yeah. There is virtually no such thing, but one instance where there is a story element linking two episodes is with this map... and its counterpart in Zora's Episode 4, also called Ancient World: then, the world is still pretty and full of life, with Nali "talking" to you; at the end of the level, the Skaarj attack and everything starts to blow up during a satisfying sequence, setting the conditions for the map to look as it does in Zora's Episode 3. This story is mentioned in a couple of translator messages that are found out of the way and hence, I never found them when playing the map - ensuring that I never got a taste of the tiny story here. I'm glad I played the episodes in the numerical order, though, because things generally improve if you follow this order.
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 16:38

From my review...

Review of Episode 3 wrote:Ancient World, the first map, takes place on volatile expanse of terrain seated uneasily around a magma lake. This level is interesting because it is a rare instance where prolonged lava exposure with an Asbestos Suit makes up the majority of game time. You’ll be finding and using up many gears of SCUBA to swim the inferno and you will even encounter some Fire Sliths. Many Unreal mappers have made their own versions of Nitrogen and Fire Slith, or other kinds of Slith. Zora’s attempt, like other special monsters in these Episodes, have energy skins akin to the Cryo Skaarj from the end of the mother game…every mapper’s trusty way of making enemies look extravagant without anyone asking questions. But Zora is cool enough to give these guys napalm projectile attacks and a unique “flame out” effect when killed. The hardest part of this level is the early bit when you do not yet have the Asbestos and have to pass a tedious jumping puzzle. This is followed by some interior segments that don’t look very interesting (big boxy rooms with unsourced lighting at the pack’s lowest, laziest point) and require you to break glass floors to reach lower levels, populated by Skaarj and Tentacles for the most part.

Speaking of which, Zora has a way about using the low-level critters that bugs you to the point where you are firing Eightball rockets at tentacles just because you want to see them explode…with fire. This was prevalent with biter fish in the previous packs, and boy will these guys show up at the worst times (like the police…or erectile dysfunction). Luckily you’ll have the provisions to waste a few rockets on these guys though, if you need a little violent catharsis. Technically speaking, there’s no reason why Gasbags and tentacles are stationed in levels with Skaarj other than to provide a combat challenge between every brain teaser…but by this point the Zora Episodes have proved that sensibility is not its objective. The only real problem past this point is that once you get the Asbestos Suit it’s possible to trap yourself in lava pools, since many of them cannot be exited once you’ve fallen inside. Chalk that up for another case of well-rounded trial-by-error and load button finger flexing.
Image

User avatar Sat42
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 18:47

LOL, someone uploaded the wrong playthrough :P

Told you there were two maps called Ancient World! :B
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

User avatar Semfry
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 19:45

Sat42 wrote:LOL, someone uploaded the wrong playthrough :P

Told you there were two maps called Ancient World! :B


Oh, it's the wrong one, I couldn't check because my internet's so bad today I can't even load Youtube, so I guess the playthrough will have to wait.

Edit: Nevermind I found the right one
Formerly Mman

User avatar Semfry
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 20:24

I guess my previous comment still applies:

The start of the level makes it look like there's lots of potential in exploration, but the execution spoils it. You're mostly in simplistic underground areas with annoying jumping challenges (the breakable glass part is kind of a cool idea though), and the end is simple to access when you know how, but requires tons of waiting/backtracking if you don't work it out (at least you get rewarded with a Berserker war). This is also a level that suffers from the fact you are supposed to play Zora's maps the "wrong" way around; the concept is much more interesting when you realise you are exploring the ruins of the Nali village from part 4.
Formerly Mman

User avatar Sat42
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Subject: Re: 04/05/2015 - "Ancient World" by Zora

Post Posted: 05 May 2015, 21:52

Ah, good, I wanted to see the playthrough for that crazy jumping sequence! Hehe, I guess feeling ethereal helps :P
Honestly, without cheats I don't think anyone could get the whole sequence right without reloading: I had to reload a lot, because I died pretty much at every stage of the sequence, sometimes repeatedly so (so I made saves every step of the way). It's doable, but not reasonable and I guess it would only fit in a BunnyTrack map (a game style I haven't actually tested due to lack of interest).
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.


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