OK, I've finally gotten around to attempting to play these maps. I've solved the original problem, but another, and bigger, one now looms.
After opening each map, it's clear that Messiah is the first map because you start out in a chamber with a translator ready to pick up; this is not available in either Vengeance or Redemption. Then, presumably, Messiah will load into whichever of the other two is the correct subsequent map. So we've identified our starting point.
But the pak remains unplayable--at least as far as I'm concerned. Here's why. There's no readme but seems to be a fairly elaborate story because there are TONS of translator messages in these maps. In the opening chamber alone there are four-- one linked to a book by which a Nali is standing and three associated with people who are presumably your dead buddies. I say "presumably" because there's no way to know: you can't read the messages. You can pick up the translator and it will even give you the "press F2 to activate translator" message, but the translator doesn't show up in your inventory; and it will beep when you reach a spot where there's a message, but when you press F2 (or whatever key you've bound) nothing happens. If you summon a translator after you've picked it up, you can't pick up the new one; in other words, that behavior is normal--the game does register the translator as being in your inventory; the translator itself just refuses to respond. And yes, you do have an otherwise normally functioning inventory: you can summon anything else--I tried a searchlight--which you can pick up and use normally. It shows up there like it's supposed to, you can select it and turn it on, etc. I've tried this in both UT436/Oldskool and original Unreal 227i with the same behavior in both.
I've ghosted to a number of places in the map and attempted to read different translator messages further along. But it doesn't matter where, the translator never works. The bug doesn't carry over to the next maps in the "complex" three-pak; the translator works just fine in Vengeance and Redemption. But you can't get an idea of the overarching storyline by that point. Aside from localized gameplay info, your continually dead buddies (and you have a whole battalion of them) are saying things like "Take my weapons and carry on", but it's like missing the first third of a movie. The general plot is all set up, and after that it's assumed that you know what's going. Come in that late and you're totally lost.
I suppose it's just barely possible that this is purposefully scripted behavior designed for suspense--that maybe you need to trigger something further on in the map to get the translator working and then come back to read the initial messages. But I doubt it. I played a good way into the map and never came across any such trigger--and the continuing unreadable messages get increasingly frustrating as you continue moving along.
Bottom line: we've got a set of maps in which story is probably very important, but that story is kaput because of the translator bug--something, BTW, I've never seen in any other map.
I tried to use ucc.exe dumpint to get a list of translator messages per the third post in http://www.oldunreal.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/ ... 1432031744
, but even though I have UGold patched to 227i I still get the error message produced by the subsequent poster. (Same problem in the UT version of ucc.exe.)
The second poster in that same thread mentions translator events and name tables and my head starts spinning; but I did give it a go. I opened UED and poked around for a half-hour trying to make headway, but even after I opened the map all I could find was a generic translator-event script, nothing specifically from Messiah.unr itself. (I've never attempted to map and after a good deal of thought a year or so previously have decided I probably never will, so don't know squat about UED except that it's probably too complicated for me to learn everything I'd need to know just to solve this problem.)
Anyway, there's the issue. Does anyone have a halfway-workable solution that doesn't require hours' worth of reading up on UnrealEd? --and if there is no solution, I'd be grateful to know that too.