Entry to UnrealMUSIC:
Orch.umx (based on Orchtest.umx or the RTNP ending theme)
The mysterious Entry prison mini-map will be expanded and used as some sort of introduction scripted sequence, which is typical of today's games now. You can only walk around the cell for a bit, then you will be taken throughout the prison complex by UMS Marines, getting eventually into a landed Vortex Rikers ready to take off (the prison complex is in some Terran-conquered planet; you don't get to see much aside a very beautiful space-y sky for a brief amount of time).
During the cutscene where the marines take you to the Rikers, you'll get to know why your character is a prisoner and why he/she is (no forced gender here!) being sent to a moon prison to be sentenced to death.
For the record, P849's crime has never been made official but the most legit one comes from the novel and also from the ISV-KRAN level description (tldr: was commissioned by somebody to hack in one Inuit's computers to steal plans for a mysterious military warship, in change of money. P849 had to kill guards during this operation but was eventually captured). The Vortex Rikers takes off to this moon as seen in a cutscene.
You regain the control of P849 (walking only) inside the infamous Rikers cell, locked with a purple forcefield (which was a thing in early versions of the map for some of the cells); after a minute or so of hearing the guards and nearby prisoners, shit happens and alarm goes on - the pilots have lost control of the Vortex Rikers and it's crashing onto a planet. Situation easy to imagine.
Not a brief intro but pretty minimalistic in terms of things being shown and said. Think of it a bit like Souls games - you don't need much else to know. The proper next, full-blown cutscene won't happen until after 20+ maps, after the Sky Islands; anything else is more of a spectacular (or not) event that you watch for yourself when you control your character.Vortex RikersMUSIC:
Vortex.umx (2nd section is much louder)
The upper bed of your cell fell upon you during the crash, knocking you over; you wake up struggling to get that thing out of the way.
The map will generally act the same as it did, except for the fact that instead of random explosions, various things will just break down as you go around - causing of course explosions if it is a falling lamp or something blowing up a computer, or a malfunctioning door. The ship has crashed for long now; I never understood why in Vortex you'd see explosions all over the place - was the ship blowing up? Didn't make much sense.
The small locked door in the prison area appears to be slightly semi-open and for a half second you can see something passing behind it (the Skaarj). The torture room is LOCKED now.
You must still go through the vent shaft; the other end is closed with a gate but P849 can easily punch it down automatically.
The Kevlar Suit forcefield button is now located on the floor rather than on the ceiling because emergency things MUST not be to be counter-intuitive for people. The MedLab has enough health to fill yours to 100.
The Skaarj scene acts in the same way, though when the door opens up you'll see the Skaarj gruesomely ripping in half one of the bodies, spraying blood and organs all over (this is an answer to the unexplained "gibbing" you see when the door opens up). The DP will be picked in a more scripted fashion: you'll realistically crawl and pick it up rapidly when you approach the group of the other dead bodies. The Skaarj will escape a bit slower here but he'll easily manage to dodge any DP bolt. If you are fast enough chasing him, you will see him breaking the door to the hangar room (just like how it is in-game) but he will escape toward the direction of the bridge area, NOT to the emergency exit (technically, that didn't happen in the original game too - did he really go in the direction of the bridge area?).
Now you can exit the map in the same typical way, or you can actually go back to the bridge area throughout that unused mini corridor (you know it) that connects the hangar to it; the doors are unlocked from there. As you go back to the bridge, you see the Skaarj throwing at you the large iron bar that blocked the crew berth entrance (the other unused area) and that can damage you. You can chase him in this new area but he'll be too fast now and he'll permanently flee.
This crew berth section leads you to a new set of areas (most of it is destroyed) that contains the Rikers' engine room, never seen anywhere in the original one (there were some areas that led to other exits in one version of the map though). Here you find some items - clips, voicebox and forcefield - and a way to climb up to the top of the ship. This is an alternate exit from the Vortex to Nyleve which is permanent once you drop down from the ship itself, as you can't climb above anymore and therefore unable to return inside.
This area will also lead you back to the prison area, throughout that door on the second floor: you can force-open it from behind with some emergency controls; from there you can also unlock the torture chamber which just has the same event, except in a more spectacular way. It will grant you a bonus achievement, lol.
Nyleve's music will start as you exit from the ship's ceiling but it will turn off you go back to the Rikers.
The emergency exit works in the same exact way but going for it will permanently skip the optional new way out.Nyleve's FallsMUSIC:
The emergency exit will be like how it was in the 1998 beta - a straight, rising corridor (just a bit longer this time for the scenery buildup) that comes straight from the Rikers' back side. So you'll face the direction of the falls and with it the far mountains, the sky, the sunspire in the distance, probably some other shit in the sky distance like an industrial complex, some sight of a sky island, a much larger fall, palms/trees over the mountains like how Nyleve originally had them, etc...
Basically this would be the strongest graphical showcase of the game in an era where games are dominated by this now, which is not an easy feat - considering Nyleve was pretty much known to be the visual dominator back in the day, there's a lot to do here to make it shine in a similar way in the 2017 era. You have two suns here! And a weird planet atmosphere, where two suns don't burn things alive and when the sky still appears to be quite dark greenish. Yeah, you have a lot of source material here.
This is still around a gray chain mountain, not everything has to be a fucking green jungle. It's an alien planet, which means a lot of liberties can be taken when designing the environment style. The background scenery should at least foreshadow important locations of the game.
Getting yourself out of the Rikers, be it from the top or the bottom, will bring a temporary bloom effect to your eyes because of the high brightness (two suns) with some accompanying loud sound like Call4. The Vortex is much larger here, and it's found way closer to the edge of the fall.
Another foreshadow: going to the direction of the Biterfish pool (biterfish here will be vast, harmless fish schools who will be afraid of anything) will trigger a huge thunder far in the sky and with it the Call8 Queen sound. Right there you will see in the far lands an unnatural storm - the position where the Mothership is located. This should at least address the reason why you hear the Call8 sound near that fish pool in the original game.
Regarding the lake down the fall... it's a river now. Both its extremities will now end with long waterfalls, to unseen parts of the canyon (think of like large mountain openings). Of course it's a long fall so you die if you jump out from either side, and the water's strong current, which was in the original game, now finally makes sense.
The Warlord scene will NOT get in; instead this time the Warlord will be briefly seen hanging in the background mountains (above the big waterfall), surrounded by a black smoke. He'll then teleport away.
When going through Nyleve, and also Rrajigar and Chizra, you'll hear sounds but the one you'll hear the most is the Manta's Call sound (forgot the number, 1 I believe?). It will play sometimes at very high volume and also when you are indoor.
The level at its core will be the same, except it will include the discarded Hub sections from the 1998 beta version of Nyleve, which will be in full use here. Check those sections from my UBeta walkthrough as I'm assuming you are already aware of those.
The way to Sacred Passage is at first locked - there's no electric power in the Nyleve's external Rrajigar bunker aside from some lights turned on. The elevator to the Dark Arena also doesn't work, of course. The power switch is in the final large area of Rrajigar, so overall you'll still be forced to go through the mine first.
Regarding the enemies:
- The Manta will fight in the same way, enjoying circling more around its prey. This time its attack isn't anymore contact-based but instead animation-based like almost all other enemies in the game. Manta will fly faster and in a straight direction when doing the tail attack, losing a bit of height as well.
- Tentacles' projectiles will damage less but will be faster and will have a 3-seconds poison effect on you, dealing 1 hp of damage per second (ignoring any armor except for the ShieldBelt) plus a movement slow. If they are right near you (below you and not too far) they'll go full HL's Barnacle mode, very quickly. Not very damaging and you can still kill the Tentacles in time.
- Lesser Brutes will walk faster when they aren't shooting. They will also have a special firemode where they load up to shoot four homing rockets, requiring cover most of the time to dodge them. They can also shoulder smash for stunning targets up-close. The berserk mode (that's triggered when their health is low, like usual) will have a bull-style charged shoulder smash; this one, when used against light targets, will send them flying away for a few meters, making them fully vulnerable to the Lesser Brute's rockets.
Entering Rrajigar works in the same exact way, except this time you can exit from it anytime to return in Nyleve (not exactly pointless as Nali Fruits will keep growing from vegetation decorations instead of being pickups).Rrajigar MineMUSIC:
SharedDig.umx (songsections will be used like in the released game)
It's two levels combined into one, you can go back to Nyleve any time, the caves (including the secret ones) will be slightly larger, the lava is insta-kill (therefore all those escape ways are gone) and all those game-y level design decisions that wouldn't make any sense in a real place (the moving bridges, that whole moving cart section at the beginning of Map 4, the large fans dragging you in, being forced to use a crate elevator to climb to the second floor - you get it, there are too many to list) getting the fuck out of there, replaced with anything that would make any normal human capable of going from the beginning to the exit of the whole Rrajigar Mine with zero trouble. This is going to be true for pretty much any map, especially Cliff's ones.
The voicebox cannot be found here, you would get it in the Vortex instead as mentioned in the post above. It's going to be an enemy-luring item that can be used for an infinite amount of times (you can pick it up again after use), however enemies will eventually destroy it if they stare at it for too long; some of them will outright shoot or crush it.
The Skaarj debut scene is a bit more dramatic. The noise of lights shutting down will be much louder, the passage locks will now have a second bar on top of the first one. The Skaarj can now appear from any direction regardless of when you saved the game.
Skaarj types will be more distinct this time in terms of fighting skills. Skaarj Scouts
are the weakest ones but still obscenely strong early game (you'll encounter much less this time around in Rrajigar and Chizra). Warriors can now wall jump (can also wall run) for additional dodges or wall jumping just to dive onto you with a melee attack. They can also shoot you while in air or during dodging. Much more movement freedom, much less combat predictability!
A special interaction command will force Nali
to teleport away (they won't if they want you to bring you somewhere), and they'll do it really fast. Interact with every Nali. Save all of them. Achievement.
This interaction button is the enhanced version of the "Grab" one that's been in Unreal. Buttons/Levers are activated with this command (but an old-school style option is a thing). Almost every elevator in Rrajigar (and for the rest of the game) now has a panel which requires manual activation. It's always a very fast process though.
A recap of all the Nali events in this map:
- The Stinger one is essential for getting the weapon as it isn't found anywhere until Dark Arena. The ammo for it is still around though.
- The DP Power-Up one is made less annoying. No more explosive barrels, which means less chances for the Nali to die.
- The Nali conveyor belt secret now works differently. No more those "conveyor belt tunnel" doors that lead to just brick walls (that makes no sense) but instead the Nali will move around the cartwheels in a way so the player can climb on the upper floor of the room (unused in the original version but seemed always quite spacey for being useless) and get items there (the same ones as before).
The broken wall path that connects Rrajigar Mine with the Depth one (like in the beta: where there's that Skaarj working on a panel in the second map and you can blow the explosive barrel next to him) is retained.
The little room before the lava cave won't be accessed anymore through a small pit, there's now a staircase. Same with the nearby Tarydium cave, you can now activate an elevator from the upper floor to go down or up.
The falling wooden bridges in the lava cave will hardly break - only one plank or two will fall.
The fan area, that isn't hazardous anymore, leads to a much better looking security room. It will open the way to the second part of the Rrajigar like before but it will also unlock some shortcuts in the first part of the mining complex (like that door behind the first Nali you encounter that in the original game it unlocks without any explanation - now you do it manually there late in the map).
's armor is now effectively an armor and not a visual skin only. Aim for the head or any exposed part - otherwise bullets will do hardly any damage, including explosive stuff as well (they are made to resist explosion damage, just like in the original game). They don't fight any differently from the Lesser ones, except stronger melee damage and higher health.
Some notes regarding the weapons. Each one comes with a special "tertiary" feature:
- Dispersion Pistol's recharge rate is very fast now and the projectiles have a 15% damage boost per every upgrade; bolts will be however slower. The special firemode is a rainbow plasma bolt which consumes all the DP's ammo: charge the secondary fire like normal but also hold the primary fire, and the DP will have a white-colored charge-up. If the charge-up is discontinued, nothing happens; the charge-up will work like the secondary fire and takes a lot of time until the super bolt is shot (it will also be shot instantly when the charge is completed like always). Bolt is extremely damaging with a vast splash damage, able to outright kill the player if he's too close to the explosion. It can however one-shot just about any normal enemy, provided you're able to hit them as the bolts go really slow. The ammo recharge rate after this super shot will be also temporarily nerfed. Amplifier doesn't work with the DP anymore.
- Automag deals 13 hp per hit now instead of 17 and can carry 300 ammo. Dual Automag is now a thing though! - and that's the special tertiary feature of the gun. The ammo is shared between mags (150 each); compared to one Automag, your ROF increases but the accuracy decreases. This isn't all however - won't say what now though.
- Stinger works the same but it gains a new feature that's very similar to Halo's Needler: shoot a lot of crystals on an enemy (their presence will linger on the victim's body for 2 seconds or so) and they will react causing internal body explosions, aka bonus damage. Player will be unaffected by the explosions. Stinger's secondary fire is a great way to ramp up crystals on a body and crystals between bodies will also react together, causing bigger chain explosions. It works on anything organic, even dead bodies. The explosion extra damage is based on the starting HP of the enemy: higher the HP is, stronger the explosion damage will be. This makes the weapon at least useful for the whole game.
- ASMD Shock Rifle has no technical changes but will do slightly less damage across the board (combo will have the "black hole" fatality effect on killed enemies like seen in UT3 and UT4). The Amplifier will only work with it, use of it encouraged due to the ASMD's nerfed damage: the primary fire will pierce anything and will set the target on fire (fire debuff will stack per every shot); the secondary fire on impact will be such a devastating flaming bomb of orange energy. Let alone the amplified combo (which will take half Amplifier energy). The ASMD is the only weapon that cannot be used underwater.
The ASMD secret in Rrajigar is still there but replaced by some sort of locked tank full of Tarydium inside. Its door requires an Eightball rocket to be blasted off - so you need to go through Chizra first and then return to Rrajigar. The weapon will be there alongside one core (that's all what you find ASMD-wise in Rrajigar) and if you miss them you'll have to wait until Harobed to get one, as it is not found in Chizra either (at a certain point of the game you cannot return anymore to Nyleve's HUB).
The last Rrajigar area, looking as good as ever, has some changes. The underwater secret is now an actual water tank on the floor; you can't break the bridge anymore but if you return here with the Eightball you can destroy the tank door with a rocket: there's a SuperHealth
hidden inside. These health items will be extremely rare and will now instantly replenish up to 500 hp.
The gas tanks (now much larger) are now put inside a special room in the same location. You still have to turn the valves to blow them up, causing gas leaks all over the place in Rrajigar and putting it temporarily out of commission for mining (causing also even more earthquakes, I'm assuming the mine sits in a volcanic area). This will make overall a bit more dangerous a return to the mines after Chizra when you have to get the ASMD and SuperHealth secrets.
After the gas tank event, the Rrajigar's final security guardpost in the final area will open like in the original game and from there you can turn on to the max the electric power in Nyleve, so you can access Sacred Passage and therefore Chizra.
Back to Nyleve. The Skaarj mining bunker/outpost you're in will now have its lights turned on. The elevator to Dark Arena actually works; this time the way to Dark Arena, compared to the beta version, is much longer and goes to a different direction - not toward Sacred Passage but actually around the mountains above Rrajigar mine. In Unreal, based on the locations seen in the skybox from Nyleve, you go in a clockwise direction. It's a long path filled of medieval-style ruins until you reach the white, currently locked doors that mark the entrance to Dark Arena (including a massive gateway/wall of sort straight out of a Souls game); the sky & lighting will also become more gray/white as you come close to the doors, viceversa if you go away.
Sacred Passage is the same, except the walls of the passage itself seem more old, have a more Mayan-feel to them and they're taller. Overall most of the ancient locations and the landed ship will look much more grand and imposing than before.
No Skaarj Warrior yet here. Instead you'll face the first Devilfish
in the pool. With water visibility being nerfed for player characters, it's quite hard to see things. Instead of simple bites, Devilfish will leech on a part of your body and will damage you relentlessly until they are killed. You'll swim much slower when you are under attack; multiple Devilfish can attack you simultaneously, boosting up damage dealt and lowering down the player's movement speed even more. They are still fragile however, and weapon efficiency in water doesn't change (exact same as in Unreal/UT, exception being the ASMD immediately switched out when you are underwater).
The optional pool chamber of Sacred Passage is not accessible at the moment.
Once opened, the door to Chizra won't close. However it doesn't matter at the end of the day because after the first area of Chizra, you drop down that hole and you can't climb back up anymore.Chizra - Nali Water God TempleMUSIC:
Chizra.umx (no SETI.umx), Chizrash.umx (aka Watcher.umx with its beta name)
Chizra and Ceremony back together as just Chizra. The temple will be more of an indoor visual show with a lot of vegetation and post-midday sunlight, and the water will also "magically" shine (giving a bigger emphasis on the magical aspects of the game, which were very inconsistent and rare in the original version). Shining water will also flow through bricks in the more important areas.
The main gimmick will be overall saving all the Nali within the temple. There are fewer of them this time around but they're still in danger, especially due to Slith that will attack them on sight.Slith
will now "puke" acidic saliva instead of shooting slime orbs. The acid puke travels very fast (almost insta-hit) but they need to get close to their targets. Slith can accelerate their movements at times (timed sprints) and can "slide-slith" too. They can sprint with melee attacks too, making them more aggressive.
In water they are insane. Their swim speed is doubled compared to the players', and can tear down anybody in seconds with melee attacks, way more effectively than they did in Unreal. However they cannot spit acid underwater. Their immunity to acid remains.
Overall they are much more dangerous and you have to consider there's no ASMD in your hands yet and that you might have missed the Stinger in Rrajigar. However you have a stronger DP and more Automag ammo.
Progression on the map doesn't change in any way or form. Some vital changes as follows:
- The pool with the platform on the middle of it that has the pillar button to open the next corridor, right after you encounter the first Slith - no more tiny bridge connecting to it. Just swim to the pillar.
- The two-rooms large area with all the wooden bridges - the buttons on the torch pillars are much more visible.
- The water cylinder cell thing in the room accessed from the area with the moving platform is now replaced with some sort of glowing stone, with water flowing in it. If you get the Eightball and shoot a rocket at it, it will break and the secret to the mirror room will be permanently opened.
- If you are inside the mirror room the music will temporarily stop and you hear a constant high-pitched whistle and the colors will lose saturation. You need to look yourself in the mirror.
- The Pool of Thunder's lightning effect will work just once (now with a big flash) and it will slowly restore your health to 200. The Skaarj Scout still ambushes you, lol.
- The wooden bars destroyed by the magic lightning strikes in the Pyramid room are now replaced with some sort of wide stone seal (lightning blast show for just a bunch of wooden bars is dumb).
- The portal room is re-designed. You'll have it face to face immediately and the surroundings will be more mystic in nature.
The passage to the Ceremony side has a visual explanation on why it opens. When you pick up the Eightball on the pillar (scripted event / mini-cutscene) you will notice it was sticking in its floor, in a hole of the same shape - holding a mechanism that locked said passage. Nali did this probably to lock as much as possible Skaarj from going between temple sides and to force their messiah to help them in the temple part. And if Skaarj did figure out the trick, they would have still left the weapon on the pillar in order to slow down P849.
This Eightball holds 24 rockets.Eightball
still has forced center-view. The weapon has a more modernized look and will now have a mini-panel which tells you if the charging rockets are in spread mode or unified mode. The grenades also have two special charge-up modes (press primary fire to switch them while holding the secondary fire, like the opposite of how you do it with spread/unified rockets); the alternate mode for the secondary fire is grenades exploding on impact instead of bouncing.
The weapon's panel will also show a countdown for the lock-on rocket feature, which is now silent.
Rockets and grenades have this special feature here where they can break certain doors or items, something reserved for SECRETS ONLY (I don't want to give headaches by forcing people to shoot rockets into things in order to proceed, that sucks).
group encounter is still there. Their AI is the exact same and they'll be also capable of shooting their tail needle. Works like the Tentacle's projectiles with the same poison effect, except the Fly's ones are faster and more accurate. Downside is that they can only shoot one needle max. They can also shoot while on ground. Lastly, they move around faster and more erratically.
Regarding the Ceremony side (music is still the same), the lava chamber is gone and replaced with a brick wall like in the beta (that lava room was never supposed to be in Ceremony). The Nali in the spire room will be placed in a more sensible spot and he'll be guarding a Seed
this time. Seeds are stronger here because they will create a huge plant, and this plant will be able to grow an infinite amount of fruits at a moderate speed. And it will last forever, until to the point you can't return to the place where you used the Seed in.
The water pools in the Ceremony's pillar rooms do not heal anymore. Nali can also slowly swim.
The SCUBA Gear
is located next to a dead body found in the canyon part, underwater (killed by a Slith). The SCUBA Gear will work like the RTNP's one, so it's infinite. Of course you will find other ones during the game but they will be of no use as long as you have already one.
Regarding drowning damage, just like in the original Unreal it will ignore any armor and will deal 2 HP per half second. Shield Belt will however block drowning damage regardless if you have a SCUBA Gear or not, and it will also increase your underwater visibility (the shield blocks water, duh).
A resume of the three main armor items:
- Kevlar Suit will give resistance to fall damage. Falling from a certain height won't slow you and won't shake the screen when you touch ground.
- Assault Vest has a %50 chance of completely blocking certain damage if it's low enough.
- Shield Belt will make you impervious to poison damage (unless the poisoned strike destroyed the shield), will give extra visibility underwater and won't make you drown.
When you approach the outdoor canyon part, you may be able to notice for a half-second a flying black figure in the sky, followed by a loud wind noise.
Ceremony will end like usual; the level design of the last cave will be played around the geography of the location so the exit is closer to Nyleve. At the end of the boat ride you'll reach a bunch of small ancient tunnels that will lead you straight to the Sacred Passage's pool chamber (similar to how it was done in the beta, except that was more of a secret) and therefore back to Nyleve (the generator area in Nyleve's mining bunker doesn't have a second floor anymore to make space for the Dark Arena pathway).
With the Eightball in your hands (Ceremony side comes with a lot of ammo, hard to run out of it) you can go back to Rrajigar and get the ASMD and SuperHealth secrets (your last chance). Otherwise you'll be heading to Dark Arena. You notice a seal on the large doors that can be opened by sticking the Eightball in it and turning the thing around (scripted event here where all the rockets are unloaded and the player char will trigger the Eightball like it's charging rockets, so the cans will turn around) - same seal shape seen in the Chizra temple when you picked up the weapon, so perhaps the Nali might have accidentally considered the weapon to be a sacred artifact instead of the real, unseen one. Giving more sense to the story, overall.
These large doors will not stay open for long, and cannot be opened from behind - this is a point of no return!
You will enter some sort of large ruined courtyard, slightly based on the theme of Dark Arena. On the opposite side, another set of large doors closed with the same Eightball seal. Approach it and...
...Something seems to appear. The flying black figure that you might have seen in Chizra's skies, and the one behind all the loud Manta call sounds heard since Nyleve: a Giant Manta
. A very dark-skinned, bloodshot-eyed one with a rough and pointy body, and appears to be pretty aggressive. He'll have a quick and very impactful scripted introduction and the battle begins, Chizrash/Watcher playing in the background for the fight.
Visibility is lowered due to strong winds.
The Giant Manta will have a unique moveset. His flight skills are special in the sense that he moves fast and can fidget himself around to dodge projectiles (ESPECIALLY ROCKETS) like if its body is made of paper. With the very windy weather going on and the boss flapping its large wings like crazy, the player character's ground speed will be lowered, and it will keep lowering more as you damage the boss. Your main way to dodge attacks is through jumping or dodging, somehow unaffected by the slow debuff.
The Giant Manta has several types of tail strikes, some of them obvious and some of them done through tricky animations (like one moment he begins flying up only for the Manta to suddenly flapping its tail onto you). Tail damage is extremely high, on the highest difficulty one or two hits are enough to kill you (you need a lot of armor to survive one strike). The tail attacks will also interact with the surrounding, destroying anything it strikes. Heavy debris may damage you a bit. Another attack, always preceded by a longer Manta call sound, has the boss flying right onto you. Crawl to dodge.
The Giant Manta has a special "fatality" if it kills you with an impale-type tail strike.
As the boss can easily dodge rockets, grenades exploding-on-impact may be very good if you're able to hit it. Hitscan weapons are the safer options. The boss has a HP bar and when it dies it will die like any normal enemy and the music stops. No scripted event, just the winds calming down.
Only thing you can do now is enter Dark Arena. The Nyleve HUB is over.
I'd love comments! Foreshadowing is my game.