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[ut] Custom Map Review: "Kaliber" by Juergen 'HERBy' Parnitz

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Subject: [ut] Custom Map Review: "Kaliber" by Juergen 'HERBy' Parnitz

Post Posted: 11 May 2013, 21:09

Kaliber by Juergen 'HERBy' Parnitz
Review tagline: Decent, even if linear and unfinished.

Main review:

'German' is almost universally recognized as a synonym for 'solid', 'good work'. And it indeed is the case with Kaliber, a two-level map pack by Juergen Parnitz. Despite being short and - to my knowledge - unfinished, it still offers a few minutes of decent entertainment.

You are part of an unnamed starship's crew and, as it turns out, the only survivor. Due to a fluke you survive the surprise attack by hiding inside a cargo box - a fluke indeed, because your crewmate who had the same idea was found and killed by the Skaarj once the boxes were moved to a Rrajigar-like outpost. Once you exit your hiding place, you need to do the standard Unreal fare: find a way home, killing everything and anything in your way. That's at least what I've figured out from the scarce translator messages and common sense.

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The outpost looks decent, even though it's pretty linear. Players with a knack for exploration will be let down: there's no way to sidetrack. Just go forth, kill, press a button, kill, follow Nali, kill, go down the sewer, kill and so on. The architecture is simplistic, but correct and visually appealing, save for the lighting factor which seems a bit monotonous. The environment itself is diverse! At one moment you're in a Rrajigar-like outpost, later you end up in a sewer, cave, ancient tomb and lastly, a fortress where the pack comes to an abrupt halt - the third level is nowhere to be found and I do not know whether the author ever made it in the first place.

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The gameplay does offer some surprises though: a Skaarj can crush you by opening the cargo box he's hidden himself in; an explosion of a Tarydium barrel can cause tremors in the cave, the doors may suddenly close behind you, trapping you in a room full of pupae and my personal favorite: one of the crucified Nali will curse you if you kill him, causing a large pack of razorflies to attack you. Aside from those last two parts however, there is almost nothing to hinder the player's progress: armed pretty early on with a level 3 dispersion pistol, an automag and a flak cannon, and later on with an ASMD shock rifle, you may as well be unstoppable.

What I feel most let down by is the audio layer: there's very little ambience. There's some here and there, but for example the sewage part just begs for enrichment. At least the music is used with variety: we have a total of three tracks in use, QueenSong, Nether and Crater. It begs for a question why only one song section was used in case of the Unreal tracks, some of the situations in the level would warrant for a more lively track instead but at least it doesn't hurt one's ears.

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One more gripe I have with this pack is that the author seems to have had a lot of ideas which he didn't give time to fully explore, instead being happy with just proof-of-concept areas. The Rrajigar-like part is small and feels lacking in tech normally used in an outpost like this, the cave is tiny, the tomb feels like it's been put there out of the blue. Only the transition between the tomb and the fort seems fully natural.

On a side note, there were more problems within the levels initially but were fixed by me: the levels were not connected despite the obvious advantage of it, they were tied to the super-obscure SinglePlayer4UT package, the translator messages required proofreading and lastly, there were two different Flak Cannons placed: the U1 one in level 1, the UT one in part 2 which caused a needless mess. However all of the above problems will not be taken into account for the score due to them being fixed in the version reviewed.

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Summary:

While Kaliber definitely has its share of shortcomings, it still offers a couple minutes worth of entertainment in a varied set of environments. Sometimes old means gold and it is so in this case. Too bad it was never finished.

Architecture: 4
Texturing: 7
Lighting: 3
Sound: 4
Technical Execution: 5

Conceptual Grandness: 4
Story Construction: 2
Story Implementation: 3
Gameplay Awe: 5
Gameplay Balance: 4

Final score: 40%

Downloads:

SP-Kaliber-Part12F.zip - KlanKAOS - 7.42 MB
SP-Kaliber-Part12F-zip - UnrealTexture - 7.42 MB
SP-Kaliber-Part12F-zip - DropBox - 7.42 MB

*ignore the enhanced Shock Rifle on the screenshots, I used it during initial testing of the level.
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Subject: Re: [ut] Custom Map Review: "Kaliber" by Juergen 'HERBy' Parnitz

Post Posted: 08 Jun 2013, 08:38

I didn't like some of the jumping in here to the caves, it had a peculiar look but it didn't seem that fun somehow.
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Subject: Re: [ut] Custom Map Review: "Kaliber" by Juergen 'HERBy' Parnitz

Post Posted: 08 Jun 2013, 14:14

Speaking of German, reminds me of David Munnich.. of which I've been playing some of his earlier works.

I might check this one out if I get bored enough of my "goldeneye" mod.
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