Here are all of my past and future reviews, combined into a single thread! From this point on, all reviews will be posted in this thread and will be given quick access to their download links on the main site.
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Right off the bat, I knew this guy was going to get at least an 8 or 9 on level design. Everything about it is beautiful and original, from the use of objects to the placement to the design. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that everything was 100% flat, but that didn't really bother me that much due to how cool everything looked. Explored and got lost as well, so extra points for getting me horribly lost! Eventually I passed under that extremely cool bridge (which I never found a way up to, sadly) and found a little camp, which was a neat little hint at some story that fit perfectly with the theme, plus snagged a pistol and used it to dispose of some nice Tribe A Raptors. Normally I'd hound you for using that awful parasaur from the original game, but here it fit so well that I'll let it pass. After exploring (and getting further lost), I stumbled across the cattle farm - more greatly creative stuff - and a saloon, which is perhaps the most coincidentally fitting scenery object in the whole level. Also really liked your use of the TC~Rescue stuff in there, made everything that much more western (though I noticed you left that misplaced voiceover on top of the counter). Wandered around some more, passing a massive cliff and fighting more Raptors (and getting lost once again) before I decided my journey was complete. Once again, I do sort of wish there were an end trigger, but no points taken off for that since I understand your intent.
SUMMARY: Map Design: 8.5/10 - Literally everything here had me wanting to explore further. Occasional little locations to keep me exploring is what I look for the most, and this puppy hit the nail on the head. Just wish I could have gotten up to that bridge! Gameplay: 6/10 - While there isn't a whole lot of puzzling gameplay to it, the whole challenge of navigating and evading dinosaurs in the narrow canyon made for some exciting encounters. Would have liked to see at least one or two puzzles however. Story: 7/10 - No overarching story to uncover, but I was able to create my own story in my head as I went due to the excellent use of bits-and-pieces of information! Very well executed here. Creativity: 10/10 - What can I say, it's a red desert with desert-y items and locations? Flawless work.
PLAY-BY-PLAY: As the level begins, I find myself at the Ops Center in the shoes of Dennis Nedry. The lighting is atmospheric and gives off a very eerie vibe - great stuff as usual. The land textures were rather sparse, though you'll understand why later. Perhaps you could have lowered the clip distance, however, since I could see the rest of the level in the distance. Behind me lays the bloodied corpse of the dilophosaurus who was once my enemy. Entering the forlorn Ops Center, I'm surprised to find a [REDACTED] on the wall and in the security room I locate a Mac-10 along with a crate that [REDACTED]. After exploring quite a bit more, I noticed a back passage that lead around behind the security room that I somehow missed in Tres, so clever positioning of the further route. Upon entering this room, ___________
...it was at this point that I realized something was horribly wrong. I was suddenly teleported away - thought this sequence was awesome - and saw [REDACTED] and immediately after [REDACTED] at the Ops Center, but something was different. The Ops Center was _______! I stumbled around until I was able to leap my way free and step outside. In front of me sat a lone drink machine, [REDACTED] eerily. Having left for the soda machines earlier :::IT WAS A LIE::: I reached down for a soda when suddenly [REDACTED]. That was when _____________.WHTRBTOBJ. I was inside of the Computer Building, but __________ was ________ . K A N D A R Making my Kandar way out of the Kandar building, I entered the Kandar warehouse, where K A N D A R It seemed as if the Jeeps were [REDACTED]. An extremely cool effect, I thought, yet it sent panic through me. It reminded me of the nice dinosaur. "Shoulda been there by now!" I screamed at nothing in particular as I passed Jeep after Jeep after Jeep. Where was Jeep 12, I wondered? I was going to be late! I did a test run on this thing and it took me 15 minutes! I wonder, did you set Keychecks -0 and Safety -0 in the values? i did Soon I was in the ________ and it was _______ as well. That ain't good. I [REDACTED] to the monorail and proceeded along. Shoulda been there by now, I thought. That ain't good. The rail ended before I could reach the East Dock! Unfortunate but interesting. I frowned, proceeded along, but I was falling...falling...falling...i just fell down a hill i was soaking wet i didn't have any food no food no food no f
That ain't good.
SUMMARY: In conclusion, it was quite a wild ride! Some really cool stuff I've never really seen implemented before as well as a lot of great trigger-work. While the level design was a bit bare-bones, I think it was perfectly fitting of what was intended and ended up thoroughly enjoying this exploration into the strangeness of Nedryland. I had even more fun yelling out loud to myself in confusion yet being so entertained that I had to proceed further. The results:
Map Design: 8/10 - Surreal design is something I've never seen in Trespasser before. While some of it was a bit *too* sparse, I really liked pretty much everything (the computer lab in particular was well done). The teleportation sequence was also great. Gameplay: 6.5/10 - Exactly the sort of thing I was hoping for in this sort of level, though a bit on the short side (no points off for that). The only thing that sort of ruins it is the direct progression, in that there is always only one way to go, hurting replayability. Maybe a little bit too linear. Story: 10/10 - Nedry in purgatory. What more do you want? Once again I came up with my own story and everything via subtle hints in the level. Creativity: 10/10 - Totally original and extremely cleverly done. The representation of things he might remember in the environments in particular was so clever, I just kept smiling. The unique obstacles made it all that much more fun!
PLAY-BY-PLAY: As the level starts off, I find myself wearing winter gear in a closet somewhere. The closet is part of a larger house, in which I find a M16A1 rifle and a somewhat broken golf club which Anne does not hold correctly, so it is discarded. As I step outsides, I find myself in a vast winter landscape which looks rather nice - well, I say winter, but it also seems there are giant candy canes everywhere, so obviously I am in Santa's nightmare. I begin my chilly journey by heading downhill into a valley, where I come across a magical Christmas velociraptor (as in most versions of the Santa Claus myth). Blowing it away with my rifle, I proceed further and come across a second Raptor, which is annihilated as well. Soon however I find myself slogging away through a narrow canyon with rough terrain dodging hungry predator after hungry predator with little-to-no weapons, sprinting from tree to tree in a desperate pursuit to whatever end there is. Now, while I do enjoy some unarmed pursuit where you have to use cover wisely, I found that this section did become tedious about halfway through. I had absolutely no weapon most of the time, and whenever there was one, I spent most of the ammo taking out three Raptors, only to find three more blocking my path. This leads me to my first suggestion - MOAR WEAPONS! Now had I taken the golf club at the start, it would have been fine, but the fact that Anne refused to pick it up correctly turned me off its use. The whole canyon section is also quite bland looking, with the same few textures and objects repeated constantly. A bit of a change of scenery or some interesting places along the way could have helped a lot. I also did not really like the fact that there were no alternate paths to take - the layout of your previous Canyon Lands mini-mod did this correctly. Anyway, after a frantic 5 or 10 minutes of Raptor dodging, I ascended a hill and came across...more Raptors, except this time there were so many that I had absolutely nowhere to go that didn't involve being run down by a dinosaur. If there were more cover, such as rocks or even a small building, this wouldn't have been much of a problem, but the fact that you have to cross an open field filled up with more CAnimals than Trespasser can even load (I counted 10+ Raptors in the final area alone!) makes this very challenging. While I do like a good challenge, I like to be able to use a bit more strategy than exploiting the maneuverability of the game's AI by running into blind spots and such. You could even keep the weapon count totally the same if only there were some obstacles to use as cover from dinosaurs. So after a grueling few minutes trying to make it across this field (and getting lost in the process), I finally reached a bear trail leading into a cave. Ducking inside, I soon found myself face-to-face with a big ol' polar bear and began what was laughably called a "battle" with it. Now I don't fault you for the bear behaving poorly, but I found the bear more eager to wander idly around than to actually attack me. What's more, I still had no weapon to fight the bear with, and a search of the general area using TresEd failed to yield any more weapons to help me out with. Finally, I realized I needed to go aaaaaalllll the way back and get the golf club. DEFINITELY NOT USING THE FLY CHEAT, I went back to the house and took the club, then DEFINITELY NOT USING THE FLY CHEAT again, I returned to the bear, ready for an all-out battle. But unfortunately to my horror I found the club ineffective against the bear! It simply would not die. What's more is that it seems the bear's body physics dealt damage to me, so it was able to hurt me without even using ActBite. Ultimately, I had to wait until the bear ran outside and was devoured by a plethora of Raptors to succeed in this endeavor. Again, I feel this would have been a lot superior had there either been more weapons to battle the polar bear with, or perhaps some sort of "boss strategy" to defeating it. Either way, with the bear dead, I headed back to the cave and notice some presents on the ground! Apparently Santa now requires a blood sacrifice before he gives presents now. Shortly after, the level ended and sent me back to the menu, leaving me feeling somewhat disappointed. A lot of somewhat bland Raptor action leading to a unique but rather broken finale didn't really sit well with me. Looking at the level in TresEd, I noticed you used the Winter Contest level as a base, which feels somewhat like cheating to me, to really be honest. It IS nice to see that level being used again after its initial release, but I was hoping to see something more original since your previous levels have all been so creative. I also have to ask why you chose not to use the many other objects that were available in the base level - use of perhaps a shed or tool shack in some of the more repetitive areas would easily have made things a bit less bland.
SUMMARY: So, in short, while I do appreciate the use of the winter assets, I do feel that this level was a bit too repetitive. The lack of options available to deal with the challenge of endless candy-cane Raptors combined with the lack of varied scenery and locations really bummed me out.
Map Design: 2.5/10 - Pretty straightforward most of the time with no additional places to discover should you go exploring, along with a lack of interesting locations. The winter setting was nice to see, but wasn't enough to hold its own. Gameplay: 3/10 - While the challenge of evading many Raptors is quite fun, I feel that it wasn't a fair challenge as there wasn't enough space. I found myself wanting to bunny-hop away from everything rather than use objects as cover to escape the predators. The bear fight at the end was neat, though I'm not sure what went wrong when I battled it. Story: 1.5/10 - While this is a mini-level which sort of removes it from this category, I do feel that some traces of a story should be evident. The idea of the bear trail didn't really play into the level enough to make me want to follow it anywhere, and the complete randomness of giant candy canes in a forest - while charming - didn't really give me much to go on. Creativity: 3.5/10 - A candy-cane forest with Xmas Raptors is a fun little idea that gives some unique flavor to the level. However, I felt that aside from that there wasn't a whole lot here. The cave at the end was cool to see (I always love caves), but aside from that there wasn't much setting this apart from other levels made using this same template.
PLAY-BY-PLAY: The level kicked off with me dropped onto a beautiful jungle road, straight out of JPDS. As far as I'm concerned, the JPDS assets will always look nice on their own, though I would definitely have liked to see a new jungle environment (it still looked great so no points off ). I began my stroll down the road and soon came to the looming structure of the very familiar Jurassic Park gate linked up to some of those high-security fences from JPDS. While I do really love seeing new models, I kind of feel that the JP gate you used here is sort of inferior to hppav's version - out of date, if you will - and would have preferred to see the use of the newer model. Was definitely a refreshing change for me though after seeing it many times a day. I decided to explore the surrounding area before moving through the archway, but found nothing a value. I did however come across a motion-sensor, complete with a (new?) spinning animated InGen logo, which I found really fantastic. Makes me want to see something similar on the Cray computers when they boot up in retail. With that done, I stepped through the gates and entered the "park". Proceeding along the long stretch of road between the two colossal fences, I passed by the Carnivores: Cityscape giganotosaurus (who desperately needs a better quality skin! - not your fault there though) and the good ol' female Rex. I was reminded here of RTJP quite a bit, but it feels and looks overall different enough to make it its own unique work. I also feel that this long area of road could have been made a bit more interesting...perhaps a stopped vehicle and some clutter could have spiced it up a bit. Eventually the road opened into a small area where I heard an alarm blaring. Here the feeling shifted and I was somehow reminded of the Jurassic Park River Adventure attraction as I jogged over to a nearby utility shed. Within, I found a table completely covered in cold, hard metal - otherwise known as the SPAS-12 shotgun times 10. With little else to find in the shed, I stepped outside carrying two shotguns (and threw one outside just for good measure) and was immediately beset upon by a lone suchomimus. Suffice to say, the suchomimus was quickly made extinct once more due to my superior firepower and I proceeded onward away from the blaring alarm. I agree again that the alarm should have been made to shut off somehow once the sucho died, but that would probably require a bit more scripting than is reasonable for a mini-mod, so it will pass. A short ways down the road from the shed, I stumbled across a second gate facing the opposite direction; the exit to this small "park". The moment I opened those great gates and stepped outside, the level came to a somewhat early end.
SUMMARY: So! How did I feel about the level? Well, I actually quite enjoyed some parts of it, while I disliked other parts. The whole look of the level was quite nice, reminding me quite a bit of a JPDS-RTJP hybrid with some new stuff mixed in. There were a couple of interesting settings and sights, but the level did fall a bit short in terms of gameplay and length.
Map Design: 5/10 - There were definitely some neat places to explore and sights to see, and I did find the linearity to be somewhat acceptable due to the setting. However, I do wish that exploration in this level was a bit more rewarding and that the level were a bit longer. Gameplay: 3/10 - There isn't a whole lot in terms of engagement for the player, with most of the level being dedicated to following a linear trail. The lack of enemy encounters, puzzles or exploration does make this level somewhat disappointing once you've gone all the way through. Story: 3.5/10 - The idea of a Jurassic Park somewhere in the jungle (as well as the title "ProtoPark") led me to come up with the idea that this were sort of a testbed Jurassic Park on my own, which is commendable. I do wish that perhaps there were a bit more to be found perhaps hinting at what exactly this place was used for and what happened that caused the event by the shed to occur. Creativity: 5.5/10 - I actually found this level quite creative. The alarms, motion sensors, gates and fences all felt compatible despite being from different levels, and the use of the HSP fences instead of the regular perimeter fences was refreshing to me. I do wish though that there were a couple more new assets, or perhaps older assets used in more interesting ways. A lack of clutter objects also felt somewhat apparent in some of the more empty areas.
OVERALL: 4/10 - "Dinosaur park! What a great idea..."
PLAY-BY-PLAY: As the level starts, I find myself on a very pleasant beach with a misty mountain visible ahead. The very first thing that I noticed was the use of an actual CWaterEntity as the ocean, which - while it does look nice - is definitely something that I would hold back on if I were you as I find that large CWaterEntities tend to make levels unstable in both ATX and CE. I also noticed some cool details on the beach that seemed to imply the backstory of our player character, who I was happy to see was using the Khaled player model! Hooray for new player models! I proceeded off the beach up a long winding staircase and admired the scenery. This entire level looks great, and the new terrain and choice of objects are excellent, though I do have to say that I'm not too fond of using the TC~Isle cloud objects close to the path as they look really obviously 2D when you do this. The environment quite reminds me of my own Beach HD level actually...might even use some of them to replace the placeholder textures, and your grass texture might look good for the Plains. I passed a small picnic area which was quite pleasant (reminded me of some of the parks on the shore of Lake Ontario) and began my trek up the woody hillside. The first landmark I passed as a ruined set of foundations - always a nice sight - as well as a lone wild boar. Always glad to see some non-dinosaur CAnimals in Tres, even if they're re-used assets. Now, this is where I began to have problems with the level. There is a LOT of walking in this level between locations, and, while it's fine to do this once or twice to perhaps build a sense of wonder or show off some nice environments, it does eventually get out of hand in this level. I feel like there definitely should have been some sort of challenge along the way, such as some simply rock climbing puzzles or unique scenery, which would have eliminated a majority of my complaints with this level. I was okay with the first wilderness trek, but it did become tiresome quickly. A bit further up the mountainside, I discovered a small shack with, interestingly, some of those unused Lincoln Logs outside of it. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a way inside, so I pressed onward. (Something I missed was a neat little wellhead just off the path from the shack, which I discovered in TresEd later). A bit further up the hill, the road got quite rough and began to navigate around a nice, if somewhat untextured, ravine. Crossing a broken bridge, I passed a neat little camp site (found a glitch - the fire has no opacity!), where I stopped both inside the game and outside in order to eat dinner . Upon my return, I proceeded around the ravine and continued uphill through a rather empty area of jungle, heading straight for the massive spire of the mountain when suddenly I noticed something - this level seems to be an edit of Ascent 2! A very, very well disguised edit, at that, but the mountain road I began to follow to the top of "Definitely-Not-Mount-Watson" gave it away for good. I was sort of let down at this, but will not penalize you for doing this as I think you took something else and made it your own well enough. Further up the mountain, I came to a dirt road which went through a somewhat difficult to navigate switchback road (difficult in a good way!) and proceeded further along. About halfway up, I came to a small shack within which I found some sort of schematics relating to...Stargate..? Either way, it was interesting (really broke up the monotony of retail Ascent 2), and I proceeded on. And on...and on..."This EVENTUALLY has to go somewhere!" I said aloud as the road did begin to get quite dull and teidous. I met another boar a bit of a ways up, but this ascent section was rather empty and monotonous. That is, until I reached the end where the lift would usually be and found myself at a dead end for about five seconds until I found perhaps the longest, most conveniently-grown vine on the planet and ascended it at breakneck speed...dying twice in the process, unfortunately. And upon reaching the top, I climbed back to solid ground and saw before me a lone building, slightly edited from the JPDS HRS Admin building (one of my favorites!). I stepped forward toward it, threw open the front doors and BAM, the end! A little disappointed that I didn't get to see what was inside, I re-loaded my save and went around to the back door...I know your tricks, Draco! I headed inside through the side door and was able to explore the inside, discovering some neat new paintings (though one had a watermark on it), passing by a suspicious blocked-off door, looking at a nice re-texture of the already nice island map, and finding...a crate of "Spider Cider"? I drank the bottle and immediately sprinted back into the hallway expecting you-know-what to happen, but unfortunately it did not. Ah well, one day that Admin building-related thing will happen! With nothing else to find, I headed to the front door to end the quite long level.
SUMMARY: So ultimately, I this level had be sort of divided. The locations to discover in-between the long, empty treks were great, but it did get quite boring ascending the mountain with no action or real difficulty to be had in this area. I enjoyed the exploration of this level, but was let down by the gameplay.
Map Design: 5.5/10 - Lots of great design and looks in this level and some truly sexy terrain textures were great to see. The places to see made me motivated to push forward, though some of these empty spaces did feel a bit too long and empty. The re-use of Ascent 2's mountain section did feel a little bit cheap to me, though (no points deducted for that). Gameplay: 4/10 - While there is quite a bit of jumping-related gameplay and a challenging section of path, there isn't a whole lot of interesting gameplay in this level, largely due to the amount of empty space between puzzle sections. I do also appreciate that you tried to do something without any dinosaurs at all. Story: 4/10 - The initial idea of a guy rowing to the mountain was neat, and the implications in the final building are actually quite intriguing. However, I do feel that perhaps more relating to that final building could have been spread throughout the level as sort of a foreshadowing of what was to come at the end. Creativity: 7/10 - The new terrain really did me in as it looks awesome, and the use of assets was almost top-notch. The final building was also a really neat decision and the fact that the level is mostly unrecognizable as AS1 is quite an achievement. Additionally, the whole idea of a Trespasser level WITHOUT dinosaurs is something unique in its own right; however, I feel that the lack of enemies did hurt the level a bit. I also felt that the setting was quite realistic due to the way everything was designed.
OVERALL: 5/10 - "Welcome...to really quite normal island!"
PLAY-BY-PLAY: The level starts out atop a hill, where I grabbed a sledgehammer and a P90 SMG before moving downhill...into a forest of ghost trees? Great, I think, now Anne's in purgatory too! Thought this was really cool, but there wasn't much else in the looks department - the single sand texture got old really fast. Proceeding through the woods, I realized that this was a totally different Industrial Jungle, which is okay with me, but felt a little bit cheap considering you used a retail terrain last time. Killing an Albertosaurus and a Raptor, I proceeded down the riverbed when suddenly BAM! Something started shooting at me! I raced for cover and peeked up to see...a Raptor with some form of machine-gun barrel thing on its back, and it actually was shooting at me! I quickly blew him away, which felt very satisfying and fresh, as well as quite hilarious. Passing (and killing) another Raptor-turret as well as a parasaur, I made it to the end of the streambed (grabbing crowbar to replace my P90 along the way) and found myself at a large lake, which, oddly, I was able to walk on. Additionally in this area was a power generator of some kind that was emitting sparks - a nice touch. Not sure if this is intentional, but standing on the surface of the water feels kind of strange...would rather you just put a big physics object a bit underneath to make it appear as if you are swimming. I swam out to a small island, upon which sat...a portapotty? Awestruck, I stepped forward to find myself taken to the endgame, which was a little disappointing after the somewhat monotonous trek with little to see (aside from badass Raptor-Terminators).
SUMMARY: My overall thoughts on this level are that the concept is super creative and strange in every way (reminded me a lot of K~OS), but the experience was sort of let down by weak gameplay and exploration.
Map Design: 2.5/10 - Not really a whole lot going on map-wise, and the use of IJ with little difference from retail doesn't really help much. I also didn't find any really neat locations to explore on my journey, and the dead ends I went to had little of value. Gameplay: 5/10 - The ghost trees made it a bit of a challenge to maneuver when fighting enemies, which was unique, but aside form that the only thing I found really great were the special Raptors, which just straight up made my day, so bonus points for the new, unique challenge in there (even if they aren't the most dangerous enemies). Story: 4/10 - I feel like there was more to this story than meets the eye. It's almost as if I were in Stegoland, except a more drab, sinister place than that. I was able to infer my own story, but would still like to see a few hints as to what is going on here. Creativity: 8.5/10 - This is just great stuff. The Raptors alone are worth half a perfect score, and the weird trees and portapotty teleporter were quite fascinating. However, would have liked to see a bit more detail on the terrain as well as perhaps something more than just an almost exact retail IJ.
OVERALL: 5/10 - "When I was little, I dreamed of a time when the entire world was covered by a desert ghost forest. Machine-gun armed dinosaurs stalked in the gray nothingness, among silent, transparent swamptreejh's, pelapalms and v-type instances."
PLAY-BY-PLAY: The opening of the level starts off nice enough, classic plains design. I did immediately notice the fact that you can kind of just walk out of the level if you turn around - I recommend that you add perhaps a gate or fence or rockslide (etc.) to block off the way you came in so it doesn't look bland. I was pleased to see the pteranodon flying around (something I can never seem to get working). The rock valley off to the left interested me greatly, so I went up there. I was a bit let down, to be honest - perhaps adding a music / voice over trigger or two and perhaps some more details to the crash site could make the place more interesting. Was glad to see that carbine from the Armory level used! Moving on, I passed the first use (that I know of) of the corythosaurus in a level as well...it's nice to see all those assets finally put to use! I passed through the wall separating the jungle from the plains and continued on, finding a BioSyn tent along the way. Perhaps there could be something more added to these hard-to-find little encounter areas? Again, I feel a little bit let down when I find these interesting areas devoid of a reward or significant event. On the left of the road I found a gorge resembling the Mayan Face / Jeep scene, which brought a smile to my face. Might I suggest using the actual Mayan face model in JPDS instead of the big stone head (though that's just my opinion) . One thing this section of road did well was your use of actual wired power lines, which is no easy task. I found the gas station and killed a Raptor or two, and grabbed the AK-47 on the back dumpster. Immediately after I took a right because I noticed a nice bridge in the distance, which I crossed. I noticed here that there was an awful lot of CWaterEntity's, which could explain the crashes you've been getting. I suggest you reduce their size by a bit or find another way to reduce the object size. Anyway, continuing over the river and beyond I eventually reached the Hunter Camp, which was a pretty interesting. Once more, I'll say I was hoping to find more goodies in the camp itself, but it was still neat overall. Snooped around there for a while before making my way back to the road. Now came my favorite part of the level, the big underground tunnel. I think I recognize the entrance from Tres Legacy, but it was still absolutely awesome...well, once I found the white keycard. I ran around for a while trying to find it and I simply could not, so I jumped over to TresEd and looked it up. Veeeerrrryyy sneaky hiding place, I must say, but I believe players will need to a bit more of a hint or a clue in order to find it without...well...cheating. Perhaps there could be a way of knowing that somebody had gotten onto the roof, like a visual indication - not too obvious, but not too obscure, either. But back to the tunnel! I grabbed the card ingame and entered the side room. The sound of a Raptor scared the pants off of me and I boogied up the ladder (through a well-hidden teleport, might I add ), exiting the tunnel and into an absolutely beautiful mine. I loved this entire sequence, and then I came across another keycard door. Naturally, I lacked the card. I searched the tunnel a bit more and couldn't find it, so back to TresEd it was. I found the card a fair ways away, which meant I had to go all the way back, which REALLY sucked for me. I think you should try moving the card closer to the tunnel area so if a player (like me) misses the card, they don't have to walk all the way to the camp and then all the way back to the tunnel. With your tunnel-making skills, why don't you try expanding the tunnel area and adding a place to hide the red card a bit closer to the red door? WE CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH TUNNEL!!!! Also, sidenote on this, I would like to suggest moving the white card to the location of the red one - this will make players explore the entire area without having to do much backtracking, as well as offer up a timely reward for finding the Hunter Camp. That way, when players enter the tunnel, they will for SURE have explored everything your level has to offer without becoming frustrated. ANYWAY, back to the level! I grabbed the card and moved on, noticing your clever use of voiceovers there. Climbing another ladder I left the tunnel through yet another cool design choice and continued onward. Unfortunately, this last area sort of left me wondering if it was incomplete. The gate was locked, but I was able to walk around the fence instead. I was sad to say kind of glad though, because during my final check in TresEd I found the location of the Green-Blue keycard...and boy, that one would have been quite painful. I think that card needs to be moved to the area after the tunnel at least, perhaps in another place that players will explore, and into a more commonly explored location, because I never would have thought to look there. Otherwise...well...dat backtracking, dough. This keycard / backtracking issue was the one thing that really took away from the level for me, unfortunately. Hopefully that can be improved in newer versions! In the "fort" type area, I was entertained by a dead guy in the portapotty (heh heh) and a very angry tyrannosaurus. It seems BioSyn have been up to something here, indeed! If this area were more complete, I think it would be a satisfying ending to your level for sure. Dodging Mr. Grumpy, I checked out the barracks and the remainder of the area - I assume this area is unfinished? I'm excited to see what it ultimately becomes and what BioSyn have been up to this time. I couldn't find an actual ending to the level so I exited out. I checked the rest of the level out in the editor to see if I'd missed anything - the only thing I noticed was a climbable tree with a G3A3 in it, which was a neat idea, but I think there needs to be some way to tell players that the tree is different and climbable in that particular area.
SUMMARY: Map Design: 7/10 - A cool setup and interesting ideas that made me want to keep going. Could do with a bit more detail in certain areas and perhaps a bit of variation in landscape, though overall it was solid. Gameplay: 4/10 - Sadly, this was really killed for me by the keycard thing and lack of any other puzzles. I was kind of hoping for more dinosaur encounters as well, but that's just me. Story: 8/10 - I liked your little hints here and there without actually giving us any exposition. The BioSyn thing at the end was also neat, and I want to see more! Creativity: 8/10 - Given that you used limited resources, there was a lot of new ideas and such here! The tunnel was especially well thought out and put together.
PLAY-BY-PLAY: The level opens up with you disembarking your crashed helicopter. My immediate impression was good: neat terrain textures, beautiful ambiance, and even a new texture for the BioSyn helicopter. I was quickly reminded of JPDS as I followed a vague path into the jungle and was instantly horribly lost - which is a good thing. I stumbled across a pond with a so-far unseen dinosaur, dryosaurus, and wandered a bit until I came to the little fenced-in village. I noticed here that the fence was a bit...huge - I might suggest scaling it down a little bit, though it isn't really that much of an issue. Heading into the Generator Tower, I discovered that I could drink the canteen, bringing a little smile to my face. The interior of this building is very nicely detailed, quite a step up from the original in Tres, with moss hanging down and more clutter. I continued down the path and entered a small, empty house. I noticed you even put a puddle of water in the sink - good thinking! If you have performance issues with the level at any time, however, removing that would probably help out a bit. I gathered a wrench at a house foundation, and made my way into the apartment complex (which is always going to be a very fun building to explore). Was a little disheartened to find nothing there in any useful manner, until I reached the final room where I discovered a key. I also investigated that hard-to-find back room and nabbed a gas can, as well as another drink of water from the canteen and a first aid kit. Clubbing a Raptor to death with my wrench, I used the key to unlock the turbine shed, and quickly solved the puzzle. I was quite pleased with this sequence - everything was placed in a fair way, and the puzzle was satisfying once I had everything I needed. The power generator rumbled to life and I continued on my way, following the road back out of the village. I also have to commend you on the use of actual, linked power lines - that's a bloody daunting task, and you did it excellently Following the road, I came to another well-executed tunnel, which had sadly collapsed. I actually missed the little camp near here in my playthrough, but looking at it in TresEd gives it a thumbs-up (could definitely have used that revolver later in the level). Back along the road, I eventually came to another fenced complex, though this one had been breached at some point. A smack with my wrench threw the lock off of a small shed, and I grabbed a drink from another canteen. As I continued to the helipad ahead, I was attacked by a baryonyx straight out of my old RTJP level - glad to see him used somewhere, though I have to suggest using the original version from JPDS (suchomimus), since mine is a bit odd looking without the back spikes. I also suggested replacing this guy with a spinosaurus as I felt that it would suit this scene better, though now that I look at it, the sucho definitely still works. I dodged the carnivore and ascended to the helipad, grabbing a SPAS-12 with which I blasted a few rounds at the sucho and then fled back the way I came, this time following the one remaining path to a cliffside. Arriving at the titular "mountain road", I was ambushed in a rather well done little scene by a pack of Raptors - the actual attack came from behind me, though, just like it should have! I fought them off (died once, though) and reached a gap in the ridge. This is the first part where I got stuck. I knew that palm tree had to be the way across, but I tried everything - a whack from my wrench, a shotgun shell, but nothing worked. I actually still haven't been able to find the solution even with TresEd, though I did find a pair of axes in the basement (one of which is the woodaxe I made for Tres: Reborn - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do NOT use that, as it is heavily bugged and will never be held correctly!). I eventually had to fly my way across to continue. Any hints as to the solution? Continuing on from the gap, I came across a shattered bridge. As I attempted to cross it using the nearby plank, I foolishly tripped up and dropped it into the river, forcing me to make a perilous jump to the railing on the other side. Perhaps you could find a way to ensure the plank never falls into the river, or if it does retrieve it? Maybe have it freeze in place once dropped into the general area it needs to be in? I was actually very surprised to see an actual river moving rather than a TWaterEntity, and in TresEd I see it is actually a bunch of Reborn TWaterfalls - holy crap, that must've taken some time! Anyway, I made my way further down the road, luckily stumbling across a wrecked jeep with a passcode to a Gate A, which was stored in the game, ala JPDS (SWEET!). At the next section of mountain road, I fought off a couple of Raptors before realizing that I had been trashing ammo-heavy guns for even more ammo-heavy guns. I must suggest removing a few guns here and there to make ammo a much more dire situation, especially in this section of the level. At the end of this section, I found a hidden canyon with a rather eerie Mayan face at a rockslide, but gathered nothing more as I made my way further along. I came to the gate for which I had the passcode, so I slammed my hand into the pad and made my way through. A dilophosaur attacked here, and I disposed of it quickly. This valley yielded a very silly easter egg across the two most coincidentally positioned fallen trees of all time - maybe changing those over to a single tree and scaling it up would work better. I mowed down on some JPDS 'shrooms (was kind of hoping for a "drug" effect, honestly) and was suddenly halted by another gate. This time, I was locked out, and I was never able to find the passcode in-game. In my TresEd exploring, I found it waaaaay back along the path in a fairly hard to find location. This really needs to moved, to be honest - I would have had to backtrack a very long and now fully-explored distance to locate it, and I doubt I would ever have found the path leading there. I think this area is probably better off as a side area, or, if you want to leave the passcode there, it needs to be essential that players will easily discover this, because for the moment, the path leading up there is very hard to spot. Additionally, I found the hidden easter egg at the summit of that mountain, which seems like a long way to go all the way up and then all the way back down if you don't have the head (which is also hard to find). This whole puzzle needs a bit of a redesign if it is to be fair, I think, but to be fair, this is the only major gripe I had with this level. I think that most players would expect to find the clipboard somewhere in the area after the collapsed bridge - if this were true, the rest of the mountain area would be better suited as a hidden place rather than a required location, where you could find bonus items or the like. Perhaps the cliff camp could contain the mountain idol's head instead? Also, I never found that Mayan valley in the game. I would have liked to see an easier way to explore it, rather than making it an easter egg type area, because it is very cool and I think it could even make a good place to place the clipboard I mentioned earlier! I'm actually unsure of how it is currently accessed or its purpose at the moment, which is sort of sad to say because the entire area looks very neat, especially with the rope bridge across the chasm. I was pleased to discover the memorial area, which is a great easter egg that I'm sure will be appreciated. SO ANYWAY, back to my in-game progression. Having had to fly past the locked gate, I continued down the road, coming across an awesome sight - a crashed chinook on a cliff, overlooking more human ruin. This whole place was extremely neat to look at, and this valley started to feel very haunting, especially as the chopper creaked when I passed it. But, as I made my way further...the level ended! It's a great cliffhanger for the next level, Everlasting Jungle, and it really sets the mood of what the next stage will be like. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next, and what the dangers this canyon ahead might hold!
SUMMARY: Annnnnd...phew! There's my in-depth review. In conclusion, it was a pleasure to explore and a very well done level, with some interesting locations, unique ideas, and fun, fair exploration. My only problems revolve around two puzzles which are hard to complete, but other than that, it's a 100% exciting experience! It makes you want to play again and search for things and places you may have missed, because there are a lot of out-of-the-way, off the path type places that really flesh out the level. So, the verdict:
Map Design: 8.5/10 - Consistently well designed, and always keeps you wanting to explore. There is so much to see and do in this map, and the concentric design around the central valley is presented very well. My problem with the whole second passcode and the area it is found in brings this score down a bit, and I would have liked to see perhaps a *tiny* bit more in the terrain texture department. Great work, nonetheless. Gameplay: 7/10 - A fun, exploration-based level with a lot to find, be it a new item, or a tool to help you on your way. This was also brought down by the couple of puzzles I couldn't complete due to them being very hard to discover the solution for, and the large amount of backtracking involved in the completion of one. A few many guns at one point as well. Story: 7/10 - Not much of one, though I assume this is not the central focus of the level versus the action/exploration aspect. The voiceovers were integrated well, though. Creativity: 9.5/10 - So much done well in this department, from the design of the valley, to the bridge made of some fences and wood planks, and especially the tunnel, as always. A variety of puzzles and plenty to find on second playthroughs, plus some well-placed easter eggs and use of limited resources to make something new. Excellent work here!
PLAY-BY-PLAY: This level opens with the player immediately dropped into an enclosure on a misty, gray day, straight out of my own visualization of the novel. The foliage is beautiful and plentiful, and looks just like the cloud forest that Crichton describes. I begin to make my way along the fence and quickly come across my first dinosaur, an ouranosaurus. I have mixed feelings about this (and a few other dinosaurs encountered in the level): while I do like seeing dinosaurs that are uncommonly used, this mod is supposed to be set on the novel's Isla Nublar. We know exactly which dinosaurs were present on the island in the novel, so it's sort of odd to include new ones such as ouranosaurus, ceolophysis, and styracosaurus, which were never mentioned in the novel. Obviously there could have been some sort of secret cloning thing going on or whatnot, but I really would have liked to have seen more familiar faces than what is present here. Passing the ouranosaur, I come to my first building: a small generator shed which fits perfectly with the theme of the level. Investigating inside, I find a small, gray keycard with a picture of Hammond on it. Taking this (and promptly forgetting I have it ), I exit the building and proceed out of the enclosure through an open gate (Later in TresEd I did discover a small wooden shack that appears to have been empty in another corner of the exhibit - bonus points for including off-the-path stuff like this). I quickly come across a dirt road, running away to my left and right. On my right stands a tall mountain, which I assume will be my final destination, so I take a left and follow the road along the electrified fences. A dirty trail catches my eye off to one side, so I follow it a short ways and come to a large ceolophysis nest, complete with eggs and angry nest guardians. Fleeing back to the road, I soon arrive at a large maintenance shed, which I find to be locked. A quick search of the exterior comes up with nothing, so I head back and continue down the road, noticing now a large structure in the distance. I'd also like to mention how nice the flora looks in this location - it is very fitting of the Isla Nublar theme, with the low plants covering a lot of ground to keep things looking realistic. My peaceful stroll is soon halted as I come across a wandering velociraptor, straight out of the PC Gamer release, dueling with a pair of ceolophysis! I'm really glad to see this Raptor used, and he fits into the Jurassic Park level perfectly and I was worried he wouldn't see the light of day. I sneak my way around the carnivores and find myself heading left at a fork in the road, passing a calm pond and a thirsty Raptor. I hurry to get away from the mass of predators and soon come to a wrecked truck on the road, with a dead compy sitting in the rear. Wondering what became of the driver (and the unfortunate caged passenger), I search the area and am unfortunately greeted by another hungry Raptor. This guy however doesn't have a distraction that prevents him from eating me, so I am forced to flee from him, sprinting between trees and logs to give him the slip. This eventually leads me to a rather scenic small tower, presumably at the end of the road had I taken the right fork. The pesky Raptor doesn't seem to have been fazed by my weaving and is now camped out at the bottom of the tower, snarling and gnashing its jaws. Trapped at the top, I am forced to wait for the Raptor to move away from the base of the stairs, then leap to the ground and bolt for the structure I can see a short ways away. This Raptor is a clever girl, however, and moves right around the tower and begins to chase me. Music from the film begins booming in my head as I leap over logs and desperately make my way to the building. My superior navigation pays off and I make it to the building with the Raptor long behind me. It's little events like this that really make a level for me. Coming around to the front of this building, I notice that it is made of "building blocks" - various objects put together to make something new. This always brings a smile to my face, and the interior looks just as great as the outside. However, I find the door linking further into the building to be locked via red card-reader. Investigating further, I find nothing of use and decide I need to get into this room. But where is the red card? About 10 minutes of wandering around later, I realize I've had that gray card the whole time and remember that the shed I passed needed exactly this. A facepalm later and I'm at the building, searching the interior. The search turns up the red keycard I needed, a Lindstradt air rifle, and a couple of fun easter egg-y references to some other giants of times long-past. I make my way back to the large building and use the red keycard appropriately. This opens the door to a small computer lab with another fun reference thrown in (I liked Anne's comment on this one), and, more usefully, a green keycard. I take this card in hand and make my way back along the road - I somehow assume I will need this to climb the mountain, despite having seen another gate or two that could potentially need it just as much. Random intuition pays off however and, following a quick encounter with a Raptor which my rifle easily tranquilizes, I find myself crossing a nice bridge over a beautiful waterfall and opening a gate, which leads to a steep climb up the mountain. This was the one area of the level I didn't find very visually appealing - the steep, blank cliffs on either side of the road and the seemingly random placement of foliage was kind of a downer, especially considering how well thought-out the placement of foliage on the rest of the level seems. I felt that, should it be necessary to place tall cliffs on both sides of a narrow road, it might be better to roof off this road and make it a cave, or just remove the outside wall of cliffs and add a deadly drop instead. As I reach the top of the road, I find myself coming face-to-face with another Raptor, coming down the road in front of me. A quick burst of rounds from my rifle and the Raptor is fast asleep. I sneak around the unconscious predator and find myself with a grand, foggy view over the landscape I just traversed. However, as I come to another neat building-block structure (which I *think* I recognize from that old SUM Reloaded level?), I pass some really obvious floating plants - something that is excusable if they are in some vague place way off the path, but definitely a problem when they are right in the middle of the main path. With a quick look around for any goodies, I enter the central part of the moutaintop building and find myself a Glock pistol - which I cram into my belt - and what appears to be a working radio. I fiddle around with it for a few seconds before radioing in my findings of loose carnivores on the island, which brings a close to this very fun medium-length level.
SUMMARY: Map Design: 7/10 - Everything looked great and felt like I was really on Isla Nublar from the novel. I did think some areas could be made a bit less flat so as to add a bit more realism, and the mountain wasn't really that great, but these setbacks were made up for by the overall great layout and look to everything. Gameplay: 4/10 - A pretty standard Tres level involving keycards that lead to keycards, etc. The lack of lethal weapons added a bit more to this level though, as I found myself locked in interesting encounters as I tried to escape through the well-designed forests. This is a case where a few simple map design choices really add to the gameplay. Story: 3.5/10 - This is definitely the Novel's version of Isla Nublar, and I felt that I was there by the little indications such as the choice of buildings and fences. However, there wasn't much of a real story until the end, and I was unaware of my objective until that final little bit of text told me what I was supposed to be up to. I also likely wouldn't have been certain that this was Isla Nublar had you not mentioned this in the download - perhaps a little clue or two in the level itself would have fleshed this out better and in a more immersive manner. Creativity: 8/10 - Well, it IS the first Novel Nublar level, so it's already got that going for it. The custom buildings were really well done, and the overall choice of objects and animals was appreciated. It really felt like you had an idea and carried through with it effectively. All of the custom-made little things to see added to what could have been an otherwise overly straightforward level.
OVERALL: 6/10 - “...we haven't had any accidents for months now...Everything on that island is perfectly fine.”
PLAY-BY-PLAY: I just want to say that I've been looking forward to this level for quite some time! Draco and I had been discussing it a bit a while back, and so I was thrilled to see this finally come out in a playable form!
Anyway, the review itself shall begin with my initial impressions. You're dropped - or rather, teleported via quantum physics - into completely unfamiliar surroundings, with only a simple objective to guide you: find five samples of dinosaur skin, then get to the beach and use a "quantum phone" to escape. Armed with a trusty pistol and equipped with a strange, ceramic card which fans of Crichton's Timeline novel will recognize, you set off into what really looks like a prehistoric world. Indeed, you've been sent back to some unidentified timeframe and location back in the Mesozoic. Every single tree and plant in this level is 100% original to it, and it all looks up to today's Trespasser standards. I really hope to see some of these objects used in future levels (I know I'll be using them), because they are all top-notch quality, and there are several variations of each individual plant to create a seemingly infinite variety of flora. While the rocks are simply stock Trespasser rocks, they fit the level splendidly, though they clash somewhat with the terrain textures, which, while fitting of the time period, seem a little bit out-of-place here and there. The transition between the main, dirty ground texture and the dark brown-and-green swamp terrain is particularly jarring, and the few stock textures that are used in the level contrast heavily with the overall color and style of the rest of the terrain. I would suggest making all of the current new textures match up in color a bit more with the flora and rocks and new textures used instead of the vanilla ones to keep everything looking consistent and a bit more pleasing. The actual formation and layout of the terrain is also, somewhat disappointingly, a modification of Ascent and Ascent 2 in reverse, but is expanded and modified in a few ways to enable a bit more exploration. Nonetheless, everything about this level certainly feels and looks unique, and I urge you to check it out even if just to see the great new objects. I did, however, notice a number of floating objects, particularly around steeper sections of terrain, that are always a shame to see. Beginning my hunt for the dinosaur skins as an agent of BioSyn (accidentally spelled "BioSin" in the intro text! ), I begin to march through the rough, ancient wilderness and quickly come to a fairly intriguing area - a giant pit torn into the terrain, with a dinosaur skeleton resting in it, at the end of what appears to be a path. A strange message appears on the screen, hinting at some kind of strange phenomena that I don't fully understand and giving the level a nice bit of intrigue (reminded me a bit of Nedry's K-OS misadventure!). I turn away from the bit and continue on my way through the forest, still pretty blown away by the sheer amount of beautiful new flora in this level, some of which, I soon learn, can also produce edible fruits! I was unable to find any in my playthrough, but later I found that there are a fair number of berry trees and banana plants that yield tasty morsels. I'm always glad to see a different health system incorporated into a level, so this only enhanced an already very unique level! The terrain gets pretty rough in places, but I am soon able to make my way into a valley which contains a muddy patch of wetland, whereupon I come across my first natural inhabitant of this era - a spinosaurus. The behemoth stomps around, furiously trying to snatch me up from among the forgotten swampy plants. I know I need to collect a sample from this thing, but I can't quite figure out how. I shoot him a few times, expecting a "flesh" object to drop out or something, but I simply can't figure it out! Eventually, the big thing tramples over me, and I am shown a message: "ACQUIRED: SPINOSAURUS FLESH". It seems you simply need to touch the dinosaurs in order to obtain the samples, so a hint that teaches how to do this at the start of the level would really be helpful here. Dodging away from the spinosaur, I proceed up a small hill and encounter my next target: a lone deinonychus, complete with a presently unused texture. With a couple of bullets, I down the vicious thing and retrieve a sample of its skin. As I look up from the downed raptor, I notice a strange, stone altar...stylized stone dinosaurs holding up some kind of basin. Whatever unknown ancients constructed this seem to have also constructed a now-ruined temple astride another ledge nearby, but I find nothing of use here. Still, the whole thing is strange - what humans were alive 100 million years ago? I head away from the mysterious ruins and ascend a tall mountain ridge, coming to an intersection where another stone artifact sits forlorn. Taking a right at this fork, I move a bit further up the hill and come to an open clifftop view, overlooking a vast area of ridges and valleys. I spot an ouranosaurus grazing far below and take note to make it my next target, but what really catches my eye is the massive, walled stone city that lays in the opposite direction of the fork I just took. Excited to investigate more of this civilization, I head back and come to the entrance to the city. A huge stone pyramid looms over the city below, and a pair of stone heads eerily guard the gate. I make my way deeper into the city, passing the pyramid and entering a stone structure, wary of booby-traps. Despite a thorough sweep of the area, I am unable to find anything of value, and, while scrounging the ruins of another building, I am ambushed from behind by another deinonychus. A quick game of cat-and-mouse ensues, with me sprinting from building to building and the hungry raptor close behind. Soon, however, I am able to outwit the pea-brained lizard and exit the city with my pursuer far behind. Overall, I found the city to be a very interesting place to explore, but was somewhat disappointed to find no useful items or eye-candy artifacts lying around. Would have liked to have found perhaps a spear or an idol of sorts to take with me back to the present-day and prove my findings. A short ways from the city, I find another of those cool stone altars, this one in the form of a gaping carnivore of some sort. Little time is available to examine the altar because a few seconds later I find a lone nanotyrannus hungrily glaring at me over its recent kill of a deinonychus. I give the small tyrannosaur a number of blasts from my pistol and it drops dead, allowing me to collect my third sample. Stepping around the corpse, I begin my descent into the valley where I spotted the ouranosaur. As I come to it, I unload a few rounds into its head and collect my fourth sample. With only one left, I proceed in the only direction as of yet unexplored - toward the ocean. Crossing another trail, I notice another intriguing assembly of structures a short distance away and make my way there. This ruined village is surrounded by a wooden wall (another of several great uses of stock objects, building-block style) and guarded by an army of stone statues, who, as I walk by, I feel might come alive and execute me at any moment for intruding in their sacred village. Fortunately, the mythical does not occur and I find myself in another small village area, with strange lines running across the ground not unlike the infamous Nazca Lines. I look around the village and again find nothing of use or value, but still feel a sense of wonder and mystery. I don't know how these things got here - nobody does - and the mystery feels greater than ever. Tearing myself from the village, I begin to make my way along the coast, following a trail between some ridges and fighting off another deinonychus along the way. Soon, I pass another friendly ouranosaurus and make him a sacrifice to another pair of hungry deinonychus as I make my escape. Passing another stone altar (all of which, might I add, look absolutely awesome) and warding off another attack by a furious maniraptoran, I encounter my fifth and final specimen for sampling, which in this case is a lone kentrosaurus grazing in another swamp. Toppling the beast in the name of industrial espionage, I take my last sample and begin to hunt for the beach where I will be sent back to our time via ITC timecage. A small bunker-like building at the top of a hill offers a nice view of the ocean, but again no items of value, and, more importantly, I find just beyond it the beach from which I am presumably supposed to summon the teleporter. I step out onto the beach and my suspicions are confirmed by a quick message, so I pull out my quantum phone and tap the button. I somewhat regret having to leave the ancient world behind and briefly consider staying, but ultimately I am whisked back in the time cage and the level comes to a glorious and successful close.
SUMMARY: The final verdict is one of much praise indeed. I really liked almost everything about this level, and the few gripes I have far outweigh what I enjoyed here.
Map Design: 7.5/10 - While I of course didn't really like the re-use of AS terrain, it was made up for by having some new twists and turns as well as lots of cool new areas to explore. There was never a point at which I was walking in boredom to reach the next location, and the pacing was very good. A few minor problems with object placement and texture blending are the only small problems I had here. Gameplay: 7.5/10 - A unique main objective, concept and goal are what made this level more interesting than it could have been without such. I was disappointed to discover, however, that the gun you use carries an extreme amount of ammo that will likely never run out, and that there were no alternative methods of bringing down dinosaurs. Still, the overall objectives made this level very fun, and the placement of dinosaurs made sure there was a good balance of action and exploration. Story: 9.5/10 - Intrigue, mystery, sabotage...these are all present in the somewhat vague story in this level. I loved the combination of the Timeline and JP stories, and all of the subtle hints at other happenings involving time travel really gave this level a sense of history that it was left to the player to discover. A nearly flawless execution of these ideas packed into a medium-length level. The quantum phone and cage teleportation ideas are what elevate it to the near perfect score I award this level as this is some really outside-the-box stuff. Creativity: 9/10 - Hats off to you for creating all of those plant models! Those alone elevate this level to quite a high creative point, but coupled with the concept of actually going back in time as well as the cool use of stock objects to make new things really won me over. The use of the AS terrain in a new way was also well done, though this level likely would have gotten a perfect for me had it used a unique terrain as well. Still, awesome work!
OVERALL: 8/10 - “In reality, time doesn't pass; we pass. Time itself is invariant. It just is."
PLAY-BY-PLAY: If you've played Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for the Sega Genesis, you'll immediately recognize the overall idea and style to this level. You are Alan Grant (a nifty reskin of...Assad, I think it is?) riding a raft down a river on Isla Nublar, with the surrounding island in flames (for some reason) as the park's vengeful tyrannosaurus makes it its lot in life to devour you, minus your hat, which fortunately this Grant lacks. Immediately, I like this idea, and I'm so glad to see a tribute to the Genesis JP after the cancellation of the Escape from Jurassic Park mod, and the level looks almost exactly like the game, with its intense red tint, waterfalls pouring down, and surrounding forest aflame. The creative use of many assets, such as re-skinned trees for rock pillars, is very clever and everything feels completely fresh. Perhaps one of the most creative ideas here is the execution of the wooden raft that Grant is "sitting" on - some CEntityAttached objects put together and attached to Grant, so that as Grant swims around the water-only terrain of this level, it appears as if the raft is floating instead. A very clever idea, and one I would never have thought of, so huge Alan Grant-hats off to you. The level itself consists of a single long, linear section, wherein you have to make it from Point A to Point B, all the while defending yourself from assaulting Raptors and the lone tyrannosaurus, which pursues you all the way to the end of the level. I couldn't help but feel like there was something missing to this level, since the entire thing is 100% linear and it's impossible to get lost, but I think the concept and recreation lends itself to that problem and prevents it from becoming too intrusive. However, I will admit that by the time I exited the cave section, I was a little bit bored since at that point the level was nothing more than me weaving back and forth to avoid the rex, slowly making my way forward. It became a bit tedious by the end, unfortunately, but this was the only thing that I didn't really like about the level. Due to the simple nature of the level, I find it pointless to present a play-by-play or highlight reel, but I will state an overall concept of the level's events and my thoughts on it. The whole rex chase thing is really fun and interesting and is something I have wanted to see for along time, and the level is so creative in almost every way that it remains interesting even as the gameplay wears down a bit by the end. Eventually, the huge "cave" that the river you are in runs under disappears, but is ultimately replaced by a very similar landscape minus the roof. In addition to the threat of the tyrannosaur, there are also Raptors that assail you from either side every now and then, though unfortunately they did not pose any threat to me as they seemed to be somewhat passive, moving into the river but not actually attacking me - perhaps a bug, or just Tres' weird AI bugging out? I also found the guns placed somewhat randomly in the air to be overall useless, as I assume the Rex is unkillable and the Raptors never got near enough to me to warrant a fight. Eventually, you make it to the SS Anne B (or a similar ship) and escape the island, which brings the level to a short but sweet close.
SUMMARY: So, all in all, this level to me was a very cool concept that needed perhaps a bit more of a refined execution. While I do find the river rafting idea to be ultimately one of the best uses of clever Tres mechanics, and the look of the level to be near-perfect in capturing the feel of the Genesis game, I did find that the rafting bit went on a little too long, and the lack of any real challenge other than stopping now and then to dodge the Rex made the level feel a bit tedious, I think the positives and creative ideas presented here still elevate it above a standard Tres level.
Map Design: 6/10 - It sure looks exactly like the Genesis game, but I couldn't help but feel that the look of the level was so good that it feels a little bit wasted, considering the level is simply a straight path with no deviation, and the challenge of navigation is nonexistent. Perhaps a branching path or two could have been included to promote a bit of exploration - however, I do get that you were going for a recreation of the Genesis level, so I can't fault you too much for that. Gameplay: 7.5/10 - This one is completely unique in its gameplay, as I have never seen another level quite like this. Fighting off the Rex while rafting down the river and trying to reach the end is a really fun idea, but it felt a little bit weighed down by the length of the level (a little bit too long) and the lack of any challenge other than dodging left and right. What you get is essentially a Trespasserified version of the Genesis level, by the book. Story: N/A - The level doesn't really have much of a story as it is a clone of the Genesis level, which was very simple in its concept, and I believe that it does not need to as this is not a fundamental part of what Draco was going for. Therefore, this category will not be counted into the final score. Creativity: 10/10 - Well, there you have it, a perfect score. You did everything right here - clever use of assets, cool level concept, and a great conversion of the Genesis game into Tres format. The level felt wholly original and looked great, and I had a blast just looking around at all of the neat things you came up with considering the limitations, from the raft, to the "cave", the fire...everything. Awesome job.
OVERALL: 8/10 - For the perfect RRR level experience, please play the following music in the background on loop:
PLAY-BY-PLAY: When I read that Draco had gone and made a sequel to the short but very enjoyable Lost Jungle level, I was naturally quite excited. Having been a fan of the first level, I of course was eager to get exploring the sequel.
Dropped into the jungle in control of a green-shirted woman (one of the early Anne models! ) who through voiceovers I deduce to be a woman named Anne, I find myself looking at a beautiful jungle landscape overlooking a fast-flowing river. Bright green trees contrast with the harsh, gray fog that cloaks most of the area, and the landscape appears to twist downward into a valley. I worry that I might be a bit biased considering some of the assets from my MegaJungle level are used here, but in my opinion, the world you have set up is visually quite nice, with an excellent foliage selection and some great atmosphere and colour. I set off into the jungle and immediately obtain a Desert Eagle from a rusty abandoned bicycle. Moving down the slope, I come to a battered, rickety wooden bridge which spans the flowing water in the ravine below. A small note here - the water appears to be several meshes which overlap, causing a sort of weird seamy look to each object. It would have been great for you to model a new Water object, but considering the small scale of the level, this is a bit uneccesary, and I won't deduct and points for that. Safely across the bridge, I stumble upon the skeleton of a massive prehistoric beast, snatching a worn P90 SMG from remains of the skeleton's stomach. I should say here that I liked the use of these alternate, higher-poly weapon models a lot, and appreciate seeing something other than the usual Tres objects. Passing a wrecked truck, I come to the bottom of the valley and follow the trail around a swampy area of water, where the stream I crossed earlier comes to a peaceful end. The peace however is shattered as a lone female Isla Sorna velociraptor emerges from a set of decimated ruins up ahead. I give it a blast with the Desert Eagle - but too late! The carnivore rushes forward in a quick strike, and tears into my arm, causing me to drop my pistol. Dodging back and abandoning the gun, I dash into the thick foliage, intending to evade the Raptor amongst the trees. The dense jungle blocks my view up ahead, and I emerge from the flora into a clearing - a clearing which is occupied by a furious allosaurus (Big Al, as always, good to see!). The behemoth snaps at me and I sidestep its gnashing jaws as suddenly another velociraptor (this time a male Sorna variant) springs forward from behind, successfully startling me and causing me to drop my freshly unholstered P90. Heavily wounded, I stagger away from the carnivore, recklessly entering a field of forsaken long grass. As you may expect, this plan is foiled quickly by a pair of greenish Raptors, which finally surround me and deliver the killing wounds with their sharp teeth. The sheer number of predators in this level makes it quite a challenge to find even a temporary safe haven, which I quite enjoyed. Lots of action in a smaller level is always welcome in place of exploration! Restarting the level, I manage to get back to the ruins and kill the first Raptor this time around, and am nearly defeated by a second Raptor which attacks from the side, ala Robert Muldoon's death. A number of lucky shots take down the second animal, but my pistol is out of ammo, so I discard it. A quick sweep of the ruins finds me a replacement weapon in the form of a SPAS-12 shotgun, which I raise just in time as the allosaur again charges from the bushes. A couple of blasts to the head ward the big dinosaur off, and I run around him into the jungle, emerging near a lone kentrosaur which agitatedly guards a clearing which is also occupied by a Mercedes-Benz Unimog. I pull down the tailgate and find a stun gun in the rear, but leave it be as my shotgun still has plenty of ammo. It's at this moment that the allosaur reappears, prompting me to scurry around the kentrosaur and leave the titans to duke it out themselves. Again I approach a field of long grass, though a different one this time, at the end of which I notice a short concrete structure. I know I have to brave the grass, so I fire a number of random shots from the P90 into the grass and hear the screams of dying Raptors. Turns out my aim was quite lucky, and I kill the two Raptors stalking in the field. Grinning to myself, I quickly wade through the tall grass and emerge at the structure (a re-purpose of the Summit station). Another Hammond voiceover gives some backstory here, but like a couple of other VOs, it felt a little bit out of place - perhaps a mistake or mix-up between triggers? Yet another Raptor comes into sight at the other end of the buildings, and I rush to enter the far building, only just beating the dinosaur in a race to the door. I slam the door shut behind me just as the predator crashes into it! Pushing my body against the door, I manage to hold the Raptor back for long enough for it to give up, but it manages to get a bite or two on me as it noses its way between the door and the frame. Before the Raptor can come back for a second attack, I shove a big box in front of the door to block its entry - just in time too, as the dinosaur crashes into the metal door once again! The box barely holds, and a second one in place keeps the dinosaur out for good (it's moments like this that entirely redeem the somewhat wonky dinosaurs for me in Tres ). With no alternate exit, I hunker down in the corner and wait, thinking to myself how this level's been a constant thrill ride! A minute or so later, I can barely hear the dinosaur anymore, so I move my makeshift barricades and tentatively open the door - nothing in sight. I hastily jog over to the other end of the building (no idea why I didn't go in here first!) and find myself in a neat little radio room, which uses some JPDS assets in an interesting and fitting manner. Stepping over to a computer terminal, I somehow (not sure what I did..?) enable an emergency beacon, which summons my rescue from this valley and the end of the level.
SUMMARY: For such a short level, I sure had a lot of fun with this one! Lots of combat and some lovely scenery definitely made up for the lack of story and occasional strange or too frequent placement of voiceovers. Action is rampant in this level, and it makes a suitable, if not perfect, sequel to the original Lost Jungle level.
Map Design: 5/10 - Lots to see here despite only a few locations, and the dense jungle makes combat difficult without feeling unfair. I would perhaps have liked to see a bit more interaction with the environment, and I noticed a minor lack of detail in the areas surrounding the main playable area. Gameplay: 4.5/10 - Short but sweet. A mostly combat-oriented level, which is made more fun by the large amount of hostile dinosaurs and a challenging setting. No real puzzles or challanges other than the combat, however, make replayability a bit low. Story: 3/10 - While I understand you weren't really going for a story-oriented level, the minimalist story elements such as voiceovers were kind of off in places. I was confused at the end how I activated the computer at the end, if I did anything at all. I did like the couple of little hints of other activity in the jungle though, but the messy narrative elements hamper this score. Creativity: 6.5/10 - Using the JPDS and MegaJungle assets together is quite successful! Everything was well-made and well put together, and there wasn't anything lacking in this department. There was clearly a fair bit effort put into creating an interesting environment using the level assets and expanding on what we saw in LJ1. Not the most creative use of said assets - I would have liked to see a bit more than the rather simplistic, scriptless level we have here, especially after that falling bus and the short cave in LJ1.
OVERALL: 5/10 "The jungle canopy hung over us, there was an utter silence...when suddenly, a Raptor attacked from the side, and we were torn to shreds!"
PLAY-BY-PLAY: A quick pre-level note: I was glad to see this mod released as another standalone engine, allowing the new TPAs to be loaded without a hitch. That tiny addition makes a huge difference when it comes to installing and playing levels in CE.
The cold wind howls around you and the snow falls heavily in the long, narrow valley you are greeted with upon entering the level. A densely-packed knit of tall evergreens and bare deciduous bushes compose most of the landscape of this level, which appears to be a very well disguised IJ3. The environment feels distinctly northern, and the various paths and streams which run the length of the valley reminded me of the winter highlands of Alaska or Scotland. Previous winter-themed levels have been set in arctic climates with sparse vegetation, so it was nice to see a similar, but still different winter landscape. After trekking all the way to the end of the valley, I did find that the environment felt somewhat repetitive due to there not being a whole lot of variety in plantlife or object placement, but it wasn't enough that the landscape became boring, despite this being IJ3. The snow effect was pretty nice, but overall the level did lag slightly, likely due to the same high object density that broke down machf's computer. Observing the land ahead of me, I spotted a road leading off toward the stream which divided the frozen valley in half, and decided to follow it, quickly popping into a nearby bus to grab an M16. It wasn't long before I came across the familiar gravel hill and lifter, guarded by a lone snowman. My attempts to blow Frosty into oblivion were sadly repelled (he must have been some kind of snowman-god), but my attempts to blow the lock off the nearby wooden shack were not. "Cheap lock..." I muttered even before Anne could speak the words herself, and I stepped inside to snatch up a FAMAS and a hockey stick before continuing on my way. A short while - and a number of dead Raptors, some via hockey stick - later, I abandoned the road to explore a snow-covered tent off to its side, but came up empty-handed. Another tent a bit further along was guarded by a Raptor, where I retrieved a Desert Eagle to fill up my inventory. Passing a pair of wandering stegosaurs, I came across yet another tent, and managed to lead its dromaeosaur guardian to its death by their hands. The many tents in this level served their purpose as points of interest to guide me, but I couldn't help but feel there were too many of them, or that something else, such as a blockhouse or shed, could have been used in-between to break them up. The valley was thinning out and the Raptors were multiplying, but I managed to take out the last Raptor with the hockey stick and - more importantly - a bit of ammo to spare. It seemed I had reached my destination as I came to an outpost in front of a gate, but then a predator stalked out of the shadows, and a final battle began against the lone carnotaurus guarding the exit. The carno continued to charge even after I had filled it with the rest of the FAMAS ammo, so I desperately climbed the nearby water tower to the top and hid there until the carno stepped away. Machf's other criticism about not being able to punch in the code until the carno was dead echoed what I thought as well, as at first I had been thinking about distracting the carno and then trying to punch in the code before it arrived. I think it would have made for some interesting moments, although the keypad would have to have worked as it does in vanilla Tres, which would also mean that the player could have needed to find a code, etc. A bit cliched, but would have expanded the level's somewhat lacking gameplay somewhat. Anyway, using the elevated position to my advantage, I scouted the area and decided on a plan of attack. The carno returned to the water tower, and must have been pretty surprised when executed my plan, dropping down right onto its back! The big carnivore stumbled around, caught off-guard, and I leapt from its back and sprinted to the outpost's small shed (yes, this really happened - I try to make things as epic as possible while playing, ESPECIALLY when it's unnecessary!). The carno regained its composure and pursued me, but I was able to clamber into the building and slam the door, providing me with temporary shelter. Yet inside the shed was naught but presents! My inner Grinch raged, and before I could start kicking the prezzies around, the carnotaurus burst through the doorway, prompting me to jump out the back window. Aaat this point, things got a bit slow. I was out of ammo and couldn't find a gun with which to kill the carnotaurus, which had to be done to proceed (the decision to lock the keypad until it dies further caused this ). I was forced to retreat back into the level, smacking a Raptor to death with my hockey stick, in order to find something to kill the carno with. Fortunately, a short way back, I snatched up a Desert Eagle buried in the snow, which had enough ammo left to finish off the final boss - seems I was only a couple of hits short of killing him in one go. The guardian of the outpost dead, I stepped over to the keypad and punched in the code. Throwing open the gates, I stepped into a friendly-looking village, and the level came to a close.
SUMMARY: After finishing this wintery level (which looked oddly familiar - a reality check confirms that I appear to live within this level's setting at the moment ) I have to say, I felt it was a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it was a pretty fun, very simple little level with a nice environment and the first attempt at a snow effect via CE. On the other, I thought that perhaps it was a bit too simple and straightforward, and that the gameplay was somewhat lacking. I didn't dislike the level, but I was left wishing for a bit more by the end.
Map Design: 6/10 - A straightforward but very pleasant-looking level. The forest was realistically dense, and the vegetation had a small amount of variety which felt largely fitting. Unfortunately, by the end the world was feeling a bit repetitive, but the outpost at the end was a welcome break. IJ3 looked unlike itself in this level, which is an accomplishment in my book. Gameplay: 2.5/10 - Pretty linear and overall really quite standard Trespasser dino-busting. The boss fight at the end was a good idea, but was held a bit too on-rails for my liking. Perhaps some more places to explore or some puzzles would have made this level a bit more exciting gameplay-wise Story: N/A - It seems you elected to go without story elements for this level, which is fine by me. A level with very few story elements can be worse in this department than one with none at all, so I decided to give this an N/A. Creativity: 7/10 - This is where this level shines. Redressing IJ3 into a winter valley was executed very well, and the snowy textures all looked good. Old assets were used effectively to create the level's setting, and exploring a winterized IJ3 was a novel, if not entirely new, concept. Some more in terms of interesting puzzles and locations could have brought this up a few points. The working gravel hill crane (which I discovered just now in TresEd) is great to see as well!
OVERALL: 5/10 - "WHAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS? THE ICE AGE!!!"
PLAY-BY-PLAY: I actually downloaded this a couple weeks ago and never got around to playing it, so I went in fresh when I started a few hours ago. Anyway! The level starts off nicely where the previous level left off, in the NedryTunnel that has been flooded. As soon as I walked outside, I was blown away by the awesome atmosphere and design of the initial area...might have to steal a visual or two myself. I'll say here that throughout the level, the use of "building blocks" (other objects put together to make something) is constantly amazing and very well done, though it does hurt the FPS a lot in places.
Trekking through the initial jungle was nice enough, though the detail is sliiiiightly lacking, which is fair though as it saves FPS, so no points deducted. I understand that the level is unfinished, so I can't complain either about lack of voiceovers or general triggers either. I have to applaud your use of linked power lines as always - that's a pain to do. Anyway, further down the road I came to anther excellent looking area, the ruined bridges. Everything about this location was cool, especially the side bridge which I believe is a new model. Crossing the little rift was easy enough, though I think it should be widened so that players cannot simply walk around it (though I doubt many players would be THAT scared of a couple little jumps!) At the end of this road comes the real "meat" of the level, the Water Treatment Plant. The entrance is great looking, and the InGen sign really completes it all. With the gate being smashed in, I decided it was time to go off-roading, turning right. I did, unfortunately, miss the camp and sunken ship off to the left of the road while playing through, which is unfortunate because it sort of sets off the W-Y plot that the level centers around (which I found quite amusing, though I was sort of hoping to see an Alien somewhere). My in-game trek took me around the perimeter of the WTP and to another gate, open this time, and a road that went off into the jungle. I decided to follow the road first, so I headed off away from the WTP. After a short stroll down the jungle road, I came to another very interesting and well-done scene, a blue BioSyn jeep at the base of a slope, clearly having gone through the fence. Climbing down, I quickly snatched up the dead driver's empty weapons to use as clubs as a pair of dilophosaurus attacked from the bushes. The battle I had here was quite epic, with me climbing into the wrecked jeep and swinging my guns vainly at the dinosaurs - eventually, I just had to run. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite find a way out of this little ditch, so I had to fly. Maybe a way to get out once you have gone in would be useful here? Back on the high ground, I followed the road further and to another great looking gate, which I couldn't enter, and to a collapsed ditch road that also looked excellent and was guarded by a classic Warpath cryolophosaurus. I was sort of disappointed to find that I couldn't proceed past this point, having traveled all this way, though I assume there was to be something beyond the metal gate atop the blank hill that is behind it. I admittedly flew back to the entrance to the WTP and walked inside. This entire area is just fantastic. The big building I initially found my way into had some well-detailed loading bays on the outside, and a spectacular array of catwalks and pipes inside. I'm no Water Treatment expert, but this looked pretty cool to me. I was somehow compelled to climb to the top of this building, which was a fun experience - maybe a reward for reaching the top is in order? I did, however, get stuck on the parking lot area just outside of this structure, though...building blocks have never worked too well for floors, unfortunately. hppav's World Trade Center level has some really good concrete and painted line textures that would work well here. Heading up the steps toward the Operations Center building, I quickly diverted myself to the left and headed toward another set of buildings. I found myself running around, looking at the buildings on the beach from every angle because I was so impressed by them, and I especially liked the new water tower model at the end of the area. Again, perfect job using limited resources to build something new! As I staggered around in awe, I came across some sort of bridge linking to a sort of building-thing in the ocean - I had to investigate. Noticing the hole in the primary entrance, I instead walked across the connecting pipes to reach the building, though ultimately had to fly back onto the main bridge as I couldn't jump from the pipe onto the actual ground. The inside of this building was something I've never seen before - a deep pit with a window that led to a very cool underwater view. I absolutely loved the originality here...everything about this area was perfect, though again I felt that some reward or puzzle MacGuffin was in order. I made my way back to the Operations Center and ascended the steps - this is the area where my FPS is the worst, just to note. I entered the building and was again enthralled by the added detail, and was immediately intrigued to see a magazine that mentioned Alan Grant and...WEYLAND YUTANI?! Immediately interested further, I explored and came across a tunnel leading down some steps around the back area, and followed it further into a lab-like area that I eventually realized was a well-utilized TC Level research facility. Reports of a spreading DX Disease enthralled me, keeping the excitement at about 11. Eventually, I stepped out the doors and into yet another cool little scene, and began following a faint trail further into the jungle once more. Following a perilous leap across another gorge, I began heading toward a distant valley when I ran head on into a pack of Chaos Effect velociraptors! I love these guys so much, yet I had to dodge around them in panic as I was still without a weapon of any sort aside from my G3 club. Then I walked around a corner and gasped. Ahead was the sight of the huge canyon facility, Weyland-Utani logo emblazoned above a huge door into whatever that structure held. I couldn't find a way to ride the elevator down for the life of me, so I quickly flew down to the canyon floor to investigate. It was around this point that I heard something stomping around inside the building, though I was completely unprepared for the epicness that awaited me. This entire area was the great, so much originality combined with some of the coolest visuals to I've ever seen. I was unable to get into the huge structure, but thanks to the power of cheating, I went through the door just to investigate...and my balls were immediately blown off (sorry about that one ). A giant dinosaur, which I later learned was a Godzilla-sized giganotosaurus from Dino Crisis 2, was stomping around and trying to devour me, despite being 50ft too tall to pull it off. In absolute awe, I dodged my way around the gargantuan beast and stepped into a short corridor...and BOOM! I win! I did later play around in TresEd and discover the hallways above the giganotosaurus room, and I found that automatic turret pretty friggen cool looking, and found that "tyrannotops" skull, as well as another WY-related article. I assume we would eventually have made our way up there, through the vents and onto the roof? I also discovered the little passage off to the side of the canyon that led back to the ravine - a neat additon.
SUMMARY: Whew! There's my essay for today. This was a great level, well worth the wait, and I'd be very excited to see it finished and patched up to a 100% state. I really want to find out where the Weyland-Yutani plot goes, and what that giganotosaurus is doing cooped up in there. There is just so much to see and do, and very little of the level feels empty. Every location is unique and interesting, and it makes me want to see MOAR. Excellent work, General. The Force is strong with you. The final verdict is:
Map Design: 8.5/10 - So much good stuff, with very little I disliked or felt was arbitrary. Every location was unique, and I just wanted to keep exploring to see what the next marvel would be. The only place that bummed me out was the dead end with the cryolophosaurus, but I assume this area was unfinished. Gameplay: 3.5/10 - Although I didn't really notice while I was playing, there is a lack of puzzles and gameplay elements that hold the playability back. Due to the lack of any major triggers, I also have to assume there was never anything like this implemented due to the unfinished state. I would like to have seen more challenges and brain-games and perhaps something to fight off the few dinosaurs with (NOT necessarily a gun, mind you!) Story: 8/10 - An Aliens crossover? Gotta love it. I was really interested when reading notes and magazines, and all the little hints here and there of what might have been happening at that final facility made the mystery quite intriguing. Due to the lack of a finished ending, I can't give this a 9 or 10, which it would receive if there was an appropriate climax and denouement. Creativity: 9.5/10 - Just...wow. With what you had, you achieved something quite spectacular! I was happy to see so much created using good ol' building blocks, plus an array of other objects and interesting areas that made me keep looking for more, plus the inclusion of a sub-plot. I cannot stress how well done everything feels despite the limited resources - excellent work!
PLAY-BY-PLAY: The level opens nicely enough in a wonderful, deep red canyon. A river runs through the middle and a dark, foreboding temple in the distance beyond a cool-looking land-bridge invites me forward into what is presumably the titular Uxmal canyon. Nice to see my palms in the distance, by the way - never expected them to fit into a desert theme, but that they do! This exterior valley would have gotten a perfect impression had I not turned around and spotted Mount Watson there in the distance...I'd like to see some completely fresh terrain rather than re-use of the Tres terrains in your levels, Drac. Even if the distant hills are low-detailed, it would be nice to be out of the familiar Tres landscape.
After hopping my way across the TC~Isle rope bridge (one of the peskier ones to get across, I find), I approach the dark ruin as it looms up ahead. I kept waiting for an eerie music cue to play here, but was somewhat disappointed when there wasn't one - it would have set the mood nicely. "Mood" is actually, unfortunately, the major thing I find lacking in this level, but more on that later. Making my way up the vertical stairs, I enter the black mouth of the temple and am sneakily warped to an interior space. The door has shut behind me and I'm locked inside of this eerie stone labyrinth, which looks great and makes good use of building blocks to create something unique! So many cool mesoamerican designs on the walls, but again I find there to be something of a lack of atmosphere, mostly for two reasons: one - it feels much too bright. Considering that this temple seems to be underground and without windows, I'd expect it to be quite dark, which would have elevated both the slightly creepy vibe I got from it as well as made it feel even more labyrinthine than it already is. And the second would be the lack of good sound. I know that Tres is lacking in spooky or even just "earth-like" sounds which would have fit this temple, but I definitely think something more could have been done in this department to make it feel claustrophobic or mysterious. The constant growling of the Raptors that you could hear the instant you entered the temple was somewhat grating and ruined the surprise when you could have encountered them as well - some quick, simple teleportation triggers would have helped here.
Anyway, I snatched up a sledgehammer and headed down some stairs - ducking under a big, ugly (in a good way) spider and his web in the process - only to run into the corpse of none other than Dr Alan Grant! This is where the fun yet intriguing plot kicks off in the form of a journal which seems to imply that there are multiple Grants and that they share...like...a hive-mind, or something? Weird, but fun nonetheless! Either way, I had a good time reading these entries and enjoyed the simple backstory which carried throughout the level. Taking Grant's gun, I headed deeper into the heart of the temple only to run into a second dead body - this one's face was down, but he looked strangely like the dead doctor I'd just passed. And only a few meters further is the corpse of a third Dr Grant, as well as another journal, as well as a fork in the path. This is where the level began to elevate for me - the fact that there are so many rooms to explore and so many forks and passages and ways to get lost, yet you never actually get horribly - boringly - lost due to the fact that you're always sort of going downward in order to proceed. Great design in that aspect, to the point that I was able to figure out where to go without being told. I spent a while exploring the depths of the temple and won't go over it in too much detail. The rooms I found the most interesting include the one with the silver pool, which I think was meant to be tar but could have been anything in the world the story had set-up (excellent use of water functions here, though I couldn't seem to climb out and had to fly my way back to solid ground), and the layered, broken hallway with climbable ropes dangling down (glad to see you fixed my ropes, too!). The temple felt large but not impossible to navigate, which reminded me of the Mayan tunnels in JPDS, as they appeared to try to do something similar but ended up being very hard to navigate as they looked too much the same. This temple has just enough variety in room design to keep you oriented while still inviting exploration in every which way. Ultimately, after blowing away some Raptors with the fine selection of guns scattered about the level on the corpses of the various Grants (which I quickly realized were all of the various Grant action figures from over the years, though I *think* you were missing brown jacket/white shirt/blue pants Grant from JP3 - nice touch though!), I found my way into a large, rocky cavern beneath the temple, with an exit to the outdoors visible. Battling my way past a final pair of carnivores, I left the temple and the level came to a short-but-sweet end! I was somewhat disappointed that I didn't need to solve some sort of puzzle up in the temple itself to escape, but I enjoyed the level enough that it didn't bother me too much.
SUMMARY: All in all, this was a pretty cool and quite interesting level! I had a blast exploring the temple itself and reading the odd-funny-mysterious-ridiculous-interesting notes lying about, but was somewhat disappointed by the lack of suitable atmosphere and challenge, which would have pretty much fully rounded out the level. Still, it certainly was worth the short wait!
Map Design: 8.5/10 - Great stuff here with the very detailed temple interior filled with all sorts of cool and unique things to see, but the exterior was somewhat lacking, and there wasn't really a huge feeling of being underground. Gameplay: 5.5/10 - The exploration part was nailed perfectly, and there was a nice challenge with a number of Raptors and just enough ammo. Unfortunately, there wasn't much else to really do, and the lack of any puzzle to escape the temple felt somewhat disappointing. Story: 9/10 - The only details you recieve are the only ones you need to understand (somewhat) what's going on and formulate your own ideas. I kept wondering how this all happened and what these Grants were doing in the temple! A simple yet intriguing plot without getting in the way of gameplay. Really no problems here. Creativity: 10/10 - A building-block temple, new models, unorthodox Trepasser level design, a great, original story, what's not to love here?
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Ruins opens up like a lot of Trespasser levels - your plane has crashed somewhere, everyone has died but you, and now you've got to find your way out. However, it's immediately obvious from the moment you leave the plane that you're somewhere new and unique that we've never seen in a Tres level before: turns out you've crashed outside an enormous ancient Roman city. From the moment you enter the mammoth city gate, you find yourself wanting to explore every nook and cranny of it, something which this level allows you to do in full! You'll explore abandoned houses, market stores, a temple, and even a mill, but ultimately your objective is to escape the city and move onward toward the massive mountain in the distance (which happens to be a disguised Mount Watson as this level uses a well-disguised IT terrain as its base - something I usually am not a huge fan of, though I'm happy to say is done well enough in this level that I didn't initially notice). Every corner of this city is detailed richly, although the buildings are a little bit empty interior-wise, and you'll spend a lot of time wandering around checking out everything you can. I cannot stress enough how cool this city is!
Once you've explored the spectacular city and potentially encountered a mysterious portal with a denizen even more ancient than the city itself, you'll probably be wondering what you need to do to move on. This leads me into one of my few gripes with this level - the puzzles. Now don't get me wrong, I love puzzles in games and am always hoping to see some good ones in Trespasser, but I did find a couple of these puzzles to be somewhat difficult to find the solutions to, even with the provided Tomb Raider-esque cutaways (which are really cool, by the way). This first puzzle had me scratching my head for quite a while until I discovered that you actually have to climb to an off-the-path area which is quite hard to notice, which I fear many other players might not even realize is there. The rest of the solution to the puzzle isn't that hard, but finding that one item - the torch, spoiler alert - was a bit trickier than I think it needed to be.
Eventually, you'll solve this puzzle and say goodbye to the city (and the nearby wild boar, your only friend in this level) - possibly with sword in hand - and find yourself journeying down a long valley over which towers a huge aqueduct, one of the most impressive things I've seen for a long time in Tres. Skeletons of long-dead Roman soldiers occupy the valley -as well as some unwelcome company in the form of velociraptors - leaving you wondering what exactly happened here that killed them all off, and you'll find some more corpses in a hidden cave-barracks which only makes you more interested in finding out why all these Romans ended up dead without signs of battle. Near the end of this valley, you'll also stumble upon a small temple, which, once accessed via puzzle, contains a fun little platforming segment and one of the more major puzzles of this level. The solution to this puzzle isn't immediately obvious, but astute observers will figure out the solution soon enough and, after a bit of a backtrack which didn't feel too tedious but could have used some more action, will find themselves advancing toward the final part of the level. I do think the solution to this puzzle could be misconstrued, however, and might result in a player backtracking substantially to retrieve an item they obtained earlier only to find it isn't the right answer.
Passing an excellent new machf-made creature that I won't spoil and with a new/old key in tow, you'll soon find yourself at the last challenge of the level - a simple puzzle, but a good one nonetheless. With that out of the way, you enter a dark, eerie passage - some sort of catacombs, from the looks of things - and hear the door slam shut behind you to reach the level's end, leaving you on a cliffhanger that ultimately made me wanting more after journeying through this excellent adventure!
SUMMARY: Map Design: 7/10 - Some great environments and locations that take you from place to place seamlessly as well as a complete redress of an original Trespasser terrain make this level feel very natural. A few difficulties in navigation and some backtracking however do slow the level down and occasionally leave you scratching your head, and it's a bit disappointing that there wasn't really much to do in the massive Roman city. Gameplay: 8/10 - Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles in this level, which range from medium-to-obscure in difficulty. I'm hugely fond of puzzles in levels, and I really liked a lot of what was done here, but there were some which felt a little bit too obscure and difficult to complete, in particular due to the out-of-the-way placement of key items. Still, I hugely commend the originality and challenge these puzzles created. Story: 7.5/10 - There's some really cool stuff going on here - a time portal, dinosaurs in a Roman ruin, bodies mummified like those at Pompeii...so many interesting things which make you eager to investigate and want to know more. The only thing I wish for was a little bit more evidence hinting at what really happened here, as by the end I was really wanting to get a few more answers (I'm aware that there may be sequels to this level and am willing to change my score here if some of that is cleared up in later levels). Creativity: 10/10 - This level knocks it out of the park with its original environments and scenery. It's one of those rare few levels where almost every model is new, and those that aren't are used very well. The puzzles and mini-dungeons encountered around the level make it all the more interesting and unique, earning a perfect score from me here.
OVERALL: 8/10 - Turns out the true barbarians that brought about the fall of Rome...were the DINOSAURS!
TheIdiot [ Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:57 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
TheIdiot [ Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:57 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
TheIdiot [ Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:11 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Draconisaurus [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:32 am ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Hilwo [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:38 am ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Rex Rampage River By Draconisaurus
Drac, you should rename this to Burning River I think that was the official name of the level. I love Rampage Edition, one of my favorite games on Mega Drive / Genesis and I really enjoyed playing your level a few years ago
Draconisaurus [ Mon Apr 30, 2018 9:31 am ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Hehe thanks! It was inspired initially by the desire to do an upward facing, red-colored ingame sunlight source.
TheIdiot [ Wed May 02, 2018 9:22 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Hey, the reservation was for a reason - I actually managed to hit the forum character limit by the 8th review!
I love Rampage Edition, one of my favorite games on Mega Drive / Genesis and I really enjoyed playing your level a few years ago
I'm honestly surprised Draco never made a Mayan ruins-themed platforming/puzzle-solving level along the lines of the Rampage Edition stage!
Hilwo [ Thu May 03, 2018 6:19 am ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
I'm honestly surprised Draco never made a Mayan ruins-themed platforming/puzzle-solving level along the lines of the Rampage Edition stage!
That'd be awesome! It just occurred to me that Rampage Edition beat Trespasser to it with having Mayan ruins first, forgot that Different island, though - guess both Nublar and Sorna have them
Draconisaurus [ Fri May 04, 2018 6:43 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Haha. EFJP might have featured such a level. Don't remember planning one tho.
TheIdiot [ Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:59 pm ]
Re: TheIdiot's Level Review Thread - New and Old!
Updated with my review for Draconisaurus's Uxmal Canyon.