level: omega labs
author: viktor a lundberg
email author: viktorlundberg AT(NOSPAM) nyc.rr DOT com
click here to download the map
- creepy atmosphere
- good use of scripted events
- large, spacious level
- decent challenge
- some good action
- good architecture
- read below
this level download includes a zipped .PK4 file only. place the file in your D3/base directory, fire up D3, bring down the console ([ctrl]+[alt]+[~]) and type: "map omegalabs/omegalabs", without the quotes.
after a meteor shower creates havoc in the omega labs, you return to consciousness to discover that all hell has broken loose. find your way through the lab, and to the hanger in order to grab a transport ship and get away - before you are killed or zombified.
the omega labs is a huge, sprawling level that will appeal to players who value atmosphere over action, and creepy ambience over brutal challenge. the focus is on minimalism. creating tension and anxiety by means of desolation, then lulling you into a false sense of security so that the imp hiding in the shadows really makes you jump. should you choose to download this level, keep in mind that although it is extremely slow paced to begin with (almost to the point of being boring), the action and challenge do pick up about half-way through the level and the challenge increases as well. aside from these observations, what can one expect to find in viktor's omega labs? let me tell you...
in terms of aesthetics this level is solid and functional, avoiding blandness without approaching beauty or artistry. clutter, furniture, accessories (lamps, cups, etc...), computers, pipes, and other architectural devices are used minimally. enough to make the omega labs seem like a real location. busted pipes emit steam, smashed panels spark and crackle, corpses and blood decorate with a ghoulish flair. however, there is none of the visual complexity that you will find in the works of kaiser, or mccord. ambient sounds are used well, though very minimally as well. brief refrains of haunting music occasionally appear, bertuger's maniacal laughter and taunts will startle you, and other sounds you would expect to encounter in a lab visited by destruction will keep the atmosphere alive.
as for gameplay, once again i must point out that the focus is on creepy atmosphere and minimalist action. the level begins to some minor zombie fighting and advances to some of the tougher baddies about 75% through the adventure. the device it to lure you into letting you guard down and then springing an imp or maggot on you. it works well, and even scared me a time or two. also breaking up the slow pace are several very well designed scripted sequences which add to the tension and inject a needed sense of urgency into the gun-fights. the challenge is kept in place by limiting the amount of health and ammo available, creating a need to take out zombie with the flashlight or your fists. things really start to heat up over the last quarter of the level. suddenly you are being ganged up on by several higher-powered baddies at a time, and health and ammo are still scarce. there are a few nicely designed, and quite challenging, fight sequences right near the end that left me craving more.
i found many flaws while playing through this level. although this list may seem overly long, be advised that many of these problems don't detract much from the overall experience and won't even be noticed by the casual player. also, this level is quite massive, so these issues are spread out over a large amount of real estate.
- most doors that are red-lit, open
- layout is needlessly complex at times, ex: around the armory
- some audio sounds cannot be heard from a few feet away, but are deafening up close
- one area utilizes an ambient audio sound that is an extremely annoying high-pitched whine
- there is a set of stairs you need to "jump" to climb
- a huge storage area with a locked locker featuring a total of 1 ammo clip
- 2 noclip traps were found
- 3 flickering textures were seen
- map layout is entirely unrealistic
- some locked red doors make the "no entry" sound when touched, some don't
overall, omega labs is a decent effort. personally i prefer a level that is more action packed. it wouldn't take much for this level to score much higher - the addition of more complex architecture, or increased action, or more plot development thorough PDAs, any of these things would have made for a much more enjoyable experience. as it stands, the level is good, solid, creepy, and fun, but it seems lacking. it is well worth a play through for those who love SPD3, but more discriminating players may be disappointed.