download it here: download from author's site
download it here: download from 3DGE
- great action
- excellent ambiance
- good challenge
- stylish look/texture use
- milous' lemonhearth club music and new sounds
- no plot
- final battle is insanely difficult
- boring architecture/layout
- poor item placement
a new spq2 mission pack in 2005? it's almost as hard to believe as an 8-year-old review site being reactivated in time to review it! milous has just released an 8-bsp map pack that has more than enough strogg slamming to appease any spq2 appetite. this 35MB download features milous' own one-man-band (lemonhearth club) ambient electronic music, tons of action, and some unique stylized visuals. is it worth the download and your time? read on and see if this is for you.
the intro to this pack is a bit slow and boring, by my standards. but it does set the mood for what is to come. the slow paced ambient soundtrack, pulsing lights, and colorful texture selection are a good representation of what you are about to experience for the next few hours as you blast your way past 100's and 100's of strogg. this intro, and the subsequent opening map are, well, not very good. there are a few decent moments, and it has a nice visual or two, and some cool music, but it was boring in the gameplay department. you have a few weapons with virtually unlimited ammo and adrenaline is offered up far too generously. and then: you mow down the opposition - which consists of large clusters of identical strogg. mow down a group of 15 gunners and then mow down a group of garbage cans, and then flyers... you get the picture. after the first level i let this one sit for a few days before i went back to it, and i am glad that i did go back. after the first level the pack gets progressively better.
as you move along the battle arenas become more diverse, the strogg a bit more mixed in variety, and the level design slightly more complex and interesting. where this map pack shines the brightest is in providing the player with an arena to fight in, continously spawning strogg to battle, and plenty of guns-n-ammo to do the job. if you enjoy frantic fights, circle-strafing large groups of strogg, and fighting the most powerful enemies with heavy duty weapons - then this is a must have addition to your spq2 folder. there are some pretty cool arenas to do battle in, with very moody lighting and some nice music to listen to while you fight to the finish. lemonhearth club provides the new music tracks, and if you enjoy slow paced ambient music then this will be a welcome addition to the gameplay experience. i did enjoy the music, only wishing that there had been more included so that it wouldn't have been so repetitive after a while. not that the repetition gets bothersome, as you are usually in a fight for your life as it plays, i just wanted to hear more of it. also included are several new sound effects that add some new spice to this old beast that is q2.
my complaints about this mission are plenty, but none so profound as to result in a terrible score or for me to discourage anyone from giving this pack a try. nevertheless, here they are. first off, i have never been a fan of maps that dump ammo and health on you until you don't even bother to worry about them any more. it removes an element of gameplay, and this game is simple enough without dumbing it down further. 666 suffers from this syndrome terribly. i left ammo behind by the ton, and only scooped up all the health because it was mostly in the form of adrenaline. however, on many occassions i picked up literally 4 or 5 in a row, only because i feared getting locked out and losing them as i moved through the map, not because i needed them. conversely, there are times when you are in dire need of health and it doesn't appear. health placement was not thought out. neither was ammo placement. however, at least the guns were dispersed more appropriately, making the player wait until later on for the more powerful ones. while the action and challenge in this mission are fun, they suffer from being horribly uneven in presentation. the challenge can go from minimal and almost boring, to extremely difficult, and back and forth again without any regard for a sense of flow or progression. in particular, the final battle sequence is so incredibly difficult that i had to cheat a bit to win through to the end - and this is the first time i can ever recall cheating at an spq2 level in order to win. as for design, the layout of these maps is not bad, and at times interesting, but for the most part it is so simple as to be ignored. the same can be said for the architecture. it isn't that is is bad, it is simply boring. this is compensated for by the unique texture and colored lighting usage, as well as the soundtrack. however, i cannot help but wonder how much better this would have been if the architecture and layout had been given more thought and attention. finally, the total lack of plot takes away a lot from this experience. i mean, the f1 computer usually said "kill all" and that was about it.
the bottom line here is this: 666 provides a lot of action, some excellent challenges, and some very cool arenas to do battle in. the atmosphere is very unique and fun to experience, which adds a lot of value to this pack, should that sort of thing appeal to you. however, don't expect there to be anything beyond that. there are no architectural wonders to behold, and no fun or interesting plot to experience. 666 is a mixed-bag, but there is a lot of fun to be had in it, and lets face it - it has been a long time since any new spq2 material has come our way! i say download and enjoy.