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Screen Shot Screen Shot Added 9-21-1998
LEVEL: DEADLINE
(deadline.zip 2,412K)
AUTHOR: Jason (Elfinko) Fink

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RATING
105

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PLUSES

MINUSES SUMMARY
Jason Fink, author of Nailbomb, returns to the scene with a new Unit, or "4 levels with a theme to tie them together" as he states in his .txt file. The game opens in The Hub which starts off to a clever entry room that doubles as an ammo and weapons storage area. Once out of the room, the rest level is mostly an introduction to the game. The layout of the area is nicely done and and it gives the player a real sense of place. The outdoor areas are finely crafted and the entrances to the remaining three maps are creative and each has it's own distinct personality. There isn't too much action or fun to be had here, but it serves its purpose as a hub. The East Yard is a large map whose main feature is action. The Strogg never stop coming and it's a constant battle as you make your way into the heart of the map. The layout is excellent, and the variety or areas is just great. Despite this, much of the architecture (entry hall excluded) seemed a bit standard and unexciting. Though there is plenty of action, the level wasn't very challenging for me. The Strogg seemed spaced far enough apart to avoid giving me any serious problems. There was an interesting battle or two with a dual Gladiator attack. Maybe I'm getting a bit spoiled now, but 2 Gladiators at once just doesn't excite me anymore. In fact, give me a machinegun, enough ammo, and room to move around, and I'll take them both out without suffering any damage every time. In general I did a lot of Strogg blasting, but didn't take much damage. Fun, but not gripping. The West Yard was far and away my favorite. An incredibly massive spawling map that is a pleasure to admire. The layout is nothing less than spectacular. More variety than I could ever ask for, and a smooth seemless transition from area to area. This is professional quality level design here. The attention to detail is astonishing and colored lighting is used to great effect. There are plenty of items in out of the way places that will reward your explorations. The action is once more non-stop, and plenty of fun. A bit more challenge is presented in this level, as some of the battles occur without the luxury of complete freedom of movement. This map is first-rate fun, and Spq2 doesn't get much better than this. The final level you delve into is the Strogg Leaders Palace. Mostly a stage for the final battle with the Makron, the map has a few pleasant surprises. The opening area sports a nifty train track, and when you make your way into the map there is a real unique experience. You enter a room with a series of raised platforms, upon which Strogg are teleported onto. They appear at intervals, and it forces the player to be spinning around madly firing at freshly arriving Strogg for a few minutes. I loved the sequence. Once done there, you'll drop down into a massive arena in which you'll face a big nasty Boss. It's a well designed arena and makes for a fun fight. The final battle takes place in a very unusual area. I'm constantly impressed with the new ways of using the Makron that authors come up with, and this time is no exception. The final room has a large slope, and a pool of water below it. It makes for some tricky navigation, and turns what could be a boring experience into something a bit fresh and new. I have a few complaints about this set of maps. First off there is no story whatsoever. Some sort of bare-bones plot would have given the game a much needed dose of immersiveness. The maps are very realistic and give the player a wonderful sense of place, but the missing story creates a gap in the immersiveness. Secrets also are missing. The maps aren't very big on exploration, and the layout (though wonderful) is very linear. Added secrets could have allowed for more time spent exploring. I did see some occasional improper item drops by vanquished Strogg, such as an Enforcer dropping Cells. And, overall, there was a bit too much ammo available to the player. The Unit was a bit too easy for me - I'd suggest that Skill 1 players try Skill 2, Skill 2 players try Skill 3 (In fact, I went back and replayed the Unit on Skill 3, and had more fun...). Overall, it's a great experience. Each map is very believable in construction. The action is virtually non-stop, and you will have fun. A few elements are missing, but it's not enough to drag down the whole game.