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Screen Shot Screen Shot Added 6-28-1998
LEVEL: OPERATION SCORCHED EARTH
(sgc9.zip 3,630K)
AUTHOR: Steve (Notlob) Clarke

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RATING
100

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PLUSES

MINUSES SUMMARY
Operation Scorched Earth puts you in charge of destroying a top-secret outpost before the Stroog can take over and uncover the information contained within. The strengths of the Unit are it's atmosphere, lay-out, and the placement of Strogg and items. The three maps ooze with atmosphere: dimly lit areas, great use of ambient sounds, explosions, mysterious machinery, and plenty of evidence of destruction. Most of the areas are cramped and claustrophobic, with plenty of narrow halls and corridors winding all around each other, making it difficult to know just where you are in relation to the rest of the map. You are sent on a variety of puzzle solving missions, consisting of 'shut-off this to access that' sequences. It's a lot of fun, and devilishly complex at times. It took me several hours to complete, and I actually had to break down and e-mail the author when I overlooked an odd texture choice used on a series of doorways. My advice: shoot at, push on, and attempt to get over, under, around, and through every object you see. The story, puzzles, and gameplay flow along nicely. All three maps have a nice pace, and plenty of action. Challenge is very high, as Strogg are everywhere, and placed very well. Steve makes good use of having Strogg appear in areas you had previously cleared out, so you need to stay alert at all times. And even so, you'll likely still be taken by surprise more than once. Items are kept to a minimum, and health is very scarce. I was constantly low on health, and begging for more. You will need to uncover at least several of the secrets if you want to have a fair chance here. The secrets are well done: difficult to find, but there are visual clues as to their location. Many key items are contained within the secrets: Hyperblaster, +25 health boxes, +100 armor. Believe me, they will be much appreciated when discovered. Gripes include: a few slightly mis-aligned textures, 2 areas which I had to no-clip out of, and a lot more Stogg in-fighting than usual (mostly in map1). This Unit is very challenging, both in the action element, and in the puzzle solving, navigation area as well. It's distinct atmosphere and wicked lay-out will make it a Q2 experience not soon forgotten, and the final 'map' will leave you wanting, and wondering. Highly recommended.