Famous for it's extended development time which saw the game slip in and out of the limelight on numerous occasions, Prey hit the gaming scene in 2006 with relatively modest impact. Although the game itself was a commercial success (to such an extent that a sequel has been since confirmed) to say that it's modding scene is minor at best would be extremely generous.
But modders are tenacious, stubborn beasts and you can guarantee that wherever there's a potential source of creativity, you'll always find atleast one person willing to investigate it. Here we have a small selection of single player maps built for Human Head Studio's and 3D Realms gravity flipping game.
Author: Robert Hodri
Official web site: www.bja-design.de
Download Lost City for Prey - Moddb.com
This is not the first map built for id Tech 4 by author Robert 'BJA' Hodri, having previously released both 'Genetic' and 'Lost Facility' for Doom 3 among numerous multiplayer maps. Those familiar with his work will already have a good idea of what to expect from Lost City, with his previous single player releases combining horror elements and action gameplay, with a strong understanding of what's possible with the tools/technology available.
You begin Lost City in a small outdoor area and before you've even started walking round there's plenty to admire. While id Tech 4 isn't famous for it's handling of outdoor environments (prior to Enemy Territory: Quake Wars), the lighting engine does a splendid job of creating an immersive, atmosphere which is given additional depth by the careful use of cosmetic elements.
You enter the building and as you proceed through there's an increasing sense of dread and suspense, achieved through neatly crafted visual details, expertly timed sound effects and well-paced scripted sequences. The immersion value of the level is further increased by the somewhat ‘open' nature of the design, allowing you to access areas which aren't 100% vital to your progression but feature items which will certainly help you on your way. At some points it does detract from the pacing, and although the narrative is constantly building up a thick, haunting atmosphere, you never really feel like it reaches a climax because your enemies are generally weak and in small numbers, so there's never really any challenge to accompany the build up. There's nothing which jumps out as being a revolution of gameplay design, but the standard of workmanship and consistency throughout makes it an enjoyable, technically sound and highly immersive experience.
Weighing in at approximately 78mb and including a nice variety of original, professional standard models and textures, Lost City is a single player map which combines strong atmosphere, well timed scripted sequences, good sound design and straight-forward FPS gameplay into a tight, coherent package. The style, gameplay, cosmetic themes and general narrative are nothing we haven't seen many times before, but they're all handled with admirable technical proficiency, the author clearly respecting the vital balance between gameplay and art. If you've got a copy of Prey there's no reason not to play this.
Author : DC Doom
Download Alienator for Prey - Prey.filefront.com
A bit of a departure from the gameplay and narrative style of Lost City now, as DC Doom brings us Alienator, an intense run and gun experience for fans of old school botmatch combat.
Alienator is not strictly a bot match perse. The author has essentially adapted the multiplayer maps that ship with Prey to spawn enemies from the singleplayer game periodically throughout the play session. Although you run around the map picking up items and weapons as you would in a standard bot deathmatch, the fact that these items do not respawn forces you into making the most of every available piece of ammunition. There's also no spirit walking, so once you die it's game over and you must start again.
While only a minor tweak, this variation on a tried and tested gameplay formula does become surprisingly addictive as you find yourself desperately making the most of the available weapons and items if you wish to progress as far as possible.
Alienator isn't likely to extend your interest in Prey all that greatly, but it's alot of fun for those who enjoy this style of gameplay, and the fact that it has been adapted to all the original multiplayer maps means that there's plenty for you play around with.
Download Alienator for Prey - Prey.filefront.com
Altered Reality - Shrapnel City
Author: S. R. "Altered Reality" G.
Official Web Site: Alteredreality.altervista.org
Download from moddb: Moddb.com
Any map which opens with the player passing excrement in a strip bar bathroom deserves a quick play-through if only to experience a brief hint of obnoxious toilet humour which is sadly, somewhat rare in modern games.
Altered Reality is based in Shrapnel City, which shares it's name with an episode from 1996's Duke Nukem 3D, and the similarities with this particular title don't stop there. Secret areas, basic but fun puzzles, plenty of swearing and minor sexual content abound to create a mod which though simple in it's execution, definitely has that sense of mature (and I use the term loosely) humour which made Duke3D such an endearing gameplay experience.
As mentioned before you start on the toilet (seriously how often does a reviewer get to open with that??), desperately struggling to process whatever mysterious meal you must've consumed the night before. Seconds later the walls are shaking, and as you exit the bathroom you find the strip club you're inside has been attacked by aliens... as you do. From this point onwards you proceed in linear fashion through Shrapnel City's outdoor and indoor areas, every now and again having to solve some simple button pushing puzzles to continue.
The map contains an admirable amount of custom content in the form of textures and models, but because they haven't really been integrated with the visual style of Prey it's relatively easy to figure out which features the author has built. But criticising this would suggest that art direction is the focus of Shrapnel City which it clearly isn't. The focus here is on having fun, and while you'll sometimes find yourself lost or confused as to what you need to do to progress, for the most part you'll find it reasonably easy to plug in, turn your brain off and indulge in some mindless violence.
It's not a testament to the artistic values of gaming, nor is it an awe-inspiring technical achievement, but if you're a fan of low-brow humour and can afford a few minutes to spend gunning down aliens, you'll enjoy what Altered Reality has to offer.
Download Altered Reality for Prey - Moddb.com
Leons Single Player Map
Author : leon stephan brinkmann
Download from moddb: Moddb.com
We're back to the more traditional single player experience now with Leon's Single Player map, which looks to extend the fundamental Prey experience with similar level design and use of artistic assets.
Leon's map doesn't add any new content to Prey, rather it uses assets from the game itself to create something of a similar style. Of all the mods looked at here Leon's map sticks to the fundamental experience Prey offer's the most, by focussing on dark, alien interiors, and also integrating a number of puzzles featuring portals, gravity flipping and wall walking.
The gameplay generally comprises of running through areas of combat broken up by small puzzles, and although the two are blended together quite nicely there's no real background narrative in place, so it often feels like you're just going through the process of ‘doing a puzzle, killing some baddies, repeat'. The atmosphere is solid, but some of the level design feels confused and it can sometimes be hard to figure out exactly what you're supposed to be doing. However when the gameplay and design work together, they create some really neat sections with that signature 'Prey' feel.
If you're not really a big fan of Prey, Leon's map isn't going to change your mind as it essentially feels like an alpha demo of the original game, put together to showcase some of the features, artistic styles and gameplay. If on the other hand you are a fan of Prey and are just interested in extending the life of the game, there's no reason not to give Leon's map a playthrough.
Download LeonSP for Prey - Moddb.com