Artist in HoMM2/HoMM3 modding, programmer in Lords of Magic modding, various in Might and Magic 6-8 modding.
A pretty decent dive into the old school QfG environment. A challenging gameplay, beautiful characters and a selection of references to the classic Sierra adventure games didn't leave me disappointed. A special attention must be drawn to the voice acting which is no less than excellent. Every character has its own manner of speech and a unique voice texture which make the dialogs amazing to listen.
There were several things, however, which contributed to the actual "however" impression. One of them was a rather flat game concept containing concentrated well-known mythology unlike the "genuine" games which contained a little bit of kitsch, a little bit of real life references put as organic parts of the game itself (not secret mini-encounters like in Heroine's Quest, although the naked girl still counts) and a little bit of absurd feeling aside from the general game concept. Heroine's Quest barely has its own plot.
The other thing is the noticeable difference between graphic styles - pixel art can be seen near pixelated hand-drawn objects and 3D modeled scenes. And yeah, did anyone playing as a Sorceress find a use to the Herbalism skill?
Even with these notes and some other observations like the general Heroine's concept built of Zanthia as well as her horse most probably being a revamped Heroes of Might and Magic 1-2 horse concept I can surely give this game 9 of 10. Counting that the game was released for free and contained a very little number of bugs and technical difficulties, I am fully confident in my rating. And yes, I will surely buy the next Crystal Shard product of this kind.
Although this mod has a very crude intro and outro, I seemed to enjoy it. Some new objects and graphics were definitely a positive spot.
I also noticed that this mod has a completely stolen training level from Cleaner's Adventures mod. That's why my rating for this mod is lower than it could be.
I enjoyed pretty much the feature with things turning upside down after a certain moment. This was definitely new and added a lot to the mod impressions. Also, an idea of a Black Mesa room partially teleported to Xen is awesome as well.
Overall difficulty of the mod seemed weak because of almost every crate containing ammo. This is not realistic, to say the least.
Although it is a nice idea in general to show the events happening before the Black Mesa incident, things could have been much more complex and detailed, and still there could be some challenge implemented.
One of the top HL mods I ever played. A really decent amount of work and a lot of gameplay fun awaits every Half-Life fan in this modification. Even without an HD pack the new concepts look nice and the overall quality of graphics is just excellent. It was also fun to me that I enjoyed an HD look of Barniel even more than actual Kate's look. Pretty hot.
I guess I should also note that the mod was developed in times when Blue Shift didn't exist. It was a pity to realize that (so some locations became retconned) but it was fun at the same time to find some common feats with Blue Shift, including the cute Chumtoad.
The only point I dislike in the mod personally is the strange reimplementation of the G-man concept and all Chumtoad/Magenta Vortigaunt stuff blah blah blah. It definitely doesn't go well with the lore, but well, if we look back to the times of original HL and OP4, we can remember that there were not many things really clear about G-man (even less than now). But it was funny to remember Magenta Vortigaunts being reimplemented in Half-Life 2. This mod definitely had an influence on the original game developers.
In fact, Azure Sheep can be called "dat Blue Shift we once lost". Must have for every HL fan.
When I began exploring this mod, I was really amazed and was ready to set 10/10 as it really fulfilled my dream of playing as a black operative. Even the red HUD graphics was a logical and nice idea, pretty atmospheric and fitting the style, as well as red night vision goggles and the Black Ops squadron logo with an Omega sign.
However, later on I realized that the mod is actually not covering the overall heavy potential (similar to the Opposing Force one). Yes, it looks neat, it looks polished, but the overall difficulty is so easy with a really large amount of weapons and ammo lying everywhere, and the overall speed of the mod walkthrough is definitely slow-paced with not so many things to keep an eye to. The textures are awesome, but as other reviews say, they don't originate from the Black Ops mod which is definitely a pity. The weapon choice was also good and bad at the same time, when you have a silenced Glock (awesome!) and stupid wooden stick with a nail instead of a cool combat knife or enhanced hand-to-hand combat skills like the original Black Ops had (bad); the sniper crossbow is a nice reimplementation of a beta Black Ops concept, but it's barely needed since the mod doesn't provide many opportunities to go stealth. So that in my opinion, the overall idea has a lot of potential, but in fact we can see just another variation of Blue Shift, yet much easier and casual, which is pity, and even new cool features like keys and items don't save the situation.
The comic style storyline looks acceptable, reminding a bit of that noire feeling, and are a nice solution for modders who were not capable to do decent voice acting (like in Cleaner's Adventures I played just before this mod where the voice acting was done really poor and wasted all atmosphere). The outro, however, is done pretty bad IMO since we don't have the same location with the nuclear warhead like we had in Opposing Force but the mod actually has a clear reference to that scene of Op4; it's also unclear what happened to the protagonist after the end of the story which also does not satisfy the tradition of Half-Life and its addons.
Still, it's a pity that we didn't have something more than that. This mod definitely has a lot of things missing.
This mod provides a nice temporary comeback to Black Mesa and the events related to the catastrophe. This time we play as a maintenance worker, yet not looking exactly as other maintenance workers you meet in your adventures. This fact was a bit confusing, but not that much.
Several op4 models brought much warm reminiscence. The mapping was done fairly well, although I sometimes had a deja vu feeling while meeting some locations. The mod also proven to be quite challenging due to the certain lack of medications available, and a very limited amount of armor points collectable over the game. The big plus was a "new" Black Mesa area representing the old facilities of the scientific complex. It was amazing to meet an alive HEV scientist which was a part of the mod storyline and see HECU marines, Black Ops and Xen forces shooting at each other simultaneously, with all three factions being hostile to you. I was also amazed to see some "cutscenes" where I could see my character from the third person view.
The only disadvantage of this mod is definitely the voice acting which was done really poor. Although I'm Russian and I was able to understand clearly what the characters said, I am not very satisfied with the artistism and overall quality of the new recordings. Moreover, the mod was using old pirate localisation of Half-Life for some reason. Also, the intro stage and training were created considerably weak, not very dynamic and not giving a clear idea what's going on. The outro, however, was done pretty well and kept the atmosphere of the original game and addons.
In short, the mod is definitely worth its time. Thanks a real lot dudes! Спасибо!
A nice try. Yet, FOT engine is barely able to recreate the classic FO1-2 features and atmosphere. I was also really annoyed by the amount of random encounters, especially if we take into account that we are able virtually to avoid every such enc.
The only big minus of this mod is the lack of installation instructions. It seems that I have installed it wrong as my Vault disappeared, while BRC and BRC Interior locations became visible on the location roster being inaccessible after the self-destruct of the BRC.
However, if we take into account that this mod was created more than 10 years ago, it was a really major breakthrough. Thanks a lot for the brilliant opportunity to visit the world of classic FO1-2 once more.
A long time anticipated modification, which has fulfilled the expectations. The amount of new features and the good old spirit of the game at the same time give this brilliant work 10 of 10. What is also important, the community feedback keeps the mod alive which fact certainly brings optimism. It was also good and nostalgic to see obviously familiar NAM and Blood concepts which have been carefully put to the game with a proper pixel art treatment.
Now on to some notes I made while playing, probably kinda subjective, but I would still like to feature them in this review [s]no one would read anyway[/s].
- The boss sprite is new, which is definitely an advantage over all other Duke mods, but its exterior looks damn familiar (Mancubus from Doom + Octabrain from Duke). I wish the boss had a little bit more graphics of its own, but who cares. This mod is awesome nevertheless.
- EDF soldiers seem pretty inactive, while I doubt it was not possible to code them to be shooting aliens for a little. Even in NAM there were soldiers who could shoot if ordered to, at least in multiplayer.
- The pig monster created from the Shrinking dude looks too much like a shrinking dude, but I guess it's a feature. In fact, it also looks really thrilling and gruesome, but 2 shotgun shots is enough for it to calm down while I expected at least 5.
- And yeah - too less levels! WE WANT ******' MORE!
Thanks for blah blah blah attention.
A decent continuation of the Sealed Mystery, this game provides improved magic system, making Astral magic more viable and changing some spells for other elements. New monsters, new characters available both for single and multiplayer games, new terrain setting, new plot and enemies - everything deserves to be seen and tried.
The only points of misunderstanding for me in the game were the more linear concept (Necromancers everywhere, Necromancers everytime) and the dated engine which almost didn't improve with the sequel. However, this game is much more compatible with newer systems (I still cannot launch Allods 1 on my current computer, in contrary to Allods 2), so the engine question should be discussed more carefully, I suppose.
Also, to the major pluses of the sequel, there did appear the improved weapons for Mace class which were missing in Sealed Mystery for unknown reasons (most probably - due to the lack of time). This improvement made the Mace class also playable.
The multiplayer also deserves more attention, due to improved balance of characters.
All these statements still allow me to give at least 9,5 to the game, although I feel a bit biased in this case.
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