As some of you may know, I am friends with Joebama, TheCoolGman, and IngSoc (the latter being the creator of Overturn, with the former two helping develop the mod). With these relationships, I was able to get access to a certain set of files enabling me to get my hands on an unfinished version of Overturn. With this in mind, I want it to be known that I will be reviewing an unfinished version of the mod, and this review is not to be taken as a critique of the final product (which doesn't even exist yet).
Overturn is a horror mod for Half Life, taking influence from the games that pioneered the FPS genre, such as Doom and Quake, as well what appears to be influences from other games, such as Resident Evil and, of course, Half Life. The eerie, grotesque atmosphere the mod resonates with is excellently communicated by the setting and the themes of the mod; taking place on board an old, rusty ship, of which you are constantly reminded of by the red lights and rusty textures often splattered with blood of those unfortunate enough to come on board.
When I first started up Overturn, I am greeted with a splash screen that sets the stage for what is to come: a corridor, red and rusty as per the game's theme, blotted with a bloody hand print, red as the gruesome environment in which the mod takes place. I loaded the game up only to start off with a screeching noise, that of a zombie. After ascending a small ladder, barely chest-level in height, you find a door with a laser beam. After pressing a button, the doors open as the beam dies, where I was greeted with more trickery, commonplace in Half Life, requiring you to think and search, as well as be wary of threats.
I came across one problem, however. Should you die, you are placed in a choke-point in which you cannot move (I'm sure this can be fixed by simply relocating this particular entity in Valve Hammer Editor), and also, if you look around and turn on your flash light, you notice one particularly black texture actually having the AAA_TRIGGER texture (the one with the pink lambda symbols). I sincerely hope IngSoc addresses these two issues, as it would be a shame for his excellent mapping skills to be stigmatized by a handful of minor technical errors.
That brings me to my next point: the maps. Riddled by the thematic red characterized by the eerie feeling the mod aims for, the levels are well laid out and perfectly coordinated, with architecture that assimilates the various halls and rooms of the ship into one which makes you feel...lonely. The horror is well calculated here, forcing you to let your guard down when you need it up, and vice-versa. The maps do not look like something a beginner mapper would make, but almost like something Valve themselves would have came up with. The maps have been polished up and every bit of detail has been applied to each and every corner, wall, console, computer, hallway, door way, where ever you may find yourself, and whatever you may see.
All in all, Overturn, despite one or two errors here and there, does a great job combining influences from old-school first person shooters with a thematic atmosphere. This is a game you will remember for it's eerie red lights, the rusty floors and walls, and the handful of other things that make this game almost like an official Half Life game rather than a mod made by some loser with basic knowledge of C++ and Valve Hammer Editor.