My entire team was ambushed just outside our HQ, dragged off to this damp heavily fortified jail. There has been rumors circulating of an execution for the current prisoners - we don’t have much time. Given the circumstances, our only option is to escape and the only possible exit is a small air vent just big enough for one. I take it upon myself to free my teammates from the Combine. I was not ready for the challenge ahead of me, looks like they thought that we would try escape. The entire exit is obstructed by a laser grid; I will have to tread carefully. One false step and I’ll lose my life and those of my teammates. The countdown begins for the execution - can I make it out in time?
Welcome to the world of Jailbreak! Where the aim of the game is to capture your opponents by beating them on the battlefield and locking them up in your base. Once you have captured the entire team then you can watch with glee as they are executed in a variety of different ways ranging from lava pits to alien attacks and everything in between. There is a catch - they can break out, but it is not always easy to do so and sacrificing your own life may be needed. It's a concept that has been revisited with varying levels of success in the modding scene. While Jailbreak doesn't shoot for the stars, it still provides some solid entertainment.
Some of you who are reading this now might have played the first release and found the look to be identical to HL2 and to be honest quite bland. Those people and everyone else will be pleasantly surprised to hear that Jailbreak has gone under the knife and is now a more beautiful, less identical and far more whimsical than its beta sister! This is done in a variety of ways including but not limited to level designs, new skins for player models and new weapons. For instance, the new maps are amazing - not only do they look great but each level is like another game within itself! Just like the concept of the game itself the presentation is new, fresh and exciting. Every level is different in both design and concept. You can battle it out in a multitude of scenarios: in a vast sewer or a subway train station, sneaking around in a spooky village or even rampaging in an underwater service station! Each level contains its own complex jail escape puzzles and original execution concepts.
As I stated above each level has its very own theme and the theme would not be complete without its very own style of ambient music to complement the amazing changes of art and direction. Take for instance the spooky village theme, this wouldn’t be complete without it’s very own haunting (and somewhat freaky) ghost sound effects. Having a ghostly figure speak to you while you’re trying to escape the clutches of your captives makes for a very unique experience. Some of the HL2 sound effects are there but this does not take away from the feeling each theme creates for itself.
You’re out on the battlefield, you’re dodging RPG’s and bullets trying to flank the enemy and take them by surprise, they were two steps ahead and you find yourself trapped in jail. The clock is ticking you don’t have too much time to run through the crazy mazes of lasers, air vents, and deadly gas. With this high pressure situation creates an urgency that most games lack, it’s both refreshing and engaging enough that there's never a dull moment. Team work is needed but it's not forcefed to you like many games/mods are striving for today. This allows you to play in whatever style suits you best and still have a contribution to a team win. In my experience game rounds tend to go very quickly due to the fast paced nature of the game, leaving you with very little time to escape the jail in most cases. A majority of the time you’re battling to stay alive as escaping really does take a toll on your health. Some jail escapes require a teammate to climb into the escape passage which builds the camaraderie between you and your fellow inmates.
So with a mix of both original art direction and original game play concepts what else can we throw into the mix? How about a point and reward system? That’s right, Jailbreak! now rewards you for all the hard work that you do in the game. The rewards are in the form of perks which lead to some very different game tactics employed by both sides. Choose from abilities like double-jumping, health regeneration or the highly sought after stealth ability. MVP's of the match won't go unrecognized either - the end of every map cycle displays awards for the best and worst performances.
Jailbreak! v0.4 trailer.
So to sum up all the points here, you have one hell of a good mod. The maps will keep you entertained for weeks and with a dedicated fan base already creating custom maps it is going to be a surefire hit. Can you break out? You shall find out soon enough. Jailbreak! releases late April 2008.