Raix Corvus takes a look at Centralia and posts her review on The Talking Automotion.
Posted by: Raix Corvus | May 30, 2012
Centralia is the final year project of two Kent University (UK) students and comes in the form of a ‘Part 1′ – short but sweet – mod for Half Life 2: Episode 2. Using Source’s Developers Kit, these two young designers have decided to take the ordinary-extraordinary and make it extra-extraordinary – make sense?
Let me elaborate a little: they have taken the real life tale of a town in Pennsylvania called Centralia, which is described as a “ghost town” owing to the coal mines that have been burning perpetually underneath it since 1962.
The storyline of the game has added a little more of a paranormal element and has also managed to veer away from the straight forward FPS horrors out there. We play Jim, a budding journo looking for his first big scoop, who travels to Centralia to see what he can find.
Part 1 offers us the first few tentative steps on Jim’s path as he arrives at the town and starts to explore the mines. The mod is a short one – remember it is a uni-project! – but the devs are testing the water to see how much interest the game generates before they decide what to do next: a sensible idea in these “austere times” when even a KickStarter fund will need a following to get off the ground.
Even though it is brief, it successfully packs in a few jump-scares and sets the scene nicely for what might come next. The graphics are the standard HL2:E2 fayre but the developers of Centralia have endeavoured to replace everything with their own from-the-ground-up design work, textures, models and artistry. They’ve recorded and added in their own sounds and spent considerable time and effort making it theirs.
As you might notice from the ModDB page for the game, the landscapes we see upon our entrance into the town are gorgeous and the mines themselves are intricately designed. As a horror-puzzle game it doesn’t disappoint: even in its opening stages it has managed to bring in clear flavours of both genres and is well worth a look for those of you out there languishing in Valve Time waiting for HL3.
Link to review website: Thetalkingautomaton.wordpress.com