This mod is an interesting case, that's for sure.
I think I actually managed to play Vengeance a long time ago. Not in it's release, mind you, but quite a bit later on. It was one of those mods that while being slightly off in terms of their meat, still manages to give me quite a lot of fun with what they have.
This mod is the author's idea of the sequel to Half-Life, their version of what HL2 could've been, though what they've done could be considered a bit out of line. Both in Vengeance and Rebellion.
Allow me to speak first about Vengeance, the first entry in the Vengellion series by the creators, Arrown and Doberman. Vengeance is possibly done in their earlier days of HL modding, and the quality of the maps definitely shows that. There are a few semi-cool places like the nuclear facility and the cliffs at fn13, but most of the areas do look a bit terrible like the flat completely blue caves of sn15, the oddly sized military testing facility of sn6, and the purple lit final area of fn23 (had to actually change the sky to purple in the remod, just imagine it being the effect of the nuclear blast reaching over to Mipping Tax or something).
The combat was a bit tricky at first, mostly due to the fact that I missed the crowbar in my initial playthrough and only managed to found it later in my remodding journeys (it was on a crate just before you climb the ladder after finding your HEV suit/pistol). Ammunition was pretty rare as well, though secret pickups and paths with ammo was certainly appreciated (stuff like climbing the sides of ruined ladders to directly confront the roof grunts or searching under holes in cliffs for a shotgun pickup). I don't really mind though, as I still managed to finish it on Hard without too much problems, evading some enemy encounters helped.
The story was a bit odd, you are given a task by the mysterious Gman to clear out a group of rogue soldiers in a place called Mipping Tax, before finding yourself trapped and framed for a nuclear launch on American soil, ending with you collapsing after a "highly difficult" battle with a gargantua (by difficult, I mean hiding in one spot and grenading him over and over, truly a fight of the ages).
Since the original mod was in French, it was quite difficult to get around the language barrier (the abysmal translation barely helping). Most of the rewritten stuff you see in the Remod are based on those broken translation, so it might be slightly inaccurate, sorry for that.
But even then, whatever the translation did give to me was a bit silly to say the least, with Gman going around being an imbecile, getting confused in his speech, spouting curse words, all coupled with A LITERAL EVIL LAUGH. There's also missing elements in the mod never spoken about like what is the relevance of Mr. Johnson (told in the readme and the announcer if you speak Français) or the Time Warp device (mentioned only once and never again). The whole framing-you-as-the-bad-guy thing was also dropped pretty quick in Rebellion, which means the whole plan utterly went nowhere.
But then we arrive to Rebellion, and that's another can of beans to crack open.
It starts with you losing a random amount of health (usually 50-ish, could be more if you're unlucky) to the garg fight and contacted by the American government. As mentioned before, they do not at all care about that little framing thing that was the whole idea of Gman's trap and instead asks you to call them back, after which we heard Gordon moan about how his transmitter wouldn't work.
No, you're not hearing it wrong. Gordon speaks in this mod. At least he's not voiced that badly, but it's all in French, so I don't even know what to call of the VA.
The whole story is itself a bit off, but mentioning every hole in it would probably take too much time, so let's get to the next section immediately.
Let me get it out of my system first that the authors of this mod probably cared little for doors, leaving many doors in both mods soundless and/or merging into walls, z-fighting. Most of the time taken remodding this was used to hunt down every door in both mods and giving them sounds + less-wall-merging properties, unfortunately some of the doors are impossible to prevent z-fighting, and who knows if it turns out that I missed one or two.
The level design in Rebellion was better, obviously improving from A&D's previous attempt in Vengeance, a lot of areas now has some very cool details in them like fmip19 (I think one of my favorite maps in this mod, despite it being a bit out of place a little), and attempts have definitely been made so that there's more things to do like the timed sequence, the non-linear exploration of Fortworth City, the battle with the tank (though the same issue arrives as in the garg fight that you don't really do much when fighting them), the grunt offense on Shadow Moses, that little grunt assault in the Raccoon City police station, and the final grunt battle in Spencer Mansion.
You didn't hear it wrong, some of the maps in this mod are recreations of some areas of MGS1 and RE1/2, and while in terms of accuracy it might be a little bit off, it is quite nice to see these famous locations on the Goldsource engine. The mansion didn't have a lot of things to do aside from the grunt combat near the end, so, that's a bit disappointing, would've been nice to see the puzzles as well.
There's a couple of neat little things that I liked, like sleeping early on that restores your health (can be done too in the area where you pickup the sniper, quite nice considering the enemies you fight in the map itself), the bridge in Fortworth City that occasionally opens and closes, just the detail of the brushes in some of the areas, the sheer size of Fortworth City (thanks for the map too, lads, would've been lost without it), and quite a lot more that I probably forgot to mention here.
Unfortunately, the combat in Rebellion is not too great. While Vengeance has the variety done with Xen and soldiers fought in different areas, Rebellion has the audacity to not at all include any Xen enemies in their roster. That's right. The entire mod has you fighting grunts, with the occasional apaches, tanks, and assassins. It gets tiring by the time they spam them at you in fmip16, it gets aggravating when you fight hundreds of them in Fortworth City, and by the time you finish off the mod, you'd be pretty sick of hearing their radio commands. There's also a lack of throwables in Rebellion aside from the M203 stuff you get from the grenadiers, which adds to the time taken fighting those miserable soldiers.
The map errors are also something that's irritating, fmip16 has fully lit areas despite taking place in night time. While having dim lights might hinder the combat you'll be doing with the battalion of grunts and rapid firing rocketeers, it could have been solved by nerfing that encounter, which could also help lessen the already tiring grunt palooza this mod has.
There's also the level changers in Fortworth City, made/tested poorly in that entities teleport from one map to the other WITHOUT limits, enemies popping out in walls, under floors, suspended in midair, right behind/above you after a level change. Did I also mention that it ruined my initial playthrough by having Barney teleport to a void never to return after I leave him for a bit to secure an exit from threats? That was fun.
What about the crates? Inconsistent. You can't tell which ones can be broken and which ones can't, you'll either waste time trying to figure out which crates can be broken or risk going through the mod in low health/ammo when 1 of those 20 unbreakable crates might break and contain the very thing you need. A lot of those unbreakable crates are also part of the worldspawn, which means I can't change it, even if I wanted to.
The new weapons in Rebellion aren't much to write home about either. I'm not quite sure how the original mod did its weapons as the code I'm using here is a recreation by nekonomicon, but some of the weapons here are disappointing to use.
The mini-MP5 for instance is no different from the normal 9mmAR, pretty much the same properties (firerate/accuracy/damage) aside from not having a GL but having an 80 round mag instead, not even its world model was changed.
The sniper isn't a proper hit-scan weapon, still firing a projectile that reaches enemies slowly, with a magazine degrade that pretty much renders this weapon useless in combat (though the reload was faster, so atleast there's that). The animations of the original model was amusing too, with the sniper reloading in break action mode (I'm not kidding you, Gordon actually breaks the barrel of the PSG and reloads the bullet that way, absolutely bonkers).
And lastly, the minigun,
which is not as deadly as it should've been, with enemies dying faster by double barreling them with a shotgun than a short burst from the minigun. I don't expect the most overpowered weapon in the entire mod, but atleast there should be some way for it to be deadly in face-to-face combat worthy of the massive ammo loss (nevermind, it's actually pretty effective, I was just playing it on Hard).
The new models are also a bit off, with some of them not using proper chromed hands for the HEV, having weird mechanisms (the shotgun only pumps its lower half when shot/the whole sniper reload), the minigun's ammo belt being cutoff at the bottom if you look down, small things that might not bother some people but did for me.
Still though, despite the plentiful flaws in Rebellion, I still enjoyed it somewhat, enough to write a whole column about it and remod it, at least.
Vengeance is alright as well, not too terrible, not too awesome.
Thanks for reading.