Strike one... Strike two... Strike three! You're in!
What we have today is another series of mods by Josh Mills as we keep truckin', hoping to cover his entire modding catalogue. To be frank, I'm slowly running out of things to say about this stuff, but either way, we're doing the Return to Castle Xeen/First Strike series this time. Having started with instalments called Return to Castle Xeen Beta and Return to Castle Xeen 96 (I'm not sure if the latter is a "final" version in any way), it underwent a name change and gained at least three more versions, of which we have: First Strike 1.1, First Strike 2.0.2 and First Strike II.
The Xeen scenarios are mapsets, very similar if not identical with each other, both featuring 18 maps including a rather odd stub (perhaps meant as a trap) in the last slot. The name change to First Strike also brought the introduction of new graphics. First Strike 1.1 brings several new walls and doors plus some wackiness in terms of sprites. First Strike 2.0.2 and II do away with the silly sprites, but introduce more walls, some of which we've already seen in mods like Amerika the Beautiful or... Dragon Cavern. Mapping is solid and interesting as usual, featuring a significant variety of map sizes and combat scenarios presented to the player. As tends to be the case with those releases, I've seen at least a couple of these maps in earlier Josh Mills mods, but the vast majority appear to be new.
I think we're past the halfway point in terms of Josh Mills mods, but there's still the expansive Castle Wolfenstein series to be covered, as well as a bunch of compact map compilations, among other things. Stay tuned.