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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #2201
    Moderator
    Registered: May 2000
    Location: Thunder Bay, On., Canada
    You've produced another very entertaining review of this outstanding mission, The Mike. I enjoyed reading it a lot. One of the most astounding things about this mission is that it's a FIRST for LarryG! Makes you wonder what the sequel will be like, doesn't it? How can he top this??

  2. #2202
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Thanks Nightwalker! I was wondering if LarryG had done any other FMs, this being his first mission is mind boggling! Yeah, I'll take mission 2 of this campaign now, thanks.

    One thing I just noticed, considering how much I mention it being Christmas Eve in my review, I managed to actually post it on Christmas Eve just in time, according to TTLG's clock. 11:30PM on December 24th...that's sliding in under the door at the last moment Indiana-Jones style.

  3. #2203
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Location: shalebridgecradle.co.uk
    Another great review, The Mike! Hilarioius!

  4. #2204
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: UK
    Keeping up to your usual high standard TM!

    You know, there were truckloads of alphas and betas for this but I have to say that I was still having fun right up to the end. There are so many ways to play and once I got the hang of the spells and what I could do with them, I had a load of fun in the maze - no more worries about creeping round the place!

  5. #2205
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: Montreal, Canada

    Pestis Cruenta

    This was a great mission. It takes place in the Thief 3 City (converted to T2; I think it's a mod of the T3 city project) - you start off in the docks. Essentially, you're supposed to find out why the inhabitants of the city have disappeared, and why are there undead roaming the streets. The textures in this mission are gorgeous, and the ambiance overall is delightfully sinister (and there's some nice fogging too). Something else I loved is that even though it's based on the T3 city, you get a very different feel in it, despite the familiar surroundings. There are some very challenging puzzles and neat surprises throughout. I loved it.














  6. #2206
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Hey everyone! Sorry for the silence from me lately, it's been finals time at college and I've been busy putting off my homework and studying so I can play X-box.
    ANYWHO, I've just finished reviewing 3/4 of the contest missions! Hooray? I wanted to review all of them, but I couldn't get "The Overlord's Ending" working properly (even with the new patch, it kept crashing). My apologies in advance to Haplo, I was celebrating a belated "Talk like a pirate day" when I wrote his review, the result is truly confusing. Also, I'm posting these reviews in 3 separate posts, because DEY HUGE.


    Review #1: “Pestis Cruenta” by Haplo

    Firstly, we have Haplo’s mission “Pestis Cruenta”, which is Latin for “Oh shit! Zombies!” (don’t look that up). It’s one of two missions in this contest that are based on the FM “TDS City Project” by Child of Karras, which itself was based on the city hub sections from “Thief: Deadly Shadows”. So, in essence, this is an FM based on an FM based on an OM. I’m not really going anywhere with that…I just like saying facts. Did you know that the United States’ top export is jet fuel? It’s true, according to 30 seconds of Google research!

    The storyline in PC has you exploring the city of Abarrach, which was deserted by its residents after a zombie plague broke out. Conveniently, they left all of their stuff behind when they fled, so Garrett is all like “IMMA GET ME SOMMA DAT” and hops the nearest rowboat to Abarrach. He chooses a rowboat because he needs the abdominal workout, and also because he spent all of his boat money on drugs*.
    *thus creating the mission’s moral: drugs improve your ab muscles.

    Being as this is a Haplo mission, I expected the story and puzzles to be the best part; while I wasn’t disappointed with either, the technical effects were what really raised my sails (because I said the word "boat" last paragraph, and now sailing is the reviews theme I guess). The various ghost sightings, zombie ambushes, and well-crafted jump moments had every room shivering my timbers. And then there’s that moment where you slowly approach a noble who appears to be asleep in his chair facing a wall; you get closer and…well...let's just say all of my port canons fired.*.
    *I’m not sure if boats actually have port canons, but this metaphor was the best I could do on short notice.


    Excuse me sir, could you direct me to the-


    -GAAAAAAH AHHHHHH FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!! CHAIR DEMON!

    But by the pointy trident of Mighty Poseidon is the gameplay even better! No amount of space is wasted here; every building contains something essential for proceeding further. You’re constantly being rewarded for exploring, and it creates this forward momentum that makes you want to finish the whole voyage in one fortnight*. Because Haplo is behind all this, there are also puzzles here that will make you both feel like a super-genius and faceplant into your keyboard with self-loathing, sobbing “stupid, STUPID”. They’re mostly of the simple-but-fun item based variety, but one involving the code for a safe had me scratching my chin and puffing on my Sherlock-Holmes-style-deep-thinking-pipe. Overall, the gameplay is just about perfect…matey (nailed it).
    *I realize the mission had like 2 boats in it, but I’ve gone too far with the boat theme to turn back now. I also realize a “fortnight” is two weeks, but you get my meaning.

    But AHOY. From atop my crow’s nest, I spot nitpicks off the starboard bow! Mostly, they be located on yonder ending*. Throughout the mission, the story will both thoroughly creep you out, and possibly make you stifle some tears (I personally always stifle my tears, but that’s because I cry sulfuric acid). And then you reach the ending and…it ends. Now before you slowly raise your hand, I know that most endings lead to things ending. My problem is how abruptly it ends. It’s just like “Hey, welcome to the last room! Here’s what happened- yadda yadda yadda. Now go away.” The ending actually had a cool twist to it, and I like that it was so far from what you would expect, but…I don’t know, it just felt like it needed more “OOMPH”. I will say this though- the final puzzle which leads to the ending is one of the most visually rewarding in recent memory.
    *CAUTION: From this point, read the rest of the paragraph in pirate-voice at your own risk.

    So, all that said, should you drop anchor or shove off and sail to different shores? ARR, I oughta’ make ye walk the plank fer’…okay, this boat talk is getting away from me. Yes, you should download this; especially because this could be Haplo’s last mission. If that’s true, he deserves a round of some serious applause for the string of awesome FMs he’s given us. That said, I fully expect him to come back. YOU KNOW YOU CAN’T RUN HAPLO. Next time you come back to DromEd, just expect to turn on the lights and see me sitting there swirling a glass of brandy with a smug I-told-you-so look on my face.

    YAAR, YE BE WANTIN' SCREENSHOTS DO YE?! LUCK'LY I BE IN A GEN'ROUS MOOD LAND-LUBBER!


    Funkiness level 75: strutting after death.


    Behold the greatest ghost carnival ever: featuring activities such as "dirt crawling", "beer bottle staring", and "table touching".


    Honey! The holographic maid service is broken again!


    Coming very soon (like, within minutes y'all), my "A Dire Return" review.

  7. #2207
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Review #2: “A Dire Return” by Intruder

    First of all, it’s TTLG taxi-cab confessions time: I really, REALLY hate the OM “Running Interference”. It’s not even obnoxiously bad like “Thieves’ Guild” or “Casing the Joint”, it’s just…SO…BLAAAAAAND. If it were a flavor, it would be sugar-free vanilla. So I guess this is the point where I squint knowingly in Intruder’s direction and mumble “I see what you did there…”, because no matter what, I’m going to consider this mission an improvement on the original. One could argue that the best thing that could come out of this contest is bad missions being made into something greater; that said, when I read that this was based on RI I slumped in my computer chair and groaned like someone who was just told they had to re-file their taxes.

    Here’s the crazy thing though: this mission is so good, I almost like the original more now. Almost. I can at least look at it now and think “there’s real potential here,” as opposed to looking at it and thinking “…..” Intruder managed to fix the one central problem I always had with this mission: over 50% of it is filler. In the original OM, almost everything there was to do in the mission was in the basement, the rest of the house was there purely for loot gathering. Originally, there wasn’t even storyline development in the top floors of the house; you just went from room to room stuffing golden candlesticks into your bag-of-holding until the “objective complete” gong went off. Its gameplay made me feel less like a thief and more like a human vacuum- I kept waiting for some British guy to start talking about how revolutionary I was*.
    *I’m referring to these commercials: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUDLY...eature=related and yes, this is the most obscure joke I will ever make.

    But what’s this? I’m interested in the story right from the beginning? And it’s told throughout the ENTIRE level as opposed to just one portion of it? And there’s something in every room to keep my interest? …in “Running Interference”? This is like visiting one of your dull-as-dishwater relatives and finding out they live a secret life as a time travelling secret agent! This is thanks partly to the creepy new storyline and expanded level design, but really, even what was there originally is just better now. As with “Pestis Cruenta”, every room has a purpose (and if it doesn’t have a purpose, it has some scripted event involving ghosts doing crazy ghost things*). The original mission gave you a space to go exploring in, this version gives you purpose- and DEAR GOD is that what it needed.
    *Definition for “crazy ghost things”: Turning lights on and off, throwing furniture, making sexy pottery with Demi Moore.


    Putting an awesome looking dome on the top of the mansion doesn't hurt either.

    But hey, who left all these nits on the carpet? I guess I’m gonna have to pick them (I want you to look real closely at “what I did there” until you both see and appreciate it)! First of all, I love this mission’s atmosphere (especially the lightning, mostly because I like timing my own maniacal laughter with it) but all of the creepy whispering gets old fast. The most effective ambient sound effects from “Rose Cottage” and “Robbing the Cradle” are just kind of put on loop here, and while at first they had me nervously chowing down on my fingernails, by the end I was just nodding along to the ghost voices like “Mhmm. Yeah. I know, right?” The creepy music is really enough by itself, these sound effects would have been more effective if they were localized to specific areas. On the other hand, the sound that plays when you first walk upstairs from the northeast side entrance made me throw my keyboard and shout “DEMON!”- true story.

    The other complaint I have: at one point, you have to find a key to open a door, and that key is hidden in a shadowy corner in the next room. …Why? In my opinion, keys should be used to funnel players through specific sections of the level first, so the story is revealed to them in the right order. Making us go searching for a key when there’s no reason for a room to be blocked off to us just seems like busy work. I get it, important rooms would REALISTICALLY be locked, but we’re supposedly playing a master thief! I always find it hard to believe when, after breaking into a guard infested mansion and sneaking past certain death, Garrett gets to a door and is like “Aw shucks, it’s locked. GUESS I BETTER TURN AROUND!” We should be able to use our lockpicks unless it’s absolutely CRUCIAL that we visit someplace later. Unfortunately, the next room then requires us to find a secret switch approximately the size of a dust mote. The worst part is that the mission is at its absolute best AFTER this brief annoying segment, so if anyone quit at this point out of frustration it would really be a shame. You see, I nitpick because I care. Also because I’m a jerk.

    The nitpicks have nothing on this mission’s good moments though. The haunted hedge maze? Awesome! The trip into the family well? Terrifying! Your final escape from the mansion once all hell breaks loose? Thrilling! The original “Running Interference”? Still as boring as watching paint dry at the library. That’s okay though, because this mission is everything the original isn’t; namely fun (I’m in full on “hater” mode today, apparently). Basically, this mission is fantastic and if you don’t download it I’ll burn your house down. You heard me.

    Screenshots! In honor of "Running Interference", I'll be writing the captions with the theme of "training tips Garrett would give himself if this were actually the first mission of Thief 2":


    "Guards. They'll catch me if I make too much noise. Also, they can set fires with their minds."


    "Water fountains. They like to lure you in with their amazing looks and then steal your soul. It's best to level them with fire arrows as quickly as possible."


    "I have no idea what this is. Best to light it on fire."


    "This is terrifying. I should pee myself and move on."

    Next, my Bad Hangover review. VERY SOON.
    Last edited by The Mike; 30th Apr 2012 at 17:42.

  8. #2208
    Moderator
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Location: shalebridgecradle.co.uk
    It's always exciting to visit the forum and find a new review from The Mike. I had to jump up, make some tea and then sit down for a few wonderful minutes of enjoyable reading. Excellent reviews, The Mike! Thanks.

  9. #2209
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Review #3: “Bad Hangover” by Brethren

    Brethren, in this mission’s readme file: “thanks to AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ for providing me with inspiration to create this level.” Me, upon reading that sentence: “AAAAAAAAWWWW YEEEEEEAAAH!” Every now and then I ask for crazy things that I never really expect to receive, a combination of my favorite game and my favorite zombie-outbreak soap opera was one of those things. “Bad Hangover” is so much a mission for me that I almost feel bias to a point where I’m unqualified to review it. However, I’m also unqualified to drive and that didn’t stop me from plowing through the public entrance of a Starbucks this morning, so off we go!

    The story here is simple: Garrett has just woken up from a long night of binge drinking, only to find that the city is on fire and everyone still in it is one of the living dead (so the best weekend ever, basically). Being a man of action, Garrett sets out to find his friend Basso; that is, right after he robs the local Wal-mart’s hardware department and fashions himself a chainsaw-shotgun (oh wait, that’s my zombie survival plan, sorry). I have to say, the objective change from the mission’s start to its end from “go to the market and pick up some things” to “escape the zombie invasion in a pirate ship” is the best bit of course correction in the history of anything.

    For once, I’m going to list the nitpicks first, because once I start talking about the zombies I’m going to become about as coherent as a 13-year-old girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber concert. Nitpick the first: there’s a LOT of backtracking in this mission. It took me about two and a half hours to beat, and I’m being gracious in saying only half that time was probably spent in places I had already been. Part of the problem is that several crucial readables don’t go into your inventory, so the memory-impaired among us have to either run back to these important notes frequently or (The horror!) write stuff down. This is especially a problem in an early puzzle involving my lifelong arch-nemesis: math*. Nitpick the second: the seams of the level are too easily visible. I get that the TDS city mission wasn’t meant for crazy rope arrow shenanigans, but sometimes just peeking around the wrong corner led to an eyeball-melting hall of mirrors effect. At one point I jumped over a fence that a had a piece of debris propped up over it like a convenient ramp, only to find that I wasn’t meant to go there and was greeted by an empty void full of flashing textures. It’s a little disheartening to be in a medieval city one moment and the light tunnel scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey” the next.
    *To this day, my only answer to every long division problem is “I DON’T KNOW LEAVE ME ALONE”


    They say Mike's last transmission before falling off the edge of the level was "My God...it's full of stars!"

    And now for the good stuff: HOLYSHI-EVERYTHING. You know those Disney World commercials where the kids have borderline-demented smiles on their faces? That was me playing this FM. Finally, FINALLY we have a “zombie invasion” thief FM! Mind you, there have been plenty of missions that combined the city aesthetic with zombies, but this is the first that truly feels like a Romero-style zombie apocalypse. The thing is, Brethren began adding zombies to this level…and didn’t stop. They are EVERYWHERE, sprinkled generously around the level like bacon bits on a fat man’s salad. What makes zombies terrifying is that, despite the fact that they’re slow and stupid, they are an unrelenting force that closes in from all sides and will inevitably wear you down. This mission captures that! There was a moment where I was cornered by a herd of zombies who began tearing through my health shields, with no available exits I shot a rope arrow upwards and climbed to a nearby rooftop only to find a weapon cache full of fire arrows. As I quickly swigged down a health potion and began firing explosives into the hungry horde below, I just thought “This. Is. PERFECT.” The desperation! The quick escapes! The gore! This is zombie movie mayhem captured effortlessly, and it’s a thing of beauty.

    And though you’re always outnumbered, you get plenty of ways to even out the odds. These include fire arrows, mines, and new antitoxin arrows which let you permanently put down a single zombie you find particularly annoying*. To this mission’s credit, I was knee-deep in zombie gore immediately after every weapons cache I found and it still managed to throw more at me somehow. Any horror game that makes me feel like Conan the Destroyer one moment and the It’s-Game-OVER-Man guy from “Aliens” the next is doing something right. I also loved the stun weapon that doesn’t kill zombies, but just makes them all fall over and growl angrily at you on their backs, which is kind of adorable actually.
    *I should note that I liked this particular weapon, but would have loved it if it actually turned the target zombie human again. Then I could have used them as zombie-bait, thus completing the circle of life.

    Aside from the previously mentioned moments where you can see behind the level design curtains a bit too easily, the visuals here are great. I just realized I haven’t mentioned up to this point that this is built on the same base mission as “Pestis Cruenta”, that being the “TDS City Project” by Child of Karras. While you would think playing two zombie filled missions with near identical level design would lead to a lot of déjŕ vu moments, they both have an identity all their own and feel vastly different. Whereas PC was thoughtful and melancholy, this is violent and chaotic. Also, Haplo left much of the original level standing where Brethren seems eager to kick things down and dirty it up. I’m hesitant to say this, being as Haplo is always threatening to break my legs, but I think Brethren’s version of the level looks a bit better. Haplo does get bonus points though for including a character named after me in his mission “Among Two Storms” though*. YOUR MOVE, BRETHREN.
    *And YES Haplo I will review that one soon. Stop mailing me my own severed fingers. Also, how are you doing that?

    There’s still so much I want to talk about! The lightning effects that are probably the best I’ve ever seen, the complex puzzles, the time I blew up an entire courtyard full of zombies and broke the mission…just…GAH, DOWNLOAD THIS! DO IT. I would advise skipping this one only if you have an intense irrational hatred for undead missions, in the same way I have an intense irrational hatred for Ryan Reynolds (crush MY dreams of being married to Scarlett Johansson, will you!!). I don’t like to throw down the gauntlet so brazenly, but this may be my favorite undead mission of all time (oh snap).

    Screenshots! With surprisingly few zombies...(they're camera shy little scamps)


    The real disaster here is that they put a torch directly under a wooden beam. HELLO PEOPLE, FIRE HAZARD?


    "Everything in this book is a lie written by godless heathens." -Insane Clown Posse ("No one will get this joke but I'm using it anyway." -Mike)


    This mission actually does have zomies in it. NO, REALLY.


    It strikes me that this mission actually had more of a sailing theme than "Pestis Cruenta". Ah well, who am I to write things that actually make sense?

    [Edit] Thanks for the kind words Tannar (or now that you're a moderator is it "Supreme Overlord Tannar?)! Commenting on my reviews as I'm posting them- THAT'S NINJA.
    Last edited by The Mike; 7th May 2012 at 15:06. Reason: In the same sentence where I said I was unqualified to review this mission, I got the title wrong. IRONY!

  10. #2210
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    Thanks for the reviews, The Mike
    Too bad you didn't get Overlords Ending to work properly on your machine.

    You should play Xorak's FM which is also based on Running Interference as soon as it is released. Judging from his screenshots you'll be surprised again by what you can do with this mission.

  11. #2211
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Terrific stuff, Mike - really entertaining, &, heck, I even agreed with some parts

    BTW, you gone off Doritos?

  12. #2212
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    Terrific stuff, Mike - really entertaining, &, heck, I even agreed with some parts

    BTW, you gone off Doritos?
    I actually just finished a whole bag by myself. It was like...industrial size too. Never have I been so full of shame...and cool ranch.

    Quote Originally Posted by intruder View Post
    You should play Xorak's FM which is also based on Running Interference as soon as it is released. Judging from his screenshots you'll be surprised again by what you can do with this mission.
    Can't wait for Xorax's FM. Like I said, I hate RI but I see the potential there now; unfortunately, RI was one of the missions in T2 where you could REALLY tell that they made the game first and the storyline second. For the most part, I thought LGS weaved the mechanist story in nicely, but missions like this seem to have nothing to do (which, for a contest likes this, makes it perfect because it's so open to interpretation). The wait for Yandros' mission is killing me also...

    Thanks for reading guys!

  13. #2213
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: Argentina
    Nice reviews The Mike, entertaining read

  14. #2214
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: The Inverted Manse
    Very enjoyable as usual!

  15. #2215
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    Awesome reviews as always, The Mike!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    The wait for Yandros' mission is killing me also...
    Then pass the time by reading the official announcement on my web page, including a brief story summary and the first official screenshots. Hot off the press.
    Also, this is as much Rob's and Tannar's mission as it is mine.
    Last edited by Yandros; 2nd May 2012 at 09:16.

  16. #2216
    I think it's worth going through all the effort of making an FM just to read The Mike's review of it. Great reviews all around Mike, I laughed at least once - OK, maybe a lot more than that. Bacon bits on a fat man's salad, indeed.

    @Yandros - Russ, you're getting pretty fancy over there - a press release for an upcoming FM. That might be setting the bar fairly high for expectations.

  17. #2217
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    Heh, naw, I usually put up a page for upcoming missions before this point. Just had been putting it off until we had some semi-final-ish screenshots we could include.

  18. #2218
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: UK
    Thank you Azaran and T M for your excellent reviews. I've been getting some strange looks and interrogation as to what is making me laugh. The strange looks because my head is now stuck on one side having tried to see the rest of the Finals and Pestis Cruenta images which fell off the side of my monitor and ended up round the back.

    I'm really glad to see this thread still going. Good work!

    Edit. Good Grief! 4 minutes to post?
    Last edited by nickie; 2nd May 2012 at 11:50.

  19. #2219
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Quote Originally Posted by nickie View Post
    Edit. Good Grief! 4 minutes to post?
    I'm also finding navigation to be excrutiatingly slow on these Forums - more often than not - for several weeks now.

    Some more equipment updates?

  20. #2220
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2007
    Location: Germany
    Quote Originally Posted by Yandros View Post
    Then pass the time by reading the official announcement on my web page, including a brief story summary and the first official screenshots.
    Thanks for sharing this! Would you recommend playing Monastery of St. Fera prior to playing your mission, e.g. to be able to fully understand the story?

  21. #2221
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    No, that won't be necessary. It might help you a little in terms of being familiar with the original layout of the mission, but other than that the story is mostly unconnected directly to the original. Much of the original mission is intact (but retextured) with few changes; however we've probably tripled the size of the mission in terms of playable space. I may make a trailer/teaser movie in the next few weeks - mainly to get better at making movies, a skill I need to develop for future missions as well.

  22. #2222
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    Reviewed gaetane's latest mission release;

    The Black Frog @ the abandoned workshops

  23. #2223
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Great review Quakis (I'd have read/responded earlier but it's been a busy couple of days and excuses, excuses and so on). I agree with most points, especially the last mission being the best. I personally loved mission 2 though- on the other hand, the city missions you enjoyed (1 & 3) I thought went on a little too long, I just wanted to get to the meat of the campaign (maybe I just wasn't in a "whimsical" mood when I played them ). Also, the abandoned fishery is maybe the most terrifying thing I've ever played in Thief 2 (bricks were shat).

    And Yandros, those screenshots looks SO GOOD. Gah, YOU TEASE, YOU.

  24. #2224
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Drinking baby lemonade!
    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    Also, the abandoned fishery is maybe the most terrifying thing I've ever played in Thief 2 (bricks were shat).
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    And Yandros, those screenshots looks SO GOOD. Gah, YOU TEASE, YOU.
    Thanks.

  25. #2225

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