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Tuesday 24th July 2001

Invein: "INVEIN"
(Size: 1.74 meg. No Alternative downloads.)

Note 1: This level is specifically for Nehahra (review), and should be installed in the Nehahra directory as instructed. The latest progs.dat is recommended. The level also requires an allocation of at least 56 meg to run (see Help page).
Note 2: Since Nehahra's engine effects and modifications can vary from user to user, depending on version, computer etc etc, some of the following information may not be accurate for all players. If you want to play it in DPNehahra, you must type in "gl_lightmode 0" at the console.

The first entirely independent addon map for Nehahra, and a pretty successful one too, that uses some of Nehahra's effects to enhance the semi-realistic nature of the map, and some of Nehahra's monster AI to give spooky gameplay. It's a large industrial base map - a waste facility - with a backing story that sees you investigating damage from a meteor storm, and possible alien incursion. Well, "probable" alien incursion =). The map's theme is unusual, a bit more Half-Lifey than Quakey, with pale grey wall panels and rusty rivets used throughout . Unlike Half-Life, there's plenty of good architecture, including an impressive central silo and some great open areas that look dramatically out onto a superb mountainous skybox, which is so good you can almost feel the fresh air... Angles and curves are well used throughout, along with industrial designs like power cores and ominous throbbing structures. Although the walls are rather repetitive (and the textures are a bit crude up close), there's good details including vents and inset pipe sections.

In contrast, where that "probable" alien incursion has taken hold, there's some appropriately disgusting organic sections, with veiny walls and lurid red fog giving a twisted atmosphere. Unfortunately the lighting detracts from the level - it's generally too contrasting, with very dark areas that obscure the designs, and very noticable banding on some walls. The coloured lighting in DPNehahra is okay but sometimes gaudyA pity as the overall map design is very good. Along with an original design, the map has original gameplay. There's a fair amount of exploration in many places, and some good, well placed secrets that aren't too hard and are very useful. One of the secrets is....ummm you'll see, it's very cool but could have been incorporated in with a bit more realism.

Due to the lighting, progression can be obscure as some passages are hidden in the dark. Also, make sure you follow the onscreen messages. Gameplay is distinctive, the Nehahra monsters are used with their improved AI, but used sparingly to create a tense atmosphere, rather than overwhelming the player. Less, in this case, is the "new" more. There's still plenty of killing and the map is all challenging, whether it's due to the monster AI, their placement, or just being ambushed from an unexpected angle. But equally there aren't many hordes of monsters, and often you'll explore fairly empty areas, worrying when the next attack might be coming. The gameplay escalates well towards the end, with Vores in particular providing excitement. Supplies are fairly good, but the Nehahra monsters do make the player take a lot of damage, so plenty of care is recommended. Skill settings are well used.

Imp1sp2: "House of Spikes"
(Size: 810 k. No Alternative downloads.)

A medium sized metal level that features the traditional metal style of grey stone walls, metal trim and panelling, and lava. However, it blends in a more arcane feel from some blood stained ceilings and dirty blue wall sections, with industrial vibes from hi-tech strip and spotlights. Architecturally it's good throughout: Solid wall sections curve overhead forming heavy arches, grille lights are subtle angled, ceilings and walls have inset sections for variety. Although there's no big setpieces, all areas are visually interesting and attractive, with subtle texture variations and enhancing the strong curvey look. Lighting is good, with proper sourced lighting and shadows, and this helps give the map an appropriately gothic atmosphere. The architecture could have been improved by a few more spectacular designs, and a little bit more coherence as there's sometimes several competing metal themes here, but overall it's a very stylish map.

The only real exploration in the map comes from 5 good secrets, which are often hidden in plain view, and are well worth hunting down but don't unbalance the map. The gameplay is a little unbalanced anyway, though overall it's quite good. Gameplay situations vary from a sparse but trap orientated start, a tough middle section with a few nasty gang attacks around lava (this could frustrate some players), and a more reasonable finale. Monsters are often well placed to cover each other, providing quite a tactical challenge in a few areas, while other sections require quick shooting and moving. I'd recommend saving fairly regularly just in case, and then the map should be most fun. Supplies are adequate but not excessive, except for the ending where you're oversupplied and it's not a big climax. Skill settings are in good effect, but better testing and tweaking would have improved the gameplay.

Coagula3_bone: "BONE"
(Size: 580 k. No Alternative downloads.)
Speedrun demo: 0:05

The latest in the Coagula trilogy has the same "imposing arena floating in the void" style as the previous maps, but has a very different and distinctive blue walls + red ceiling theme. Plenty of arcane textures from Daikatana to give it a vaguely demonic look, but I expect many people will find the red+blue rather gaudy. Architecture is in the traditional Coagula style, simple, monolithic, and well angled. There aren't many outstanding designs, but with a consistent and solid look, it's nice enough. Gameplay is also familiar - lots of fairly tough monsters, lots of ammo and health. Lots and lots of ammo. In fact more than you'd need for a map twice this size. This allows either a cautious approach or a "run fast and Perforate everything in sight" approach. The walkways around the map are broad enough for the void to be unproblematic, and skill settings are well used for those who find this sort of gameplay rather frantic.

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