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Author Topic: Reviews and Submissions  (Read 60365 times)

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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #285 on: December 31, 2020, 04:28:51 PM »

Artem Brullov has released a new map/mod, Fallout Freeze: https://forums.duke4.net/topic/11527-release-fallout-freeze/

It's definitely worth checking out! Great map with lots of creative ideas and top-notch design. I'm planning to write a review later on today if it's OK.


That would have been nice, Aleks  ;)
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #286 on: December 31, 2020, 04:44:53 PM »

Also I've consulted Artem and he asked to link to his mod on itch.io: https://brullov-studios.itch.io/fallout-freeze instead of uploading it on the side, so he can keep better track of download statistics (and also it asks for donation, which is of course not mandatory), so if you could, it probably would be better to just link the download from there. Also he said there's gonna be a patch on it someday, so easier to keep track of the current version.
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #287 on: December 31, 2020, 11:42:35 PM »

Here's my review of Fallout Freeze. Happy New Year, guys!

Artem Brullov, Ukraine-based artist, has been active in Duke’s modding community for quite a while, but also notorious for releasing mostly just screenshots of small (and beautiful!) Mapster vignette’s rather than actual playable levels. This map/mod seems to be his first serious effort and despite the relatively short development time, it has been polished to the slightest detail.

In this Christmas special for 2021, Artem takes us on a journey through an exceptionally well-designed mall full of Christmas decorations, yet currently closed (perhaps due to alien occupation). It continues the long tradition of Christmas Duke releases, being a worthy successor to such classics like Kevin Cools’ Christmas 2001 & 2002, Taivo Maripuu’s Just Another Christmas or more recently – MRCK’s Poison Heart.

From the very beginning it is obvious where the Author excels the most – design is simply stunning, with creative use of textures (some of which are new, but incorporated in such a good fashion that they don’t clash with Duke’s regular tileset, rather expanding on it and the vanilla feeling of the level) and top-notch spriteworks. Even the ceilings, which often are neglected by mappers, are a true work of art in this department (especially ceilings inside the mall, with intricate structures for lamps or clever use of sloped sprites for roof windows). Some other particularly cool spriteworks can be found in a forklift design, tiny shelfs that are present just everywhere across the mall and creative chairs and tables at the bowling alley. The layout of the mall with its impeccable design makes this one of the best shopping centres ever recreated in Mapster. Also some True Room Over Room was thrown in to emphasize on the two-storey arrangement of the mall, but rather than making them an easy gimmick, which a lot of people would feel tempted to, here it feels so seamless and natural that it might even go unnoticed, except for its actual purpose and functionality.

If the visuals of the map consist almost exclusively of eye-candy, same meticulous care has been put to the sounds and ambience. All the decorative doors and lockers make a clicking noise when you try to push them like in modern FPS games (unfortunately the same can be said about cash registers, which can be a bit disorientating for the players looking for secrets) and there are constant walking sounds dependable on the type of surface Duke steps on (which is appreciated, although might get annoying after playing for a longer while). The music is a Christmas jingle mix of City Streets, a classic that all Duke fans will immediately recognize. It goes very well with the Christmas mood, which can be felt particularly strong in this map. New graphics used for seasonal decorations scattered around the mall, falling snow outside (especially in a really cool and sadly unreachable area with impressive sprite-made high voltage truss poles) help to emphasize on it as well.

The player arena is mostly open to exploration, with a few very creative and interesting puzzles to solve along the way. A bunch of new CON effects has been thrown in, particularly for a code-secured lock and working jackpot machines. They’re mostly minor stuff and welcome additions rather than radical gamechangers here. Another thing that deserves to be mentioned is very creative approach to secret places. Particularly one of them, hiding an atomic health and a personal message from the author, is worth noting due to innovative and super-creative puzzles required to access it. When it comes to Mapster technicality, effects and sequencing, there’s some quite complex elevators, working crane/lift that moves boxes and a very unusual way of opening one of the secrets. Nothing that really stands out, but every effect used is working well and clean.

Combat offers you your standard Duke experience with mostly decent enemy placement. Chances are you won’t encounter any memorable battles here, also some enemies will stray in confusion and get stuck in the corners due to the complex layout and amount of spriteworks in the map. There is more than enough ammo to suit everyone, but for the bigger part of the map, you will most likely just rely on good old-fashioned shotgun action. Heavy use of stayput enemies results in some particularly easy encounters, but this might also be a conscious decision due to Duke’s bad guys rather little will of cooperation with the mapper for creating interesting firefights. Despite relying heavily on sprite constructions (which Duke will sometimes randomly climb upon touching), the map doesn’t feel cramped at any moment and shouldn’t restrict player’s movement.

The level can be finished in about 15-20 minutes, but most players will probably spend a lot more time in it, just wandering around and staring at the design (and sometimes also due to poor visibility, which makes navigation through the mall difficult at times). Even if the general concept behind the map was making it dark and moody, and the high-contrast shadows are present wherever you’d expect them, a bump in visibility would probably improve the map as a whole – but that is just a slight nit-picking in what is otherwise a complete and fulfilling piece of mapping art.

Conclusion: You don’t want to miss this one, as it has some of the best design and most creative puzzles you’ll ever encounter. This is a perfect gift for Christmas made with passion and respect to the original game, but not restricting the Author’s own creativity and ideas at any point. Although the map is completely free to play, Artem made an option to donate him for the massive amount of work put behind this map. It is something rarely found or even talked within the Duke community, but if you liked the level, support the Author – he really deserves it for this little masterpiece!

Score: 95/100
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ck3D

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #288 on: March 03, 2021, 08:00:29 AM »

Puritan, I have yet to play it but that JABA map you just posted looks really cool: http://www.scent-88.com/reviews/J/jaba/jaba.php

If you ever find more from the same author or more levels released out of Japan in general, I'd be quite interested in seeing them pop up.

Been enjoying the latest uploads and frequent updates as always despite running out of time to play Duke lately. Thanks again for your work!

Also, review of Fallout Freeze never went up?
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #289 on: March 03, 2021, 09:19:03 AM »

Puritan, I have yet to play it but that JABA map you just posted looks really cool: http://www.scent-88.com/reviews/J/jaba/jaba.php

If you ever find more from the same author or more levels released out of Japan in general, I'd be quite interested in seeing them pop up.

Been enjoying the latest uploads and frequent updates as always despite running out of time to play Duke lately. Thanks again for your work!

Also, review of Fallout Freeze never went up?


Thank you very much, monsieur !
JABA is actually very well done for it's time with nice architecture.
I think it was an active mapping community in Japan back in the days but the authors rarely popped up on western web sites.
Very few spoke English so they kept the releases within Japanese forums.

I decided not to host Fallout due to some monetizing / copyright issues.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 09:23:03 AM by Puritan »
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I'd rather be riding my motorcycle thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about my motorcycle.
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