Clearwater

by Billy Boy


(292) views since Oct 2018


Released: 2000-09-03
Mode: SP, COOP
Difficulty Settings: No
Featuring: 1.4+
Sound/music: No
New Art: No
New Cons: No
Score: 95

Review by Forge on April 21-2013

A remote nuclear waste facility.
Duke infiltrates the industrial property through a trash compactor and emerges into a large open gorge with water tower structures, bulky machinery, out buildings, sizable water conduits, and an extensive processing structure.

Most of the indoor locations are control room or office styled, but there are also living quarters and personal spaces where the workers would spend their off time.
Things appear worn out, dirty, and very run down. It looks like future technology meets modern day technology all mixed up and dumped back in an era when mines and their equipment had been abandoned for a few decades.
The architecture is very prominent with nicely detailed and articulate structures and textured with combinations to give everything an old rusty feel. Other than a few cramped offices everything else is well constructed with some serious sector over sector designs to expand the large floorplan inside a relatively small area.

The layout is hub styled with the outdoor canyon area being the main center point and many passages branching out, and the area around the transparent water acting as a secondary hub for the facility proper.
There are many areas to be explored; lots of door, lifts, passages, wall cracks, an extensive ventilation system, underwater tubes and shafts, and room after room.
Just about every area can be entered up to a certain point before a locked portal blocks progression.

Game play is a combination of finding keys, finding locks, finding switches, and finding what just unlocked.
At some point the player is going to start running into nothing but dead ends and at this point switches and keys are going to need to be discovered to start unraveling the tangle of locked doors.
To complicate matters many switches are either invisible or placed in an out of the way nooks that are difficult to reach due to the multitude of hidden passages in the walls, floors, and ceilings. Mercifully a few of the switches are labeled or have viewscreens, but only a few. There's no telling what a switch will do. It could unlock a door, make another switch pop up out of the floor, blow a hole in a wall, or activate an effect.
There are subtle little hints for a few of the puzzles; when in doubt follow the spawns in some cases.
Other puzzles may involve obscure touchplates that unlock or activate something. In these instances there may be no message telling the player something happened, but there are quick one time sounds that stand out from the background ambient noise to make the player aware something just happened. Extreme patience is required and expect to spend quite a bit of time performing lots of exploring, backtracking, and wandering around aimlessly revisiting already trod ground checking all the locked portals to find the one that opened.
At some point the clues just stop and the player is left to their own devises to figure out what to do and where to go. I suggest after the yellow key in the room with a bed that can be viewed through an underwater porthole is acquired, it's about time to start re-examining the armory.
If you're still packing a red and blue key, you may need to return towards the starting area and inspect around the lift outside the large water containment tower.

Combat is pretty tough in the beginning.
The arsenal is limited and there are lots of ledges, terraces, platforms, and windows and they all have aliens sitting on them taking potshots at you.
There's a good supply of health and ammo so it's a good time to eliminate them so some serious exploring can commence without distractions.
After this initial area clearing is complete the encounters are more conventional face to face to clear an area with an occasional sniper lurking on a ledge or in a window.
Weaponry is gradually collected until pretty much every type of fire arm is in hand.
Ammunition and healing items remain.

Texturing/Lighting-Shading: 10/10
Sprite Work/Detailing: 10/10
Ambiance: 10/10
Architecture: 20/20
Layout: 20/20
Gameplay/Design: 25/30
Overall: 95/100

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