level reviews

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SuperNova NOVA1.ZIP -- 1,416k
16 Aug 1998
Author: Mark Pytel. This archive contains two levels -- nova1 and nova2.bsp.

The first level is titled "Supernova", and from start to finish it's one nearly-impossible combat situation after another. The architecture throughout this level has been nicely done, with a space-station storage-area feel firmly and solidly portrayed. Play areas vary in size, with most being large but with somewhat constricted movement areas; if there isn't clutter to avoid (like boxes and whatnot), you'll be moving around banks of computer terminals or struggling on a walkway over slime. The flow is linear and the pacing is, well, absurd. From the introductory combat sequence (you against two machine gun guards and a trashcan with limited maneuverability and a blaster) to the bridge combat area (never mind the slowing, try taking on three gladiators, a bitch, and a pair of berserks with no cover, limited maneuverability, and a grenade launcher with ten grenades), each fight was something to be seriously avoided if at all possible. Health is extraordinarily light (meaning: there's not nearly enough) as is ammo, which wouldn't be too bad if there weren't so many high-powered monsters inhabiting the level. I haven't seen this many gladiators and tanks together -- with nothing bigger than the grenade launcher to fight them -- to date. I don't believe there was enough ammo for your weapons, and I know there wasn't enough health, to make this one survivable on hard. I like a challenge, but I also like a chance. Nitpicks: loads of errors at start; texture misalignments noted; some brush edges show underneath the slime; the unmarked deathtrap at the beginning (stay away from the back of your ship, or you'll be sorry); and I definitely didn't care for the baited deathtrap with the chaingun. (If there's a way to get that much-needed weapon without dying and without cheating, I'd love to hear about it.)

From there (I admit it; I had to use cheats to be able to get this far) you proceed to "Gamma Corpus Infiltration" (cool title), and get hit with dozens of missing texture errors at the start. Good continuity, though, and the F1 was done adequately. The balance here is just about as bad as in the previous level; try facing Makron in a closed box with no cover, and you'll have some idea of the difficulty. Nowhere to run, nowhere to dodge, and nowhere to hide means he BFG's you to death pretty quickly. Alas, even if you do beat him (god, give all used here), the forcefields don't drop so you can't exit the level.

All in all, a good, solid effort, but the game balance definitely needs to be addressed. A little beta-testing would have gone a long way, I do believe.

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