Ruins of the Sith
Mission Type:
Post Date:
Level Review
Overall Score:
Date Reviewed:
44 / 100
May 29, 2001
57 / 100
43 / 100
37 / 100
First Impressions
To be honest, after reading the level background and looking at the screenshots, my first impression of this level was not a good one. I was fully expecting another "adventure in box-land" overrun with hoards of troopers and aliens. Fortunately, I was wrong on those counts and the level shows some promise of future work by the author. Read on, brave gamer...
Review Screenshot 1
Review Screenshot 2
Design / Visuals
The architecture in Ruins was average overall, with a short, linear layout. With that in mind, though, it seemed the authors understanding and creativity grew as he worked. Beginning in the yellow sands of a desert canyon, the architecture reveals lots of high walls with occasional slopes. The further into the level you went the more slopes, beams, and pillars you encountered. At one point, there are some good looking areas that are turned at an angle, reminding me of the "Falling Ship" level in JK. In all though, the author could have gotten away with the plain architecture if it weren't for the texturing. In the larger rooms, the texture sizes were too small, causing them to be repeated a lot over large surfaces. This was especially true of near the beginning. Also, the author needed to spend more time stitching. On any given flat cave floor, the player could easily see the surface cleave marks on the floor because the textures were misaligned. The texture choices started well but later digressed, the dark gray metallic mats clashing with the bright yellow canyon mats, and the level ending in the orange temple mats. In short, the use of a greater variety of mats that work well together and consistent stitching will go a long way toward producing a great level.
Dynamics / Interactivity
Enemy placement was well done in most areas but downright horrible in others. Most of the enemies you encountered (mainly rodians and tuskens) were in pairs, making them easier to handle. However, the lack of firepower proved otherwise. One room requires you to drop in on two trandos packing conc rifles. Virtually all ammo and weapons are picked up from dead enemies. My health rarely stayed at 100, and I don't think my shields ever topped 100, forcing me to duck behind corners and spend lots of time watching my health drop to uncomfortably low levels. More shields and ammo powerups would have decreased my attention on the status meters and increased the fun. The powerups that were found distributed through the level had micro-repulsorlifts: they had the ability to float 3 to 5 feet off the floor. Unfortunately, these repulsorlifts were not passed on to the player. On a couple of occasions the powerups were simply out of reach. For instance, in a bottomless pit, there is a great spot on a ledge reachable from part of a broken catwalk. The player can easily drop down to the catwalk to pickup the floating shield and bacta tank. Upon retrieving the goods, the player climbs back up the catwalk only to find the jump back to safety is too high, forcing an "eriamjh on" to return to level ground. The cogs in this level were mainly confined to spark generators, but there was one cog that causes quite a firefight between some rodians and tuskens if you were careful enough to activate it without getting caught in the middle. Quite a shame the author didn't make use of secret areas cog too, because there were opportunities for some great secrets like the catwalk mentioned above.
Playing Experience / Atmosphere
This is probably the level's weakest area. For starters, the level background is extremely thin and vague. Why is Kyle looking for these Ruins? Why did the Crow crash? Where the heck am I? Why is Yun making yet another appearance? In my book, an intriguing plot does wonders for levels. The author did pretty good about not mixing aliens and imperials except one spot in the middle of the level with an AT-ST piloted by an Imperial Commando. Why was he there in the midst of all of those aliens? I guess we'll never know. He does drop a worthless red key, though. Variations in lighting were also non-existent. Everything was pretty much the same brightness throughout the level, indoors and out. In addition, the areas of the level didn't seem to flow well either. The first third of the level is reminiscent of Tatooine canyons, but the middle third "felt" more like a deserted ship. The final third was the only part that really seemed like a Temple, and everything there was colored orange. Very orange. There were a few ambient sounds, but not many, and there was no soundtrack. Shame, shame. Many of these are simple things that a little extra attention would have remedied, but end up detracting from the playing experience. On the bright side, I did have a big grin on my face whenever Kyle would yell "Whoa!" when dropping off ledges. Also, there were no errors, crashes, HOM, or any other kind of glitch which is always a big plus.
Review Screenshot 3
Review Screenshot 4
Final Thoughts
Lacking greatly in the atmosphere department, this probably won't stay on your hard drive for long, unless you enjoy making your way through levels on the brink of death. If you're one to judge a level by its filesize, this is also deceptive, since there is an extra jkl file that adds about a third to the file size. This seems like an authors first level, and if so, it's pretty good for a first time out of the chute. Architecture was pretty good for a first timer, and if he keeps developing it, his talents should be great with more practice. Even though this level is far from the current standard, I look forward to seeing more from this author.
57 / 100
43 / 100
37 / 100