Imperial Mine
Mission Type:
Post Date:
Heikki Lainela
December 21, 2002
Level Review
Overall Score:
Date Reviewed:
62 / 100
January 26, 2003
65 / 100
65 / 100
60 / 100
First Impressions
Though the story of Heikki Lainela's second level isn't of ground-breaking originality, and the level doesn't have any objectives as such, Imperial Mine is a JO level that has a strange little charm of its own. Its not going to win any awards, but Imperial Mine is actually a good second attempt at JO editing. Set in a very much Artus-like mine, dark tunnel crawling and tussling with mine creatures is the order of the day here.
Review Screenshot 1
Review Screenshot 2
Design / Visuals
The architecture in Imperial Mine is thematic and actually quite good. As you'd expect it's plenty of rock, but the fact that the Imperials have begun to dig their hooks into the place means that tunnels and technology fit in the level rather well. The author has tried to shape the tunnels and rooms throughout it as interestingly as possible – granted, there are some overlapping surfaces, a little HOM and even one vanishing surface and a pair of overlapped brushes, but the author has made a solid attempt all the same. Rather subtly, mined and abandoned sections of the installation are usually far more enclosed and rugged, whereas the fringes (and indeed interiors) of the Imperial ‘camps' have smoother, straighter walls. This little difference does make the level a little more interesting and can give you a hint as to what to expect next. The temple section later on is as one would expect – lots of flames, Massassi textures, but again, halls and rooms are kept interesting, often with centrepieces, pools of water, columns and so forth. What is most important is the way in which the author manages to make each section of the level (base, mine and temple) blend into one another with a certain degree of skill.
Dynamics / Interactivity
Enemy placement is, on the whole, intelligent, with small groups of Imperials clustered around machines (as opposed to just standing in mine tunnels). There are occasions when the enemy has the advantage (usually at times when your health is low) and there are moments where wall sections explode and pour forth mine critters or a squad of stormtroopers. By far the most interesting enemies are the ‘turned' stormtroopers within the temples – they fight hand to hand, and the fact that you begin the level with only your health means that they can present quite a challenge. Whereas LEC designed Jedi Outcast to focus on the lightsaber, Imperial Mine is designed to make you think with your guns. Wading in against these stormtroopers will get you killed – it's safer to take them out from a distance. Likewise, the swarms of mine creatures will have your ankles for dinner unless you fend them off with a blaster. Even ‘puzzles' require the use of weapons, with two instances where firing a grenade over a barrier to detonate some trip mines is necessary. The presence of certain Force Powers (Mind Trick, Grip) is unnecessary as in most situations they aren't useful – at best, one lightsaber style and level 1 Heal would have made the level that little bit more challenging.
Playing Experience / Atmosphere
As a mine, the level was lit accordingly – mostly green glows from crystals or torches embedded in the temple walls – though commendably, it was never too dark. Terminals and Imperial sections of the level gave off small amounts of light and did contribute to the atmosphere in this sense. The main puzzle of the level focuses around neatly hidden switches in the temple to open certain doors (though these are never impossibly placed) a forcefield, which needs disabling, and the aforementioned trip mines. Other little touches such as collapsing roofs just add a little to the experience, and a cleverly placed secret area is a blessing. The level really does make you ditch the lightsaber and fight carefully. Perhaps the only minor annoyance is the way the level ends – the author plans to release sequels, but hasn't chosen to end this level properly for now. It just ends with the player falling into a HOM section – when you have the sequel present, this doesn't happen, but it is just a mildly disappointing factor.
Review Screenshot 3
Review Screenshot 4
Final Thoughts
For initial JO editing, this is a good attempt. As I said, it's not the best level in the world, but it has some nice little touches that make this a neat little level. It's a brave first start, and one that's pulled off with a detectable hint of enthusiasm. Hopefully the author's next level will build upon this and truly give JO SP editing a base to work from.
65 / 100
65 / 100
60 / 100