Asteroid Training
Mission Type:
Post Date:
Level Review
Overall Score:
Date Reviewed:
38 / 100
May 18, 2000
21 / 100
46 / 100
42 / 100
First Impressions
I didn't have very high hopes going into the level after seeing the initial screenshots. Both were boxy, both were comprised of one texture, and both had absolutely no lighting. Plus this was the authors first level, and this particular author was placing a bet that this level would get the lowest score on our rating system. Needless to say, I did not find this comforting as I loaded up the level.
Review Screenshot 1
Review Screenshot 2
Design / Visuals
Well, the good news is that the author was wrong in one aspect. This level will not receive the lowest score on TACC. After all it is pretty hard to score lower then 15%. However, by no means is this level of exceptional quality either. The overall design consists of boxes and rectangles of various sizes. The completely straight and smooth sides, especially in an exterior setting like an asteroid, convinced me that very little time (if any at all) was spent on the detail. In fact, the only detail available is in two spots where shelves were added to store ammunition and at the very end where you can see a starfield on the other side of your TIE interceptor. Texturing was pretty sub-standard as well. The entire level consisted of maybe three textures, and that was for about 5% of the level. The rest of the time, the walls, floor, and ceiling were made up of one texture. The worst part was that the predominant texture wasn't even placed correctly in certain spots. I counted several areas that had mis-aligned textures and incorrect stitching.
Dynamics / Interactivity
The majority of the enemies you will face are droids and turrets. Now, the actual placement was quite liberal, so you might be inclined to think that this level was difficult. However, it is not hard at all. The reason is because the author generously gives you a lightsaber (how a TIE pilot would get one, much less know how to use it, is beyond me) in addition to a grappling hook. With the lightsaber, it is very easy to repel turret fire back into the recipient. The assassin droids could potentially prove difficult, but since you can just use your grappling hook to go right by them, they end up to be more of an annoyance then a threat. There's a rancor (more on that later) thrown in part-way through the level, but it too can be thwarted by your grappling hook. The only challenging part comes when you come across four Trandoshans and a Wampa that are, for some reason, sitting on a ledge around the halfway point. However, by this time the author has supplied you with tons of ammo and some really nasty weapons including the Seeker Rail Gun and the Repeater. This brings me to the next part of the review: although health packs and shield recharges were placed very well, there was much too much ammo. Coupled with the fact that you can walk through most of the level untouched just by leaving your lightsaber on, this training course quickly becomes a milk run. The only good thing is that is does explain why the Empire has a seemingly limitless amount of TIE pilots. Enhancements were virtually non-existent. The grappling is the only non-LEC item in the level, and even that's hardly new.
Playing Experience / Atmosphere
This, sadly enough, is where the level really suffers. For starters, there is absolutely no lighting variations whatsoever. The entire level is done in one degree of light. Then there are tons of realism problems, although the semblance was adequate. Some of you might be wondering why I don't criticize the level for being too one-directional (only one way to enter and leave an area). However, since this an obstacle course, I can understand that you would be expected to follow a strict route, and not deviate. Still, there are plenty of other faults. Firstly, there are some really basic ones like the screen under the "Objectives" heading reads "No Objectives." That's easy to fix. However, the big problem I have with this level is that I never really understood the point behind it. It's supposed to be a training ground for TIE pilots. Why then, do I run around an obstacle course that looks like it would be better suited for a stormtrooper or a marine? Correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't a TIE pilot training ground involve piloting TIE Fighters? Also, since when do TIE pilots come equipped with lightsabers? There are tutorials as well as addon levels that could have been looked at if the author didn't know how to open up the level without giving the player a lightsaber. The realism aspect of the level takes another hit with the enemies included. Why is there a rancor sitting in a pit in an obstacle course? Also, why are there Trandoshans, and more importantly, a Wampa in this level? Lastly, if I'm an imperial TIE pilot, why do I look like Kyle? He was never a TIE pilot. Now, I can understand that making a new skin can be difficult, but LEC provides (on the MotS CD) a TIE pilot skin to use so there's no excuse in my book for this. Fortunately, one of the good aspects of the level is a high framerate and a bug-free environment. I think this has to do partly with the basic structure, but not having the level crash on me is a good thing. Aside from some texture issues, this level is mechanically perfect.
Review Screenshot 3
Review Screenshot 4
Final Thoughts
Well, at least this won't receive the lowest score on our rating system. However, this will be the lowest score that I personally have given a level to this date. The choice, ultimately is yours, but I'd steer clear of this altogether. The one bright spot: the author now has some experience down in level editing. Therefore, the next level should be much better.
21 / 100
46 / 100
42 / 100