Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: Beyond Mutantstein SE - 10th Anniversary Edition

Title: Beyond Mutantstein SE - 10th Anniversary Edition
Creator: Wolf 3d Community
SDL Version Released: 25/12/2012
Length: 19 Levels (1 secret)
Level Format: Continuous
Story: Same as original
Graphics: Same as original
Sound: Original (Changed Order)
Special Features: Mutants can open pushwalls 

Initial impressions: This is a nice looking set and with the availability for the mappers to use almost unlimited amount of sprites and enemies, it gives the set great possibilities and scope to see what can be done. There are nice new title screens and things run very smoothly in SDL. The opening level by Arielus sets the tone nicely and also gives a nice nod to the original (made by MCS) with the mod starting off with a mutant pushing a pushwall similar to how the original tribute set did 10 years earlier.

Gameplay: The gameplay is of varying quality and intensity. Some levels are fast paced, some are slow and methodical and some are just a bit dull. There has been some nice scenarios but very little surprises. Outside of Ack's level I don't think I was killed in any level, and rarely challenged or felt in danger of dying in any others. There was a fair use of secret areas, health and ammo and treasure, but not too little to make the player have to be overly careful.

Mapping: The mapping was of mixed quality in this, like the level sizes and features used. I'm aware there was a big range of experience amongst the mappers involved in this but I only really found there to be a couple of what I would call, top quality levels. Thomas produced the best map of the set in my opinion, making a level which was not only challenging and entertaining to play but also tributes John in it's style, look and functionality. Ack produced another high quality level that was visually beautiful to play, as did Poet, Arielus and AReyeP. There was also some great design and creative mapping from the likes Hair_Machine, Bobby Bucksnort, Harry Snr. and Daniel Whalley.
It's not that the mapping was bad or the game not challenging, I just found some of the mapping to be not very inspiring. Some levels felt like they were made the size they were to fill the full mapping grid for no reason other then because there was no limits on the use of sprites and enemies. This however, left some levels with areas that were completely unnecessary to the map and seemed only to exist to fill in space.
Poet's secret level is certainly one level that deserves mention. This is insanely difficult and complex, similar to some of his own releases, but thankfully a quite detailed walkthrough is included in the game files, as well Poet has put up a YouTube video that can be viewed HERE.

Likes: Some mappers got to show what they can do as well as we got to see some new work from some people that haven't been heavily involved in the Community for a while like Harry, Daniel and Bobby. While it's always great to have the Community come together to produce a combined work I was a little disappointed that the full 21 levels weren't utilised, especially when there are some people in the Community who have been around for a long time producing good quality work that weren't asked and could have easily have made one of the 2 levels the set ended up being short. I do understand why the mods administrators decided to go that way but I can see how the set could have only been strengthened by allowing more people to contribute.
I was happy to see the number of mappers that returned to make a map for this Anniversary edition that did for the original release 10 years earlier.

Dislikes: I found a lot of the mapping to be a little formulaic, dull and not really made as a tribute like the set was supposed to be, and of less quality than what I was hoping for in this release and ultimately I was left a little disappointed. While there were some good maps from people that I was pleasantly surprised to see, I was a little disappointed from some of the efforts from some other more seasoned mappers. I feel that most mappers didn't really follow the mutant theme and even though only mutant enemies were used, didn't really try to make things in a style that John would have enjoyed playing or was in tribute or replication of his style. I understand that when so many different mappers come together to produce a set you are going to get some very differing styles and designs but overall I just think it was still possible to have stuck a bit closer to the intended theme for the set.

Dean's Score: 7/10
Difficulty: Harder than original SoD, easier then original tribute set.
Best Level: 15
Worst Level: Ummmm

It's always good to see a new Community set released and with a great list of mappers included the set had a lot of potential to be an outstanding set. Unfortunately, I found it didn't quite reach those heights, maybe my disappointment is based on a too high level of expectation but I guess all I can do is review how I see it and feel at the time of writing it.

Where Can I get it?: You can download the mod HERE (Which includes both Dos and SDL versions) or by clicking on the screenshot at the top of this post.

You can download the original Beyond Mutantstein SE Tribute set (in SDL) HERE.

Disclaimer: All reviews are only my opinion when playing the mod and are not intended to discredit anyone or the hard work they have put into creating their mod.

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