Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Review: Gottspear

Title: Gottspear
John Bucksnort
Dos Version Released:
SDL Version Released: 12/05/2012 
Length: 6 Levels (1 secret)
Level Format: Episodic
Story: Original
Graphics: Edited Walls, Sprites and enemy blood splatter.
Sound: Original
Special Features: None
Dos/SDL: Dos/SDL

Initial impressions: This looks (and plays) a little like John's previous release Grossed Out except for the noticeable graphic modifications which have been done rather well. Again John  uses his 'multiple floor codes' feature in a number of rooms so that guards can come running from other places and also continues with his tradition of predominately using the grey walls and grey-slime walls that his mods are known for. These changes individualize John's mods but not too much so that the original Wolf 3d look and feel is lost.

Gameplay: The Gameplay is quite challenging as John uses a large number of guards and has used floor codes (mostly) in a creative way rather then just giving the player the usual room by room challenge.
Again John mainly uses the SS and guards with mutants thrown in but like his Grossed Out mod I would like to have seen him use more of the Officer. I'm aware that his wall usage and grungier look that he likes doesn't quite fit these but I'm sure he could of worked them in somehow.

Mapping: The mapping is again of decent quality although I do question the use of some floor codes as in a couple of maps (especially level 1) John has used the same floor code for half the map making it quite easy to do the old 'fire one shot and wait for everyone to come to you', ending up in a situation like this;

While I understand the theory behind what John was trying to do here, and to try to make challenging scenarios where guards come from everywhere, experienced players will simply know how to counteract this. John has also placed a lot of guards in walls and in the front of doors giving the map a hollow wall or door effect which is also something that I'm not crazy about. I think it's acceptable on a rare occasion to use the hollow wall to catch a player out but I've never been a fan of the door that you can walk through. Especially seeing that you can end up with areas that can't be accessed sometimes (John does this on the secret level leaving treasure you can't access) and you can also be left with things looking a bit strange, like this;

I would of liked to have seen John use the silent guard feature more seeing so many connecting rooms have similar floor codes, that way the rooms aren't empty when you get there.
I'd also like to see John do more with his Boss levels as they are often quite small and very simply laid out. The Boss level in this was one of the easiest I've ever played. The room prior to the Boss was quite tough with a large number of SS but the way the map has been made it's easy to make one shot inside the doorway and wait for all enemies to come to you then giving you time to re-heal and restock before fighting the Boss who is then in a little room by himself making for a pretty simple one on one battle. If you also work out which of the rooms has the same floor code as the exit room you can technically finish the game without having to fight the final boss also if you know how to. ;)

Likes: The volume of guards and the careful volume and placement of health and ammo makes the play proceed more carefully than just charging through everything. Quite often when you fire a shot within a room you can hear numerous guard alert sounds, this makes the player think because you don't know just how many guards are going to come rushing, it could 1 room or 10 rooms worth of guards on their way, and also from multiple directions.
The graphical modifications John has made I feel contribute to the look and style of the mods. The colour modified treasure items and guns and ammo look great and also does the increased amount of blood splatter when you kill an enemy. The only one that doesn't is the new 25 health item which looks rather poorly drawn, I'm always of the thought that if it doesn't look better then the original then just leave it alone!

Dislikes: As previously discussed, I'm not a big fan of having to make the player find secrets in order to proceed through the maps. Unfortunately in this John has taken it to the next level with almost every key hidden within a secret area and in the secret level he even hides the exit!
The use of floor codes could of been enhanced here with use of the silent floor code meaning that when you use the same floor codes on multiple rooms not all guards come rushing to you at once, instead leaving some waiting for when the player gets there rather then just allowing them to waltz through all those rooms without any challenge. Sometimes John's guard placement can become a little predictable also. In the secret level there is pretty much an SS waiting directly to the left or right inside every door on the whole map, I just feel changing it up makes things a little more difficult for the player.

Dean's Score: 6.5/10
Difficulty: Harder than original Wolf mainly due to guard volumes.
Best Level: 4
Worst Level: 5

This is another good release from John and although I seem to poke a few holes in John's work I did enjoy playing this and can recommend it to others that like a challenge.

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.

I will be reviewing all of John's releases (most likely in release order) over time as Andy_Nonymous updates each to SDL. Keep an eye out for more coming soon in the future!

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.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Definitely sharing this on Modinformer's facebook. Loved that picture with all those dead guards. Looked like a Rambo moment. XD