The Breaking of the World by Mick
|Review machine: Athlon 950, 256Mb, Matrox G400 MAX @ 1280,1024 Reviewed 28/01/01||Download (UK) (Russia)|
Please note that this review is
of what was going to be level1 in a series of 7 or so levels. The series has
been scrapped so rather than deleting this review I have decided to just let you
know instead as you may find things contained in this review that are not in the
version on PlanetDrakan. The level has been changed and expanded since this
review and the latest build also includes part of level2. One major change for example is the sea has been
replaced with a long winding valley. The UK download location on the left links
to the original version that is reviewed below.
The breaking of the world is the first in a series of levels set about a year after the game ended with a very good plot / storyline; Navaros was finally destroyed forever by Arokh almost a year ago in the rift world. Rynn had lost Delon but she knew his life-force is still alive and well wherever he may be. She just needed to find him. Victorious over the Dark Union, Rynn and Arokh returned the rune blade to its rightful resting place in the rift world and warriors rose up from all over Drakan, driving the remains of the Dark Union back into the eastern waste. Arokh, severely weakened by the final battle, retreated to the land of Dragoonia to recuperate. Rynn chose not to go with him and returned home searching for a way to find Delon. Now, there is a new threat - one more powerful than Navaros ever was and it is up to Rynn to put an end to the evil once and for all.
The breaking of the world level 1 is a well thought out level with some cool ideas and little finishing touches that I have rarely seen in other levels. The storyline got me interested straight away as it is better than the majority of other SP PCL storylines and it is a sequel to the game. On starting out you will find yourself imprisoned in an orc mine and your mission is ultimately to escape. Like other levels (particularly Steamteck's and Zeoc's) the plot is revealed to you through text messages and throughout the game it becomes apparent what the orcs are up to and what they intended to do to you. I won't give any of this away, you will have to play the game to find out!
Like I said at the beginning, the level design and attention to detail is where it mostly stands out - the cave systems and mines are well designed and look natural. There are things like cranes, wooden structures etc to help break it up and make it more interesting. The parts which I really liked was the weapons factory room and the VIP quarters found in a couple of places throughout the base. These places are where the attention to detail is really noticeable; there is even little models of boats and dragons on the shelves in the general's quarters! I was equally impressed with the mine itself and the forgery. The screenshots show the amount of detail and realistic feel to the level. Other features are scripted events for example you get caught whilst stealing something from some high ranking officials room and he locks the door and proceeds to try and kill you. Things like this make big improvements to the gameplay and keep the player interested.
On to weapons and enemy / item placement; There was a lot of weapons throughout the level that you couldn't actually use for example there are some weapons racks containing a variety of melee weapons but you couldn't pick them up. It would have been better if you could use one or two of them at least. You do get better weapons however so if you find it difficult at first with the 10AP sword and pick, keep playing and better ones will come. The weapons themselves are fairly standard ones but are adequate for you to finish without too much trouble. As for enemy placement, I thought they were placed well as if they are up to some task rather than scattered around looking daft like in some other levels. There are a few surprise moments too so keep on your toes when exploring. The amount of health potions you get are just about right for the average player and I finished it with just a couple left.
One thing I did notice was the level seemed to be set in the tropical realm in some places and the mountain realm in others giving an uneven feel to the level. For example there are palm trees and white sands in some parts but yet it looks like Rynn's home in others. The level is set near Rynn's home so it would be better if the tropical looking areas were made to look like the rest of the level. If the palm trees were replaced with the pine tree types and the sand was made into rock it would be better.
There was also one place where I got stuck and a few others may do as well; it was when I got outside the mine and I couldn't figure out how to open the opposite gate leading to the end of the level. I wandered round for ages and eventually found that you had to jump off the pier and swim to the other side of the lake. It would be better if you could see the other shore i.e. if it were to be nearer or maybe a boat could be waiting and when you jump on it takes you there?
Other things that add to the gameplay are a few secrets, puzzles, traps and swinging blades that threaten to kill you whilst jumping over lava pits plus much more. Arokh is not with you in this level as he is still recuperating so it is entirely a ground only level.
Overall, the breaking of the world level1 is a great piece of work and I can't wait to play the rest of the series. I just hope that the series is concluded.
Rating; Architecture & lighting: 10 Texturing: 9 Item & enemy placement: 8
Atmosphere: 9.5 Gameplay / new ideas / enhancements: 9 bugs: A bit slow in some areas.
Screenshots - click to enlarge