Thursday, April 12, 2012
-MOON 01- by (LL)ATAN/Robert Peterson (review)
The -MOON XX- series is a series of 14 individual levels for Descent II, each a separate download. It is mostly a collection of levels, as many of them don't even have briefings. From a brief look the levels look to vary - so I have decided to cover each one I play in a separate review.
-MOON 01- is a large and mixed level, with a twisty overall layout. All the primary themes/elements from Descent II are used at some point, but it still doesn't seem too discombobulated. The main take away feature I found in this level was the enemy and difficulty factory. It was a very tough map for me to make through with one life on Hotshot, and while I first thought a couple of Mega Missiles right at the start (if you search a bit) was overpowering, they turned out to have their use. There are lots of robot generators (matcens) and only two or three energy centers throughout the large level. You will want to make use of matter weapons and at least a couple times I ran out of energy with none in reach without a fight.
Possibly the trick, which I didn't notice until near the end, is that there are a bunch of Green Hornets in the level that commonly drop a Guided Missile. I did not play the level this way due to not realizing it at first, but you'd probably have enough Guided Missiles to kill or at least get a glimpse at many of the robots and areas without taking damage. Doing this, I envision the level might have been easier, but it's not an intuitive strategy for me. There are a couple especially brutal rooms, the final room (which is a boss robot, although you can get an Invulnerability nearby) and also a very tough red key room with three matcens generating powerful robots being the ones I remember most.
Still, I mostly enjoyed the playthrough, and despite the constant change in themes from area to area or at times even room to room, didn't mind the way the level progressed. The author hid the exit in an unmarked secret, which I don't feel is in good taste, but on the other hand it only matters for bonuses since there's only one level and hence you aren't actually at a disadvantage in a later level from missing the exit.
-MOON 01- is possibly this author's first single player level. For that it's not bad at all and I do plan on playing more maps in the series. It's not a map I'd recommend if you're involved in a major campaign, but if you're getting bored this map (and series) seems worthwhile from the first look.
The bottom line:
Positives - I mostly enjoyed playing the level. It's large but not confusing and provides a potentially good challenge for those who like it. The random mix of themes, while also mentioned as a negative, combines fairly enough that it didn't seem over the top discombobulated. And remember it's possibly the author's first level.
Negatives - It may be a bit frustrating in difficulty in Hotshot (or especially above) for some. The Guided Missile strategy, if it does work, is not an intuitive one. Themes are mixed rather randomly overall, without a lot of area to area consistency. Personally I don't think it's appropriate to put non-secret exits behind an unmarked secret door. It's just a level, with no "extra's" of any kind.
My score for this level is 57.5%.
Once again, all commentary, suggestions, and/or feedback is welcome. :)
Download: You can find all 14 -MOON XX- series levels here.
Disclaimer: All scores and critique reflect MY opinion and no author or player should take any offense or feel discredited if they disagree.