The Great EscapeThe Great Escape
En route to Hoth in an unmarked space yacht, your ship is set upon by bounty hunters led by Boba Fett and IG-88, and you and Jan are captured. You…
The Emperor, discouraged by Vader's failed attempts to quell the Rebel uprising has appointed Prince Xizor head of a deadly new project: the cloning of Dark Jedi. Intelligence has located the cloning facility in a dormant volcano, Mt. Kurek. Your job as Kyle Katarn is to gain access to the facility and destroy it. But be warned that while the volcano is dormant, it is not extinct....
I was a fairly extensive Beta tester for this level, so I don't feel right in doing a proper review. But I have a few comments to make that hopefully won't spoil it for you. This level has some very incredible new items in it. The INF work that went in is unbelievable(can the DF engine go much further?) and the story, while perhaps a bit strained is still interesting and fresh. The added bit of the volcano will provide plenty of interesting surprises. And I'll warn you now that the ending is so climatic that you'll be sweating. I personally let out a big "YEAH!" after playing this the first time, such was the rush. I've never done that before on any level; so I can recommend you check this out, because you won't be disappointed.
I have to mention a couple things that no one else has noted yet. The first is the music. With all the special attention paid to detail in the level, the music seems to have been overlooked. The author used the music from the Sewers, level 3 in the original game and easily the worst music you'll find in there. When you're looking for an ominous sounding beginning and later some good action music you only get some medium happy sounding stuff. It ruins the mood whenever you have the chance to stop and listen. Thankfully that isn't often. My second thing to mention is the incredible storm that takes place throughout the level. Everyone seems so overcome by the ending that they fail to notice the contribution to the atmosphere made by the thunder and lightning. Subtle, but very effective.
When I first heard about this level a month or two ago I thought to myself, "How could anyone create a realistic volcano using the Dark Forces engine?". Well, I guess the answer is "Lots of INF programming". Which is what this level has. From the moment of the opening scene on a cliff in a thunder storm to the incredible ending I was amazed at what the author has done. The volcano itself is not the only incredible thing in this level. The timed explosive charges are also very well done. There are also a lot of puzzles to keep you on your toes. You won't just be running around blasting your way through storm troopers and officers to get to the end of the level. There are so many other great effects in this level, but I don't want to give it all away. I will say that the last part of the level is something I will never forget.
I have played the level three times so far and have yet to find anything that bugs me about it. No HOMing, no bad choices for textures, no bad stitching. If anyone can find a problem please let me know. There are just enough enemies to keep you alert but not so many that you will never be able to get through the level without cheating. The architecture is very well done, there is an incredible amount of detail put into everything.
I have never seen such an impressive level created for Dark Forces before, not even the original 14 levels are as good as this one. All the rest of the level authors including myself have a new standard to live up to. I hope that everyone will be putting as much detail into their levels as the author has put into this one. All I have left to say is, play this level now! Don't wait, drop everything you are doing, download the level, and play it. You won't be sorry.