The Moldy Crow

TheCrow’s Nest

Operation Archangel Episode 2 - Dungeons of Gamorra

Author(s): Lionel Fouillen


Kyle Katarn, fresh from retrieving Secret Data Tapes of a new weapon from Imperial Weapons engineer and defector Trem Goltend, is sent to a Gamorrean Fortress to retrieve a prototype. In order to obtain more information about the weapon - The Black Whirlwind - the rebels have also agreed to rescue Trem's daughter, Riia, who is being held hostage at the fortress to maintain his silence. Rescue her and Trem will be free to share what he knows.

  • A custom briefing might seem like table stakes for a great mission now, but doing it right with custom artwork is all part of the experience.
  • The nighttime setting of the castle on Gamorra establishes a threatening ambience right away.
  • Special touches like an underwater area showcase the inventiveness of this author.
  • The castle is a great mix of old and new textures, Imperial and medieval architecture.
  • Come to papa...
  • The castle and other settings may be great, but what steals the show is the new weapon you find: The Black Whirlwind.


Reviewed by: David Arandle | March 18, 1997

This level is a worthy successor to Episode 1: Mos Eisley - The Maze. It continues on with the strong story line which although not entirely original plays a strong part in the success of both levels. The introduction of the new character, Riia Goltend, helps to add interest and a new mission goal to what could have easily been the well worn story of get the new weapon and get out. Not that rescuing the girl is that unique either but the combination of goals plus the added personality of the character works really well. Although Riia only appears as static FME image she makes her presence felt with some well placed dialogue provided by the voice of Muriel Ost. This girl has all the attitude of Princess Leia - and even one of her lines.

Being set in a castle like fortress the texturing reminds me of some of the early Doom or Quake levels but you soon get back to the traditional DF look in the areas of the fortress which have been converted by the Imperial forces. It's a nice contrast of technology with traditional building methods which I felt made for a believable location in the DF universe.

What really sets this level apart and makes it a must play is the under water section. You should look at this level just for that alone. It's an idea that is so easy to do yet it's surprising no one has really attempted it until now. What's more in this level the concept is done so well it is entirely believable. With added sound effects you really do feel like you are underwater.

However the water section while impressive is not the only great aspect of this level. The new weapon is truly that - a completely new weapon. Designed by Vincent Hubin I would have to place it as the best weapon ever designed for DF. I could easily see Kyle replacing his Bryar with a Black Whirlwind. While it is said to have been designed for Dark Trooper use, having experienced the weapon it 'feels' like it would be very light weight and easy to carry. That said it packs all the punch of much heavier weapons and is very effective in a tight situation - unlike Bosk's concussion rifle. A joy to use against any of your favorite opponents.

One other area that really stood out for me was the location of the Black Whirlwind. It's a well designed area which I felt achieved something that is really lacking in many custom levels - unpredictability. That is all I will say about it otherwise the location will become expected and predictable.

There are so many details in this level and none of the work has been unnecessary. The flaming torches lighting the corridors, the well placed candelabra above a table which looks great. There is also the Gamorrean Guard arms and shield texture which really helps to define the fortress as being originally owned by the Gamorrean race. Plus Allen Newman, who created quite a few textures for this level, has also put his sound mixing skills into practice with a few new lines of dialogue for Kyle and Jan.


Overall this level plays really well. It's not too easy nor overly hard. Technically there is very little I can fault with this level. Most of what I find to be questionable is really my personal opinion on whether something fits in with the level story line or not. For that reason I won't waste words on these questionable points. There is enough reason here for you to try this level and the good points really are worth experiencing. If you want to see a well designed level then this will not let you down. It builds on the first episode and is shaping up as one of the best multi-level projects on the web.

Reviewed by: Geoff Elliott | March 18, 1997

This has been, for me, one of the most anticipated levels for a long time. I loved the first and was anxious to devour the next offering. And this level doesn't disappoint.

Without the security of having a Star Wars setting to use as a basis for the level architecture I was curious as to how the author would do this time out. But I shouldn't have been worried; the castle is a great blend of ancient masonry and flickering torches combined with the familiar sterile settings of the Empire. This castle avoids the pitfall of monotony similar levels didn't by alternating the two styles and using different textures for the castle aside from the regular stone blocks. There are also lots of new items that keep the area alive and vibrant and set the mood for an ancient dungeon.

You'll find to accompany the nice texture choices the textures are also placed with extreme care. BMs on the walls aren't just slapped around, and stairs are made to exacting standards where every stone tile fits precisely.

New puzzles and ideas pop up all over the castle as well. The most obvious is a new underwater section, but a stepping stone area straight from Indiana Jones is a cool new touch. You'll need to think to make your way through the level rather than just use your blaster.

And speaking of weapons, there is no debating that it's the new rifle that steals the show. The creator has obviously put a lot of thought into what works and what doesn't, and the outcome is remarkable. I've already used the patch to modify my own Dark Forces playing. The Black Whirlwind is something you just have to try.

One thing that most people will probably overlook is the great use of sounds in this level. From the new ones for the Black Whirlwind to the thunder, the creaking doors and the new dialogue, it's something that adds new dimension to the mission. Would it be quite the same if Riia Goltend were to have her lines displayed at the top of the screen rather than speak them? Of course not. The new sounds are great, but like I said you probably won't notice unless you specifically look for them, which makes them even better; well done and useful, but not overpowering.

Some things bug me though. The story isn't very clear: why is Trem Goltend suddenly allied with the Rebels after having tried so hard to escape them in the last level? It gives me the feeling that this genius is also a bit mentally unstable; which might not be a bad idea at that. I also would have liked to find a bit more to shoot at here. The Phase I DTs aren't tough anymore and once you've gotten the Black Whirlwind the level is a piece of cake. Normally I hate it when people emphasize mayhem over puzzles, but I have to admit the level felt a little vacant.


There's something here for everybody to take a look at. Level designers can admire the architecture and texturing along with the ideas, weapons enthusiasts can drool over the Black Whirlwind and those into more subtle aspects can enjoy the other items around. Any way you put it, this is a level you have to play.

You can also read the review of Operation Archangel Episode I - Mos Eisley: The Maze.

Download Operation Archangel Episode 2 - Dungeons of Gamorra(, 1.08 MB)