DF96 - The Ties That BindDF96 - The Ties That Bind
The Empire is threatening Kyle and his wife Jan, and has kidnapped Kyle's son Dack. Now Kyle must scour the galaxy for information on his son's whereabouts, and find a…
The Battle of Endor is long passed, and the Empire is struggling to keep what is left of it's former glory. Admirals are seizing territories and trying to reestablish trade routes. One of their key routes runs through the Anoat System, in particular through Bespin and Cloud City. While en route to a New Republic Detention center, General Crix Madine and his captive, Moff Rebus are pulled out of hyperspace by Imperial Interdictors. Two escort B-Wings arrive at Coruscant with the news that Madine and Rebus are headed to Cloud City where Madine is to be sealed in carbonite. The New Republic sends Katarn and Jan to rescue Madine, recapture Moff Rebus, and find any information concerning Imperial trade routes in the area. Little does Kyle know that as he speeds to Cloud City, so does Slave I and Boba Fett, dispatched by the Empire to finish off Katarn once and for all.
This is one of the few levels which attempts to recreate scenes from the Star Wars movies. And so far it is the one which does the best job. The story is really quite pointless; the discrepancies are so numerous and obvious that it's really just an excuse for the player to get to work in Bespin. But that's really all it needs to be.
To the best of their ability, the authors have made the players stay in Bespin every bit as satifying as if he/she were watching The Empire Strikes Back. The colors are accurate, the architecture reasonably close, and some of the scenes are incredibly reminiscient of the movie. If you look out a window you can scan the Bespin skyline; I was half expecting a cloudcar to fly by. The carbon freezing chamber is nicely done, with low lighting and that wonderful orange glow coming through the floor. And there's also a view from a window from which you can look out over the catwalk where Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker battled and Skywalker lost his hand. It sends a tingle down your spine to be transported into the movies.
There are also several new waxes placed periodically throughout the level to complete the setting. There's a cloudcar pilot to replace the commando, and Lando's cyborg assisstant is here too. The best thing about the waxes is that they've been based on existing files, so the animation for their deaths is smooth. The logic they use is easily transferable from LucasArts created sets as well. There are also a few new waxes that don't quite set the tone so well. There's a bonus file included for systems with more than 8 megs of RAM. It has some more waxes which include a blue Gammorean Guard and a six-limbed phase 1 Dark Trooper that's supposed to be a gundark as far as I can tell. They don't bring anything special to the environment, and as far as I'm concerned they take away a bit of the Star Wars environment with their briliant colors. They just don't seem to fit in.
The largest problem in the level, no matter what system you run it on, is the plotline. Not only would Moff Rebus have been transferred to a detention center for permenant housing long ago, but Boba Fett is dead as well, no matter whether you go by the Dark Forces timeline or try to make it fit with the Trilogy. And the prescence of the Dark Trooper can't be explained away for 8 meg systems. Lots of pieces feel like they've been added as an excuse, as I already mentioned, for the player to visit Cloud City. And if you only want to take it that far, then it's great; I have to admit that when I heard the voice of Boba Fett talking with the control tower over the intercom, I liked the nice touch. But if you want a really great experience, a level requires a good plot, and Bespin doesn't provide that.
With regards to the amount of effort put into this level by the authors, and the dramatic touches that keep the level interesting, there's really no way that Bespin can provide less than a positive experience for the user. It could use some work, but it's fun just the same.
From the moment you walk through the landing pad door at the start of this level you can tell that a lot of work has gone into making this level accurately resemble the Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back. The architecture for this level is simply breath-taking, out of all levels made, no other level captures the SW universe this well....you'd swear you're in the movie, expecting to see Lando, Han & Leia strolling down the corridors at any time.
There are dozens of locations in this level that are straight from the movie, the machine room where C3PO was almost burnt to ashes.....the walkway where Luke and Darth Vader fought......the room with the long table where Darth was seated waiting for Han & Leia....the list goes on. Every single location has a feel of it's own with virtually no repetition of design.
It is hard to find faults in this level, but if you wanted to nit-pick you could say that for the most part it wasn't very hard at all, the only dangerous foe being a Phase One DT on Boba Fett's landing pad who is easily killed by shooting out the window without having to confront. The story behind the level has weak points, but is adequate enough.
The level contains numerous new waxes which are mostly very good, particularly Lobot, though the Ugnaught does look kinda awkward. The few puzzles in the level aren't too frustrating or distracting and are well thought out. The level lacks a mission briefing LFD, but this was made in the early days when that wasn't possible, so don't make the mistake of thinking that it is a fault.
Overall, this level is just simply special, and few levels can approach it's architectual design and atmosphere. What makes it more special yet is that it was one of the first made, and the level-making tools available weren't as good as they are today.