By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
only play deathmatch from time to time these days (having a lousy computer and no time to really play doesn't help) but when I do, I play a lot of one-on-one Quake 1 DM. I mention this, because when I play, there are usually only three levels I acutally play: DM2, DM6, and...HIPDM1: The Edge of Oblivion. The first two levels I mentioned, in case you didn't know, ship with Quake. That last one...well...that's a whole other story.
The Scourge of Armagon, or just the "Hipnotic pack" as it's colorfully referred to, contains three episodes of single player mayhem designed by Hipnotic Entertainment, the company that would later change their name to Ritual Entertainment (and who just completed their most recent project Sin last week). The level HIPDM1 is designed by none other than the infamous Levelord, and the fact that I still play it on a semi regular basis isn't an amazing feat...I do lots of weird stuff like that. But the fact that at every LAN party i've ever been at (including last weekend's The Frag 2) someone always pulls out the Hipnotic pack? That's nothing short of astonishing.
Not only does this affordable add on pack contain one of the best deathmatch levels ever made for Quake, it also throws into the mix some really cool weapons: the stylin' Laser Cannon, the kickass Mjolnir, and of course...those coolbeans Proximity Mines.
Let's go through them shall we? The Laser Cannon: it shoots well...lasers, that bounce around the level. I've heard some stories of it bogging down modem users...but hey...that's what LAN parties are for, aren't they? Moving on...my personal favorite: the Mjolnir hammer. This baby simply rocks. Here's the deal...when you hit the thing on the ground, lightning shoots out, and hits anyone within a certain radius (you can take out five guys simultaneously, if you've got the quad damage powerup). It's some killer stuff in deathmatch. And then there's the Proximity Mines...they basically work like grenades that don't detonate until someone walks up to them (unless, of course, a certain ammount of time passes).
The sounds on all of these things are great...the sound of the Proximity Mine going off is perfect...it really gives you a jump, followed by a yell, followed by a howl of agony. Really. It has to be seen to be believed. Likewise with the sound on the Empathy Shield. This powerup takes half the damage inflicted upon you by an enemy and sends it right back at them...and there's a great metal "klang" that signifies this. It's a ton of fun.
Okay, okay...you get the idea. The weapons are great, the deathmatch has to be played to be believed...but how's the singleplayer? Well, to be honest, I hadn't played it in a looooong time. So, just for this review, I pulled it out again, and fired it up...and while I really enjoyed it the last time around, I found myself really getting into it this time. Those kids at Hipnotic (er...Ritual) really know how to make a level. The monsters are perfectly spaced, the architechture is superb, and the whole experience is fantastic.
They added two new monsters (three if you include Armagon, the last boss) and they're certainly good...the Centroid is a cool scorpion like thing, and the Gremlins are suitably nasty. Both are fairly entertaining, but playing the pack, you really appreciate their placement in the levels, more so than the monsters themselves.
The key to enjoying The Scourge of Armagon, is that you recognize the level design, because well...that's really all you can do. While they did make an admirable attempt to create a storyline behind the pack, it's still just an add-on, and not a standalone game. For that...well, you'll just have to go buy Sin. Of course, if you can't afford it, or well...you can't run it, then check out Armagon. You won't be disappointed.
- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames.
|Credits: Bargain Bin logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. Bargain Bin is © 1998 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and like, in poor taste, dude.|