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Fan Mission Reviews, walkthroughs


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#176 The Dark One

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 03:33 PM

Stab my back and I’ll stab yours, I suppose.

 

Betrayal (by Fieldmedic) is a very vertical mission, starting with a desperate ascent out of a mountain prison before sending the player up a haunted tower. Sadly, the end result is a bit clunky. Our hero begins locked up in a Builder prison courtesy of a backstab. As he’s resigned to being stuck there, however, a massive earthquake strikes, destroying part of the prison and apparently turning the Builders into haunts, as well as giving out hero a chance to escape.
 

This early part shows the general frustration I have with Fieldmedic’s missions: The slow creeping through a foggy and recently wrecked and haunted mountain prison is exciting, and the creator does a good job of making the player feel helpless and vulnerable. But the mantaling and tight patrol routes result in the player having little room for error, creating a fair bit of irritation. Other little irritating bits like that pepper the level, making it hard to get immersed in the atmosphere at time. One example is a sin that Inn Business fell too: making ordinary items count as loot even though they aren’t counted as loot in most missions. Other than that and some irritatingly placed wine bottles, the loot is clear, but backtracking is difficult and often tedious.

 

My main gripe is a poorly placed priest at the end, who stands on a staircase facing a room and never budges. You don’t have a blackjack, but if you don’t find one of two gas arrows (which are waaaay before this point), tough luck, hope you don’t mind the knock to your stealth score. The mission has this vague lack of direction to it, with the path in theory being clear but the actual route being muddled. It’s annoyed, because the mission does have some good bits, such as getting into a locked room near the top of the tower. Not hard, but I haven’t seen this method in The Dark Mod.
 

All in all, a frustrating mission with some good ideas and atmosphere. If you can’t deal with the player unfriendliness, Not Recommended.


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Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#177 The Dark One

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 01:00 AM

I'm back. More Fieldmedic now!

 

Reap As You Sow is a very atypical mission with many good ideas, but few of which live up to their potential. This time, Not-Garratt isn’t a thief, but a private detective hired to look into the disappearance of Carl Powell by the assumed dead Oscar Powell. The Powell farm allows tours of its hedge maze, allowing our hero a chance to slip into the estate and find the answers he seeks…

 

The most obvious difference from other missions is obvious from the title screen: It takes place in broad daylight. This results in the graphics looking a tad artificial, but I admit I liked it. The idea I think was to move towards more social stealth like you see in the Hitman games, as you now don’t fail the mission for being caught per se, but via a “tension gauge” hitting the red, which it will do if you;re caught wandering around areas you shouldn't be in. The problem is that you spend the vast majority of the mission in places you shouldn’t be in, and the fact that everything is so bright makes it so that NPCs can see you from across the dang map, so the whole thing is much more irritating than it should be.

 

Not to mention that the tension aspect is broken. I knocked a guard out, and of course the meter goes up for a little bit. Then it went to green and since I was somewhere I “should” be I just wandered around with an unconscious guard for a bit and no one cared. I had something similar happen when I noclipped into a barm that’s apparently optional but still lets you in if you can pick the door. Turns out that I broke the tension again and could wander about unmolested.

 

It’s annoying, because the mission has plenty of good ideas and moments of horror. The irrigation tunnels are sufficiently creepy, and the idea of traveling through a hedge maze hunting for loot is such a good idea that I’d almost play a mission with that concept alone. I also liked how the mystery wasn’t flat-out explained in the end, it’s not complex, but there’s no summation spelling everything out for you. Even the protagonist’s actions at the end, while scummy, are at least different, even I fell that there needed to be more build-up.

 

The issue is that all the good stuff is buried under unneeded irritation and lack of direction. This might be one of the few missions that’s harder on easy and normal than it is on hard, because the latter at least dumps you close to where you need to be at the start, as opposed to the other two. All in all, if you can work around the kinks, it’s certainly one of the more interesting missions. Otherwise, Not Recommended.


  • Moonbo and Anderson like this

Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#178 The Dark One

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 05:05 PM

The guest that wouldn’t leave, I suppose.

 

Not an Ordinary Guest is Fieldmedics’ most recent mission, and another ambitious but more traditional entry. This time, you don’t have three difficulties, but three playstyles. All three place you in an upper-class inn, but one has you playing as an assassin to take out a cheating husband, one has you just robbing the place like normal, and the third has you assuming the role of a saboteur out to wreck the inn’s reputation (and interestingly the notebook the main character has more or less says that this is a sequel to the now taken-down mission A Night to Remember). While they don’t exactly correspond to normal difficulty levels, each has their own challenges.
 

Assassin has the simplest objectives: find husband, kill husband, but is also strict about you not being seen. Thief is more forgiving of mistakes but has slightly more complex objectives. Saboteur has the most objectives, but the stealth is the easiest, bringing back the tension meter from Reap As You Sow. It’s done much better here, as it only makes you suspicious if you’re in areas you shouldn’t be in, or if you’re spotted carrying around lockpicks.

 

The layout is well-done. There's a small cityscape outside the inn, and while there’s not much to steal out there, it does give a wide variety of entrances to the inn, from mounting onto the balcony to swimming through claustrophobic and maze-like sewer pipes. It strikes a good balance, and doesn’t fall under empty space. The atmosphere and layout are both good as well, even though they lack the pure horror of some of his earlier works, barring the basement due to the very creepy music. It does a good job of conveying that you really shouldn’t  be here. There’s a bit of empty space in the inn, namely the attic and sewers, but it’s mild.
 

Like most of Fieldmedic’s missions, its hard, but unlike them it's hard for the intended reasons, usually. Assassin is short but requires you to quickly grab a wellguarder object without being detected, which is easier said than done. Thief is the easiest, but also the most tedious, as you'll have to break into and search almost every room in the inn for the needed loot. And it’s random each game (which is good that he put the effort in, but man.) I feely admit I might have made it harder on myself by missing something, but I’m not sure if it would have helped. Saboteur has the best objectives, but the needed ones are buried behind some mild obtuseness, though not to the same extent as Reap. One requires you to note a random object in another part of the inn and use it (with little indication that this is what you need beyond the fact that you can pick it up), and another requires you to find a journal in a shelf of unreadable books. Nothing major, but it can jar a playthrough to a halt. I also have to question why make thieving a part of this setting, but it’s a mild gripe.

 

All in all, a fun set of missions. Recommended, if you can deal with the hiccups.


  • Moonbo and Anderson like this

Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#179 The Dark One

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 04:23 PM

No halls, I promise

 

King of the Mountain (by Spoonman) is a sorta-prequel of sorts to The Ravine. This time, you assume the role of a prisoner in the Bluerock Prison on the brink of everything falling apart. Winter is coming, food is low, and word on the street is that even the Church has given up on supplying the place. Our hero has been tossed in isolation, but managed to swipe the key. Now, he has to escape.

 

This is essentially The Ravine: Mini Edition, but less overtly confusing. You’re still maneuvering through a mazelike area that’s more focused on an overlapping vertically, with plenty of shadows to hide yourself in but very few places to safely dispose of any bodies. The main differences is that this place relies less on confusing sound to constantly make you feel unsafe, and it’s smaller.
 

Those of you who are worried that The Ravine and its oddess will be forever ruined can be rest assured that you get no explanation for that mess, but there is something going on at the prison. It’s not hard to figure out, but what’s interesting is that it’s mainly told through the environment. Details like a makeshift boxing ring help add to the desolate atmosphere of the place, and the few readable makes sense and help to clear things for for those who didn’t grasp the environmental side of things. There’s even a fair bit of black comedy, especially with the ending.
 

My main issue with this mission is that the objective is both obscure and easy to short-circuit. Getting out is based on finding a single key, held by a single guard who has a wide patrol route and little to distinguish him from the rest. As a result, it’s easy for a player to explore the whole prison, deal with every guard, and have no idea what to do, and also easy for another to stumble on the key in the first fifteen minutes. It’s a petty thing, but it can easily throw the mission off. For all The Ravine’s confusion, at least you knew what you were looking for.

 

In the end, a solid mission. Recommended, especially if you enjoyed The Ravine.


  • Moonbo and Anderson like this

Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#180 The Dark One

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 04:54 PM

Get it? It’s a money joke.

 

In the Black (by VanishedOne) is a mission that places you in the role of the best of the best, the spymaster’s spymaster. This time, our hero isn’t after riches, but taxes, namely the finances of Lord Jaskin for reasons never explained, other than that Very Nice People want them. Not that that is of any concern, since you’ll be too busy gawking at this guy’s house.

 

This mission is similar to that rich relative you invites you over once a year in theory for a vacation but also so he can show off his the new Picasso he got this year. This house is one of the largest and finest in The Dark Mod, with modern lights and the sheer sense of richness filling the place. The author admitted that the mansion was in part a set of test rooms that he linked together, which almost makes one think of Lord Dufford’s which also began life as a test. While this mission somewhat suffers from the sheer size issue of its predecessor, it’s far better connected and populated, with quite a few guards lurking the hallways. The new technology,m sadly, also comes with spherical lights that make this deafening buzzing noise, which even lasts into menus.

 

Difficulty-wise, it’s fairly tricky, less so due to hard guard patrols or lights, and more to the fact that much of the loot is hidden or concealed. Hints are sparse, and while the loot goal is optional, if you want to break it you’re going to have to find them. The problem is that some of the hints are vague or nonexistent. Getting access to a large chunk of your loot goal requires you to take note of one random readable among a group of readables with no use. There’s another brief horror sequence that’s very well done, but can actually be skipped entirely...not that you get any hints that this is possible. A shame, since I’ve never seen this idea used in a mission before.

 

There is a story to be told here, but interestingly it’s more indirect. If you find the hints and piece them together, congrats, but it’s not required for the mission, which I liked. Nothing major compared to some dark secrets in The Dark Mod, but it’s nice not to have everything spelled out. It also has one of the best interpretations of a Builder chapel I’ve seen.

 

All in all, a nice, fancy mission. Could have been tightened up a bit, but good. Recommended, just be aware of the quirks.

 

And I apologize for the long review gaps, I'm busy and my backlog isn't as full as I'd like it to be.


  • Moonbo and Anderson like this

Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#181 The Dark One

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Posted 27 October 2018 - 07:30 PM

Blackmail is such an ugly word.

 

Sir Talbot’s Collateral (by the combo of Baal and Bikerdude) is an excellent little manion mission that sets our cautious hero against the titular Talbot. On the surface, he’s clean, but he’s trolling about for a professional thief, and a demonstration of our hero’s skills is called for. And hey, if a little bit of “collateral” is found, all the better…

 

This mission is quite well-made, and very non-linear for a mansion mission. Once you get access to the wine cellar (which can happen very early), you essentially have access to most of the mansion, via vents and secret passages. On my replay I was worried that you could break the mission this way, but there's enough separation to ensure that even experienced players will have to duck through the halls.

 

Difficulty-wise, it can be tricky, as knockouts are limited (although only Expert will fail you if you exceed it) and guards are plentiful. You have plenty of places to duck into, but expect some close calls. One oddly placed light in the kitchen gives you a little too much darkness right in the center, even though guards should be able to see you crouching right there! But that was the only odd light I found.

 

The loot goal is fair, if tight, but higher difficulties will require digging in nooks and crannies to find what’s needed. I also sometimes had an issue with guards being alerted seemingly at random. I would put out a light or swipe something, and they would walk past it four times before noticing that something was amiss on the fifth. It didn’t seem to increase my stealth score, so I assume it was either a bug or a misunderstanding on my part about the alert system.

 

This mission is honestly quite fun. The blue ambient light makes it look different, and  there is much to be found for the curious thief, including optional objectives. The readables are done well and provide useful hints on how to proceed. What I mainly liked was that the mission rewards, but does not demand exploration. It’s certainly needed on higher difficulties, but if you’re playing it casually, you don’t need to dig everywhere...but you’ll miss out on secrets and equipment. I think this is actually a good intro mission for new players, since it hits a lot of high points but doesn’t crush if you miss things.

 

Obviously, Recommended.


Edited by The Dark One, 27 October 2018 - 09:39 PM.

  • Bikerdude, Moonbo and Anderson like this

Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#182 Bikerdude

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 02:35 AM

Thank you for the kind words, and currently Baal and I are doing a bugfix/update run on this mission. Its mostly to bring it upto date with the latest mapping techniques, make a few additions and to fix any remaining bugs as we go.


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