The Ravine by Spoonman.
You are about to embark on an adventure into a place both wonderful and strange, and you will go through the looking glass a few times before it ends. If this description appeals to you, The Ravine will be your mission. This is a hard mission to write about without spoiling things, and I won’t (not even in screenshots). Let’s just stick to a general impression.
The Ravine draws from that aspect of The Dark Project which has been least often captured in fan missions: a journey into an irrational and dangerous world which defies conventional explanation, but which makes sense as a dream, a collection of strange impressions. The nature of mysteries like this is that they are only effective as long as they aren’t given a rationale, and they lose their power once they are completely figured out. This mission, rather smartly, never gives you that key. There are no readables, no conventional storytelling and no fully built framework to place your experiences. It just is, like a puzzle that has no solution, but could have multiple guesses. Its closest parallel is Gems of Provenance, although it is very different.
The Ravine is a large, complex level that has countless pathways through it, and several hidden places (I got 2600 out of more than 4000 loot). There is verticality, there is horizontality, and there are all kinds of interconnections. The starting area alone would make a small level, but it doesn’t stop there. It is vast; it is also dark. Completely dark except for light sources and your trusty lantern. The lantern becomes invaluable in your exploration, but it also draws attention to you, as it should. This is a proper tradeoff and a fun gameplay element. There are places where rope arrows would come in handy, but the mission is sadistic enough not to give you any, ever. After a more quiet beginning, the AI patrols are numerous and make for a proper challenge.
Graphically, it is on the less detailed side, and the zero ambient does sometimes look rough with the stencil shadows. But it is never ugly, it is thematically consistent, and very often does ingenious things with simple architecture. The soundscape is very impressive – properly menacing, mysterious, using sound cues to both guide and disorient you.
All in all, this mission is odd, imaginative, and a whole lot of fun. Don’t spoil yourself – just play.