Here's a review of another good Q2 SP/DM mod entitled, Power Sphere Quest, by Cedar Kraus. All PSQ maps are very nicely done and the action can be described as ... big.
Background: As of late, the war on Stroggos has been going quite well. Many empty or damaged Stroggos installations have been looted of all values, and the Stroggos population is scarce now. Rumors have been going around about an alien sphere of untold power, hidden in a secret temple. You happen to come across some coordinates encrypted in a Stroggos storage device, and gather a few friends to go along on the search.
After being air-dropped to the coordinates, your team finds a cave leading to the back door of a city hidden by the large mountains surrounding it. The power-sphere must be found, at all costs!
I played this level pack on medium skill and had to continually cheat my ass off by pausing the game and giving myself health and armor. Techno City is completely infested with some very, very large pests like the big nasty freak shown above. It wasn't until after I had finished playing the entire game, and was looking at file names that I came across the author's instructions to play at skill level 0 (easy) for single player mode. Doh!
Originally created for Death Match (DM) play, the maps are really interesting visually. It seems great attention was also paid to details and game flow in the large maps. While I have always been a big fan of secrets to discover in Q2 mods and there are absolutely none here, Kraus does an excellent job keeping my interest peaked in Single Player (SP) game play by forcing you to get keys to advance the story.
His use of keyed doorways and exits to subsequent levels also turned a necessarily circuitous set of DM maps into a very playable SP game. If you enjoy the challenge of shooting up some of Quake's biggest and meanest monsters, you should play this mod. Cedar Kraus dares you to survive an incredible onslaught in Power Sphere Quest.
Here's the storyline of the great Q2 SP/DM mod entitled, Forces of Evil: 1-4, by Chris Spain. All four FOE versions have incredible maps, superb models and well planned game flow.
Forces of Evil I
Background: This level is set before the events in Quake2. To most people the existence of the Strogg is merely wild rumour. The only people who know more are those who work for the Top Secret "Alien Counter-Insurgency Bureau". Investigating unexplained UFO sightings, alien abductions and other seemingly unlikely events, the Bureau has come to the conclusion that behind some of these events there lies a frightening reality.
It is the Bureau's opinion that a malignant alien force (known as the Strogg) intend to invade the Earth at some point. Current investigations indicate that the alien's home planet Strogg lies many light years from Earth, but that they have sent one or more spacecraft here in order to set up some kind of interstellar wormhole device, thus allowing a full scale invasion of Earth from Stroggos. In the last few days contact has been lost with the Freedom Space Station.
All attempts to locate a Strogg earth-side H.Q. have been fruitless. However news has just come in that a group of agents sent to scout-out one suspected site have not returned, raising the possibility that the captured agents might reveal the location of the Bureau's H.Q. under torture...
Now: It's the end of a worrying day at the Bureau. You're just getting ready to leave the Top Secret headquarters building when the Strogg attack! Using overwhelming force, and the element of surprise, the Forces Of Evil eliminate practically every agent within minutes. By chance you were in the basement bathroom when they attacked. Hearing the FOE approaching, you grab your blaster and get ready to fight ...
Forces of Evil II
As sole survivor of the devastating Strogg attack on the Headquarters of the A.C.I.B., you are the only human who knows of the existence of the alien threat. The information stored on the data CD gave the location of the house in the hills where the agents disappeared, as well as plans detailing a means of access via the sewer system. Unfortunately, you will need to locate the lost agents to retrieve a set of fingerprint pads to bypass the building's security system...
Forces of Evil III
It seems that the Strogg launched an interstellar vessel some years ago designed to reach Earth and establish a bridgehead for full scale invasion.
In order to facilitate the invasion they intend to set up an interstellar wormhole device to act as an instantaneous gate between the Strogg planet and Earth orbit. A small preliminary gate is currently being prepared on the Strogg vessel...
Forces of Evil IV
Having discovered this information you decide that the only course of action open to you is to get in the shuttle and head for the space station. When you get there you're going to show these aliens just who they're dealing with ...
If you can, you're going to stop them setting up the interstellar gate device. If it's already up and running? Well, maybe that thing works both ways, in which case you might just make a home call on the Strogg themselves ...
You are the only member of your platoon to be captured alive. You have been imprisoned on a Strogg space vessel on it's way to Stroggos, where you will most likely be turned into food. As luck would have it, you're able to overpower a careless guard in your cell and take his blaster. This is where we begin. What comes next is up to you. Good luck, you'll need it.
Loki's Mission: Escape has the lmctf plasma rifle making an appearance. It fires in 2 modes; spread and bounce. There is a new type of soldier called the plasma soldier. There are 2 varieties; 1 firing a bounce plasma rifle and 1 firing a spread plasma rifle. His model is the same as the other Q2 soldiers but you can identify him by his blue and black skin. His aim is better than normal but he dies just as nicely.
As told, you start out on the Prison Ship map, but soon you must take a space shuttle to the Orbital (map). Some very cool models were made for LM:E. Don't admire the two manned cannons too long or they might turn you into toast, if you don't take them out quickly. The Beyond the Teleporter map is an enormous outdoor canyon with a HFD energy-beam-powered disneyland skytram to take you from one end to the other end, where you enter the research facility.
After you kill everything in sight, accomplish your mission goals Within the Enemy and disable the facility defenses, you make your way back through the canyon and teleport back up to the Orbital. Once back up there, you Run Like Hell and take a shuttle back to the Prison Ship. This is where I accidently dropped the Quad through the friggin' window out onto the space cannon while trying to get a good kodak moment. Doh!
After you insert the data CD and fire the first volley with your HFD space cannon at the planet, some space fighters show up and all hell breaks loose. If you don't run across the bridge and fire the lasers at these fighters, they will continue shooting at the Prison Ship and you most certainly will die. Luckily, it's easy to press buttons in a frantic blind panic on the bridge. The lasers take out the fighters, and you can continue firing the big cannon. After it finally blows up, you get to hear the happy music and see THE END credits screen.
Your name is Mel Soaring. A couple of years ago you stole a pod and escaped Earth where you were wanted for the murder of Commander Tokay and one of histories greatest hero's, the man who defeated Makron. Since then you have lived on a planet named Meeylark with a small population of Iron Maiden. Having defeated Meeylark's ruler they took your side now that you had the power. You have fought off the ravages of the Strogg, Humans and even some unknown race of alien that you recently discovered, which the Humans are calling Xen.
Every few months a starship will fly by and perhaps even try to land on your planet, or an airstrike will try to get close enough to cause some damage. After much planning you have decided to hit them back - both the Human's and Strogg. Your plan is not to win a war on your own, or even help win - it is to simply mark your name in history. After murdering one of the highest ranked men on Earth, and the living legend Private Bitterman, you have already become the greatest villain in history. Now it is time to hit the Strogg and become their worst nightmare too...
After much thought between you and the Iron Maiden, you come up with a great plan. On a planet named Llallik there is a great palace which stores the dead bodies of past Strogg leaders. Most importantly, right in the heart of this palace lies the tomb of the Makron God who was defeated by the very man you murdered two years ago. Because of the war, there are not many Strogg left to guard this palace, therefore you are to enter alone, kill everything in your path until you reach the great tombstone. There you will set a bomb and escape!
In doing so you will destroy what is probably the most important palace of the Strogg race, and perhaps even earn your name in both Human and Strogg history books as the greatest villain of the great war...
This map was created and released over 4 years ago, but I got a hankering for some Quake 2 blood splatter. As far as graphics, Quake 3 is an immensely improved game over Quake 2. But Q3 and Q3 Team Arena are just different games than Q2. I've always appreciated a good Q2 mod, even if I have to occasionally give myself some armor, health and ammo. The graphic above is in the last secret place of this map -- the gallery. That's Tim Willits, the infamous Quake game designer.
Why play an old game? First, I think there should be a distinction between 'old' and 'timeless'. Second, with all the hundreds of game mods out there for Quake, I'm sure you can play in a game map you've never seen before. And thirdly, since I can't afford a psychiatrist, I needed to spend some quality time running up behind some Q2 characters and blowing their little digital heads clean off with my virtual shotgun. Happy Valentine's Day.