Cold Wastes by Steamteck

 

Review machine: AMD K6-2/450, 196Meg RAM, Voodoo2 SLI @ 1024,768 Download (UK) (Russia)
Brief description:

Cold wastes is a relatively large ground / air level set in a frozen mountainous wasteland. You join Rynn and Arokh on a quest to defeat an ancient evil god of Drakan who has come back in a hideous female form to wreak havoc on the land.

Main review

This is an average level, I didnít enjoy it as much as Steamteckís previous levels, it was backed by a decent plot but somehow it lacked atmosphere. Perhaps adding a couple of side quests may have helped e.g. getting a key from somewhere so you could progress. There were a couple of areas where you had to defeat a knight or two to get a sword though.

The level architecture was OK, but it would have been better if there was more variety in the textures, it was all snow and it made it difficult to pick out the path up to the town for example. Now I know this is supposed to be a frozen landscape but even the verticals were white. The town on the hill looked like it hadnít been snowing at all; a snowy texture would have suited the ground better.

The ground textures werenít lined up or didnít match in places and in some indoor areas, there were square snow textures on the rock, which looked odd. Flickering textures particularly around the doors were also noticeable. One other thing that seemed strange was a cave, which inside was tropical even though it is in the mountains! Maybe grimstone is magical and gives off warmth (shrugs).

The fog had been done correctly and suited the environment, it makes a change to see a level thatís set on a bright winter day instead of the more usual tropical evening or night setting.

On to other things, there was an interesting variety of enemies, which were placed in fairly standard locations, I wonít tell you about them, you will have to play the level to find out but you will find them a challenge. The weapons to defeat these enemies had a good variety but they were all mainly almost worn out so they cluttered your inventory. Also the armour you found was worn so you were without any protection after a few fights.

Cold Wastes was quite difficult; like I say, the weapons were varied and they quickly wore out. The decent weapons that werenít worn out were near the end of the level Ė it would have been better if they were spread out more. The same went for the armour; you found decent armour near the end of the level where it wasnít needed as much. Now because you had no protection earlier in the level, you used up health potions quickly and by the time I came near the end, I had none left. I admit I had to cheat to get me through the last bit as I had no potions left when I encountered a soul shadow with a very powerful weapon which threw out devastating fire rings.

Overall, this isnít a bad level with some interesting new enemies and features; it just seemed to lack a certain something thatís difficult to describe. It never had me wondering what was around the next corner and it seemed too linear. I would recommend downloading it though as itís still a good adventure and its plot probably wonít interfere with the official Drakan2 story line unlike some other levels.

Rating; Architecture / landscape: 5.5  Texturing: 3.5  Item / enemy placement: 6.5  

Atmosphere: 6.0  Coolness / new ideas / enhancements: 8  bugs: few clipping errors, slow. 

Total: 59%