Hidden Vale by Signal


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

This is a ground only level with a good story line. Large open area and smaller caves section.

Main review

The level is set before the game took place probably a few months before. It features Rynn who sets off to finish a quest that someone called Ray had started a year before. Its quite complicated so read the story accompanying the level. The story also has an interesting part; it tells you how the magic potions in the game came to be.

Hidden vale is quite small in size compared to others so I expected the frame rate to be pretty high. I do not know what exactly slows levels down and this is another that runs slow. The level is perfectly playable though if the fog is increased. Some of the trees and plants could have been removed especially where the orcs were as I’m sure this would have improved the frame rate.

Right, the level itself, enemy placement wasn’t bad, the knights and giant were placed higher than you, which made them harder to kill. You couldn’t reach them easily to kill them with a melee weapon, as you couldn’t walk up the slope. There was a point where you could go up to this ‘higher level’ to engage them face to face, but lots of orcs stood in your way. I found that whilst I was busy hacking the orcs to bits I was getting pelted by spears and boulders from behind. I would have moved the knights more towards the cave and leaving the giant where he was, also the catapults could have been removed but I suppose they made it more challenging. There were enough health potions to get me through without cheating although I had to keep playing the same bit over and over till I did it.

Level architecture was well done; the texturing was good with no noticeable stitching errors and the rock formations were done creatively instead of just having a long line of rock with the same texture repeated like I have seen in other levels. The hills were rounded and natural looking and the valley seemed to follow a ‘N’ pattern. I won’t tell you where the cave is; you will have to find it yourself.

Other interesting features are present in the level of which I won’t tell you about as it may spoil the game.

I would have liked a cutcene at the end, that would have made it a lot better but I haven’t wrote any levels for Drakan myself so I don’t know how hard this is to do. Overall I liked Hidden vale but somehow I was left thinking that there should have been more to it as the story line was so well written.

I would recommend downloading this level because it has a good story that fits in with the game and personally I prefer levels that have some point to them as you feel some sort of achievement upon completion.

Overall a pretty well designed level with a decent story but enemy placement could have been a little bit better. A bit too short, the story gave the impression it would be huge.

Rating; Architecture / landscape: 8  Texturing: 8  Item / enemy placement:

Atmosphere: 8  Coolness / new ideas / enhancements: 3  bugs: none

Total: 64%