treemantheo

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  • Currently 3/5 Stars.

Polished Amateur Scenario Portal of Sigma

treemantheo on Nov 13th 2020, Version 1.1

It takes a lot of work to make a long-form Marathon scenario like this, so although I put this down somewhat quickly due to lack of interest, I want to give credit where it's due for the effort put in to give it the polish that the author was striving for. Most notably, apparently collaborating with various mapmakers from the community help build the maps, which all look visually stunning.

What I liked:

  • Visually appealing map design throughout. Looks better than a lot of TCs.
  • A lot of attention to detail in the terminals, texture sets, weapons, enemies, and items (also lol @ the DOOM armor pickup for shields). Though there is playful "reimagining" of existing images, nothing feels slapped on.
  • I never got lost or confused; the map flow is decent
  • Secret areas
  • Team effort
  • Cohesive presentation overall

Constructive critique:

  • This might not bother people who are just in it for the gameplay, but the writing is not strong, and personally I noticed it right away which is a poor first impression. If you're striving for something that has an impact on the player, you want to evoke a sense of mystery, build strong characters, and give the player a sense that they're on the map for a reason that feels like more than just a fetch quest, none of which I felt here. If you're collaborating again, consider bringing on one or more writers or editors for this. Hunt down some scifi or comics writers! I think having a strong story-first approach will also result in more interesting maps from a gameplay perspective.
  • Enemy encounters seem bland. Consider positioning that takes advantage of the enemies' strengths. Have them sneak up or have the high ground; Let them have the upper hand, and don't make them deaf. Surprise the player -- but not by having enemies teleport in right in your face, which happens several times in the first (actual) map. Also please don't teleport the player directly into a pack of hostiles, that's just rude.
  • Too many weapons introduced in the very first fighting map. This uses up all the excitement around weapon reveals almost all at once.
  • There's a bit of an ammo shortage.
  • (nit-pick) The first terminal that a compiler is sitting in front of doesn't look like a terminal, it looks like a wall. Then there's a ton of other walls that don't do anything which have the same texture.
  • I would have liked to see new enemy types since we got new weapons, but this doesn't affect my enjoyment that much.
  • Rebellion is a sucky map preference, especially when there's no pattern buffer immediately available. (your scenario is not the only one with this problem -- looking at you Rubicon X)

Soo I know I gave a lot of critique here, but I hope the author takes it in stride. Despite my criticisms as a player, I made a lot of maps and several longer scenarios for Marathon in my formative years and nothing came close to this, so I want to say nice work and I think anyone could enjoy this if they're just looking for a casual good time. Keep making stuff, and email me if you want an editor, playtester, or original music for future scenarios. ;) dreameter.music (at) gmail (dot) com