Home Reviews Half-Life Mods [HL1] Edge Of Darkness
[HL1] Edge Of Darkness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Doc_Brown   
Tuesday, 30 May 2006 18:00
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Step into my Parlor
Edge of Darkness starts with what may very well be my favorite introduction in a mod: Gordon's standing in a decrepit alleyway, rain pouring from the sky and lightning crashing violently nearby. You make your way down into the basement of a nearby building, a dimly lit room with shafts of light coming down around the slowly spinning blades of a fan. It's so noir I can't help but love it.

Then things start getting all hi-tech. One by one the automatic lights flick on, and a laptop nearby starts beeping. When you approach it the camera zooms in on the screen, and both text and imagery are used to convey your mission: the G-Man's up to his usual tricks, plotting from his mountaintop lair of using the Xenizens to take over the world. As the briefing ends, a tray with a gun slides out from the wall and a massive container opens to reveal your HEV suit. This is some sweet stuff.

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Shiny
This is what I'm talking about when I mention polish in a mod. Let’s take the teleportation experiment as an example. You'd think that you've seen enough of these so yet another would be stale, but author Chris Spain proves it's all in the presentation: the chasm over which the machinery is situated becomes the portal, and as you peer over the brink you're looking right into the borderworld itself. One can imagine a disc floating in Xen somewhere, the Xenizens looking in to see you staring back at them.

This kind of attention to detail is seen throughout the entire mod, and that's the reason it scores as highly as it does. Chris has done more with what's already there than most mods do with new content. It’s true that the mod isn’t particularly long or the combat exceedingly difficult, but it's fun and just the right length for a satisfying single sitting play through. Chris has gone to great lengths to present the material as professionally as possible, and save for one minor misstep at the end his effort is flawless.

Without spoiling it, at the mod’s conclusion you will find yourself engaged in a boss fight. This boss has a weak point you must focus on, but unfortunately there is no immediate indication of vulnerability. While there is a wound script, it does not kick in nearly soon enough, and most first-time players are likely to be frustrated as they waste ammo with no apparent effect. Since this is the final battle, it’s unfortunate that the mod has to end on a somewhat disappointing note.

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Conclusion
Truth be told, any issues you may have with this mod will be minor at best. Chris Spain’s lengthy, detailed scripted sequences, keen eye for flow and progression, and awareness of what's fun ensures that Edge of Darkness is an exceedingly solid gameplay experience. It is one of the best-made mods out there, even in comparison to some of the larger, more ambitious projects, and definitely deserves a permanent spot on your hard drive.

Note: Originally posted at Hangar16.com on 10/29/02

 

Game Rated 9/10
 

 

 

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