Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Dark Army: Uprising


Author: Titeuf-85 (William)
# of levels: 6 (5 playable and 1 cutscene)
Rating: 8.5/10
Difficulty: Medium to Hard

I'm finally back with another review! Today, I'm reviewing the Rtcw SP standalone mod called The Dark Army: Uprising made by Titeuf-85.

There are 6 levels in this mod, 1 of which is only a cutscene. The cutscene level is at the very start of the mod, and unfortunately it can't be skipped like most cutscenes in other releases. Apart from all cutscenes being unskippable, there are some other small nuances with this mod. I'll discuss those first.

One of the nuances that exist in this mod are the redundancy of puzzles, which usually consist of activating a button which unlocks the door to another button which unlocks the door to another button. This is an interesting puzzle, but after doing it for a while, it starts to get annoying. This puzzle was used in a majority of the mod's levels, so after doing this puzzle continuously, you start to want something different. I'm not saying that this is a bad puzzle, but the other levels of the mod needed more variety in their puzzles. Reusing the same puzzle for almost every level is too redundant.

Another nuance is the spawning of some enemies. There are multiple occasions where soldiers or other enemies spawn from nowhere, with no door being nearby to make sense of where they actually came from. This is really evident on the final level during the Super Soldier fight, where 2 Protosoldiers appear behind the player after a cutscene. Another example is on the same level, where Deathshead is shown in a small room above where the final fight will take place, and there is no door in the room anywhere for Deathshead to enter or exit. While these are not major issues, they are still issues.

When this mod was first released in 2015, it had a promising story but a rather poor execution. Thankfully, Titeuf-85 fixed most of the problems and greatly improved the mod as a whole.

That's about it for the nuances of The Dark Army: Uprising. Now, I'll discuss the good aspects of the mod.

First, I'll talk about the secrets and treasure. Both are hidden rather well in many cases, with some requiring skillful jumping and others requiring some form of parkour. And a few are really easy to find, being in plain sight and requiring little to no effort to reach. There is some awesome variety in secret and treasure placement, so that's definitely a plus.

Next, I'll talk about the level design. While it's nothing amazing, there are some unique areas that I noticed. For example, in the crypt level, the upper areas in the big room near the level's start are interesting and remind me of the level design in some of kat (Ken Beyer's) releases, like Relic Hunt or Castlekeep. Since this mod is Titeuf's first public release, I won't be too harsh in criticizing his level design skills. =)

Next, I'll talk about Easter Eggs. That's right; there are Easter Eggs in this mod, if you never noticed them while playing. Some that I noticed were:

  • A promotional poster for the Rtcw SP addon called Horrors of Hell
  • A promotional poster for Carl Brooks (Deathshead, Karl and Wilhelm von Starke's voice actor)
  • A promotional poster for the Rtcw SP addon called Operation Deathshead
  • Some cubes with the logo of The Renegadist (Jack Stone and The Director's voice actor)
  • A promotional poster for the Rtcw SP addon called The Victors
  • A promotional poster for Titeuf's company called 85 Productions
  • A promotional poster for the Rtcw SP mod called Runaway
  • A promotional poster for the Rtcw SP addon called Flying Saucers
  • A picture of a cat

If you noticed all of these Easter Eggs, then good for you! If you didn't, then you should be more observant! Let me know if there are any eggs that I missed.

Next, I'll talk about the voice actors. That's right; this mod has actual voice actors that did several of the important characters. Below are the characters and their associated actors.

  • Jack Stone and The Director - The Renegadist (Max Huggins)
  • BJ Blazkowicz - MegapiemanPHD
  • Deathshead, Karl von Starke and Wilhelm von Starke - Carl Brooks (Br0kenEnglish)

These voice actors did a good job. The only character that needed a better voice was The Director, because his voice was too quiet and sounded a little strange as well. I know that I'm not the only player with this opinion, because I've seen other comments with the same thoughts.

Next, I'll talk about the difficulty levels. The first level (the village) starts out rather easy, but the difficulty greatly increases beginning with the fourth level (track), where the player starts the level with 50 health, even if his health was above 50 in the previous level. I'll explain why his health is at 50 later. From this point on, the remainder of the mod is very challenging, where the player is given plenty of ammo but very little health/armor. The enemies are nasty, having a decent amount of health and accuracy. This mod will truly test your FPS skills, especially with the final fight against Deathshead's gigantic Super Soldier.

Next, I'll talk about what weapons the enemies have.

  • Luger
  • Silenced Luger
  • MP40
  • Mauser Rifle
  • MP44
  • G43 Rifle
  • Mobile MG42
  • Scoped Mauser
  • FG42
  • Panzerfaust
  • MP34
  • Sten
  • Venom Gun
  • Tesla Gun
  • Flamethrower

As you can see, the enemies have a big variety of weapons, some of which are custom weapons that cannot be found in the original Rtcw game. I'll talk more about the custom weapons later.

Next, I'll talk about what enemies appear in the mod.

  • Regular Infantry
  • Officers
  • Zombies
  • Warrior Zombies
  • Flame Zombies
  • Olarics
  • Eliteguards
  • Venom Soldiers
  • Scientists
  • Mechanics
  • Blackguard Paratroopers
  • Lopers
  • Protosoldiers
  • Super Soldier

As you can see, there are also a variety of enemies in the mod. Some are weak obviously, while others will put your survival skills to the test. Having variety in both weapons and enemies is another plus for this mod.

Next, I'll talk about the story of the mod. We start out the mod at the OSA (Office of Secret Actions). The time of day will either be daytime or nighttime, depending on which time of day mode that you selected when you started playing. That's another plus to this mod is the day or night setting, where both settings have differences in the amount of enemies as well as what weapons some of them have. The night mode has less soldiers, more zombies, and most soldiers have silenced weapons. The day mode has more soldiers, less zombies, and most soldiers have loud weapons.

Back to the OSA, we hear Jack Stone talking to The Director about what's going on inside of a village in Germany. While they are discussing the situation, you will notice the connections to previous Wolfenstein games, like Wolfenstein 2009, and of course, Rtcw. We even hear a brief discussion about Simon the Wanderer, who is shown on the original Rtcw SP intro to have confronted Heinrich I, and sealed him into the Earth. That's another plus to this mod is the amount of work that went into the story aspect, where various connections to previous events are made.

If you played Wolfenstein 2009, then you will know that Deathshead survived the Zeppelin crash, which is shown in a small scene after the game's credits finish rolling. His surprising survival is mentioned a few times in The Dark Army: Uprising, which is once again a plus. Jack explains to The Director that Deathshead is planning to create an invincible army called The Dark Army, which is where this mod gets its name from obviously.

After discussing the situation further, it's decided that only one man can stop the enemy's plans: BJ Blazkowicz! We then see Jack communicating with BJ via a radio, where BJ is given a summary of his mission. Another plus to this scene is when BJ is shown to blame himself over the death of Agent One, who died in the first level of the original Rtcw game at the hands of Dr. Zee. I say that this is a plus because it gives more depth to BJ as a character, which you rarely see in custom Rtcw SP releases.

After being briefed with his mission, BJ sets out to once again stop the Nazis! Throughout the remainder of the mod, Jack will give BJ various instructions via the radio. The objectives for each level range from eliminating various threats to destroying something of importance. A few objectives also involve activating certain buttons or switches.

BJ is shown to enter the German-occupied village that was mentioned in the intro cutscene at the OSA. After entering the village and cleaning it from the Nazi filth, BJ finds a secret entrance to the sewers that run below the village. Once in the sewers, he has to disable some security devices in order to unlock some doors. Unfortunately for him, most of the doors are locked and he must unlock each door, one at a time.

Since the crypt's entrance from the sewers is unknown to the Kreisau Circle, BJ must find the entrance himself. Up until this point, the Kreisau Circle had the required information that BJ needed for his mission, but the crypt's entrance from the sewers is one thing that they didn't know. Once BJ found it, he was warned by Jack to be careful, as he might encounter anything in the upcoming crypt.

Upon entering the crypt, he hears some distant Nazis panicking and being killed by zombies. Jack then gives BJ a new objective: to eliminate Christoph Machtig, who was previously mentioned during the OSA cutscene as being a threat that worked closely with Deathshead. Another objective for BJ is to find the Dark Relic, which was also previously mentioned in the OSA cutscene as being a powerful artifact that gives invincibility to its user. Simon the Wanderer apparently used this artifact to seal Heinrich I into the Earth, and now Deathshead wants it for his own evil use. 

After being briefed, BJ sets out to do his duties. He finds and kills Christoph Machtig, kills some Nazis, and also some zombies who are awoken by the disturbance. This crypt level has the classic Nazi vs zombie fights, like the original Rtcw game did. A good tactic is to let them fight each other, and then kill whoever won the fight.

One interesting item that BJ can pick up is a book called The Dark Army: Volume 1. This book is similar to the original game's Venom Tech Manual and the Paranormal Division's Project Book, because it gives detailed information on the Nazi's plans. It doesn't appear to be mandatory to pick this book up, but I would recommend finding it at least once and reading its contents. It's only a few pages in length, so it's not too long. The book talks about The Dark Relic and Deathshead's plans for it.

One typical but great addition to this mod is the use of clipboards, which contain backstory on what's happening. One of the clipboards that BJ finds in the crypt gives him some bad news: the Nazis have found The Dark Relic and are sending it to Deathshead's nearby base, where he plans to unleash The Dark Army. As BJ is going down an elevator, Jack gives this same information to him, and gives him a new objective: escape the crypt and go to Deathshead's base to stop him.

To make things worse, one of the clipboards that BJ reads mentions a "trap" that the Nazis have prepared for him somewhere in the crypt. After this additional bad news, we get to see an interesting Nazi vs zombie fight: some soldiers against an Olaric (or 2 if you're playing the night mode). The player's screen will temporarily go black as the soldiers are hit with the Olaric's spirit attacks, so don't let that worry you. This is a bug with the game itself, because Olaric was never intended to fight anyone other than the player. This type of fight is rare, so that's another plus for the mod.

As BJ traverses through the crypt, he eventually arrives at a narrow hallway where the floor collapses below him due to an explosion. It's revealed that this is the "trap" that was mentioned on a clipboard earlier, and in a panic, Jack warns BJ to avoid getting captured, otherwise the mission will fail. Unfortunately, BJ gets captured and taken to a nearby torturing facility.

You may think that this is the end of the mod, but you're wrong! Continue reading.

After BJ's capture, we see scientists working with machinery and torture devices as someone is talking to him. The cutscene doesn't show the actual conversation unfortunately; we only hear it coming through a slightly opened door as the camera rotates around the room. Apparently BJ is being interrogated by a someone, who is later revealed to be Karl von Starke. Karl tells BJ a story about how he interrogated and tortured an English agent, who was captured on a Nazi battleship during Karl's stay in Africa.

We don't learn the name of this agent, but we do find out that Karl almost considered him to be "death incarnate", since the agent survived various torture sessions without giving in to them. The agent also escaped his captors, and traveled all the way from Africa to Germany, where Karl had went, to kill him. According to Karl, the agent's motivation for doing so was the pain that he had went through when he was being tortured. Karl was close to being killed by the agent, but somehow the agent failed in his mission. We don't find out if the agent died or not. Karl concludes his story by telling BJ that even he was not "death incarnate", and such a thing doesn't exist.

BJ then says that he's different from the English agent, and that he won't fail to kill a single Nazi. We hear him struggle, and it sounds like he's strapped to a table or a chair as something metallic falls to the floor. Karl tells BJ that Deathshead actually wants him to be alive to see the uprising of The Dark Army, but not in a healthy state. After taunting BJ, he inflicts pain on BJ's face, which leaves a scar that we see in a future cutscene. Once Karl scars BJ's face, he angrily orders BJ to be sent to a prisoner cell, which concludes this long but interesting cutscene. 

This is probably my favorite cutscene from the mod, because it gives some interesting backstory as well as some personality to the characters (BJ and Karl). But as I've said before, an option to skip the cutscenes would be great, after you've seen them a few times. This one in particular is about 3 minutes long, so an option to skip it would be nice.

After BJ is placed into a prisoner cell, he has a health of 50, all of his weapons/ammo are gone, and his radio equipment to communicate with Jack is gone as well. He's on his own, for this level at least. This is where the mod becomes difficult, for reasons that I've already stated. The "prisoner cell" definately doesn't look like one though, so I think that the level design could have been better here. Also, somehow BJ managed to keep a knife in his arsenal without having it confiscated by the Nazis like his other stuff was.

There is a convenient weak spot in the wall for BJ to escape the cell. After escaping, an interesting clipboard has someone wondering why Deathshead wants BJ to stay alive.  After getting a gun from a dead soldier, BJ once again resumes his mission to go towards Deathshead's base. After taking a slow-moving elevator, he encounters some lopers, which are attacking the Nazis. I would definitely recommend that you let them fight each other, and kill whoever wins the fight. You cannot afford to waste health or ammo from this level onwards!

Also, note that the lopers are larger than usual, and the typical blue tesla on their bottoms are now red. This is explained in a clipboard that I will mention shortly.

While this level is annoying with its "switch puzzle", it's not bad either. After opening various doors and activating various switches, a clipboard talks about the mysterious change in the lopers that I mentioned above. Apparently, Deathshead has used The Dark Relic's power on the lopers, which is why they look different than usual.

After finally opening the entrance to Deathshead's base, BJ proceeds on. Here comes the final level!

We start out the final level with another cutscene, where BJ has killed some Nazis and somehow has found his radio equipment that was confiscated when he was captured. After re-connecting with Jack, BJ is ordered to find Deathshead and stop him from unleashing The Dark Army. A small bug at the end of the cutscene is hearing BJ dying (the body fall sound plays as the cutscene ends).

Before taking the large elevator, notice that a modified Tesla Gun is sitting on a table, accompanied by a letter. The letter talks about the gun briefly, referring to it as the Tesla-44DR, a weapon that uses some of The Dark Relic's power. This weapon was originally going to set enemies on fire during the mod's first release in 2015, but that idea was unfortunately removed and the modified gun is the exact same as the original game's Tesla Gun.

As BJ takes the slow elevator downwards, he enters a large outside area where there are some enemies that can be easily killed with a scoped weapon. After killing some Nazis, he encounters Wilhelm von Starke, who is the brother of Karl von Starke. Wilhelm mentions that he was the designer of the original Tesla Gun, and that BJ is too late, since Deathshead will be unleashing The Dark Army very soon. A fight ensues after this.

This fight involves 2 protosoldiers, Wilhelm himself, and a shit-ton of lopers. My advice here is to hide in one of the empty openings in the wall. Be careful though, because a shit-ton of lopers will appear after you kill one of the protosoldiers, so don't be surprised if some appear behind you (if you hid in one of the empty openings in the wall).

After killing some of the enemies here, a ladder from a walkway above will be lowered, and you can climb it to progress. Note that you can kill the remaining lopers from this walkway, where it seems that they can't hurt you. Use this walkway to your advantage!

After killing more Nazis, Jack informs BJ that behind a large gate is where Deathshead is. Be warned however that the upcoming fight is very difficult, so make sure that you grab as much health, ammo, and armor as you can!

Before I get to the final fight, there's a few things that I want to mention. First, note a conversation (on readable letters) between Deathshead and Karl von Starke. Karl knows that BJ will escape from his imprisonment, and go after Deathshead. Karl also mentions that another "uprising" is occurring other than Deathshead's, so Karl clearly has something planned that Deathshead might not agree with...

After BJ finally finds Deathshead, he is told that Deathshead is "delighted to see him". Deathshead then gives a small speech about the uprising that will be coming. He mentions that this is "just the beginning" for BJ, and that people will suffer at the cost of the new world order: THE DARK ARMY! After this dramatic statement, BJ is greeted by a GIANT Super Soldier!

This is no doubt the toughest fight in the mod. My advice here would be to hide in either doorway (there are 2 doors that can be opened to your left and to your right). Stay around either doorway, and fire in short bursts at the Super Soldier's legs, since that appears to be its only weak point. The 2 protosoldiers that appear behind you after the cutscene with Deathshead are easy to kill, but try to sprint towards either doorway first for cover.

Both doorways have a medical cabinet that contains a small amount of health, but use them wisely. Every drop of blood will matter in this fight! Do NOT stay in one spot for too long, because the Super Soldier will most likely kill you easily with its Tesla Gun, which it fires instantly upon seeing you. Hiding in either doorway seems to work well, because the Super Soldier seems to have trouble attacking you if you're there. If this fight is giving you trouble, then just keep trying and save often!

After the defeat of the GIANT Super Soldier, you can hear Deathshead doing something that not even BJ knows. An alarm is turned on, and distant gunfire starts. Jack tells a confused BJ that "something has happened", and a mercenary group has infiltrated Deathshead's base. But apparently something is not good about this group, because Jack says something about them and tells BJ to "get out of there" in a panic. It's difficult to hear what Jack is saying here, because his radio transmissions suddenly become weaker. BJ starts to run away as the ceiling is caving in (rocks can be seen falling from the ceiling). And that's the end of The Dark Army: Uprising!

Ending the mod on a cliffhanger was an excellent idea, in my opinion. Who was this mercenary group? What was Deathshead doing in the room that he was in? What happened to BJ? Some of these questions will apparently be answered in the upcoming sequel called The Dark Army: Downfall!

Now that I've discussed a majority of the mod's content, let's finish with the custom weapons! That's right; this mod has a handful of custom weapons that are NOT available in the original Rtcw game. They include the following.

  • M1 Garand
  • BAR
  • MP34
  • MP44
  • G43 Rifle
  • Mobile MG42

These weapons are all from the RealRTCW 2.0 mod, which The Dark Army: Uprising uses as a base.

That's all that I have to say about The Dark Army: Uprising. An addon version (non-standalone) and standalone version are both available for this mod, so you can still play it, even if you don't have Rtcw installed on your PC. 

What are you waiting for? Go and kill some Nazis in The Dark Army: Uprising, if you haven't already!

Walkthrough by Vicpas:

Playthrough by Yo$hik in "extreme quality":

Playthrough by ZED:

Playthrough by Tatiana:

Playthrough by Juho:

Playthrough by General Red:

Playthrough by me:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beach Defend


Authors: Ronboy (me) and Vicpas (Vicente Pasquino)
# of levels: 1
Rating: 6.5/10
Difficulty: Medium to Hard

It's been a long while since my last review of a Rtcw SP release. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy!

Today, I will be reviewing Beach Defend by Ronboy and Vicpas, which consists of only 1 level. I want to begin by saying that this map was originally created by me for my old addon called Operation Deathshead, as a bonus level. Unfortunately, the game's strict limitations forced me to constantly remove cool details and effects from the map, until I finally was forced to abandon the map. The bunker section was kept intact for Operation Deathshead, but the beach area was removed.

In the original setting of Beach Defend (before it was removed from Operation Deathshead), the player was a German soldier who was tasked by Deathshead to protect the bunker and lab from the Allied attack. However, when the map was altered by Vicpas, the setting changed. Now, the player must protect the bunker from a large scale coastal attack by the Allies, steal some top secret documents, protect some radar communications, and finally destroy a captured submarine (u-boat). Some of these objectives were newly added when Vicpas altered the map (the radar communications and secret documents were not in the original version).

In addition to the 2 new objectives, a secret area and a treasure item (a gold bar) were added. There is a hint near the secret's location, so see if you can find it if you haven't already! I quite enjoyed the new effects and details that were added to the map as well. I definitely would like to thank Vicpas for reviving this map, because I had no plans to do anything with it. Without him, the map probably would have never been released to the community. Thanks, Vicpas!

I gave this map a 6.5 rating out of 10, because while it was much better than the original version, the level design was still very amateur (the flat beach, the very tall ceiling in the bunker, and the transition from the beach to the ocean were poorly designed). But, these amateur attributes are not the fault of Vicpas, but rather me, since I originally created the map. Vicpas only enhanced the map while leaving the level design unchanged. It would definitely be interesting to see how different the map would be if I would have created it more recently, with my improved mapping and scripting skills.

Let's discuss the level of difficulty next. This map is medium to hard in its difficulty, because the Allied soldiers are fairly tough and have a variety of weapons. In addition to this, they usually try to overwhelm you with their large numbers. Their weaponry consists of the:

~ Thompson
~ Colt
~ Mauser Rifle
~ Panzerfaust
~ Flamethrower
~ Sten
~ Scoped Mauser

As you can see, the weaponry listed above combined with the large number of Allied soldiers means that your skills will definitely be tested. You won't be alone though; you have your German companions to help you out. Their weaponry consists of the:

~ MP40
~ Luger
~ Silenced Luger
~ Mounted MG42
~ Scoped Mauser
~ Flamethrower
~ FG42

As you can see, your companions are fairly strong too. Be careful not to kill any of them though, because your mission will fail. Also, your mission will fail if the officer shown at the level's start is killed by the Allies. Don't let the Allies get to him!

If you're looking for some advice on how to beat this level, then I will gladly help. The first obvious advice is to use tactics that you would use in all Rtcw SP releases (always try to get headshots on enemies, conserve health/ammo, etc...). In the case of this level, most of the Allied soldiers will try to enter the bunker once the entrance door is destroyed. The door won't be destroyed until you approach it, so don't worry about rushing to the bunker's entrance. When the Allied soldiers try to enter the bunker, hide behind one of the side walls and kill them as they enter. Be aware however that there will be a few Allies hiding on the beach or inside the lander boats, even after the bunker's entrance door is destroyed. If you follow this advice and save the game often, then you should have no problem with completing the level, even if it takes a few attempts. Don't give up!

One more thing: be aware that 1 lander with about 5 Allied soldiers will spawn after you steal the secret documents. One of them has a panzerfaust, and he will try to destroy the radar communications. You must stop him, or the mission will fail. Some more of your companions will spawn at this time too, so you won't be alone.

Overall, Beach Defend is a nice and small level to play, especially for the challenge factor. The heavy action combined with the death messages (for example: Pvt. Bell has been killed) are very similar to the gameplay style of a multiplayer game like Rtcw MP or Wolf ET. It's a nice addition that makes this level more appealing.

That's all for this review. Thanks for reading.

Walkthrough by Vicpas:

Playthrough by General Red: 

Playthrough by V8PRO:

Playthrough by me:

Playthrough by Yo$hik in "extreme quality":

Confused on how to install Rtcw SP addons? Watch this video: