The real must haves of the older days

Descent mission help and more WARNING: Spoilers inside!

Moderator: AceCombat

Which of these missions would you consider essential plays for a Descent fan?

Entropy Experiment
4
10%
Entropy Experiment 2
6
15%
Encounter at Farpoint 2: Dimensions
1
3%
Kryllridian Krusade
2
5%
Konflict at Karon
7
18%
Obsidian
7
18%
Bahagad Outbreak
2
5%
The Apocalyptic Factor
7
18%
Project Hydro (minus the first four levels or so)
1
3%
Project Mandrill
3
8%
 
Total votes: 40
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The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:37 am

So, I found this pretty good list from DarkFlameWolf of classic Descent I/II campaigns going through 2004:

Descent 1:
Orion Nebula Project
Iron Star Mission
Vertigo Demensia
Lost Levels for D1

Descent 2:
Entropy Experiment
Entropy Experiment 2
Encounter at Farpoint 2: Dimensions
Kryllridian Krusade
Konflict at Karon
Obsidian
Bahagad Outbreak
The Lost Levels
The Apocalyptic Factor
Project Hydro (minus the first four levels or so)
Phobos Encounter
Project Mandrill

But now it's crunch time, which ones are really the best single player missions, the ones that should absolutely be a priority, a must have per se for a Descent fan? I've left a poll (no options limit) for most of the D2 stuff (eliminated a few I'm already well familiar with to be within the options limit) but feel free to just make a post as well. Either way a list of your top of the line picks is just what I'm looking for. Thanks! :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:57 pm

By the way I'm especially interested in what Alter-Fox, Pumo, Sirius, and (if she's still around) DarkFlameWolf most recommend, so I'd like to request an actual post from them (simply a list is fine though). :) Looking through these forums they just seem to be some of the ones most familiar with single player.

Of course anyone is free and welcome to post whatever they'd like though. :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:09 am

No need to message me :lol: .
I saw your thread yesterday and was meaning to get around to it on the weekend. No time right now though.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:11 am

Thanks Alter, that will be much appreciated! :)

Sorry for sending the message when it wasn't necessary.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Pumo » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:56 am

Well, of the options you had on the Poll, I voted for Entropy Exp. 2, Konflict at Karon, Obsidian & Project Mandrill.
I saw you mentioned Phobos Encounter on your post but didn't put it on the poll, but for the record, I would have also voted for that one. :)

Now on D1, my favorite is Orion Nebula Project since ever, maybe because of the nostalgia factor as it was the first full-blown multi-level fanmade mission outside of LOTW that I played back on the days. 8)

EDIT:
Now about missions I haven't played:
Project Hydro (I heard it was not very good at the start, but that it gets nice at the end)
Apocalyptic Factor (only played part of first level, and it seemed pretty nice as it's from some of the best designers out there)
Bahagad Outbreak (again, just played a bit of first level)
Vertigo Demensia (I'm not even sure if I have it on my level collection, will look for it)
Lost Levels D1

I played several levels of Lost Levels D2, but not the full mission, and I think it's good, but IMO Darkflamewolf has some better masterpieces out there (like Vignettes)


And of the list of missions on this topic, I didn't liked Encounter at Farpoint 2.
It has some original concepts and the level architecture is interesting, but meh, I didn't likedthe robot placement and balancing,
and it started to feel boring after playing the first few levels. :P

As for the rest of missions on the list (Kryillidian, Entropy 1, etc) I played them and I liked them very much, but I feel the ones I selected at the start of my post and at the poll are better. :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sat Mar 08, 2014 12:24 pm

First Entropy & Kryllidian Krusade?

I hear the same of Hydro, probably will start it around Level 5 if I play it.

There's no real use in playing Vertigo Dementia by the way. It has 11 levels, but it's just 8 Vertigo levels + 2 Counterstrike levels + 1 Project Mandrill level (the secret level) all coverted to D1. I guess if you're into some 'D1 flair' you could check it out though.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:00 pm

Alright, puny human...

I remember seeing the original post by Darkflamewolf and laughing at her having put a lot of her own missions on the list... that aside though, they do legitimately deserve to be there, she's got a quantity of missions but they're still the highest quality. In fact, I think she was overly critical of herself on her list because there are several older, mostly single-level missions by her that legitimately deserve to be there -- but those missions are ridiculously hard to find now and I don't remember their names.

Bahagad Outbreak, and The Lost Levels are both missions I've finished, but only on Rookie difficulty (and I mostly play on Ace and Insane now, lol). Definitely worth it though. The level design in Lost Levels feels a lot like Bahagad, but I always found after playing Bahagad it left me wanting more. So that's not a bad thing.
Vertigo Demensia is too, although not for the level designs. It's worth it for the absolutely insane challenge. Probably the hardest Descent mission you'd ever play. Of all the campaigns I've played though, it's the only one that the regular music doesn't fit, and when I play it I usually turn on Pumo's "Round Universe" album instead.

Project Hydro is one of my all-time favourite Descent missions, because even though the level construction can be a bit below the bar at times, the custom robots are very unique, plus the "flow" of each map is executed near-perfectly and the difficulty is very well-balanced. I love the twist with the final two or three levels as well. The early designs aren't actually that bad, and you should start it at the beginning.

Pumo's already summed up everything I could think of about the other missions. Encounter at Farpoint 2 is overrated, I think, and it can get very buggy near the end. I didn't like the architectural style at all, but that's me... I did like level 3 and level 6 though. Apocalyptic Factor is brutally hard if you play by yourself and a lot more fun in co-op, but it has an incredibly in-depth and well-written story told through the briefings that you skip by playing it online (I've skipped through the mission with cheats to read the whole story since I'm not nearly good enough to play it by myself, and I honestly think Sirius should just have written it into a novel... if he did I'm sure he could get it published :D).
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

@Alter-Fox Entropy 2, Obsidian, Mandrill, and Konflict at Karon - as Pumo highly recommended each of those - would you personally recommend them as well?

Vertigo Dementia is really that hard? It's not even a new mission. It's just 8 Vertigo levels + 2 Counterstrike levels + 1 Project Mandrill level, converted to D1. Was the difficulty level upped, or something?

I will try starting Project Hydro from the beginning, the first levels don't really look that bad. Thanks for the response; I mentioned all my remaining questions. :) [Though I would appreciate actually having votes put in so I can see total recommendations for each.]
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:45 pm

MegaDescent wrote:@Alter-Fox Entropy 2, Obsidian, Mandrill, and Konflict at Karon - as Pumo highly recommended each of those - would you personally recommend them as well?
Yep, that's what I meant. I didn't want to waste my metaphorical breath on something that was already said.
MegaDescent wrote:Vertigo Dementia is really that hard? It's not even a new mission. It's just 8 Vertigo levels + 2 Counterstrike levels + 1 Project Mandrill level, converted to D1. Was the difficulty level upped, or something?
Play it and see. It's all D1 robots and textures which do give the levels a new feel as well as their ridiculous difficulty. Only the layouts are the same. Robot positioning is not.

The screenshot on DMDB gives a good impression of what I mean.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:34 pm

DMDB...Ouch! 3 homing missile enemies right next to each other?! Also did you put your votes in Alter (I like that so I can see a proper total count of people voting for each)?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:31 pm

Yep.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:38 pm

If I drop the skill down to Rookie, is Apocalyptic Factor good to play in single player (that is, still challenging but not insane at this skill, plus enjoyable levels in general)?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:35 am

No idea. I don't play below hotshot anymore (lost levels and such was a while ago) because I find it boring.
The eyes of the plush lobster stared deep into my soul. I touched it, made as if to pick it up, and then I was a panther.
BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
...

Also beware my original music, at http://soundcloud.com/snowfoxden and http://vertigofox.bandcamp.com
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:04 am

I just came up with a couple additional somewhat newer ones I wanted to ask about. Just listing them here since I can't edit the poll.

Descent 1:
Colossus
Nefarious Assault (also, does this REQUIRE Rebirth?)

Descent 2:
Legacy of Chaos
Black Prophecy (not the XL version, again does it need Rebirth?)

Just came across these with some decent ratings when looking over the DMDB. So any thoughts especially from Pumo/Alter would be welcome. :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Pumo » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:08 pm

I think Black Prophecy, Colossus and Legacy of Chaos may run fine on DOSBox, as they doesn't has any element that would break the old engine, IIRC.
Not sure about Nefarious Assault, TBH.

And of all those missions on the new list, Legacy of Chaos is the best and is a must, although it is not part of the 'classics'. I just played a bit of it, but the levels were pretty damn good (again, made by a great designer). :)

Nefarious and Black Prophecy are similar (from the same author) and they are fun to play, but I like Black Prophecy a bit more because I like the texturing of the levels. :P

Colossus is pretty original, as it tries to implement the illusion that you are teleporting to different parts of a same level (using actually multiple levels that feel like they are the same level) while using the old engine (not by using actual teleporters like those on XL).
If you like the feel of playing huge levels you should give it a try, but if you prefer small levels with quick action it may feel boring, as it develops a bit slow, but it worths a play.

Personally, I like huge levels. :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Sirius » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:24 pm

OK.

I don't really remember any of the D1 missions. I played ONP briefly, although I don't think I finished it - as I recall it was one of the first projects Luke Schneider was involved in?

From D2:
Both Entropy Experiments were worth playing. Entropy 2 was the more notable of the two because of the new features, but 1 was still a good mission in its own right, with some great custom music.
EAF2 was okay, but the second Ellusion mission (Obsidian) is probably the better of the two, so I would recommend it more. Take that with a grain of salt if you wish since I had more investment in the project...
Of the Kruel missions, KaK is probably the most renowned. Some really nice work in that one. I don't remember Kryllidian Krusade - I may have played it before but am not certain.
Bahagad Outbreak didn't grab me too much - DFW's later work is more essential IMO. Lost Levels was very tough, but more of a breakout.
Mandrill was good, although I didn't vote for it since it doesn't add much over Entropy 2 - but if you want more of that style, then yes, it's a good pick.
Hydro I don't know much about - never really remembered to play it. AF I worked on and am reasonably proud of - couple of rough edges (level 12 boss can be a little mean and I would like to have revised the briefing script, but on the other hand I was fatigued enough from the effort that that would have taken several more months) but it's still remained fun to play in co-op more recently.

Skill levels depend on you. AF is more difficult than average but very manageable for experienced SP junkies on Hotshot; it's punishing in places on Ace, though.

On the second set of levels: only reason something would require Rebirth is if they exceeded the segment limit for the game it was made for. In more recent years it's become more feasible for designers to do this, so you may see a few missions like that. I've only played the first five levels of Nefarious Assault but they haven't so far been large enough to seem to fit that. Might change later on. It seemed like a relatively easy mission so far, but there were a few stretched textures here and there that bugged me a little - wasn't actually sure if they were intentional or not.

Legacy of Chaos is a short 3-level mission I put together from unused material somewhere around 2005. It doesn't have a story for that reason - wasn't expected to be a big deal and I don't think it's very well-known.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:39 pm

Sirius, if I like Entropy 2 is Mandrill on par with it?

Also if you played it, what did you think of Black Prophecy and Colossus?

Thanks otherwise. :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Sirius » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:43 pm

Yeah, roughly, I think. Now that I recall it, I think the real advance there was that the robots were animated - they weren't in Entropy 2 since the tools were still very nascent. (Unfortunately vestiges of that remain to the present day; there still is no definitive robot editor - they all either have limitations or are very hard to use.)

I didn't play BP or Colossus - maybe someday :)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:56 pm

Why does The Enemy Within run so choppy at times with DosBOX (for instance, Levels 9 and 26)?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Pumo » Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:58 pm

Because they push the old engine to the limit, using very complex achiteture on big rooms (like the main central chamber on Level 26).
The original engine was not so optimized to render such complex stuff obviously, as on the old days of Descent a Pentium was the most you could aspire.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:01 pm

As far as you know, does anything in my poll push the engine that close to the limit (or also the new ones I mentioned minus Nefarious Assault)?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Sirius » Sun Mar 09, 2014 3:11 pm

Kruel's levels if any, but I don't think they did.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:40 pm

Does this include Legacy of Chaos/Black Prophecy should run fine as well? Maybe Pumo could tell me for sure about the Kruel campaigns. (Or Alter, who I'd also still like thoughts on Colossus/Nefarious/Prophecy/Legacy from.)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Pumo » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:34 pm

Kruel campaigns will run perfectly on the original engine. In fact, I played those missions for the first time back on the old-school days, way before the creations of the XL or Rebirth ports.

You will only have issues with a few recent missions, starting since the ones made around 2008, like Enemy Within, and even then, they are few and, most of the levels you find at the DMDB will run with no problems.

Specifically in your case that you're not interested on XL specific missions, I think only Enemy Within, Vignettes and maybe The Outer Reaches may play with issues on the original engine, every other mission is just fine.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:15 pm

I played a little bit of Colossus, and I have to say I wasn't very interested.
Legacy was fairly well done, though it wasn't as gripping as Obsidian or Apocalyptic Factor.

I love Black Prophecy -- you'll probably want to play the remastered D2X-XL version. It's supposedly not complete yet, but all that's missing is two secret levels that weren't in the original anyway. The music for it is probably the oldest soundtrack I've done that I'm not completely ashamed of now (yeah, look who's calling Darkflamewolf overly self-critical :P) -- in fact I still think most of it is pretty good concept-wise, although I could have gone much deeper. I do want to do some keyboard-based jams like that again eventually. But that's not really about the mission :D.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:27 pm

If I'm not in the mood too much to set up XL, is the original version of Black Prophecy still good fun Alter? My problem with setting up XL is getting rid of all those extra features I don't want. I want an experience as close to the original as possible, or at least with as few modifications as necessary to play a mission that requires XL. So maybe you could help me there? Either way though I'd like to know still if you enjoyed the original version also.

EDIT: I posted a separate thread for XL set up as well.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:42 pm

I did enjoy the original, just not quite as much as the XL version.

Speaking of PM's my inbox is very close to the limit right now, I'd appreciate if you didn't send me any more about this thread (or the related ones). I'll read most posts on the Descentbb within a day anyway, so it's really not necessary. The only parts of this site I don't check regularly are Ethics and Commentary, Tech Forum, Descent Multiplayer, Coders Corner and the Testing Area :P.
And if you ever want me to read a post in E&C, I won't. I stay away from there. :E
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:58 pm

As for those 'rare' and 'hard to find' SP one-shot missions you were mentioning. Ever thought to ask me for them? I might still have them on my hard drive somewhere. It just depends on which one you are referring to.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:02 pm

I can't tell who was mentioning them. Every mission in the poll (in fact every mission in your list) as well as the four other ones I noted further down is available on DMDB.

By the way DFW, two notes actually for your list (considering stuff up to 2004 I'm familiar with at this point):

1) I could argue 'Chasm' should be on there. It's far from the production value of Razor's future work, but it doesn't lack in fun factor. (It and Phobos Encounter are the first two missions I've played; saving Mandrill for later.)

2) Also odd you listed Ironstar but not Ironblade.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:34 am

DarkFlameWolf wrote:As for those 'rare' and 'hard to find' SP one-shot missions you were mentioning. Ever thought to ask me for them? I might still have them on my hard drive somewhere. It just depends on which one you are referring to.
I don't actually remember their names :oops: :lol: .
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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:07 am

As for a rare campaign mission (can't get it on DMDB or karx's pages) I can think of a very small one (2 levels) Tyrsis. I was informed of it while browsing some old archived review page (DCentral I think). It has 4/5 stars there so I was interested and happened to find it on DescentValhalla. But right now I can't think of anything else that might be 'hard to find' and is probably worthwile, other than some simple level collections (non-campaigns), that isn't already mentioned.

As for lesser quality (from a glance) campaigns not on DMDB or karx's there is Omicron Project and Gradius 3D: Defiance; the later one is available on Scorch's Den still. (I actually did upload Gradius to DMDB myself, that being said, just for sake of doing so.)

Finally I will mention that the author of 'Harqygia Mission', not mentioned here but it's on karx's page, made 14 levels named -MOON XX- (XX going from 1 to 14); some are available on Valhalla and the others on that Russian site I think. Those levels have a slight plot if I can recall so I can't consider it 'purely' a collection.

So in conclusion the harder to find stuff (no DMDB or karx's site download) that isn't merely a collection or just a single level, that I can think of, and where they can be found, would be:
Tyrsis (Available on DescentValhalla)
Omicron Project (Valhalla maybe?)
-MOON XX- Series [01-14] (Valhalla for some, others Russian site)
Gradius 3D: Defiance (but I put it on DMDB so it's there now, maybe I'll get around to it for the others also)
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:29 am

To answer your question you've sent me in a PM here. I'd recommend all that you have up there on the poll.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:51 am

I played the first level of Omicron... to be honest it looked like crap and I didn't like the midi music very much.
And speaking of PM's... you already know I'm following these threads whenever I come to the DBB. If you ask a question directed at me in the thread itself I should see it. To be honest, since my PM inbox is nearly full I think I'd be able to get back to you faster if you asked a question at me in one of your threads.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:31 am

Okay I'll ask in the thread instead now. :) I'd appreciate a response to that second Obsidian related message I sent though (but I also will paste it here):

Generally I'm good with remembering where stuff is (especially locked doors) and managing switch hunts. I look at walls and such if I can't find a door that was unlocked. Given that should that bring down the potential for frustration on my side? Also about how many of the levels have these trigger hunts, since you say not all do? That should be all I have left to ask on the topic.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:10 pm

Re message (regarding Obsidian): "No, because mostly the switches open walls not locked doors. If they did open locked doors -- or even walls that were in visible or audible distance from the switches themselves -- I wouldn't have had so much of a problems." >> I'm pretty good at finding walls that have disappeared on the automap too. :) I don't mind exploring some to eventually see a new area pop up.

In any case, do you still enjoy playing at least most of Obsidian's maps overall Alter, in spite of the switch qualm?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:56 pm

Like I said before, the custom enemies are interesting enough to outweigh the occasionally sloppy trigger layouts. That was a yes in far too many words. :P
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by MegaDescent » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:30 pm

Do you find most levels still enjoyable basically in an overall sense?
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Pumo » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:44 pm

Definitely, all Obsidian levels are pretty enjoyable. Just the very layout of the levels, all made by Sirius and Darkhorse worths the play.
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by Alter-Fox » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:13 am

Three times so far... :lol: yes, the mission is still fun enough that I'd replay it, despite the occasional bad design choice.
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BEWARE RAZZADOON'S SNOUT!!
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Re: The real must haves of the older days

Post by DarkFlameWolf » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:56 pm

I just wouldn't recommend Obsidian to a beginner in fanmade missions. That's all.
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