ModMatic: SP HL2 Map and Mod News

Decay(ed)? Hardly! -

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, two of ModMatic's reviewers exchanged their walking boots for computer keyboards and ventured boldly into the recently released Decay mod, a PC port of the 2001 PS2 game. Four (or more) deaths, a hasty dinner consumed on either side of the Channel and plenty of desperate "low on ammo" messages later, we emerged victorious and quite exhausted from an enjoyable co-operative trek through Black Mesa. So, how fresh is Decay?

  • Transbodying and transgendering:
    In an exquisitely unique fashion, we were given the choice of playing Dr. Gina Cross or Dr. Colette Green or, at the (sometimes inadvertent and unnoticed) push of a button, we could become switch places and become (irreversibly, we initially assumed) the other scientist. We must admit to becoming somewhat confused when the latter occurred and we asked each other to take good care of the body in which we had started. It would appear that players can grow attached to avatars and body images in computer games. A puzzling occurrence, indeed.
  • Gordon who?
    As courageous HEV-clad scientists, who happened to display an uncanny knack for all kinds of assault weapons, we blasted and thought our way through the Black Mesa complex and ransacked Gordon Freeman's room. As much as we would have would wished to get our capable hands on that lazy and taciturn MIT graduate, we were both relieved and disappointed each time a mangled corpse we stumbled upon didn't sport the familiar goatee. Having worked in a tightly bureaucratic organization for many years, we knew that disciplinary reports are a dish best served cold.
  • Meta-meta-gaming:
    In a vertiginously bizarre fashion, we experienced a genuinely hazardous hazard course in which a hologram of one of the heroines engaged in a race with the said heroine. Weaker minds are enjoined not to think about it.
  • Save the bullets for greater justice:
    A rather smart placement of foes, human and alien alike, rewarded conservative and cooperative play. Despite careful exploration of the areas, we have found ourselves with few bullets to spare at the end of several missions. Some of the weapons we found did not always carry over to the later missions, which could suggest that we didn't want to burden ourselves with excessive quincaillerie (or that the designers had found an insurmountable barrier when marrying traditionally single-player map changes with a multiplayer aesthetic).
  • Crowbar placement:
    Best and worst ever. Word.
  • But we were not trained for this!
    Osprey the Chopper-with-Infinite-Grunts is (1) meant to be killed and (2) has a very peculiar weak spot. We checked the walkthrough once (1) to find out how to resolve the quandary without playing again through a grisly I'm-stuck-in-an-elevator-and-I-can-hear-my-colleague-is-on-a-rampage episode. We feel no shame.

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Images from the field trip

Article Comments (now closed)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

1. Hmm...

Posted by Yar Kramer at 8:15PM, Thursday October 16 2008

I suppose I'll have to find a friend to play this with me.

I once watched a Let's Play of the original version. The two players involved were characteristically ... unenthusiastic about it.

Here it is, for the curious: http://fromearth.net/LetsPlay/HalflifeDecay/

Sortie's gravatar

2. Decay has had its half-life already

Posted by Sortie at 10:14PM, Thursday January 1 2009

A friend and I gave Decay a try and was disappointed how buggy and unpolished this game turned out to be. I really liked the first map, but the moment I reached the second map and the elevator had changed into something that looks very much different, I knew something was wrong.

The rest of the mod that I played was either incredibly hard, unpolished or buggy, or just a pain in the ass. While I understand it's meant to be played from the beginning each time someone die, that gameplay system just doesn't work. 60% of all deaths were extremely annoying because we died at the exact same spot we've died a million times, and the remaining 40% of the times, we're not even sure why we died.
The game would be better off with a save-game-alike system, or at least waypoints from where you can respawn, instead of playing it all over again.

I like how it's exactly like the PS3 version, but sadly the modders didn't even bother to polish the maps and improve the puzzles. I had to use walkthroughs time after time, just to get any idea what to do. I even had plenty of crashes in a specific map, which finally made my friend and I stop playing.

But looking away from all those bugs and bad gameplay decisions, it's a great mod that everyone really SHOULD give a try. It's a lot of fun when the gameplay works like intended, and the CO-OP feeling is beyond my expectations. The players learn very fast how to co-operate with each other. I'm amazed that GoldSrc is able to make such a great online CO-OP mod, with all its limitations.

Overall, it's really worth a try even though it's rather unpolished. So go download it and play it with a friend.

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