• Release Date: 2000-08
  • Author: Mindcrime and Nehahra team
  • Genre: Quake
  • Rating: 95

Tronyns Review

I have as yet only made it to 'Artemis Waste Complex,' where I run into a game-crashing error. While I thought the Seal Of Nehahra was excellent, my experience with the actual episode has been somewhat less wonderful.

I first saw Daz's post on Qmap where he was one of the first - if not the first - person to offer a negative opinion of the project. My first thoughts were along the lines of 'Ah, he's just jealous that neither he or any of the rest of us could make something so incredible.' However, the more I play Nehahra, the more frustrated I become. The intro was nice, but after watching the 4 hour movie I found myself muttering 'Alright, so let me shoot something!.' Once the game complied, I wasn't as impressed with Forge City as I expected. When I finally got out of Forge City, and into the game's next segment, I thought 'Now this is more like it!' However, throughout the whole experience, I did not have much fun - the reason I kept playing it was because I was supposed to review it, that and the fact that it seemed to be getting gradually better.

Why did I not enjoy the Nehahra Project? The levels, that I've seen, are not as impressive to me as other recent Q1SP levels, in fact I feel several from Forge City were substandard. Nehahra, on my computer (which is a reasonable system), lagged. I played on normal difficulty, and I am not a bad Quake player. I play most Q1SP releases on hard without problems. But Nehahra... I had less than 25% health for more than 90% of my play time. Health placement was unforgivably bad. There would be absolutely nothing for ages, then boom, four or five big health boxes. The 'Enhancements' to monsters are in my opinion too much. What this ('enahanced' and new monsters, lag, and bad health placement) translated into for me was jumping out from behind a crate, dying, and loading a game (which took a long time, by the way), and trying it again until I could kill whatever monster was standing there waiting to kill me first. Gameplay was extremely frustrating for me because the monsters are too strong, health is too sparse, and it lags. I have died hundreds of times in this project this weekend, all because one blaster shot from an enforcer or one nail from whatever monster will inevitably end my life - basically, Nehahra for me was save and load until I didn't make a single mistake.

A few other gripes: They altered the 'Feel' of Quake. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but they altered it. Lighting is far too bright in all the maps I've seen. Mapping quality is inconsistant.

The new monsters are good. The effects are good. The storyline is good. But overall, I did not enjoy the Nehahra Project. Does this mean you won't enjoy it? No. Kona has a huge review which goes into much more detail than I will, and most of the feedback has been positive. So by all means give it a try, and decide for yourself.

Tronyn's Score: 70

[Kona]s Review

Nehahra was started by J. Thaddeus Skubis (Mindcrime), and soon assembled some of the most talented Quake mappers in the community to build this huge project. The best thing to call it would be a mission pack, though far better than the two official packs. It carries on the war between Earth and Quake, five years after Shubby's death.

All of this was explained in the four hour movie, Seal Of Nehahra released a fortnight before the mission pack, made almost entirely by Mindcrime. Nehahra has a much more focused story than ID's Quake did. You definitely need to watch the movie before playing the mission pack if you want to truly understand the story. The Nehahra movie explained everything that happened up till Shub's death and ended with the coming of a new evil creature and a power-hungry human. The mission pack starts in a human base built in the Quake world, but soon it is invaded and you, a psychic ex-navy seal has to escape.

The first three levels are all based in Forge city while you find a slipgate to get out. Tim Elek did a great job with them, using Stecki's deconwad textures. The levels go from the base section with crates and security stations everywhere, to a large boiler level with underwater areas and pipes crawling across the walls, to finally a dark outside area with buildings before finally finding the slipgate area overrun by Enforcers.

Next was Damaul's single level, and what a masterpeice that was. Using ikbase built into caves and sewers, the layout rotates around a large main area where you'll exit the level once you've opened a door. With nearly 200 enemies this one will keep you busy. You also get to find a friend who will fight alongside you. But his AI wasn't so great, so you didn't get to fight with him and use him much (he'll only last a couple of minutes). There was one huge flaw with this map - I ended Elek's Forge City with full shells and nails. I ended DaMaul's Grindcore with nothing but a bunch of grenades. There was a great lack of ammo which was not very consistent with the rest of the levels.

Next it was on to CZG's two levels, which enabled me to get back on top with ammo (I ended with full everything). The Ikbase theme continued, with a mix of Rubicon in the first level. You get to fight through sewers and outdoor areas with great architecture. The second level started off in a big open area with Fiend's and Grunts fighting it out. But shortly the level takes a big spin and turns into a flooded brick warehouse using the Kingpin textures. Both these levels were very tough, with some of the new deadly monsters being used alot.

Vigilante's two levels came next, dressed up in more Rubicon. They were a little more modern, with the second one making use of some new engine effects with deep white fog drenching your sight. You then end up going underground into a strange tomb area where you finally meet a new monsters - Gaunts.

Following this new theme was Vondur's great looking level, mixing brick and rusted metal with lava. Nicely layed out, Vondur (as usual) used blocky architecture with big supports and a number of levels. This killer map houses alot of the nasty Tsemoch's, and was a strong end to episode one.

Episode two started off with a familiar style, it was back to a Quake themed level by Elek! It was very good to see the old grimy brick castle style mixed in with all the other unique levels so far. And it was a brutal way to start off the second episode, you end up fighting Ghoro across the whole level which was very nicely executed. If you get too far away he'll teleport closer to you, but you have to keep your distance to avoid his fireballs. Personally I think this level should have been the ending of episode one since it has the big fight.

The next level is probably the best so far, very similar to CZG's Numb Nimbus. Mixed together is brilliant Quake3 textured architecture with caves and cliffs. The level is huge, with a great layout as you return to previous areas. It was a very tough level too, especially as you near the end and fight large groups of enemies. Ammo was on the tight side a bit though.

Another two levels by Elek, the first just a short climb up a mountain and only a couple of enemies, but the atmosphere is very unique, set in a dark and very foggy area. The second is in a large temple using the Hexen2 textures very well. On the outside is a beautifully lit palace entrance surrounded by a bright sky, while inside are many twists and traps among the darkness.

Finally, to finish off the episode, we come across Bal's two maps, both dressed in the excellent Kingpin and Unreal textures. The first winds around in the sewers with large pipes stretching along the hallways. It gets quite tough at times and keeps you on the edge. The next level, however, finally manages to beat CZG's Sacred Trinity for my favourite map of the game. Rather than underground, you're above ground wandering around a beautifully layed out town. With angled architecture, it feels very gothic. It is also probably the hardest level in the game, though by this time you should be getting better at fighting the tough enemies. However, at the end it was very easy to grab the Quad, MH and RA and run straight past about 50 enemies into the slipgate that goes to Nehahra's Den.

The first boss level, you take on a huge beast and end up pumping shot after shot into it. Halfway through I got bored and started wondering if I was even doing it right - maybe there was a secret button, or artifact? But no, you've just got to spend 15 minutes repetitively ducking around pillars and shooting it.

But after that long, boring and frustrating combat, there is better - it's time to kill Max! This level is like taking on a bot in a small-medium deathmatch level. It could have been a bit smaller though, much of the time was spent trying to find him. And considering how long you spend in this level, it could have looked a bit better too. And then a problem... nearing death (only a couple rocket hits left) Max just vanished! I was told afterwards that he may have got stuck in a secret section which I never found. But anyway, I did it all over again and this time he didn't disappear. This end battle was very good and fun, and not frustrating like so many games (thinking of the Half-Life baby-boss).

So there you have it, hours of tough gameplay and beautifully made levels. The monsters were all very good, and many of them quite tough. Easily the most used weapon was the rocket launcher, followed by the super-nailgun. You NEED this combination to take on the nasty Gaunts and Barons. The old enemies make a return, obviously, but are now much tougher and have improvements in combat over the five years since Quake. For instance, Grunts now have all weapons except the LG, Ogres can carry nailguns, Vores can walk on the roof and Scrags are devilishly good at avoiding your rockets and nails.

Along with the new monsters were some new weapons and artifacts. The Sprocket (which launches a rocket into something, exploding a couple of seconds later) was good and had it's moments. It also seemed alot quicker than the normal RL. The other weapon was the AutoShotgun, which spat out shells at a rediculous rate. Unfortunately from the second episode on it's a waste of time as you are given very few shells to use it with. So you only get it for about one level.

The new artifacts weren't much use either. One enables you fly, which is only going to mess up combat against large flocks of enemies. Although it was VERY useful against Max in the final level. The other was regeneration, which I only saw working when my health was very low. If you have more of them it works better, but they are hard to find. The other, resurrection, would enable you to come back from the dead once you die. But I quick-saved so much that I never even needed it.

Now, finally, on to the engine. I believe there are alot of effects that weren't used in these levels. About the only visual effects used were fog, skyboxes and transperancy ahead of other smaller effects. Except one large thing - model frame interpolation. The way characters move is much more realistic. The Grunts look much smoother when walking about. I'm not sure how it is done, but somehow adding more frames into the animations is my guess.

Overall, Nehahra is definitely no easy task. It's much harder than Quake, but not frustratingly so. You'll find yourself on the edge alot more, running from enemies and firing rockets in your wake. However if you aren't an experienced player you might have alot of trouble. Even I used quickload a helluva lot.

All the new enemies are great, fearsome creatures (as opposed to the DKT frog). And to match the gameplay, the mappers have done a fantastic job of creating unique, amazing looking levels that fit the theme and flow together nicely.

I was expecting Nehahra to be the best release for Quake ever, and I haven't been let down. Zerstorer who?