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Scourge Done Slick : (http://www.planetquake.com/qdq/sds.html) / AntiGMan

Ok. I'm aware that this is not your typical Pick-of-the-week article. However, some strange decisions about mods have been done here before.. So here it is..

Why did I need to tell you that? This week, the review isn't about a multiplayer mod, and not even a single player mod. It's about a speed run.
A speed run is basically trying to finish a level in the minimal time possible, or a set of levels in the minimal combined time.

The most remarkable of all speed runs were the runs made by the QDQ team (BTW, one of the runners in the team is Yonathan Donner, known to us as Zem). Their first project, quite some time ago, was a run of Quake called Quake done Quick, which i believe was a 20 minutes run across the single player levels of Quake on nightmare difficulty.
Later, they also released QDQ lite - an "easy" skill run, Quake Done 100% Quick - a run that involves killing of all monsters and finding all the secret doors, and of course, a run that later became their trademark, Quake Done Quicker (or QDQR), which was an improved version of QDQ done in only 16:35 minutes. This run also had a special new mode - a third person view, Ala Tomb raider (or, if you wish, Alone in the Dark). This run also featured on-screen notes, in-jokes, and a very neat intro showing us why nightmare skill is of the essence.
Since then the team has been mainly working on Doom runs, and waiting for a more final version of Quake II to come out so that they can finally run it faster than anyone has ran before.
A few days ago, on dawn of Sinday, the QDQ team made a tribute to Sin's developers, Ritual Entertainment (formerly Hipnotic Interactive) and released Scourge Done Slick (or SDS), a run of the first Quake 1 mission pack: Scourge of Armagon, which was Ritual's first product.
I hereby say, without a doubt, that SDS is the most amazing release by the QDQ team.
Why? Because not only does it show that they stayed in perfect fit, but for those with patience for downloading the whole 8 megs, it also expands beyond the borders of a speed run. Now, it's a movie.

To be honest, when I first heard about the idea, I found it a bit ridiculous. I mean, it's nice as an intro for a speed run or something, but making a movie OUT OF A speed run?
Well, it sure works.

The plot was "tweaked" a bit by the QDQ guys: in a hilarious opening scene, the commander reprimands the QDQ lieutennet for watching his shub video, and explains him that they've got a situation. Armagon, a being "that does more than just wobble", is planning to destroy earth by sending a weapon of immense destruction through his intergalactic portal.
The marine must stop him within 666 seconds, or the end of the world will come upon us all. The marine, who wants to get equipped for the mission, makes a quick run towards a rocket launcher and rocket-jumps towards a megahealth only to hit his head in the ceiling. His commander therefore confiscates his weapon.. and so begins our speed run.

The speed run itself is impressive as usual. If you saw QDQR, you will not be impressed much by the moves, for several reasons.
One of them is that Scourge is mostly in-door levels, and the QDQ team get little chance to show us their more advanced maneuvers (there is some cool stuff though like this double-rocket-jump, with a sound contribution from one of the developers).

However, they still use every possible way to get the level done quick, and also make it entertaining as hell. Those who do choose to download and watch the movie version (you can still watch it as your normal first person demo if you want) will get a new twist to the QDQ "crap-puns" - voice. This time, our hero has a personality of its own reflected through his remarks ("Ok, so I lied about never using the front door"), though even if you didn't download the sounds you can still read it all as in QDQR. Oh, and there's that oh-so-nice-countdown to destruction.

Another change inserted into the movie version is models. No, nothing in gameplay is actually changed (except for the last level, but I won't ruin it for you), but several models are re-colored, and along with environmental sounds and the hero's remarks, you do get a feeling of a movie.
Example: in one of the scenes you'll hear a strange praying sound, and once you get there, our hero will remark: "sounds like a strange Ritual. Well, here's the entertainment.". And, of course, several things around are tweaked to make it look like a Ritual, too.
A few other additions are the option to view runner's notes before each level, and an impulse-driven menu for tweaking options.

As I already 'hinted', there are limitations: you must have the first mission pack, and again, downloads are extremely heavy for a speed run. But, again, it sure is worth it.

Reviewer's notes

I wanted to bring you GLide shots, but unfortunetly, despite a small fix to the mission pack that comes with the speed-run, GL is still not stable enough to show the run to its end (at least not on my poor accelerator). GL screenshots are too big anyway, and even without it I had to cut from 70 pictures to only 6. I've added wavefiles (accesible by clicking on the large pictures) but space limitations forced me to compress them. I did my best to keep their quality intact. To hear them, you'll have to download and install mp3 compressor from: ftp://ftp.sip.fi/pc/windows/audio/MP3Compressor0.9f.zip


Downloads

  • Full SDS (movie+sounds+1st person view) : http://asp.planetquake.com/DL/dl.asp?qdq/SdSfull.zip (8936KB/46min/ 3.2K/sec)
  • Movie version : http://asp.planetquake.com/DL/dl.asp?qdq/SdS.zip (3365KB/18min/ 3.2K/sec)
  • First person version : http://asp.planetquake.com/DL/dl.asp?qdq/SdS_1102.zip (1054KB/5min/ 3.2K/sec)
  • First person addition to movie version : http://asp.planetquake.com/DL/dl.asp?qdq/SdSu.zip (842KB/4min/ 3.2K/sec)
  • Sounds addition to movie version : http://asp.planetquake.com/DL/dl.asp?qdq/SdSvox.zip (4752KB/25min/ 3.2K/sec)


  • (Click to enlarge)