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14/12/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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Subject: 14/12/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 14 Dec 2015, 07:25

Map Title: Dark Arena
Author: Jeremy War
From: Unreal
Filename: Dark.unr
Music Files: Nali.umx




Video Playthrough:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ep2zcTa1P3k

Synopsis: You enter a Nali titan arena infested with Skaarj.

Discuss!

UBerserker
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 15 Dec 2015, 16:05

Fixed screenshots... well, added mine actually. I just couldn't resist not re-opening this map again because god DAMN I love Dark Arena so fucking much. Perfect perfect perfect.

Really though, quite a way since its concept stage and it still feels like that something is unfinished, such as that dark empty room in the arena entrance; probably Jeremy War rushed everything in the last months of development, though this map is easily his most polished one.
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 15 Dec 2015, 23:25

Dark arena was the first level when I was little that made me fall in love with this game. I loved the first few minutes, I loved the music, I loved the environment. I just fucking love this level. I have a unique fondness due to the fact that when I first played Unreal when I was little, it was this crappy scratched disk I popped in occasionally to see what the game before tournament looked like. Saves didn't work, and although I thought it was fun I didnt get all that interested. The farthest I got before losing interest was chizra, then the maze like elements bored and confused me because I was like, 5. Afterwards I would go back to playing Tournament.

Eventually a couple years later it was summer, and I decided for some reason that I don't really remember to install the original unreal and play through it. It was a kinda backlog thing, like one of those games I like but didn't really get all too far in. I made it all the way to chizra, and actually made it to Ceremonial! This already was pretty cool, as my brain back then didn't seem to grasp the concept that there was probably more of the game behind "that one water temple area thats pretty cool." The fact that I even had the eightball was cool to me. I was already more invested this time around due to this and the fact that I was actually exploring and reading logs this time.


After that kickass boat ride, I entered dark arena, and made it all the way to the badass door that leads to the castle......


Then I saved and quit to go and eat dinner, then came back to find that all the saves were wiped.................... :|


Anyways eventually I ended up needing a new copy of UT2004, as it wasnt working anymore for some stupid reason. So my Dad got me Unreal Anthology for my birthday, which also happened to include Unreal Gold! (And a kickass music CD to go along with it.) I proceeded to marathon the shit out of the game until I got to Dark Arena, than saved and quit just to tempt fate. Thankfully I won, and this copy had working saves. After that, I marathoned the entire game in like 2 or 3 days, and its still the only game to date I have this much of a personal attachment to. (Some other games with skeletons and bad times in it comes to mind as of late though.)

As for the level itself? Its really good in both the gameplay and atmosphere front. It has really good buildup, and the multiple routes you can take adds to the replay value. Also first fight against a Titan. :tup:


Also this map has a really cool skybox that is broken in a lot of renderers.
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 05:25

I didn't even know about the lower areas of this level until the third play-through.

User avatar Anreel
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 14:22

ebd wrote:I didn't even know about the lower areas of this level until the third play-through.


Same here. I discovered them while flying around in ghost mode.

The beginning of the Titan fight was the most intense moment for me in whole game, I was scared sh*tless. So sad that no game ever can bring feels like that anymore after experiencing so much during many years, all feels like run of the mill puzzles now.

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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 18:15

Easily my favourite early game map along with Nyleve, it introduces the first boss well, has great atmosphere (when I had no idea what I might face the prison area is one of the few parts that creeped me out the first time I played) and good exploration. Since the method to open the doors in the main entrance room is kind of obscure/buggy (I think it's related to killing spawning enemies or something?) I ended up missing the upper way in the first time and went through the prison section instead, and it's interesting how you can entirely miss a lot of the level. I also find the starting transition area kind of interesting; I guess it's implied to be a secret entrance or something.
Formerly Mman

UBerserker
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 16 Dec 2015, 19:07

The release version of Unreal had the front doors locked so you had to take the prison way. Not exactly sure though.
Then that got fixed but if you would take the main fortress way you cannot go into the prisons directly from there.

The starting area connected to that Nyleve's cut chamber in the final bunker and had also a passageway to Sacred Passage's circular shrine pool. Still though, that weird looking wall has been always there. Probably a way to return there throughout the Underflow.

I still find it hilarious how the arena roof is closed from the outside.
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User avatar FXANBSS
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 20:46

UBerserker wrote:I still find it hilarious how the arena roof is closed from the outside.

Unreal Magic.


About the Titan, there are "Spawnpoints" to spawn the Titan in one of the three sides, right?
Or Ambushing Points?
Nothing to say. :D ;)

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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 17 Dec 2015, 23:42

I'm pretty sure I played Unreal when it was in its earliest version (broken multiplayer and original sound fx) and I totally walked in the front doors. Consequently, I missed the rest of the map until In replayed the game.

As for the roof being closed on top, you're never supposed to be up there! :)

First playthrough, no joke, Titan slayed me like 15 times.
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Annetteblue
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 19 Dec 2015, 16:57

Nightmare Kitteh wrote:So my Dad got me Unreal Anthology for my birthday, which also happened to include Unreal Gold! (And a kickass music CD to go along with it.) I proceeded to marathon the shit out of the game until I got to Dark Arena, than saved and quit just to tempt fate. Thankfully I won, and this copy had working saves. After that, I marathoned the entire game in like 2 or 3 days...


For the first three times I played demo version of Unreal. It gave me my dad on a CD with different drivers. The last map was Ceremonial. After a few years I found Unreal Anthology. It was amasing feeling, when I fell into the pool and the Dark Arena map loaded!!! As Nightmare Kitteh sad, I marathoned the entire game in like 2 or 3 days, too. :)

Anreel wrote:
ebd wrote:I didn't even know about the lower areas of this level until the third play-through.


Same here. I discovered them while flying around in ghost mode.

The beginning of the Titan fight was the most intense moment for me in whole game, I was scared sh*tless. So sad that no game ever can bring feels like that anymore after experiencing so much during many years, all feels like run of the mill puzzles now.


I found lower areas after plaing Unreal several times.

Mister_Prophet wrote:First playthrough, no joke, Titan slayed me like 15 times.


When I first met the Titan I was very frightend. Don't remember how many times it crushed me. :) I didn't understend why it was still alive, becouse I didn't have ammo. :)

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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 20 Dec 2015, 16:23

It's great to read about all these first experiences with the game :) I don't have much to add to what's already here, Dark Arena is a great level and especially memorable due to it harbouring the first boss fight of the game! Titan FTW!!! A very coherent level in terms of atmosphere (daunting and scary indeed).

I do believe that Unreal's sparse use of boss fight setups was a good idea as it helped make the journey more unpredictable. Back then it was very common to have regularly placed boss fights, but Unreal was attempting something more... organic. This is an attempt at making an alien world come to life, and as such I guess the designers felt it didn't have to obey (all) common tropes of the genre.
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Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

UBerserker
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 20 Dec 2015, 23:24

I like how Dark Arena has been constantly the "shareware last map" since concept stage. Kind of really hilarious though how Harobed was still attached to it for quite some time.

I wonder also what was up with the room with the cells that can be lowered down to the lava pools. It only contains a Skaarj but no items, messages or triggers. Right above it there's that unused entrance room. Hmm.

Another weird thing is how the mountains with the vegetation on top glow green.
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User avatar FXANBSS
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 21 Dec 2015, 01:19

Those are the rocks from Napali! Not the same rocks, those rocks are of a different material compared to the rocks from the earth.

Different molecules basically.
Nothing to say. :D ;)

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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 21 Dec 2015, 03:18

UBerserker wrote:I like how Dark Arena has been constantly the "shareware last map" since concept stage.



Well it does kinda feel like a final level you would see in a small map pack of sorts. I guess it kinda makes sense actually
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Subject: Re: 12/14/2015 - "Dark Arena" by Jeremy War

Post Posted: 21 Dec 2015, 13:03

UBerserker wrote:Another weird thing is how the mountains with the vegetation on top glow green.


Pretty sure that could have been an attempt at representing moss on rocks and trees. That's how some of the green lighting appeared to me during earlier playthroughs of the game. It kind of works as long as the player can't get to these places.
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.


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