Thirteen Mutants is another vintage map from DavidM, originally released shortly after Three Crystals and available in both Unreal and Unreal Tournament versions. This review is of the original Unreal version, albeit played in UT using Oldskool Amp'd.
Your mission: Infiltrate the HQ of a tacky computer games company to destroy three members of staff who have mutated into horrible creatures after eating some bad pizza (for horrible creatures, read standard Unreal monsters!). That's it for the story - Thirteen Mutants is one of DavidM's infamous "humerous" maps.
You start off in a fairly nicely realised downtown warehouse district, where a few aggressive "homeless people" (bots) have taken up residence. This first of the two maps that compose Thirteen Mutants makes good use of Unreal's standard texture sets to create an environment that actually doesn't look like Na Pali. Amidst the decaying brick buildings, your destination stands out as a higher-tech building decorated using DecayedS.utx. This first map makes good use of light and shadow, but there is no music, and no ambient sound apart from the omnipresent wind. The fights with the bots are actually amongst the pack's most challenging due to their hitscan weapons and the player's very limited arsenal. Including unmodified bots in single player maps presents technical problems, however, such as the "ghosts" that you can hear running around you after the bot has died.
The meat of Thirteen Mutants lies in the second map, set within and below the HQ of the game company. DecayedS.utx is used as the predominant texture set throughout but, since the pack is attempting to make no real links with the Unreal storyline, the use of Mercenary textures isn't that bizarre: indeed, it's quite welcome, as it's a texture set that has never been that popular and that looks good in S3TC. There's no real "office" theme to this map, though, which lapses into generic high-tech corridors with vats of toxic slime. Suffice to say that it looks okay (apart from a few very small, square corridors), but it's very brightly lit and there's a lot of white lighting - it's not a particularly atmospheric creation. Sounds and music are used, but sparsely, creating long periods of silence, and DavidM's choice of music track towards the end of the map is questionable.
Despite some nice flourishes like the widespread use of reflective floors, noxious fumes in the toilets and computers with stills of the the Unreal flyby on their screens, Thirteen Mutants really isn't a professional quality production: most notably for its technical execution, which includes unnecessarily slow framerates in places on lesser machines, occasionally misaligned textures, the aforementioned ghost bots, and an absolutely massive HOM in the bathroom.
The most disappointing and predictable aspect of Thirteen Mutants, however, is the gameplay. Apart from the "homeless people", there are in fact only thirteen enemies to face, as the title of the map suggests. Furthermore, there's actually a counter that counts down the number of creatures that there are left to kill as the gameplay progresses. There's no real increase in difficulty, and most of the creatures are faced singly. The player is vastly oversupplied at this point, with weapons including the Eightball Gun, Razorjack and Minigun, all of which can take out many of the enemies with a few well placed shots. After the last enemy is dead, the player is merely required to backtrack through the deserted level until he returns to the entrance. Challenge? There really isn't one!
A mildly diverting way to spend half a hour or less, and once again an opportunity to see how the skills of the infamous David "DavidM" Münnich evolved.
https://unrealarchive.org/mappacks/unreal/unknown/0/13mutants_801792da.html (Unreal 1 Version)
http://www.klankaos.com/USP/13mutants.zip (Unreal 1 Version)
http://www.klankaos.com/USP/13mutants-sp-ut.zip (UT Version)
*Note that only the Unreal Archive uploads are checked to be the newest and most compatible/stable download link.
ArchitectureImagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.5
TexturingUse of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.5
LightingLighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).4
SoundUse of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.2
Technical ExecutionTechnical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.3
Conceptual GrandnessScale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.3
Story ConstructionBacking story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.1
Story ImplementationProgression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.1
Gameplay AweQuality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.3
Gameplay BalanceBalance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.2