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Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 23 May 2015, 20:19
by Sat42
Silver-Serpent is apparently back (with a new nickname) together with an updated Hard Crash according to this OldUnreal thread:

Holy shit. I already thought Hard Crash was great anyway, but I'll have to get around to playing this new version when I'm on holiday.

Cool news, isn't it? :D

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 23 May 2015, 21:20
by UBerserker
Good time to check this mappack again.

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 23 May 2015, 23:00
by Semfry
If anyone posts on Oldunreal can they please point Silver Serpent to this thread for my review? From my first checks this release is a new version, and fixes some of my issues with the "leaked" version (the map 2 fence can't be walked though, and there's an end to map 5), so the review might be quite outdated now, but it still might give feedback on some things.

Edit: Thanks for linking Ividyon!

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 23 May 2015, 23:21
by Semfry
Actually, since it's going to be outdated soon anyway I may as well just post the review here and bypass forum access issues:

Map Title: Hard Crash
Map Author: Silver-Serpent
Reviewer: Mman
Review Score: 58%
Tagline: Successfully builds up a descent into darkness

Hard Crash (no relation to the Unreal novel with the same name as far as I can tell) has had somewhat of a turbulent history; Silver-Serpent disappeared for an extended period after announcing the mod, but a version of the mod was leaked onto the Internet during that time, there were various rumours about the absence, up to and including rumours of the author's demise (which were thankfully untrue) and a lot of drama about whether it's appropriate to review an unfinished set. However, those with the newest version of the set eventually uploaded it, and confirmed that Silver-Serpent gave permission for that to be released and that a full release was very unlikely.

There's little backstory established, but you start on a Skaarj-besieged ship and end up heading into the deepest depths of Na Pali. Translator messages do some work building things up, but there's also some slightly ill-fitting comedy messages, and the last level has fourth-wall breaking messages from the designer about unfinished sections that could have been handled better. This pack really shines in the atmosphere department though; with the arguable exception of the relatively lush third level there's a sense of brooding menace in every map that builds up as you descend deeper into the depths. As things go on there's the increasing feeling that this is building up into some sort of horror story. That's unfortunately dashed by the unfinished nature of the set, but more on that later.

The starting level, "The Outer Limits", tasks you with finding a way off your spaceship down to Na Pali. The environment is a familiar ISV-Kran type style and relatively cramped, but there's still some flourish that hints at what's to come, like a cafeteria lit by a moody brownish-red light, and a general feeling that anything could be lurking in the shadows. Playing on Unreal, while I wouldn't say it's unfair (outside of some ridiculously cramped Skaarj gunner fights), the opposition feels a bit much for how cramped the map is and how little you have; the first fight is against a few Skaarj Scouts in a small area when all you have is a Dispersion Pistol and an Automag. Things do ease up once you get a Razorjack, but you have to take it from the hands of a dead trooper first (and the small size of the place makes Razorblades more deadly than usual).

The dead cafeteria

Map two, "The Great Escarpment", is set on a doomed Human base in a coastal area. Unfortunately it's the low-point of the pack visually; the attempts at more realistic Human structures, such as windmills, are nice, but the exterior is mostly lit with drab ambient light (although it does give the map a somewhat dark atmosphere), and some of the rock textures are pretty ugly. There's a somewhat menacing looking lookout building on a hill, but it feels lacking beyond that. It feels like it was a much earlier map by the author. The fence blocking the exit also doesn't actually block your movement, so you can just walk through and skip the level tasks altogether. Combat is a bit easier here outside of a Skaarj Scout horde set-piece fight, but the cramped interiors combined with giant exteriors does lead to some nice contrast in gameplay styles.

Looking over part of the base

You then head inland for "The Wooded Village". this is a traditional Nali village/terrain map in concept, but Silver-Serpent's creative design gives it some flair. The houses vary in design, and there are interesting looking Skytown-styled structures at points. It all climaxes at a giant Skytown styled Tavern/interior town that pulls off an overall style I don't think I've seen before in a set. This is perhaps the best looking map in the pack and there's some very interesting geometry for a Nali-styled level. The mood feels a bit lighter here, with the bright Skytown textures and lush exteriors. Gameplay is mostly alright again, however there's a near-invincible Stone-Titan with no warning that it apparently needs to be evaded, so it's easy to waste all your ammo without realising you can't kill the Titan. There's also some weird boosted flies that need five level two DP shots to die.

The Tavern complex

Map four "The Station" is where your descent truly begins. You find a Mercenary outpost being built underneath the Nali town and a skirmish between the Skaarj and Mercenaries there. Despite the shift in opposition this is a relatively short map and seems like somewhat of a transition level, but the underground Merc base feels appropriately moody and, like the previous level, it puts a twist on a familiar theme. The gameplay unfortunately gets consistently awkward again here, with a fight against a horde of Skaarj Scouts that feels like it's supposed to involve the Mercenaries but is unlikely to, and a boss-fight against an irritatingly boosted Mercenary Elite while other Mercenaries attack you. Your health and ammo starts to feel a bit stretched here.

Mercenary Tunnels

The final map "Caverns of the Forgotten" has you ending up further underground, and uncovering a lost Nali (or maybe not...) ruin. The creepy new texture set and lighting does a great job making the map feel very oppressive, and there also some surprise twists on the theme along the way. Unfortunately this is where the unfinished nature of the set kicks in, and after a couple of boss-fights you are stopped by a dead-end wall. Given the drama and mystery surrounding the mod itself it almost feels fitting; there's a dark mystery waiting in the depths of Na Pali, but you're (probably) never going to find out what it is. In the end though it just results in the story frustratingly hanging. The gameplay also reaches a low-point here; the individual fights mostly aren't too bad, but health is almost non-existant and ammo starts getting rare too. I had to do a significant part of the end with less than fifty health, and even the boss fights didn't provide any healing.

I've got a bad feeling about this...

As I hinted at above the gameplay has some major issues; there's a strange habit of throwing a bunch of Skaarj Scouts at you at points, and, while it's perfectly doable, the difficulty continuously leans on being just deadly enough to be irritating (as well as being dragged down by the lack of equipment at the end). Fights tend to involve repetitive packs of enemies rather than encounters tailored to the environment. There's also a bunch of boosted monsters with no visual clues they are any different, that extends to the Scouts, who sometimes take far more punishment than normal with no indication/warning. There are also areas where you press switches and have to backtrack with no clue as to what they actually opened (sometimes going past multiple other doors on the way), usually it's clear though. On the positive side there's various bits of gameplay beyond just shooting, and some of those combat situations have interesting set-ups.

Despite the great atmosphere built up by the other visual aspects, the sound design is lacking; there's no music, and ambient sounds are rare (although there are a couple of great sound uses during set-pieces) which is unfortunate as proper sound design would really elevate the atmosphere here.

Technically it also has some issues; while I didn't come across anything fatal or game-breaking, there are quite a few BSP issues at points, especially in the last level or two, which takes away from immersion a bit. There's also the fence problem in map 2 that lets you skip the map.


With a full release unlikely at this point, the current version of Hard Crash is very much worth playing through, and, despite several unfinished elements, it successfully builds up a descent into darkness, despite not reaching the bottom. If you're not so skilled you should probably stick to Easy though.

BUILD (50%)
Architecture 8
Texturing 8
Lighting 8
Sound 3
Technical Execution 5

CAST (50%)
Conceptual Grandness 8
Story Construction 2
Story Implementation 7
Gameplay Awe 6
Gameplay Balance 3

Total Score: 58%

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 24 May 2015, 21:05
by UBerserker
It doesn't work too well on UT, by the way. First Skaarj battle always crashes for me.

EDIT: all enemies on Map 1 crashes the game for me.

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 26 May 2015, 20:36
by Xer06siX
UBerserker wrote:It doesn't work too well on UT, by the way. First Skaarj battle always crashes for me.

EDIT: all enemies on Map 1 crashes the game for me.

I am just thrilled to the moon about the review!

Thank you for the input! The work continues! It is a balancing act for me right now, and a fun one! I look forward to finishing this up finally and you folks enjoying a better product!

Semfry/Mman, thanks for the review/repost!!! <3 X 10 :-)

Seriously <3 you guys!

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 22:20
by Xer06siX
***development update***

Two additional levels are nearing completion! These should help bring this story to a close. I am targeting the 22-25th of June for release. HCL66 and 77 are kinda close to being done. I keep making changes to the blocking. I want to get it right. More to come! Thanks folks!

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 22:30
by AlCapowned
Great news, and good luck!

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 17 Jun 2015, 22:34
by salsaSkaarj
I never got Hard Crash to start even (years old version which I deleted for ever when I cleaned up my archives), so I'm glad this sizable pack has been upgraded and works.
Don't rush to meet your set date - rushing is never good - rushing in Unreal will get you killed. :wink:
Seriously, I'm looking forward to this.

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 14 Jul 2015, 21:32
by wwof
Any news on the final release that was scheduled for June 22-25?

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 28 May 2016, 15:10
by TheIronKnuckle
Hey there! Does anyone have a working link for this? (all the links in the oldunreal thread are dead. Links die so fast these days...)

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 28 May 2016, 15:27
by UBerserker
Hey man! ... sters_Pack
just this

It was eventually NEVER properly released... as expected

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 09 Jun 2016, 08:09
by TheIronKnuckle
Thanks a lot!

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 28 Nov 2016, 03:41
by Lightning Hunter
Bump. Has anyone played the test version of this pack that was uploaded? Is it fine to play offline? Any issues? I thought about running through it sometime, but don't want to waste my time if it is not proper.

Re: Silver-Serpent is BACK (so is Hard Crash)

Posted: 28 Nov 2016, 09:08
by integration
I did play it. The only thing (I noticed) that changed was the last map, it's now completely playable. I would say about 10 hours of development were just put in the new version, so the revival of this old project was a little underwhelming.

So if you played the old version, you don't really have to play it again now. If you didn't, I recommend trying it out. Hard Crash is one of the best map packs out there. In my opinion it deserves a better score than the 58% that Semfry/mman gave.