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The Challenger Deep 2
a Half-Life single player modification
stuck and need a hint:
Skyboxes by unknown authors
Music from various mods
Be sure Half-Life is installed on your computer.
KNOWN BUGS ===
There is a Valve bug which causes limited movement of the camera while playing.
To overcome this bug, go to Half-Life in your Steam library. Right click on Half-Life. Go to Properties. Then find the Betas tab on the far upper right. Then, select the beta you would like to opt into: Beta. Restart Steam and you should be able to play Half-Life and all of its mods normally.
There are 20 presents to find in the Challenger Deep facility.
Can you find them all?
They have nothing at all to do with the story and you don't get anything
if you find them all - they're just there like a side-quest.
There were a great many people who helped with the completion of this mod
Thank you to:
babykitkat - beta test
qUiCkSiLvEr - beta test
Greg "DiscountKiller" Hartwig - beta test
Edgar Allen Poe - beta test
CreepItAll - beta test
CIA #5 is Alive - beta test
KingDaniel - beta test
CaptainTerror - rocket prefab
AssFarmer - submarine prefab
Qwertyus - sound doctor
PlanetPhillip & the Beta Testers Collective - beta tests
Special Thanks to:
Moddb - for free mod hosting
PlanetPhilip - file hosting
TWHL - for forum posts and entity guides
Interlopers - forum posts
SnarkPit - downloads
copyright June 1, 2013 by DocRock
What a journey this mod has been for me, both on the gameplay and memories fronts. I haven’t played Half-Life in a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to indulge myself in a couple of hours of Half-Life gameplay that never grows old (despite having the digital steam version now, I still keep the original HL CD from 1998).
And as I told you in my previous post and in the PM, this mod brought me back in time some 12-13 years ago, to the first time I played this mod in 2001 when I received it on the cover CD of PCZone magazine, January 2001 issue. I was still in my early years of level design and now, seeing this mod, remade and released 13 years later by the same person brought back great amount of nostalgia about the old-school days. I’m really happy to see that persons I recognized from that time (1999-2001) are still active and enthusiastically releasing maps/mods.
One can clearly notice the enormous amount of time and effort put in this mod, may I even say game. I am compelled to write my review because this mod deserves a spotlight and I urge everyone to download, play and enjoy some retro Half-Life action.
The overall design is quite nice and eye-pleasing, on par with most of the original Half-Life levels. One can clearly notice the variation in the design of each area of the underwater facility and no 2 areas are the same. The meticulous brushwork, the textures, the lighting, the scripted sequences, the varied enemies, the visual effects such as sprites, lasers, beams all add up to make an enjoyable view that was one of the success ingredients of the original HL.
The gameplay is another area where variation can be seen. Whatever you wish for in a HL game can be found here:
- Fights and some of them are quite intense and demanding especially if you play on hard difficulty like me. Honorable mention goes to the arena fight where “present 20” is located with 2 Gonarchs at the same time, as well as the different encounters with the Gargantua and the HECU marines.
- Puzzles, though not hard, still bring a flavor to the gameplay.
- Discovery mainly in the pre-accident levels where you can free roam and admire the surroundings and get yelled at be fellow scientists and security guards. The addition of a training map in the beginning was a nice touch to refresh the memory of Half-Life veterans and introduce new comers to the game’s mechanics.
- The occasional scares such as when you reach a dead end and turn around trying to figure out what to do, only to be startled by a Vortigaunt flipping his fingers at you, ready to zap you out of the way.
- The plot twists where it wouldn’t be a HL game without them. I won’t spoil it for those who didn’t play it yet, but I’ll say that I was not very happy after I managed to get power, fuel and oxygen to the rocket and pod bay.
The HD textures are certainly a welcome addition and gave a much needed facelift to the aging GoldSrc engine. Porting this mod to Source would open up huge opportunities and potential though I’m not sure how much time or will you still got for this project.
Great attention to details across all levels; actually it is all those tiny details that can make or break the gameplay. The developer took his time to add computer terminals with useful info, guiding you in your progress; he also scattered useful signs and arrows in all levels to give you directions and hints of where to go. Doors, buttons and consoles that are off limits or un-operational are clearly marked red (light, screen, glow…) as opposed to green for the working ones, sparing you a wasteful and frustrating guess work to figure out which door/button to press.
Despite being a serious mod with a life threatening backstory of you trying to escape a submerged underwater base, humor still found a place to show in several levels. The funny moments/touches that made my day were Barney shouting “got another one” totally out of the original context of the sentence after eating another donut, Kleiner running back and forth between the restrooms about to wet his pants while telling you he has no time for you now, and the best is the message in the doctor’s lobby computer stating that Dr. Gina White has an appointment for the reason of “itchy crotch”. Priceless.
The sounds were spot on reminding me how engrossing and eerie Half-Life can be. The soundtrack is a nice addition although it was a bit loud in some places, but not to the extent of hindering gameplay.
Although I mentioned fights in the gameplay part, I felt that the 3 multilevel-battles against the HECU marines deserve a separate mention, just because along the years, I forgot how tough these bastard grunts are, cleverly flanking you in squads and perfectly lobbing their grenades at you to forcefully flush you out from your hiding (which they did). The 3-level battles gave another dimension to the fights where I used different tactics starting with the crossbow to pick some of them from the upper level, then using the mp5 in the middle level and finally finishing them off with grenades and satchel charges in the bottom level.
I quite liked how many areas are clever nods to the original Half-life and Opposing Force such as the test chamber (HL) or the surgery block (OpFor). You managed to make the setting familiar yet at the same time it feels different and not a copy of the games mentioned.
I ran into some issues but that can be understood seeing how big this project is. Mind you that these findings are not to undermine the great and appreciated work you did with this mod; on the contrary, the sole aim is to help make this game further enjoyable.
The levels where glass panels allowed you to see the ocean’s bottom were a bit bright, bordering on sunlight. It is a bit odd seeing that the facility is 30,000 feet below sea level where it is technically pitch black. A lower light intensity would help in conveying a more realistic ambience.
The sector E level where you fight the Garg in the arrival/departure terminal was lagging. I reload it couple of times just to make sure it was not a hiccup in my system. It had slight lag where you can feel the mouse movement become sluggish.
As soon as you reach the underwater facility and you go across the corridor, the map changes and loads the next level. However, if you try to backtrack through the corridor, the previous level doesn’t load and you are stopped by an invisible wall mid-corridor. The trigger\_changelevel might be missing there.
Scientists occasionally refuse to use the retinal scanner causing the message “mission failed” to appear. It happened in 2 levels, the radioactive liquid pool and the platform elevators with energy beam in the middle. I had to reload an earlier save to make it work in the second one, but in the first, the scientist disappeared after the message leaving me with no choice but to use noclip to bypass closed doors he was supposed to open.
Similarly, in the fuel map (for the rocket), the elevator didn’t open the first time and had to reload 2 earlier saves to make it work.
On the platform elevators mission mentioned earlier, all models were turning black, my weapon as well as the scientist with me. They went back to normal as soon as we stepped out of the platforms near retinal scanners. Might have to do with the platform entity and the lighting around it.
In the end, this mod was quite an enjoyable trip down the memory lane for a veteran like me, and it was equally a challenging, fun and pleasant game and a worthy addition to the Half-life legacy.
Thanks for you effort and dedication to bring “The challenger Deep” to 2013.
Best of luck for any future project you might have.
The mod name sounded too familiar and I decided to take a trip down the nostalgia lane. I suddenly remembered a HL1 mod from 13 years ago, from 2000 called "The Challenger Deep" which I played when I got it on the front cover CD of PCZone magazine January 2001 issue :).
Are you the author of that mod? If so, you just brought me back in time 13 years ago, to the old-school time when I was still in the early days of level design. It's really nice to see someone from the old days still active as all the designers I knew in the 1999-2002 era either stopped level design or got hired by game companies.
I must admit that TCD was not my favorite single player mod(s) at that time (that would be Azure sheep and Todesangst if you remember them :) and it had its share of bugs but the premise was cool, trying to escape the submerged base.
Is TCD2 a sequel to the original TCD or more of a remake with upgraded graphics/levels/scripted sequences...?
In both cases, I'll be sure to download this one, just for the sake of nostalgia and good old times :)
Maps created with Valve Hammer Editor 3.5.2
Maps compiled with Zoner's Half-Life Tools
ZHLT 3.0 For Half Life 1
Tool set Managed by amckern
New Textures made with Paintshop Pro
New Wads made with Wally