Author Topic: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist  (Read 7650 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The great paradox of FreeSpace 2 is that it was an awesome game but a poor seller. The dev team made a superb sequel to FreeSpace, and yet because of the absence of advertising the people who would have loved the game simply didn't know about it.

There's been a similar problem in the past, where certain FreeSpace campaigns on HLP haven't gotten the attention they deserved. The Antagonist is one of them. Battuta's Guide describes this campaign as “Criminally Underplayed", at least at release.

I decided to play it out of curiosity. I had never actually played a Total Conversion before- Dimensional Eclipse sounded too bizzare; I'm not familiar with Babylon 5; and the tone of certain WoD fans made me reluctant to try it. But I heard The Antagonist mentioned here and there, thought it sounded interesting, and decided to give it a shot.

As Japanese Ash would say, "God of Ohio State!" :eek2:

Disclaimer!

First, a little about me and my reviews. I'm a decently experienced pilot, but I haven’t been on HLP for very long- six months or so. Hence, these reviews are gonna be tailored for two groups of people. First, other new-ish people who, to quote General Battuta, are looking for their “...First (or Next!) Campaign.” Not that I'm making n00b reviews, I'm just not making 1337 reviews. Second, hopefully my reviews will be helpful to the campaign makers themselves, by way of feedback, encouragement, and a bit of constructive criticism. If you're a new recruit trying to decide if a campaign is for you, or a designer wondering how new recruits will react to your campaign, then these reviews are for you.

I'm going to organize these reviews into four categories. First, PLOT. Characters, story, scary or funny moments, et cetera. Second, GAMEPLAY. Balance, fun-factor. Quality of any new ships and weapons. Clarity of mission goals. Challenge. Third, AESTHETICS. This will barely apply to some simpler campaigns, but this includes cutscene quality, the artistic appearance of new ships/weapons, voice acting, music... the “look and sound” of the campaign. Finally, TECHNICAL STUFF. Was it easy to set up? Did I run into bugs? That sort of thing. This last section will naturally be incomplete, because I'm no beta tester. I didn't try to break any missions (“really, I wasn't TRYING to break it! It just happened!”). So the only bugs I'll catch are ones that will come up in a casual playthrough- but those are probably the most dangerous type.


Ok, about the campaign. The Antagonist was released in 2011 by bigchunk 1. It's a Total Conversion set in its own universe.

In the distant future, mankind is enslaved by the Oligarchy. A small group of Oligarchs live in positions of power. With the exception of a few elite officers fanatically loyal to the Oligarchy :mad2:, the population is regularly injected with mental drugs that ensure complete obedience and lack of independent thinking.

You're a pilot in the Oligarchy military. After a scrap with unknown enemies, you return to base injured, suffering from blood loss. You've apparently been in that cockpit for a long time.

And your drugs are wearing off! Suddenly you can think, understand what's going on... :eek2:

And that medic is coming for you with that needle; the one he injected you with daily, the needle that dulled your mind!

You run from the sick bay, searching desperately for a means of escape. You run to the fighterbay. Hey, what's that crazy looking fighter over there?

Who cares what it is? You jump in the fighter, desperately hoping to fly away from the Oligarchy and the drugs...

“Hello. Going on another sortie, are we?”

Free from the Oligarchy, in possession of a unique stolen superfighter, and assisted by a surprisingly advanced AI, you embark on a quest to overthrow the Oligarchs... but at what cost?

THE ANTAGONIST.

First of all, PLOT. Credit goes to bigchunk1.

PROS of the plot!

TOTAL CONVERSION: As I mentioned before, The Antagonist is set in its own original universe. There are similarities to classic FreeSpace- the way fighters work, the basic game physics, and of course Space- but there are some big differences. Man has not yet encountered life on other planets; there are no Shivans or Vasudans. Subspace works differently: nodes are no longer needed; given the right co-ordinates, enough time/supplies, and apparently a straight path, you can jump from pretty much anywhere to pretty much anywhere... provided there are no subspace inhibitors in the way. Technology is noticeably different, with a different ship classification system and some odd features like beams and flak on fighters.

History, of course, turned out very differently. The nations of the world united into the Nationalist Union, a powerful but flawed government that was eventually overthrown by the Oligarchs, who keep the human race in a seemingly perpetual drugged enslavement.

But on the fringes of human-controlled space, events transpire that will change that history forever. HOW history will change is, of course, your call. :nod:

New universes can, of course, be done well or poorly. But bigchunk1 set The Antagonist well. The universe ties well with the plot and provides clear motivations for the characters. :yes:

STYLE: The world of The Antagonist has a sort of unashamedly cartoony feel :lol:- not necessarily in a comedic way :nervous:. It focuses less on worldbuilding than plot- the universe is simply a background for the main adventure. The characters and technology are deliberately over-the-top (in a fun way!), and drama comes before realism. The story itself is a very direct and straightforward progression towards a goal known from the start: move deeper and deeper into Oligarchy territory fighting harder and harder rounds of enemies, until you can finally overthrow the Oligarchy. That's not to say there aren't surprises in the plot, however...

What I'm getting at is, The Antagonist has a deliberate retro charm to it, heavily influenced by oldschool shmupspace games and sci-fi cartoons. This flavor makes the mod unique; after all, variety is the spice of your C:/Games/FreeSpace2 folder. I personally found it quite appealing. I'll discuss this more under Gameplay and Aesthetics.

ON THE GO: An important style note: The Antagonist has no briefings or debriefings. After all, you're out there on your own. It's a similar situation to Sync and Transcend, where your character spends the whole campaign in the cockpit. At least the between-mission repairing and rearming is handwaved by your superfighter's Autorepair System and Ammunition Generator. :P

CHARACTERS: You could debate whether The Antagonist counts as a character-driven campaign. It's more character-driven than classic FreeSpace, certainly.

The Antagonist has a speaking, but unnamed, player character, originally a pilot in the Oligarchy navy. (who would the Oligarchy be fighting, I wonder?) As you would expect after escaping from drugged slavery, he's terrified and desperate. As I've mentioned in previous reviews, speaking player characters are sometimes more challenging to write, but bigchunk1 rose to the challenge. The player character comes across as sympathetic and relatable. As I've said in other reviews, the key to making Player and PC connect is that the player character should do about the same thing the player would want to do in the same situation. The Antagonist succeeds admirably here. :yes:

The other major character is... Edward. The AI of your stolen superfighter, Edward is eager to help you, stating that his primary directive is to assist the current occupant of the fighter with whatever objectives they choose. Interestingly, he's not above helping you choose those objectives, as simply running away seems to him to be “too simplistic”. (Then again, you could argue that he was just helping the player figure out what he really wanted to do anyway: destroy the Oligarchy).

Edward takes up the classic “supporting AI” role, instructing you in the functions of your superfighter while gradually bring more and more advanced systems online. He's not a “deadpan AI”; he gets angry/frightened/thrilled as the combat situation requires. As the Tips & Tricks window observes, “Edward usually gives good advice.” I liked working with Edward (it would have been a lonely campaign without him!) but I began to wonder... which of us is really in charge here? :nervous:

Each boss also is its own character. (Yes, there are bosses!) I want to single out Commodore Osmund and his flagship, the Granite. Osmund is the one boss who you meet a few missions before you fight him, and he has a slightly more prominent personality than some of the other bosses. He's a very overtly fanatical Oligarchy nationalist who sounds like he stepped out of a 1940s American propaganda film.

THE CHOICE: This campaign has more than one ending. You may or may not want to read this part if you haven't played the campaign yet.
Spoiler:
There are two possible endings for The Antagonist. What's interesting is that there's not a clear “Success Ending” versus “Failure Ending”. Neither ending is established as being the “Real” ending. It's a lot like FS2 that way, where fans can debate which ending they like better.

Don't read this part until you've played the campaign.
Spoiler:
The choice is a very tough one. I can blow up the star, slaughter trillions of beings, most of them oppressed slaves who I've been fighting to free... or I can turn on Edward, who has been my only ally, abandon the objective I've been pursuing for the whole campaign, and allow the Oligarchy to continue its abominable rule over an even larger number of innocent people. Now what? :shaking:
I hesitated... and decided to object to Edward.
And he gave me a second chance. Giving in to Edward on the second go almost seems like a third ending, where the player destroys the star, not because he thinks it's worth it to fell the Oligarchy, but because he's afraid of Edward's threats.
I wasn't going to back down now. I choose to fight Edward. And I was actually surprised that it worked.
The ending cutscene convinced me that I'd made the right call :), especially after I replayed the last mission and the other cutscene in the techroom to see what would have happened. So yes, I'm a fan of the “Fight Edward” ending :)
:yes:
TECHROOM: The Antagonist contains interesting Techroom data, including illuminating Intelligence entries and useful data on the ships and weapons of the campaign. Good attention to detail; I found the tech data handy (especially for figuring out what in space those blasted Archangels were).

OK, now for CONS of the plot.

OVERDRAMA: The dark side of the second pro. Like I said, drama here is more important than realism or subtlety. As a result, the plot (mostly with the characters) comes off as a little cheesy or melodramatic at points. I'm personally a fan of bombastic art, but bombastic and cheesy aren't the same thing (that's another topic). Anyway, this doesn't ruin the campaign; it's just the unavoidable downside or tradeoff to Bigchunk's stylistic choices.

OUTSIDE OF FREESPACE: Obviously, it's not set in the FreeSpace universe. While that probably isn't a reason not to play it (unless you're“just here for the Shivans”), The Antagonist doesn't really contribute anything to the FreeSpace fanon.

OK, That brings us to GAMEPLAY. Credit to bigchunk1 again!

X86 STARCRACKER: Your ride. This superfighter is one insane ship. ;7 None of it's weapons really fall well into any FreeSpace weapon class. You'll have to learn some new tactics to use this machine.

Interestingly, most of it's more advanced systems are offline at the start. Edward works through the campaign to slowly bring more and more weapons and abilities online.

The Starcracker has good handling, good speed, and strong shields. The afterburner is interesting: the accelleration is a little low, but the top speed is staggering and the reserves are huge. Burst-firing the burners is less effective than sustained acceleration. The size of the Afterburner and Primary energy reserves and the sheer amount of shielding allow for interesting energy management tactics.

But the best part is the weaponry. I'll spoiler-tag all but the first weapons, but feel free to read them if you want. Each weapon gets its own single bank; there's no fire-linking. The secondary supplies are massive enough that you're extremely unlikely to run out.

PRIMARIES:

APE Cannon: Basically a fighter-mounted flak cannon. Very rapid-fire, good velocity, shots explode in proximity to enemy targets making it a hard weapon to dodge. In my case it was my dogfighting weapon of choice for most situations. Uses next to no energy. Only real drawback is that you can damage yourself with it at close range. :yes:

X-Ray Projector:
Spoiler:
A spreadfiring laser-type cannon. Massive damage and good velocity, but it drains your energy in a couple shots. Good for close-range dogfights. :yes:

Ion Cannon:
Spoiler:
A fighter-mounted beam cannon. Short-ranged, but obviously can't be dodged. The closer the target, the more damage it does. The beam goes straight through shields and does staggering hull and subsystem damage. A good anti-capital weapon. I only used it against fighters a few times, but a was once able to slash down a whole wing of Rasputin swarm fighters in one shot (to my own surprise :D), so I can tell it could be an effective dogfight weapon if I had more practice with it. Side note: apparently the cannon is supposed to fire faster, but I ran into a bug that slowed down the refire rate. :yes:

EDIT: With that bug fixed... holy cow, with the proper refire rate the cannon projects a virtually constant beam; it's incredibly accurate and rips through fighters like butter at close range. Try it!

SECONDARIES:

Grenade Cannon: A very long-range dumbfire weapon that fires, well, grenades. The grenades can be remote-detonated and have distance markers. Huge blast radius, massive hull damage. Inflicts self-damage if you detonate it too soon. Unfortunately, it doesn't work well on shielded targets. You can wipe out wings of unshielded Mamluk redshirts at long range, but that's about it. (well, it does come in handy on the first boss fight, actually...) Interestingly, after using the Grenade cannon I was finally able to use the Slammer effectively in Blue Planet.

Vicia:
Spoiler:
An omnidirectional heat-seeking swarm missile. Launches in a radial pattern around you ship in swarms of 5 (10 in dual-fire mode). Quite accurate, medium damage, limited range. I know it sounds like a n00b weapon, but in the situations where you need it, it take skill just to evade all the enemy fire long enough to launch em! :shaking: A very useful defensive weapon against light fighters that like to swarm you at close range :yes:.
;7 :yes:

Zwide:
Spoiler:
Massive, dumbfire anti-capital torpedo. Pierces shields and does devastating hull and subsystem damage. Best fired at close range. Has a long reload time. Cackle in glee on the last few missions, where Edward upgrade your Zwides...

SHMUP!: As I mentioned before, Gameplay in The Antagonist has a shoot-em-up vibe. There are no allied ships. Your own ship, as I mentioned, is pretty overpowered. Shockingly for an HLP project, there are no escort missions. Fancy objectives are absent; Gameplay consists of shooting a few things, blowing up something, getting some more kills and then blowing up something else. Almost every mission objective is either A. Blow up a huge number of mook enemies to continue or B. Have an epic boss fight. Yup. Boss fights.

MOOKS: Despite the Shmupspace style, the variety of enemies prevents the gameplay from getting repetitive. The rogues gallery is pretty impressive: Mamluk redshirt fighters with no shields to pown on early levels :hammer:, Zulu fast interceptors, Landsknecht all-around fighters, Thunderbolt glass cannons, Antioch missile fighters, K-10 tank fighters, Darkness-class torpedo frigates, Rasputin swarm dogfighters, Arbalest subspace fighters (I'll come back to those), and... Archangel beam fighters. Ghai! :mad:

The Archangels are the demonic spiders of the campaign (K-10s get second place). They warp in a good ways away from you in pairs, and snipe you from long range with a very powerful beam turret. Yes, beams on a fighter. When I first saw them, I mentally classified them as a small capship (mostly stationary enemy shooting beams at me from long range). Instead of engaging them as fighters, I tried charging at them and slamming them at point-blank range with Zwides. It... sorta worked... but if I had realized they were FIGHTERS I would have judged their range and size better and engaged them with normal weapons. Thankfully I figured that out by checking the techroom.

Even when I knew what they were, these things drove me crazy. You'll be dogfighting something else, and... BANG. Beam through you're hull. Super hard to evade and massive damage. Thankfully they don't last long if you get close to them. Note that Antagonist beams are more impressive (visually and effectively :eek2:) than normal anti-fighter beams from FS2.

A side note: The Antagonist blurs the line between anti-capital and anti-fighter weapons. The reasons are obvious. The only “good guy” is you, so it wouldn't make much sense if the “bad guy's” main weapons were useless in-game. Thus, you'll get ships with large broadside arrangements of artillery weapons that fire at you (with more accuracy than you'd expect) but are clearly also intended for capship dueling. Prepare to be the target of some really heavy weapons. Beams, for example, are not divided into anti-fighter and anti-capital. They all fire single pulses (much larger than normal anti-fighter beams), and fire at any hostile target.

BOSSES: Ah, bosses. FreeSpace isn't normally a game with a clear boss structure. Yes, there are big enemy capships, sometimes with whole missions devoted to a specific one, but they don't really count as Bosses, in the classic sense of the word.

The Antagonist, in keeping with its Shmupspace vibe, includes real bosses. Extra-powerful ships fought in sequential boss battles that are commanded by top Oligarchy officers- unlike the mooks, the captains of these ships aren't drugged. Some of them are Oligarchs themselves!

Each boss is unique, with its own strengths, weaknesses, and strategies. One boss has weapons almost guaranteed to kill you unless you stop the extremely long charge period. Another forces you to chase him in and out of subspace. Some bosses have specific blind spots or minimum ranges; some require you to find a weak spot. Each boss has it's own character and personality, ranging from nationalist fanatic to mustache-twirling cultured villain to arrogant ace.

These boss fights are the best parts of the campaign. Believe me though... they are HARD!

POWERUPS: One other game element not usually seen in FreeSpace... powerups. Yes, powerups are oldschool; more realistic games avoid having floating thingamajigs that make you cooler when you bump into them. The Antagonist, however, isn't afraid to keep this old gameplay element. Powerups spawn at scripted times and places. They show up on your radar and can be targeted. Flying into them overcharges one of your primaries for a short time. There's a “P” one for the APE cannon, and “X” one for the X-ray projector, and one more...

SUPSPACE: One of the most ambitious FREDing stunts I've ever seen is the subspace jump system. Late in the campaign, Edward brings the Tactical Subspace Drive online. You can enter and exit subspace in-mission. Not as a way of jumping from point A to point B, but as an actual alternate combat mode! :D  Read at your own discretion.
Spoiler:
It's difficult to describe (although you'll catch on quickly in-campaign), but when you're in subspace mode,  hostile ships in realspace are still visible but with a translucent, glowy skin. Ships in realspace see ships in Subspace the same way. Ships in different dimensions normally can't hurt eachother (except with special subspace weapons). You're forced to enter subspace to engage Arbalest fighters, which operate in subspace but have those special weapons I mentioned that can hurt you in either dimension. You can also use subspace to briefly escape normal, realspace-bound mooks, but beware that the Oligarchy has a Subspace Missile System: missiles will come out of nowhere and strike you while in subspace. Mooks are fixed in one dimension or the other, but later bosses can pop in and out at will like you can.

An incredible feat of FREDing (and an amazingly bugless one at that!!), this subspace system adds a whole new dimension :P to the gameplay. Amazing! :yes:

CONS of the gameplay:

DIFFERENCE: The sheer difference in the gameplay will take some getting used to. Thankfully, the game tends to explain new tactics by forcing you to use them against an easy set of enemies before pitting you against a real challenge. Overall, this issue is handled well by Edward's disguised tutorials.

BLOW THIS, BLOW THAT: Another limitation is the lack of variety in mission goals. It reminds me of Descent: Pretty much everything is solved by blowing lots of stuff up. No escort missions, no stealth missions, no command-your-fleet missions, not even any warship-duel missions. Again, the variety of enemies, complexity of bosses, and interesting tactics help compensate.

POWERUPS: Honestly, these have got to be the most unrealistic part of the campaign. While they are a common gameplay element, they don't make much sense in-universe. As a whole, The Antagonist doesn't take realism as seriously as FreeSpace, but I feel like including powerups might have been going a little too far by breaking immersion.

As another minor note, I'm surprised there are only two standard powerups, both temporary weapons upgrades for primaries.

CAPITALS: One other quibble: If big ships are your thing, The Antagonist is somewhat limited here. The biggest mook is the size of a cruiser, the biggest boss is
Spoiler:
Orion-sized
, and you never see capship duels because all capships are with the Oligarchy. Again, this is the natural tradeoff to a player-does-everything campaign.

One more note on Gameplay: The Antagonist pushes Alpha 1 Syndrome to the extreme, much farther than any other campaign I've ever played; at the same time it justifies the trope. I wouldn't call this a con, just something I'll point out.

OK, Now for AESTHETICS! Credit goes to Bigchunk1, HLP modelers in general, and the several voice actors.

VOICE ACTING: It's voice acted. The acting isn't Blue Planet grade, but it's still pretty good; better than Warzone, for instance. There's a lot of deliberate overacting (again, part of the cartoony charm of it all). Overall, the VAs add a lot to the impactfulness of the campaign. Bigchunk himself VA'd the player and Edward. I would say the best acted Characters are Edward (very “human” in expression, ironically :) ), Osmund (Reminds me of Perrault from Ace Combat 5), and...
Spoiler:
Cornelius- the guy sounds like CABAL from Command and Conquer 2; very intimidating
The Elite Ace is pretty good too.
 :yes:

SHIPS: The ships as a whole are quite cool-looking; there's a clear emphasis on colorful designs. No canon FreeSpace ships are included, but apparently some are borrowed from other mods and model dumps (The Sapphire elite fighter is the UEF Lao Tze from Blue Planet the Blizzard from Homeworld; the cargo ships at the beginning are apparently from Inferno). The boss ships, in particular, fit the characters of their captains quite well.
Spoiler:
The Crimson looks gritty and utilitarian. The Granite, has a chunky, brute-force look to it, accentuated by its oversized flak/laser artillery guns. The Amethyst, by contrast, is sleek and advanced looking; it's choice of Beams for weaponry makes it feel higher-tech and more “sophisticated”. The Sapphire looks like like a true elite fighter, standing out from the normal lineup of mook fighters. The bizarrely shaped Emerald looks like the designer crammed as much “stuff” onto the ship without regard for organization or symmetry.

X86 STARCRACKER: Ok, that's the craziest ship I've ever seen. But... it works! The Starcracker doesn't really match up well with the other ships in the mod, but that seems like a deliberate way of making it stand out. To me, it looks like a cartoon jet fighter with a yellow tigerstripe paint job and ludicrously oversized wing cannons.

SUBSPACE SKIN: Once the tactical subspace fighting is introduced, ships in the other dimension are still visible, but are reskinned with cool glowing see-through energy skins. Very impressive.

GRENADE: Minor note, but I love the sound of that Grenade Cannon, even if it wasn't my favorite weapon!

MUSIC: The Antagonist features a completely new music collection; I think most of it comes from freeplaymusic.com. The music is very good; it fits the mood well and gets stuck in your head easily. The menu track, the track from “Amethyst”, and the track from “Wolves and Sheep” are particularly cool.

MENU: The Antagonist includes a cool new menu
Spoiler:
foreshadowing...
and loading screens themed on the Starcracker's bizarre paint job.

CONS of the Aesthetics:

VOICE NOTES: The voice acting... isn't top notch. I've seen worse certainly; there's just a scattering of lines that came out wrong, mainly from unimportant people but...
Spoiler:
“NO Edward, I will NOT destroy a system just to overthrow an empire!
That being said, I've played a number of VA'd campaigns, and the only ones that were any better were Silent Threat: Reborn and Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius. The Antagonist gets third place in that regard.

MENU: A minor gripe; the mainhall and loading screens were redone to fit the campaigns, but most of the options windows still use FS2 styling. It felt a little jarring, but maybe I'm just being picky. Who has time to redesign options windows?  (Besides BP of course).

TYPOS: Actually, the campaign itself passed the spelling test; unfortunately there are some problematic typos in some of the techroom entries. Not bad enough to make it unreadable, but bad enough to make a few of them confusing.

APE CANNON: Weird sound. DIH? :lol:

OK, That brings us to TECHNICAL STUFF!

Technical PROs

SETUP: Easy

STUNTS: Considering the amount of FREDing stunts in the campaign, I'm shocked at how well it worked. I couldn't break any missions, I didn't encounter any major bugs. The subspace jump system... works. The crazy boss scripts... work. I'm impressed! :yes:

Technical CONs:

RANDOM BUG: I did encounter one strange bug. It only happened once, I wasn't able to replicate it, and it may not have had anything to do with the campaign itself. On the first mission with subspace jumping, after a few jumps I noticed that my camera somehow ended up floating a few meters to the left of my fighter. Aiming in the state was confusing, so I quit and restarted. I tried to replicate the bug and nothing happened; so whatever the problem was, it's rare. It MIGHT have had something to do with the in-mission jumping. Anyway, if this is the only bug to come out of something as ambitious as this subspace combat mechanic, that's a pretty good track record.

ION CANNON: The Ion Cannon is apparently supposed to have a faster refire rate, but there's a bug that extends the refire time from 1 second to 10, making it much less effective. I personally didn't use it much anyway (Zwides do the job fine on the mission the Ion Cannon is introduced), but it was somewhat disappointing. Now, there's a hotfix available for this, but it didn't work for me. I can't actually remember what build I was playing on; I play em on my desktop and review on my laptop; but when I get the chance I'll check.

EDIT: I found the problem with the bugfix, and it was on my end. The table was saved as a "rich text document" on my computer because Windows Vista Business doesn't come with a proper Notepad application. I downloaded Notepad, reinstalled the table, and the Ion Cannon went back to it's full deadly goodness. It rocks!

NIGHTLY: Not really a con, just a note: The Antagonist needs a nightly build. I wasn't exactly using a recent one; I got a nightly some six month ago to play Blue Planet and haven't gotten a new one since.

MISCELLANEOUS: I'm adding a Misc. section to account for some stuff that's packaged with The Antagonist but isn't part of the Campaign.

The Antagonist actually has a couple multiplayer missions. I haven't tried them myself.

It also comes with three singleplayer standalone missions in the techroom. These I did try.

The first, “Oligarchy Gauntlet 1”, is exactly what it says on the tin. I actually couldn't beat it- it's HARD :eek2:. I went to the end with cheats, and there are a few issues- the final directive (destroy third wave or something like that) never becomes complete, there's no RTB directive and no debriefing. However, the gameplay itself works fine.

Unfortunately, “Oligarchy Gauntlet 2” is completely unplayable. The ships intended to be enemies show up with friendly IFF. :confused:

“The Tables do Turn” is interesting bonus mission that casts you as one of the redshirts the player character killed on the first mission of the campaign. There's supposed to be some way of beating it with going AWOL or using cheats, but I haven't figured it out. A nice touch. :lol:

Ok, time to wrap this review up!

I wanted to include a mission-by-mission reaction commentary, (I don't do that with every campaign, but The Antagonist deserves it). However, because of the size of it I'm gonna save that for a later post.

Anyway, FINAL ASSESSMENT!

Because The Antagonist is a TC, I'm not going to give it percentage scores. But...

PLOT: Simple and straightforward, but engaging and impactful.

GAMEPLAY: Stands out for its unique shoot-em-up style; fun, original, and very challenging.

AESTHETICS: VA, Music, and models come together into something new and exciting.

TECHNICAL STUFF: Aside from the beam bug, it works great.

OVERALL: An excellent total conversion; highly recommended! Great work, Bigchunk1!

Holy Cow, this review is Gargantuan! :jaw: (even for me...) I think it's because, being a Total Conversion, The Antagonist gave me a lot more material to cover for Gameplay and Aesthetics than usual.

Hope this helped! I believe that reviews need to be reviewed, so I'd love to see some player's comments on whether or not this was helpful, any developer replies to my comments, or general questions. :cool:

Anyway, I'll write out that mission-by-mission sheet and post it soon. I actually can't say for sure what I'll be reviewing next- maybe Derelict, to commemorate it's recent re-release. I'm also considering playing Second Great War Part 2, if only because to ensuing review would go down in history :P I'm open to suggestions. Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 03:51:42 pm by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Reserved.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Droid803

  • Trusted poster of legit stuff
  • 213
  • /人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人\ Do you want to be a Magical Girl?
    • Skype
    • Steam
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The Sapphire elite fighter is the UEF Lao Tze from Blue Planet;

Please, get your **** right.
It's the Homeworld Empire Fighter, the Blizzard by Vengence. BP just happened to use the model for the Lao Tze in its second release of WiH (before, they used the FTF MiG).
In fact, The Antagonist was using the model before BP ever did.

I ****ing hate it when people go "Ship X is the Y from BP!", when it really isn't, just because it's a prominent campaign where an asset that was widely available was adopted for use and wasn't even the initial choice...
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 01:18:20 pm by Droid803 »
(´・ω・`)
=============================================================

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The Sapphire elite fighter is the UEF Lao Tze from Blue Planet;

Please, get your **** right.
It's the Homeworld Empire Fighter, the Blizzard by Vengence. BP just happened to use the model for the Lao Tze in its second release of WiH (before, they used the FTF MiG).
I ****ing hate it when people go "Ship X is the Y from BP!", when it really isn't, just because it's a prominent campaign where an asset that was widely available was adopted for use and wasn't even the initial choice...

Look, I'd really rather keep this discussion positive. That's the point of these reviews, after all: to encourage friendly discussion between people who liked/are interested in playing the campaigns in question. By beginning the discussion with a rude post I'm afraid you may have ruined it.

To answer your complaint, I apologize for the error. I have no knowledge of Homeworld.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Droid803

  • Trusted poster of legit stuff
  • 213
  • /人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人\ Do you want to be a Magical Girl?
    • Skype
    • Steam
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Sorry, it's a pet peeve of sorts. I did read everything else and I agree with pretty much all of it.

It's not from the Homeworld franchise, that's just the faction its original creator named.
(´・ω・`)
=============================================================

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Try to reign that in in future Droid if you can. Maybe say something like...

Actually, that is the Blizzard by Vengence. BP just happened to use the model for the Lao Tze in its second release of WiH (before, they used the FTF MiG). A lot of ships that were originally used for something else end up becoming synonymous with BP because of it's popularity.


If you want to combat this pet peeve of yours, educate people, spread the truth politely.

Why does it bother you to such an extent? Did they take some of your ships?

 

Offline Droid803

  • Trusted poster of legit stuff
  • 213
  • /人 ◕ ‿‿ ◕ 人\ Do you want to be a Magical Girl?
    • Skype
    • Steam
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Why does it bother you to such an extent? Did they take some of your ships?
No, I have no idea why it does, actually, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way.
It seems to imply there's nothing else that anyone would make assets for or something, in my head, but that's beside the point, let's not derail this further.
(´・ω・`)
=============================================================

 

Offline niffiwan

  • 211
  • Eluder Class
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Quote
ION CANNON: The Ion Cannon is apparently supposed to have a faster refire rate, but there's a bug that extends the refire time from 1 second to 10, making it much less effective. I personally didn't use it much anyway (Zwides do the job fine on the mission the Ion Cannon is introduced), but it was somewhat disappointing. Now, there's a hotfix available for this, but it didn't work for me. I can't actually remember what build I was playing on; I play em on my desktop and review on my laptop; but when I get the chance I'll check.

As the guy who introduced this "bug" (:nervous:), I feel compelled to add something here - the issue with the Ion cannon is that it was originally tabled to have a refire delay of 10 secs.  FSO used to automatically convert any refire delay of > 5 secs to 1 sec, and since 1 sec was what bigchunk1 wanted the 10 typo wasn't noticed.  Then I came along and changed the code so that primaries could have refire delays longer than 5 secs...

In short, if you know a bit of tabling/modding, extract the weapons.tbl, change the Ion cannon refire delay to 1 sec, and put the updated file in data/tables.

Now - with that aside - good review  :yes:  I also really enjoyed The Antagonist, so it's good to see it get another recent mention & recommendation.
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
----
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
----
m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Why does it bother you to such an extent? Did they take some of your ships?
No, I have no idea why it does, actually, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way.
It seems to imply there's nothing else that anyone would make assets for or something, in my head, but that's beside the point, let's not derail this further.
That is very strange. I've never experienced anything like that. Most curious. But you are correct, this is not the place to speak of it. Thanks for answering the question.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
@Droid: From now on, if you want to post in my threads, I simply ask that you remain a trusted poster of legit stuff. I spent a fair amount of time writing this, in the hopes that it would provide a valuable subject for positive discussion, and having the discussion started with a vulgar rant makes it hard to have such a discussion, thereby wasting my work.

@Lorric: Welcome back!

Quote from: niffiwan

    ION CANNON: The Ion Cannon is apparently supposed to have a faster refire rate, but there's a bug that extends the refire time from 1 second to 10, making it much less effective. I personally didn't use it much anyway (Zwides do the job fine on the mission the Ion Cannon is introduced), but it was somewhat disappointing. Now, there's a hotfix available for this, but it didn't work for me. I can't actually remember what build I was playing on; I play em on my desktop and review on my laptop; but when I get the chance I'll check.


As the guy who introduced this "bug" (:nervous:), I feel compelled to add something here - the issue with the Ion cannon is that it was originally tabled to have a refire delay of 10 secs.  FSO used to automatically convert any refire delay of > 5 secs to 1 sec, and since 1 sec was what bigchunk1 wanted the 10 typo wasn't noticed.  Then I came along and changed the code so that primaries could have refire delays longer than 5 secs...

In short, if you know a bit of tabling/modding, extract the weapons.tbl, change the Ion cannon refire delay to 1 sec, and put the updated file in data/tables.

Now - with that aside - good review  :yes:  I also really enjoyed The Antagonist, so it's good to see it get another recent mention & recommendation.

Interesting, I'll try that and let you know if it works. Glad you like the review and the campaign!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Hi Baron. :)

I'll give this review a proper read sometime. Once I'm off this very slow and annoying to type on borrowed laptop and back on my machine, but I have things to catch up on. My monitor croaked. But Amazon told me today the replacement is on it's way.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
I know the feeling- I'm somewhat of an expert on bad computers :P

Anyway, I need to leave HLP for a few days to finish a massive college paper and then celebrate Thanksgiving. I'll read anyone's comments as soon as I get back!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

  • 211
  • The Cthulhu programmer himself!
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The rouges gallery
* AdmiralRalwood winces and tries to avoid frothing from the mouth and/or curling up in the fetal position

Other than that, I now really want to check this thing out.
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The rouges gallery
* AdmiralRalwood winces and tries to avoid frothing from the mouth and/or curling up in the fetal position

Other than that, I now really want to check this thing out.
Another person with a pet peeve?

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
The rouges gallery
* AdmiralRalwood winces and tries to avoid frothing from the mouth and/or curling up in the fetal position

Other than that, I now really want to check this thing out.
Another person with a pet peeve?

Actually, he's pointing out an awkward spelling error that I also made in my ST:R review, so I can understand the frustration- I should have known better :P I think rouge is a type of makeup or something, as opposed to Rogue: a guy well know for general badguyness.  I'm not opposed to "emphatic" comments like that, which are not the same thing as directly cussing me out over something.

Anyway, Admiral R, if you haven't tried The Antagonist yet, I highly Recommend it!

@niffiwan: I'm trying the bugfix you mentioned; if I can get it to work I'll add it to the review for everyone's benefit. Just having trouble getting the edited table into the VP...
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 05:52:39 pm by InsaneBaron »
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline Lorric

  • 212
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Perhaps I should have put a ;) on the end of that. I knew it was a basically good natured post. :)

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
Perhaps I should have put a ;) on the end of that. I knew it was a basically good natured post. :)

I know- I think we're all a little on-edge. :P

Side note: I checked the nightly I was using: 3_6_19_SSE-20130426_r9649
Bigchunk1 recommends "7877"
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline niffiwan

  • 211
  • Eluder Class
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
@niffiwan: I'm trying the bugfix you mentioned; if I can get it to work I'll add it to the review for everyone's benefit. Just having trouble getting the edited table into the VP...

Er, putting the table into the VP?  No need to repack the VP with the new file, just having it loose in the directory is easier... unless you can get bigchunk1 (or someone) to update all the download links with the new version of the VP.
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
----
Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
----
m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline InsaneBaron

  • 29
  • In the CR055H41R2
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
@niffiwan: I'm trying the bugfix you mentioned; if I can get it to work I'll add it to the review for everyone's benefit. Just having trouble getting the edited table into the VP...

Er, putting the table into the VP?  No need to repack the VP with the new file, just having it loose in the directory is easier... unless you can get bigchunk1 (or someone) to update all the download links with the new version of the VP.

OK, suffice to say I've never modded before. If I try to save the table after editing it in notepad, it saves the table to my temp folder, and the table in the VP stays unedited.

As a side note: bigchunk DID include a hotfix on The Antagonist's rlease thread, but it doesn't seem to work.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

InsaneBaron's Fun-to-Read Reviews!
Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius - Silent Threat: Reborn - Operation Templar - Sync, Transcend, Windmills - The Antagonist - Inferno, Inferno: Alliance

 

Offline ssmit132

  • 210
  • Also known as "Typhlomence"
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: InsaneBaron's Reviews: The Antagonist
All you have to do is place that table file into the /data/tables folder inside your Antagonist mod folder (and if that doesn't exist, create it), and it should automatically override the one in the VP.