Hello all, I present to you Underhell
, a free episodic Source mod that only requires Source SDK Base 2007 to be installed. This, along with the fact that it has enough diversity to appeal to many kinds of gamers (fans of shooters, survival horror, and/or psychological horror, people who like conspiracies or people who like Half-Life, Rainbow Six: Vegas, F.E.A.R., or classic Resident Evil), allow me to recommend it to any gamer. I know it isn't new but I figure most people don't know about it, but it showcases great game design in many aspects.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The house is a main hub in the game and the location of most of the psychological horror elements. It is haunted, with dynamic and randomized events, making it one of the scariest locations in video game history.The psychological storytelling here is unique, filled with foreshadowing and symbolism. The more direct storytelling later in the game also includes distinct styling, to avoid generic presentation. Don't want to spoil some of the stylized elements though.The prologue mission is a tactical FPS inspired by Rainbow Six: Vegas somewhat. Shooting mechanics throughout the game are advanced, including aiming dead zone, recoil and aim sway that are more authentic than most games, excellent sounds, picture-in-picture scopes.Also includes an advanced stamina system that takes into account both short term energy boosts and long term fatigue. Food/drinks are used to reduce the latter.It takes you to this secret military facility, somewhat reminiscent of Half-Life.Prison sequence with references to The Shawshank Redemption? Check. Also includes some dynamic and randomized events that affect what happens later in the game.Here is a minor example of one of said events. During the prison sequence, you come across two guards in an open solitary confinement cell. The prisoner inside bashed his head against the wall, killing himself. They are arguing about who should clean it up. You can close the door on them, locking them inside. This results in some unique dialogue immediately, as well as this PDA shown above appearing later in the game.Be sure to sign the checkpoint uh... effpoint, to save your game (checkpoint based saving).Failing to do the above results in strange looks thrown your way.The first 2/3 of Chapter 1 is survival horror, with both melee weapons and shooting, but supplies are scarce and surviving on Hard mode is actually a challenge. More challenging than almost every other FPS I've played. It's often squad based, not leaving the player in isolation, and it has actual character development which adds greatly to the tension. Stealth is possible too but challenging. Lots of exploration on the maps, including randomized events and side quests.The last 2/3 of chapter 1 contains human enemies, similar to when the military invade the base in Half-Life. Stealth becomes more encouraged, but not mandatory. Thus, the gameplay and pace changes completely throughout the 20 hour length of the prologue + chapter 1.
NVIDIA users should force SGSSAA and ambient occlusion through drivers (do it on the HL2 Episode 2 driver profile) to enhance visuals. Once done I actually prefer its visuals to the heavily aliased look of most modern games, in which everything appears as distorted raw polygons because of how bad the aliasing is.