Mods and End Bytes Issue 150



This article originally appeared in Computer Games Magazine #150

It’s Clobberin’ Time!
Attention, true believers! Fans of the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing and his pals in the Fantastic Four now have a mod of their very own for Freedom Force! Fantastic Force is an eight-episode campaign for Irrational Games’ love letter to Silver Age Marvel Comics that features the authentic heroes from Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and the rest of the gang at the ol’ bullpen! M25, Ancient Spirit, and the Four-Eyed Avenger have concocted a number of new scenarios only playable by the Fantastic Four’s Thing, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, and Invisible Girl! The famous foursome are accompanied by a crew of Irving Forbush-approved guest stars as well, including heroes like Cyclops, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch, and villains such as Kang, the Super Skrull, and Magneto! All of the characters have been voiced by the mod’s creators, nicely recreating the cornball dialogue that Marvel perfected in the swinging sixties without resorting to exclamation points at the end of each sentence!

The Horror, the Horror…
Mods for Half-Life seem to be getting ever stranger to compensate for the fact that the game is now almost five years old. A case in point is Heart of Evil, a single-player total conversion that makes up for the out-of-date game engine with an outrageous storyline that gives us a Vietnam War being waged by zombies and giant gorillas. Nathan Ruck, Chris Kane, and Daniel Pickford have provided a truly twisted experience that’s so outrageous it’s kind of brilliant. It helps if you like war movies and Z-grade horror schlock with a predilection for chainsaws, but anyone who likes their first-person shooting to contain a lot of innovative interactions (you start off by taking a shower and finding your uniform) and story-building sequences.

To Hell and Back
Horror is also the theme of Out of Hell, a single-player total conversion currently underway by one-man design team Chicken+Ribs Combo (say what you want, at least it’s more original than the usual modder moniker, which involves pairing “Death” or “Black” with a disease or audible bodily function) for Unreal Tournament 2003. As your character dies at the beginning, the entire adventure takes place on the “other side,” a 10-level ethereal realm that features Wes Craven-approved staples like darkened cornfields, empty hospitals, chilly catacombs, and stinky sewers. New character and NPC models are being designed for the mod, along with spooky undead monsters like “mutilated dogs” and “fleshy zombies.” Nine melee weapons and three ranged weapons—including shotguns and chainsaws—will also be included. Chicken+Ribs Combo aims to create a survival horror environment where ammo is in short supply and you have to do most of your killing close enough to smell what your grisly foes had for breakfast.

Double Your Body Count
Mods somehow continue to come out for one of the most unmodifiable games of the past year. The MTA Team has taken advantage of multiplayer code left unused in the retail release of Grand Theft Auto III for the PC and come up with GTA3: Multi-Theft Auto, a 380KB file that permits two players to get in on the carjacking goodness. Although the mod is presently in the very early Alpha stages of development, it already works in a rudimentary fashion, and indicates good things in store for the future.

This article originally appeared in Computer Games Magazine #150