Squadron Volunteers: Introduction
Posted By: rampancyDate: 4/3/07 1:13 p.m.

With a deep rumbling, a crack of what almost sounds like thunder, and a synthesized booming orchestral flourish, we are brought once again into the eye of a hurricane of destruction. We see two assault rifles, flags coming out of their muzzles, and the question (statement?), "What have we wrought" (sic). That's obviously an allusion to the famous quote by Samuel Morse, "What hath God wrought?", the first message sent via telegraph between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C. - a remark on the earth-shattering realization that two disparate places could be brought together by a single wire.

All the while, in the background is the random loudness of the popping of semi-automatic weapons fire. Get used to that sound, Marine - you're going to be hearing a lot of it in the next few days.

Marathon Squadron, by Kyle Dell'Aquila, is something of an interesting little gem of a scenario. For starters, it's the third scenario in Marathon history to be solely a one man effort, to my knowledge at least (excepting the community-made multiplayer map pack included in the v1.2 release). The other two are Thomas Reed's "Marathon: Dissent" (one of the absolute best scenarios ever made, IMO, with map design almost equalling that of Tempus Irae), and, of course, Ian McConville's (in)famous TC, "Marathon RED". Take a look at the credits to see what I mean...

Second, it almost looks like a mashup of elements from a lot of other first-person shooters; comparisons may be made especially with Tim Vogel's now vanished WWII Marathon scenario, "Men of Honor". Anyone who's played a WWII-based shooter or a "modern/realistic" shooter will find many elements and settings in this game very familiar; it's almost as if someone took the some of the general gameplay elements from a game like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor and grafted them into the Aleph One engine. The result is something we've not seen in a Marathon scenario to date.

Third, it's a scenario which has roots within that of another scenario - like the eagerly-awaited "Where Monsters Are In Dreams", Squadron uses the Rubicon universe, taking place after the combined UESC-S'pht'Kr conquest of Pfhor Prime vividly depicted in the Pfhor Plank of Rubicon (though you wouldn't have known it from the terminals, and technology). Don't mistake this for "Rubicon 2" - which brings me to my next point. With its very atmospheric gameplay, highly charged combat situations, and excellently done graphics (see Kyle's personal site for what he's done with Blender), Squadron has many signs pointing to it as a well-polished scenario with a very high production value. However, on the other hand, Squadron lacks so much in terms of the things many people take for granted as standard fare in a good scenario (i.e. engrossing terminal texts, good plot and character development) that it almost leaves you with the feeling that it's almost half-baked. It's as if Kyle put so much effort into the graphics and sounds that he almost didn't have any effort in him left to make this the good solid game that it really should have been. That being said, he clearly tries to make this a game which follows in Rubicon's footsteps, with one element some people will find very familiar (as if it were from an old dream, one you couldn't remember). Does he succeed? We're going to have to find out. Once more unto the breach, dear friends...

A brief note: As before, people are more than welcome to jump in and take part if they wish; comments and feedback are always welcome!

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Pre-2004 Posts


Squadron Volunteers: Introductionrampancy 4/3/07 1:13 p.m.
     good read. go ahead. *NM*SnowCrash 4/3/07 2:14 p.m.

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