Strange World is a solid, 9 map SP campaign by renowned Unreal SP mapper David Münnich, also featuring a 10th, intro map. A simple crash-landing story – with his two companions dead, the player ends up alone on a ‘strange world’ called Planet Gryphon. Needs to find the way out.
Released on 1st January, 2000, this was the first SP release from DavidM that could really be considered a serious work. By this time, the author left behind many of the newbie mapper’s signature marks that were apparent in his earlier maps, and managed to provide an engaging gameplay experience as well as features that were innovative at the time. Among these are the dynamic day-night cycle of the outer environment, custom weapons, a controllable cannon and more. What still remains is the instruction-like translator messages that tell you exactly what to do, serving like sort of an author’s commentary instead of adding depth to the world. The author’s peculiar humour also plays a significant role throughout the maps, which may break the immersion in the experience a bit. Instead he perhaps could have considered implementing these elements in a more subtle way through Easter eggs. From an Unreal history point of view, on the other hand, this is what makes a DavidM map – or at least one signature mark of his.
Bad things aside, this campaign certainly has a considerable fun factor. Much of this comes from the exploratory aspect of its large maps which becomes more emphasized towards the end. The locations are also progressively getting more interesting, the atmosphere reaching its climax in Na Pali Haven. The size of the maps and the extensive usage of dynamic lighting had its toll on performance for years after its release though. In one place the author even added an on-screen message apologizing for the frame rate. Fortunately, the maps run smoothly on today’s average hardware.
Overall Strange World, though not exactly a masterpiece, deserves some serious credit in the hall of fame of Unreal SP history – at its time it was certainly an achievement to create it. The fun factor is reasonable and the campaign provides well over an hour of game play – an hour that all Unreal players should dedicate to it at least once.
In case you want to play the map pack in UT, we also provide the necessary class file that you need to copy to your UT\System directory (owerwriting the one that came with the StrangeWorld package).
StrangeWorld for UT.txt