The Parcel (Dark Mod mission) review…

The Parcel (Dark Mod mission) review after the break…

The Parcel (Dark Mod mission) review…

When a package that you’re expecting fails to arrive, you uncover that it’s been stolen and the courier delivering it injured. Not being the typical irate customer, you intend to steal it back.

“The Parcel” is a “Dark Mod” mission, weighing in at about 6.7 megs and authored by “Xonze.” “The Dark Mod” is a total conversion mod for the “Doom 3” game, intended to emulate the style of game play from the “Thief” franchise of video games. I played the “medium” setting and that will be the level that I review here.

“The Parcel” is a “mansion” mission, meaning that your setting is that of a large (or, in this case, a modestly-sized) mansion. There are two floors to this mansion and you start just outside the main doors.

Mansion missions are always tricky to judge because these types of missions must have a higher degree of detail in order for a player to properly suspend their disbelief. For instance, the degree of detail roaming down an alleyway is different then if you are inside a fancy parlor room. Mansions must also be architecturally functional – Rooms and hallways must be both functional as though it were a real, living mansion but also must retain sufficient game play because the world space is, after all, intended to be played as a game. In short, the degree of difficulty towards making a good mansion mission is harder then that of other types of missions, like an open city, because we as players “know” what a house ought to look like and how they should function.

I found the level of detail for this mission adequate although some rooms were unnecessarily more sparse then others. Of particular sparseness was the bathroom. Bathrooms have always been notoriously immersion-breaking in the Thief game world and there is no exception here in this mission. We expect mirrors in our bathrooms and running water, neither of which are featured here. The “toilets” are simply holes where one can see the bottom – For bedpans, perhaps? Also, the nice bedroom upstairs had a bed without pillows on it. Who sleeps on a bed without pillows?

When playing a Thief / Dark Mod mission, one must always allow a certain amount of disbelief when it comes to a guard’s patrol. There were no patrols that significantly defied logic although a few of them did strain logic at times. One guard routinely walked into and out of the mansion. Considering that the mission is set during the winter time, that must be one tough assignment to always be freezing and then thawing. Also, another guard always seemed to be looking unnaturally upwards on most of his patrol. A glitch, perhaps?

The story elements of the mission were adequate but nothing about them especially compelled me. There were no “essential” story elements, like an entry that tells me to avoid a trap or where to find a secret or even where to find more gold. My only advice here would be if there had been some hint concerning the locations for the secrets in this mission (ex. “For the last time, would someone PLEASE fix the sink! I hate it when I turn the ‘wrong’ knob and hear that grating sound. Clearly, it can be oiled so that the whole mansion doesn’t know about it.”)

“The Parcel,” overall, is a nice little mission. Mansions are tough to render sufficiently to adequately suspend any disbelief and there were some features (or lack thereof) that caused that suspension of disbelief to be even tougher then usual. Although I appreciated the story elements, I didn’t find them compelling enough for them to add to the mission. The challenge in taking down the guards wasn’t overly difficult and most of their patrols didn’t strain credibility.

However, with a little bit more polish in each particular field (level detail, patrol, story elements), “The Parcel” could elevate itself into a very fine mission. One shouldn’t avoid “The Parcel” but one can’t also help but feel that, with a little additional tweaking, “The Parcel” could be made that much more special.


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