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Cryptic Passage

User is offline   Bruno Mattei 

  • -72


Would you believe this is the first time I've completed the entirety of Cryptic Passage? I swear I beat it before but I completely forget everything after the 2nd or 3rd level for whatever reason. I would have completed it even sooner but an update to BloodGDX meant my save was no longer compatible.

As you know, Cryptic Passage was not made by Monolith and it shows. It's not bad at all, but it certainly lives up to its name. The funny thing with Blood is that despite being an oldschool FPS it's very rarely frustrating when it comes to the key-hunting aspect that plagued the genre and nearly ruins games like Hexen and Shadow Warrior. All because Monolith demonstrated smart level design. The map pack doesn't start off too badly but when you get the 3rd level (the Library) and struggle to figure out where to go and after wasting your time you finally find a switch, in a corner, behind a book case, where there's no items, and you have to crouch to actually see the switch. Luckily, there's only one other cryptically-found switch in the same level.

Aside from that element, Cryptic Passage doesn't bring anything new to the table and weirdly piles on the health pickups (especially Life Seeds) and Voodoo Dolls. I assume that was done to offset the higher difficulties. A lot of levels are average at best and very sparingly has moments of brilliance: particularly the Boggy Creek secret level, the Steamboat level (which is really well designed) and easily my favorite of the map pack which is the Castle. The second-to-last level in the mountains is fine, it does something a little different, but the cryptic nature (yet again) left a bad after taste for me. Granted, that level wasn't too bad but I doubt that the average player or even the most diehard oldschool FPS player would quickly see that tiny little path close to a locked door leading to a key. Not without wasting your time exhausting every possibility.

7 out of 10. The rest of the episodes easily get a 10 out of 10.

This post has been edited by Bruno Mattei: 03 May 2018 - 02:23 PM


User is offline   m210 

  • 547


View PostBruno Mattei, on 03 May 2018 - 02:20 PM, said:

I would have completed it even sooner but an update to BloodGDX meant my save was no longer compatible.

Therefore I made a converter

M210 Projects - My personal site


User is offline   thricecursed 

  • 208


Oldish thread by now, but I also just finished Cryptic Passage. I never played it at all before yesterday. The only thing that bothered me was that level with the annoying switch on the side of the book case, but the rest seemed fairly obvious. I think it held up pretty well next to the main episodes to be honest. Pleasantly surprised. Those little skeleton textures or whatever felt a bit lame and goofy, though. And some enemy placements made no sense, like zombies rising out of what looked to be a carpeted floor, lol. Just me nitpicking, though. Favorite levels were the Old Opera House and Castle. Ditto on the life seeds - weirdly plentiful.

Also - you mentioned Shadow Warrior. The key hunting drove me insane in that game. It really takes you out of the experience when you're running through corridors that you've already cleared trying to find some obscure location for a switch or key.

User is online   Phredreeke 

  • 426


Yeah, the skull and skeleton graphics added for Cryptic Passage look plain bad, like if they were made for a budget edutainment title.

I got stuck at the very same spot with the button on the bookcase in Gothic Library.

Overall it's much easier than the Monolith episodes thanks to generous pickups though.

There are places where you get an unpolished feel in that you'd have corpses that can't be gibbed, and in the Opera House vases and mirrors that won't break.

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