Join Date: Jul. 21st, 2002
Location: Inside Asia
Review: Stratus v1.2.2
[ Transcript of review for Stratus v1.2.2 | Posted by Dade on 2003-07-01 | Score: 6.5 ]
Stratus is a weapons mod for UT2k3. I know, “Oh boy…”, but this one has some potential. Actually, in this version, that’s one of the few things it has. But don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great mod, even in its beta-ish state. Stratus features a number of semi-realistic weapons. By that I mean that they have real names, and, for the most part, the same basic functions of the weapons after which they were named. There are noticeable variances and glaring discrepancies, but I don’t think Skeedish and the rest of the Stratus team are going for a Tac Ops or Infiltration knock-off, which is good. Even in its simplicity, Stratus turns out to be a fun mod.
As this is still an early version (1.2.2), there are no new models, and the skins aren’t overly flashy. But that is one of the items high on the Stratus team’s to-do list. The firing sounds are alright, but could be a bit better. For a beta, these flaws are somewhat expected, but they do need to be addressed ASAP. In terms of function, semi-, and full-automatic primary firing and explosive/grenade launching alt firing modes prevail among the non-shotgun weapons. The two shotguns, the Mossberg and the Spass, are quite useful. The Mossberg has a buckshot primary fire (pump) and a more damaging “slug” alt fire (also pumped). The Spass has rapid-fire buckshot as its primary, but the full auto means more spread. The alt fire is pumped, but the spread is much tighter, resulting in a deadly close- to medium-close quarter combat weapon.
Stratus team has opted to use projectiles for their weapons instead of Instant Hit. They have already made good use of this decision, with neat light effects and even cooler audio effects (i.e. bullets whizzing past for ear). I did notice two flaws with this, however. First, I think the bullets have damage radii (like a rocket explosion, only these are a lot smaller), which is a little odd for bullets. I would have no complaints over removing this element, but if the Stratus team wants to keep it, fine by me. Second, I’d like to see all of the bullets the same size and speed as the Spass shot. You can clearly see the bullets on some weapons (Kalashnikov especially), but the Spass projectiles are small and fast enough so that you can just barely catch a glimpse of them. Again, not a major thing, but I think it would look neater if the bullets were like the Spass shot.
New pickup changes also accompany the new weapons. Adrenaline combos and pickups have been removed in favor of mini shield pickups (replacing the Adren. And Health Vial pickups). The combos (hopefully) will be re-added and modified in future versions. The Damage Amp has been replaced by the Big Bullets item (which, incidentally, does not make the bullets bigger (lol), only damage is increased). The Keg remains the same, only now its “A big Keg O’ illegal stuff from Bangladesh”.
The biggest gripe I have is the super weapons. The Painter and Redeemer are replaced by grenade launchers; the Redeemer with the Grenade Launcher and the Painter with the Frag Grenade Launcher. The Grenade Launcher fires a bouncing grenade with the primary fire and two less powerful grenades with the secondary. The Frag Launcher is exactly the same, only the grenades are the same as the Flak Cannon’s alt fire. To me, these aren’t very “super” super weapons. The grenades are weak, and with no ammo pickups, combined with the difficulty of finding these weapons, they are not very effective Ass-Whooping devices. Some better super weapons are a MUST for future versions.
Another mutator is enclosed with this package. Stratus Rifles, as it is called, is arena-style in which everyone gets high ROF assault rifles with scopes and infinite ammo. If rapid-fire sniper rifles are your bag, Zark is much better, and I can recommend some great Zark muts if you’re interested. Stratus Rifles isn’t a significant part of this mod, but as it is packaged with Stratus, I thought I’d at least make mention (it is also not considered in the rating).
Overall, Stratus shows lots of potential. In its current state, its fun for a little while, and definitely worth the download. I enjoyed it, and will keep it on my system and play it every so often. But until more improvements come along, it will probably leave you wanting more. I will, however, eagerly await the future releases of this promising weapons mod.