Unreal Mission Pack 1: Return to Na Pali

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 73% (based on 22 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 1 reviews)

A lackluster and rushed add-on

The Good
Interesting new enemies

The Bad
So-so levels
Cringe-inducing storyline

The Bottom Line
Add-ons tend to be a mixed bag. Often, they are little more than rushed attempts to milk more money out of the fans. Return to Na Pali, unfortunately, doesn't stray much from this description.

In the first game, the developers focused more on the gorgeous environments and relegated the story (what little there was) to occasional unobtrusive text messages. Return to Na Pali takes a different direction. Apart from the fully voiced intro and outro, we are treated to the protagonist's voiceover comments after some of the levels, as well as one non-interactive cutscene where you have to stand still and listen to dialog. Frankly, however, they shouldn't have bothered. The writing comes across as corny and incredibly cliche, and is more annoying than anything. Please, just let us travel across Na Pali in sweet silence, instead of having to listen to our 'tough girl' hero's lame justifications as to why the levels are stitched together in this particular order.

The levels, in general, do not approach the quality of the original game's environments. Most of the maps feel like a bunch of rooms and corridors hastily cobbled together, a far cry from Unreal's complex castles and factories. Some maps are shockingly short and can be finished within minutes. The rush-job is also evident in bugs: sometimes, you'll run into invisible, solid obstacles just standing there in the open.

One good thing about the expansion pack is that it adds new, interesting enemies. The Pack Hunters are tiny reptiles which look underwhelming, but are surprisingly strong and durable, as well as frighteningly fast. Trying to take down an entire gang of them closing in is a tense experience. There are also Marines, who are no-nonsense killing professionals: unless you're ready to take on them with all you've got, they'll make mincemeat out of you. They can be satisfying to fight once you get in the groove, but unfortunately they only appear once in the game. Also worth noting are the giant spiders. They're as generic an enemy as you'd expect a video game spider to be, but they still deserve accolade for being easier to hit than the infuriating tiny green bugs from the original Unreal (sadly, these damn buggers reappear in the expansion pack as well).

You're given three new weapons as well. The Combat Assault Rifle is essentially the Minigun, except without the eternal ammo shortage. Unlike the original Unreal's weak weapons, which make nearly every single fight into a drag, the CAR finally allows you to take down those pesky Skaarj at a reasonable speed. The two other weapons, the Grenade Launcher and the Rocket Launcher, feel redundant, given that there's already the Eightball Launcher.

In summary, while the new enemies are interesting to fight, that's about the only good thing I can say about this expansion pack. It feels like a pale shadow of the original game's greatness, and it's painfully obvious that it was cobbled together hastily.

Windows · by Havoc Crow (formerly JudgeDeadd) (28423) · 2019

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, Patrick Bregger, vedder, Klaster_1, Yearman, Alsy, Jeanne, oct, Cavalary, Tomas Pettersson, Cantillon.