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DarkHourAddon

Dark Hour is a commercial add-on for Quake developed and published by Microforum International. This add-on was released on November 26, 1996.

Besides adding custom levels, this add-on has several text files designed to teach players how to get more out of their game. This also includes a list of Console Commands and Quake Editors. The Autorun application also has some features, including a story being told through a "Briefing Room" and various tips for playing Quake. Numerous custom sound effects also play during the installation, most prominently is the sound of a pistol being fired. Various splash screens also exist and are viewable when navigating the Autorun menus.

Plot

Main Article: Dark Hour Story

The story is viewable by clicking on the "Briefing Room" button from the Dark Hour application. Military drums can be heard in the background as the text rolls on the screen. Slow ominous music also is playing under the drums while the wind can be heard violently blowing. An image of an old combat veteran talking to Ranger is shown.

Levels

DHLevels

The levels in Dark Hour are not put into episodes like Quake. Instead, all levels can be directly accessed by a level select screen. First the levels must be installed. From the installation screen the level name, author, and a brief description of the level are visible. Below the description, the modes the level is intended to be played in are stated, meaning some are exclusive to Multiplayer or Single Player while others allow for both. If it is intended for Deathmatch use, a number is also given for the number of intended players. Upon installation the player can go to the "Run Levels" menu where they may choose to either play it in "Single Player", "Deathmatch", or "Co-op" Mode.

Though all levels can be accessed by the level select screen, there is an apparent 10 level campaign starting with VALHALLA AWAITS. Going through an exit Teleporter in these levels will lead the player to the next level in the sequence. These levels do not have a unique Level Exit, instead being connected by Teleporters. There is no difference in regards to Difficulty in any Single Player level.

Originally Microforum International intended to release a larger supply of levels than what ended up on the CD. They were to make 10 Single Player levels in-house, but then take 30 of the best levels off the Internet with Single Player and Multiplayer capabilities, as well as 50 of the best levels off the Internet designed just for Deathmatches. None of the levels included would be modified in any way by Dark Hour. Those that would allow their content on the CD would not get anything in return, since Microforum International was not permitted to offer remunerations and instead could only sell the CD at a price that would allow them to earn back their production costs, so Microforum was turned down by several map-designers. In the final product, they no longer mention the fact that any of the levels were taken from the Internet.

New Content

Hazards

Reception

Overall, reception for this pack was negative. Brian Pipa of The Adrenaline Vault was an exception to the rule. He enjoyed the large variety of new textures and the collection of maps, though notes that there is otherwise no new custom content. He recommends playing the levels alphabetically backwards, stating that they get harder as the player continues. While no manual is included, he feels that the interface is so intuitive that one was not needed. He talks about how easy it is to install and uninstall levels, plus all the helpful resources on the CD. He does wish that the URLs given would immediately send him to the link, though feels this was only a minor hindrance. Brian states that he enjoys the custom sounds on the interface, he also enjoyed the music track used during the briefing. He feels most of the levels capture the original's atmosphere, though at the time of reviewing he states that he has not downloaded any other custom levels to compare them to. Brian states that he played the original levels on Normal difficulty and feels that this add-on is extremely difficult, he states that he struggled through most of the levels.

Hugo Foster of Gamespot agreed with the rather challenging difficulty of the add-on. Similar to Pipa, he liked the interface and felt it was very intuitive. The briefing hyped up Foster and he enjoyed the massive collection of hints and tips. However, their opinions start to differ when the levels start up. While Pipa remained positive, even stating that the level design was intuitive, Foster felt that the levels fell apart. He states that the new textures are worse than id Software's. He feels that the Deathmatch levels were too clustered. He also states that, true to its name, Dark Hour is extremely dark and therefore makes navigation much harder. Also, due to the levels being in a level select screen, he was bothered by the lack of continuity and feels it simply is good for training sessions for Deathmatch games.

Michael L. House of All Game Guide goes so far to say that people should not even stare at this add-on, which he considers a monstrosity. As with the other two reviewers, he praises the interface and the promising story. However, he loathes the levels. He states that they are extremely dark and glitch filled. Completely opposite of Pipa's opinion, he states that the level design was uninspired and dull. He says that the levels are entirely repetitive and that the textures are extremely ugly. He then goes on to praise the other resources, the text files and hints, like the other two reviewers did. He states that the information is worth the money, though most of it could be found online for free, but that players should steer clear of the levels.

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