“Underhell” is a single player source mod (and thus, is free to play. You only need the Source SDK Base 2007 installed on steam), one of thousands, but this one is special. During it’s 15+ hours of gameplay I was captivated by the impressive storytelling, fantastic voice acting and memorable characters. How many times have you loaded up a mod only to cringe at the writing and voice acting quality? Recent mod releases over the last year or two have been improving in this area but Underhell takes the bar and flings it into the stratosphere. I actually started caring about and empathising with the impressive collection of characters on display here, from the kooky old vent maintenance worker to Terry, the grizzled veteran in charge of security at the facility you find yourself trapped in.
Speaking of this facility, the quality of the environments and the level design itself it just as impressive at the story and voice work. While some of the very early environments in the game could use some more love, once you reach the prison facility the quality really picks up with some very impressive visuals and fantastic lighting. There is this underlying sense of fear that underpins the entire experience and really sucks you into the game. Fans of the Amnesia and Penumbra game series from developer “Frictional Games” will feel right at home here as Underhell uses some very similar mechanics from these titles such as hiding from enemies and limited supplies of light producing items, in this case batteries limiting your torch usage.
Other note worthy additions include a full inventory system, randomly generated items and door codes, dead-zone aiming and iron-sight systems. Location based damage on enemies (you can shoot an enemies arms and legs off, should you feel the need) and some great “boss” battles throughout the game. There is even a completely separate experience called “The House” where your character Jake Hawkfield lives. This area is much slower paced than the main game and focuses more on a horror atmosphere with various puzzles to complete and areas to unlock and explore. I feel dirty only writing a few words about this area of the game as it deserves an entire review on it’s own! Suffice to say that you should definitely spend some time in this part of the game as it is just as well produced as the main storyline.
So to end my first article for LG I must recommend this mod to everyone! I was caught completely by surprise by this release and it has blown me away (as I’m sure you can tell in the video where I basicly gush for 30 minutes).
You can download the mod from the official website
Visit their moddb page
Also consider thumbing up Underhell on Steam Greenlight!
Enjoy the video? Head over to Custom Gamer for more source engine map videos and level design focused commentary!