Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oblivion mod review - Haunted House Quest v1.5

Mod Review - Haunted House Quest (version 1.5)
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Overall: Some good points in an otherwise boring mod with a bad title and lack of overall direction/vision. It's not a horror mod or really even a haunted house.

Why You Would Download This: You either want a quick adventure that can be completed in a few hours and doesn't involve an overly tedious amount of fighting; or you like a lot of fighting (though repetitive) and carting around loot. This mod lets you have either.

Warnings: Not compatible with Unique Landscapes but the entrance that is unlocked is still accessible. For unclear reasons, this mod changes Skeleton Guardians (Form ID 1e5f2) to have a level of (PC + 6) and 170 Health per level -- even though we encountered no Skeleton Guardians in the mod.

Haunted House Quest starts out as a haunted house, and seems very promising in that direction with a good backstory and rather good scripting for spooky environments in the house itself. For some reason, the author then decided to reveal that it was all a hoax -- which is an extremely bad plot device. If you downloaded this based on the title, you would probably be very sorely disappointed at this point. Don't bother with this mod as a horror mod.

Shortly after this revelation there is a linear, boring (and thankfully short) part where you allow yourself to be recruited into a shady if not outright evil organization. The "why?" of this isn't really explained but your character decides to go along anyway with no dialog option otherwise. Ultimately you end up breaking out from jail and at this point the mod becomes more or less hack and slash (there can be a LOT of enemies to go through until you actually reach the boss).
Fortunately, you have an "out":

There is a neat scripted series of events where you can put on a disguise and basically walk through the thick of the enemies more or less until you reach the end boss, although there are a couple of minor (non-combat) obstacles in the way. When you defeat the boss, there's no tedious slaughter to get out as all his minions are scripted to die.

As a dungeon crawl, this mod is fairly good, with nice architecture and enemies that carry healing potions -- so there's a chance you can loot them and heal yourself or resupply. For a hack and slash mod, the main drawback here is that the enemies are very same-y and it can get very boring very quickly. Enemies were mostly level (PC+10).

At the end, the reward includes various suits of re-textured armour of a modest level. Fortunately it comes as a .BSA and .ESP, so it is easy to install and uninstall.

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