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Have you ever dreamt about playing the old, forgotten S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ?

We were amazed by GSC’s work when they released the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. screenshots in 2002. The old design, and atmosphere was stunning and we couldn’t believe our eyes. Later in 2005 things has changed. They redesigned almost all old levels. Some of them became smaller, simpler (still nice, but different), and some levels were removed. After the release in 2007 we played the game a lot, and quickly noticed that some areas are missing. We opened forums, and talked countless nights about those for almost a year. Nowdays we could say, we have a full vision about GSC’s old levels, due to the collected materials, videos and forgotten screenshots. We decided to remake those stunning areas, maybe they won’t be the same, but we will try everything to make them look really nice, as we always wanted to see them. In early 2009, GSC released a build from 2004, which contained many old materials. We used some of the sdk objects for the level remakes, but adjusted (and bugfixed) them for our liking, also we didn’t throw out our own levels. So expect to see our own Darkscape, Dead City, Rostok Factory and some more in Lost Alpha 🙂

1First of all, I have to say my thanks to the whole dezowave Group who accomplished all of this mod.  As a Game Designer who fan of the Zone and one of its LARP leaders, I have a really good start-position for this review.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Lost Alpha is full stand-alone.  It contains all of original design and plan, tweaked, upgraded, meanwhile the X-Ray Engine  has been updated to fit ~more or less~ today’s graphics. If you know the Zone, you know what can you expect, LA offers the most of it. The original Shadow of Chernobyl was a very interesting game in it’s time, but also a failure. We had the first taste. Then GSC released Clear Sky, which was nearly the same game, but they added and upgraded a lot of feature, including Faction Wars, more detailed maps, better ALife overall. It wasn’t enough deep for us…
So they came up with Call of Pripyat, and finally, we had a good sized version of cut-off maps like the mysterious ghost-city, Pripyat. Time passed, and meanwhile, LA had grown. Back to the origin, after the “S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2”  has been canceled and GSC reformed itself to Vostok Games to make an abortion “Survarium“. 2The Good: Most of Everything. Lost Alpha offers a bit more than our basic needs, and released what we expected – but not really received – in the original games. The Zone lives, the Story is more interesting than ever. All you need is to download the game, the patch(es), and enjoy your long journey beyond the Brain Sorcerer. What does it mean? You wake up, get some basic gear on, get a little information about what the hell is going on, then try to “Kill Strelok”. Meanwhile you get closer to your goal, you encounter many people who “cratches your back – back”, and this is where the story gets really interesting. So what is the best part of LA? It’s achieved target!

The Bad: There are several bad points in my opinion, but not mutch is the fault of dezowave. For the most freaking things, we can only blame the engine, and through that, GSC itself. CTD? Happens. There are “missing” or broken files, but the >first patch< solved most of crashes, and more will come in the future. We had some trouble with things not working as intended, or expected, but these will be fixed. Overall, it’s more stable and enjoyable than any other big S.T.A.L.K.E.R. overhaul. I would like to name the changed intro, which seems more of a comedy to me – than a serious horror. I wouldn’t touch that… Instead of the original good CGI, maybe some kind of “locked gameplay cinematics” would work. All else I could mention here is about some features thats been directly-copied from the Shadow of Chernobyl or not even finished yet; So I wrote a “Quality of Life” list below, which I highly suggest to be made, to let those cratches of metal shine once more amongst the rust. 3 And the Ugly: The time we had to wait. Did it worth it? I say so! 🙂

Conclusion: At risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that this overhaul mod is one if not the biggest jewel of whole Gamer history. Dezowave made an outstanding step in the name of quality, by finishing a project better that once started by “the professionals”. They’ve been put a lot of effort in Lost Alpha, and we’re greatly apperciate it! What’s next? Ask the Wish Granther! – Royal Predator 5 P.s.: The QoL List:

  1. Weather fix. I didn’t encounter raining yet (on r3)… This would be good sync: 30% Dizzle & Cloudy, 40% Storm & Rainy,  20% Sunny-windy, 10% Foggy, Blowouts every 2-3 day.
  2. R3 Lights are very dark. Overcontrasted. It needs a fix, because even shadows are way dark at mid-day. This would fix the nearly worthless nightvision_bad and the flashlight which has no radial. Battery lifetime to 12 game hours. Nightvision on Battery: 5 game hours.
  3. Vehicle tweaks. 40k for asphalt cars, 60k for offroads, 80k for special offroads, 150+k for armored. This means these cars can climb and be controlled at mounds, how resistant they are, and the power. Slower fuel useage. Cans loads 1/4 of tank, barrel does 4/4. No part-falling, it kills refuel/fix/inventory! Solve visual damage with texture layers instead – if possible.
  4. ZONE: passages for vehicles. Especially at map-loading points! STALKERs, bandits, mutants, actions on the road. Yet I have not crossed any “live events” like bandits stealing something from me or else. Guides from Clear Sky: At normal costs they fasttravel us to known places. Give russian pub musics to the 100RAD BAR. Some Kalinka or something. Place safe stashes to store gathered items at some place of all maps – Yantar has none? Also, make the area placed better with furnitures, larger society chokepoints. Car parkings, open the closed big gate, open a better way to the Bar, remove anomaly there.
  5. Tweak Weapons: They need to be closely as handy as in COD / METRO. Tuning: Full overhaul on logic, balanced. No more unlogical restrictions! Upgrade weapon models, fix PSO-1 Scope model size, more version of addon, 1k HQ textures. If possible, import models, effects, sounds and animations from COD: Black Ops.
  6. Variety of models & textures – to prevent mass-produced clones. Random NPCs named after by fans of LA (from Facebook) More guitar/harmonica tracks. Some “drunk group singing” can be applied! Change the freaky soundtrack of radio (played at the Yantar Lake’s Scientist bunker and Dark Valley’s Bandit base)
  7. Taders should sell more kind of things, relatively cheap – because it’s how they work. They have the most trades in a day. Stalkers shoulds sell things more expensive, because “they may need them soon”, including their special loot and even their armors by chance. Smugglers for special items! As a guy did in Call of Pripyat.
  8. Group Events… Let your faction/ friends help you on your journey.
    Sadly the game is still about to be a One Man Army.
  9. GTA like cover-system support for TPS view.
  10. The Wish Granther cheat menu in place of hidden “LA Options” at Main Menu. Not because we want to cheat, its because to change weather and time on like, spawn items if needed, or just to solve bugs like stucking, incorrect or not given item,  etc. + Useable artefacts to do wonders. Like one gives “invisible armor against bullets” by a chance, or a nice nightvision, maybe bullet time, and these kind of things 😀
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