The Full Wiki

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
Shadow of Chernobyl cover.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) GSC Game World
Publisher(s) THQ
GSC Game Publishing (CIS)
Distributor(s) THQ
1C (Russia)
Engine X-ray 1.0[1]
Version 1.0005
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) NA March 20, 2007
AUS March 22, 2007
EU March 23, 2007
Genre(s) First-person shooter, role-playing, survival horror
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: M
OFLC: MA 15+[2]
PEGI: 16+
Media DVD
System requirements Recommended: Windows XP, Intel Core 2 Duo E6400/AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 1.5GB+ RAM, nVidia GeForce 7900/ATI Radeon X1950/256 MB DirectX 9c compatible video card

Minimum: Windows 2000 (SP 4), Intel Pentium 4 2 GHz/AMD Athlon XP 2200+, 512 MB RAM, 10 GB hard disk space, nVidia GeForce 5700/ATI Radeon 9600/128MB DirectX 9c compatible video card

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, previously known as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost, is a first-person shooter computer game by the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, published in 2007.

It features an alternate reality theme, where a second nuclear disaster occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the near future and causes strange changes in the area around it. The game has a non-linear storyline and features gameplay elements such as trading and two-way communication with NPCs. The game includes elements of role-playing and business simulation games.

The background and some terminology of the game ("The Zone", "Stalker") is borrowed from the popular science fiction novella Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky and the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker that was loosely based on it, as well as Stalker, the film's subsequent novelization by the original authors.

In S.T.A.L.K.E.R, the player assumes the identity of an amnesiac "Stalker", an illegal explorer/artifact scavenger in "The Zone", named "The Marked One". "The Zone" is the location of an alternate reality version of the Zone of alienation surrounding the Chernobyl Power Plant after a second, fictitious explosion, which further contaminated the surrounding area with radiation and caused strange otherworldly changes in local fauna, flora and the laws of physics. "Stalker" in the context of the film refers to the older meaning of the word as a tracker and hunter of game or guide.

On July 11 2007, GSC Game World announced a prequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, which was released on 5 September 2008.[3] On April 30 2009, GSC Game World announced a sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, which will be released worldwide in first quarter of 2010. [4]

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stands for "Scavenger, Trespasser, Adventurer, Loner, Killer, Explorer, Robber".[5]

Contents

Setting

Advertisements

Location

S.T.A.L.K.E.R: SoC takes place in an area called "The Zone", which is based on the real-life Zone of Alienation and partly on the settings of the source novel and film. It encompasses roughly 30 square kilometers and features a slice of Chernobyl extending south from Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant; geographical changes for artistic license include moving the city of Prypiat into this area (it is actually to the north-west of the power station), although the city itself is directly modeled on its real-life counterpart, albeit smaller in size.[6]

History

After the initial Chernobyl Disaster, attempts were made to repopulate the area, primarily with scientists and military personnel. However, in 2006, almost 20 years after the first incident, a second disaster occurred, caused by the C-consciousness (rus. "О-Сознание" which corresponds with "осознание" - "realisation, awareness") program, killing or mutating most of the inhabitants.[7]

Shadow of Chernobyl begins years later, after people have begun coming to the zone in search of money, valuable artifacts and scientific information.

Mutants

In keeping with the post-nuclear decay within The Zone, extreme radiation has caused mutations among animals and plants in the area.[8] As such, creatures within The Zone are vastly different from their real-world counterparts (which include dogs, boars, crows and many others). Additionally, some areas of The Zone contain mutated humans, the majority of whom were caught in the second nuclear disaster. Several creatures which are present in the game cannot be enabled without game modification.

Artificial Intelligence of wildlife is highly developed and presents many realistic behaviors, such as fights over food and pack mentality, which can be observed in non-scripted events. The game engine was designed so that animal behavior is calculated even if the player is in a different part of the world.

Anomalies, artifacts and radiation

As a result of the second Chernobyl disaster, The Zone is littered with small areas of altered physics, known as anomalies. There are several different variations, each one having a unique impact upon those who cross its path. They can be potentially deadly to the player and other NPCs, delivering electric shocks, or pulling them into the air and crushing them. Most anomalies produce visible air or light distortions and their extent can be determined by throwing bolts (of which the player carries an infinite supply) to trigger them. Some stalkers also possess an anomaly detector, which emits warning beeps of a varying frequency depending on their proximity to an anomaly. The guide in the film Stalker, and his predecessors in the Strugatsky brothers' book Roadside Picnic, test various routes before proceeding. In the film, metal nuts tied with strips of cloth are used.

Anomalies produce Artifacts, the valuable scientific curiosities that make the Zone worth exploring monetarily. As well as being traded for money, a number of Artifacts can be worn so that they provide certain benefits and detriments (for example, increasing a stalker's resistance to gunfire while also contaminating him with small amounts of radiation). Artifacts are found scattered throughout the Zone, often near clusters of anomalies.

Radiation caused by the nuclear incidents at Chernobyl occurs in specific invisible patches throughout The Zone. Although most areas in The Zone have no radiation, areas near abandoned construction equipment that was used in the post-accident clean-up, certain military wrecked vehicles, and a variety of other locations create small to large fields of radiation, some of which cannot be passed through without the proper equipment.

Gameplay

S.T.A.L.K.E.R:SoC is a non-linear sandbox game. Players are relatively free to explore the world and have many opportunities to interact with other characters.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R:SoC is primarily an FPS, but also features many RPG elements. The player does not gain additional abilities or statistics like most RPGs, but is instead allowed to use various types of equipment that is either purchased or found throughout the game world. There are a large number of items in the game, so the player has customization choices which are constrained primarily by how much exploring they do.

The game also attempts to blend the story and character interaction which are commonly associated with RPGs. However, unlike RPGs such as Fallout, conversation branches are extremely limited and do not significantly influence the course of the game, aside from accepting or declining missions.

Playing area and travel

The Zone is a large and varied area, consisting of wilderness, human settlements, and several heavily-guarded military bases. However, the game world is not a true contiguous world, but rather 18 different maps separated by loading screens. Transfer from one area of the Zone to another can only be accomplished at certain specific passageways; a wire fence border blocks players from attempting to cross the map in any other area.

The game does not feature controllable vehicles (although vehicles are programmed in the game code, they are not available without the use of a third party modification,[9][10]), and thus players are required to go from place to place on foot. A sprint option using a limited stamina bar can be used to temporarily increase the player's rate of movement, though this is reduced by the weight of objects the player is carrying, and weapons cannot be fired while sprinting. It is possible to sprint indefinitely by using artifacts and keeping below a certain weight limit (50 kg).

Radiation

When the player enters a highly irradiated area, they will begin to receive radiation poisoning. During this time, a radiation icon appears on the screen and fades through from green to yellow to red, signifying the strength of the poisoning, which grows the longer the player remains present in the affected areas. The stronger the poisoning, the faster the player's health decreases. Unless the player dies from damage caused by radiation poisoning, there are no permanent effects from contracting it other than health loss. However, radiation will persist and continue to drain health until either radiation medication or a substantial amount of vodka is consumed.

Plot

The game begins with an unconscious, wounded stalker (the player character) being brought to Sidorovich, a black-market trader operating inside the Zone of alienation (or simply "The Zone"). Sid is able to save his life, but the wounded stalker is amnesic; the only clues to his identity are a tattoo on his arm of the acronym "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." and his PDA which contains only one entry in the to-do list: Find Strelok. Kill Strelok. The amnesiac stalker is dubbed "Marked One" by Sid.

Marked One repays Sid by performing certain tasks, and in the process receives information about Strelok's possible whereabouts. With no other leads to his past or the cause of his amnesia Marked One follows the information from contact to contact, tracing Strelok's past movements and learning more about his supposed assassination target; as information is uncovered he begins to recover scattered memories. Eventually Marked One follows a lead to a factory in Yantar. Yantar is the home of a Brain Scorcher, a field which effectively destroys the mind of anyone who comes within its range, turning them violent and hostile. Scientists studying the phenomenon determine that it is man-made and recruit Marked One to enter a secret lab underneath the factory to disable it, which he does.

Information taken from a body in the lab directs Marked One to track down a member of Strelok's group named Doc. Attempting to reach him in an abandoned base of Strelok's, Marked One inadvertently triggers an explosive booby trap and is nearly killed, only to be rescued by Doc. While he is incapacitated Doc speaks to Marked One about the rumor of a giant "Wish Granter" artifact located somewhere in the center of the Zone, but also indicates that Marked One is Strelok, calling him by that name. Before Marked One can recover to ask any questions Doc leaves.

Further leads send Marked One towards the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, where the Wish Granter may be located. However, travel to Chernobyl itself has been all but impossible due to the presence of another, larger Brain Scorcher south of Pripyat, as well as the "Monolith" faction of stalkers who worship the Wish Granter and kill anyone attempting to access it. Marked One makes his way through the forest south of Pripyat and deactivates the second Brain Scorcher, re-opening the path to the abandoned city.

Pripyat is in chaos as dozens of stalkers clash with Monolith forces. Marked One eventually makes it to the Chernobyl facility, also held by Monolith forces. After fighting his way through the opposing stalkers Marked One discovers both the gigantic Wish Granter artifact and a secret laboratory in the building. Inside the heavily defended lab is a large holographic terminal, through which an entity calling itself "C-Consciousness" communicates. It readily answers Marked One's questions, revealing what it is, who Marked One is, and the events prior to his amnesia.

In the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, the Soviet Union decided to use the Exclusion Zone for special research into the human mind. Results included enhanced ESP, psychic weapons, and the eventual formation of a hivemind of seven neurally linked scientists known as the C-Consciousness. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the self-aware C-Consciousness took control of the Zone and continued its research. It attempted to bring about world peace using global mind control; however, these attempts resulted in the unintentional twisting of the physical terrain around Chernobyl as well as the mutation of resident life forms, creating the Zone. In an attempt to hide its existence the C-Consciousness created the two Brain Scorcher fields and erected a Monolith in the center of the Zone, which it uses to brainwash any stalkers who reach it; brainwashed stalkers are tattooed with the "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." acronym and reprogrammed to serve the C-Consciousness.

Rumors of the Wish Granter slowly spread throughout the Zone. A group of four stalkers (Strelok, Ghost, Fang, and Doc) attempt to reach the Wish Granter, but after encountering the fanatical Monolith faction they are forced to retreat. Strelok is knocked unconscious during a "blowout" and loses his memory while the others are able to escape. On the way back Fang is killed by a sniper in Pripyat; some time later Ghost is killed in the Brain Scorcher control facility under Yantar.

The unconscious Strelok is discovered by the C-Consciousness; unaware of his identity, it mistakenly assigns him the task of killing himself. On the way out of the Zone the truck carrying the still unconscious Strelok is destroyed in a lightning storm and he is discovered by another passing stalker, leading into the events at the beginning of the game.

Once the C-Consciousness has finished answering Marked One/Strelok's questions he is faced with a choice: merge with the C-Consciousness to ensure its continued existence, or stop the C-Consciousness from continuing its experiments. If Strelok refuses to assist the C-Consciousness he is transported to the exterior of the Chernobyl plant, where he navigates his way through teleportation anomalies and armed Monolith soldiers in order to reach the source of the C-Consciousness. Once inside Strelok shoots the encapsulated scientists which form the C-Consciousness.

Afterwards Strelok is shown standing in a grassy field, watching the sky as the clouds break and the sun comes out. The Zone is apparently gone. He questions whether or not he made the right decision, but as he lays down in the grass he concludes that while he may never know what was right, he is happy that he survived.

Technical features

X-ray graphics engine

A screenshot of S.T.A.L.K.E.R:SoC

The X-ray Engine is a DirectX 8.1/9 Shader Model 3.0 graphics engine. Up to a million polygons can be on-screen at any one time. The engine features HDR rendering, parallax and normal mapping, soft shadows, motion blur, widescreen support, weather effects and day/night cycles. As with other engines that use deferred shading, the X-ray Engine does not support anti-aliasing with dynamic lighting enabled. However, a "fake" form of anti-aliasing can be enabled with the static lighting option; this format utilizes a technique to blur the image to give the false impression of anti-aliasing.[11] The game takes place in a thirty square kilometer area, and both the outside and inside of this area are rendered to the same amount of detail. Some textures in the game were photographs of the walls in the developers' studio.[12]

As of patch 1.0003 the X-ray engine supports "surround screen" monitor setups, including a 16:9 native resolution ratio.

AI

A screenshot demonstrating the abilities of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s rendering engine after enabling anti-aliasing and tone mapping.

The X-ray engine uses GSC Game World's proprietary ALife artificial intelligence engine. ALife supports more than one thousand characters inhabiting the Zone. These characters are non-scripted, meaning that AI life can be developed even when not in contact with the player.

The NPCs have a full life cycle (task accomplishment, combat, rest, feeding and sleep) and the same applies to the many monsters living in the Zone (hunting, attacking stalkers and other monsters, resting, eating, sleeping). These monsters migrate in large groups. The non-scripted nature of the characters means that there are an unlimited number of random quests. For instance, rescuing stalkers from danger, destroying stalker renegades, protecting or attacking stalker camps or searching for treasure. The AI characters travel around the entire zone as they see fit.

Numerous tactics can be employed to complete the game, such as rushing or using stealth and sniping. The NPCs will react in a different way to each of them. S.T.A.L.K.E.R's NPCs plan ahead by "Goal-Oriented Action Planning" to achieve this.

Physics

S.T.A.L.K.E.R uses a heavily modified version of the ODE physics engine. Ragdoll physics, destructible objects, realistic bullet ballistics and skeletal animation can all be found in the game.

The game's use of bullet physics is similar in nature to tactical shooters such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter or Operation Flashpoint. Bullets are affected by gravity, bounced against solid surfaces at oblique angles, and firearms are highly inaccurate when fired without aiming. To score consistent hits at medium or long range, players must aim using the iron sights on their guns. Additionally, hit damage is pseudo-realistic, and the player can die after only being shot a few times (although later in the game various armor suits and artifacts can be acquired that increase the player's resistance to damage). Late-game depends heavily on scoped weaponry due to the well-armed and armored enemies that keep their distance from the player. [13]

Weather

A weather system is integrated into various parts of the landscape and allows a variety of weather effects, such as sunshine, storms and showers. The weapons available, behavior of the AI, game tactics and ranking systems depend on the weather. Unlike most dynamic weather systems, the game features complete dynamic wet surfaces.

Soundtrack

The game features ambient music by Frey Vladimir aka "MoozE", but also has couple of songs from the Ukrainian band Firelake.

Development delay, leak and release

The game was first announced in November 2001 and had its release date, originally in 2003, pushed back several times. Meanwhile hundreds of screenshots of the game had been released, as well as a dozen preview video clips, accompanied by other forms of promotion by GSC, such as inviting fans to their offices in Kiev to play the current build of the game. However, due to the delays some considered S.T.A.L.K.E.R. to be vaporware.[14]

In late December 2003, a pre-alpha build of the game was leaked to peer-to-peer file sharing networks. This build, marked as version 1096, inadvertently acted as a fully-functional tech demo of S.T.A.L.K.E.R's engine, despite its lack of NPC enemies and fauna.[15]

In February 2005, THQ expressed a desire to see the game released toward the end of its 2006 fiscal year (March 31, 2006) but maintained that no release date had been set.[16] In October, 2005, THQ confirmed that S.T.A.L.K.E.R would not be out "until the second half of THQ's 2007 fiscal year - October 2006 at the earliest."[17] In February 2006, THQ revised this possible release window, saying the game would not be in stores until the first quarter of 2007.[18]

In an interview at the Russian Gameland Awards, PR Manager Oleg Yavorsky indicated that release was planned for September 2006.

In 2006, the game came 9th in Wired's Vaporware '06 award.

THQ ran a competition in January 2007 offering the lucky winners the chance to play the beta version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R., in a 24 hour marathon session. The event, scheduled to take place on January 24, 2007, was subsequently changed to a 12 hour session days before it was supposed to occur. On the morning of the event, the winners were met at the venue by the THQ staff that had organized the event, who were embarrassed to report that they had been unable to get any copies of the game. In late February GSC managed to release a public beta. A multiplayer demo was released to the public on March 15, 2007.

On March 2, 2007, it was announced that the game went gold.[19]

At the end of February 2009, due to popular demand GSC Game World released "xrCore" build 1935, dated October 18 2004.[20] It uses a completely different physics engine with many cut monsters, levels, and vehicles. It was also significantly larger than the retail release. It is however somewhat unstable, but features the full game along with a "fully functional ALife system". It is currently available for free download from the GSC servers and mirrors.[21]

Reception

Reviews
Compilation review site Aggregate score
Game Rankings 83% (51 reviews)[22 ]
Metacritic 82/100 (44 reviews)[23 ]
Publication Score
Eurogamer 8/10[24]
GameSpot 8.5/10[25]
GameSpy 3.5/5[26]
Game Informer 8.25/10[27]
IGN 8.2/10[28]
PC Gamer 85/100
PC Zone 85/100
Igromania 9.5/10

Upon the game's release, S.T.A.L.K.E.R received generally favorable reviews, with an average critic rating of 83% at Game Rankings.[22 ] While the game was praised for its style and depth, other reviewers addressed certain technical issues, mentioning the number of bugs present.

The game design of the Zone was one of the most favored aspects. GameSpot praised the style and level design, stating "This is a bleak game, but in a good way, as it captures its post apocalyptic setting perfectly",[25] while Eurogamer called it "one of the scariest games on the PC" going on to say "Like the mythological Chernobyl zone it is based upon, this game is a treacherous, darkly beautiful terrain."[24]

Game Informer didn't find the gameplay particularly innovative, but still complimented the basic FPS design, saying, "S.T.A.L.K.E.R isn’t the revolution that we all hoped it would be. It is, however, a respectable and sometimes excellent first-person adventure"[27] where as GameSpot called it "one of the best ballistics models ever seen in a game, and as a result, firefights feel authentic as you try and hit someone with what can be a wildly inaccurate rifle".[25]

Upon release, S.T.A.L.K.E.R was criticized for having numerous bugs, especially when used with the then-recently released Windows Vista. IGN found the game "tended to stutter quite often, sometimes pausing for three or four seconds at regular intervals, which occurred on two different Windows XP rigs at maximum visual quality", with even some cases of complete game crashing glitches.[28]

Another criticized aspect was the story, which to some reviewers was "incoherent"[25] and which PC Gamer stated "fails in the specific story of your character".[29]

Awards

In December, S.T.A.L.K.E.R won the Special Achievement award for Best Atmosphere in GameSpot's Best and Worst 2007, that "S.T.A.L.K.E.R captures the "ghost town" nature of the zone, from the abandoned cities to the overgrown wilderness. Then, the game adds its own paranormal elements, which help make a spooky environment almost terrifying at times".[30] S.T.A.L.K.E.R was also ranked #1 on GameFAQs' "The Top 10 Most Terrifying Games On PC". [31]

Sales

As of September 2008, S.T.A.L.K.E.R has sold 2 million copies worldwide. GSC Game World CEO Sergiy Grygorovych has said "We are very pleased that S.T.A.L.K.E.R became so popular among players from all over the world. Financial success will allow us to develop S.T.A.L.K.E.R in different directions as a brand." [32]

Legacy

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky

STALKER: Clear Sky is a prequel set a year before Shadow of Chernobyl. The game world consists of a mix of 50% old, redesigned areas, and 50% completely new levels. The updated engine supports the Inverse Kinematics animation system, allowing more and better animations. New effects such as volumetric lighting are also included. In general, the developers seek to take the basics of everything in Shadow of Chernobyl and enhance them in several ways. Better AI, graphics and new game-play additions, such as faction wars, are some new features.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

STALKER: Call of Pripyat is a sequel set after the events in Shadow of Chernobyl. The game will feature brand new areas recreated by their true-to-life locales such as Pripyat town, Yanov railway station, Jupiter factory, Kopachi village and more. Other features include an improved A-Life system, a new player interface, a brand new story and a number of unique characters, 2 new monsters and behavior and abilities, an extended system of side quests, a sleep function and a free play mode.

References

  1. ^ "Engine - STALKER". S.t.a.l.k.e.r. game website. GSC Game World. http://www.stalker-game.com/en/?page=engine. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  2. ^ "S.t.a.l.k.e.r.". Office of Film and Literature Classification. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. http://web.archive.org/web/20070930023724/http://www.oflc.gov.au/special.html?n=46&p=156&sMediaGames=1&sDateFromM=1&sDateFromY=1970&sDateToM=1&sDateToY=2007&record=218325. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  3. ^ More details for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
  4. ^ bitComposer Games - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
  5. ^ Boyes, Emma (July 12, 2007). "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will stalk again". Gamespot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalker/news.html?sid=6174611&mode=all. Retrieved 2008-07-23.  
  6. ^ Developer Diary #3
  7. ^ GSC Game World. "S.t.a.l.k.e.r. Zone World". GSC Game World. http://www.stalker-game.com/en/?page=zone_world. Retrieved 2008-07-24.  
  8. ^ GSC Game World. "S.t.a.l.k.e.r. Zone World". GSC Game World. http://www.stalker-game.com/en/?page=zone_world. Retrieved 2008-07-24.  
  9. ^ STALKER Vehicle-Mod
  10. ^ Transport Mod, Stalker Downloads, Stalker Vehicles
  11. ^ TweakGuides. "STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl Tweak Guide". TweakGuides. http://www.tweakguides.com/STALKER_5.html. Retrieved 2007-04-03.  
  12. ^ PC Gamer UK. May 2004. pp. 38–41.  
  13. ^ "Game Review Only" (2007-11-28). "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl" (in English). http://web.archive.org/web/20080312190248/http://gamereviewonly.com/3/stalker-shadow-of-chernobyl/. Retrieved 2007-11-28.  
  14. ^ IGN Editorial Team. "Top 10 Tuesday: Modern Vaporware". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/701/701364p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  15. ^ "STALKER Pre-Alpha Leaked". MegaGames. January 2, 2004. http://www.megagames.com/news/html/pc/stalkerpre-alphaleaked.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  16. ^ David Adams. "S.T.A.L.K.E.R Delayed". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/584/584913p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31.  
  17. ^ THQ lessens loss, talks next-gen, by Tor Thorsen (Oct 27, 2005), Gamespot.com
  18. ^ THQ announces holiday results, delays S.t.a.l.k.e.r., by Brendan Sinclair, Gamespot.com
  19. ^ ""S.T.A.L.K.E.R." Goes Gold". GSC Game World. 2 March 2007. http://www.stalker-game.com/en/?page=archive_news&subpage=3&item=17. Retrieved 2007-05-13.  
  20. ^ "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. build 1935 released for free download" ClanBase. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  21. ^ S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl, build 1935, Oct 18, 2004
  22. ^ a b "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Reviews". Game Rankings. http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/540331.asp. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  23. ^ "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Reviews". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/stalkershadowofchernobyl. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  24. ^ a b Rossignol, Jim (2007-03-07). "Reviews = S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl // PC". Eurogamer. http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=74255. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  25. ^ a b c d Ocampo, Jason (2007-03-20). "Reviews = S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl // PC". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalker/review.html. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  26. ^ Kuo, Li (2007-02-05). "GameSpy: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl". GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/stalker-shadow-of-chernobyl/785182p1.html. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  27. ^ a b Biessener, Adam (March 2007). "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl review". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20071027062539/http://www.gameinformer.com/Games/Review/200705/R07.0323.1414.37101.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  28. ^ a b Onyett, Charles (2007-03-19). "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl Review". IGN. http://uk.pc.ign.com/articles/773/773803p1.html. Retrieved 2007-011-07.  
  29. ^ PC Review: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl - PC Gamer Magazine
  30. ^ "GameSpot's Best and Worst 2007: Best Atmosphere". GameSpot. 2007-12-24. http://uk.gamespot.com/best-of/specialachievement/index.html?page=24. Retrieved 2007-12-24.  
  31. ^ Top 10 Lists - GameFAQs
  32. ^ "S.T.A.L.K.E.R official site". GSC Game World. 2008-09-03. http://cs.stalker-game.com/en/. Retrieved 2008-09-03.  

External links


Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl
Box artwork for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl.
Developer(s) GSC Game World
Publisher(s) THQ
Distributor(s) Steam
Engine X-ray 1.0
Latest version 1.0006
Release date(s)
Genre(s) FPS, RPG, Survival horror
System(s) Windows
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Rating(s)
ESRB: Mature
OFLC: Mature Accompanied & Restricted
PEGI: Ages 16+
System requirements (help)
CPU clock speed

2GHz

System RAM

512MiB

Disk space

10GiB

Video RAM

256MiB

DirectX version
Version 9c
Followed by Clear Sky
Series S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
This is the first game in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series. For other games in the series see the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. category.

'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, previously known as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost, is a first-person shooter computer game by the Ukrainian developer GSC Game World, published in 2007. It features an alternate reality theme, where a second nuclear disaster occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the near future and causes strange changes in the area around it. The game has a non-linear storyline and features gameplay elements such as trading and two-way communication with NPCs. The game includes elements of role-playing and business simulation games.

The background and some terminology of the game ("The Zone", "Stalker") is borrowed from the popular science fiction novella Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky and the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker that was loosely based on it, as well as Stalker, the film's subsequent novelization by the original authors.

On July 11, 2007, GSC Game World announced a prequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, which was released on September 5, 2008. On April 30, 2009, GSC Game World announced a sequel, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, which is to be released in the first quarter of 2010.

In S.T.A.L.K.E.R, the player assumes the identity of an amnesiac "Stalker", an illegal explorer/artifact scavenger in "The Zone", named "The Marked One". The Zone is the location of an alternate reality version of the Chernobyl Power Plant after a second, fictitious explosion, which contaminated the surrounding area with radiation and caused strange otherworldly changes in local fauna, flora and the laws of physics. Stalker, in the context of the film, refers to the older meaning of the word as a tracker and hunter of game, or a guide.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stands for "Scavenger, Trespasser, Adventurer, Loner, Killer, Explorer, Robber".

Table of Contents

Getting Started
  • Controls
  • Factions
  • Artifacts and Anomalies
Walkthrough
  1. The Cordon
  2. The Garbage
  3. Bar
  4. Agropom Research Institute
  5. The Dark Valley
  6. X18
  7. Wild Territory / Rostok
  8. Yantar
  9. X16
  10. Army Warehouses
  11. The Red Forest
  12. Pripyat
  13. Chernobyl NPP
Appendices
  • Weapons
  • Items
  • Cheats

Simple English

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. : Shadow of Chernobyl
Developer(s) GSC Game World

Publisher(s)THQ, GSC Game Publishing (CIS)
Distributor(s)1C (Russia)
EngineX-Ray engine[1]
Latest version1.0005
Release date(s) EU March 23 2007

RU March 23 2007
NA March 20 2007
AU March 20 2007

Genre(s) First-person shooter, with RPG elements
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Rating(s)ESRB: M 17+
OFLC (AU): MA 15+[2]
Platform(s) Windows

System requirementsRecommended: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 / AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 1GB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible 256MB graphics card nVidia GeForce 7900 / ATI Radeon X1900, 4x DVD-ROM, 128kbps Internet connection for multiplayer.

Minimum: Windows XP SP2 / 2000 SP4, Intel Pentium 4 2000 MHz / AMD Athlon XP 2000+, 512MB RAM, 6GB hard disk space, DirectX 8.1 compatible 128MB graphics card nVidia GeForce 3 / ATI Radeon 9200, DirectX 9 compatible soundcard

InputMouse, Keyboard

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, previously known as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Oblivion Lost, is a post-apocalyptic first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.

The game uses a software freature called the "X-Ray engine". It features an alternate reality theme, where the second nuclear disaster happens at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the near future and makes strange changes happen to the area around it, which create a lot of mutated animals, plants, and change the laws of Physics. The game has a storyline that lets the player have a lot of freedom, and features gameplay features such as trading and two-way communication with NPCs. The game includes features of role-playing and economic games.

Some phrases used in the game ("The Zone", "Stalker") as well as the idea of the game, are borrowed from the popular science fiction book Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky and the 1979 film Stalker, based on the book.

GSC Game World talked about the game's AI in January 2005. IGN said that the game, while similar to Far Cry, will have more wildlife, and that the way animals actin the game is as important to them as the humans. The animals anger will vary with how hungry and tired they are, as well as other things. So, the game will have some idea of fight or flight to it.[3]

Contents

Gameplay

In the game, the player is known as "The Marked One" who is a Stalker, a person who lives in the Zone and makes a living collecting "Artifacts" and selling them. The Zone has a lot of danger in it.

The type of game is a mix of a RPG and a FPS, though the player does not get attributes like Strength of Constitution, or get more powerful, which is different from a normal computer RPG. The role-playing part is mainly about normal RPG elements, such as storyline and the way other people in the game act with the player. But, the game does not let the player have a lot of choice when it comes to talking to characters in the game. Unlike RPGs such as Knights of the Old Republic, the number of different conversations the player can have with NPCs in the game is quite small and does not change the way that the game will end for the player a lot.

The Zone is made up of a 30 km square area, that has wilderness, human camps, and a few heavily-guarded military bases. But, the game world is not one big world, but is a lot of smaller maps broken up by loading screens. Moving from one area of the Zone to another can only happen at certain passageways; a white fence border stops players from trying to cross the map in any other area. The game does not have vehicles that the player can drive. The player does have a fast sprint, but he or she cannot sprint without stopping, and the player can not fire weapons while sprinting

Bullet physics

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. uses "realistic" bullet physics, that is, the way that the bullets move is like how a bullet would move in real life. The bullet physics are similar to tactical shooters such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter or Call of Duty 2. Bullets are affected by gravity, and weapons are highly inaccurate when fired "from the hip". To be sure of hitting the enemy at long range, players must aim using the iron sights on their guns. Also, bullets do "realistic" damage, and the player can die after only being shot a few times (but to make up for this, later in the game the player can get different armor suits that increase the amount the player can be shot before dying).

Artifacts

"Artifacts" are the product of 'anomalies', which occur randomly throughout the game. Anomalies are normally a few metres across, these areas are dangerous to enter and can instantly kill the player or cause serious injury. They can be seen by looking for swirling leaves, heat waves, wind moving about, and electricity. An anomaly will be in the game for about one week in game time, and once they have disappeared the player is able to collect the artifacts left behind, which can be traded for supplies, or worn to enhance some player abilities, with normally some bad side effects; for example, there is an artifact in the game that can make bullets less likely to hit the player, but will slowly give the player radiation sickness, which will eventually kill the character being played.

Mutants

The local animals and plants were altered a lot by the years of radiation. They have become more dangerous, and have developed natural defenses to survive the harsh world. There are also a lot of people that were mutated by the radiation from the second explosion in the power plant.

Human factions

The stalkers find it difficult to hunt for artifacts because the Ukrainian Military is in the area, trying to stop the zone getting bigger, and help control the mutant. The Military is an enemy of anyone who is not Military, and will work as a big team to attack anyone they see using heavy force and the use of Mi-35 Hind gunships, which are attack helicopters.

A few other groups work in the zone, and are neutral or an enemy based on certain events. Two groups are important: "Freedom" and "Duty" as they are the only two groups that the player can decide if they want to be friendly towards or not. Neither Faction will attack the player at first, and both will offer missions to the player. Freedom and Duty are at war with one another, and although th player can keep frienship with both of them at first, the player will end up having to choose a side. The player cannot join either faction, no matter how friendly the player becomes towards them, as the player's faction status in the player's P.D.A. will tell the player, the player is always a loner in this game. There are several other groups, these are almost all enemies for the player. The scientists are different though, because the player can be friends by saving one of them from a mercenary attack later in the game.

The player also works with other NPCs in the Zone, and can help Stalker factions and receive missions, which further the storyline. Players are able to explore over 30 square km of the Zone, including the ghost town of Pripyat and the empty Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, while meeting animals and plants mutated by radiation as well as other Stalkers and NPCs.

Technical features

Artificial intelligence

The game uses uses GSC Gameworld's proprietary ALife artificial intelligence engine. ALife supports more than one thousand characters living in the Zone.

The NPCs act as if they really are alive, having different states, such as task accomplishment, combat, rest, feeding and sleep. The monsters in the game also act in this way. These monsters will move in large groups. The non-scripted way the characters work means that there are an unlimited number of random quests. For example, rescuing Stalkers from danger, killing Stalker renegades, protecting or attacking Stalker camps or searching for treasure. The AI characters travel around the entire zone as they want.

Numerous different ways of playing the game can be used, such as using stealth and sniping. The NPCs will react in a different way to each of them.

Weather

A weather system works in various parts of the landscape and let the weather act as if it is real, letting the game have weather such as sunshine, storms and showers. The weapons available, the way the AI acts, game tactics and ranking systems will depend on the weather.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer, like many other new games, will work over both LAN and the Internet with up to 32 players. Currently the three game modes are Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Artifact hunt. The game will also use a ranking system.

Initial concept

Early in the development of the game it was named Oblivion Lost, and the game was planned to have more of a futuristic theme before the idea was reworked to set the game in Chernobyl, being a nearby location to the game's Kiev based development team. Eventually, this was reflected in the change of the game's subtitle to Shadow of Chernobyl. Screenshots and trailers of this early version can be found on various web sites, depicting the robots and spacecraft originally planned for the game.

While the source of the Zone may still turn out to have extraterrestrial connections (like in Roadside Picnic, where the Zone is thought to have been an absent-minded, accidental creation of a careless, vastly superior alien race), there is no indication that such more direct manifestations will return.

Development delay

The game was first announced in November 2001 and has had its release date, originally in 2003, pushed back several times. Meanwhile hundreds of screenshots of the game have been released, as well as dozen preview video clips, accompanied by other forms of promotion by GSC, such as inviting fans to their offices in Kiev to play the current build of the game. However due to the delays some considered S.T.A.L.K.E.R. to be vaporware,[4] like the game Duke Nukem Forever, or fear that the game may become a new Daikatana.

In their E3 Awards for 2005, IGN gave S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s absence the award of "Biggest PC Surprise"; the runners-up were the absence of Fallout 3 from the show, and the lack of a new announcement from Blizzard Entertainment.[5]

In February 2005, THQ expressed desire to see the game released toward the end of its 2006 fiscal year (March 31 2006) but maintained that no release date had been set.[6] In October, 2005, THQ confirmed that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. will not be out "until the second half of THQ's 2007 fiscal year - October 2006 at the earliest."[7] In February of 2006, THQ revised this possible release window, saying the game would not be in stores until the first quarter of 2007.[8]

In an interview at the Russian Gameland Awards, PR Manager Oleg Yavorsky indicated that release was planned for September 2006.

In 2006, the game came 9th in Wired's Vaporware '06 award.

THQ ran a competition in January 2007 offering the lucky winners the chance to play the beta version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R, in a 24 hour marathon session. The event, scheduled to take place on the January 24 2007, was subsequently changed to a 12 hour session days before it was supposed to occur.

On the morning of the event, the 'lucky' winners were met at the venue by the THQ staff that had organized the event, who were embarrassed to report that they had been unable to get any copies of the game. In late February GSC managed to release a public beta. Multiplayer demo was released to public on March 15 2007.

On March 2 2007, it was announced that the game had gone gold.[1]

Reception

So far, publications which have reviewed the title have been largely positive, noting the immersive, atmospheric setting and open-ended, rewarding gameplay. Some aspects of the game, such as the translation of printed text, the absence of subtitles for spoken Russian, and general game performance, have received negative criticism. It has also been noted that there are numerous sporadic bugs which can affect gameplay, although most of these are considered minor. However, in the newly released patch 1.0001 it is claimed that many bugs and glitches were fixed.[9] Another common criticism is the fact that less than half of the map is actually accessible by the player.

Publications which have submitted reviews include IGN U.S.[10] (8.2/10), IGN Australia[11] (8.9/10), Gamespot[12] (8.5/10), Australian PC User 95% and PC Gamer[13] (87%). Ukraine's own Gameplay magazine[14] awarded it 4.5 out of 5. UK based website Mansized scored the game 4/5.

Plot

Several years after the Chernobyl disaster, the Zone was occupied and "repurposed" by several research projects run by the Soviet government. Facilities were constructed or expanded under the abandoned military bases and civilian factories and industrial sites in the area, and a large lab was established directly beneath Reactor 4 and its Sarcophagus. These experiments were focused primarily on various aspects of the mind, including creating and enhancing ESP in humans, psychotronic weapons, and an experiment intended to create a human hive mind: the "Collective Consciousness," or "C-Consciousness," project.

Shortly after C-Consciousness was successfully created by the fusion of seven human minds through a computer interface, the Soviet Union collapsed. In the years that followed, some of the research labs were abandoned, and the C-Consciousness entity took greater control over the few facilities that remained in full operation. With its enhanced cognitive abilities, C-Consciousness was able to perceive and eventually to directly alter the "noosphere" (the collective "environment" of all thought, just as the "biosphere" refers to the sum total of all biological matter and its myriad interactions).

The intention of C-Consciousness was subtle mind control on a global scale. It believed that by manipulating the noosphere that the more negative and destructive aspects of human consciousness, cognition, and emotion could be eliminated to create world peace and harmony. Unfortunately, in 2006 C-Consciousness's first major attempt to manipulate the Noosphere resulted in disaster. There was a massive explosion of both psychic and physical force, and the noosphere in the vicinity of the C-Consciousness lab was twisted and distorted. In much the same way that the biosphere can permanently alter the physical landscape of the earth, so manipulation of the noosphere can distort all manner of physical reality: mind over matter on a massive scale.

This distortion of the noosphere powered by C-Consciousness and the machinery it was connected to created the anomalies and many of the mutants that inhabit the Zone in 2012. Desperate to correct its mistake and in order to shield itself from outside interference, especially the meddlesome "Stalkers" beginning to appear in the Zone, the C-Consciousness created an "Alien Monolith" in the center of the gutted Reactor 4, and used its ability to affect the minds of normal humans to create the "Monolith" cult, a group of heavily armed zealots whose tenets included worship of the Monolith and the prevention of "heretics" from approaching the remains of Chernobyl. They converted the Steel Yard radar facility near Pripyat into a powerful "Brain Scorcher" that would blast the mind of any unprotected human who approached too close, turning them into mindlessly aggressive zombies (while allowing C-Consciousness to select some individuals to brainwash into new members of Monolith). Finally, they used some of their agents (former Stalkers spread throughout the Zone) to disseminate stories of a "Wish Granter" at the heart of Chernobyl, ensuring that anyone who did manage to evade both the Monolith faction and the Brain Scorcher would be drawn to the Monolith and disposed of, rather than discovering the existence of the C-Consciousness lab.

This lasted for several years, but the continued efforts of C-Consciousness were unable to repair the damage they had done to the Zone. In fact, the damage appeared to be getting worse, with "Blowouts" deepening the distortion of the noosphere around the Zone at irregular intervals. Still, the C-Consciousness entity persisted in its experiments, behind the shields of the Monolith and the Wish Granter myth, the Monolith faction's patrols, the Brain Scorcher, and the dangers of the Zone itself. Occasionally, though, special circumstances would require an agent, a human able to do what was needed to preserve the Zone's secrets without revealing the existence of the C-Consciousness project. In these cases, Stalkers who were tough and resourceful enough to make it to or past the Brain Scorcher would be captured, brainwashed, and sent back into the outer areas of the zone on one of the "Death Trucks." These agents were marked with the tattoo "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." This is where Strelok, the main character, enters the story.

Strelok and his allies, Ghost, Fang, and Doc, were a group of Stalkers who had a particular interest in what exactly lay at the center of The Zone. At some point a few weeks before the start of the game, they managed to slip past the Brain Scorcher and all the way to the Nuclear Power Plant, finding the Monolith, an electronically locked vault door beneath the Monolith chamber (which leads to C-Consciousness), and documents hinting at the fact that the giant glowing Monolith was in fact a deliberate trap for anyone attempting to discover the secrets of the Zone. Unfortunately, they were forced to retreat, and their next attempt to penetrate into the heart of the Zone met with disaster. They had managed to obtain an electronic lockpick that would open the vault door, but this time the Monolith was ready for them and they were forced to retreat again, and their escape was further complicated by a blowout. Strelok was caught in the blowout and rendered unconscious with a severe case of amnesia. This made for a perfect subject for the conditioning process for a human agent of the C-Consciousness entity. Ghost and Fang escaped, but Fang was seriously wounded and died before the pair made it out of Pripyat, with Ghost moving on to find "safer" work in the outer regions of the Zone.

By this point, Strelok had become a serious threat to the security and secrecy of the C-Consciousness lab and the entity contained there, and it was decided that Strelok must be killed. However, due to unknown factors, C-Consciousness made a mistake: not realizing the identity of the man who had been caught in the blowout, they attempted to program him to kill Strelok, when in fact the man was Strelok. A second accident, the chance destruction of the Death Truck meant to carry this new agent back to the outer Zone, resulted in a loss of C-Consciousness control over him. Strelok was a free agent once again, though confused, amnesiac, and stripped of his possessions. The mission to kill himself led Strelok to retrace his steps through the past few weeks, tracking down his old associates and, over time, putting back together the evidence that had led him to become a danger to C-Consciousness in the first place. With the help of Doc to reveal his identity and to point him in the direction of a backup cache of documentation and another electronic lock pick, Strelok returned to Chernobyl and penetrated to the chamber under the "Monolith," destroying the projection device that created the illusion.

C-Consciousness, having no other option, confronted him to offer an explanation of their actions, the nature of the Zone, and a choice: to join them, bolster their numbers, help them repair the harm they had caused and shepherd humanity's consciousness towards peace, or to face a final confrontation with the remaining forces of the Monolith Faction in an attempt to reach the heart of the real C-Consciousness Lab, in order to put a stop to their manipulations and machinations.

References

  1. "Engine - STALKER". Stalker game website. GSC Game World. http://www.stalker-game.com/en/?page=engine. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  2. "Stalker". Office of Film and Literature Classification. Commonwealth of Australia. http://www.oflc.gov.au/special.html?n=46&p=156&sMediaGames=1&sDateFromM=1&sDateFromY=1970&sDateToM=1&sDateToY=2007&record=218325. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  3. Tom McNamara. "The A.I. of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Revealed". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/580/580849p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  4. IGN Editorial Team. "Top 10 Tuesday: Modern Vaporware". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/701/701364p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  5. IGNPC Staff. "PC Best of E3 2005 Awards". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/619/619565p4.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  6. David Adams. "S.T.A.L.K.E.R Delayed". IGN. http://pc.ign.com/articles/584/584913p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  7. THQ lessens loss, talks next-gen, by Tor Thorsen, Gamespot.com
  8. THQ announces holiday results, delays S.T.A.L.K.E.R., by Brendan Sinclair, Gamespot.com
  9. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. official website (2007-03-26). "Patch v1.0001 release notes". http://stalker.filefront.com/file/STALKER_Patch_World_Wide;77221. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  10. IGN"IGN Review". http://uk.pc.ign.com/objects/480/480467.html. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  11. "IGN Review". http://pc.ign.com/articles/775/775294p1.html. Retrieved 2007-03-24. 
  12. "GameSpot Review". http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/action/stalker/review.html?om_act=convert&om_clk=gssummary&tag=summary;review. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  13. PC Gamer UK issue 173 (April 2007) pages 90-95
  14. Gameplay magazine issue 20 (April 2007)

Other websites

Error creating thumbnail: sh: convert: command not found

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message