Night Work at the factory - Review

Kingpin was one of those games that have aged in a rather weird way; the visual design, sound work and atmosphere still hold up well but the actual combat, to me, has aged very poorly. I still consider it a classic, but it suffers from typical Xatrix difficulty issues (mainly hitscan enemies with high accuracy, as in Redneck Rampage and RTCW as well) It's modding scene never took off, but I doubt many FPS games really did after Half-life hit the scene. As far as I know, Night work at the factory is one of the only and most likely biggest Kingpin mod you'll ever play.

The presentation is fantastic at first; an intro sequence sets the scene and looks amazing especially for a Quake 2 engine game. The scene is set in a snooker/pool bar where the main character is given a job to deliver a message to a factory owner - sounds simple enough (of course it isn't) The mod takes you from a journey through some small outer city areas through to a massive Steel mill, and eventually to the owner's office.

Visual design is simply fantastic; the steel mill part is so convincing I feel pretty convinced the author must work at one, or at least has actually physically been in one. The huge facility overshadows the one in the base game easily. Later levels set in a luxurious house are also equally impressive, and the author shows expert skill at getting good design out of the limits of Kingpin. However...there is also one flaw in creating realistic interiors, and that is that they don't flow well as far as games are concerned. There are a lot of locked doors in the mod, and of course you need to press use on them to open them (One thing I didn't realise until at least about half-way into the mod is that doors that are locked play an appropriate sound when used, whereas static doors make no sound - that was my own fault for not realising it sooner rather than later) Many of the steel mill levels are fairly labyrinth in nature, and whilst most of the time progress backwards is prohibited there was still occasions I could return to earlier levels even though I had no need to.

The plot of the game is fairly rudimentary, and the plot twist while obvious still made the plot a bit more dynamic. At the beginning of the game however there were a few cutscenes that didn't seem to make much sense...I expected them to be a regular thing but they only showed up at the beginning and then no more which made them even MORE confusing. Still, the author makes good use of cutscenes and it gives the mod a nice presentation. Also sprinkled throughout are a couple of funky new tunes, which gives the mod a fairly unique style.

The core game is pretty standard Kingpin fare, although you won't actually get a gun until about a 1/3 of the way into the mod (not that I find the Kingpin pistol any use at all) There are enemies with guns earlier, but they're to be avoided - a few minor stealth sequences at the beginning feel fairly tense. The first half of the pack actually consists of mostly puzzle solving and finding out how to move further ahead. It was pretty fun...the second half deals mostly in combat with puzzles mainly being about finding the location of a switch. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes it's not. There are also jumping puzzles in the mod - quite a lot actually, and sometimes it was unclear where the next step was. Fortunately falling damage is fairly meager in Kingpin so if you're not a habitual quicksaver a miss won't harm you much at all. While supplies are generous in fights, I struggle to enjoy combat in Kingpin - I won't view the mod negatively because of that however (because it IS a mod for Kingpin after all) but if you don't like Kingpin's combat either this mod won't change your mind - but the mod is worth going through regardless. If you DO like it than you'll be right at home here.

To wrap this up...the visual design and style make this mod definitely worth playing despite some sections being frustrating. It's rare to see large mods for older games these days, let alone a one-man band mod for a title like Kingpin. When you see mods like this, they're clearly made with love for the base game. This is no exception, with some of the best looking areas I've seen for the Q2 engine (even beating some Half-life mods I've played as well)

Link to author and mod's website