The Descent Network Team proudly presents:

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By Razor Blade

Last Updated: 03/31/99 

 

Only a few days have passed since the infamous Phobos Encounter incident. The madman Doctor Phobos had been stopped by VR7. And just when things began to return to normal... the chaos broke again.

 

 

While you read this short introduction and download the mission, listen to the music, which is a special remix of the Mandrill theme by Heiko Herrmann.

 

Story

Only a few hours had passed since the destruction of the Phobos Command Center, with Doctor Phobos in it. But the tale really begins long before then, to a time when the Post-Terran Mining Corporation was testing a secret new "breed" of robots. These robots were called the Intellicons. Tuclaw What made the Intellicons different from any other type of robot was that they had the ability to think on their own. To set their own agendas, and carry out their own whims. Such intelligence was highly experimental and dangerous.

However, it managed to serve the PTMC well for a short while. The PTMC instructed the Intellicons to construct a massive battleship, called the Mandrill. This battleship would be used to quickly dispatch any further robot disasters, or any other general threats to the welfare of the PTMC mines and the employees within them. The Mandrill was completed in five months, and rested at Dredcon Hangar, where it would remain until something major broke out.

It should be noted that the PTMC never utilized the Mandrill during the infamous Phobos Encounter disaster itself. The reason was that PTMC had seriously underestimated Doctor Phobos. This knowledge in mind, PTMC was certainly not going to let such a mistake occur again. At the first report of a robot disaster, the Mandrill would be on the scene.

It did not take long before such a disaster happened again, which brings us to the present state of affairs.....

Intellicon Logo The Intellicons had started to go berserk and began killing the scientists and workers within the testing mines on planet Zetan. No one understood why they turned on their creators, nor what could have prompted such an assault. Regardless, innocent people were dying as the result of robots. And something had to be done.

The retribution began with the dispatching of the Mandrill. If everything went according to plan, the Mandrill could single-handedly dispose of the Intellicons. However, as far as PTMC’s long history goes, the odds for a successful mission were not in their favor.

Verticon After the Mandrill departed from Dredcon Hangar, located on Zetan moon Dredcon, something strange began to happen. The Intellicon units that designed and maintained the Mandrill at the Hangar suddenly ceased their current routines and decided to rebel. It wasn't long before the Intellicons of the Hangar either killed or incarcerated the humans. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Intellicons have obtained the Tyranno Missile launch codes. The Tyranno Missile was a top-secret PTMC Military Division project. It was once planned to be carried by the Mandrill, but it was presently still in the prototype phase of construction.

Prototype or not, the Intellicons have entered the target for the Tyranno Missile as Shiva Station, better known as the headquarters of Post-Terran. Faced with another threat, PTMC called upon VR7, one of the best mercenary pilots available.

The mission was simple: infiltrate Dredcon Hangar and destroy the Tyranno Missile before it launches. The missile was equipped with a device that was designed to have it sustain major damage, but yet hold off a complete explosion for about 1 1/2 minutes. In that slim time frame, VR7 would have to escape the Hangar.

With the threat of the Intellicons and their new level of weaponry, the people of PTMC Intelligence felt that you also needed an edge. In conjunction with AtlantisCorp Technologies, they have given you an all-new prototype fighter ship. Codenamed: "Stingray", this new ship is as easy to fly as the Pyro-GX, yet is built to be decisively more aerodynamic.

Upon completion of the task, VR7 would rendezvous with the Mandrill near planet Zetan. From there, a major assault on the Intellicons would be launched. But, the Intellicons are not the only threat. For there is something much more vile at the core of this tale..... the threat that caused the Intellicons to rebel.

 

Features

 

The Levels

In all, there are seven levels in Project: Mandrill. They are divided into five main levels and two secret areas, accessed from the main areas. The difficulty progresses as you get further into the mission, and the Intellicons become increasingly vicious.

level01.jpg (48547 bytes) Level 1: Dredcon Hangar

The Intellicons have broken through the security in our network and have found the Tyranno Missile launch access codes. Destroy the Tyranno Missile before they can launch it skyward. Rendezvous with the Mandrill post-explosion.

level02.jpg (66300 bytes) Level 2: Centroid Military Base

Intellicons have infiltrated this top-secret military base. Exterminate them by destroying the Reactor core, then escaping the military base before it vaporizes.

level03.jpg (50354 bytes) Level 3: Murdock Tower Colony

While the Mandrill progresses to the dark side of Zetan, strange readings begin to emit from the nearby Tower Colony. PTMC Intelligence detects two coordination robot here, but is unable to truly identify it as an Intellicon. Whatever it is, dispose of it.

level04.jpg (49747 bytes) Level 4: Icestorm Mine

VectorCorp units have penetrated the defenses of the Icestorm Mine, where they intend to profit from our latest robot mishap. Stop them from stealing our top secret military plans while fending off the Intellicons.

level05.jpg (76427 bytes) Level 5: ???

The final level of Project: Mandrill is unlike anything you've ever seen before. No details about it will be given out here -- you'll just have to wait until the series releases before you can challenge this level.

levels1.jpg (80857 bytes) Secret Level 1: Tolkka Sewer Facility

Deep under the ruins of the city of Tolkka lies a complex network of sewer lines. The Intellicons are developing some sort of new weapon in these pipelines. Put an end to their operations.

levels2.jpg (71924 bytes) Secret Level 2: The Cauldron

The top-secret PTMC smelting plant that develops and tests many prototype mining weaponry is under attack by the Intellicons. Prevent them from stealing this vital knowledge.

 

The Intellicons

Intellicon Logo

Intellicons

Cyclops

Rodent

Silas

Trekken

Parakeet

Keymech

Bomber Mech

SMED Robot

Intellicon Deep Miner

Blasticon

Prawn

Heavy Defense Prototype

From left to right, 1st row: Cyclops, Rodent, Silas, Trekken, Parakeet, Keymech
From left to right, 2nd row: Bomber, SMED, Deep Miner, Blasticon, Prawn, Heavy Defense Prototype

These mechs are just a sampling of the robots in Project: Mandrill. In all, you'll encounter over 20 different Intellicons on your mission. Some are mindless, shooting powerful weaponry without much thought. Other are skillful sniping mechs. And yet others are more than happy to charge towards your Stingray and tear it into space debris.

As if the Intellicons weren't a substantial threat alone, there are all kinds of secondary perils as well. Including destroying a hostile corporation's fighter ships that have invaded a mine. These ships demonstrate exceptional intelligence, and are not likely to give up as easily as the robots might be willing to...

 

Interview with the author

(This interview was held on Kali between Heiko "HH-Software Images" Herrmann and Razor Blade himself right after the final version of the Mandrill was compiled. It was slightly edited by HH for easier readability)

HH: First of all: what do you think is the most important improvement over its predecessor Phobos Encounter?
Razor: Well, the entire process of how the levels were built was changed... there were several drafts made for each level. Every texture is aligned now, which is by far the largest improvement. And the structures and layouts are far more varied and interesting than in Phobos. Phobos was still nice in its own right, since it was the first home-brew set to demonstrate custom robots. Now there are over 20 :)

HH: Is there anything that creates a "deja-vu"-effect like "ah, this is razor's work"? Like Luke has always had those one-cube exits?
Razor: Hmm. Maybe I just concentrate more on explosive robot-destroying action over puzzles... albeit there are several non-mandatory puzzles in Mandrill. I don't know, I can't think of any real consistency Mandrill is as different to Phobos as Phobos was from Chasm.

HH: Yeah, but i remember that something i missed in entropy 1 by Luke Schneider was the secrets... and from what i have seen Mandrill at least has some secrets :). Why do you think action is more important than secret areas?
Razor: Yes, that was one major thing going into the series was that there would have to be secret areas. I tend to be impatient sometimes with video games -- take a Descent level for instance. If a puzzle holds me up for more than five minutes, chances are I'll stop playing it... unless the level up until then was really superb. There is a consistency, that you reminded me of -- there are always two secret levels in my sets :)
HH: Hehe yes! Hm, well but i think secrets that are not important to solve the mission, just to get better weapons and the like (which you will find only in the 2nd or 3rd play), i think those are quite interesting :).

Razor: Yes, those are the type Mandrill has -- none are really crucial to completing your mission. But they make things far easier down the road. You know. Look at how many posts there on alt.games.descent all of the time regarding the same normal D2 levels... Look at how many posts there are on alt.games.descent all of the time regarding the same normal D2 levels... I mean, the Reactor room in that old D1 level... Level 21... that was just crazy
HH: yep, but isn't it rather easy compared to D2 Level 23 ;)

HH: ok, now to the most interesting question: how well do you think it will compete against Entropy 2 from Luke Schneider?
Razor: We can't compare the two sets -- Luke and I have differing styles. We are both good in our own rights. I think, however, that if you had to though... Mandrill would give E2 a run for its money.
HH: Lets compare them in the features/effect they have, e.g. E2 has custom robot weapons, that Mandrill does not have. What does Mandrill in return has what E2 doesn't have?
Razor: Kinda' simple -- E2 has blinking lights, Mandrill doesn't :). I believe the robots in Mandrill have much better characteristics... they all act differently. Mandrill has some real interesting things about it to -- such as the mission where you have to destroy the missile. We also have two really innovative boss mechs, designed by Garry Knudson. They are just killer. There are actually two of one of them, and they work as a tag-team.
HH: so if you kill one the other dies too you mean?
Razor: Yes... also. All of the Mandrill robots have joint data. That means, of course, they can actually move their individual parts... which ties into the characteristics I mentioned earlier.

HH: What can we expect next? Any plans for a sequel? Or waiting for D3?
Razor: I have no plans for a future set anytime soon. I don't want to say anything I can't guarantee here... but as far as the Phobos Encounter. Goes (and hence Mandrill, since it really is the sequel to Phobos), this is the end.
HH: From the story you mean?
Razor: The story, yes... Mandrill picks up on Phobos Encounter's tale.
HH: Is Phobos related to Chasm too?
Razor: No, they are totally unrelated -- Chasm's story has problems... because it sort of clashes with D2's real storyline.

HH: what got you started in Descent?
Razor: It began when I stopped in at the local computer store... and got the demo. At first, I actually hated Descent -- I couldn't figure out how to play it worth squat. And so it sat, on the hard drive, for a good two months... then, one day I was bored... decided to start it up and play it again. The rest is history. I suppose it goes to show that you can't reject Descent early because the controls take some getting used to (especially after playing Doom or whatnot).

HH: when was the first time you wanted to make a siplayer level series?
Razor: As soon as I got Devil, which took a while since I personally didn't have an Internet connection, I started on one
HH: How long is that ago?
Razor: It ended up having 12 levels in all for Descent 1 -- nearly all comprised of nothing but 20x20x20 cubes. No lighting or anything. I'd say it was over 1 1/2 years ago. They were never released. Since I didn't have the Internet readily at the time (and therefore no Kali), single-player levels were the only real way to go

HH: I see so many people announcing new and big single player collections on the DDL, the newsgroup etc. About 90% of them are never finished. What do you think are they doing wrong?
Razor: They have high hopes and aspirations -- you should never announce anything until it is well started upon. Set reachable goals -- even if that means just having a single level. It is good to be enthusiastic, yes... but you can't be afraid to evaluate yourself and ask "Is this goal really attainable?"

HH: (exactly what I always say :) )

HH: What are you starting first when you begin a series/level? Story? Struture? Architecture? Texturing?
Definitely a story -- sitting down in Microsoft Word and typing out a story. Then, a level setup, and how the story develops between levels. Lastly, the actual building of the levels. The robots were made on and off between phases of construction. Still though, Mandrill's original story is vaguely like it is now -- I've thrown in several other elements... originally, Mandrill was not Phobos 2. But, because of the rapidly changing plot, it became that way

HH: Are there any final words you want to send to the pilots who will now descend into the world of Mandrill?
Razor: Sit back, strap yourself in, and hold on tight -- you haven't seen anything like this... good luck :)

HH: great thanks for your time and this fantastic level series :)
Razor: And thank you, Heiko, for the music and all of the other stuff you did.

(Editor's note: Razors earlier mission sets Chasm and Phobos Encounter are available on this server too, so if you did not seen them yet, look at them now. We also talked about missions by Luke Schneider, also available on this server: The Entropy Experiment and Entropy 2: Vengeance).

 

Credits

Kudos to the great folks who helped bring this entire project together...

Thanks also to:

 

The Download

Descent 2 V1.2 is required for proper play of Project: Mandrill. If you have V1.0 or V1.1 please update to V1.2 first. If you only own Descent 2 Destination Quartzon or the Descent 2 Interactive Demo, simply forget it. These versions are incompatible to Project: Mandrill!

When starting the MANDRILL.EXE, a prompt will ask you for the path to the MISSIONS subdirectory of Descent 2 Commercial V1.2. Enter that path and press RETURN. If the EXE is already located in the MISSIONS subdirectory, then just hit RETURN. To play, simply go to "New Game..." from the Descent 2 main menu and select Project: Mandrill.

Note for Macintosh users: Project: Mandrill plays fine on Descent 2 V1.2 for Macintosh. However you need the Mac unRAR utility to extract the PC EXE file. Get it here.

 

 

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Project: Mandrill - A Descent 2 Level Series. Level designer and project coordinator: Razor Blade. Story/Writing: Razor Blade. Robot Designers: Razor Blade, Garry Knudson. MIDI Music: Heiko Herrmann, Jay Hoeberechts. Music conversion: Stephen Koppes, Dan Wentz, Heiko Herrmann, Razor Blade. Web site written by: Razor Blade, Heiko Herrmann. Web space provided by: Heiko Herrmann. MNX/AUT Info: Heiko Herrmann. Lead playtester: Garry Knudson. Playtesters: Luke Schneider, Heiko Herrmann, Nautique2000. Mandrill logo: Nautique2000. Special thanks to: Bryan Aamot, Descent Developer's List, Pooterman, Koolbear, Bitspit. E-Mail Razor: jamr@teleport.com.

Legal Information: You may NOT distribute the MIDI music found in this compilation, nor may you distribute the Project: Mandrill files in any other form than the distributable file provided here. The MIDI music is copywritten material used with permission by the composers. The MIDI music may not be altered without the consent of the appropriate composer. The same also applies to the graphics. Music by Heiko Herrmann is owned and produced by Oil Tank Productions. The Project: Mandrill files are provided as-is and may NOT be distributed for profit.