SoC - "STALKERSOUP" (old version) Mod Review

Jun 23rd, 2012
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  1. Here it is, I have finally finished playing STALKERSOUP - a modification for STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl and I will now review it for you. This modification promised to add areas and content cut from other games plus content that is already in other STALKER games and the mod indeed added areas and other content. The fact that the mod added these areas into the game is a MONUMENTAL magnet to "mod-crazy" stalkers, but hold onto your belts, stalkers! The "new areas" might appeal you, but there are a few things you should know.
  2. First off - the mod adds pretty wacky content and by wacky, I mean absolutely crazy. Not as loco as some unknown Russian mods, but still pretty loco. The mod also adds and takes from the original storyline. You spawn in Cordon in the middle of a road and talk to a stalker, who guides you to Sidorovich. After that, you need to sleep and see a dream. This is the first point in the mod that made me doubt in the mod. The dream consists of you spawning in a cave, with a badass exoskeleton equipped along with a minigun. It might seem like you are in charge around here, but no, the health of the monsters in STALKERSOUP have been increased pretty drastically and if there are too many snorks, burers, creepy zombies and other creatures crawling around in the cave with you, then the minigun you are wielding doesn't do anything special. I should point out that I was playing the mod with no crosshair and Master difficulty. So, after you are done wielding the minigun, equipping the exoskeleton and killing a few enemies, you will most possibly die, because you can't understand the power of the STALKERSOUP enemies (or the ridiculous amount of enemy NPC-s the mod spawns). Then comes the second annoying point of the mod - loadtimes. I have never experienced loadtimes that long with any mod to STALKER: SoC. Loadtimes can be as long as 1-3 minutes: THREE MINUTES and that on a high-end PC, but it is a great time to cool yourself down after the rage some useless snork has given you. After the dream, you have finally coped with the mod after the wait to play STALKERSOUP and start to focus on the pause screen. This mod added an item spawner, a teleporter, a friend-maker? and all sorts of other doohikis to keep your cheating-mind entertained. This menu was pretty teasing, but it was also ESSENTIAL. I will explain later. After the dream (I also learned that you can skip the dream using the teleporter on the pause screen), you can visit Sidorovich and you can trade with him, then you will notice the ridiculous economy that the mod has. It is pretty depressing to sell an Exoskeleton to pretty much everyone for a 1000 rublas and then see it being sold for about 150000 rublas. So, the prices have been also made loco.
  3. After you have made to the Bar, you really start to doubt the greatness of the mod. I will use the moment here and reveal you the biggest buzzkill of the mod - you will have to unlock the transitions, to the areas the mod has added. The most hardcore fans of STALKER will probably shrug their shoulders here, but the way you have to unlock them is pretty funny. You will have to complete sidequests that are harder than the entire Pripyat and Chernobyl NPP area. I am not kidding. They are monumentally difficult. You can also buy some of the transitions for monstrous prices or find documents that give you the transitions. For example you will find a transition transiting you from Yantar to Red Forest... IN Red Forest. I mean, what is the point of going back to Yantar when you are in Red Forest? You are not going back - you are going to CNPP to finish this mod! I did however visit the added areas using the teleporter on the pause screen. Every area, besides Dead City, Reconeitered Earth, Village and the Forgotten Forest were very well ported. The areas mentioned before were unplayable since some areas had loads of enemy NPC-s added and it was impossible for you to move without getting killed by the amount of enemies without taming them with overpowered armor and weapons or the areas had bugs and events that made it unplayable. I was however very impressed by how East-Pripyat (the Pripyat area from Call of Pripyat) was ported to SoC. There were no bugs, no lag, anomalies in the right places and it even had a tiny bit of that magical Pripyat atmosphere. It was a pity that it had no NPCs in it though, but other new areas had some good moments, too. I was happy when I found out that in the generators area, the crater behind one generator looked exactly like the cover art of STALKER: Clear Sky. Now I will explain why the item spawner was essential to the game. I am pretty sure, that you want to have the good ending, right? That means you have to visit Streloks hiding site in Agroprom Underground, but if you went there with STALKERSOUP, you would find out that nothing would happen. No cutscenes, no new quest tasks, nothing. It is one of the most popular bugs in the mod. That's where the spawner comes in - you have to spawn yourself the decoder AND the Pripyat Decoder documents to enter the door to Monolith. Now, I will speak about some of the other content the mod added. The mod added lots of new weapons, ammo, cars and food. Somebody mentioned here that this mod even added the gravity gun from HL2! (Un)Fortunately I never saw that gun. The description of the new items and also the dialogue of NPC-s were translated from Russian to English using Google Translate, so it isn't very understandable and whenever you buy a new added weapon, you take the risk, that the new ammo for it will be sold very rarely, possibly the only time you have the ammo for it, will be when you bought the weapon. The good thing was that the new weapons were balanced and useful! They looked pretty great too and I liked how there were added new types of knives, binoculars and grenades.
  4. New medicines and food were also added, but I never had the guts to use them, because I was afraid that I might consume something that might affect Marked One so, that I wouldn't like it. In the mod, there was also something really rage inducing, something that made me want to quit the game - anomalies. More specifically, the amount of anomalies. If you have made to the Bar, something happens that increases anomaly spawn rate at least two times. The anomaly clusterfucks you will meet in this mod will
  5. definitely at least once make you quit the game in rage. If I wouldn't have been lucky and I wouldn't have found a super rare, really expensive Anomaly Detector off a random body in Rostok, I wouldn't be making this review right now. I would be throwing bolts. However, if you do find this detector, you sadly have to keep your eyes locked on the radar, because that's where it shows where the anomalies are and you can't enjoy the beauty of the Zone that thoroughly as before.
  6. Speaking about the amount of anomalies, if you went on a hill at the Army Warehouses at night, you would see a rainbow-ish colourful field of dangerous anomalies covering the map. The mod also added many new anomalies. One of them is a complete bitch. It is some sort of blue psi-radiation cloud floating
  7. about and if you walked under the cloud, you would get psi-radiation poisoning, the screen goes yellow, really shaky and annoying. You would have to load a later save to prevent this assholiness. Also, everytime you reload a save, the anomalies on the map change positions. I found this fact useful, since this can prevent sticky situations. One anomaly is even more bitchier than the "psi-radiation cloud". It is an undetectable teleporting anomaly. You step into it and you will be thrown somewhere far away from where you were. SPOILER ALERT PEOPLE! One of those anomalies is right in the doorway to the entrance of Lab X16 in Yantar. The teleporter there pissed me off pretty much. I will remind you that this anomaly is UNDETECTABLE andoutright annoying. Not STALKER atmosphere creating, but just annoying. New NPC-s were also added, for example grandmother zombies. The voice actor to these zombies actually was someones grandmother. Creepy. Speaking of mutant NPC-s, there were some mutants that were both disturbingly creepy and a bit overpowered. Izlomes. You will meet these already in Cordon and you keep meeting them. You will even meet these MJAAACOO yelling son of a guns in the interior of CNPP. They are really deformed zombies that hop around waiting to eat your face. Personal tip - buying a shotgun just meant for izlomes isn't a bad idea. STALKERSOUP added some neat NPC-s, but also fucked some NPC-s and events connected to NPC-s up. For instance, you can't clear the bridge in Cordon off the military, because one NPC is unkillable. If you left Yantar after X16, you will meet a group of bandits and one of them is unkillable and you have to run past him hoping not to get shot, but the biggest screwup with NPC events was possibly the big battle at the Freedom Base. In the battle, there were unkillable NPC-s both on Freedom and Duty side. So, if I went back from CNPP to Army Warehouses, I would possibly still see them fighting at the Freedom Base. Poor Wolf...
  8. STALKERSOUP had many other annoyances, too. Remember those ghostish holographic mutants that attacks you during an emission or at the Brain Scorcher? If you get hit by them with this modn you will get a bit of psi-radiation poisoning which makes your screen all wobbly and shaky. Annoying and not creating any atmosphere. And we all hate chimeras, right? Big scary mutants that can kill in a blink if they jump at you. SOUP took the chimera and gave it electricity. If you shot it at about 20 metres, you would get an electric shock. SOUP also decided to give some enemy humans "invisibility cloaks", that was armor that made the person pretty much invisible. Even the binoculars doesn't detect it. There was also something confusing at the Brain Scorcher. After turning off the Brain Scorcher, nothing happens. No cutscenes, no earthquakes and even no Monolith soldiers spawning happens. Turns out that it was on purpose, you went outside and the Brain Scorcher really was turned off. It was a bit confusing and I can't understand why it was done so. Enemy AI was also confusing sometimes. AI was made both extremely intelligent and extremely dumb. Sometimes you could walk up to a Military soldier just waving its gun around, sometimes you would get sniped by a bandit with a pistol, who is all the way at the edge of the map. Dumb NPC-s were also at the beginning of the Pripyat area. Ally soldiers who were supposed to escort Marked One to the tunnel, but instead they would walk into anomalies. ALL OF THEM walked into the anomalies. CNPP area wasn't any better. There was an APC moving around with a machine gun shooting at me. One hit and I am dead. Radiation was lurking around every corner. The entrance to CNPP was somehow guarded by both the Military and the Monolith and if you somehow luckily got to the CNPP interior, you would see that there was radiation EVERYWHERE. Not a single point where to be without radiation. So pack up with loads of Scientist Medkits before going there. There was also izlomes and invisible Monolith soldiers. If you finally reached the decodable door after cheating yourself the decoder and the documents, you would expect to finally have reached the ending, but no. What could be better then another room filled with invisible Monolith soldiers? And so with lots of luck and a bit of skill, I made to the Doctor. Considering the wackiness of the entire mod, I hoped that I would see the GMan from HL2.
  9. In conclusion, I have to say that this mod had loads of bugs. You had to cheat yourself the needed quest items. Many added sidequests didn't work. Added areas had too many overpowered enemy NPCs spawned and they were buggy. The content was somewhat wacky. A "fuck you" finger, giant mushroom and gravity gun? Really? But after playing through "Clusterfuck - The Mod", you actually felt great, somewhat successful and to be honest. If you have stalker-loving friends, then after completing SOUP, you have something to brag about to your friends. You have been to the hell that is the SOUP version of the Zone and you can feel proud. I even enjoyed playing through SOUP a bit. I experienced new experiences, saw new anomalies, saw entire Pripyat and felt the SOUP Zone.
  10. New experiences, new areas, new mutants and new weapons were possibly the silver lining of the dark buggy, glitchy
  11. cloud of STALKERSOUP.
  13. 5.3/10 - Clusterfucks, overpowered overspawned mutants, unknown events killing you, quest-breaking bugs, loadtimes and overdosed content ruined the rating.
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