Wages of Gold. Job of Sulfur.
And there, unto hell, shall be the sinner cast! Sin,
Duke Nukem 3D's bastard child, was a disappointment to most people. It
had some good level design and great concepts, but was bogged down severely
by boring weapons, a host of bugs, and a somewhat boring look and feel. It looked
especially disappointing when compared to its contender at the time, Half-Life.
Even before Sin was released, Activision had announced that it would
publish Sin Mission Pack: Wages of Sin. While it's a consistent continuation
of Sin, it's not an angel that would carry it up to gaming heaven.
Created by 2015 Studios, Wages of Sin picks up right where Sin left off. Just a few days later, a mean 'n nasty mobster is intent on causing some serious mal-pleasantness and has kidnapped a Sin Tek scientist to help him do just that. There is now a new source of U4 production . . . bad, very bad. John R. Blade, the dreadlocks sporting badass from Sin's Hardcorps, must, naturally, kick ass and take names over the course of 17 missions. All this to preserve the public health and give you all a way to waste your afternoons when you could be working.
To help you obliterate your enemies, there are now a few new weapons: a concussion cannon, dual pistols, a flame thrower, a plasma bow, a guided rocket, a stinger pack, and the IP36 Nuclear Explosive Device. On the whole, the new weapons are very satisfying, adding a lot more variety and punch to the fairly placid, boring weapons that bogged down Sin.
You get to use these wonderfully expressive toys against a host of new enemies. From chest exploding mutants, to attack dogs, to Mafia hoods . . . they're all here. The monsters are well varied near the beginning, with Blade having to face mutants and humans of all colors and shades. As the levels progress, though, the enemies tend to degenerate from those possessing recombinant DNA to only those possessing Italian DNA, which is a bit of a let down. To spice things up, there are a few mini bosses at certain levels, but that's to be expected.
As far as the levels go, they are at least as good, if not better, than those found in the original Sin. The architecture is varied, the puzzles are creative (a few computer puzzles are too creative), and the environments differ greatly from one level to another. Near the beginning, the levels tend to feel very urban, subterranean, and similar to one another in terms of graphics. Fortunately, they do get much more interesting as the game goes on. On the whole, the levels fit very well with the original Sin; stalwarts of the game will not be disappointed.
Aside from the weapons, plot, new monsters, and levels, 2015 also created the Hoverbike. The Hoverbike is similar to the vehicles in the original Sin except that this one moves much faster, corners better, and comes with built-in lethal toys. It's great fun, especially in its own special deathmatch mode.
One thing that can be said about Wages of Sin is that it is perhaps much closer to the original intended release of Sin than Sin ever was. It is polished, virtually bug free, sparkling of genius, and, at its core, supplies some satisfying hard core projectile flying action. As an add-on, Wages of Sin is great. Unfortunately, was Sin ever that good to begin with? I found it to get stale quickly and almost tediously repetitive as time went on, lacking both the sharpness and polish of games like Half-Life, which took the Quake 2 engine to new untold highs. Wages of Sin is still good, but it expands on that flawed base, like a rose growing from soil that was not blessed with Miracle Grow (Ed note: We hope Johnny was financially compensated for this obvious plug.). If you liked Sin, buy this. If not . . . well, you probably aren't reading this anyway and should take up bowling or something while you wait around for Half-Life 2.