“Stalker Soup”, Narodnaya Solyanka

By Jim Rossignol on July 26th, 2011 at 9:02 pm.

Happy holidays!
So I’ve finally got around to installing the Shadow Of Chernobyl “mega-mod”, Narodnaya Solyanka. It’s a tangled compilation of Russian-language add-ons, put together by a Russian team, which has been roughly translated into English by enthusiastic bi-lingual Stalker-fans. The translation is interesting. Overall, though, Narodnaya Solyanka provides us with a vast amount additional content, including new maps, maps pulled in from the other games, and a daunting radioactive salad of minor Stalker mods. It hugely expands the size of the zone, and reportedly adds another several hundred hours of missing-driven content. It is also a bizarre and off-putting experience, as my initial dabblings have discovered. “It all gets better after the cave,” is the mantra that appears across various Stalker forums. And they’re right. Because the cave is a horrible mess. What lies beyond, however, is intriguing…


Here’s the translated feature list of the mod:

- 30+ Locations: Cordon, Swamp, Garbage, Dark Valley, Forgotten Wood, Not Reconnoitered Territory, SRI Agroprom, Bar, Wild Territory, Yantar, Military Warehouses, Radar, Pripyat, CHAES1, CHAES2, Sarcophagus, ATP, Red Forest, Limansk, Hospital, Old Village, Generators, Underground Research Agroprom, Lab x18, X16, X10, Varlab, Cave, Labyrinth, Merv, Zaton.
- 14+ Mutants: jerboa, rat, leech, marsh bloodsucker, a chimera, elktrohimera, controller, kink, poltergeist, fire poltergeist, byurer.
- 13 Factions: Loners, Military, Mercenaries, Bandits, Environmentalists, Duty, Last Day, Freedom, representatives of the “O”-consciousness, Monolith, Clear Sky, Hunters, Avengers + dealers and repairers (even rumors of the presence in the Zone of women).
- Huge number of weapons, from fists and knives to heavy machine guns and grenade launchers.
- Great variety of armor, with the possibility of upgrading.
- 5 types of detectors. 15+ anomalies. 4 mobile teleport devices. 45+ artifacts.
- Huge number of quests (200 to 300 hours of content). Unique quest caches.

You’ll notice that some of those are new areas, some of them are from Clear Sky, and one is even, possibly, from Call Of Pripyat. I haven’t got far enough (or read enough forum threads) to confirm the state of them in the mod, but I think I want to find that out for myself. The advocates for this mod are so rabid, that I have had to forgive the shambolic aspects it has so far displayed when compared to the focus of things such as the Complete series.

(It also has dodgy Russian ballads installed over the menus and other things I didn’t need to find out about for myself.)

Anyway, you’ll find instructions on how to download Narodnaya Solyanka here. They are fairly comprehensive, and the download is broken into eight bits, so it’s a bit laborious to download. Hopefully it’ll be worth it. I’ve also uploaded my savegame from just after “the cave” just here. Basically the cave is a horrible, confusing dungeon scene that the modders have crammed in at the start of the game. It’s squalid and stupid and frustrating, and should probably be skipped. It almost stopped me playing the mod entirely. But, thanks to me, you probably don’t have to play it. Assuming the savegame works ok.

So yes! My plan is to play it a bit over the coming weeks and then do a big write-up. By poking you lot to do the same maybe we’ll have a useful discussion at the end of it. Maybe not. Either way, it’s a lot more Stalker, which can’t be a bad thing.

Let’s coming back to this in a couple of weeks, eh?

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93 Comments »

  1. phosgene says:

    Why don’t I like this game? I want to like it so badly. I just can’t make it past the first hour or so without never wanting to play it again. I’ve given it about three tries. Can someone please tell me how to like it?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’m afraid you are broken. Take yourself back and ask for a replacement.

    • Ghost of Grey Cap says:

      Maybe you should just embrace the fact that you don’t like it? Actually, try Call of Pripyat. A far better game, with a far more engaging first hour.
      But a correct diagnosis would only be possible if you told us WHY you want to like it/can’t stand it.

      EDIT: Don’t listen to journalists, they’re just cruel and will make you cry.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Push on. Stop giving up, it’s a simple solution. The start is a bit pants, but I think there must be some equation for how shit the start of a game is and how good it can then become. I’m thinking of Alpha Protocol, Stalker and Planescape Torment here.

      Also, no I didn’t like Call of Pripyat at all really. Couldn’t get into it and it felt like a very different game made by people who didn’t know why the first one was so good.

      Or as Grey says, just don’t play it? There’s nothing wrong with not liking it.

    • sinister agent says:

      You’re not alone. I’ve given it and its mods many chances, and always reached the same conclusion that it’s just too broken for me to enjoy. Which is a shame, but there you go.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well I find the broken thing bizzarre. I found it had no problems, and I’m generally a curse for computer games, I couldn’t get passed the intro level of CoD WaW due to bugs, couldn’t play Saints Row 2 due to crashing.

      Yet I played the first Stalker about 6 months after release with absolutely no issues. If you are not getting very smooth gameplay by which I mean 60 frames per second you often start to encounter more and more problems. But beyond that I can’t help.

    • IDtenT says:

      STALKER games have possibly the most immersive and “real” in-game world that I’ve ever experienced. The aesthetics are without rival for realism driven milieu. The closest I can come for /feel/ is Morrowind.

      Yet, I dislike the games. The RPG elements are tacked on. If it was a proper exploration RPG it would rank up with some of the best games ever, but it isn’t. It’s a horror driven FPS. Possibly my most disliked genre. It’s really an opportunity lost, imho. The FPS bits are done great though – the degenerating armour, the low ammo, low accuracy – all awesome, but not for me.

    • phosgene says:

      @Greycap

      Sorry for being vague. I’m just odd with a lot of games.

      There are several games I know I should like but don’t: Batman: AA, Bioshock, The Witcher, Mount & Blade, X-COM: UFO Defense and… prepare to hate me… Dues Ex.

      At the same time, I really like a lot of games other people tend not to… Brink, DNF, Prototype, Risen…

      I think Jim is right. :[

    • Crainey says:

      It may be an acquired taste, Stalker is one of my all time favourite games and I love all games like it but said games my friends like you didn’t last 3 hours.

    • IDtenT says:

      Luckily it’s legal for tastes to differ. I too am somewhat indifferent to Deus Ex, more so because I found the voice acting frankly quite terrible. Yet, I was playing Anachronox at the same time – so it’s not really a fair assessment, what with Anachronox possibly having the best voice acting in a game ever. It actually brings up an interesting point of how two exceptional games played over a short span of time can show the individual flaws.

      Enough of a tangent, I feel STALKER deserves the praise it gets. It’s a 90/100 series. I enjoyed it more than the Half Life series for one and both are about as appealing as poop to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Just want to say, I like Brink and Prototype. There is nothing wrong with liking those (I also bought Risen in the Steam Sale and hope to like that too. Contrary to what you say, I believe it has quite a lot of supporters.)

      Edit: I also think Deus Ex is overrated. Great ambition and wish more would look towards it for inspiration, particular in the way the levels are designed and the amount of scope the player has, but the mechanics, art design, animations and voice acting are terrible to the point that I just can’t say it is the greatest game ever made.

      Although I really liked Stalker when I first played it, I have never been able to replay it. I get through Cordon, enjoying reasonably enough, but just hate the next area. I just can’t get beyond that.

      I personally think Call of Pripyat is the best in the series, although I haven’t actually played enough to get beyond the first area. That is quite a substantial amount of game though.

    • Kent says:

      How ironic, I have trouble not liking Stalker SoC.

      It feels like a real survival game that puts all of the Fallout games to shame and all other games from the survival genre that I’ve tried.

    • noom says:

      Strange. For me, the first few hours of SoC were some of the most enjoyable of my gaming life. I got sucked into it immediately, and it was only when the cracks started to show a few hours in that I developed any negativity towards the game. Of course I was immensely excited about STALKER for years before it was released, so that may have skewed my perceptions somewhat…

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kent

      “real survival game”

      Err, am I forgetting something? I don’t recall the STALKER games having eating, drinking, or sleeping requirements, and I don’t see how you can consider something a “survival” game without those basic elements.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Vinraith

      Funny, I remember Shadow of Chernobyl having hunger and sleep. Though it’s been a long time since I last played vanilla, I usually just play with Oblivion Lost.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Kaira

      It’s totally possible I’m remembering wrong, and indeed I hope I am. I’d been meaning to give SoC another shot (got stopped by a bug the first couple times I tried it), this is all the more reason to do so.

    • qrter says:

      Yeah, eating and sleeping requirements were added through mods, just like the blowouts. I believe all were supposed to be in the vanilla game but were removed/disabled, for some reason.

      Personally, I have nothing but love for the first STALKER (not a big fan of CoP) – there has to be a certain ‘click’ in the first few hours, something that appeals to you. If it doesn’t happen, well, you just don’t like the game. It happens.

      For me the game clicked in three steps. First was when I initially saw a couple of anomalies, I just stared at them in wonderment – I can’t remember when I last had that reaction playing a game, pure wonderment. The second was the first battle at the farm, having to approach it tactically, not just rushing forward. The third was when I figured out I could cross the bridge without confronting the military guarding it.

    • Metonymy says:

      I have the same problem. I love FO3 and NV, so I should love this series.

      But, the weapons all behave exactly like a COD weapon, (unforgivably bland) all the enemies seem uncreative, the story seems like the homestuck guy decided to make real-world fiction, there is needless micromanagement (I’m surprised you don’t have to tell your guy when to go to the bathroom) and weapons not only break instantly, but can’t be resold for cash. I’m not even sure where money is supposed to come from.

      But I like the open world, and all the little mini-events. I just feel like the game has one brilliant person working on it, and the rest of the dev team is trying to simulate a dentist visit. Everything that can be made less convenient or fun, is.

    • Sassenach says:

      I first got this and installed it on a computer that couldn’t run it without it freezing the whole computer irretrievably, so I didn’t even get to ‘Don’t stand there Stalker, I said come in!’. I considered this a tragedy because the snatches of game I saw promised something brilliant. I think from said slight experience and persistant rave reviews when I later tried it on a computer that wasn’t highly allergic to it’s performance demands I was expecting something unrealistically superb and thus was disappointed. So it goes.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yeah, eating and sleeping requirements were added through mods, just like the blowouts. I believe all were supposed to be in the vanilla game but were removed/disabled, for some reason.

      I gather Oblivion Lost adds these back in, but IIRC it also changes a lot of other things. I don’t suppose there’s a mod (preferably one compatible with Complete) that would reactivate these without changing other stuff? Technically I’d be playing the majority of the game for the first time, so I’d like an experience close to vanilla, but I adore survival elements of this sort and suspect they’d help propel me through the game if they were in.

    • merc says:

      I’m exactly the same, I’ve tried 3 times and can’t make it further than a few hours in before I start disliking it… terrible starting guns, ridiculous bullet sponge soldiers, jarring transitions that regularly dump you right into the middle of a group of hostiles, a useless torch and so on.

      Fortunately I gave Call of Pripyat a try because I loved that one.

    • John P says:

      I’m not gonna criticise people for not liking the games because there’s no accounting for taste, but some of the complaints here are just plain weird.

      But, the weapons all behave exactly like a COD weapon, (unforgivably bland) all the enemies seem uncreative, the story seems like the homestuck guy decided to make real-world fiction, there is needless micromanagement (I’m surprised you don’t have to tell your guy when to go to the bathroom) and weapons not only break instantly, but can’t be resold for cash. I’m not even sure where money is supposed to come from.

      I mean that’s just … wrong.

    • Shodex says:

      If you have trouble getting in to it, but you really want to. Try the Complete 2009 mod, it fixed the game for me. I can’t get in to Vanilla S.T.A.L.K.E.R., but Complete 2009 just added all those little things that made it so much better.
      Also, if you’re like that, it vastly improves the dated graphics and lets you flex your computer muscles a lot more.

    • rayne117 says:

      I’m telling ya Vinraith, those requirements are in the game if you have Complete. Maybe you never played long enough to get to them.

    • Vinraith says:

      @rayne

      Hmm, maybe I didn’t. If so, that’s fantastic news. Thanks!

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      Tom De Roeck says:

      @DrGonzo Maybe you broke it so much it works again?

    • Lightbulb says:

      The main problem I had with SoC (which I loved as what it is – a linear FPS with exploration; much like Crysis; and a great sense of place).

      The crappy starter guns had to go though. So I modded one text file to make the guns behave like guns. Starter pistol has short range but at least you don’t need to be 2 feet away.

      Also upped the damage to Counter-Strike levels really. 2 or 3 hits to take someone down.

      Suddenly the game was really really fun.

    • jackelope says:

      I tried SoC several times too, and yet always give up after a few hours. I really want to like this game, but I just get bored. Surely there’s something wrong with me.

  2. Ghost of Grey Cap says:

    Mr. Rossignol, is the mod stable (from what you’ve played so far)? I’d love to get more Stalker, but I couldn’t handle installing that nightmare just to get hit with a crash every twenty minutes…

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’ve not had any crashes so far. I am about 3 hours in. My system is particularly stable with SHOC though, where other folks have been crashy.

  3. Tim James says:

    Let us know about the quests. I badly want someone to write a ton of quests for Call of Pripyat using all those perfect compartmentalized locations.

  4. Sinnorfin says:

    I wish Stalker didnt turn from the lonely survivor adventure they advertised it to be to the kill armies of people it is..

    Entering Prypiat first…oh please let me be the first..but no..Everyone is there..and more..this is no ghost town.

  5. DrFaceDoctor says:

    Too bad it bumps up Stalker’s RAM usage considerably, up to at least 3 gigs (I have 4 gigs and a ton of processes going on because Windows). I don’t have that sort of dosh.

  6. Flame_US3r says:

    I am nearing the end of Call of Pripyat (with the complete mod), and it has been a truly glorious experience. This mod just might satiate my hunger for more Stalker.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s much messier than Complete. I am hoping the additional levels and such will make up for surface ugliness.

    • Flame_US3r says:

      Pretty much to be expected. I’m not worried about the ugliness… just about how I will collect the ‘huge numbers’ of new weapons.

      I imagine it will be easier for an experienced Stalker fan to enjoy right off the bat.

  7. Baka says:

    So I read this has absolutely horrendous, Postal 2 like loading times. Can anybody comment on that? CoP Complete was teethgrindingly annyoing in that regard, don’t know if I could suffer even longer ones.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I read the same and installed it to my SSD for quick loading. It does seem like the times might be unhelpful.

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      It has.
      At first I thought it was crashing my PC but by a stroke of fate (screaming kids) I left the black “Not Responding” screen alone for ten minutes and came back to a functioning game. It’ll hang in the same manner for a few minutes if you change any of the video options too. That said, it seems to be worth the trouble so far ( just had a fight with bandits at the Garbage scene).

    • sqparadox says:

      On my machine it’s comparable it to CoP Complete in that regard. I’ve seen similar load times, but I think on average they’re shorter. i720 with 6GB of RAM and 16GB Readyboost Flashdrive (to cheap to shell out for SDD… for now) running off a 1TB HDD with Windows on a separate drive but I’m also running it under Windows 7 Compatibility mode (7×64 SP1) which basically triples load times. I have no idea why that is but it’s a night and day comparison. It’s really gonna depend on your hardware; most of my loads in Portal 2 were in the range of seconds, not what I would call long by any means. My guess would be that it will load faster than CoP Complete regardless.

      Having 7.1, I’m willing to sacrifice on load times for surround sound, which is what necessitates the use of Win 7 compatibility mode. I’ve never had more trouble getting surround sound out of a game than with the Stalkers (it really hates Realtek hardware). And none of the workarounds I’ve used successfully carry over to any of the other games. In CS I use a software implementation of OpenAL, however on SoC and CoP it only produces 2.1 (it’s not recognized in the log files the same way it is in CS, even in CoP oddly). I’ve actually never found a solution for CoP despite having played through 90%ish of the game before I realized the surround sound had been emulated (Dobly Prologic) the entire time. I finally got SoC working in prep for installing this using Realtek’s implementation of OpenAL, but it’s really finicky. Works fine in-game but locks on launch at least half the time I try to load it (it’s a Windows issue, as I’ve seen it trying to restore EAX functionality to other games- it’s crashing nt.dll and kernal32.dll). But I’m more than willing to sacrifice the annoyance for what looks like a great FPS RPG experience… especially since I’ve spent a fraction of the time in SoC that I have in CoP (124 hours) or CS (82 hours without ever touching vanilla- thank you RPS and Total Faction War).

  8. Yuri says:

    Is there a medical condition pertaining to mod addiction? If not, there should be.
    Jim, i love you for this.
    I got properly hooked on mods in the days of UT2004. Then Homeworld 2, Half Life 2, the various Stalkers, Fallout 3/New Vegas etc.
    So, as a mod junkie, any other superbly moddable games like the ones above?

    • Flame_US3r says:

      Well dragon age has a fairly large mod community… that and Oblivion is still going strong (until skyrim at least). Crysis also has a few great mods (Mech Warrior: Living Legends for starters… and that reminds me i need to check up on the Predator mod)

      If you’re a fan of the oldies but goodies, I know there were some great mods for Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 (wasn’t there one that combined the two?)

    • Yuri says:

      Ah, i knew i forgot something. I know of Dragon Age, just forgot to mention it. The very name sort of doesn’t pop in my head so often ever since the thing that is Dragon Age 2. Curious.

    • Fumarole says:

      If you’re a fan of the oldies but goodies, I know there were some great mods for Baldur’s Gate 1 & 2 (wasn’t there one that combined the two?)

      Indeed there is. It is wonderful.

    • Flame_US3r says:

      Indeed there is. It is wonderful.

      Ah, yes, this must be it. Thank you, sir.

    • Nick says:

      The big world project also contains a lot of horrible, shitty mods. I’d just use tutu to play BG1 in the BG2 then import the save, personally. Or use BGT if you *must* play them joined up.

  9. tehzipfile says:

    Made a big post about it on Facepunch in the RPS-bot thread:

    http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1111116-%E2%80%9CStalker-Soup%E2%80%9D-Narodnaya-Solyanka

    Has things you need to know, and things you should get, and includes one of my adventures!

  10. gallardo1 says:

    I’m new to stalker and its mods, so I dare to ask if I can play stalker + complete + this mod packed together?
    (complete is only a graphical mod right?)

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I haven’t tried a merger, but some elements of it might be possible.

    • westyfield says:

      I haven’t tried this mod, but I’d recommend playing through Shadow of Chernobyl vanilla first, or with Complete installed. Dunno about you guys but I always like to get the experience the developers intended, even if that experience is somewhat broken. It also helps me to better appreciate the new stuff that mods add.

    • malkav11 says:

      Complete is primarily a graphical mod, but it also rolls in several feature and bugfix mods and is probably not easily compatible with any other major mods.

  11. Juiceman says:

    As long as the translations are reasonable, and not just copy/pasted from babel phish, I’ll have to check this out.

  12. mollemannen says:

    i tried the stalker games several times but i could never complete any of them. then i actually bought soc and cop on steam and run them with the complete mods and completed both of them with about 20 hours gametime each. they are fantastic games if you can immerse yourself in them.

  13. eightbitrobot says:

    This mod always seemed like a mess to me, with a bunch stuff ripped from other games and crammed in to one big package.

    The next STALKER mod I’ll play will probably be Lost Alpha or maybe PRP.

  14. felisc says:

    hey so this is a bit like this “gaming book club” you were referring to in the forums. let’s all play this and share.
    For some reason, so far I have not played modded Stalkers. Time to try i guess.

  15. airtekh says:

    oooo interesting. Sounds like something I’ll have a crack at when I eventually get around to replaying Shadow of Chernobyl.

    I’m playing Call of Pripyat (with the complete mod) at the moment and I’m loving it.

  16. mmiasmostati says:

    I remember trying this after hearing good things, got to the cave and uninstalled it because it was utterly terrible. I’ll try it again with the save though, thanks for that.

    I should probably get through Clear Sky first though, not going to clear my backlog by going back to games I’ve already finished.

  17. Strontium Mike says:

    Is this the mod where they inexplicably disabled ‘save where you want’ and replaced it with checkpoints?

  18. Hensler says:

    So if I’ve never played Stalker, should I go with vanilla, this mod pack, or another mod pack to get the best first-time experience?

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Go with vanilla, or at least look for mod packs that only affect graphics. Other mods just change too much of the core game not always for the best, STALKER modders have a very kitchen sink approach to modding the game.

    • DainIronfoot says:

      I’d go for STALKER complete which is mainly a graphics and bugfixing mod.

    • Flame_US3r says:

      Edit: What DainIronfoot said^
      ————————-

      Read up/download here: http://artistpavel.blogspot.com/

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I tried the original Stalker back in the days, but it didn’t run on my old rig at ALL!

      I bought a stalker pack on Impulse last year (SoC isn’t available on Steam for Germans. I’ll contact the RPS smuggling ring next time it’s on sale) and I’m playing it with Complete mod just these past days. I’m just before Pripyat right now, the brain scorcher, and it’s a tense, wonderful, terrible experience, and just about the most excentric, perfect survival shooter I’ve played. The inventory works perfectly. I’m always on the verge of ammo-shortage, radiation-antidote-shortage and stamina shortage at the same time. I don’t think any RPG can achieve this sense of out-there-alone, though these were the games that gripped me the most in the recent past.

    • malkav11 says:

      Go with Complete. It doesn’t change anything significantly, but it makes the whole game vastly more polished, attractive, and compelling. I bounced off Stalker repeatedly until Complete came along, and once I installed that, I was hooked enough to finish the whole thing and move on to Clear Sky.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Stick with vanilla for the first game, complete does add more than graphics and bug fixes. There are some changes that really effect how the core game is played. It’s really hard to find a large mod for this game that doesn’t go just that little bit too far.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’d be curious to know what you think those “changes that substantively affect how the core game is played” are, because I’ve played both vanilla and Complete and Complete struck -me- as being entirely faithful to the original experience, but better.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Repair kits, repair dialogue, faction reset options, sleeping bag, ai changes, npc view distance for a start. Carrying explosive barrels, totally makes one quest very easy, weapons also felt different, but that could be my imagination.

      Sleeping bags allow you to skip nights, repair kits and repair options change the balance of the game. There’s a free good set of armour to be found stashed somewhere on each map, usually just when you need it. Sometimes it means downgrading but it encourages you to keep moving, same for weapons you never really become attached to a gun because it’ll fall apart on you sooner or later but if you can repair it instead of keep on moving you’ll be doubling back all the time. The way Faction resets can change the game should be obvious, especially since money is easy to come by and there’s little else to spend it on.

      And of course most importantly how is anyone going to get the full STALKER experience if they aren’t constantly being told to get out of here?

    • Muzman says:

      What are the faction reset options? I didn’t notice those. You couldn’t join a faction at all originally
      The sleeping bag allowing you skip nights is an interesting point. All the mods put it back and all the sequels have it so I guess I’m used to it. If I wanted to skip nights I’d just stand in the fruit cellar or wherever and go get a coffee. I do think its true that the ability to sleep should be coupled with being compelled to sleep, instead of just being a time skipping mechanism. Planning around how tired you are and how far you have to go, safe places and so on, is really cool in the mods that do that.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Faction reset lets you undo the consequences of your actions, for a price. So if you take a job to kill someone and their friends become hostile you can make them neutral again, useful if their friends hold a primary choke point you have to cross frequently. I never tried the version included in Complete, but some versions do allow you to join factions, even the military and monolith.

    • Muzman says:

      Ahh, so you can buy your way out of pissing off either Duty or Freedom, should you end up taking a side (accidentally or on purpose).
      I usually play it so I end up mostly neutral with them both so I didn’t spot that.
      Yeah, letting you out of game altering consequences like that isn’t such a great idea.

  19. Premium User Badge

    jsbenjamin says:

    What, exactly, is “missing-driven content”? Sounds mysterious! ;)

  20. Fwiffo says:

    I’m not going back into the Soup for anybody. It’s basically the anti-Stalker in my opinion. Clogs up the zone with so much ridiculous crap I thought it was some kind of bizarre Russian joke at first. It rapidly lost the novelty batshit factor and just feels like what would’ve happened if GSC had a hyperactive 15 year old boy whose demands couldn’t be refused forced on the design team.

    That said, there is the Russian Sigerous mod for CoP that is a little bit more restrained and adds a lot of content in a good context that I have nothing but manlove for. It also comes in an easy to install version made by a great guy called Blackbyte. I suggest you try that if you want an example of how tons and tons of stuff can be added to Stalker and not make it into a parody of itself.

    My favourite mod is surprisingly one for Clear Sky. The Faction War is a lovely piece of modding that escews the kitchen sink approach of the scene and instead creates athe ultimes Stalker sandbox where you can lead your favourite faction to dominance over the whole Zone or simply live the humble life of a loner, seaching for artifacts and taking randomized jobs while tryhing to make a buck. Massively underrated.

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    fupjack says:

    When you first play the normal Shadow of Chernobyl and everything seems wierd, and you die too easily, and the world hates you – that’s the same feeling this mod gave me, even after so many hours already exposed to the game.

    Some of it is untranslatable and confusing, but that (to some extent) increases the sense of immersion.

    I gave up when I hit a point at the Brain Scorcher I just couldn’t get past. Other than that, fun and difficult. I may have to play it again now and see if I can get past that point…

  22. Siimon says:

    For those of you who dont want to bother with the megaupload links I’ve got a torrent for you on a couple of fast servers:

    http://91.121.169.29/stalker-megamod.torrent

    same files as the originals, you can verify the md5 if you want :)

  23. Metalslug says:

    Narodnaya Solyanka is by far one of the best way’s to experience Stalker right now. Also for everyone complaining about the Death Cave there is a way to start the game right after that point. Also if you look around there is a Very Large PDF that is a guide which tells you how to get to the teleports and how to do all the extra Quests.

    Also if you look around there is a Torrent for the whole game as well.

    With the guide and no death cave my only gripe about this mode is the long load times. Thank god i have a SSD drive. You may have to lurk around the GSC forum to find all the stuff i am talking about but it worth the effort.

  24. Maj.Chernov says:

    I found SoC perfectly fine without any mods, though it may due to having a exceptionally stable game. Then again my computer can’t handle Stalker complete so it may make my opinion useless. Stalker just generally takes some time and a lot of effort to get into it, but when you do its just masterful.

  25. SimonDuck says:

    Every time I start a stalker game I re-do my computer and forget to backup the save game. Yes, stupid. With this begin a couple of hundred hours longer, I can see myself doing the same thing. Yes, stupid.

  26. Cael says:

    I’m proud of RPS for covering this mod, in soviet russia, people make soup out of you!

  27. Morte66 says:

    I can see what people mean about the kitchen sink approach in stalker mods. A lot of the compendium modders seem to think that just because it’s possible to integrate something into their mod, it will automatically make the game play better. The idea of gameplay depending on various elements being in somewhat-balanced tension is foreign to them. They’re more about “can we add extra stuff without crashing?”

    Some time back I played Priboi Story and I enjoyed it, but at times it seemed a bit silly. For example, at the end I had about six artifacts giving bullet resistance along with my exoskeleton, which gave me over 100% bullet resistance. Even when I’d taken a chunk of suit damage, I was still invulnerable. And there were the gangs of 30-50 monsters hanging around at map edges for no clear reason — the modders acknowledged that they were not good for the game, but putting them in was a technical achievement and that was what really mattered.

    I guess this is to be expected. When no money changes hands, you’re liable to get the mod that the modders want to make rather than the mod that players want to play.

    I keep telling myself that one of these days I’ll learn a bit of simple modding, take a graphics/fix mod like Complete, and add a few gameplay changes to my taste. I’d change the field/range of vision vs light levels to make stealth gameplay more practical, add realistic weapon ranges and durability, and drop the respawn rate so areas stay clear for a while to feel more like a world and less arcadey.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Oblivion Lost was like that, with the additional artifact slots and the ability to upgrade artifacts. By the time you reach Pripyat, not only are you invulnerable to most forms of damage, most forms damage also heal you and repair your gear.

      I long for a mod for Call of Pripyat that just adds a few extra weapons, to fill in the gaps, SMGs and shotguns are under represented a few bolt action rifles would be nice too. All the maps, and some new stuff to do in free play.

    • Ghost of Grey Cap says:

      Sounds like you want to play RCOM (when the new version comes out).

    • Strontium Mike says:

      I’m quite familiar with RCOM, it’s exactly not what I’m looking for. I’m quite happy with the vanilla mechanics and weapon handling, I like the hud, okay maybe it’s a little big but the overall design is okay. I like the game as is, I just want more to do and more places to explore. I’m just after an expansion pack, I wish GSC would do one, just a couple of extra guns like the Bizon or Skorpion, some new areas to explore (or old one’s to revisit) and something to actually do in freeplay. The STALKER series are the one set of games I’d gladly buy DLC for .

  28. squirrel says:

    Oh, please. Can anyone offer a link for downloading the English translation mod? The one posted is a Megaupload one and it forbids access from my city.

  29. fuggles says:

    Where is this cave of which you speak? I start with concussion next to a chap and I went straight ahead into some tough gunfights at garbage. Granted, that’s as far as I have got so far and yes, loading times are pretty bleak. This is rumoured to add women to STALKER, are there any screen grabs of this? I am curious as to if it was cut content or some sort of anime hack.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      If it uses the same resources as a lot of other mods then it’s probably a character model lifted from another game. Was there ever any female characters planned for STALKER?

  30. geokes says:

    Damn it I’ve nearly completed it in STALKER 2008 and now I want to play it with this -.-