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The content of this article relates to: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha, a popular third party modification. The information in this article is not to be considered part of the official canon.



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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha
LostAlphaBGCrop
Developer(s)

Dezowave

Publisher(s)

Dezowave

Distributor(s)

[1]

Engine

X-Ray 1.3
X-Ray 1.4 (v1.4000+)

Platform(s)

Microsoft Windows

Release date(s)

April 27th 2014

Base Game(s)

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl

Rating(s)

ESRB:

System Requirements

Static Lighting Mode:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent AMD CPU around 3GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • NVIDIA 9800 GT, or equivalent ATI/AMD HD3000 SERIES vGA Card
  • 20 GB Free space on HDD

Full Dynamic Lighting without Special Effects:

  • Intel Core2Duo or equivalent AMD CPU around 3 GHZ Speed
  • 4 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GT500 series, or equivalent ATI/AMD HD5000 SERIES VGA Card
  • 20 GB Free space on HDD
  • 64 bit OS

Full Dynamic Lighting with all Special Effects:

  • Intel MULTICORE (I3, I5) or equivalent AMD CPU around 3 GHZ Speed
  • 4 to 6 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GT600 SERIES, or equivalent ATI/AMD HD6000 SERIES VGA Card
  • 20 GB Free space on HDD
  • 64 bit OS

Full Dynamic Lighting with DX10 and all Special Effects

  • Intel I5, I7 or equivalent AMD CPU around 3.5 GHZ Speed
  • 8 GB RAM or more
  • NVIDIA GT700 SERIES, or equivalent ATI/AMD HD7000 SERIES VGA Card
  • 20 GB Free space on HDD
  • 64 bit OS

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Lost Alpha is a standalone Modification based upon the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl game originally developed by GSC.


Have you ever dreamt of playing the old, forgotten S.T.A.L.K.E.R.?
- Dez0wave teaser

OverviewEdit

  • As a standalone game, the most obvious difference from Shadow of Chernobyl is the sheer immensity of the Lost Alpha Zone in comparison.
  • Many previously cut levels have been re-introduced such as Darkscape and Dead City where salient plot-lines are executed in a considerably more detailed, and arguably, more coherent main quest.
  • While the weaponry and armour remain largely unchanged from the Base Game, upgrading has been engineered into the game and behaves similarly to these functions seen in the other games: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat. Technicians are, however, in short supply. Weaponry has been rebalanced in terms of firepower (usually upwards for small arms and low-end weaponry) with the result that players will probably now wish to maintain suitable sidearms for the duration of the game.
  • Since the Lost Alpha Zone is so large and diverse, vehicles are re-introduced to facilitate Zonal travel. Many are available within the levels for free, others may be purchased from the Barkeep.
  • Just about every mutant that previously appeared in an earlier Build has been re-introduced and possibly some that are unique in their own right.
  • In addition to an enlarged Lost Alpha Zone, there are also many more underground locations. Some only become apparent as a result of side-missions or main-mission tasks but they are all expansions of the Base Game.
  • Where the affiliation of the player's actor was well demarcated in Shadow of Chernobyl and became more variable in Clear Sky, players will find that in this Mod that their actor may actively use camouflage by mimicking other factions through the use of appropriate dress. Although Faction Wars are not a feature of the game, the disposition of other Factions to the player varies with the progression of the storyline. Depending upon the player's decisions this will be most notable with the Military and the Monolith factions.

Development HistoryEdit

ReceptionEdit

  • Lost Alpha recieved a mixed reception
  • Lost Alpha was released earlier than intended, and the finished product is incomplete and broken. Despite being highly hyped prior to its release, the release was met with a large backlash. Prior to release, the mod was very highly rated on Moddb based on teaser content, but after the actual release, the majority of reviews have been strongly negative.
  • The worst criticisms center on the broken and unfinished game design. Unlike SoC, the large levels are nearly empty and NPCs have little to no A-Life; meaning the player will spend excessive time just moving from point-to-point to finish quests with almost no action in between - resulting in an extremely boring and tedious experience (a player may have to run for 15+ real-time minutes simply to finish individual quests).
  • The initial release was also full of many game breaking bugs, though patches have been released to correct the worst bugs. Nevertheless many serious problems still exist, such as broken vehicle mechanics, and the ability for key characters to be accidentally killed (resulting in the game being uncompletable without reloading an earlier save).
  • The in-game voice acting and cinema sequences were also widely criticized as being very bad and harming the immersion; the deviation of the plot from the original SoC (ex. including Illuminati references) is also very unpopular with STALKER fans.

Differences from Base GameEdit

Getting AroundEdit

  • Certainly for the early game, the player will be on foot. Later, there are several opportunities to re-purpose various abandoned vehicles to speed up movement.
  • It is not always possible (or desirable) to drive through some level transitions.
  • Whichever mode of travel is chosen, the player will quickly become aware that in comparison to the Base Game which utilizes the 1.0 version of the X-Ray (Engine), Lost Alpha has improved physics characteristics built in, with the result that running through rough terrain and undergrowth impedes the player proportionately. Previously this was mostly noticeable over aquatic features. Now, the player will need to calculate non-linear travel / escape routes.
  • Additionally, the game is set in July rather than May. Not a major change, just enough to allow the vegetation to grow higher and denser to provide better camouflage for opponents.. The mid-summer setting allows for some stormy weather as well.
  • One notable difference regarding gameplay is that the player will not be engaging in a "running game" to the finishing post. Various levels are closed to the player until certain criteria are established. However, this does not result in the game "linearity" seen in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky but is arguably a balance between CS and the Base Game.
  • Players should also be aware that opponents will use grenades (often recklessly) as in Clear Sky but that there is no 'incoming' animation to assist, just an audible taunt.
  • The implementation of weapon 'Blind Firing' has not carried over though.

LevelsEdit

Alphabetical list of Lost Alpha levels with brief description.
With an additional 80+ "Places of Interest."

ScaleEdit

  • Immense.
  • Underground levels are frequently contiguous with their principal levels. This adds a layer of unpredictable potential infiltration and cross invasion between such areas.

ScopeEdit

  • Animosity may (or may not) exist between competing mutant lifeforms.
  • Similarly, ceasefires, alliances, neutralities, etc., may exist between the various factions that are storyline dependent and/or exploitable by the player for various ends.
  • "Escape" from the map is also possible. Often referred to as 'Twilight Zones', these Badlands are just as exploitable as in the canon S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games.

ArtifactsEdit

AnomaliesEdit

Many cues have been taken from original STALKER alpha and beta footage and Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat. There are more and stranger anomalies then in the original Shadow of Chernobyl.

Mutants and WildlifeEdit

As mentioned in the Overview there is a pretty eclectic mutant population in the Lost Alpha Zone. Most of these are best dealt with using small arms, a silent pistol is especially effective due to its ease of upgrade and low cost of maintenance.
Most of the audio cues and behavioral characteristics for the wildlife remain very similar to those seen in SoC, but there are differences:
  • Blind dogs now have a 'whistle' which they seem to use in echo location. Although effective, the player may exploit a weakness of this ability by hiding in a bush and remaining motionless until the beasts lose the 'audio scent'.
  • Bloodsuckers have now developed the ability to latch onto the player for a health-draining 'extraction', which they conclude with a heavy right hook combination that may prove fatal if damage prevention characteristics are insufficient.
  • Fleshes always seem to be good for a Flesh Eye.
  • Pseudodogs seem to fight less aggressively, are routinely terminated even with handguns (due to higher damage from the weapons) and only provide Pseudodog's tails on rare occasions.
  • Snorks seem unchanged from SoC, less hyperactive compared to CS specimens, best dealt with using more powerful weaponry and have a low probability of yielding a Snork foot.
  • Burers are still a bit of a pain, can easily kill the unwary player, need to be approached quickly while they have their shield up and then dispatched with head shots as soon as it is removed. Dead Burers are a certainty for a Burer Hand.
  • There is a Karlik (actually a naked Burer) towards the northern end of Forest. The body is still good for a Burer Hand.
  • For Lost Alpha the little green-eyed dwarf-with-a-punch is designated as a Karlik. Specimens have yet to be found with the Karlik's ear body part.
  • Boar are pretty much unchanged but are very unyielding of Boar's Hoof trophies.
  • The Bloodsucker Village that appears in LA is best avoided later in the game. The tower becomes patrolled by at least two Chimera. Safe passage between the Dead City gate and Rostok is shortest and safest along the Western fence.
  • Izlom mutants are pretty tough characters and best attacked from a distance. Their melée attack is quite punishing. Corpses often yield Izlom's arm body parts.
  • Poltergeists are more of a debilitating nuisance than a serious threat. In LA they frequently allow the player to claim a Poltergeist's Brain as a trophy.
  • There is also a water-dwelling Swampbeast which has a body modeled upon the corporeal form of the Poltergeist. These are relatively slow moving 'knuckle-walkers' and have a melée attack. No salvageable body parts.
  • Phantasms seem to be present but rare.
  • Pyrogeists still set fire traps and are a noticeable feature in Lab X-10.
  • Cats tend to patrol in pairs over open countryside, have a fair rupture attack being clawed beasts and are very fast when attacking. Fortunately for the player they are physically weak.
  • Rodents and Rats usually confine their activities to the underground locations. The former usually attack singly or in small numbers. The Rats are proper swarm pack vermin. The player is advised to seek higher ground from which to exterminate them with pistol fire.
  • Controllers are particularly lethal in LA both because of their psychokinetic attack and because of their medium range psy attack generally. Protective devices against psy assault remain rudimentary in LA compared to later canon games but will, of course, be useless against a controller. The availability of other warding measures (suitable artifacts) are also in short supply or non-existent in the early game.
  • Classic feral zombies make an appearance alongside Zombified Stalkers in the game. These Zombies are slow and unintelligent but hit hard and can soak up plenty of damage. They have several variants, including Dwarves, Weaks, Strongs, Undyings, Civil, and Military. Many provide "Hand of a Zombie" body parts as loot.

FactionsEdit

  • The usual Factions carry over from the Base game as expected but the way that they behave towards the player has been altered in several ways.
  • The previously cut faction Sin makes a reappearance and the mysterious Stranger faction is introduced.
  • A faction for Traders has been created which remains neutral to the player during the game. Other NPCs who mimic traders remain members of their base factions.

ArmourEdit

For the most part armour carries over form Shadow of Chernobyl and there are limited possibilities for suit repairing and upgrading if the player has the wherewithal and inclination to track the Technicians down. They are much less prominent than in Clear Sky for example.

  • One notable difference is that a Stalker suit now weighs 8kg instead of 5kg.
  • Upgrades do not appear to add carry weight to the armour.
  • One other feature of upgrading is that applying an upgrade also results in automatic suit repair thus obviating the need to repair and then upgrade. In most cases this exploit is only available for the first two upgrades, after which the suit is upgraded to the limit of its tree and subsequent repairs will need to be paid for routinely.
  • The "SKAT-9" armour that may be purchased from Petrenko when he becomes a Trader later in the game is bugged and will deteriorate very quickly.


WeaponryEdit

  • As noted in the Overview weaponry has been rebalanced upwards for the most part.
  • Upgrade trees are introduced in a similar vein to those appearing in Clear Sky but some parameters still need fine tuning as of version 1.3003.
  • Weapon 'drift' and 'shake' are apparent.
  • Unique weaponry exists in plentiful variety throughout the game, but none of the "technicians" will repair them.
  • Either through a coding error or by intention, the TRs 301 in its accuracy-enhanced state will provide the player with more than adequate work-a-day firepower. The rifle does not seem to degrade noticeably during use either.
  • Conversely, the Vintar BC becomes much less useful in the field with more than one basic upgrade. (Versions 1.3000 through 1.3003)
  • For the player on a budget, a standard Obokan can be especially user friendly due to its enhanced strike power. The sniper and grenade launching variants are also useful in the early game (but may not be repaired)

VehiclesEdit

  • As mentioned in Getting Around there are a variety of vehicles that the player will be able to utilize within the game. A list of these may be found here.
  • There are several useable units situated within several of the levels. Others may be purchased from the Barkeep.

ItemsEdit

  • The list of Items available to the player is considerably larger and more diverse than in the Base Game.
  • The original food and drink items carry over, of course, but the player's diet is now more varied and several quality alcoholic drinks can now tickle the palate.
  • Items that are connected with the various stages of the Main mission are also extended in scope. As an example: the player will now need both the Not adjusted psi-helmet and the Functional psi-helmet to complete the game. The former may not be dropped when the latter is acquired either - and each one weighs a hefty 1.0kg.
  • Similarly, there are items that are involved as a facet of the various Side Missions, either as the target item or to enable progression to a later stage of the mission.
  • Unfortunately, many side missions have more inferior rewards for the player when compared to the Base Game, making their uptake less conducive.
  • The player will need to make logistical decisions throughout the game. Another example: should the player's vehicle run short of fuel, a Petrol can weighing 10kg will need to be obtained and brought to the vehicle to refuel it.

Item TradingEdit

  • This has been expanded and altered from that seen in the canon games.
  • Previously, the player could generate a healthy income by trading Antirad for 225 Ru to just about anyone with the wherewithal in the Base Game; or make a dull but respectable income 'running guns' in Clear Sky.
  • Now, in LA there are more factors to consider:
  1. Generally a Trader will not offer best prices for an item.
  2. Friendly NPCs give better prices than Neutral NPCs who still give more than Truce NPCs such as the Military or Sin.
  3. Basic food and drink items attract a pittance but the 'good stuff' sells for list price to almost anyone, Traders included.
  4. Most Stalkers above Rookie level have 5000 Ru to trade with and will buy salvaged weaponry without quibble within their limits.
  5. Different Factions will have varied preferences towards the sort of weapon the player tries to unload, some prefer Warsaw Pact items, some NATO gear.
  • Another useful revenue stream for the player may be the partially upgraded weapon.
  • An upgraded weapon will be purchased for its upgraded value by anyone with the resources to do so. This strategy works well:
  1. Liberate an SVDm-2 or a GP 37 in any condition.
  2. Take it to a friendly Technician and pay for the first second tier upgrade (unit repair comes free)
  3. Sell the unique SVDm-2 or GP 37 for either 18,900 Ru or 21,000 Ru to someone with deep pockets, recouping the original upgrade cost (around 3500 Ru) with a useful margin on top.
  • In many instances these "uniques" stay with the NPC and might be available for repurchase at a subsequent date although this is far from certain as the NPC may determine that the unit is superior to that currently carried and instantly add it to their own personal inventory (observed with Skinflint)

StashesEdit

  • Unsurprisingly, Stashes are present in the LA game space.
  • Despite the size of the Zone being 3-4 times larger than that of the Base Game, there are only around 100 stashes in total.
  • The coordinates are obtained from corpses as before with the exception of one - which needs to be bought in a similar manner to some stashes in CS.

NotesEdit

Plot and PlotlinesEdit

  • Many of the original plot devices that were part of previous GSC builds have been added back to the game. Missions to various laboratories are more involved as a consequence.

Known IssuesEdit

  1. As of Patch 1.3002, many players were reporting crashes at the Swamps level, after cutscene with Doctor. While in earlier versions this crash was always caused by not installing XVid codecs provided with LA installator, after said patch game may crash even with those codecs installed. There is a temporary workaround for this available at GSC Forums for now, but in next patch this cutscene will be deleted from the game to avoid such problems in future.
  2. The tool for file unpacking may be downloaded here. Care should be taken in the choice of version used (English or Russian)
  3. Some vehicle attributes appear to be bugged in 1.3002 which were functional in the previous 1.30013 patch, notably an inability for the player to repair the vehicle or access the boot for the initially obtained Niva in the Dark Valley. Trying to access these functions may result in game crashes.
  4. The Lukash side mission is bugged with the dialog not completing properly. A workaround and patch exist that remedy this situation. Not resolving the issue would result in added "extra baggage" for the player until the end of the game.
  5. The codedoor in Lab X-10 is still bugged in ver 1.3002. Placing one of the barrels over the door threshold (when open) will hold the door open for the player to make a timely exit after the cutscene.
  6. The other codedoor, with all the loot behind it, has a seemingly undocumented code. The code is '1234'.
  • As of the most recent patch (1.3003) problems 1,3 and 4 no longer crash the game or break the submission but the Niva boot remains inaccessible.
  • There seem to be difficulties involved with completion of side missions obtained via PDA conversations with NPCs.

Undocumented Sub-MenuEdit

  • A Sub-Menu system may be accessed from the Main Menu by pressing the F2 key. It appears to have been designed as a testing tool and using it in game play would clear constitute a cheat.
  • The Sub-Menu is comprised of six (6) areas; PosInfo, FindObj, SpawnObj, InfoPortions, PpeControl & Teleports.


TriviaEdit

  • It is not needed to have a previous GSC S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game installation to install and play this game.
  • Lost Alpha is currently patchable to version 1.3.003 as of 1st August 2014.
  • Lost Alpha's plot is in many cases similar to that of Shadow of Chernobyl. Still there are numerous and sometimes serious differences between the two, so Lost Alpha is not a lore-friendly mod.

GalleryEdit

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