Tronyn's Top 10: Temple

Although Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon was better overall than Quake Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity, Rogue's effort has been more influential on subsequent Q1SP than Hipnotic's. This is because, while Hipnotic had a very high standard of level design - on display in such masterpieces as The Lost Mines and The Black Cathedral, which have no equals in mission pack 2 - Rogue actually introduced whole new theme into Quake, one that has been much imitated since: Temple. This theme, in fact, is probably as fundamental to Quake as "Base" "Wizard" "Netherworld" and "Elder world" which were id's original themes; in any case, it is probably the most influential of all themes aside from the original Quake's four themes. Rogue created this theme, largely, in three maps: the Roman-styled r2m1: Tempus Fugit ("Time Flies" in Latin), the Egyptian-styled r2m4: Curse of Osiris (Osiris is the Egyptian underworld god, and is presumably his face on the outside of the temple in the map), and the Mayan r2m6: Blood Sacrifice. Thus, while the theme "temple" could be defined quite vaguely, I'm using the criteria that it means a map that resembles the architecture of an ancient civilization. Whereas Quake's medieval maps tend to imitate western medieval architecture, such as castles, churches, villages and so forth, temple maps tend to have an eastern vibe - whether Roman, Egyptian, Arabian, Indian, and so forth (the Mayan theme being a bit of an exception).

A couple notes: first, as usual with these articles (see my previous Top 10's at Underworldfan's), my own maps are excluded. I've also excluded maps that are on the "borderline" of the theme criteria, like "Sheer Hellish Miasma" by CZG and "Altar of Storms" by Necros; while these are excellent maps that might be described as temples, they are probably better described as fantasy dungeons. Finally, I'm sure I missed out some great maps, but part of the goal is to stimulate discussion.

10. Beyond the Black Sun by Here

This map introduces totally new textures and creates its own theme. It is an Indian temple map, but it doesn't really look like KJSP1: it is a lot "messier" in the sense of asymmetry, rockwork sections blending into the stone architecture, angled wood plank bridges, and a focus on indoor sections (there's only really one outdoor section, whereas KJSP1 has at least three). All maps based on Ikblue textures tend to be very orderly, symmetrical, not broken and messy, etc, because that's what those textures lend themselves to, so this is a totally different take on the Indian temple theme. The textures don't look perfect due to some fullbright issues, but it's a unique little level that's well worth a replay even if tha palette is a bit odd.

9. Temple of the Thousand-Faced Moon by Fingers

While this isn't a big map, or a difficult one by today's standards, it remains beautiful after all these years, and it introduced the IKBlue texture set which led to many great things. From the moment you see the temple front (pictured) you know you're in for something special; two more maps in the same style followed, which are also well worth playing. Great atmosphere, style and creativity from the early days of Quake.

8. Arabian Nights by DaZ

While there isn't a lot of detail to these maps, there is a lot of atmosphere. The idea of a dark Arabian city was very Quakey, and these maps have a very spooky atmosphere (I'm including the three small bsps as one map). You'll face medieval monsters and a fair amount of zombies by torchlight in this dead city.

7. Avanipaala Praasaada (Palace of the Great Warriors) by Killjoy

In this map, Killjoy introduced a truly unique theme into Quake: the map takes place in a sunny palace inspired by the architecture of India. The textures are a modified version of IK's classic IKBLUE set. It's hard to believe that even this map is more than ten years old now: I remember seeing the outdoor courtyard including dome-topped towers and hedges, and thinking "how in hell did he vis that?" Another thing that this map shows, is how much can be done with a limited texture set - there are actually very few textures in the map, yet all kinds of geometric designs are achieved by creative use - something that has always been important in Quake. While the gameplay is pretty much just basic medieval, this is a historic and unique piece of Q1SP that introduced a whole new style of temple to Quake.

6. A3 by Pingu

This is a neat little map which uses Pingu's "Atlantis" theme, basically an enhanced Rogue temple with curvy architecture, a green sky, gray rockfaces, and some additional custom textures. If you like this theme, it's also on display in some of Pingu's other maps, such as "Ambush Keen Pilgrims" which Mike Woodham built out of his architecture. This map has a clear layout and a consistently cool theme/design, with the emphasis being on "impressing the Knights of Atlantis." It's not hard overall except for the end. Overall, a fun look at a different style of temple with good atmosphere.

5. Dorghael Arhlannen by Sidhe

This is, as far as I know, the only map to follow up on the IKWHITE theme introduced by KJSP1. This map uses the same textures, but changes the style from warm, sunny summer to cold, snowy winter. It uses the Quoth mod, which introduces elements and enemies that, while certainly Quakey, are significantly more alien than Quake's original enemies and elements. Thus, if the monsters - even the nominally "white" scrags looked like dirty demons who just managed to descend on this beautiful palace in KJSP1, in this map, the sense of very much of an otherworldly place where the monsters - even the Quoth tentacle boss - belong - and you do not. Overall, this is a great piece of atmosphere, although in my view its one big drawback is the lack of an outdoor area: seeing this style in a courtyard or building front would have been great. Then again, the "endlessly indoor" style of some maps definitely contributes to the "Elder World" feeling.

4. Menkalinan by Pulsar

Menkalinan is an epic, brutal map. What is especially good about it, is that it does things that, post id1, many mappers have left behind: traps, tricky jumps, large water sections, falling to death sections, etc; and this creates the sense of a geniunely threatning place. The map is styled as a series of large, open Egyptian rooms, with quite a colourful style. While this is one evil map (there's a section where you get to randomly pick whether to fight monsters in a lava cage, or advance - and when you read a line like "Relax a little" in Q1SP you know that there's something coming!), it doesn't quite get that evil feel due to the bright colours and airy atmosphere. Still, as a temple Q1SP map, this just owns.

3. Temple of Anubis: Judgment of the Dead by DeathMethod

Using a mixture of many different temple textures, this multileveled atrium map is colourful and features broken sections, lava, underground chambers, and the obligatory Egytpian-style obelisk. While the layout could be compared to older temple maps like Egyptian Myth or Return to Dust, the colourful and diverse mix of textures, along with the well-judged design and details, give this map its own vibe. Like Return to Dust, there are a lot of monsters relative to the amount of room, so the map is quite a challenge. This is one of the more unique and fun maps to come along recently. The highlight is a quad zombie slaughter.

2. Return to Dust by Fern

This is a tidy little map dressed in Mr.CleaN's Egyptian textures, with runic details beneath a night sky. This creates a rich, dark look. There are quite a few monsters packed in to the map despite its small scale, so the map remains challenging. Most of the rooms have multiple vertical levels, so you'll constantly have to look out for all of Quake's powerful medieval monsters. A particularly fun and Runic-style element is the use of several "floor closets" where tense fights occur. Lots of fun and a unique look make this map a winner.

1. Egyptian Rhapsody by Hrimfaxi

Based on scraps by Drew, this is a hell of a map. It's a gigantic, sprawling Egyptian temple with setpiece after setpiece connected together in unexpected ways. The temple is surrounded by caves and open canyons, with excellent rockwork throughout; these contain water, including numerous waterfalls, dams and so forth; the use of water in the layout is one of the map's coolest features, though more water exploration would have been good (though at least one of the map's 8 secrets is hidden underwater). With a consistent level of detail, well-judged design, and just the right amount of different textures, the map constantly looks good. The design highlight has to be the open courtyard with two giant obelisks and two sphinx statues (!); this is one of the coolest areas I've ever seen in Quake, and it strikes the perfect balance between resembling actual ancient Egyptian architecture and piling on the Quakey complexity in service of a great layout. Using Quoth monsters, the map is very difficult: you will need to conserve all ammo other than shells (you will use the supershotgun a lot!), be careful with health supplies, and use infighting wherever possible. The end is, surprisingly, not as difficult as the rest of the map, but then this is a common issue. Overall this is a beautifully designed, atmospheric map with loads of atmosphere; it doesn't just win this category, it wins by a considerable margin.

Written by Tronyn, 2012