Ascending and Descending by Negke

Negke's latest is perhaps the most "negke-ish" of all his various maps. Negke is known for being very original, creative and meticulous with his levels, and this one is no exception: it is a surprisingly and impressively accurate recreation of a famous image by the awesome M. C. Escher, with a logical indoor layout and a ton of impressive little details - including a scan of the original image as a painting on the wall, seen in screenshot 3, tweaked textures, well-crafted and scaled furniture, a variety of functional areas, and tight navigation through various chambers and passageways inside the house. My favourite part is that the hell knights are actually ascending and descending as they patrol the stairways on top of the mansion, just to add that Escher-style messing with the viewer's impressions of physics, insofar as this is possible in Quake. So for visual design, originality, creativity, etc, this obviously deserves full points.

From my own point of view though, the gameplay relies too heavily on puzzles (I wasn't able to complete the map without cheating). There are undoubtedly players who enjoy figuring out from clues where to go next, but I found this difficult. Given the limited space of the map, I suspect many players (like me) will end up revisiting the same areas over and over, wondering what to do. A "conventional" mode might have been a good idea here. Then again, the source is included! I'm a bit torn over what to rate this since I couldn't finish it without cheating, but if I called it a 19 for concept and design, and a 12 for gameplay, that would put it at 15.5, so I'll go with that. Definitely check it out.

Score: 15.5/20