Bad Dark Cistern by negke

Negke is back with another cool and unique map. This is a single player map based on id's maps DM4: The Bad Place, DM5: The Cistern, and DM6: The Dark Zone. As I've come to expect with Negke's maps, the map is unique, fun, and has a mysterious mechanical style based on innovative uses of Quake's original textures. You begin in a small outdoor area above the "Cistern complex" as we might call it, and soon drop down into the watery areas. One unique thing about this map is the rotfish; the few initial areas featuring swimming and underwater combat really give no hint as to how much swimming there is later on in the map. You surface in a very familiar part of DM5 and it's soon on to fighting monsters. While negke said in the release that he didn't change the maps as much as he might have or should have, I don't think any more changes than he made were needed: in fact I was surprised by how much he did change the maps (looks, rather than layouts, which mostly remain intact) given this disclaimer. There are lots of detailed additions in the map such as arches, cutouts, support beams, machinery, chains, and so forth. None of it looks plain or boring. There's obviously some retexturing, notably to convert the blue/lava DM4 to a green/water theme like the rest of the map.

The scale, being based on id maps, is small, so the low and mid-level monsters in the map like knights and enforces provide a suitable challenge. Once you get through the DM5 section it's on to the DM6 section, which connects up in surprising and pleasing ways: the most impressive of which is a blocked hallway to the end which links the two map sections very directly. The DM6 section has had water added, to fit the cistern theme, and some machinery. It's getting to be really amusing how negke never uses custom code or anything, but just uses all the crazy weird hacks that he knows: the waterfall doesn't just play rogue's ambient waterfall sound, but instead repeats the "surfacing" sound at that waterfall spot. I'm not sure how he got it to do this, but doing stuff like this on principle is kind of awesome. The final part of the map is probably the most intense underwater stuff I've played in Quake: I died a couple times, other people apparently had an even rougher time of it, the main thing is just to realize that the biosuit respawns and keep going back to it to make sure you don't drown - and keep those damn fish away from you. This section was a bit of a panic because it's all underwater and there's nowhere to surface, but as long as you get the biosuit it's fine, and it makes sense that much of a cistern would be underwater. I liked the section, it was something new. After this there's a few more fights and then it's back the way you came.

This map really was a great idea, and in the execution I don't think I could ask for anything more than maybe a message saying "the biosuit respawns, keep this in mind!" (heh) although that might wreck immersion a bit. It's another convincing yet abstract mechanical "Quakey environment" by the master of this sort of stuff. No one does Q1SP like negke.

Score: 18/20