OMS Unmentionables by ORL

Laboratory X

This map begins in a red medieval room, but you soon teleport into a base setting that is partly idbase and partly custom-textured. There's no denying that some of the textures here are cartoonish in their look and the colours they use (purple, for example) look really wacky in the Quake palette. The lighting is also very bright throughout the map, so the fairly unprofessional designs are exposed in all their unflattered glory. On the other hand, there aren't many areas that are just square rooms or halls, and most of the areas have details like pipes and lights in them, so there was an effort to have detail, it just wasn't carried off all that well. The construction quality is fairly good in places, but for the most part seems rushed. All of that said, the undeniable design highlight is the gigantic open area full of catwalks, moving platforms, traps, ramps and stairwells. This area, I thought, was actually quite well done, and looked cool from any angle (thus both of my screenshots are of this area). You spend a fair amount of time in this area, too, going through all kinds of moving platforms and especially different kinds of traps such as laser traps, exploding barrels (nice to see these used, hardly anyone uses them even in base maps any more) and crushing ceilings. Given the platforms, jumping, traps, and cartoonish palette, this area was lots of fun and felt quite a bit like being in a 3d version of an old platform-jumping sidescroller, like Duke Nukem for example. I was actually laughing out loud at some of the traps, like the one that forces you to land on a button that blows up everything around you, or the one that shoots lasers at exploding barrels just as you walk past them. This is obviously not a Q1SP masterpiece, and I think I would have preferred if the map was released as only this one area (maybe this area and a similar giant computer-hub setpiece I seem to remember from another ORL map), but you can definitely have some fun in this map. The one drawback was that outside of this area, it was sometimes unclear where to go. Score: 11.5/20

Neighbouring Alcatraz's

This map starts with a hilarious series of traps, as the ceiling collapses on you while blocking traps jump up in your way, the walls fire nails at you, and then you get thrown into a lava pit. After this, the map consists of two big outdoor areas with rocks and "trees" (heh, I too have sometimes been guilty of Village-Of-Dream style trees, but even Village of Dread kept the lighting dark). The areas are connected by a cavern, and a canyon containing bridges. In each area, in a pool of swampy water, sits a sizable red-stone fortress, using what I take to be an earlier version of the Conflagrant Rodent texture set. It's clear that ORL improved a great deal between this map and that: Conflagrant Rodent in some ways uses similar design ideas, but has way, way more detail, darker lighting, and less things (like brushwork trees and foliage) that are hard to pull off; the "forest edges" in that map also look better, being a different texture, and under darker lighting conditions. Anyway, I still thought that despite the cheesy aspects of the design here, and the odd or eccentric designs on some parts of the fortresses, both fortresses had a good deal of aesthetic appeal (I'm a sucker for setpieces). The moving bridges was also a cool idea even if the implementation was odd. In terms of gameplay, you just run around blasting medieval monsters: ogres, hell knights, scrags, and fiends, mainly. Eventually you get onto the top of the fortresses, from there you reach a cavern and then there's a final face-off in front of a giant Q symbol of lava. All of this is very oldschool in a cheesy but kind of awesome way; I like to see mappers trying to see what works and what doesn't, and even if all the ideas here weren't carried off all that well, later maps by the same author show that they can be, and this is definitely a fun arcade-style blast (on nightmare it might make a good coop map, as long as the coop spawnspots aren't in the initial roof-crushing zone!). Score: 14.5/20

Overall Score: 13/20