The Dimension of the Doomed by Zwiffle
Zwiffle's The Dimension of the Doomed is the author's largest map to date, an expansive base (taking up about 2/3 of the layout) which meets with a ruined castle (the other 1/3). It's a cool mix of themes, and the sections where the two overlap are especially nice. The base sections are modified idbase, with the sort of high quality architecture and smooth lighting that has become standard in modern base designs. Most of the base area consists of large open floorspaces, with dark ceilings and some overlooking hallways and walkways. Crates and pillars provide some cover, but given the relative scarcity of armour, those normal base enemies that no one takes seriously anymore - dogs, grunts and enforcers - can do a lot of damage quite quickly. I actually died a few times just by being stupid and underestimating the situation because of this. There isn't anything especially unique about the base section, but it is well executed and looks good. Things become more unique when the base gives way to the castle.
The two sections are interlinked in several places. My favourite is a bunch of architecture from each theme (from base: panels, lights, tech flooring, from castle wooden beams, stone and bricks, etc) floating in an intermixed fashion in the void. This is a damned cool setpiece, and really gets across the level's concepts of an intermixing or clashing of two separate areas of spacetime/dimensions/etc. It's an interesting interpretation of the whole slipgate idea. There is a custom sky which helps to convey this idea. The custom sky is strange and doesn't necessarily look great, but it gets the idea across, and one of Quake's strengths is you can do stuff like this in it. The castle architecture itself is nice: ruined stuff floating in darkness, loose bricks and broken beams, and blood-red stained glass windows. Scrags are well used here, as well as both types of knight and of course ogres. The castle's textures are mainly e1m2 type stuff, with a few Quoth textures thrown in as well. Possibly some more light styles would have added to the atmosphere, especially given the void/interdimensional setting.
The combat is challenging but reasonable throughout, the layout is logical and well-planned, and the architecture is well-built, well-textured, and well-lit. Any one area looks good, and the concept is great. The intermixed areas are really cool, and there are several impressive setpieces. Zwiffle gets a bit self-deprecating in the accompanying documentation, but there's no need: this is an excellently conceived and executed Q1SP, and given its EXTREME degree of "Quakeiness," it might be the most appropriate 15 year tribute to Quake out of the maps released this year.