Runic Recycling by negke

negke's new Q1SP sees the player exploring a large netherworldly complex full of inventive uses of oldschool metallic designs. While the textures used are all Runic/E3 textures, the style of architecture (slightly remniscent of the author's earlier map Skinny Norris) creates a more functional, base-ish feel - this Runic complex gives the sense not of some long-abandoned mysterious temple, but of a place where unusual or alien forms of mechanical machinery are still in use. The layout/gameplay route is fairly linear, but the map creates a strong emphasis on exploration anyway for two reasons: first, things like the quad fiend battle - which the player can do whenever he wants - and second, the general style of the rooms. I'll explain a bit further: the map is built of numerous scraps so that, while it presents a very coherent theme, it is never exactly obvious where the player will find himself next.

The use of sections like lava pits crossed with vent beams and outdoor sections contributes to the sense that this is all some giant interconnected whole (the architectural style hinting at some kind of unnamed functional purpose for the complex also contributes), but the player never knows exactly where he is in the whole and so it seems like he is exploring on a less linear path than maps like Breakfast at Twilight (also built of scraps) where the general route and relation of the player's position relative to the whole is clear enough that the emphasis is not on exploration but rather on ascension. All of this adds up to a very suggestive map in terms of its visual look, layout, and gameplay style. The use of tricks and traps both adds to this sense and makes the gameplay interesting; while there are some challenging fights (such as the aforementioned fiend battle, and the trademark negke-style ending which combines fighting with puzzle-hacks) the emphasis is on exploration. The usual Runic enemies appear, along with grunts, enforcers, and dogs, which adds to the base sense of the level. Overall, another cool, interesting, and well-thought out map by negke.

Score: 16/20