The Ivory Tower by sock

Seeing a functional map like this is very exciting. Whereas Sock's previous levels tend to be remakes or new takes on established Quake themes, this is a totally new map with a quite distinct medieval style and a strong sense of place. I suppose the map could be called vaguely "Dimension of the Doomed"-style medieval, but it has plenty of original touches, new textures, and shows Sock expanding into new territory creatively. The map takes place in a medieval tower surrounded by caves and on top of a mine, complete with a mine cart. There is a distinct colour scheme for the map as a whole and just the right amount of detail throughout; the level seems very well-planned. I particularly liked the use of broken stone blocks. Visually, this is a very atmospheric level, though it would be nice to see some more expansive areas, either indoor or outdoor.

The layout is actually quite complicated, and this might be Sock's most interconnected level yet (possibly due to the tower, rather than dungeon, setting). It's always clear where to go next, though you will often be surprised at the ways in which you re-enter old areas from new angles. Somehow, in this intensely interconnected and multi-layered tower, there is room for hidden closets and passageways which hide secrets. This is quite impressive - again, probably the result of good planning. Gameplay is reasonable; I didn't find the combat as difficult as previous Sock maps, even the ending (which incorporates a cool trap) wasn't too hard. That's not a bad thing, though, as in medium-scale maps you don't necessarily want a lot of monsters, since they can easily corner you. This represents the quality and design style that we've come to expect from Sock, who has established himself very quickly at the forefront of Q1SP, and even from that point of view the layout here is very impressive.

Score: 19/20