Tormentarium by Madfox
- Download: torment.zip
What a map this is. To describe it briefly, it is a medium-sized sewer level, full of pipes and machinery. The scale of the individual rooms and areas is quite small, resulting in the map playing sort of like an intricate, cramped maze. If this sounds bad it's not, since I never got lost. It has its advantages: the map gets lots of mileage out of Quake's normal monsters due to the smaller scale, and due to the fact that it is almost all indoors, you never know where you are going to find yourself next - going up, down, around this corner or that, the map's layout is unpredictable. That is a good word for the map as a whole: unpredictable. You don't know what the next section is going to be: a sewer, an atrium, a cave, etc. Also, the map is full of new model props, many of them animated, so you never know what new map feature you are about to find either: be it a teleporter machine, a lightning trap, or a giant gargoyle statue skinned with Quake's copper demon texture on its face. It is pretty hard to argue with the sheer novelty on display here.
I might liken the map to the last digs map, due to the water, texture set, and sense of weird unexplained mechanical processes going on; or it could be compared to a negke or necros map because of the machinery. But really, the only person who could have made this map is Madfox. The skinning on all of the props did not work out perfectly, but they are so imaginative and cool that this hardly matters. The quality of the texturing and lighting is uneven, but that's not really the point of the map. The gameplay is generally not hard, the main source of pleasure in this map is navigating and seeing the unexpected around many corners. The final room, however, IS hard, with many monsters all shooting at you at once from many different levels. In order to be safe, you'll need to take your time here. Luckily, the last area's architecture is very tight and well-clipped, so if you take your time getting around is pretty smooth. Overall perhaps the best way to describe this map is "1997 with Quad Damage." In the early days of Quake, there was a great deal of creativity even if it wasn't very professionally implemented. People were willing to add all kinds of stuff to their maps, and what we now might call "orthodox" design styles, lighting/texturing standards, and theme sets had yet to evolve. The result was that in 1997, downloading a map or mod you hardly had any idea what you were going to get. Thus, the really 1997-ish quality on display here comes back to unpredictability. Every new room I came into, did not at all seem to logically follow from the one before (although the layout does loop around and interconnect a lot), but I was always just like, "alright, that's cool/interesting." It's not often I get to describe a Quake map as a wacky romp, but here - I do. Maybe this isn't to everyone's particular taste, but I definitely enjoyed it.