List of recommended older levels.
This is a list of older levels, unreviewed at this site, that are mostly good quality and all at least worth playing. Due to the number of maps, the ranking and order of recommendation is necessarily *very* vague, though generally the top few levels in each category are excellent. Don't rely upon the ranking, and try as many levels as possible - note that standards have risen since this site opened and many reviewed levels would rank very highly on this list. Each level has a short description after it, these descriptions often are less balanced and accurate than normal reviews - this is just a brief guide to the better older levels.
If the recommendation alone isn't enough, reviews of most of these levels can be found at the following places, however these reviews will not be as accurate nor as balanced as the TEAMShambler standard:
PlanetQuake's Level Of The Week - My reviews - less critical than usual - promoting the best old and new levels.
SPQ Heaven - Brief, positive reviews of most better levels, with tiny screenshots.
crash's Quake reviews - More indepth reviews of lots of levels, no screenshots.
Note: All level downloads are linked to the level archive at ftp://ftp.sunet.se/pub/games/PC/idgames2/levels/. If you have any problems downloading these levels, you could also try FilePlanet's Quake single player map section.
Ordering of the list:
The list is split up into multi-level episodes, and maps categorised by the style/theme of the map, as follows:
Base: Beige/grey futuristic style (e.g. ExM1).
Blue: Blue brick or grimy blue style (e.g. E4M7).
Brick: Terracotta and brick castle style (e.g. E1M5, E4M4).
Medieval: Brown/green/blue medieval stone and woodwork (e.g. E1M2-5, E2).
Metal: Plain grey walls, metal girders and usually lava (e.g. E3).
Historical: Maps with a usually medieval style, but in a more "realistic" setting.
Miscellaneous: Maps without a specific or categorisable style.
This ordering is to help players find the best maps in the styles they prefer. Obviously all styles are treated as equal in quality, though players will have their own personal preference. Within each category, levels are ranked *very* approximately by quality and thus how much they are recommended - but this is not an accurate ranking.
Episodes, partial and total conversions:
Zerstörer: "Zerstörer: Testament of the Destroyer"
(Medieval, metal, base) Be very scared... Zerstörer is here to destroy you, and is arguably the meanest Q1 SP episode around. A 7 map partial conversion with excellent new graphics and superb effects, cool weapons and interesting monsters. The maps are varied and continually interesting, but Zerstörer is really outstanding for the amazing atmosphere: bleak, inhospitable, and often truly scary. Very creative, very engrossing - again, unmissable.
Mexx7, Mexx8, Mexx9: "A Bishop's Bane, Prelude to Apocalypse, Penumbra of Denomination"
(Medieval, metal, brick) The "Bishop" trilogy - a spectacular 7 map series, with increasing imagination, creativity and excellence. Mexx7 is a "normal" map, albeit of huge proportion and superb gameplay. Mexx8 is two varied maps that increase the pace with small cutscenes, altered monsters and voices. Mexx9 is simply amazing, varied, huge in both size and scope, and full of impressive architecture, classic Quake gameplay, deviousness and inspiration, leading to a climatic finish - simply unmissable.
Prodigy_se: "Prodigy Special Edition"
(Mostly medieval, metal) An episode that would initially appear to be excellent - certainly the architecture, design and layout of the maps is. However, though the gameplay is usually excellent too, it is sometimes let down by frustrating and pointless situations, as well as IDT's, a pity because this really is a good episode overall, but could have been truly great. Nevertheless, very worthwhile if you are prepared for it's shortcomings.
BBelief: "Beyond Belief"
(Base, medieval) This is supposed to be what Epsiode 1 of Quake could have been like, though it doesn't entirely suceed in this respect. Overall, very good, with interesting levels and
fine gameplay, and a particularly excellent transition from base to medieval. However it is let down by some obvious flaws: lack of ammo in earlier maps, frustrating traps in later ones and a very tedious ending - which cause it to fall short of the quality of the original Episode 1.
Fantasy Quake: "Fantasy Quake: Rise of the Phoenix"
(Fantasy) A totally total total conversion - pure fantasy style. A lot of maps with a great sense of exploration and discovery. This TC has new everything, and most of it is very good, though occasionally the new stuff can look a bit shoddy. There are some very cool details, and everything has a sense of fitting in well with the TC as a whole. Gameplay and maps are very different from Quake (which can take some getting used to), and usually very good - this is a most worthwhile TC.
Ikspq5: "The Secret Installation" - Quake 2 in all but engine and monsters. Hugely detailed, hugely excellent.
Mexx10: "The Cassandra Calamity" - 2 excellent, very complex and monster filled maps with a lot of depth to them. Plenty of extras, great special effects, and a nasty modified monster that all fit into an immersive story - very worthwhile.
Jawbrk: "Jawbreaker" - One of the best base levels, huge and complex, great play and a truly classic finish.
Prey2: "Prey2" - Cool interesting level with a nice underground bit and good play.
Endtime: "End of Time" - Similar in feel to Prey2, just as good, some nice base touches.
Mexx6: "Suicide Staccato" - Not up to the quality of the other Mexx maps maps, but a decent and sizeable map to be sure.
Polygon2: "Polygon Base" - Hugely non-linear map that provides some great exploration as well as a good, fun challenge.
Harmsway: "Harm's Way" - Very well themed map with an actual story and mission. Engrossing and quite nice.
Undrwrld: "The Underworld" - Not quite as impressive as Jawbreaker, but another great map with very cool ideas.
Hive: "Hive" - Unusual base map, varied architecture, quite engrossing, plenty of weaponry.
Thefly: "The Fly" - Another weird level with a real strange twist, often hard but very cool in places.
Commctr: "The Comm Center" - Big level like E1M1 on drugs, good play, but quite unbalanced to start.
Mars1: "Mars1" - Another map for Scourge, with a few Scourge monsters, good but very challenging.
Mungo: "Power Plant" - Well themed level with some impressive industrial machinery, good.
Obiwan3: "Blood of the Martyrs" - Decent "back and forth" base level, with some cool areas.
Rit: "Escape the Base" - Quite a fun little map, with nice use of angles but some dodgy texturing.
Cdestroy: "Destroy Base" - Very complex, lots to do, architecture is a bit odd, but well themed.
ICBM: "The Abandoned Silo" - Simple fighting, but some very cool military scenery and features.
Frbdbase: "Forbidden Base" - Small and fairly easy base level, but pleasant and some good details.
Note: Ikspq1-4 (Ikspq1 is Medieval) should be played consecutively as the levels follow on from each other, and with the cool Ikguns patch. For GLQuake, you will need this replacement
s_plasma file to get the patch to work. Place that file it in the Progs folder in the IKguns folder, replacing the old s_plasma.spr file.
Ikspq4: "Homecoming" - The best of his blue maps, a colossal bastion with the obligatory lovely looks.
Ikspq3: "Halls of the Shambler God" - Very cool map, lovely looks and details, interesting layout and monster use.
Ikspq2: "Temple of the Thousand Faced Moon" - A fine introduction to the Ikblue maps. with stunning architecture and gameplay.
Ins4: "Insurrection Part IV: Resolution" - Very cool shrine map with blue and metal styles, excellent varied architecture, great finish.
Azurette: "The Azurette" - Very azure indeed, cold and atmospheric level with quite a challenge.
Elektra: "The Elektra Complex" - Complex and winding map, with lots of action.
Anonca1: "Anonca Base" - Completely weird architecture and theme, interesting gameplay and a cool finish.
Sblue: "Sadistic Blue" - Quite good, decent tough gameplay, can be cramped.
Vigil: "The Vigil" - A radical idea in Quake maps: you must guard your battle-companion's tomb, and the monsters come to get you... This produces a very tense situation that often has you running for your life, slightly relieved when you get the opportunity to explore the rest of the map. When you finally reach it, the stirring ending makes this a very satisfying map to complete.
Sadlark5: "The Palace of Sadlark" - Nice courtyard based map, great looking, and great playing if you take care.
Godsjt: "God's House" - Wow - huge level, huge amount of monsters, huge challenge, very satisfying, very good.
PB2: "SoulGrinder" - Excellent architecture on a colossal scale, and good challenging gameplay.
Camber: "The Castle Amber" - Nice level, varied, nice architecture, plays well.
PB1: "Darkness Diabolical" - Big cool level with a large sense of scale and good gameplay.
Ins2: "Insurrection Part II: The Grand Opus" - Spectacular in places, especially to start, fairly good overall.
Elsinore: "Elsinore" - Very impressive level with an excellent use of scenery, and superb gameplay.
Utah: "Death's Taste" - Very good level, neat architecture, great up close fighting and useful secrets.
Lostwrld: "The Lost World" - Very fine map with some excellent combat arenas, superb gameplay and ending.
Epoch: "The Epoch Turning" - Huge map set in caverns and bastions, with a subtle hint of base - excellent.
Ikspq1: "Before Nightfall" - The weakest of the Ikspq maps, though still very good. A cool castle.
Edom: "Empedokles domain" - More normal than the rest, but still a great, tricky map.
TFL1: "The Forgotten Level" - Good layout, fairly challenging but very good gameplay.
Castled: "Castled!" - Proper medieval castle with some nice designs and good exploration.
Ins3: "Insurrection Part III: The Sanctuary" - Noticably similar to E2M4, and just about as good, some great gameplay moments.
Armorgod: "Armour of the Gods" - Spacious open level, nice looks and good, fair gameplay.
Rettear: "Retinal Tear" - Interesting level with nice architecture and pleasant, fair gameplay.
Eyesock: "Eye Socket" - Fine and often well detailed architecture, not too hard - kinda relaxing.
Obiwan2: "Office of the Dead" - Often very good, decent architecture, but a few very frustrating sections.
Mexx3: "Chthon's Castle" - Rather unnerving in some of the darker areas but damn good after the tough start.
Guard: "The Guard House" - Smaller map, but rather challenging, varied and good.
Gor1: "Gods of Rapture" - (Medieval) Somewhat linear and predictable, but nice and plays well.
Maelstrm: "Maelstorm" - 3 levels with E4 theme and some cool outdoor bits, good, interesting gameplay.
Outpost2: "The Keldjoran Outpost" - Reasonable level with some stylish designs and decent gameplay.
Ins1: "Insurrection Part I: The Overlord's Legacy" - Plays well, with some interesting fights, though architecture can be plain.
Despair2: "Liquid Despair" - Strange water based level, interesting idea, works quite well.
Shoggoth: "Chapel Shoggoth" - Often bland scenery, but sometimes an impressive scale, plays well.
Grc4Beta: "Rust in Peace" - Impressive architecture with an unusual use of the metal style, exciting stop/start play.
BNT: "Bridges and Towers" - Very non-linear level with a lot of exploration and different tasks, great thoughtful play.
BNT2: "The Hallowed Halls" - Smaller sequel to the above, but no less complex nor excellent.
Carnage: "Carnage" - Carnage indeed, a brutal but excellent map, with solid buttressed architecture.
Arcane: "Arcane" - Very solid level with all the classic ingredients for this style, and then more...
Sadlark7: "Dig me no Grave" - Cool map with good gameplay and a lot to do to complete it.
NetWorld: "The NetherWorld" - Superb tight level with lots of tricky gameplay and excellent secrets.
TFL2: "The Fierce Livid" - Wind Tunnels style - unusual but excellent, very complete and well finished feel.
Mexx5: "The Terror of Tzeentch" - Diverse map with great fighting and monster use as well as excellent use of scenery.
Mexx4: "Nurgle's Vault" - Another varied map with impressive fighting areas.
Erotique: "Horror Erotique" - Interesting level with good progression and good challenging gameplay.
TFL3: "This Feels Lurid" - Solid metal level, sizeable and good play.
Horrid: "Horripilatia" - A map for the Scourge mission pack, and it uses the Scourge extras very well, good.
Evilwrld: "Evilworld 1" - Cool map with some unusual and excellent features for a metal map.
Disturbed: "The Disturbed" - Quite a decent level with some rather challenging sections.
Sadlark6: "The Sacrifice of Flesh" - Good map, but gameplay is very hard in places, a mean challenge.
Hayduke1: "Ephermerality" - Smallish map with some sticky architecture, decent design and hard gameplay.
Scorn: "Scorn" - Solid metal level with diverse sections and decent gameplay.
Iam1: "My World is your World" - Daunting metal level with a sense of grandeur, but damn hard all the way.
Area51.2: "Area 51" - Has a base section to finish, good scenery, good gameplay.
Well: "The Well of Lost Souls" - Large scale level with good though sometimes imbalanced gameplay, some traps but a cool end.
Discord: "Discordia" - Quite nice level, plays well but could have more detail and challenge.
Rit2: "Escape the Castle" - Well angled and designed map, some poor textures, but generally fine gameplay.
Arma2: "Armageddon 2" - Cool enough level with varied areas and good gameplay.
FOON: "From out of Nowhere" - Tricky little level, pretty good.
Village: "Village" - Varied level centered around a, errr, village. Interesting, fine gameplay.
Shadow: "Shadow over Innsmouth" - Sequel to Village, for some reason with green monsters (?), just as good apart from that.
Alba01: "Road to Inverurie" - Very exploratory and atmospheric map with an unusual setting and plenty of great touches.
Alba02: "Inverurie" - A not-as-good sequel, but still pretty fine and very engrossing.
DarkFst: "Dark Forest" - Dark and scary, nice curved architecure, good gameplay with plenty of tension.
Drakopf: "Drakopf" - Kinda of gothic castle type thing, good complex layout and good gameplay.
Siluette: "Silhouette of Darkness" - True medieval theme, often very confusing, but equally often very good, plays well.
Metro: "Hive Part 2" - Set in a Vore infested subway, this pulls off an unusual idea very well.
Fane11: "Fane of the Diabolist" - Very weird and spooky level, not much like Quake, very cool but some flaws.
Badass: "BadAss" - Badly themed but good exploration and a very cool finish with an old friend.
Aqua: "The Ancient Aquaduct" - 3 section level in red, green and blue colours, big, good gameplay.
Vison: "Vision of Hatred" - Not very well themed level, but good and has some neat touches and extras.