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Monday 19th June 2000:

Alk07: "Egyptian Myth"
(Size: 1.05 meg. Above link includes mirror downloads.)

Like Alk05, this level relies on a strong, original, consistent style for visual effect, rather than any diverse or spectacular designs. The theme is an Egyptian palace, at least in the textures and details: Sandstone walls, gold buttresses, and rich red buttresses with torches set in. Some pale green textures give it a curiously mildewed look, while occasional hi-tech-ish doors look out of place. Designs are quite simple, the map is based around a two storey selection of sometimes basic rooms and corridors. The most impressive architecture is in the larger outdoor rooms, the smaller in-between sections are stylish, but repetitive. However there's a great use of angles throughout, and the build quality is consistently good. The level needed more diversity in designs - temple fronts, more 3D sections, use of water, for example. It's a bit like a custom DM level in that the eye-candy comes from good texturing and details rather than structures, but being SP, more impressive structures could have been used.

Progression round the map is good, as there is some non-linearity and a clear choice of routes through some sections. With the distribution of weapons, all paths are balanced. Secrets are simple though. Like the design, the gameplay's main strength - and weakness - is it's consistency: Combat is steady and unrelenting through all areas, with plenty of monsters (including Snakemen), all sections well used for fighting, and plenty of teleporting monsters appearing to keep the combat flowing even when backtracking. But it's not overwhelming as the map design makes it easy to channel monsters to where you want them: I.e. backing away from monsters shooting, or just ducking behind the nearest corner if they dare fire at you. It continues like that throughout the level, and provides a war of attrition rather than any especially challenging combats - the finish, against a toughened Deathknight, is easy to escape from. Items are in good supply, tending towards ammo more than health, and with the secrets the balance is very good. However the combats can be too similar, and the only slightly effective skills settings might make it too hard for some players.

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