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Friday 1st September 2000:

Apsp1: "The Final Threat"
(Size: 1.5 meg. Alternative downloads: Apsp1)

Note: This is a fixed version of Apsp1 - in an earlier version the batch file to run the map in GLQuake didn't set skills correctly, in this version it does. Also, you'll need to allocate more memory (see Help page) if you want to play the map in DosQuake.

This map is a huge, labyrinthine base map clad in the distinctive Ikbase textures. The story behind the map is the usual malarkey: Incompetent buffoons left in charge of a "Dimension Complex", massive b0rkage, monsters on the loose, one lone soldier sent to sort it out and of course that soldier is you. So you head down a deep lift and must worm your way up from the slimey lower base through a complex, heavily interconnected and 3-D selection of base areas, to the reinforced teleportation chamber on the roof. The complex layout is inspirational - forget about room/corridor/room here, it has a deathmatch influenced layout with many areas having several stories and multiple interconnections. Architecture is mostly excellent - though some sections are better than others - and the build quality, theme, and textures are hard to fault, they're all very coherent, giving a polished feel.

There's some very impressive and varied designs, particularly an epic outdoor pit with a sinuous base front built in, a multi-storey circular computer core / lift, and the teleport room itself. Throughout the map angles and curves are used well to give it plenty of style, and details and lighting are both good, particularly the way the lights and trim are wrapped around the designs. However, while the more detailed areas and outside sections give an atmosphere of purpose or pseudo-realism, some simpler sections feel a bit arbitrary, and details like pipes, grilles, or machinery would have given them more interest (and matched the occasional crate machinery already present). There's some exploration, though it's more about feeling exploratory with all the interconnections, as the map is mostly linear with a couple of route choices. There are a pleasing 6 secrets to find in a variety of places, the best requiring careful jumping around scenery. I'd have liked more exploration and secrets as this design is ideal for that.

Gameplay is equally excellent, and makes great use of the map's complexity and 3-D nature - being attacked from any and indeed many angles is common, and this gives a strong, covert, infiltrative feel, encouraging the player to take care and use cover. Particularly notable are Enforcer snipers from above, which prove hazardous when combined with Grunts on the floor. Base enemy are mixed with a few excitingly used tougher monsters, and the legendary Zerstörer "Mega Enforcer". I've said it before, but these guys are just great to fight with their attack/shield combination, they are sparingly used here but do enhance the gameplay. The start of the map is a bit too hard due to multiple enemy, but later on the balance is good with fair ammo and health, leading to a fine, nervous, but reasonable ending. It's a challenging map but skill settings are in effect, making it accessible to all - little to complain about with the gameplay, a very fine map.

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