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Thursday 23rd January 2001:

Perssp2: "Return to Dust"
(Size: 780 k. No Alternative downloads.)

A medium sized temple style map clad in unique custom textures with a few metal runic details. Curiously enough the whole map in it's designs, layout and gameplay feels just like a metal (Quake's Episode 3) map, with it's simple arcane solidity. Rooms in this are often simple, apart from a couple of larger, more complex "hub" rooms. But the consistent theme and distinctive textures, including serpentine squiggles, triangular trim, and alien murals, means it looks rather neat throughout. Good visual features include the more complex ceiling cutouts, looking good against the night sky, "randomly" scattered wooden bridges, occasional complex light designs, and the sections of massive stone pillars in some areas. The latter could have been used to make some more impressive designs, as the map is lacking in structures. However this map's looks are more about the strong style and theme, helped by the rich lighting and good build quality.

Progression is linear, with 2 keys and 2 runes ensuring you stick to the path, though many areas are revisited, usually finding some reinforcements. There is one very useful secret, with the amount of texture details, a few more would have fitted in. Gameplay again feels like E3, solid, challenging, plenty of medieval monsters with a good use of tougher monsters, but not overwhelming nor overly devious. There's a mixture of straight up fighting, lots of ducking and shooting - especially against well placed Ogres - and several good surprises. The latter are sometimes enhanced by cheerful text messages, and there's always adequate weaponry to deal with these ambushes, though some are a bit cramped. Supplies are fairly plentiful, apart from limited armour, and the gameplay tends to favour running away and using the layout to your advantage. It's well balanced and includes a good ending with various monsters, and skill settings which change items more than monsters. Overall a solid level.

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