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Thursday 1st February 2001:

Imp1sp1: "The Corral"
(Size: 570 k. No Alternative downloads.)

An old skool level, using the familiar Idbase textures that are sometimes naively dismissed as having limited potential. This map shows them being used very well, with simple, sturdy designs, consistent use of textures, good detailing and fine build quality. Biff's deathmatch mapping origins are shown in the map layout, a multi-storied atrium surrounded by two offshoot areas that spiral up and down around the main outdoor section. Architecture is lacking in structures, but is solid and heavy, with a very good use of angles in all areas. Nice ceiling beams are the most notable designs, but the detailing stands out more: Lots of piping, ribbing, grilles, consoles, inset metal wall sections, varying light details, a couple of "glass" windows, and a good use of trim, all giving the map a strong style that enlivens the Idbase theme. The map is cleanly built except one b0rked texture on a crate (a homage to E1M2?). A good, slightly arbitrary, map which have could have been improved by having more structures to enhance the base setting.

The atrium layout gives nice progression winding around all areas, though no real exploration. There are two secrets, both poorly placed as the map has enough details to put players off checking each one, and their items are pointless given how near the end they are. Gameplay, while it does provide a tense and potentially exciting challenge in some parts, suffers from a classic old skool flaw: The imbalance of being much harder to start and much easier to finish. Initially, with little ammo, weapons or health for a long way, and multiple attacks from all directions, the combat is very tricky. Having to play very carefully through all the base enemy snipers can be quite fun. As the map progresses, you gain more items, and will have often cleared out enemy from a distance, thus it becomes increasingly easy - at first a relief, then just too easy when you reach the rather minor ending. It's worthwhile for the good style and theme, and the initial gameplay for those who like a challenge, but the obvious imbalance should have been fixed.

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