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Friday 23rd February 2001:

Lthsp4: "Dark Days"
(Size: 1.60 meg. No Alternative downloads. )

Note: This map can follow on from Lthsp3 (review), or it can be played via the enclosed start map to gain the appropriate weapons.

A large medieval map in the same distinctive white stone walls / blue floor / metal trim / wooden ceiling theme as Lthsp3 and Moonlite (review). This map has simpler architecture than those maps, but this is compensated for by other visual qualities. Room designs are simple, even boxy in some areas. The larger rooms have the better designs, with pillars, angled rooves, and traditional medieval features like a throne room or a courtyard containing a fountain. Some connecting areas are very plain and would have benefitted from similar designs. However, a few aspects do stand out: The same funky metal trim detail from Lthsp3 is used in many areas and looks cool. Build quality is good, with all areas neatly made (apart from one bit of b0rked sky). The lighting is most notable - it's very good, an excellent demonstration of contrast and properly sourced lighting, enhancing the atmosphere (a few windows are inconsistently lit, though). These aspects make it a good looking map, though better architecture would have been nice.

The layout, which sees you winding around the level to visit most areas at different levels, has a large route choice to find two buttons - good exploration, both routes have equal gameplay. There's also 3 secrets, I only found one. Gameplay is much more fun than previous LTH maps - it still provides a good challenge, but has a more comfortable item balance and monster usage. Perhaps too comfortable as you get a *lot* of grenades in the start map. The good supplies of ammo, the spacious nature of most areas, and straightforward combat allows an aggressive approach - you can charge in headlong and survive. Enemy are limited to the more "realistic" medieval monsters, clearly this is to fit with the theme, but Zombies and more Rottweilers would have given more variety. Modified monsters - Crossbow Knights, Nail and Rocket Ogres (the latter with a good skin) are used sparingly and placed well. The fun, honest gameplay continues to the end, which is both a good, fair, finale, and a bit of a surprise.

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