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Monday 26th March 2001

Gmsp1: "Colony"
(Size: 3 meg. Alternative downloads: Gmsp1)

A large, complex, futuristic base level, set on the moon, with a blend of sci-fi and industrial styles. It has a strong visual theme with lots of hi-tech, grey-tinged textures, grille details and pale blue strip lighting, all set beneath a starry sky. Further futuristic touches like computer consoles and complex locking doors leading into circular tunnels enhance this theme, while the highlights are perhaps the outdoor sections and caverns, with awesome base architecture built into the cold blue rock, and low gravity outdoors completing the lunar atmosphere. Architecture is very impressive throughout - aside from the outdoor areas, several large silos, supported by huge beams, are spectacular. Elsewhere, curves - including circular arches complete with curved lights - angles, and beams are liberally used to make all areas look good, and there are many great designs. Areas are complex and diverse in their overall design, and well interconnected.

Aside from the occasional low gravity, custom force-fields, rotation, and exploding wall effects are used sparingly to provide more thematic interest, along with an unnerving warning siren. The map also features custom monsters, including nail, grenade, and rocket Grunts - used regularly but thankfully not too powerful, and giving more diverse gameplay. Also, a tougher Enforcer with a high quality blue skin that is more Borg than Quake, it's not as interesting to fight as the Mexx 10 nor Zerstörer Enforcers. Finally, a new "droid" monster, which is a midsized, bipedal, laser bolt firing robot. This is reasonable to fight but again it looks very out of place in Quake's more arcane bestiary. The map's build quality is good too, but there might be a bug where you have to kill fish to open an underwater tunnel - if it doesn't open, a fish is missing and you'll have to noclip past.

The complex layout gives a fair bit of exploration in some areas, as well 4 secrets, well worth finding including a particularly funky yellow armour. Gameplay, sadly, is not nearly as good as the design. Eschewing the recent trend towards very fair gameplay, it's more reminiscent of the excesses of Nehahra (perhaps due to improved Grunt/Enforcer AI). While some the combats are reasonable though still challenging, in other situations, lots of multi-directional attacks and fighting above slime can really wear down the already limited health and make the combats very hard to survive first time - more tweaking was needed. However, skill settings are effective, lower skills might be a good choice. Later on better supplies and armour make the level more fun, include a huge, more appropriately challenging finale - a sustained arena combat in an dramatic underground cavern. A level that is most worthwhile for the superb design.

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