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Tuesday 27th March 2001

Thepit: "The Pit"
(Size: 890 k. Alternative downloads: Thepit)

Note: If you play this map with WinQuake, you may need to start a new game *first*, then bring down the console and load the map, otherwise Quake may crash.

A level in an unusually clean base style. Plain, pale grey walls and bright industrial trim are prominent, along with bright, contrasting lighting, which gives it a theme more suitable to Half-Life than Quake. It can feel rather sterile, and may not be to all tastes, but this style is portrayed coherently and the map is fairly well built. The base consists of several slime pool "hangars" and darker blue computer control rooms, set into natural rock pits, connected by rock tunnels and walkways. The rock sections are the perhaps best part of the map - properly angled, carved tunnels and walls, with an excellent rock texture (derived from Daikatana, I think). The main hangars and rooms are also done nicely, with good, strong, arching beams and some curved corners, though sparse details and some bland areas. Despite the more "realistic" look, it's really just a collection of rooms, there's no central focus to the level. More large scale structures and machinery, such as the lone crane already present, would have enhanced the theme.

The level has very good exploration at the start, with a wide choice of areas to explore initially. There are also 4 useful secrets - be careful getting out of the slime, the ladders can be tricky, try looking straight up and pushing forwards, then jumping. Gameplay is quite fun in it's own perculiar way - a game of two halves, initially easy especially if you explore for items, then with a sting in the tail. Mostly you face the usual base enemy with appropriately weak weaponry, it's low key running and gunning, and it might seem too easy for many players, despite a couple of surprises. Skill settings are very effective so it's playable for anyone. But near the end the challenge escalates via a party of tougher monsters, that can be tackled via caution or bravery, and provide more excitement. Like the design, the gameplay needed more focus, such as carefully planned combat setups, but it's still quite pleasant and an interesting, original, setting.

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