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Friday 20th July 2001

Ksp1: "Contract Revoked Part I - Libris Vertiginis"
(Size: 1.3 meg. No Alternative downloads.)

This is a single demo level for a 5 map episode entitled "Contract Revoked", which promises to be an interesting and exciting episode by this level's standards. It's a medieval level using lots of custom textures to create a fresh style: Grey brick walls, blue archways, brown stone floors, and books. Yes, books. Lots of books. Continuing the map's unusual flavour, several areas feature large bookcases, and one dramatic room has pillars of bookcases rising from the void, giving an atmosphere of a particularly demented and demonic library. Other architecture and designs vary throughout the map, from simple corridors to angular and watery catacombs, to broken floors revealing brightly glowing lava. The overall style, including ceiling details picked out in rusty metal, and the omnipresent arches, keeps the map looking consistently good. However, a few rooms are a bit basic and don't match the inspiration of some of the better designs. Lighting is great, well sourced and atmospheric, but never too dark, and the build quality is all good too.

The level is generally linear, except for the "demented library", which has various route choices accessed by platforms floating above the void. The map's best and most satisfying exploration, however, is finding the secrets: A grand total of 8, some obvious, some well hidden (and one that's designed never to be found), and all well worth finding. The challenging gameplay means you'll want to explore for those secrets - there's several tricky situations where a well timed Quad or a bonus yellow armour will be very handy. Combats are mostly good fun and fair if you keep your head and play carefully, as both the lava and void enhance the challenge. The later gameplay is perhaps the best, plenty of balls-out fighting against tough monsters, with good weapons. However, a few tricky bits are likely to frustrate players: an obvious lack of health at the start, a zombie ambush at too close range, and with the occasional trap, saving fairly often is recommended. Apart from the start, supplies are good, and skill settings are available. An intriguing level, well worth a look.

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