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Wednesday 25th November 1998:

Thecrypt: "The Crypt"
(Size: 400k. Alternative downloads: Thecrypt / Thecrypt)
Speedrun demo: 0:58

This is a small, simple, straight up and rather neat map. The design is quite simple and 2D, there are no extra frills, but it is extremely well made (with an almost professional air), with excellent architecture and some nice details (check out the rift in the main room). Particularly noticable is the good use of many curves both in the outdoor areas and some corridors, and on the rounded off pillars and arches. Curves are sadly lacking in many maps, and they certainly make this one very attractive, along with the lighting which is nicely done in places (like the contrast between the start and finish areas).

Gameplay is very good, but unfortunately a lack of monster balance gives rise to the only disappointment in this map - the fighting is mostly great, facing combinations of Scrags and Ogres, and facing some monsters in numbers, but always with room to move and sufficient ammuntion. However, towards the end of the map, the monsters just seem to disappear, and once you recieve an unnecessary Quad, it's all over with a noticable anti-climax. This is a bit of a pity (and a common flaw in many maps), because just with 10 more monsters at the end, the map would have been excellent all round, nevertheless it is still very good. Highly recommended as long as you don't expect a spectactular ending. (Did a Nightmare speedrun in 0:58, also on the Demos page.)

Rc1: "The Frater Fracas"
(Size: 900k. Alternative downloads: Rc1 / Rc1)
Speedrun demo: 1:11

A somewhat unusual map in that it uses the Ikbase textures, popular amongst deathmatch map makers, but until now, only Ilkka's original Ikspq5 and the fantastic Casspq1 have made good use of them in a SP map. This is definitely a good base map (though it's maker, Fat Controller, insists on denying that it's any good!!!), varied, some cool rooms and architecture, and all round great gameplay. The rooms are varied in design, mostly they are good, especially the first room, but a few seem a bit empty and purposeless. Architecture is the same, mostly it is really good, but in some places it's a little less detailed and a bit too square - however, it all sticks to the theme well with the usual base touches (I especially like the entirely different atmosphere in the grimy underground cellar), and the design is never low quality.

Gameplay is where this map really suceeds, there are many different gameplay situations, and all are fun - places where Grunts pour out of opened cells, where Enforcers appear on rafters above you, where you are trapped in the cellar with a bunch of nasty monsters but plenty of cover to hide behind, and the ending, though slightly too easy (yup!), is a fun battle. The only real flaw with balance is that some of the items and secrets are a bit strange - the Quad is almost useless, while the second Red Armour secret makes the ending too easy. Another nitpick is that sometimes the cool hexagonal corridors are awkward to move in, and the ladders are also tricky to use, but that's of little consequence - overall it's a fine and interesting map. (Did a rather cool Easy speedrun in 1:11, also on the Demos page.)

Jzspq3: "Blue Hell"
(Size: 3.0 meg. Alternative downloads: Jzspq3 / Jzspq3)
Speedrun demo: 0:51

A somewhat unusual map in that it uses the Ikblue textures, until now, only Ilkka's original Ikspq2-4 series has made good use of them in any map. A pity since they are lovely textures, and blue maps are sadly rare - although this map doesn't look as good as Ilkka's originals (what does, eh?), it still makes fine, consitent use of the textures, with plenty of decent architecture and designs, and features especially cool lighting which throbs menacingly between dark and light, and adds atmosphere. Now this map is actually quite unusual in design and gameplay - it is split into 4 smaller maps, in which you must collect 4 runes, and defeat the final enemy, while facing a series of short but brutal battles on the way. You are usually thrown into the midsts of quite a lot of monsters in simple and inescapable arenas, but are supplied with huge amounts of ammo and armour to survive - this is quite a nice idea, you run around like a headcase, pouring nails and grenades into everything in sight, without any thought for tactics or cunning, and you usually survive easily,

However, although this is fun, I feel these maps didn't go far enough in this aspect - sometimes it feels a little too easy for this style of gameplay (I am usually cautious myself), and I would have preferred it with more monsters, maybe even a lot more monsters and a couple more Quads, so it would have resulted in truly brutal, and slightly more satisfying gameplay. As for the ending - well, even on Hard you get the 666, so really it is a bit pointless. Still, the maps overall are definitely fun, and have a cool atmosphere too. (Did Easy speedruns of all 4 maps in pretty quick times Map 1 in 0:16, Map 2 in 0:16, Map 3 in 0:06, Map 4 in 0:13, all in one .zip, also on the Demos page.)

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