Hosted by:

TEAMShambler Quake Level Reviews

Style and info
Submitting levels

Latest review
Reviews by date
Reviews by zip name
Reviews by map name
List of old levels

Design Theories 1
Design Theories 2
Q1 SP Articles

Speedrun demos

Level help
Site FAQ

Saturday 5th December 1998:

Tomb: "Tomb"
(Size: 250k. Alternative downloads: Tomb / Tomb)

Now this is an unusual treat - a map clad entirely in Rogue's delightful "temple" textures. This style is one I have never seen in a decent SP map - a great pity as it's definitely one of the more attractive styles in Quake (for futher proof, have a look at some of the excellent temple DM maps, such as Debello, Ultrav, Fribdev1, Chesdm1, Jndm6.....). The author has used the textures extremely well, with a perfect balance of uncluttered surfaces enlightened with some fine details, and a nice rock ceiling - the overall effect is very complete - nothing seems out of place or poorly used. The downside however, is that the architecture and layout is mostly very simple (and quite small, though that's fine) - this is a corridor based map, with just a few small rooms, and as such there is little design flair shown here, though it's simplicity is quite effective when combined with the textures and lighting. As a contrast, one of the only real rooms, while small, is fantastically detailed, with a superb ceiling - you end up wishing more rooms like it had been included. Nevertheless, this is not a problem as such, more of a potential improvement.

The gameplay shares a similar, but even more effective simplicity - it's a classic run and gun scenario, spiced up with a few surprises, and and a somewhat interesting combat with Fiends around the water tunnel. In general it is simple but satisfying - and importantly, it is well balanced from an easy start to a more exciting ending. The only real flaw with the gameplay is that two Ogres seem trapped in a couple of small cubby holes - this may be deliberate, but I suspect they'd much rather come out and tickle you with the old chainsaw =). Overall it's a basic but fun map, with fine gameplay and a unique and very well excecuted style.
Note: This map leads directly onto Mymap: "Garrison" when you exit - see review below.

Mymap: "Mymap"
(Size: 850k. Alternative downloads: Mymap / Mymap)

This map is in many ways superior to and more impressive than Tomb, but I feel that map is more worthy of today's top recommendation because of it's unique and atmopsheric theme. This map has the standard metal theme, with solid meaty looks garnished with hints of lava - though as with all his maps, the author takes a blocky and squarish approach with the architecture, and lets the textures do the work. Unsurprisingly the texturing is very neat, with some nice details (the first corridor is a good example), and the use of some "cobbled stone" textures adds a new and attractive twist. And again, it is a pity that the map is mostly designed around the right angle - the more angular areas (such as the YA secret) show how this map could have been improved with a less square style. However, this aside, it is quite an impressive map - fairly sizeable, varied, with some decent rooms, and a linear but slightly convoluted layout.

On the other hand, there are no doubts about the gameplay which is where this map excels - it is a progressive and interesting challenge, with no desperate parts, but plenty of interesting fights and exciting ambushes - in particular Scrags are used in very effective ways - ambushing you in tricky situations that reward both aggression and calm. As is obligatory for a challenge to be fun, there is usually room to manouvre (and flee =) ), and plenty of ammo for the job - this is noticable at the end, which though slightly easy due to the protection you get, is a joyous orgy of continuous nail fire =). There is one trap (well, one "non-monster" trap - there's plenty of traps with monsters!), but it can't be too bad as I didn't remember it until taking screenshots... So it's a plain, but good and solid map, and good solid gameplay.

Mymap: "Garrison"
(Size: 850k. Alternative downloads: Mymap / Mymap)

Important Note!!! This map follows directly on from Tomb, and does not have any weapons of it's own - see review for more details.
The second map in the "Mymap" zip, and you should know what to expect by now - simple but effective design with precise textures, and simple but solid and satisfying gameplay. And this map does indeed live up to that - it also shares and accentuates the author's willingness to play with themes - this time it is a metal map, but with no lava (water instead), but with a full, well, *garrison* of base enemy, alongside some maverick monsters to spice it up. This blending of styles works very well, and gives the map a cold feel of some bleak, prison like outpost. The architecture in it's usually simplicity, fits this well, though there are plenty more interesting (if mostly 2D) rooms, with some nice bunker like constructions. The map definitely feels more open, perhaps to give the legions of Grunts and Enforcers a clear shot at you =). Texturing is good, though not quite as detailed as his other maps - though the slightly more complex design balances this out.

As for gameplay - well there lies a tale to be told.... This map follows directly on from the Tomb map, but there is no indication that it does. Thus it includes plenty of ammo, but no weapons whatsoever as you should have them from Tomb. I didn't know this, so played the entire map with the shotgun - and amazingly it was mostly very reasonable - since it's just base enemy and Ogres for most of the map, and *always* with room to manouvre (which is nice), it's quite playable. However when I got to the end, and the somewhat superior enemy, I got rather puzzled (especially since there is approximately 3000 nails at the end!!!), and went back through the map 3 times with "r_fullbright" on - no weapons. So I assumed it was a beta or the author had screwed up, nimbly outwitted the end monsters (after a couple of attempts), and finished - it was still fun.

Then I played Tomb, discovered it lead to this map, so played this again with actual weapons - again fun, but perhaps too easy due to the low level monsters initially, and the colossal amount of ammo at the end. The way the gameplay is set-up is very good, such as the aforementioned freedom of movement, and the large amounts of monster groups - you can often find yourself facing a lot of base enemy - not sniping at you from all angles, but in one big mob - pleasant. However, the weapons balance is odd - either too little as a stand-alone map, or too much after playing Tomb, a bit of a pity, but as I say it's still fun. The only other problem is an inescapable pit at the start - just no way out. Kinda sloppy to do that - if you are not supposed to jump in, then there should be lava or spikes so I don't try to explore it!! Still, another solid, and recommended, map.

- - - - - -
Previous reviews
- - - - - -