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Tuesday 5th January 1999:

Hostile: "Fucking Hostile"
(Size: 500k. Alternative downloads: Hostile / Hostile)

To see, to bleed, cannot be taught
In turn, you're making us
fucking hostile

Named after the notorious Pantera track of the same name (or is it the DJ Skinhead gabber version on Industrial Strength?!?), and indeed the map author, the prolific J.F.Gustafsson, has set the level up so it will play that very track if you have the Vulgar Display of Power CD - ain't that nice =). There are certainly some hostilities going on, even by Quake's standards - once when I played it, I even saw two Ogres fighting each other, a rare occurence indeed. Anyway, the map: if you are familiar with any of mister Gustafsson's later and better maps, then you will recognise his trademark styles here - a roughly medieval basis, with crates and elements of base thrown in, along with great touches such as decaying bridges, collapsing walls, and interesting use of natural terrain. All are prominent and pleasing in this map - however the "set-piece" of the map, a large, very vaguely Sphinx-like construction, despite it's size and position, was somewhat disappointing - it's design is curiously unimpressive, it doesn't look as malevolent as it should, and the texturing is bland....a nice idea, but weakly executed. Elsewhere in the map, the architecture is less spectacular, but due to the styles mentioned above, interesting and detailed. There is much variety in the rooms and designs, from large outdoor bits to winding semi natural caverns and crate filled alcoves.

However, along with the detailing, this does cause a problem - the level can run slow in places. It's not too bad, I was getting 18 FPS at the minimum, and it didn't signifcantly affect gameplay, but it is noticeably less smooth than most good maps. Progression through the level is linear, though it is mostly centered around the aforementioned set-piece, which you will see a lot of. Happily, the secrets are useful, varied, and usually interesting to find - my favourite was the MH, just the sort I like. You will find the secrets (except the last, maybe) a boon in this map, because the gameplay doesn't relent much - there is always plenty of enemy in your way, and often popping up from difficult positions. Taking care and relying on the trusty double shotty initially will reap benefits when you start facing tougher monsters at the end, and the final room has a rather unusual layout that tests your balance and reactions. Despite this, and a nasty little trap (explore before you shoot) the level isn't too hard and it's fun to play, with a good balance and a good challenge. But you might face some problems with a low end PC in places, you have been warned.

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