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Thursday 14th January 1999:

SP: "Staging Point"
(Size: 600k. Alternative downloads: SP / SP)

Dum da dum...yet another base map!! Except this one is different, in that it's *not* different...instead of all the wild base variations we've seen, this just uses Id base textures, and standard base style designs. Well, and a few aberrant monsters, but don't worry about them =). As far as standard base designs go, this map is pretty good and interesting - predominant throughout the map is heavy usage of beige riveted girders, well used and well angled. This gives a solid and detailed look to otherwise simple rooms, and is used consistently throughout. Room designs are fairly simple (if well detailed with lights and stuff), with a couple of exceptions, and a few more places in rooms to explore (like behind crates) might have been nice. The textures are used well, although the beige can be a bit repetitive, there are some varied textures used, and some nice corridors. Overall the architecture isn't special, but it's fairly detailed, interesting, and well made - and the girders only hinder movement in a couple of places.

The layout of the map gives essentially linear progression, with some backtracking - when you backtrack, there's usually some more enemy in your way, which is always nice. One disappointment is the lack of secrets in the total score - there are two areas that are very obivously secrets (and one is bloody hard to get - any ideas how to get the red armour *without* a grenade jump, please email me and you'll get mentioned as usual). Both these areas are useful, and indeed there is another area that could have had a secret item in AND plenty of areas under the ramps throughout the map that could have been made into secrets. Secrets are fun to find, and add interest to exploring the map, so it's a pity not to have any in.

Gameplay is good, the start is nice, and from there it progresses fairly consistently, with a good balance of troops and weapons - though a couple of areas seem a bit empty. The errant monsters do spice the map up in places, and there are some nice touches, like the place where you get the grenade launcher, and the massed attack at the end of the wind tunnel. The ending is fitting, but with the super nailgun, it is too easy, and the map would have been better without this weapon. Two minor annoyances about gameplay were the amount of damage the lift does if you get trapped against the edge, and the poorly marked damaging bridge - although the red light is a subtle warning, placing the lights ON the bridge would have been better, and looked more like a dangerous bridge too. Unfortunately, there is a bug with this level that could exaggerate these flaws if they damage you enough: the saved game function doesn't seem to work, it just gives an error message and refuses to load. This is careless and the author should have fixed this. Aside from this, it's a fun and very respectable level.

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