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Sunday 14th March 1999:

Lisland "Lost Island"
(Size: 2.10 meg. Alternative downloads: Lisland / Lisland)
Speedrun demo: 0:49

Or to give it it's full title "Lost Island: The Island of Death". Which is nice. Well, hey, you wouldn't want an island of peace, harmony, cute animals and pretty flowers, would you??? That would just be silly. Anyway, what you get here is a 2 map mini-unit, with a start map, that all fit with the "lost island" concept very nicely - sort of Quake with an slight Indiana Jones feel. The maps are done with a clear temple/outdoor theme, with lots of canyons and carverns, and a plethora of sandy temple structures to explore. Both maps adhere to this theme well, but include quite a bit of variety in designs. The start map also fits in perfectly with this idea, and is perhaps the best and most interesting start map I've seen. However, though the start map is cool and worth exploring, there is some water in it, from which you take major damage if you swim down into. Fine, because it warns you, but sometimes you randomly take damage from just swimming on the surface - a bit glitchy I think. No such glitches in the main maps, but one problem is that they do run quite choppily in places: a few areas in the first map were a little choppy, and the second map was a bit worse, sometimes dipping below 20 FPS. This was probably due to the fairly detailed outdoor sections, and while it didn't really affect combat, it is not good.

The style of the maps is a combinations of two styles I'm particularly fond of: Rogue style temples and plenty of outdoor sections. However, neither of these are done quite as well as the could be: the temples are good, interesting and detailed in some places, but quite plain and square in others. The outdoor areas are plentiful and varied, with good use of water and cliff areas, but are hampered by the textures, which look a bit ugly and unnatural when used in such quantities - a better choice of rock texture would have improved these a lot. Also in the outdoor areas, some designs look artificial, and a few aspects look a bit "cute". Overall the first map has by far the better looks and designs, but there is some cool stuff in the second map: a nice little graveyard, and a cool megalith circle. Though the architecture doesn't quite live up to the theme, there are some good areas, some of the temple sections are great, and the maps are certainly interesting and original enough to keep you looking.

Onto an aspect I usually have to skim over with a comment like "Progression is fairly linear blah blah blah....". Yup, exploration, and fitting with the style of these maps, there is much exploration to be had, both necessary to finish and also to get secrets. The exploration starts with the, well, start map, and continues to tail off sometime in the second map. In particular the first main map has lots of exploration, and some non-linear button pushing to open a door - enough route choices in that area for sure, and it all fits in with the style of the map (though reaching one button requires too much annoying jumping). Equally, the secrets in the first main map are nothing short of excellent: all armours, all in cool positions, particularly the RA which is a real mountaineering expedition - great stuff. Sadly there isn't nearly as much exploration in the second map, though you do have some minor route choices. Overall, a nice and fitting exploratory feel. Gameplay is good too, generally in the "plenty of monsters, plenty of ammo" vein, which is fine by me. There are quite a few Grunts in the first map, and I don't think these fit in too well with the theme - they don't go well with Knights. Aside from this, there's a standard balance of medieval monsters, heavy on the Ogres, Knights and DeathKnights - no Scrags which is a pity as they would have worked well I feel.

In addition, there are some custom monsters at the end, and these actually fit in and work fairly well, I am pleased to say. They are appropriate to the theme and "lost island" idea, they look pretty good and are fun and interesting to fight too. However, they do look a bit cliched (I'm letting you see what they are for yourselves, okay?), and would be much better if they looked as weird and evil as some of the Quake monsters. But as custom monsters go, not bad at all. As I said, the gameplay has plenty of monsters and plenty of firepower and you just wade your way through them. Nothing special, but fun and well balanced (some may find it a bit simple, maybe?). The end however is pretty special, firstly it's a good and fairly challenging arena style combat with the new monsters, and secondly there is a special treat if you pay attention. Without giving too much away, look in the small temple in the outside bit of the second map, and then see what you can do with that....if you work it out, try this too: when you finish the map, click on "fire" to continue, and you will restart...well you should see. This thing I am mysteriously alluding to is one of the coolest features in the map, and could have been used a bit more as it's great fun. Overall, good and interesting maps with some nice touches. (Did an Easy speedrun of Map2 in 0:49)

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