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Thursday 18th March 1999:

Temple: "The Temple"
(Size: 750k. Alternative downloads is link above.)

Another level in the rare but delightful style "temple", but one which is made rarer and more delightful by excellent use of converted Hexen2 textures. And believe me, it works - maybe because Hexen2 uses the same engine, maybe because they are the right style of textures, but they fit perfectly into the temple theme. The dominant style in this map is simple Rogue sandstone textures for the walls, cool pale marble textures for the innumerate buttresses and beams, and a sort of marble+terracotta tile mix for the floor. This creates a strong and original theme, and one which is neat and clean. There are some variations as can be seen in the screenshots above, including more traditional temple styles and more detailed Hexen2 styles. There is also a bright sunny custom sky used, and with the plentiful skylights, this gives rise to the overall feeling I got from the map - one of brightness and peace, which was interesting!! The lighting contributes to this, and there is a good contrast between the brighter upper areas, and the gloomier torchlit areas. Finally, the actual structures add to the overall effect, there are many angles and large scale details, of which the marble buttresses are most prominent. The only things I weren't sure about were the large pillars in the first outdoor bit - good, but they seemed a bit out of place. Overall, the architecture and style of this map is delightful. There is some exploration at one point, which proves useful for ammo - aside from this it's linear, with no secrets sadly. The design and unfolding style of the map keeps the progression interesting throughout though.

Onto gameplay, and the one aspect that detracts from the theme comes from the monsters: there is a mixture of base and medieval monsters in this map, and while the unique style means that base monsters don't seem out of place, they do when mixed with Knights and DeathKnights. I would have preferred one or the other. However, the base enemy do make the actual fighting good, and are well used in some places. The actual fighting is of a "gradual wearing down" style: no really hard combats, favourable fighting areas mostly, but with few weapons and only one armour, each combat gradually takes it's toll with a couple more exciting areas to spice it up. There are some interesting monster uses, in particular Spawn, which are used rather well - not too hard in one situation, and more challenging in another. Now, this map was supposed to be the start of an episode, thus there is no big climax at the end, which is fair enough as the gameplay is solid throughout. Finally, there are a few glitches I need to mention: there are some graphics bugs: a mistextured switch, a section of wall visible outside a window, and a small area of HOM at the exit. There are some monsters in solids, so they can't move - this does spoil 3 Ogre combats that would have been more exciting, sadly. And there is water at the start that you might be tempted to jump into, but then can't get out. But these are minor niggles, and overall this map, particularly the style, really impressed me.

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