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Tuesday 15th June 1999:

Aop2: "Abyss of Pandemonium Episode 2"
(Size: 2.60 meg. Alternative downloads Aopv105c)
Speedrun demo of Aop2m2: 1:08

Important note: This set of levels is part of the Abyss of Pandemonium mission pack. The full mission pack contains additional weapons and monsters, but in my view these add little to the game - they are not bad, but not great either. So, since the maps can be downloaded seperately, I have chosen to review them seperately. If you want the full mission pack, you can get it from: Playing these levels on their own does have the following effects:
1. Only the first two levels out of the 4 level episode are playable - the final two levels are cool base levels and worth looking around, but Aop2m3 requires "noclip" to complete, and Aop2m4 lacks sufficient monsters, including the final boss - (the boss is very poor anyway).
2. When each map loads, it will give some error messages in the console - this is just Quake not finding the extra monsters and stuff.

The two "playable without the full mission pack" levels in this episode are both metal levels, and though they don't have the intriguing designs of some of the AoP Episode 1 levels, are still good solid levels with fun gameplay. Both maps are in a fairly standard metal style, with runic details and lava, though Aop2m2 blends blue and medieval styles in too. Both stick well to their chosen themes, though Aop2m2 has a tiny base section at the end to lead into the final maps, a neat touch. Aop2m1 has by far the nicer architecture, though it is curiously 2D with quite simple room layouts. The architecture, details, both large and small, and the texturing are consistently good - they do vary with different areas, but almost all rooms have interest, and look good in the metal theme. Lots of gothic stuff in this map - ominous designs and plenty of bloody heads and crucifixes - I like it.

Aop2m2 isn't as attractive, though it does have a more interesting and "winding" layout. Some areas are pretty good, and the ceilings are consistently done well, but it lacks the cool details of Aop2m1. However, there aren't any really ugly sections, just some plain ones, so it's still a decent looking map. These maps both use custom textures BTW - they are mostly modified Id textures and look pretty good. There isn't any real exploration in Aop2m1, but there is some non-linearity and route choices (as well as some searching required to progress) in Aop2m2. Both maps have secrets, some of which are nicely designed. Gameplay is solid in both maps, facing standard medieval monsters, though there are some areas that are devoid of monsters (where the mission pack monsters would be). The gameplay has very normal "Quakey" feel, with some surprises and challenging mini-climaxes, but mostly straight up shooting and running around. Aside from some empty areas in Aop2m2, the combat is continuous throughout both maps.

Aop2m1 has more "gang combat" with groups of Knights, Ogres, Deathknights and Zombies, and plenty of ammo to deal with them, as well as plenty of space to move and retreat. There are some highlights on the way, but no big climax at the end (even with the mission pack monsters). Aop2m2 seems quite a large map, and only has a few monsters, but when combat does occur it's pretty heavy - almost all the monsters are medium to tough in this map. Again there are some small highlights in the map that provide a bit more challenge, though by the end you are tooled up with so many weapons the ending is rather weak. Still, throughout these levels, it's good honest gameplay, with decent balance and no annoying combats. As with the first episode, well worth playing. (Did an Easy speedrun of Aop2m2 in 1:08.)

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