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Saturday 26th June 1999:

Damaul6: "Bestial Devastation"
(Size: 920k. No Alternative downloads.)
Speedrun demo: 1:17

Important note: This map uses the Zerstörer modifications. Zerstörer is fantastic and you should have it already (get it from the Zerstörer directory), but if you don't have it, you MUST download this dml6prog file to play the map.
Welcome to Damaul6....this is the future of Quake single player levels. Combining a unique industrial style, consistently excellent architecture, a deathmatch influenced layout, highly structured monster usage and the classic Zerstörer mods, Damaul has created a truly original masterpiece that shows how much potential Quake single player levels still have. The map has a futuristic and industrial feel with gothic influences, very different to normal base type levels, and sticks well to this theme. It's clad in a mixture of metal beam, metal grille and Q2 style concrete textures, almost all are custom or modified textures. There are plenty of textural details such as lights and grilles, which compensate for the (very few) plainer sections, as well as enhancing the already impressive structures.

Architecture is uniformly excellent - every single area has something to offer visually (some areas really stand out - both gold key areas especially), and no area is deprived of details or interesting designs. This consistent quality is very impressive indeed - it's rare to see a level with this architectural "completeness". The most common designs are open multi-level rooms with overhanging roof sections and towers of the very skyline of the level, but these are mixed in with more interesting curved and castle-like designs. This gives some good variation in style, but the textures provide a common theme. I do have a few minor criticisms though: some very vertical areas make it hard to see some of the impressive designs, and I didn't see anything quite as cool as the final castle in Damaul3, and it would have been really nice to see Zer's rain effect. But overall, the architecture is just top quality, well themed, well detailed, heavy, oppressive and impressive.

There is a little bit of exploration around the map's convoluted layout, mostly to find necessary switches, but no secrets which is a shame. The map's high interconnectivity means that you revisit many areas at a variety of amusing altitudes, making good use of the layout. Onto gameplay, which is at least as well crafted as the map itself - Damaul has crammed in well over 100 monsters (base, miscellaneous and Zer), and produced a continually tough map. The most noticable aspect of the gameplay is the refined use of monsters, which are placed and distributed with the greatest precision to enhance their strengths. Grunts and Enforcers are used from all directions to make dodging their fire harder, Ogres are placed on ledges to provide a veritable grenade storm, Scrags lurk behind high towers to ambush the player, and Mega-Enforcers, one of my favourite add-on monsters, are used in nasty places which makes their attack/shield combination very hard to deal with.

Some people complain about Quake's stupid monsters, but when they are used this well, you might be surprised about how effective they are...and of course you get the usual entertaining appearing monsters malarkey, with lots of surprises and shocks. I found this gameplay required a blend of aggression *and* tactics to deal with, which is satisfying. Also, you get some cool Zer weapons, but sadly no chainsaw nor the Zer powerups. Again, I do have a few criticisms: a couple of sections can be very hard to survive first go, the end is fairly challenging but not the quite apocalyptic climax I expected, and most seriously, the skill settings make little difference, meaning it could be unpleasantly hard for some players. But if you are up to the challenge, the gameplay is rewarding indeed. One of the very best single levels made....essential. (Did an Easy speedrun in 1:17 with a huge shortcut.)

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