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Saturday 14th August 1999:

RDEfull: "Runner's Delight Episode"
(Size: 6.90 meg. No Alternative downloads.)

Runner's Delight: The episode for speedrunners, by speedrunners, with 80% added shortcuts and a bonus start map!! Get yours now!! Or just completely ignore the speedrunning aspect, and enjoy some varied, stylish and fun single player maps, all nicely wrapped up with a coherent story and cool demos. This episode is perhaps comparable to Episode 1 of Quake itself as it contains a diverse selection of maps, including an interesting start map. You can play the maps in any order, apart from the final map, and there is enough weapons on each map to do so. However it's most aesthetically pleasing to play them in order. To wrap the episode up, you also get intro and outro demos, which are simple, but use an excellent structure and very atmospheric sounds to great effect.

I'll give a description of each map, but first some general notes: Despite the variety, the maps adhere to their chosen themes well, with appropriate styles, structures, textures and details. They are well made, with mostly clean designs, and no speed problems apart from a tiny (and expected) bit of slowdown in the final castle. In general, the maps are on the large side, both in layout and area dimensions - this given plenty of room to move. Also, in most maps details are used sparingly, and kept out of the players way (for example, complex ceiling structures) - this makes the maps easier to fight in, but some areas can look sparse or plain.

There is a lot of exploration to do in the maps, both with secrets (some of which are obscure or require trick moves, and are hard to find), and also the very non-linear nature of the maps: in most maps there are many different routes to explore, before finding which tasks you need to complete the map. There is one trick move that is required to complete the episode: a rocket jump into the teleporter to the final map, quite simple (and easy to cheat around). Otherwise, no tricks are required to finish, just normal key collecting, button pushing and monster shooting. Gameplay throughout is mostly quite simple, with few monsters, but often used well, with some good surprises. You can chose from Easy, Hard or Nightmare skills (see text).

Even on Hard, the enemy were often sparse (to make speedrunning easier) and some maps could have done with more monsters to fill some empty areas. However, the monsters are often used well, with a mixture of straight up fighting, some good sniping monsters, and plenty of "what happens when I press this button" surprises - the latter get particularly fun in some maps, with good use of tougher enemy. Weapons and ammunition are in plentiful supply in all the maps, though health and armour can be sparse in some maps, which is a good thing for increasing the challenge a bit. There are quite a few powerups to be used, but they are mostly found in the gnarliest secrets. Thankfully there are very few traps, mostly limited to some nail shooters. Despite the number of maps and their complex exploratory layouts, it's quite possible to breeze pleasantly through most of the levels, and there are no frustrating sections that will require repeated replaying, so though it could be more challenging, it's definitely a fun episode.

Rd1m1 is a standard Id base map, on a fairly large scale with a good outdoor section. There's plenty of base type details, an impressive power core and a well designed final room, with a good sense of progression. Fairly linear, but some good secrets throughout. Gameplay is straightforward, with a few tricky snipers and some surprise enemy in the outdoor section. The final room is a good ending to the map.

Rd1m2 is the weakest map, done in a medieval style. It lacks the strong theme of the other maps (too much colour variation, I think), with some rather dated looking areas. However, it still has some impressive designs, and a few good details (a little stream is nice). Gameplay uses just medieval enemy, and a fair bit of exploration is required for progression. There are some more challenging situations, with good use of tougher enemy.

Rd1m3 is a great map, done in a Roman (i.e. temple) style, with a large sprawling layout, and lots of nice architecture. Details are fairly minimal, but the clean architecture and cool temple structures make it an attractive map. Again, progression is interesting, and there are some clever sequences used to test you. Gameplay is fairly "stop/start", with some fairly empty areas linking some more serious fights, and with plenty of appearing monsters providing entertainment - it's mostly medium class monsters that provide the fun in this map.

Rd1m4 must be the highlight of the maps: Jesse fell in love with these custom textures made by Stecki, and it shows in this map. A truly excellent space style map, with futuristic steely grey and blue textures. There's quite a bit of variety in designs throughout, the the consistent textures provide a strong theme. Architecture is excellent, with a good use of angles, roof designs, details such as fans and lights, and other hi-tech effects - all areas in this map are visually appealing. Gameplay fits with the theme, plenty of base enemy, and a good surprise at the end. The enemy can be a bit sparse in places, but in others they are well used as snipers and teleporting "security" to surprise you.

Rdend is a fitting climax, a large, spacious and complex medieval castle. Unlike Rd1m2, this has a strong and distinctive medieval theme: brown or green walls with white bands on the walls and blue bands on the floor, which looks rather good. Again, there are few details, but there are plenty of impressive structures and room designs to compensate, mostly with a good traditional castle feel. Exploration is as good in this as in the other maps, with both non-linearity and fun secrets to explore. Gameplay is probably the best in this map, though there are a few empty-ish areas, it seems round every corner there is a Shambler, and every Shambler wants your blood =). Lots of tougher enemy give this map a better challenge. This continues to the end, which is a fitting challenge, that may seem frustrating at first, but sensible powerups make if quite reasonable.

Overall, this is a very fun pack, not too challenging, with lots of exploration and interesting styles to check out, well worth playing.

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