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Sunday 15th August 1999:

Golgotha: "Castle Golgotha"
(Size: 1.50 meg. No Alternative downloads.)
Speedrun demo: Map 1 in 0:30

Tim brings the Darkness (reviewed) upon us again, with these grimy, gothic, medieval dungeon and castle maps. You get a start map, and two medium sized playable maps, all done in a fairly detailed castle theme, i.e. you get dungeons, a well, fire places, that sort of thing. But it never reaches the bland realism that Quake just can't do, this is all appropriately gothic fantasy style. There is a lot of diversity in styles between the maps: The first has an arched, earthy, feel, while the second has a variety of angular styles with a metal influence. Individually all these styles are good: they are atmospheric and there are plenty of details and designs to keep you interested. However, I felt some more coherence would have been better, with more consistent use of the better styles, as it can seem a bit thrown together. Architecture is mostly good throughout, with lots of interesting structures and details. The first map is a low key affair, with few major designs, but curved arches and "DM1" style murals providing interest. It has a good, dirty, dungeon atmosphere too.

The second map has far more impressive designs, with some great castle frontages, some good pillared rooms, good use of angles and plenty of metal details (though the lettering is a bit cheesy). Aside from a more consistent style, there could have been more impressive designs in the first map, and also a bit more room to move, as a few designs are awkward to move around. Overall, these are atmospheric maps, that really fit Quake's style well. There is a bit of exploration in the maps, especially the first which has several areas to explore, and both have some good and useful secrets. Gameplay is where these maps excel, and Tim has really suceeeded in his quest for more challenging gameplay - these maps are as Quakily violent as you could hope for. There's plenty of medieval monsters throughout, with loads of ambushes and nasty shocks to keep you on your toes....Tired of just having a single Vore appear next to you?? Bored of those predictable Shambler ambushes?? Don't worry, this map drops *two* Vores and a DeathKnight on your head, while round the next corner, a Shambler *and* two Fiends welcome you with open claws =).

These maps certainly capture the brutality of Quake perfectly, and you'll definitely want to be wandering around with your Perforator at the ready - I found this gameplay both challenging and enjoyable, in fact some situations brought a smile to my face with the sheer Quakieness of it all. However, it never lowers itself into the depths of "frustration", as there is invariabley either an escape route or plenty of ammo to deal with the monsters - you just need to shoot first and think later. Also, skill settings are effective, which is good. Balance is good, you start off slowly with a bit of thought (and hunting for a key) required in the first map, but gradually the monsters pile up in front of you. The second map ups the pace further, with more ambushes, heavier monsters and just more action. However, the ending is a bit of a let down: it's a trap type thing, that can be annoying if you miss the warnings, while the actual combat is easier to retreat from, and even easier with the powerups and secrets - this should have been a better climax. Up to this point, the gameplay is just great. Definitely recommended for some solid, gothic, brutality. (Did an Easy speedrun demo of Map 1 in 0:30).

Moonlite: "Moonlight Assault"
(Size: 1.30 meg. Alternative downloads: Moonlite)

After Actaltraz, an epic base map, Tyrann returns with Moonlight, an epic medieval castle map. Like before, this is a massive 140+ monster map, that will provide a more filling and nourishing Quake experience than your average map. There is a great, atmospheric story behind the map, that provides a Quake-based background which cleverly touches on your mission from a distant 3rd person perspective. The essence is you are the remenants of a squad sent to retrieve a rune from a castle. And Lo!! That is exactly what you do. This map is a castle through and through, not in the traditional sense of having a moat, drawbridge, dungeons, etc, but rather a strong, very consistent medieval theme, with a great castle frontage to start you off - indeed, the start of the map is very impressive. Throughout, the map adheres to one style: pale grey stone walls, metal beam trim, and checked blue/grey floor, with plenty of arches, rounded off corners, and often cool "skyline" structures.

Though the textures can be repetitive, there's plenty of variety in room designs to make up for it: 3D arched halls, spiral stairs, flat and open outdoor areas, smaller interlinking sections. All of which are attractive, with lots of curves used on arches and to round off almost every corner, and excellent build quality you can feel throughout. However, the architecture is lacking in a couple of ways: Firstly, there are very few textural or physical details, which means some sections do look quite plain. Secondly, the castle theme is potent one, and some areas, particularly the later outdoor areas, would have been greatly enhanced by turrets, spires and castellated walls. Still, this is a good looking, atmospheric and well polished map. There is plenty of exploration to do: secrets are simple, but there are several routes to follow, some of are entirely optional side areas to get weapons and armour (including some where you can see another, inaccessible, room you will reach a lot later, which is a good touch). This does mean you can miss out on some areas, so it's a good idea to explore everywhere you can.

Gameplay is as solid as you could wish for in this map: lots of monsters, plenty of gang attacks, and no trick gameplay, just straight up fighting. The map uses just medieval monsters, and strikes a good balance with the monster types, which are all used in groups, but