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Wednesday 20th October 1999:

Czg04: "Numb Nimbus"
(Size: 780 k. No Alternative downloads.)
Speedrun demo: 0:52

Strange name, strange level. Well, strange and very cool level =). Unlike The Occursed, this map uses mostly conventional Id textures, and derives all it's originality from a unique design and architectural style. The level consists of a series of interlinked courtyards and multilevel sections, surrounded by a pitch black abyss - a very distinctive design/layout that provides an fresh, unnerving atmosphere. The actual structures of the level have their own style too, with plenty of curves used along the rims of the walls (usually in a "quarter pipe" style) and around arches, along with angled, overhanging ribs on the skyline of most walls. The texturing and theme is very consistent throughout, with a simple combination of cobbled stone walls and plain metal or stone trim and ledges. As well as the visual appeal provided by the actual design, there are a few medieval details such as stained glass windows and water pools.

The overall effect is at once quite simple and quite astonishing, this really is a new style despite using old textures. However, it can get rather plain in places, in some of the squarer corridors, and more details throughout the level would have improved the look. Also, more sourced lighting could have been better, as the lighting can seem a bit flat, but this is definitely a cool and intriguing looking level. There isn't much exploration, as you follow a linear path, though it does wind around the level in a pleasing manner, and there's a couple of secrets, of which the one I found had a nice mechanism. Like the design, the combats have some interest with a style of their own. You face the full contingent of medieval monsters, especially the notorious Scrag, which is used in vast numbers, which fits with the style of the map as they appear from the depths or pop up from behind buttresses in their Scraggy little squadrons.

Throughout the map you get good health and loads of ammunition, perhaps too much at some points as you can afford to waste it. However, at other points there are some cleverly set up combats and well used monster ambushes that make you glad of your armoury. Some surprises with Fiends, Vores and Shamblers were particularly effective, playing well to the monster's strengths, and of course, there is a constant worry about falling into the void to keep you on your toes. However, the ending is a bit weak, before it there is a nastily setup combat that felt somewhat unfair, but then the actual final combat is rather easy - some better used monsters would have made this more climactic. The gameplay did need more tweaking to get the overall balance right, but generally this unqiue level provides plenty of interest, and shouldn't be missed. (Did a very cool Easy speedrun demo in 0:52)

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