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Saturday 30th October 1999:

Mcomplex: "The Mining Complex"
(Size: 1.00 meg. No Alternative downloads.)

The first proper single player map by speed-demon Mineral, and although he is holding a speedrunning contest on it, it's very definitely a full, and damn good, single player map (in fact, it looks bloody hard to speedrun...). It's been a while since a normal Id base style level was released, but this is one, albeit with a much superior design and style. It uses a mixture of Id base and Hipnotic textures, all fit perfectly into the map, and there is a good, appropriate, use of both smooth and detailed textures. The map is set in a series of base sections (all part of one complex), linked by outdoor sections and a cave. Architecture is very stylish in the map, there are some cool large scale designs (such as roof designs), and more impressively, an excellent use of angles within the base sections - lots of subtly angled structures that give a more natural look than square or 45' angles. Added to this, there's plenty of details such as lights, trims, detail textures. Overall there is little to fault with the actual architecture, it just looks classy throughout.

However, due to the interconnected outdoor areas and some complex designs, the map can seem a bit slow - not a big slowdown in FPS, but in some areas it seems a bit sluggish and there are large amounts of those strange dots in GLQuake. Also, there are some misaligned textures on crates and trim, and a couple of b0rked lights near the silver key. Nothing that really spoils the map's good looks overall though. Despite the good design of the map, it's not as complex nor as large as it seems, and there isn't much exploration to be had. However, there are a few neat secrets, some get you exploring around the scenery which is nice - I would have liked more such secrets, personally.

Gameplay is as solid as you'll get in a base level, with plenty of enemy, some good enemy placements, and the addition of "real" monsters to spice up the combats. Right from the start there's a decent challenge, with plenty of sniping Enforcers to test your aim and patience - this is perhaps the trickiest monster placement. Throughout the map, there is a blend of normal, often sniping, combats with fair sized gangs of monsters, and quite a few ambushes by heavier monsters. Actually, some of the latter are quite predictable - "Hmmm, wonder what happens when I pick this key up??" - but they are still amusing and a good test of reactions. To deal with this merriment, you get some good weapons, though hunting around is sometimes needed for health and ammo. Overall the balance of monsters and items is fine, though the ending is a bit easy given the firepower you now have - a few more surprises at the end would have helped. However as base levels go, this does provide a good challenge and enough fun, and overall it's a great base map.

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