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Reviews: 4th February 2003

Game - QUAKE
Map - trail69 : Gravy Trail
by - Rinie 'Madfox' Brouwers
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Overall Verdict - a medium sized medieval castle with a twisting layout.

The Q1SP mapping debut of "madfox", this is decent enough first (publicly released) map. There are 1 or 2 small technical errors, probably due to a lack of full testing, but nothing serious enough to significantly spoil the level.

The overall feel, atmosphere and architecture of the map is decidedly *old-skool*; in quake 1 SP terms this means "not that far away from the original Quake ID maps". The level is a medieval castle in the style of the orginal Quake's Episode 2 (medieval theme), with a watery base in the form of assorted pools and underwater corridors. Although the overall size of the level is not that big, it play as though it is a larger map, due to the twisting layout of a number of narrow, tight, slightly *claustrophobic* corridors and rooms, which often double back and interconnect with each other on different levels (vertically) and through different doorways and exits (horizontally). Hence the map has a high degree of inter-connectivity and a large amount of map-crawling (revisiting the same area of the map more than once) also takes place.

The layout is complex enough that some players may become confused/discouraged in their quest to actually find the exit to the map, and this is not helped by the similar texturing and architecture used throughout the level, and also by picking up the gold & blue Key and then not actually having to use them to finish the map. It would be better in future maps for progression through the map to be less confusing and also perhaps for the messages to be more helpful. On the other hand, its nice to have a map that requires a bit of thought and puzzling out rather than just a mindless blast through a simplistic layout.

Whist the layout and architecture is quite interesting and atmospheric, the gameplay is straightforward, and slightly haphazard, although overall its not to bad. There are base enemies mixed in with medieval hellknights and a couple of fiends, but there is no real consistency or order to their use, and also none of the harder quake monsters are used in sufficient numbers to provide a real challenge. Health and Armor are also perhaps too generous, but the author has resisted giving us a pointless Rocket Launcher or lightning Gun, which is a good thing. The gameplay could, perhaps, do with more tougher monsters to make the challenge greater and the overall experience more exciting and dynamic.

Overall, though, this is a good first Q1SP map, and its always nice to play a level which reminds you of the old original Quake 1 levels. I hope the author continues to make many more Q1SP levels for us to enjoy.

Overall Score: 14/20