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Reviews: 16th August 2003; Review 1 [Reviewed by Necros]

Game - QUAKE
Map - flesh: Carved in Flesh [3 map pack]
by - [Kona]
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Overall Verdict - 3 map Q1SP pack with excellent, highly original textures and architecture.

flesh: Regeneration.

Kona's latest project is a decidedly ambitious one. 2 medium sized maps + 1 smaller arena map comprise this pak. There are tons of new monsters and weapons to go alongside the maps as well, however, not all of them are pulled off well.

The brushwork in these maps are top-notch. A good adherence to the theme and amazing looking architecture. It appears to be a blend between q3a gothic and some other source, of which I'm not familiar. The outdoor areas are also well rendered. Good looking rock formations, and nice textures (unreal rock there) go well together.

Gameplay is quite good, and with the plethora of new monsters, quite refreshing. Gang attacks are present, but gameplay is focused more on a few powerful monsters than on many weaker ones. Progression is handled well, and is never too hard or too easy. There were a few times when I had trouble figuring out where to go. For example, one message informed me that a secret passageway had been opened, but I had no idea where it was, and had to spend a little while searching for it, which took away from the atmosphere a bit.

flesh2: Psychonavigation.

Speaking of atmosphere, this map reeks of it. Custom ambient sounds are present everywhere and the adherence to the theme helps quite a bit. Unfortunately, there are a few times when the atmosphere was broken. The new monsters, while being new and providing variety, are not all of the same quality. The Baron is present, and rocks as always, along with reskinned Knights, Hell Knights and modified ogres, but there is also another monster, a jumping chick with Major(?) sounds (from q3a) who looks, quite honestly, ugly as hell, with an equally bad skin to match. The baby fiend is another example of an atmosphere reducing monster. It provides a challenge by being hard to see and hit, but it is skinned in green and purple(!). The author would have been better just leaving it with the stock fiend skin. As it is, it looks unnatural and ridiculous. Add to the fact that Quake's palette does not include very many good greens, and the texture set along with the colored monsters look more teal than anything else and very faded.

Some really cool modified monster are present here, and are of the type I've never seen before. There is a 'queen' fiend, which is basically an upscaled fiend with a shield. It's quite imposing, and although it's lost it's ability to jump, is still quite dangerous, because of it's protection. A reskinned shambler is present as well, this sucker is great. It's got an Arch-Vile type attack, and is a fun guy to battle. The flying 'wizard' type monster looks great. I'm pretty sure I've seen him before, Nehahra, I think, but he looks great as ever and fits in well with the surroundings. I won't talk much about the boss monster, but it looks properly evil, and is a real tough fight.

flesh3: Exhaustion.

There are also some new weapons, a flame launcher, a freeze gun, the Positron Beam and a lightning gun flamethrower. Quite honestly, I was disappointed in all of them. The flame launcher is absolutely pointless. It serves no purpose, since it's ammo is of a different type, and doesn't seem easy to come by. The freeze gun is more of a novelty than anything else, since it can't actually kill a monster. It will only immobilize it for a short period of time. You MUST shoot it with something else, otherwise it will revive and go after you again. At least if there were extra skins for each of the monsters when it was frozen, it could have *looked* cool.

The Positron Beam was a big disappointment. I remember the Positron Beam as a mass-destruction weapon, which could gib tons of monsters with no effort at all. I envisioned a room clearer. Unfortunately, this iteration of the Positron Beam has been thoroughly weakened, and actually does less damage than a grenade, while still using 1 rocket (rocket?!). The final new weapon, the Flame Thrower is basically the lightning gun with reskinned lightning, and the explosion sprite spawned at the lightning endpoint. It has the ability to set monster on fire. I only used it at the end when I had to. It doesn't really look like a flamethrower, and does the exact same thing the lightning gun does.

What I see here is an amazing map pack with some cool stuff and a bunch of useless things as well. Honestly, I loved this pak. It's an amazing experience, with lots of challenging fights, and some good scares. Don't let my negative comments deter you from enjoying this. Just remember, just because it's new, doesn't mean it's good. It has to actually serve a purpose.

Underworldfan's note: Good 3 map pack with superb and original architecture. The Textures are also incredible. Download this immediately.

Overall Score: 18/20

Reviews: 16th August 2003; Review 2 [Reviewed by Necros]

Game - QUAKE
Maps - assault: Assault [5 map pack]
by - Harbinger
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Overall Verdict - Decent little project with some neat ideas, but lacks real challenge.

Assault, Harbinger's undertaking from 2.5 years ago is here at last. This large project consists of five maps plus a start map, although the maps are played in sequence without any pause, more akin to half-life than quake, and right from the start, the whole atmosphere feels more like half-life.

Monsters are sparse, and the first few maps are relatively easy. Gameplay does step up a notch as you go underground. "The Deep" map in particular had some good fights with fiends and shamblers, and there were a few good scares earlier on, as spiders and other things fly out of the walls. The absence of much health makes up for the lack of monsters as well, since every hit you take counts.

Brushwork, unfortunately is poor at worst, and decent at best, with only a couple of room being pleasing to look at. Most of the time you spend in corridors which are totally barren and unadorned. Also, a lot of times, I didn't really know what I was doing. I'd be pushing buttons just for the sake of pushing buttons. The story just fell apart midway through because of this. It was also confusing to disable a security grid on to have turrets start shooting at me...

There were also a few strange bugs such as getting crushed inside the spaceship in the beginning sequence for no apparent reason.

I'm of mixed feelings over this map. On the one hand, there is a large lack of detail, and on the other, there is good atmosphere, and interesting fights. If you can look past the spotty brushwork, you might enjoy the good gameplay.

Underworldfan's note: The maps are quite small and really play as one big continous map. Architecture is somewhat plain, but some of the texturing is good and some of the machine rooms quite clever. Gameplay is also quite scary as things have a nasty habit of appearing from around dark corners. Overall this is worth playing through.

Overall Score: 12/20