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Reviews: 12th October 2003.

Game - QUAKE
Map - gmsp3: Day of the Lords
by - Glassman
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Overall Verdict - Superbly realized medieval castle map.

Glassman's first map, gmsp1:colony, is ranked #4 in the Hall of Fame, so expectations were high when this second map was released. Happily, he lives up to those expectations, having crafted a hardcore quake experience once more. Like gmsp1 this level demonstrates great skill in the art of Q1SP map making, and combines exceptional architecture with exciting, challenging gameplay.

The setting this time is a large stone medieval castle, constructed on a grand scale: there are huge water filled basements, massive rooms with overarching, vaulted ceilings, superbly built circular towers that contain spiraling staircases, and courtyards, hallways and side rooms with beautiful stained glass windows.

There are also a number of clever platforms and lifts, exploding floors, and buttons to be found. A highlight of the map in design terms has to be the tall tower which is slowly negotiated [downward] by a series of lowering circular platforms, very inventive and well implemented.

The architecture is clad in custom brown textures, mainly in the form of undulation's unreal rtGnosis texture set. The textures are good and suitably grimy, rough and ancient, creating a fittingly gritty medieval atmosphere. The only thing I thought was that they were applied somewhat uniformly and that detailing sometimes seemed sparse and some areas looked correspondingly uniform. Lighting was also good, though possibly a touch dark on some rare occurrences.

Like colony, this layout is big, but very well interconnected and constructed, the map feels like a real place, and hence the player involvement is higher, and the interface between game and reality is suitably blurred.

Gameplay is heavy on exploration, the open and highly interconnected layout means at a number of points choices can be made as which pathway to take next. 4 runes need to be collected but there is no set order in which they need to be found, a couple of the runes are particularly well guarded and hidden and may frustrate inexperienced or impatient players in finding them. Monsters [count is around 176 on hard skill] stick faithfully to the medieval element of the original quake, there are no modified monsters [in contrast to a Necros or Kona map] here. Armor and health are well balanced, although the ending red armor is perhaps slightly generous. Ammo is tight but fair throughout the map and should not be wasted. I only found 1 of 5 possible secrets.

The progression throughout the map is well handled, ogres, hellknights, scrag and knights are joined by fiends, vores and shamblers as the player moves through the map. Again mirroring gmsp1 the map climaxes in a large area with vores and shambler providing the real challenge and this ending provides probably the best gameplay in the map.

Overall this is a classic Q1SP experience, intended for experienced players, unapologetically tricky and unforgiving its in conception and execution. Gameplay could perhaps be slightly better polished earlier in the map, and some of the puzzles may be tricky for some, but these are only nitpicks when discussing a map design of such obviously high quality.

Overall Score: 19/20