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Reviews: 10th Feburary 2004; Review 1 [Reviewed by Tronyn]

Game - QUAKE
Map - sm57_pulsar_se: The lair of DOOMestic Animals.
by - Pulsar
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Overall Verdict - Interesting expanded speedmap.

This map by Pulsar is made up of several large Runic set pieces connected together. The layout is rather simple, since each set piece is really just a tall square room with a lot of stuff in it to make it look cool. Actually, this technique is fairly effective: there are a lot of thoughtful touches including inset designs and trim, a wide variety of wall geometry, and some nice ceiling/skylight details.

The lighting comes mainly from the sky or from lava, so the whole map is sufficiently lit but manages to still have some cool E3-style crisscrossing shadows. A nicely balanced mix of colors includes blue, grey, purple, green and yellow to ensure a style that isn't visually bland. On the whole, it's basically an old school Runic map with some wizard textures and other stuff in there to ensure variety, with lots of space and good lighting.

The map's overall size, however, doesn't exceed that of a regular id map (under 70 monsters on normal). This isn't bad, as it means the map should be easily digestible. Well, it is in theory but there is some tough gameplay packed in here with a fair amount of teleporting monsters, and areas where monsters end up on all sides of you. Luckily, it is not at all difficult to encourage infighting, so that the room with a Quad Damage in it I did not at all need, since the monsters were done hacking each other to bits before I even waltzed in to grab the key. Overall, I certainly did not find the gameplay challenging, but it wasn't a pushover either.

Since this is a special edition of a speedmap, some might think that any sort of speedmap doesn't live up to the quality of a regular map. However, this one does, it just isn't as big as one. Download away, particularly if Runic is your favorite theme.

Note: The first thing I did in this map was fall into the lava beside the double shotgun and die :)

Overall Score: 14/20

Reviews: 10th February 2004; Review 2 [Reviewed by Tronyn]

Game - QUAKE
Maps - kabsp2: Iron Decay
by - Jacek Gordinier
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Overall Verdict - 2 small simple base maps.

Here's a two map unit that isn't really a unit since the two maps could easily have been combined into one due to their small size. It is by Jacek Gordinier, I'm not sure if he has done maps before. The first map is textured in idbase, and is totally a rooms-and-hallways deal. Despite the occasional details of supports, pipes and such, it is pretty bland, especially when you can see that those details have been duplicated all over the map.

The rooms and hallways are almost all square or rectangular, with no indentations, perches, catwalks or any other diverse layout features. It isn't entirely unsuccessful though: the area immediately behind the gold key doorway is pretty atmospheric what with lights shining through floor pipes and a detailed security door.

The second map uses Speedy's textures, but not really to their full potential. I understand that arches and such are difficult for a beginner to be featuring all over their map, but a few things to break up the monotony of square room after square room would be nice. Overall, the first map looks a bit better.

Gameplay is pretty straightforward: fighting base enemies with low-level weapons at first, then facing some ogres, then eventually a shambler or two with the lightning gun. Not bad, but nothing really creative either (no ambushes, traps, or horde combat). The finale in the second map is just a bunch of small chambers stocked with enemies that open one after the other. Infighting was easy to get going in the finale section, with melee enemies being struck by stray projectiles and all.

Basically, this is a small and easy couple of maps. Not that it's particularly bad, but it would need a fair amount of work even to live up to id standard.

Overall Score: 10/20