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Reviews: 22nd May 2004

Game - QUAKE
Map - bastion: Bastion Of The Underworld.
by - Kinn
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Overall Verdict - An impressive, big and imposing medieval/stone Quake 1 challenge.

This is a brash, bold, large scale map in the vein of such levels as Insomnia, some of Necros Maps [nesp06, nesp09] and so forth. With its custom monsters, cool explosions and other QC code, it perhaps lean slightly towards nesp06/09, [as opposed to Insomnia, which felt like a pure undiluted quake 1 masterpiece]. 300 odd monsters are waiting to rip your guts out before you escape, and the huge monster count is achieved by the tactic of spawning in successive waves of monsters in current areas, or in previous traversed areas which then again you must backtrack through to follow your path to the exit, this spawning/backtracking tactic is reminiscent of some of Kona's later maps.

Architecturally, the map consists of a number of separate, large scale stone slabbed, huge open outdoors courtyards and arenas, linked by tighter, claustrophobic indoor and subterranean rooms, corridors and caves. The two types or architecture complement each other well and lead to a pleasing variation in architecture and gameplay, alternating as the map progresses. Texturing is good, with good greenish/brown stone textures, and some fine indoor lava/blood stained sections as well, although some of the areas texturing looked a bit uniform. Architecture is well built and varied, with a number of excellent set pieces such as the rotating, blood stained "grinders", massive stone doors, curving stairways and imposing archways. Lighting also deserves a mention, especially good in some of the indoor sections, where the subdued shadows and good spot lighting add signifcantly to the atmosphere.

There are 3 new custom monsters, which are all uniformly excellent and fit in well and add to the Quake experience: shrapnel firing ogres attack at long range, and a modified version of a Quake 2 enemy, here called "Sergeants" are also good fun and work well. The most impressive and scary new monster is called a "Shuffler", and when you see how fast they can run you should get a good jolt of adrenalin. These guys make good company for fiends and shamblers.

Gameplay is well balanced, starting from a relatively easy beginning [with plenty of ammo/health and armor], and escalating in hardness as more enemies continue to stream in , whilst health seems to become scarcer. There are a couple of minor criticism of gameplay: for the first half or so of the map i thought there was too much health, which made it a bit easy, a characteristic emphasized by normal/hard skill levels being the same in this map. You can also escape the ending arena without killing all of the final group of monsters, which i allways find unsatisfying and anti-climatic. I also felt there was a slight over-reliance on huge horde combat at the expense of more intricate, varied fighting [as found in, say, Adamantine Cruelty or Februus depth], although this is largely a matter of personal taste.

Still, gameplay overall does escalate well in challenge and soon becomes a tough slaughter, leading to the almost apocalyptic showdown in a huge final outdoor area, which is great fun on a grand scale. A fitting end to one of the most ambitious Q1SP levels since Insomnia.

Overall Score: 18/20