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Reviews: 9th August 2007 review 2

Map - 5rivers: Five Rivers Land
by: JPL
Overall Verdict: A 3 part Doom/Doom3 influenced layout with good gameplay.

note: this is really 1 large map, but its been spilt up and presented as 3 seperate levels, so i will review it that way also.

5rivers_e1: the five rivers land Part 1
This first map is a medium sized stone labyrinth. The doom3 hell theme/tribute is heavily evident in the texturing, with the stone walls and corridors featuring lots of bodies on spikes and crucified, tortured souls. The small inset deep red blood waterfalls and dark stone texturing reminds players, albeit on a much smaller scale of classic maps by necros and czg (Insomnia). All 3 parts use a Doom3 converted texture set done by JPL, for the most part these custom textures look fine, although sometimes they appear a bit messy.

The layout, a smallish maze of corridors and rooms, is fairly simplistic although there is some nice atmospheric detailing in the design like lava/blood pools, and rock islands floating in space. Gameplay is also fairly straightforward, mainly knights and ogres, however the truly superb custom quoth monsters enliven the gameplay considerably.

5rivers_e2: the five rivers land Part 2
This second part continues the theme and setting of the first part, but features a bit more ambitious and varied layout and architecture. Here, the stone tunnels, caverns and rooms, are broken up by more lava pool areas and spiraling staircases. The clear run n gun down a corridor aesthetic into another room/area of monsters from Doom/Doom 3 is still clearly influential. Gameplay is also good, with a significant challenge being presented with more shamblers, vores and the incredibly good Droles (quoth) being used. Health and ammo is quite well balanced, although the rocket launcher may be overpowered, without it the last part of the map may have been more tense and challenging. Like some other of JPL's map i have played this over supply of weapons/power ups maybe tends to keep gameplay at a certain plateau of easiness rather than escalating into the tenser hardcore challenge found in the classic quake 1 maps.

5rivers_e3: the five rivers land Part 3
This finale provides a showdown against multiple levels of spawning monsters of increasing difficulty, reminiscent of many quake levels of the past (Kona's maps are the obvious ones that come immediately to mind, but there are many others). The setting is 1 large square outdoor stone arena, there are some nicely built metal/stone arches on tops of the solid stone walls which catch the eye and look good. In the succesive waves of spawning enemies, it is the Quoth monsters which feature predominantly.

At first, Ammo and health seems plentiful but the early waves of knights can burn up your ammo and health if your not careful. The later waves really test the players skill, with the quoth monsters formidable long range attacks: Gaunts tracking lightning bolts, Droles rockets, and finally Gugs are especially tricky to avoid in the large open spaces of the arena layout, and at this stage an element of luck as opposed to skilled gameplay it rather too apparent in the gameplay design. Still, having said that careful gameplay planning and saving your heavy ammo and powerups to the end does reward the skilled/intelligent player. Overall this is an exciting and adrenalin filled end to a good 3 map series.
In Summary, I cant help the feeling this would have played better and maintained gameplay immersion, atmosphere and flow better as 1 large single map, maybe this was not possible due to technical limitations, but there still remains 3 playable and doom-drenched maps to enjoy.

overall score: 14/20