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Reviews: 30th May 2008: Review 1 [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Map - dis_sp6: Ruined Nation
There have been a few Doom3-styled maps since JPL brought Doom3 to Q1, and this one takes the cake as the most similar to the original source material. It is the most highly detailed futuristic indoor map I can remember, with all sorts of pipes and panels, the type of "busy corridor" type of look which was so distinct in Doom3. Lots of separate brushes for stairs and rails also, and lots of going up and down (although, like Doom3, the going up and down makes little sense in a layout based solely on hallways, and relies on an impressionistic sense of functionality which at least to me, breaks down quickly when you think about it too much).
In any case, the textures are very nice, there is tons of architectural detail, and it is great to see a different style of base (not to mention an entirely different palette) make its way into Quake and get a foothold, rather than the endless brown and white of the normal Q1 base styles (id, hipnotic, ik, etc). The nice construction, detail, and textures help the looks, but it's really the lighting that makes this map look so good. This should be no surprise, as the map apparently started as a lighting test. You can't get lighting as detailed in Q1 as in Doom3, but this map gets very close to making the same sort of generally impression, with dull red health supply rooms, beam shadows from stairs, and all sorts of sloping shadows as in Doom3. Good stuff.
The gameplay is going to be controversial, as it is also quite similar to Doom3. There are enough cheap teleport ambushes from behind (though related to motion detectors NEAR pickups, rather than linked to the pickups themselves) to be frustrating, and health is extremely low throughout the map. Add to this mix the Quoth 2 monsters, and this is an incredibly difficult map despite its relatively low monster count of 78 on normal. There is also not that much armour, and there are no secrets. This is not to say that there are no hidden items; there are, and the ones I found were very useful, in fact plenty of them were basically necessary in order to progress. Nevertheless, I would have preferred if these were listed as secrets, so that the player would have an idea
of how successful their exploration is, and furthermore so that they know how much extra help from hidden items they might be able to expect in any one of the map's highly difficult situations. Because of this, I think not listing them as secrets was a mistake.
What the map does do, is simulate the feeling of Doom3, where you need to move slowly and carefully, and there are very powerful monsters patrolling or lurking around. A fight in the dark with a Shambler, the bloody white bulk lit up by the alternating nailgun, captured the positive essence of Doom3. Because of how easy it is to die (I died more times in this map than any I can remember), you have to play very carefully, which makes the ambushes all the more frustrating. There is a cool moving section which is also like Doom3 which featured some nice moving machines, and the fight against Quothblobs in this segment was fair and highly challenging. Withholding the DS from the player for the whole map (you get it AFTER the LG, at least I did) was another source of frustration - I can see this in a normal map quite easily, but in a Quoth map, where the _monsters_ get to have powerful close range shotguns, for the player to lack one is a real problem (plus, I've always found the single shotgun a crap, boring weapon).
This is a controversial map, with polarized strengths and faults. I enjoyed it, but there are frustrating elements. The finale was great, one of the best uses of the Quoth Ogre I've seen, a great monster which really does evoke monstrous machine cannibalism. I had to exit without killing all of the monsters, as it was very hard. Maybe that is in keeping with the focus of the whole map as inspired by Doom3, where the gameplay is closer to simply survival horror.
Underworldfan's notes: I rate this map highly. In its construction, its a detailed and impressive recreation of not just the Doom 3 theme but the whole architectural and gameplay aethestic of Doom 3. The level also features excellent lighting. All this makes it a highly original release (see also Industri ), and its challenging nature and focus on a relatively small intense battles is also exciting.
Overall Score: 17.5/20
This map enters the Q1SP Hall of Fame 2 at position 18 in Q1SP single Maps.
Reviews: 30th May 2008: Review 2 [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Game - QUAKE
Map - omlabx: Laboratory X
by - Orlando Crispaldi
Downloads - omlabx.zip
This is a large custom base map, with an entirely new texture set. The texture set uses a turquoise color
which is really rarely used in the Quake palette (other than CZG07c's turquoise indoor areas, I can't think of any other map textured with this color). The color, rather outlandish in itself, may not be the problem so much as the fact that the textures themselves lack detail and/or variety. Most of the original id textures are distinct enough to look like something, yet vague enough to tile well and be visually uninvasive (demanding to be used in unique architecture combinations, with details like windows, etc).
Neither is the case with these textures - they are paradoxically not distinct, but they are visually invasive. In addition to the turquois, there are lights which are basically fullbright red, which are used throughout. These look too cartoony and I found them a bit of an eyesore, despite the often nice angles they were placed at. A different color (the blue/white lights seen elsewhere, or yellow or something) should have been chosen. All of this being said, it is still nice to see someone trying a new look in Quake that isn't just converted from another game. Despite the abundancy of angled lights, the map's lighting hardly appears sourced at all. Having a localized bright light around each light, or having each light spotlighted on something, often really improves the visual look base maps, and indeed is almost standard. This map has very uniform lighting,no real difference in areas of shadow and light, which makes the map much more boring visually than it should be. It would be interesting to see these textures with smoother, more complex lighting (and some darkness).
The architecture is on a large scale, but fairly simple - every base map does not have to have crates, pipes and so forth, but this map is essentially a series of large, empty atriums. However, some details like curving beams and the aforementioned lights do break up the monotony some. The gameplay is better than the visuals - you begin the map having to explore and collect items, while avoiding laser traps. There are also mines. When you do start fighting monsters, the map is actually fairly hard, with plenty of Ogres, Enforcers and Fiends, and often you have to run to a different area in order to get supplies. Infighting in this map is really key, and it's not hard to start with the fiends being hit by ranged enemies as they try to chase you.
Where the map does succeed, is in two distinct setpiece areas - one a sort of "ferris wheel" of moving parts on a machine. This part was great. There is a grunt on each part, and they all try to snipe you as you snipe back at them, and you can get from one to the next (or at least get a clearer shot) as the whole thing moves. This is great, there should be more stuff like this in quake, particularly in base maps. The second segment is also a setpiece, a domed area, which has a really great asymmetrical layout featuring hallways, walkways, immobile platforms, elevators, as well as scenery like a satellite dish, pipes, and machinery. There is plenty of enjoyable combat in this area as well, because by this time you have most of the weapons, and there are lots of
enemies to fight them with, coming from various vertical levels.
This map is not of the highest quality, but it tries some interesting things, and if you are willing to go through the first half of the map, in the second half it is a great illustration of the merits of setpiece-based Q1SP.
Overall Score: 12/20