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Reviews: 24th May 2008: Review 1 [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Map - cjhsp1: The Katagean Redoubt
This is a gratifyingly oldschool map, which takes place in a grimy indoor dungeon reminiscent of e1m4, although it doesn't have the functional set-piece type architecture seen in that map, so it's really closer to e1m3. The theme generally follows the texture theme of "episode 1 green dungeon," but there are some runic details mixed in including metal support bars and green globe wall lights. Stain glass windows and the occasional skylight provide additional lighting. The lighting seemed good overall, although I found it too dark, and with indoor maps there is always the opportunity to play with beam shadows (ala e1m6) which was largely missed here.
The areas are all well-built, with complex hallways and multi-tiered rooms connecting to each other in pleasing and logical ways. The map as a whole seems to operate on three vertical levels or stories, which interweave quite a bit. The layout seems well-planned because of this, in addition to the fact that portals or shortcuts often become accessible once you pass a certain point, an incredibly helpful feature so that you do not need to run all the way through the map again if you fall down into a previously cleared area.
The gameplay is tough but remarkably fair and well-balanced - the standard core of medieval monsters (knights, Hellknights, and ogres) is present to give you pain, ogres in particular can be quite deadly given the vertical nature of the map. There are a few places where Vores will be a real pain in the ass, where the map rewards you for slowing down and taking the time to eliminate them using patience. Shamblers make for some more immediate, action-based fights in other places.
One thing the map does, is withhold weapons from you for quite some time - it is a particularly long time before you get the supershotgun, meaning you have to use the single shotgun, which is different. Switching back and forth between that and the nailgun forces the player to conserve ammo and fight intelligently. When you finally get the rocket launcher, it is incredibly satisfying even if the vores remain just as annoying. There is a climactic finale which is quite tough, I used infighting throughout the map and it works well in the finale - IF you can get it started. Overall, this is a well-made, enjoyable oldschool dungeon map.
Overall Score: 16/20
Reviews: 24th May 2008: Review 2 [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Game - QUAKE
Map - fbase: Freaky Base
by - Trinca
Downloads - fbase.zip
Here we have an older map by Trinca, which portrays a fairly orthodox Base setting. Most of the map consists of medium-large hallways, some curving, with details such as slime, pipes and computers distinguishing one area from the next. There are a couple of major atriums with three floors each which allow for a more complex, interwoven vertical layout to break up the hallways.
Detail is passable throughout, (including a particularly amusing detail where you learn something about enforcers) but the map never really rises above average in the department of visuals, even though the lighting is fairly well done. There was one atmospheric highlight however, a darker area with pulsating light (screenshot 4), more of that would have been good. The use of some Hipnotic textures was nice, but the theme should have been more distinct.
What the map lacks in visual charms however it may make up for in challenge: there are a number of difficult fights, including areas where you are being sniped at by many different monsters from many different angles, and some surprise ambushes. I found myself having to play strategically in some areas, mostly due to charging in without realizing how many enemies there were beforehand. Weapons and ammunition are decent, and health is also sufficient, but I would have preferred more armour.
Overall, there have been a lot of base maps lately, so I'd say go for it if you're an enthusiast for the theme or you're looking for a challenge.
Overall Score: 13/20