This package started as a "straight id" metal installment, then became impregnated with Abyss of Pandemonium textures, reskinned and tweaked monsters, and a huge number of sexy ambient sounds. The result can only be described as terrifying.
Architecture Complex, twisty and diabolic
Each map returns time and again to the same areas at different levels, and each has its own particular style. Escape Bastille has cages suspended over insta-death lava by heavy metal beams; Forsaken has impressive outdoor areas and The Dismal Burning its rather plump Quake symbol and monstrous arenas.
The construction is a leap from the relatively flat two-level style Kona has been known for; the maps squirm up and down enough to prevent this suspicion. This is helped by the intricate stone and metal brushwork - rivetted grey-brown metal beams acting as a frame to bind everything together, illuminated cruelly by yellowed lights, demonic sky or lava.
Also helping is the way most areas are made unique; rooflines and wall sections lunge and meet at all sorts of angles and heights, breaking up the overall ceiling height. I was particularly delighted to enter a single story room in the first map only to find it was the top floor of the chamber I started in. Brilliant.
There are a huge number of ambient sounds in this mod, and all of them are just great, veering from evil industrial borboryghmi to several flavours of wind, including a splendid "damned souls" one and a truly splendid dripping. If the original Quake had been more "heavy metal", these should've been there. The only thing is that sometimes they seem to be somewhat sourceless.
But along with the ear candy come altered beasts: The grunt, enforcer, ogre, knights and shambler are all blessed with modified AI - they jump, for one thing, and their attacks are much deadlier (especially the shambler's!) Nailgun ogres make a welcome appearance too. The monsters are mostly reskinned in armour that looks much like a diabolic version of the player's.
There is a slight problem with the monsters "pausing" a beat when they teleport or spawn in, making them easier targets, though.
Strangely enough, armours are reskinned and renoised (with a sound from Hexen II) as well. Actually, they look quite nice... and tempting :)
There was, when I last played, a strange event. A scrag's severed head kept floating around the floor, orbiting me and making attacking noises. Gave me the creeps until I realised it was harmless. The Head That Wouldn't Die, oooo!
Gameplay It's Quake to me, babe
As you stumble through the game, monsters keep steadily teleporting or spawning just ahead, behind or beside you, which is actually a good way of keeping the game moving fast, although you can get tired of hearing teleport whooshies seemingly every time you pick your nose. Also, some doors only open from one side, and woe betide thee if you stay in the middle of 'em.
The endgame requires you to duck not only Cthonian fireballs, but also a fair-sized number of waves, which persist even beyond Cthon's death. I certainly wasn't expecting that. Great stuff.