All That Could Have Been
Squeaky Wheels what was that chainmap called again?
RPG (left) has probably lifted his boycott briefly in order to see what I thought of this base map of his. What I think is simple: looks good, plays better, feels longer than it is.
Architecture curvy and detailed
The texture set used is Speedy's Speedbaze: a fusing of tan id metal with idbase fittings. Also included are handy arch and door textures, making for a very fresh slant on the old base style. There may be some "dark brown idbase" textures of CyBear's in there as well, but I'm unsure.
The main structure consists of a three-storey outside area you need to negotiate to get to its outlying regions, the largest of which is the storeroom holding the silver key. Once up top, it's onward to the final arena. The route through all these areas is straightforward and effective, rewarding you as you progress.
Half- and quarter-circles are a recurring architectural theme - the gold key door and its surrounds are a good example - and make you wish that Quake had rotating object support from the start.
Detailing is superb - semicircular recesses in walls for items, the huge curved pipe before the first button, the busted console and sloping crate in the silver key area, and so forth. However, I do have reservations about the entrance to the final endgame - that nonfunctional lift could have been made to look broken or something.
The three secrets all crop up before you pass the silver key door, and are basically armours and one bonus weapon. Each secret area is executed with style - these aren't your typical hole in the wall -
The final battle takes place in a D-shaped two-level arena, but it is possible to get bailed up at the bottom of the entry shaft. Consider yourselves warned.
This base map not only crawls with enforcers and grunts, but also includes ogres, scrags and the odd shambler, fiend or vore. There's even a Spawn in there, which helps add a little excitement to the mix. More to the point, the action is steady; there's no backtracking through empty halls at all.
While monsters are well placed most of the time, it has been noted that one can grab the gold key and make a dash for its associated door, escaping the intended ambush.
This is a good twist on the base map; interesting textures, solidly built, well integrated secrets (no powerups or hole-in-walls here) and exciting gameplay. I really should have said nice things about this earlier.