Overview welcome back
I tested this for Kona sometime in 2002, I believe, and I was well impressed with this two-map package.
I should point out that all the screenies in this review were taken in TochrisQuake, using Speedy's "Elbrus" skybox. This skybox blends delightfully with the map's colour scheme, but then I like skyboxes.
Architecture Brown claw hammer
Think two-tone brown: particularly, Than's industrial work and modified Q2 waste. Harsh yellow lamps and an evil green sky (not shown here) do most of the illumination of the winding semi-base, semi-outdoor structures. The two-tone architecture works extremely well, giving the maps a very understated, weighty style.
Both maps have artful brushwork wrapped around simple layouts, which when viewed as a whole resemble a claw hammer.
The first map is the "handle"; three outdoor rooms in a line. The course of gameplay winds in a big lazy S from one side of gameplay to the other. The structure is, like much of Kona's work, two-level, with a small amount of detouring and one secret that's easily spotted, very nice to have, but won't guarantee an easy ride. You can also evade the last battle and run for the exit, but that can hurt.
The second, the "head" of the hammer, is a large T-junction: starting in the middle, you first open one side, then the other, where a secret can be reached if you're quick enough. The final area (the "claw") is basically a large arena, with a nasty little surprise right at the end.
QuakeC Up with the old
If the modified ambient sounds sound familiar, that's because Kona's used them before, and they work exceedingly well, giving the structures a sense of having something looming under the surface.
Monsters spawn in with specialised code, but this sometimes means that the usual teleport effect doesn't appear, and there seems to be a delay between appearing and reacting to you. This was a hiccup in earlier mods, but here it could help save your life.
Mainly because the enemy is mostly modified grunts and enforcers, toting new weaponry (nailguns, grenades and rockets, oh my!) and new skins. Some, again, have appeared in Kona's earlier works, but they still work quite well, although clean-cut soldiers alongside barbarians with red glowing eyes is a tad odd.
The start map features destructible walls, if you can work out where they are, and why. However they don't seem to appear anywhere else, which is a shame. They could have been useful.
Armours are also reskinned, but they still seem to act like normal armour types.
The fight begins right from the start, and charging in usually leads to fatal surprises. Then again, waiting can also lead to a fatal surprise. Either way, you can't win.
Progress usually requires shooting all the monsters in a room to get a door to open, revealing another monster ambush. Running out of monsters usually means more will be along in a few seconds; the question is, where will they appear?
Identifying your grunt types is required to know how to deal to them. Nothing's less pleasant than one of the lowliest monsters in Quake dropping you with a rocket.
Both secrets are easy to find, but don't unbalance gameplay, which is a bonus.
The general consensus in the community about this package is that it's too short; the maps are small, and the monster counts equally so. But that's no reason to sniff at this mod; after all, others rave about mods with only a single map. The QC might be familiar, but its careful use and excellent brushwork make for a damn good time.