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Reviews: 21st December 2002: Review No. 2

Game - CUBE
Map - pigcam: Piglet Campaign v2
by - Piglet
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Overall Verdict - The first proper SP episode for Cube, 9 maps with good gameplay and a wide variety of architecture.


Overview: Overall, this episode features a wide range of architecture and settings (and gameplay) which is a definite strong point, as well as quite a good balance of ammo and health to monsters. However some of the maps have some slight flaws in and the challenge overall could have been harder (although you can always play at skill 10). Overall though, its a good map pack, and its really cool to see a proper SP "episode" of maps; hopefully this is the first of many CUBE SP map packs/episodes.

pig01: Surface Tension
A small start level set in a series of rocky caves, there are only about 10 enemies in this first map (mainly Ogros and rhinos). Its a claustrophobic start to the episode with the tall caves and thin passageways making the player feel trapped. There are a couple of triggers to be found which open up barriers and lead to the next map.

pig02: No Turning back
Architecture starts to develop a bit more in this level, with some room and cages making their first appearance. The player is still trapped underground in stone rooms and hallways, but these are now grey brick rather than the brown stone textures of the first map. Architecture is still quite basic overall. The gameplay starts to get slightly more challenging and exciting; there is a big ambush in one room featuring many hellpigs and ogros where its important not to panic. Goblins also make their first appearance, guarding the trigger which opens the main gate and the way to the next level.

pig03: Enclosure
This map is another step up in terms of challenge. The player negotiates a watery maze and then find himself in another stone clad area. This one has a cool black and white chessboard-like floor (it reminded me a bit of the PC FPS "Alice") and lots of nice colored lighting which enhances the slightly surreal atmosphere very well. Gameplay is also good, with a nasty maze to be negotiated to trigger a teleporter cage to the next level. The maze is pretty large and confusing and it may take you a while to find the correct path, there are also some nasty little rhinos and goblins to wake you up during your searching, a cool little map overall.

pig04: Bright Darkness
This level features the classic cube Egyptian textures, all yellow sandstone and blue trim, and it makes a nice change after the claustrophobic underground levels that preceded it. The map is not particularly big but features a couple of teleporters for some good teleporting fun, and there is even a "secret area" which can be found - this is the first "official" secret i have come across in a Cube SP map. Anyway, gameplay is reasonably straightforward (probably not as challenging as the previous level), there are ogros, and some rhinos lurking in the pools of water, and after clearing 2 or 3 small areas the way is open to the next map.

pig05: [untitled]
A base style level, again a nice change in style from previous levels. This map is eerily reminiscent of some of the early Doom levels, with its Base Style Settings and detailing. Gameplay too, is very DOOMish, consisting of triggers which open up doors in walls to reveal a big group of monsters ready for a nasty gang ambush. This level provides quite tricky gameplay, particularly the ambush which opens up a big room of ogros and rhinos; cautious, measured play is recommended.

pig06: [untitled]
Definitely the largest map so far, this is also probably the best of the maps encountered in the episode. Textures here are mainly red/pink brick work with matching colored lighting. The map layout consists of a series of large room linked by twisty corridors. The maps most significant feature however, is the very strong and deliberate vertical element to the gameplay. This consists of lots of tall stone columns, often with monsters lurking on top, which the players must slowly ascend by jumping from column to column as they get taller and taller, until he reaches the highest level and the route to the next section of the map.

Its pleasing to see this vertical style of gameplay (shooting monsters above and below you) and this test of jumping skills, so well implemented in a Cube Map. Its a refreshing change and a good challenge. One weakness in this level was the big hellpig ambush near the end, the player should be shoved right into the room at ground level, as it is they can simply be picked off from above before dropping down to the lower level. Overall though, this level features well implemented design and layout.

pig07: [untitled]
A watery level, not very big in size but still fun. The green slimy caves are the setting for a quick showdown with a number of ogros and Ratamahattas. There is a nice little twist here: when you reach the trigger the cave complex is filled with water and you then have to go back through the same areas you fought through, but this time they are flooded and its all under-water fighting. Submerged combat in Cube is always tricky, because the players movement speed is significantly slowly and this makes dodging monsters much harder. This neat idea makes for a cool little level.

pig08: Gauntlet of the Damned
A tricky little level, set in a series of underground rooms and hallways, populated by rhinos, ogros, hellpigs and knights. There is also a *very* nasty hidden trap, if you fall down a long shaft you are teleported to a room full of Sliths, which i promise you will *not* survive. Luckily this room is not necessary to clear to complete the level. This level is quite hard, mainly due to a very meagre supply of health and ammo, many of the monsters may have to be faced with only your fist for ammo. After a neat little trigger puzzle to figure out, the final room is a large one, filled with hellpigs and 2 knights, although the fact you can simply run through the room straight to the teleport is a mistake in the map design.

pig09: The Dark Hand beckons
A watery tunnel leads to the final arena. One big room filled with most of the Cube monsters for a big final slaughter. One significant flaw here unfortuantely: in these sort of big arena finales, the player should allways be locked in the room, so he cannot escape to a side room/corridor and pick off the monsters one-by-one as they come round the corner. Unfortunately this has NOT been done here, and the small room makes killing all the enemies easier than it should be for the final map of this 9-map episode. Still its a decent ending, it should just have been more challenging.

Overall Scores:

pig01: Surface Tension 10/20
pig02: No Turning Back 12/20
pig03: Enclosure 15/20
pig04: Bright Darkness 13/20
pig05: [untitled] 14/20
pig06: [untitled] 17/20
pig07: [untitled] 15/20
pig08: Gauntlet of the Damned 16/20
pig09: The Dark Hand beckons 13/20

Overall episode score: 17/20