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Reviews: 2nd November 2002. Review No. 2

Game - QUAKE
Map - alk12: Fearcraft (3 map PAK)
by - Shaun [Kona] Ross
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Overall Verdict - An excellent 3 map episode, using many tough custom monsters.

level 1; "Ravenous".

Kona is one of Q1SP's most prolific authors, a quick look at his website is definitely recommended if you have not already been there, you will find over 10 very good Q1SP maps and episodes to play, the best of which is probably Rapture.

Getting back to Fearcraft, this is 3 maps of intense fighting packed into levels that feel bigger than they are due to lots of tough custom monsters. The architecture and layout of maps 1 and 3 tends to mainly follow kona's trademarked style; 2 level mazes with winding corridors leading to small open rooms and areas is how i describe it for now. You often tend to find you playing through the bottom of one area, climb up stairs to the second, higher level and then backtrack through the same areas but just at the higher level.

I like the textures used in this pack, it kind of stone, moss and wooden gates everywhere with a blue/green theme. The architecture is not spectacular, but it does the job and is atmospheric. In the second map the architectural style is different. Its a smaller map, but basically is set in a series of rocky outcrops and canyons, there are no real "rooms" to speak of, its an interesting style and means dodging behind rocks and shooting at monsters across wide open abysses and ravines.

In common with other Kona maps, custom monsters are used extensively and mixed in with the regular quake enemies to increase the challenge and provide some variety to the gameplay experience. These include: Axemen (originally from Coven of Ebony), Gremlins, tougher Knights, rocket-launching Ogres (these are Cool) and also modified Nehahra Barons. Further there are some green skinned Hellknights which are pretty tough as they have a fireball attack and also take a lot more damage before you can kill them.

level 2; "Reverie".

alk12: Ravenous
Is the first map, right from the start the fighting is intense, with a Baron and Ogres ambushing you, outside the entrance to the main area. There is a tiny flaw here at the start that allows you to take a shortcut if you go up on the rocks and miss most of the map but just ignore it and go through the main entrance. Once inside, fighting continues in a similar vein, typically killing 2 enemies causes more to be spawned in and ambush you straight away. The other type of ambush is when stone walls open up to reveal other monsters lurking in the shadows. Fighting gets pretty difficult around the blue key area, which is also probably my favorite part of this level, with lots of Scrags, Ogres, Vores and HellKinghts spawning in.

alk12b: Reverie
This is the "rocky outcrops" level, its smaller (34 monsters on Hard skill), but is a lot of fun, primarily due to the rocky layout already mentioned above. Its different style also provides a nice variation from the two more typical map on either side of it. There are also some tricky little fights, mainly due to the fact you don't have much room to maneuver on the small rocks and boulders. Kona's experience in level design enables him to pull this different style off successfully.

level 3; "Requiem".

alk12c: Requiem
This is the final level, and is quite tough, fighting escalates through the map, with a number of tricky encounters and ambushes (total of 52 monsters on hard). The final arena consists of multiple vores and shamblers and the final end boss (modified Baron).
This level does not provide as much challenge as it might though, mainly due to an over-abundance of rocket ammo, (particularly if you have saved them from earlier maps, you may have as many as 60 rockets saved), its makes the gameplay significantly easier. I don't wish to be too harsh however, if it really bothers the player you can always choose not to use the RL, i did this the first time i played this map =). Also at the final battle Kona often "locks you in" to the final arena so you can not simply backtrack and escape, but here that doesn't happen and this makes it a bit easier. I always like maps that bar your retreat to increase the difficulty. =).

In summary, this is an excellent map pack, which packs a hefty wallop and considerable challenge, especially on hard/nightmare, the only real way to play Q1SP (evil grin). If you haven't already downloaded it, you should straight away.

Overall Score: 18/20