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Reviews: 14th April 2003

Game - QUAKE
Map - hrim_sp1 : Frying obstacles
by - Peter Sørensen [Hrimfaxi]
Download - Alternate [Fileplanet]
Overall Verdict - A large Q1SP medieval castle with some cool extras added-in.

This is a big [monster count: 157 on hard], impressive map, somewhat reminiscent of other levels like "Once Upon Atrocity" [especially], and to a lesser degree, Insomnia.

The scale is not as big as Insomnia, instead Hrimfaxi has gone for a more intricate approach to Architecture. There are lots of tight winding corridors and lifts that lead you deep underground into subterranean rooms and areas. Its a medieval theme, a castle setting, populated by the classic medieval quake enemies; knights, Hellknights and Ogres mainly. Fiends, Vores and Shamblers are used in [relatively] small numbers, but whenever they do appear, its usually via some VERY nasty spawns which are sure to take you by surprise. Gameplay can be tricky and some players may prefer choosing the medium skill setting instead of hard, all skill levels are well supported and effective.

Architecture is for the most part good, the tight corridors open out into some nicely built and imaginative bigger rooms: a three level hall with a spiral staircase at its base, a zombie and coffin infested basement, a metal platform and lava subsection, a medium size courtyard with lifts and ledges. All these areas are imaginative and quite distinct in architecture, the style here is quite unusual, with metal bars, girders, poles, and structures everywhere, a nice motif. Texturing is mainly the greyish/green/brown, stone and metallic combination, with lava and detailing providing some contrast. The consistency of the texturing theme is good throughout the level and adds to the good atmosphere of the map. Some high r_speeds in the big open ending area, may cause slight framerate problems on older machines.

Gameplay as mentioned, consists of fighting quakes medieval enemies, and there is also a nice custom monster a flying "imp" with a fireball attack, which fits in well to the overall theme and doesn't seem out of place. Another nice touch are the light grey, stone statues placed around the castle, which come to life at key moments and take you by surprise, there is also the custom monster at the main will see.

The gameplay is well-balanced, and progresses very well, this is one of the key features and strongest points of the map, in my opinion. It starts relatively easy, but significantly kicks up a notch when the lava areas [screenshot above, left] are encountered. This is a nasty hellknights/vore lava section which is finished with 2 tricky fiends. And then difficulty kicks up another level once the smallish courtyard [screenshot above, right] is reached, this may frustrate some players on hard skill, be warned, but cautious, clever play is rewarded eventually, and this leads to a final big open courtyard where lots of enemies are balanced by good supplies of ammo.

I should also comment on the "secret" second ending to the map, a library which leads to a final showdown with the boss lava monster, Chthon. I never reached this ending, [i dont know if its dependent on finding the secrets, i got 0/6], but this is an unusual [off the top of my head i cant think of many other Q1SP maps with two unique, distinct endings], and welcome feature. It certainly increases the replay value of the level significantly, and i shall probably be playing the map again to try and complete it via this second ending.

Overall this map features hard, very well balanced gameplay, interesting atmospheric layout and great extra features [custom monsters, second ending etc], with good attention to monster placement.

Overall Score: 18/20