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Reviews: 14th August 2003.
Game - QUAKE
Map - coagulacontest2: Coagula Contest 2 (6 map PAK)
by - Various
organised by - Underworldfan (hurrah!)
Download - coagulacontest2.zip
Overall Verdict - 6 good coagula maps with a wide variety of architecture.
These six maps are the entries for the Coagula Contest 2, organized by myself. I reviewed and judged the maps submitted.
Coagula maps are maps floating in a starry/black void, where often you plummet to your death as you fall off the thin walkways, pathways, ramps, platforms and outcrops that typically make up a coagula level. The original idea and name of "coagula" maps was invented and outlined by Tim Elek, and he built the first 3 coagula maps. The First Coagula contest map pack can be downloaded here. Elek originally declared also that coagula maps should be playable in both SP and DM, but for the purposes of this particular contest only SP gameplay was used for judging purposes. All maps were played on hard skill. The maps are reviewed below in alphabetical (filename) order.
The final results of the contest were as follows:
||full map name
||The Vertical Mile
||Embers of Cruelty
||Jesus Wants You
by - Chainer
This map is a small to medium sized level which has a few nice set pieces of gameplay, which are reached by pushing buttons and moving platforms. Architecture is reasonably interesting and original, although sometimes lacking in polish and detailing. A thin stone/metal winding ramp twists its way around large indigo colored metallic central structures, detailed with white florescent lights. The map has a starfield, but lighting seems a bit bright and blandy uniform, more shadows, variation in lighting and spotlights may have helped.
Gameplay is quite good [87 enemies on hard] but could be better, its slightly too easy due to the amount of ammo and armor handed out. There are too many rockets (especially) and the red armor could have been a green/yellow. Having said that the map has some good set pieces and is book-ended by a tricky start with lots of grunts/enforcers at the start and a climatic, well set up ending battle to finish.
discoag2: Usher Recompiled.
discoag2: Usher Recompiled
by - Distrans
A smallish but well built map, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher". Texturing is a strong point of this map, an interesting mix of styles combined from various sources including the "Doom that came to Dunwich" texture set and also Daikatana. The overall theme is a light blue stone/brick motif with good detailing and also some nice wood textures which are used sparingly for contrast. Nice grey stone trim and old Victorian style street lights as well. The layout itself is, as already mentioned fairly small (only 45 monsters), but logically pleasing and with a few nice touches. The map is aesthetically very pleasing to the eye.
Gameplay consists of a number of distinct stages, split by pushing buttons which spawns in the next wave of monsters, a good way to make a small map layout last longer. The initial monsters are simple but the challenge soon rises quite nicely with the appearance of vores and shamblers later on. I thought overall the challenge could be slightly harder. Quite a few fiends were used but unfortunately on small platforms they are not the best monster to use as they can easily be induced to jump into the void, thus providing no real challenge. There were also two armors, one may have been sufficient.
Overall a well crafted level with excellent texturing, which could have been slightly more fine tuned in gameplay terms.
jesus: Jesus Wants You.
jesus: Jesus Wants You
by - "A mapper" (anonymous)
This map is small but brutal, especially on hard skill, it only has 68 enemies but they are well placed to cause a lot of trouble, especially for those who favor the "charge in a room firing" approach over the quiet, cautious approach. Textures are a strange mix and nothing special. The predominant theme is blue/purple brickwork, with some plain stone trim, its fairly unusual but nothing particularly attractive. Architecture is similarly somewhat basic, there are no unusual brushes to be found. There is no starfield for the skybox just a plain black background which is a bit disappointing.
The layout itself is small, with a classical coagula style wide stone pathway split into three main levels, with the player starting on the middle one. There are a lot of monsters crammed into this relatively small space, leading to brutal/hardish gameplay. Vores and ogres are especially well placed to cause you troubles. However against this is a good supply of armor and ammo, you will need both to succeed. The map layout progresses through gold/silver keys to a nasty finish. There is a useful red armor if you can reach it, but no secrets.
Overall a small but clever, challenging layout and map progression. Good monster placement means this is a decent coagula map which perhaps could have done with more variation and attention to detailing in the architecture and texturing.
nesp10: Embers of Cruelty.
nesp10: Embers of Cruelty
by - Necros
A medium sized coagula map, this level is slightly similar to Necros other coagula map "The Emptiness without" (which incidentally i think is the best coagula map so far made).
In does not have the scope, sophistication or size of that map, but this is still is a good level.
Architecture, texturing and lighting are all similar to the emptiness without, with a green/grey stone mix complemented by metallic doors and structures. The shapes and overall layout are highly imginative: sometime you have to fall down onto new sections of the map, sometimes buttons open up previously locked areas. There is lots of good detailing and imagination shown in the curves and brushwork of the map, and with the subdued lighting the map creates a decent atmosphere.
Although only 39 enemies stand between you and the exit on hard skill, this is by no means an easy map. Most of the monsters are the tougher quake enemies: hellknights, ogres, fiends, vores and shamblers. Further, monster placement is often tough and tricky, with little room to fight on the tight walkways. I found 1 of 3 secrets (a Red armor) which certainly helped significantly. The air vents/HellKinghts section was slightly annoying, i don't particularly like air vents as a means of propulsion around a map, they are too random in their effects in my opinion. The gameplay could have done with slightly more fine tuning, it wasn't as well balanced as in the emptiness without.
With all this said, it still stands as a fine little coagula map, well crafted and challenging, Just slightly more ambition and size might have made it significantly better.
pushcoag: The Vertical mile.
pushcoag: The Vertical mile
by - PushPlay
Pushplays entry to the contest is a highly original and well-crafted experience. As the name suggests its predominantly a *vertical* progression, moving upwards through a series of platforms form the starting bottom level via a series of ladders until the top platform and the exit is reached.
Architecture and texturing are quite unique, very imaginative and well built. The theme here is very colorful for Quake 1, primarily blue and pink metallic platforms textured in nice primary colors, offset by linking grey pillars and ladders. I also liked the unusual lighting towers, buttons and walkways and the excellent lifts which fit into the platform as they rise. The map demonstrates an imaginative flair for good original architectural ideas. Lighting is also excellent, lots of spot lighting and so forth to create good atmosphere. Overall a very cool looking map.
Gameplay is also good. Most notably the map only features 2 additional weapons, the double shotgun and the super nailgun, and much better more skillful gameplay as a result. Ammo and health are very well balanced. There is also a very useful secret that is relatively easy to find. Monster numbers and placement are also well judged. The only slight disappointment is being able to exit too easily at the end, without killing all the enemies on the final platform.
Still this remains a very well-executed and original challenge.
tyrcoag: Outside In.
tyrcoag: Outside In
by - Tyrann
Atmospheric and very well lit, this is a well built map by an experienced mapper which also has lots of imagination and an unusual layout, in this way making it a great mix of old and new.
The layout is unusual and basically consists of a a large central area around which a number of thin, winding walkways, stairways and small rocky outcrops float in the void.
Brushwork is very good and the texturing is a mix of brown stone, brick and greyish metal. There are some great structures including the dilapidated "bridge" at the beginning and the spiraling staircase which is kind of a centerpoint of the map. There are also a number of cool metallic designs and details scattered around the map. Although the map is actually not very big, the clever winding layout and pathways mean it takes a while to complete. Lighting is a standout feature of the map. Quite dark and subdued, this level is an object lesson in how soft, well placed lights and shadows can create a great, malevolent atmosphere; this lighting complements the subdued but classical textures very well.
Gameplay is also good, although sometimes relies a little too much on slightly simplistic horde based attacks. Its a hard map, especially on hard skill, throwing the player into tricky combats and ambushes on tight pathways right from the start. The main central room spawns in waves of enemies as well, resulting in an overall monster count of 100, although these waves are perhaps too easy to deal with when the mosters get stuck in the central area and the player can pick them off from the side areas. Ammo supplies are very well judged and so is health. There are 2 secrets and some exploration around the layout will be rewarded with some very useful extras. The gameplay climaxes quite nicely as well, finishing off a highly atmospheric, polished and memorable map.
chain3:   Indigo 14/20
discoag2:   Usher Recompiled 15/20
jesus:   Jesus Wants You 15/20
nesp10:   Embers of cruelty 16/20
pushcoag:   The Vertical Mile 18/20
tyrcoag:   Outside In 18/20