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Reviews: 3rd September 2003.
Game - QUAKE
Map - nesp09: Dawn Of Eternity
by - Necros
Download - nesp09.zip
Overall Verdict - An epic gothic experience featuring horde style gameplay.
note: There is also a completely separate, secret map in this pack which is not reviewed or commented on here.
This is Necros follow-up map to nesp06: Once upon Atrocity, but it surpasses nesp06 in terms of scale, scope, ambition and sheer size. Its a monstrously huge map, equaling Insomnia in term of size. There are 265 enemies on hard, which should give you some idea of the massive challenge ahead.
Architecture is fantastic, a superb mix of natural rock faces, lava pools and waterfalls, cliffs, and complex metallic and stone structures. There are several cool metallic beams structures bent into unusual shapes dotted throughout the map. The texture theme is essentially custom, Necros again goes for a gothic/doom/stone feel, offsetting the basic green/grey stone walls and floors with lots of red blood stained detailing and lava pools. There is also a theme of florescent white lights which look cool and add some strips of brightness, and lighting itself is well done overall. There is also good use of custom, ambient sound effects which add hugely to the atmosphere of the map and change as you progress through the level into new and distinct sections. Some of the outdoor, natural terrain areas of rock faces and caves sometimes looked slightly plain and lacking in detailing.
The size and complexity of the map layout and progression through it means there may be some moments where it is unclear what to do or where to go next, but this is only a small criticism and normally a small amount of exploration will find the next pathway.
Gameplay features a number of custom monsters, many similar to those use in nesp06, but also some new monster types to; the custom monsters include: nail-firing ogres, black skinned fiends and shamblers, fireball throwing shamblers and arch hell knights. Gameplay is tough, utilizing a horde/ambush approach which often results in mowing down hordes of enemies with the super-nailgun or the lightning gun. To help you in this task ammo capabilities have been upgraded slightly. There are lots of shamblers in this map and also you will fight boss monsters more than once, although i don't want to give away too many surprises. There are also some great set-pieces and moments of genuine surprise and fear. For example being ambushed by two fiends as you fall down a long shaft on a stone platform and ambient screeching noises accompany you, is one that sticks in my mind.
It is clear from this map that Necros is getting closer and closer to succeeding in what is clearly his overall inspiration and ambition: to equal the achievement of Insomnia. One thing that stops this being equal to Insomnia, in my opinion, is the slight over-reliance on his custom monsters. They aren't as good as traditional quake enemies, for example the black skinned fiends and the red flying dragons are too easy too kill, and this factor just stops the gameplay reaching the finely tuned level of the best of Insomnia and traditional Quake combat, i felt.
Still, this is the best new map i have played since this site opened. The architecture is incredibly imaginative and well built. I could easily have done 10 screenshots on this map. Gameplay is also a huge amount of fun. Overall, hugely ambitious, and all the better for it, Necros pulls off a superb achievement in Quake 1 mapping.
Overall Score: 19/20