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Reviews: 16th july 2005 [review 1] [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Game - QUAKE
Map - lunsp1: Concentric Devastation
by - Matt "Lunaran" Breit
Download - lunsp1.zip
Overall Verdict large custom textured base map with excellent architecture and lighting.
The first lengthy single Q1SP map in quite a while, LUNSP1: Concentric Devastation is a base map that takes its cue from the Insomnia/Colony type of base map rather than the id or ik setup. That means, for one, no boxyness anywhere; on a related note no crates, and streamlined architecture, often curvy and multi-leveled, with airtight lighting and texturing.
The map begins in a small base entryway, and soon progresses to sprawling outdoor canyons, with black and gray rocks and a dull blue sky. You'll have to watch out for green doom-style sludge in these areas and later in the base proper. I'm a sucker for dumb tricks, but I would have thought it was cool if the slime was brighter (maybe neon green as in the original doom) and "glowed" (that is, a green glow on the nearby textures themselves). Also, liquid transparency isn't supported, which may be deliberate, but I always enjoy having control over that particular option. Your main enemies here are scrags, always a good foe for canyon areas.
Once you reach the base itself, your enemies are most often humans of one sort or another; grunts and enforcers dominate. There are some modified enemies, which fit into the setting well and provide for an entertaining twist on gameplay. The mega-enforcer from Zerstorer, who has a power shield in effect except for when he is firing, is always a welcome addition. There is another type of human enemy that fires grenades, like an ogre, but is better suited to the futuristic environment. There are also "The Five," beefed up enforcers with an awesome flame weapon and the ability to fire rockets as well. I would have preferred if the progression was based on each of "The Five" was guarding an object, like a control panel or key or something, rather than having it based on simply killing the monsters themselves, which doesn't seem to fit the base environment as much. Never the less, it was always cool when these guys showed up.
Although at several points I wasn't sure exactly where I was going, I never wandered around lost, which shows excellent layout design on the part of the author, all the more impressive for being done on such a large scale. I think this map, despite its resemblance to some earlier Q1SPs, really reveals that Lunaran has designed a ton of deathmatch maps. The layout works that way, with many indoor atriums, which have openings at different heights and various tunnels, ramps and platforms connecting them. Of course, there are some exceptions to this, very SP-ish setpieces including a particularly nice one where a cool bridge unfolds between one base front and another. You'll collect both keys before you're done the map (the gold key ambush was awesome; though I wimpily played on normal I hope there were tons more monsters packed into those closets on hard!).
Overall, the gameplay was a good challenge, working your way through a variety of visually interesting areas and facing mostly human enemies for a change from the usual Quake bestiary. I didn't die in the map at all, until I reached the end. The end is another Chthon fight, in a nicely designed arena full of slime. It's a bit smaller than some end arenas, and I managed to die a few times here. The elevators make getting to those buttons a bit stranger, as there is a slight delay before they raise and you can jump to the next area, which means you have to emphasize timing a bit more than usual with the big lava (or slime, as the case may be) guy. A suitable finale.
I want to include a few final comments about the visuals and architecture before I wrap up. I found that the architecture was often technically perfect, with wrap around lights and curved beams working very well to create aesthetic appeal. Some areas didn't look "busy" enough to me, obviously the temptation to stack crates everywhere was resisted, but I think that some barrels, equipment, pipes, machinery and etc would have made the place seem more functional/inhabited. Perhaps it isn't really possible to merge this style of base with that style of base though.
I was very impressed by the lighting, with meticulously done spotlights casting and interweaving over the clean-looking texture set. The large, open and plain floors always looked interesting because of this. The rock-work looked good, though I think a rock texture that was actually a larger image or had less distinct formations would have made the rocks look much less repetitive. Maybe even several subtly different varieties of the same texture could have worked. Also, though in many places the rock work was very believably cavern-ish, particularly the overhangs, there were areas with flat ceilings reminiscent of Doom.
Overall, this is a blast to play through with a well executed base theme and gameplay spiced up by some good modifications. The layout is top-notch, while you'll never get visually bored or lost. To me, it comes across as a successful fusion between different design ideas; deathmatch atriums and single player setpieces, doom layout and theme reminiscence and modern Q1SP detail and caverns; quake 2's futuristic tech and quake's grimness.
Overall Score: 17/20