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Reviews: 1st November 2005, review 3
Game - QUAKE
Map - night: Nightjourney v2
by - Dustin 'Tronyn' Geeraert, Darren 'Daz' Weekes, and Rich "Xenon" Thorne. (2002)
re-released and generally fixed by - Aguire (oct 2005).
Download - nightjourney_v2.zip
Overall Verdict: A very consistent and imaginative 6 map episode with good gameplay.
Firstly, thanks to Aguire for re-releasing this map in this improved form.
Throughout the whole pack there are the following modifications:
The mission pack 2 (rogue) extra weapon: multi-grenade launcher.
The mission pack 2 (rogue) additional enemies: guardians, wraths, multi-grenade ogres
new custom monsters: mummy (very good skin).
new custom skins: dark Blue skinned shamblers [cool], green skinned fiends, scrags, spawns and vores.
Map was played on hard skill using Fitzquake080 (my current default settings).
Map1: the haunted hills
note: In the start map, try to pickup the grenade launcher.
The first map is an medium-large sized, atmospheric greenish/brown rock series of hills, caves and canyons which have various stone rooms, archways and corridors built into them. There are nicely textured checkerboard stone floors, and solid looking neat stone and wood doorways. There are also some good stone staircase, spiral stairs and stone parapets. The mixture of organic rockface and artificial stone structure was very well done. The theme was well executed and consistent throughout, lighting was also decent. Gameplay is also good, not too hard at the beginning but escalating well. Monster placement and number is well judged, although the 3 spawning Shamblers around the mid point are slightly unfair, perhaps, and the ending can be exited without killing all enemies. Ammo and health supply is also well balanced. A very nicely built, introductory first map.
Map2: the city of ankhbarr
This second level takes the Egyptian green stone theme hinted at in the first map, and makes it more explicit: a full-scale, well built Egyptian stone temple and then eventually a city. Light-green stone floors, walls, ceilings and columns, all with a darker green stone trim, along with chunky sliding grey stone doors, archways, and dark brown wooden beams is the main theme of this map.
Gameplay is also again good, definitely harder than the first map. Triggering and using Monster in-fighting effectively is required here to make significant progress. There is also a nasty set-piece relatively early involving 8 strong mummies and a guardian which is pretty hard. I especially liked the ending in gameplay terms
Map3: Arabian Nights
Continuing the Egyptian/Arabian green stone them, this layout is quite large and brings the player inside the city/temple. The indoor setting progresses through a number of small tight, claustrophobic rooms and corridors, which occasionally open out into well built and very cool looking courtyards. Architecture and texturing both continue to be consistent and look pretty cool.
The monsters tend to cluster in the courtyards which makes gameplay hardest in these areas, be warned on hard skill these are very difficult. Monster infighting is again crucial. There are lots of fiends, scrags, shamblers and wraths which make gameplay tough. The first main courtyard area suffers a gameplay flaw: without picking up the well-hidden quad damage progress is virtually impossible. Leaving the quad in the center of the courtyard might have been a better placement here. In contrast the final area is actually better balanced, fairer and more exciting, and progression can be made.
Map4: Portal of Souls
This is a small but intense ending segment to the temple in which the player fights through three main areas, which steadily increase in difficulty. Architecture continues to be neat, solid and effective within this small layout. All 3 main areas are imaginative and have a good sense of proportion. Again monster infighting is your friend. Three guardians guard the portal at the end, which is very tricky, a little tip: look for cover.
Map5: Beyond the portal
The architecture style fundamentally changes to base: in this case a custom green walled metallic/stone base spiced up with medieval monsters and lots of green slime. Chunky looking metal structures are nicely offset by yellow spotlights, set into the metallic walls, beams and columns. Again, map build is neat, even if lacking some fine detail, with a good strong texturing theme and cool looking corridors, rooms, and metal walkways over green slime. The ending arena is especially cool looking and well used with monsters spawning in waves. Gameplay is quite hard, but not unfairly so, and you will want to make sure you pick up all the health, megahealths, ammo and armor available. Monster placement and mix is good. A Cautious and tactical approach is best. The sliding chunky doors of various shapes look great, as do the various metallic designs and spikes and the dark green trim on everything.
Map6: the second portal
The theme of the previous map is continued here, but there isn't so much slime around. More green/brown rockface, caves and canyons. There are some excellent looking areas and decent details, such as broken slabs of stones and wooden walkways, which help break up the large expanses of rocks. The yellow spotlights and metallic theme is again much in evidence, implemented with imagination into cool looking, well constructed beams, layouts and rooms as in the previous map. As in all the maps in the pack. the clever spotlighting consistently looks good and adds more atmosphere to the map layouts.
Gameplay is actually slightly too easy at the start and middle of this level, there is a definite over generous supply of health and even armor at various points. That being said the arena ending is a decent challenge. Overall this map features very cool architecture but the slightly too easy gameplay, especially compared to previous maps in the pack, provides a slightly disappointing anti-climatic feel for a last map in gameplay terms.
None of the maps are particularly huge or ambitious, but taken as a whole this is a great pack; highlighted by its original, well built, consistent texturing and imaginative stone and metallic architecture. It also features very challenging gameplay, which in some places just lacks a little fine-tuning in terms of difficulty. Definitly recommended for a download.
Map1: the haunted hills 16/20
Map2: the city of ankhbarr 17/20
Map3: Arabian Nights 17/20
Map4: Portal of Souls 12/20
Map5: Beyond the portal 17/20
Map6: the second portal 15/20
Overall NightJourney: 17.5/20