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Reviews: 3rd November 2007 [Reviewed by Tronyn]
Map - hrim_sp3: Breakfast at Twilight
Overall Verdict: Large and often spectacular castle/courtyards level.
This is a large Quoth-based map, similar to the author's last, The Rest is Silence. That was a good map, using the Quoth textures, but presenting an actual city or outpost. Kell envisioned Fodrian as a "library planet," a cool conception, but his own maps, excellent as they were, explored only the "urban" (an unusual term, I use it only for lack of a better one) elements of this environment - hallways, courtyards, basements, chambers, sewers. Hrimfaxi's "The Rest Is Silence" extended the depiction of Fodrian, to include a more open environment, with huge outdoor towers and open areas. Breakfast At Twilight picks up where The Rest Is Silence left off.
Design has improved since The Rest Is Silence. While the map consists of the same basic elements - different sizes and shapes of towers, with courtyards, indoor rooms, and walkways, the design of this map is more elegant. The clusters of towers are more complex and look better together, more naturally incorporated, more complex and pleasing visually. Further, the interior layout corresponds more closely to the exterior layout, which in my view, is most certainly a good thing. In TRIS, there were many structures simply for decoration, which you couldn't enter and didn't play a part in the gameplay other than making the level look better. Here, you enter almost every building as you make your way through the complex, winding layout. There are plenty of open balconies that look out onto courtyards or canyons of blood, and these give you not only great views, but also a good way to judge your progress in relation to the rest of the map and the overall layout.
The texturing is superb, with plenty of unique touches, and detailing all over the place such as inset lights and buttresses. Lighting is also good, lots of sourced wall lights, and floor lights indoors make for a creepy atmosphere. It consistently amazes me how many new combinations of Quoth textures can be made, resulting in a slightly new visual look. There are some good examples of that here. Pretty much everywhere you go looks good, and various angles are repeated throughout the map, keeping a consistent style.
I played on hard. Perhaps I just got better blasting my way through the highly challenging Warp Spasm, but I felt up to the challenge. There are 11 secrets, some obvious, others not, but keep your eyes open if you are playing on hard, because in some cases you will probably need them in order to survive. When you get desperate, as I did once, you can rely on monster infighting (Hellknights vs Droles.. heh heh). For the most part, the map relies on normal Quake monsters, and not Quoth ones, although the new Hellknights are always around. Ogres are very well used, they can be a real pain, and there are many different outlook points, balconies and walkways at many different vertical levels that they can bombard you from. Vores aren't used as much, but appear in appropriate places, and keep you from relaxing much. Monster placement is well thought out, they spawn in when you don't expect them and ambush you. Scrags are also well used. Every monster is given a fair chance to kill you.
As the fighting escalates, Quoth enemies appear more and more. Droles, and later Gugs, appear, and there is also a certain nasty surprise. There is usually sufficient ammunition, but the map does force you to rely on the double shotgun more than usual. No problem there though. The finale in a square court is challenging and fast-paced.
There is a cool start map included, which resembles the map itself and foreshadows it: huge towers in foreboding canyons. I have to admit that I am partial to Hrimfaxi's style. His debut was weird and off-kilter, but subsequently I am becoming more and more impressed. Frostbite blew me away, and he consistently designs vertical, outdoor, setpiece based maps which I find very visually appealing, as well as dramatic in terms of progression and layout. This is one of the best maps I've played in quite a while.
overall score: 18/20
This map enters the Q1SP Hall of Fame 2 at position 8 in Q1SP single Maps.