Bullet Ballet 1 meg approx.
By- Marty Howe
|From a claustrophobic and highly original begining (first time used, to my knowledge) and all throughout the first level of this two-parter I was captivated by a sense of excitement and awe of which I had never before experienced in a Quake 2 level. In fact, the only thing that comes close to this is in Jedi Knight where you're in the crashing ship after moving to the dark or light side (great game, btw). Totally underwater for half, Bullet Ballet is an excersise in holding your breath. While not particularly big or difficult, the first part of this level set totally astounded me and I've played it through 10 times now because it's so damned cool. Detailed to the max, it's gorgeous and highly professional, not surprising really as Marty is heading to work on Max Payne very soon, making this and Final Drill his last efforts with the Q2 engine.
The second part, while not as interesting as the first is still a feast of brilliance. Perfectly balanced gameplay with just enough ammo and choice of guns to be kept on your toes and realistic bad guy placement (ie, there aren't 6 berserkers stading around while you waltz in with a shotgun and get torn to pieces, which I've seen a lot recently). Health is kept on a need-to-get basis. No superfluous energy boosts so turning new corners with trepidation is a must. I never got bored playing this level again, it's continually interesting and innovative. The scary Tanks are used perhaps too much and aren't really that much of a challenge. Duck, shoot, stafe, wait, shoot, starfe, etc. but this is only a minor niggle. Apart from that, top notch work from Marty, once again! (I would review Full Contact, but whenever I play till half way it crashes =(...
Deadline 2.2 megs approx.
Authored by- Jason Fink (aka ElFinko)
|I'm guessing you all have seen the seminal cartoon series King of the Hill, right? Great show. Brilliant as. "Ah tell you whut," and all that. Well there's a line I saw in it once where Bill says "I don't know about you, but this is the part of the movie where I think: why don't they just get out of the house?". Relevant? Well this is the thought I had all map long. All the way through this diversely beautiful and tense map, I was afraid to turn a corner for fear of the dreaded Gladiator that this author used in spades. Walk out side, 2 of the buggers siting there. Bam! Down I go...
Strafing is an invaluable method of attack in the fluid start-stop rhythm of this level. The ingenious hub linking onto the 3 other levels that couldn't possibly be any more different keeps the flow up. Whenever you think every bad guy in a section is dead, you try to exit and there'll be hundreds more waiting to get you on the way out. I won't spoil anything for you, but let me say this: one missed rocket and you've lost. I played a whole level on 15% energy all the way because I let a stray rocket go and I had to run flat out till I found some health. While not exactly as good as COS2 (the level to be beaten now) this is still as a superbly built and intensly filled level as you'll ever play. Enjoy!
COS2: Stroggship or here for the Geocities
mirror 2.5megs approx. SP
Authored by- Brian Griffith
Stroggos 2: Stroggship to give it it's full, official
name is the newest, most kickass 3 level set from Brian,
authour of the amazing Castles of Stroggos. Starting
straight where the last installment left, you're on a
ship full of 100,000 of Stroggos' worst, hell bent on
destroying Earth. Idiotic USMC has told you that you must
bring down the ship from the inside. A lone marine
against the hungry hordes (are the USMC stupid or
something? I seem to remember the same thing happening in
Doom. And Quake. And Quake 2 for that matter....) you
traipse across 3 beautifully made, atmospherically
lighted and brilliantly designed levels to stop the evil
menace. Without hyperbole, I can say that this blows
everything I've ever played out of the water. Neil Manke?
Who? iD? Pah! Hypnotic? C'mon, please... This is the
best. Every moment is spent in gut churning battle or
running away, out-gunned and with not much health left. I
managed to complete this without god mode in medium by
the skin of my teeth and hard mode really is for the l33t
of you out there.
Levels are lit to perfection. "Public" parts of the ship, where you'd expect Strogg scientists to work in (imagine that... big ol' strogg with a white coat and specs...=) are in a harsh, clean light, and as you go deeper into the bowels, sickly greens and oranges hue the darkness. Bad guy placement is some of the best I've seen and texturing and building is so faultlessly detailed that you really do think this is the work of professional designer working for a big company. Give this guy a game to work on please!
Old Storage Area
2 - The Sequel 548k SP
Authored by- Juha Koiste
|Old Storage Area
2, the unoriginally titled sequel to Old Storage area is
based around the Warehouse levels of Quake 2. And while
not particularly original is pretty damned fine. The
story, slightly contrived and unoriginal sets the scene
perfectly for a non stop action map that utilises and
tried and tested formula to impressive and pulse-pounding
effect. From the word go you, the player, are fighting
for your life amidst some great looking archetecture and
clever bad-guy placement. Never did I run out of ammo so
I had to resort to my blaster (read: pea shooter) but I
was always teetering on the edge,keeping tension. The use
of the idiotic-but-scary Berserkers a lot means quite a
lot of running away, especially at the start when all you
have is a shotgun. The ending is especially impressive
(look at the screenshot. It's better than that though)
and is a fitting ending.
This level, while small, is perfectly formed. Just like those mini-donuts you can get at the mall, this level is moreish. Play it. Then play it again. It's great.