level reviews index page
 back to Levels

Three of Clubs 3OC.ZIP -- 810k
8 jul 1997
author: Zied Rieke. this level comes as a .pak file instead of a .bsp. you begin in a very low-ceilinged and cramped room in a base-style setting. this entire level has been done in the "base" theme and, on the whole, it's been done well. the proportions are a little tight through most of the areas, and those that aren't are very large. the architecture has been done well, though you will experience some slowing in the larger and/or more detailed areas. nevertheless, this level's architecture shows a definite attention to theme. in addition, the use of the scaling function to apply textures gives it a new, yet familiar, feel. monster placement and selection keeps mostly to the base theme, and the monster that didn't fit stuck out noticeably. the new monster was... well, different. i must admit i couldn't quite figure out what it was, and its ability to come through walls was disconcerting. you are supplied with both shotguns in this level; if any other weapons were present, i didn't find them, though i did only find one secret of the two. more ammo would have been nice as well -- i had to give myself ammo by the end because i find it difficult to take on four enforcers with the axe. one other niggling problem was that the level required you to press two buttons to open the roof of the silver key enclosure when it was possible to leap through the window instead; having to backtrack to open the door to a room i was already in was mildly annoying. with some attention to gameplay issues, and eliminating the slowdown, this level would have rocked.

Demise 4FIFFY1.ZIP
29 mar 1997
author: George Fiffy. this level begins in a rather dark, large square room that runs remarkably slowly considering how little detail is in view. turns out you'll be re-crossing this room multiple times at differing heights, which explains the slowdown. it also sports some interesting design and flow, reminding me, at times, very strongly of Doom levels... not because the 3d capability wasn't utilized, but because it just feels like a Doom level. some brush seams were evident, as were a few misaligned textures. one interesting effect that i haven't seen before (and that i don't particularly care for) is an ogre seemed to get caught in the middle of a teleport. the result of this near-constant teleporting, without the ogre actually going anywhere, is a total lack of shrapnel, rocket trails, or blood spray; the particles are being used for the tport effect. kind of odd. the shadows from light sources showed the non-light-extra'd stair-stepping effect. no theme as such; at least, not one i easily recognized. most weapons are present, and you won't have to worry about running out of ammo. five secrets in here, of which i found none. overall, this is an odd level... technically competent (with the few flaws noted), but it felt weird.

Fortress 4FIFFY2.ZIP -- 446k
6 apr 1997
author: George Fiffy. this level is done in the stone-and-metal look of E1M3 and the like, and shows marked improvement over this author's previous work. the combat starts as soon as you go through the first door, and it's intense (bordering on brutal)... but that's the best kind. it took me four tries to finally conquer the first courtyard, so you might want to save often. (i know i did.) the architecture has been done well; most areas are fairly detailed and believeable, but they tend toward the small side, which is good for speed, but bad for dodging projectiles. surprisingly, though, some areas (most notably the aforementioned first courtyard) were amazingly choppy to fight through. lots of over-and-under play areas, which i enjoy. great use of ogres and knights, both solo and in tandem, in this level. there are five secrets in this level, of which i found one -- the one i found was completely unmarked, so i suppose the other four (two of which i could clearly see but not get to; arrrgh) are the same way. a really fun and intense level.

this level kicks ass

Damnation 4FIFFY3.ZIP -- 526k
4 may 1997
author: George Fiffy. this level starts you out in a medieval setting (mostly stone, brick, and wood) under attack by four elevated ogres and a couple of ground-bound knights. this immediate (and intense) combat is a fitting indicator of what this level is going to be like. the architecture has been done very well, if a bit on the square side, with plenty of variation in area sizes and structures. play is linear and there is a bit of exploring to be done between required items. most of the combat areas have been designed well, and with an eye to the capabilities of the monsters that inhabit them... in more than one combat situation, i found myself thinking, "man, these <insert monster names here> are tough to kill!" enough weapons are provided (and more than enough ammo) for you to be able to emerge victorious. it isn't easy, though, believe me. secrets are in plain sight, but otherwise unmarked, and i found two of four. the first one i saw (above the water behind the silver key door) seemed a bit excessive at first (a pent, a quad, and a megahealth), but when experienced authors exhibit this type of largesse, i find i'm not grateful so much as i am paranoid; i mean, why does he think i'll need this much stuff? turns out you'll be very happy to have had those powerups. heh. some slowdown is present, though, but only during combat sequences in certain areas when the grenades are flying. oh, one other item of note -- in this level, the Quake dude is much more susceptible to sudden cases of death when falling, so try not to fall from any heights. all in all, i had a really good time playing this level; i'll be looking forward to the next REoL TOUGH production.

this level kicks ass

Antichrist 4FIFFY4.ZIP -- 583k
23 jun 1997
author: George Fiffy. this level starts out quietly enough, but you're soon in the middle of some decent combat. the flow of this level is nice and linear, making it easy to determine what you have to do next. architecture is mostly on the "cramped" side, but it's been done in a way that it doesn't seem all that small... until you try to dodge enemy fire. monster placement is good and heavy, with a lot of the higher-end monsters frequenting this place. plenty of ammo and health, though, so you probably won't die. well, at least not that often; the placement of monsters makes it challenging to survive. secrets are hidden well -- i found two of five -- and i liked the pop-up messages, though they're not theme-based. the only real problem i had with this one was the presence of Chthon in the middle of the level. you see him early on, and that in itself was odd, but it took me six deaths to figure out you weren't able to kill him. i don't know if i liked that or not, because the way he's placed in this level, he is not only a formidable obstacle that you can't remove, but you're required to dodge his fire (in admittedly-narrow areas) to access both keyed doors.

REoL Tough: Base 4FIFFY5.ZIP -- 610k
17 sep 1997
author: George Fiffy. this level has been done in the base style. play areas are on the small side, and the author has used enough decorative protrusions throughout the level to make maneuvering difficult in places. the architecture and structuring is very true to the theme, but the texture selection and alignment could have been done better; in too many places, the textures were truncated abruptly and, for this reason, felt very odd in spots. the level is surprisingly fast-running in most places, though there are a number of spots where slowing is noticeable. the pacing is very good – monster, weapon, and ammo placement has obviously been thought out. the flow is semi-linear, with some backtracking required. there is one trap early on that seemed kind of gratuitous to me. there are three secrets in this level, of which i found none. (i did see the red armor, but i couldn't figure out how to get to it.) good use of pop-up messages, too. all in all, an entertaining level, but not riveting.

Welcome to the Terrors 9TERRORS.ZIP
19 jan 1997
author: Russell McKenzie. contains two levels (9GO.BSP and 9TERRORS.BSP); 9GO is simply the skill-setting level. 9GO is extremely chunky while running, even though this 'level' is basically one large room. 9TERRORS is set in a house of some kind, it appears, and like 9GO, it runs terribly choppy throughout. i don't know why this level should run so badly, though, because much of it is very small and self-contained. the architecture is convincing and the lighting has been done competently. while you're given the weapons to do the job in this level, ammo and health (especially ammo) are in very short supply; i was forced to axe murder death knights on far too many occasions due to lack of ammo. most doors that don't open immediately don't tell you why, and some of the place / area names in the pop-up messages can be a tad confusing. it took me four tries to get beyond the gold key door in this one. very tight quarters throughout... at least until you make it into 'the backyard', complete with pool and shed. the author has tossed every monster in here (with the exception of Chthon and Shub); this eclectic selection distracts, and the theme is lost. with a slightly less powerful monster mix, more ammo and health, and perhaps some restructuring in order to speed up gameplay, this level would have been fun.

"a" reviews