level reviews index page

 "d" reviews

Earthworld EARTH.ZIP
2 mar 1997
author: Andy "Liger" Patrizio. one "walkmonster in wall" error at the start. there are visible brush seams throughout this level; most visible is a crack in the archway at the very beginning. there is also a noticeable amount of texture misalignment, and one knight ends up stuck waist-deep in a stairwell. i hope you really like the nailgun... this level has other weapons, but there doesn't seem to be much ammo other than nails. the gold key room runs choppier than it has any right to; it's clean design, but really erratic gameplay. the gold key doors themselves, when opening, are definitely an exercise in creative physics (remember, folks, Two Objects Can't Occupy The Same Space At The Same Time). also, exiting this level is a bit non-intuitive. some good combat and really nice, functional architecture in many places, but the flow and pacing need some work. less emphasis on one weapon would be nice, too.

Earthbound EARTHBND.ZIP -- 633k
13 apr 1997
author: Geoff Barry. this level contains quite a bit of water, most of it in narrow, somewhat-shallow trenches. these areas are filled with protruding edges, which makes it very difficult to get out of the water... in addition, one of the trench bottoms didn't seem to have a texture on it; it was a solid block of grey. the open area at the beginning displays significant slowdown, especially during combat. pacing is good, and flow is linear with plenty of room to explore between required items. there are a couple of areas that are very dark, one of which leads to a walk-through wall... arrrgh. on the whole it's very well built architecturally. play areas vary from very small to medium-sized; the only really large area was at the very beginning. plenty of combat in this one; the monsters themselves aren't really that tough, but combined with the cramped combat areas, they became pretty annoying to kill. heh. a good, strong level, but it could have used a bit more room to move in.

Empedokles' Domain EDOM.ZIP -- 722k
25 sep 1997
author: J.F.Gustafsson. this level has been done in the medieval theme, and has been done very well. the architecture varies widely in size and detailing, with most play areas being believeable and immersive without running slowly or being claustrophobic (though there are some small areas). the structuring is nothing short of impressive in "realism" with the detailing only supporting the true-to-life feel. this level feels like it really is a place. nearly the entire level runs quickly and smoothly with the only exception being the main/central courtyard. the flow is linear, but it doesn't feel like it, and the four secrets (of which i found three) have been blended into the whole seamlessly – even the secrets feel real. the monster placement and selection is definitely on the hard side... the smallest monster you'll see is a set of knights, and even then they're tough as hell due to their placement. the only gripe i have about this level, other than the courtyard, is the near-absence of health. this level is one of the hardest ones i've played in quite some time due to this, so unless you're a really good shot and good at dodging, i suggest you save often. nevertheless, this is an incredibly well-done level, one which i very much enjoyed playing, and one i strongly recommend.

this level kicks ass

Electric Sheep ELCSHP.ZIP
14 dec 1996
author: David Jewsbury. this archive contains three levels, and they have been designed to be played in order.

the first level (ELCSHP.BSP) starts dark and quiet. there are a couple of dogs to keep you busy, along with some trash cans. looks like a basement. the architecure is a little complex at times (my machine ran chunkily) but no less enjoyable for it. the lighting is done extremely well to set the mood (the bottom of an abandoned building) as are the proportions of the various rooms, tunnels, and walkways. this level is fairly well populated, but in no single place was i ever really worried about dying. the secrets are not 'hidden' (as behind secret doors or revealed by shooting secret switches), but they're concealed in out of the way places; keep your eyes open and explore everywhere you can get to and you should be able to find them all. this level was enjoyable to play, but strangely unfulfilling. i can't quite put my finger on it, but something's... missing.

the second level (ELCSHP2.BSP) consists of one main area cleverly designed so that you have to traverse just about every horizontal plane to escape. i discovered one glaring deficiency that's critical -- it is possible to get stuck in this level. if you open the door at the base of the main pillar and jump (it's a wind tunnel) without pressing the floor button on the top ledge first, you can get trapped against the bars that are blocking the tunnel's ceiling. this level ran VERY choppy due to the high number of brushes the player can view in that main room, especially from the floor looking up. i was also getting a significant amount of TexBeGone while dodging enemy fire on the floor; this is not a good thing. this level did, however, introduce me to how lethal a pack of enforcers can be, especially if they're at a fair distance... i was getting hammered pretty good all through this level. the monster population and density makes for a nearly constant firefight, which was exciting (even though i had to play it four times before surviving). i didn't find the sole secret on this level. the technical flaws in this level made it a lot less enjoyable than it should have been, all things considered.

the last level (ELCSHP3.BSP) is a short, cramped level with a number of small, extremely-detailed areas. it's evident that a lot of care went into the architecture, and it shows. lots of brutal, close-in combat in this level... makes me wish i still had my chainsaw. more than enough ammo and health to tide you over, though, unless you're really stupid. the rotating on/off lights were cool, but the constant 'click click click click' of the lights turning on and off grated on my nerves after a while. some of the areas were beautifully constructed -- the slanted ceiling / atrium and the roof top itself, especially. like the first level in this series, though, i felt as though something was missing when i exited. strangely unsatisfying.


Elden's Cross ELDEN1.ZIP
14 dec 1996
author: Ludovic Texier. upon entering the level, seven error messages scrolled their way up the screen. not an auspicious beginning. low health and ammo on this level make it difficult to complete the first time through. the pacing and flow is erratic, but the architecture is solid and believeable. monster placement and frequency, like the pacing, varies widely from area to area; in some areas you could axe your way through and in others you wish for the perforator. on the whole, a pleasant game experience, but nothing to write home about.

The Elektra Complex ELEKTRA.ZIP -- 546k
9 aug 1997
author: Andrew Smith. this level has been done in the medieval theme, and is very very strongly reminiscent of E2M5 in architecture and texturing. unlike the id level, though, this level is much smaller in overall area and much more intricate; it has quite a bit of cross-connectivity, which leads me to believe it would be good for deathmatch. the lighting is a bit even and bright, but it's convincing, and most light does have a visible source. the flow is linear (with lots of backtracking that doesn't feel like it) and the pacing is superb. as for weapons, you're given everything up to the rocket launcher -- and you'll definitely need it. this level has been compiled for GLQuake, and since there is a significant amount of water flowing under and through this level, you may experience some slowdown (i did) in the central area. the monsters have been selected and placed extremely effectively -- every time i turned around, it seemed, there was another one in my face... and this is a good thing, to my mind. one objection: one of the secrets was linked to a monster appearance, and if i hadn't found the secret, i wouldn't have been able to get 100% kills, either. but that's just me. overall, this is another most excellent level from Andrew, and i highly recommend it.

this level kicks ass

Elementals ELEMENTS.ZIP -- 775k
9 aug 1997
author: Al Conrad. this level begins in a large, open outdoor area and leads you through four level sections based thematically on each of the the elements. the pacing is a bit erratic and the monster selection doesn't fit any theme i know of. the level is entertaining in that the element sections -- air and fire in particular -- are interestingly interpreted. the silver key is available in the "fire" section, and getting to it is more than a little tense, even though the key is in plain sight. the "air" section is also of note due to the fact that i didn't even notice the sky spawn spot, which is everywhere in this section, until after i stopped and looked around. the interpretation of these elements is fascinating, but the level, as a whole, seems little more than a showcase for these small areas. i'd like to have seen what this author could do with a solid theme and logically interlinking elemental areas...

1 jan 1997
author: Jim Strider. a large level and one that has (i think) four 'floors'. the layout is remarkably disorienting due to the nearly-identical architecture between the four floors. the stairways are marked with up arrows, and the structure of the stairs (complete with banisters) is well-done. the gameplay and flow are somewhat non-intuitive, as this level supports a very non-linear procession. there were two areas i was unable to explore: a door marked 'door opens elsewhere' and the entire gold-key section... i never found the gold key. this level has a couple of annoyances, as well. when there are zombies on a level, you should always put a grenade or rocket launcher SOMEwhere so you can kill them (in all fairness, this weapon might have been in one of the areas i was not able to get to). also, the doors leading to the stairs were textured with the 'splitting blast doors' seen frequently in the m1 levels, but they simply opened to the side; this is a stylistic peculiarity, and one that i did not particularly care for. four secrets in this level, of which i found two, and those that i did find were marked subtly and well. plenty of stuff to kill in this level, and you definitely are provided the tools to do it with (with the one notable exception). this is a fun level overall, but the niggling little odd things detracted from the experience.

End of Time ENDTIME.ZIP -- 844k
9 aug 1997
author: "marty". this level has been done extremely well in the base theme, but unlike the semi-sterile bases we've mostly seen in the past, this base looks well-used and grimy; it's clear the janitors haven't been through this place in a while. the architecture is complex, cluttered, and utterly convincing. structures are unconventionally shaped, for the most part, yet they give this level a believeable near-future feel. the fact that consistent shapes are used throughout (most noticeably the lozenge-shaped window frames) contributes to the theme as well. the texturing, as noted before, is mostly rusted metal, and the monsters (mostly enforcers and grunts) blend into their surroundings nearly completely; keep your eyes peeled. secrets are marked, but not overly so. the flow is linear and the pacing has been done well -- monsters seem to ambush you (and in some places, they do) in many areas. unfortunately, i noticed more than a few misaligned textures; in some places, it was so bad that i wondered if a texture had somehow been incorrectly applied by mistake. regardless, this level rocks hard, and is well worth the download.

this level kicks ass

The Epoch Turning EPOCH.ZIP
2 mar 1997
author: Andrew Smith. the long-awaited next release from Andrew has finally arrived, folks, and it's a winner. this one is a grim, dark, and medieval level. plenty of monsters (116!) give you lots of combat action. this level, like his previous release The Guardhouse, sports some absolutely wonderful architecture, both in design and in attention to theme. this level also exhibits the first convincing transition from medieval textures to military-base textures... incredibly smoothly done. wow. all of the weapons are available in this level, and their placement in regards to the overall pacing is superb. four secrets in here, and i only found one, though i think getting the red armor should have counted. heh. this level is lit pretty eerily throughout; however, due to the theme and the texture selection, i found it to be sort of muddy and washed-out at times. plenty of light to see by, though. the flow of this level is top-notch, but the monster placement did leave something to be desired, as it was a bit regular and predictable; many times, i lobbed a grenade blindly around a corner and hit a monster i had yet to see. in any case, this level is full of impressive playing areas and combat, and is well worth the download time. fine work (as usual), Andrew.

this level kicks ass

Erkle's Domain ERKLE.ZIP
14 dec 1996
author: Matt Joiner. short, cramped, and sorely overpopulated, this level is good for about 10 minutes worth of entertainment. sometimes it's fun to blast your way through a level as fast as you can against overwhelming odds; when you're in that mood, pick this one up. the exit architecture and texturing is, in a word, horrifying. interesting layout, but that's about the only redeeming quality.

Horror Erotique EROTIQUE.ZIP
17 mar 1997
author: "marty". now this is what e1m7 should have been like. gameplay is smooth. areas range from medium-sized to pretty tight, and are well-proportioned and believeable. in addition, most areas are distinctive in look and feel, making it difficult to become disoriented. the lighting has been done very well, though the texture selection (mostly medieval metals) would necessarily lead to some washed-out areas. weapons and ammo placement is top-notch; the perforator seems a bit much for the monsters in this level... i'm of the mind that the regular nailgun would have been just fine. this is clearly a single-player level due to it's linearity, but due to the teleporter interconnectedness, it would probably also work very well for 2-4 player deathmatch; any more than that might be fun as well, but it would be chaos. the only flaws i could find (and not very much of this, either) were some brush seams. the endgame monster's entrance is pretty dramatic and startling (yeah, my butt came out of the chair the first time i played it), but fitting and rather exciting, actually. there were two secrets, of which i found one, but the one i found was very clearly marked. this is top-notch entertainment, and is highly recommended.

this level kicks ass

Escape ESCAPE09.ZIP -- 589k
4 sep 1997
author: "Gonzoj". this level's theme concerns your escape from a rather lightly-guarded stronghold. the architecture has been done adequately, though many areas and structures are very square/blocky in appearance. this level is on the large side, and contains two sizable outdoor areas with lots of sky. (GLQuakers, this means you're going to get a lot of slowdown; in this level, enough to where it's just about unplayable.) play areas are large and the monster population is light, so combat is generally easier than it should be. structuring is good (i liked the truck) and is, for the most part, believeable. the "trash compactor" was admittedly a bit annoying, because, while the rocket launcher is definitely overkill for the types of monsters you'll encounter, it's bait that's too attractive to pass up. an alternate way out would have been appreciated. all in all, this author has the skills necessary to make a high-quality level, because it's obvious all the basics are in place. with a bit more attention paid to flow, pacing, and combat areas, this author's next level will definitely be a winner.

14 dec 1996
author: "ET". only SIX monsters on HARD? this level looks like the author's first attempt at a quake level. it's a good foundation for a level, but in and of itself it barely qualifies. the only thing i would suggest to the author, if s/he is reading, is to lose that pit by the super shotgun; there's no thematic reason for it, and you've got plenty of other ways to kill the player with the architecture if you wish. lots of potential, but none of it realized in this release. maybe next time.

14 dec 1996
author: Etienne Rheaume. this level starts with the player in water (to my mind, always a good sign). GREAT use of messages throughout the level; some of the funniest and most appropriate ones i've seen. the secrets are little more than slightly-hidden traps, but they always contain valuable items, so watch your step -- it's worth it. some very interesting architecture in this one -- the outside 'fire escape' type stairs were wonderfully executed, even though all those brushes lowered my frame rate significantly. one flaw in the brushes exists underwater -- there's a bright seam around the shelf with the four torch-tops and the rottweiler running around. looks like a texturing issue, but since i've only dinked around with quake editors thus far, i cannot be sure. the skill-based areas were okay (moving platforms over lava) if you're into that sort of thing, i guess. a good level.

29 mar 1997
author: Vidar Ermesjo. three monsters, one room, interesting secret. that pretty much sums it up. a good start for a level.
<no rating>

14 dec 1996
beta author: Matthew Sefton. sprawling architecture (though wonderfully done) slows this level in more than a couple of places. the opening room is lively, but a bit tame. you get the perforator way too early (in my opinion) in this level, but in fairness, it's contained in a secret. the first lift shaft's lighting is superb, both for execution and mood setting. the monster placement in this level varies widely; at times they're right in your face when you open a door, and at others they're so far away it's difficult to hit them with rockets or nails. fun run & gun in the pyramid room with all those zombies roaming around; the quadded super shotgun is the ideal room-clearing weapon in this case. no sense in wasting grenades. the ranged attacks from the windows on the ledge surrounding the pyramid keep you moving; no time to stop and smell the coffee. actually, most rooms in this level are fairly to really lively. the last room is a work of art, with the banisters at just the perfect height to eat rockets and that lift that's made out of girders -- wow. the endgame was surprisingly easy considering the beating you had to endure to get there. the secrets are marked (some subtly so) and the placement of health, weapons, and ammo was well-thought-out.

this level kicks ass

14 dec 1996
author: Glenn Ancheta. a basic courtyard level with four branches off the main area. there is a second courtyard underwater, with tunnels leading to the center of each branch room. very little theme and zero subtlety to this one -- just jump right in (you start on top of the quad damage for god's sakes) and kill as much as you can as fast as you can. lots of stuff to kill, too. no rocket launcher, perforator, or lighting gun, but you don't need them... just remember to keep moving. i don't know that this really qualifies as a true single player level, but it would probably be fun in deathmatch. the endgame is a bit excessive, considering the weapons the player has. one thing i enjoyed is doing IMPULSE 9 / IMPULSE 255 / GOD, switching to the lighting gun, and discharging underwater. packet overflow is funnier than hell, especially with all those gibs flyin'.
Eye Socket EYESOCK.ZIP -- 527k
27 apr 1997
author: "Taskmaster" (Warren Marshall). this level features some absolutely great architecture, tending toward the larger end of the spectrum. there really isn't too much detailing, per se, in this level, but what there is serves to accent the flow and clean overall design without compromising playing speed... basically, it looks as good as it plays. the flow and pacing are good, if a bit slow in places, and the monster mix is definitely on the light side; a level this size could probably hosted twice as many monsters comfortably. in addition, the teleport "traps" might have been a bit more aggressive. secrets are subtly marked; i found one of two on my own, and was directed to the other by the author. the endgame was a little easier than i would have liked, but it was challenging nonetheless. a great first level (and not a bad second or third level, as a matter of fact), and well worth your download time. this one was fun.

this level kicks ass

"f" reviews