|Fane of the Diabolist||
17 mar 1997
author: Richard Dale Carlson. starts off in a dark mini-canyon with broken ground, making it a bit hard to maneuver. attention to detail and theme is excellent -- similar lighting fixtures are used throughout the level, and the architectural style, with few exceptions, remains consistent. flow and pacing are done well. monster selection is hard, but not overwhelming, and enough weapons and ammo have been placed (in one area, somewhat arbitrarily) for you to complete the level. this level contains a number of puzzles, one with a very subtle clue, that can be difficult to solve at times unless you have above-average observational skills (which i don't). the exit to this level is unique, and the execution of the endgame is entertaining... though the powerups available did make it rather easier than it should have been. an entertaining level, and a fun game.
|The Forsaken Citadel||
14 dec 1996
author: Darren Stabler. this .bsp comes with two levels; for reference, i'll call them FC1 and FC2.
FC1 is a very open level; the architecture is big, with long shallow stairways, wide-open halls, and spacious (but not overly so) rooms. it does suffer from occasional brush thickness mismatching, however, and there is a window that displays the "sky spawn source" view. the water area with the armor and the well-done secret (the rocket launcher) was great. i found only one of the three secrets in this level. the pacing is a little slow -- large levels such as this one virtually require more monsters for lively gameplay. there were some interesting structures, but for the most part, this level is unornamented; i would call it 'bland' or 'pedestrian', but those both imply that the level is boring, which it is not. the texturing, both variety and selection, were first-rate. if the level were more lively (i.e. more monsters), it would easily have earned the TLKA; i would think 45-55 monsters total. it would also have been nice if i wasn't able to shoot every monster in the back at least once before they woke up...
FC2 has more of the same understated architecture as the first, but, unlike the first, it is noticeably more complex. the texturing is as elegantly done as the first. i didn't particularly care for all of the solid black / zero light structures, however; they looked fake and often clashed with their surroundings. much more variety and complexity in this level, as well as more attention being paid to the three-dimensionality of Quake. the exit is a bit difficult to figure out. you are alerted to the fact that the exit has opened (after pressing a wall-mounted structure), but you have no idea what has opened, or where. i would suggest having a message display when the barrier to the exit is touched, or perhaps putting a message somewhere near the exit barrier due to it being unmarked. another technically excellent yet strikingly empty level; this one could use more monsters (60-70, since you've already given the player weapons and ammo) to be more lively.
|Fearless Dissension, Chapter I||
FDISSENS.ZIP -- 1,008k
9 aug 1997
author: G. Pietz. this level starts off well enough, with an ogre and a grunt in your face and a wooden stairway to climb. the proportions are good and the action is fairly intense due to the restricted movement. unfortunately, it goes downhill from there. the next room is a balancing act over a lava pit, and you're faced with zombies and no grenade launcher or quad (so you can't kill them). the next room is plain and square, although it does have a pretty cool button-activated gibbing mechanism. the rest of the level is a series of stark areas with little or no thematic continuity between them. most areas are very large, and some run remarkably slowly. the silver key area has a one-time only rising wall, and i never did figure out how to escape. this author shows a clear knowledge of how to build a level; now all that's to be done is to figure out the why; having a clear theme and smaller areas might have helped considerably.
2 mar 1997
author: Andy "Liger" Patrizio. this level is based, as the title would indicate, on a "fire world" theme; you'll be seeing plenty of lava in this one. like it's predecessor Earthworld, it basically restricts you to nailgun use only (though there is a lot more shotgun ammo than in the previous level), has lots of visible brush seams, and plays rather choppily in a couple of places. some really interesting and well-done lighting and architecture in this one, though; i especially liked the look and feel of the "ogre cages". not surprisingly, this level contained a few skill jumps over lava, but they were done well and stuck to the theme nicely. some of the monsters placed in this level didn't make sense to me in regards to the theme, but overall this level definitely shows improvement over the previous. i'll be interested to see this author's next work, as there is definitely a lot of potential shown in both these levels.
|Flo's 1st Map (v2.0)||
FLO.ZIP -- 351k
26 aug 1997
author: Florian Gleixner. this level starts off in a nicely-built wood and brick room. it then leads out onto a wooden stairway with banisters, well-proportioned and believeable. however, the rest of the level is textured and built with no clear theme in mind. the pacing is erratic and the texture selection is a bit odd... it's as if the author wanted to try every style in the same level. transitions are abrupt, as are the lighting changes. both keyed doors are unmarked and powerups are placed seemingly at random. nonetheless, this author shows a good feel for overall flow; the level, were it built and textured just slightly differently, would make sense. definitely a lot of potential here; i can't wait to see this author's next one.
14 dec 1996
author: Phil Hammond. dark and forbidding, this level sports plenty of action considering it's small size. it consists of one main room, and this room is, apart from the lighted railings, very dark. so dark in spots, in fact, that the player can fall down into a spot where he cannot get out of. whoops. this level could have used some more health and slightly better lighting, but as it stands, it is an excellent gaming experience. this one would kick in deathmatch if it were set up for it (which, according to the .txt file, it isn't)... i would have loved to try this one with a half-dozen reapers. fast, tight gameplay gives this one the TLKA.
|From Out of Nowhere||
FOON.ZIP -- 472k
26 aug 1997
author: J.F.Gustafsson. this is a very fast-paced and cramped metal-themed level. overall, it's pretty brightly and evenly lit, which makes it easy to see where you're going and what you're supposed to be doing. architecture has been done well; most areas are positively cluttered with interesting and noteworthy structural detail. since the level is so intricate, and the playing areas are fairly small, running speed is fast and smooth throughout. one secret in this level, and i found it. some of the monster choices and combinations in places struck me as odd (a spawn in a lava room?) but other than that, this level is a lot of fun.
21 jan 1997
author: Martin Fuchs. this is a novelty level that basically displays four of the new monsters -- bazooka, manga, snakeman (with the old skin) and willy the spider. you can open their cages, or teleport them all into a pit to watch 'em fight. plenty of weapons and ammo to kill 'em, should you desire.
|The Forbidden Base||
22 feb 1997
author: Juha Koiste. a too-short "military base" level. excellent attention to theme, especially with the architecture and lighting. the secrets are very subtly marked; i only found one of the two, and that by accident. the monster mix and selection is superb and keeps to the theme of this level. the entire level ran very smoothly and quickly. my only regret is that it wasn't a larger level because i'd have loved to play more. very nicely done.
|Fear Castle 2||
14 dec 1996
author: Robert Carter. Fear Castle 2 is a 'corrected' version of Fear Castle (FRCASTLE), so you don't have to download the first one if you don't want to. this level exhibits the finest attention and adherence to theme i have yet seen. this IS a castle, and there is no place in the level where you can delude yourself into thinking otherwise. this is also the only level i have yet played where the knights didn't seem out of place. gloomy, cramped, brilliant lighting and pacing, and the best spiral staircases yet. messages are short and relevant, architecture is, in a word, perfect, and the close-combat brawling is intense from start to finish. oh, and did i mention the great water areas? i bet this level rocks hard for 3-6 player deathmatch, too.
14 dec 1996
author: Phil Hammond. this level is puzzle-based; you start in a long hallway with bars blocking your passage. each area prior to the bars has a pair of teleporters; these allow access to the areas where you'll need to press a button or two to open the bars up. nice design, very linear and the pacing is very stop-and-start. the endgame is a tad severe given the weapons and ammo provided; an extra box or two of nails should solve that problem. some really good fighting in this one, but the rooms themselves were a tad bland, the water room in particular (though i did love the water shaft), but well-built.