|The Gallery of the Mind||
GALLERY.ZIP -- 736k
24 jun 1997
author: "Dead Meat". this level is a beta, as stated in the .txt file. it contains some huge areas, one monster (that i never found) and little else. if Salvador Dali on crack met Quake, this is probably what it'd look like.
29 mar 1997
author: "GatorMan". this level has a nice intro, with lots of water to swim in. the super shotgun should have been a secret area, to my way of thinking. some textures were misaligned (the boxes on the first dock, for instance). the level runs smoothly through most areas, despite the fact that many areas are rather large. there was no theme, as such, that i could find; the texture selection was rather eclectic in places, and one area didn't necessarily flow smoothly into the next. playing areas tended toward the large end of the scale, making for easy maneuvering. pacing and combat are sporadic. this level is very light on the ammo as well... i found it impossible to complete on "Hard", as i was forced to take on four knights and a shambler with an axe. serious entity flicker at the end, as well. with a bit more attention paid to theme and item placement, this level could have been a winner.
GHOST.ZIP -- 562k
26 aug 1997
author: Roger Staines. i must admit, this author is the master of the off-beat theme. if you had told me this type of level could be done, i wouldn't have believed you unless you told me Roger was going to do it. this level has been built in, as you might have guessed, a "Wild West" theme, complete with horse troughs and a gallows. it's been done remarkably well. structures have been built proportionately (for the most part) and believeably; you really do feel you're in a ghost town. monster placement and selection is a bit on the eclectic side, but somehow that only adds to this level's feel. flow and pacing have been done well, but it's in the detailing that this level really shines. from the blown-open bank vault door to the hanging "L" on the hotel sign to the gallows to the caboose (!) near the end, this level shines as a triumph of thematic design. there are eight secrets (numbered by the author, which i think is very cool -- "secret 2 of 8" reads the pop-up message) and i found all but #3 and #7. try it on "easy" skill, too, and wade your way through 101 grunts and enforcers with the double-barrel. well done, and a lot of fun.
|Tall PolyEd Level||
6 jan 1997
author: Matt Joiner. this level starts in a small room with very deep, dark water to swim through. the water alone is disorienting enough, but when added to the lack of effective lighting, it became very difficult to determine which way i should have gone (other than down, of course). some directional arrow images might have helped, as would have a brighter light source. the texture selection is a little inconsistent, and it was difficult to determine a theme for this level... if it indeed had one. some unrealistically difficult combat sequences (fighting a vore and a shambler while swimming is difficult in the extreme) makes this level a very hard one to master. some very interesting architecture, much of it vertical in the extreme, but the lack of theme and somewhat-disjointed gameplay detracted from the experience.
|The Gib Factory||
7 feb 1997
author: Ed Cope. this level comes as a .pak file and it's huge due to the extensive modifications contained within -- no less than four new monsters, two new weapons, and a bunch of new textures. all this new stuff makes this level the most "brand-new" Quake experience i've played to date. it's somewhat of a relief, then, to find the author has used this new material intelligently, blending them into the level rather than focusing on them or, worse, "featuring" them like some circus sideshow. they work so well, actually, that after you play the level, you find yourself wondering where they were in the registered game... well, at least i did. the architecture and lighting in this level are superb, and have a distinctly Doom-like feel; the "infested military base" theme is carried off to perfection. they are also notably realistic and structurally sound. the new textures work very well in this setting. i especially enjoyed the "bright metal" textures, as Quake doesn't have many of those. the layout is deceptively simple, but as there are numerous ways to get to any particular place (bet it's great for deathmatch), it can be a tad disorienting at first. the combat is surprisingly intense, considering there are only 37 monsters on Hard in the entire level... but the new monsters can be difficult to defeat, due to both their inherent design as well as their effective placement. secrets are fun to find, and aren't really marked as such; i found three out of the five. overall an excellent level, both for gameplay and effective use of new mods. i was very impressed with this release, and am eagerly looking forward to Scope's next.
17 mar 1997
author: Fred Hite, aka "Deviant". this level contains some pretty interesting architecture and lighting. the doors were kind of odd, though, and i wasn't able to complete this level because i never found the required gold key. until i do, i can't properly rate this level.
GODSJT.ZIP -- 894k
26 aug 1997
author: Jussi Tuononen. if this is god's house, boy, god must be pretty pissed off at you. put a speed metal song in the cd player for this one (i used track 1 from The Toadies), because that kind of music fits this level perfectly. this level is some sort of cathedral-like place (big hallways, vaulted ceilings, lots of pillars) and is the most brutal and (surprisingly) balanced level i've ever played. the architecture is wonderful, with plenty of large areas to give you running and fighting room. the author has placed a number of "detailing" structures in this level as well, which do tend to get in the way at times. the level runs acceptably smoothly through most areas; however, when you're doing some heavy fighting, the game does lurch at times. the pop-up messages appear from time to time, and they always seem sort of wryly sarcastic in tone. i can see where some might be offended by them, but then, if you're playing Quake, what do you really expect? you get most of the weapons and what seems like an obscene amount of ammo for them, but be warned: if you're stupid about picking up a 50-shell box when you only need 5 of 'em, you're gonna run out of ammo. trust me on this one. keep a careful eye on how much you get and how much you need and you'll never have to worry about taking on a shambler with the axe. you'll want to shoot straight, though, because there really isn't that much extra. if you're in the mood for a fast-playing challenge (and i emphasize the word challenge, believe me) in a gothic cathedral setting with lots of tension and combat, you must pick up this level. i enjoyed the hell out of this one; think i'll go play it again. (now where did i put that Megadeth cd...?)
|Gods of Rapture||
GOR1.ZIP -- 859k
25 sep 1997
author: Jim Hughes. this level has been done in the medieval style. the architecture is functional without being overly flashy or over-decorated. the author has used enough structural detail to make this level convincing, but it doesn't slow appreciably in any area or from any angle. in addition, the lighting has been done well, and the level is that much more immersive because of it; in addition, the darkness areas not only made sense but gave this level a definite mood. the doorway texture in the entry was odd, though, and some of the textural transitions were a bit unusual. flow is linear with a bit of random wandering, and pacing, while fun, gets a tad predictable about halfway through the level. plenty of varied architecture and play areas gives you the opportunity to jump, climb, and splash around. three secrets in this level, and they were marked clearly enough to where i found all three. a good, strong, fun level that exhibits attention to theme and detail. check it out.
GORDIAN.ZIP -- 776k
9 aug 1997
author: O. Marlowe. this level begins in a more "modern" industrial area, complete with loading dock and semi-trailer. the architecture in this level has been done adequately, if a bit plainly in most places, and there were only a few areas that exhibited significant slowdown. the monster placement could have been better -- there were many places where i was completely impervious to monster fire. some new textures were introduced in this level, and for the most part, i enjoyed them; the bathroom tiles in particular looked good. this level is another that has monsters in secrets, which i don't particularly care for as i often don't find all the secrets but i'd like to kill everything. very nice use of thin brushes for structuring. pop-up messages are good and informative, and i enjoyed the humorous ones (ride the gold key box back up and you'll see what i mean; i laughed out loud at that one). the endgame is tough but survivable. all in all, a good start; i'll be very interested in playing and reviewing this author's next work.
|Rust In Peace (beta)||
GRC4BETA.ZIP -- 893k
11 may 1997
author: Mike Ruete ("Gripp"). you start this level with the super shotgun (and two boxes of shells) in front of you and two fiends walking away from you. hmm. don't think i have to tell you what you've got to do. the architecture in this level is extremely well done, from the wall ornamentation (struts and lighting fixtures) in most areas to the overall detail and structures throughout -- the water area with the steps rising out of it (by the grunts and the green armor on the walkway) was one of the most realistic water areas i've yet seen. pacing and flow are superb; there are always more monsters around the corner, and you've nearly always got enough ammo to deal with them. (one exception to this, however; the first central water area -- with the enforcers, fish, and scrag, was a bit repetitive for my taste.) the author has used a number of specials, from spike shooters to teleport traps and wind tunnels. there are also a number of reworked textures in this one, and they've been done well enough to be nearly indistinguishable from the originals. playing speed is excellent in nearly all areas of this level as well. i still can't get over how wonderfully built some of the areas are, and i was especially impressed with the "freight elevator"... simply marvelous. secrets are of the "hidden" variety, and they reward the exploring player. (yes, i found them all.) aside from some brush seams, and a couple of playability issues (the trap-floor with the spawn beneath was a bit brutal), this level is one of the best beta levels i've ever seen, and certainly the most screenshot-worthy. great job, Gripp. can't wait for the finished version.
21 dec 1996
author: Andrew Smith. this level (actually, two, counting the introductory skill-setting level) comes as a .pak file, requiring installation into it's own directory. the level starts quietly enough, in a room that is reminiscent of E1M2. the architecture in thie level is solid, consistent, and believable throughout. nothing in this level is extraneous, and, more importantly, nothing feels like it's missing. the lighting perfectly sets the mood, and the lighting and architecture combined support that mood more thoroughly and completely than any other level i have ever seen. this level is the first add-on i have played where i have been totally immersed in the game experience. the monsters, weaponry, and item placement are perfect. the pacing of the monster placement is very similar to Romero's levels (which i feel have the best play value) -- a pitched battle and then quiet while you wander around waiting for the next assault, not quite sure when or where the next one's coming from. the author doesn't resort to cheap teleport tricks or traps to keep the tension high; in this level, he doesn't need to. the difficulty settings have been well-implemented. hard is HARD; i had 9 health and 15 shells at the end. the secrets are hidden but not overly so, even though i only found 2 of the 3... but i have a suspicion where the third one is. there is a good amount of stuff to jump on, and a good amount of water to swim through, too. i have not played a better level than this to date. period. i am eagerly anticipating this author's next work.