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"h" reviews

Myworld is Yourworld
IAM1.ZIP -- 772k
27 apr 1997

24 june 1997
author: Martin R. Goedtke. this level begins with you in a darkened courtyard, and two fiends have their backs to you. the author has created a plot to this level, and the architecture, lighting, and texture selection reflects this well. the flow is linear, and pacing is good; in addition, this level contains some of the most interesting architecture i've seen, as well as some specials that have been done extremely well... the cross/pentagram combo was great. unfortunately, due to the complexity of some areas (especially the tall stairways over the slime), this level exhibits some slowdown. the monster selection seemed a bit odd to me at times. there are some functions i've not seen before -- i really liked the "push bar" that shoved all the items from a tall shelf onto the floor. three runes are required to proceed to the endgame, and each is acquired after you have defeated some rather fierce monster combinations, giving the player a feeling of reward and accomplishment. the endgame itself is rather brutal -- fighting a group of monsters in near-total blackness is always a challenge -- but when considered with the rest of the level, it makes sense. very well done.

this level kicks ass

The Abandoned Silo ICBM.ZIP -- 645k
24 jun 1997
author: Timothy R. Jervis. this level has been done in the military-base style, and is very spacious. the architecture is generally good -- the proportions make sense and there are some very interesting structures. i really liked the first door with the unlocking clamps. monster placement is consistent with the theme, and pacing is good. all of the weapons are provided, though, and i believe it's a bit of overkill to take on dogs and grunts with the rocket launcher and lightning gun. the placement of items is a bit odd as well; in one case, i was able to pick up the yellow armor, super nailgun, plenty of ammo, and a megahealth in one small area. in fact, there are no less than five megahealths in this level, which is definitely too many. most of the buttons are shootable, but the author has used the regular "pressable" button texture, which is confusing at first. the gold and silver keys are used, but they're not required to exit, and they're the medieval keys instead of the expected keycards. on the whole, this level has been done well architecturally, and fairly well thematically, but the little things that didn't make sense kept adding up. the flow was definitely non-linear, and the lack of pop-up messages meant i wasn't able to figure out what some of the buttons and levers were supposed to do. (in particular, i still can't figure out what i was supposed to do in the water with the huge cylindrical structure and platform thing.) i bet this one would be really good for 16+ player deathmatch, though, due to it's size and the fact that the running speed was exceptional throughout.

Welcome to IKSPQ
Before Nightfall

IKSPQ1.ZIP -- 350k
27 apr 1997

22 jul 1997
author: Iikka Keränen. these are two separate files; both are not required to play either, but they work so well together you'll want to get both. the start level is a small, open castle-like structure; since it's a skill-setting level, there are no monsters, but this level should be fun in deathmatch due to the openness and connectivity. the main level -- IKSPQ1 -- is definitely a castle, albeit a small one. the goal from the outset is clear: get the gold key and return to the start position. this level has been extremely well done in the areas of architecture (realistic and convincing in dimensions and theme), flow, and pacing. monster placement is good and heavy, and you're given the weaponry to do the job, along with just enough ammo... i had zero ammo when i exited the level. perfect. the flow is linear, but you rarely feel like you're being herded. there are two secrets in this level, and both are clearly marked; in addition, they're both marked in exactly the same manner, so if you find either one, you'll know how to spot the other. messages have been done appropriately, and i especially liked the one you get when you find the button... you'll know what i mean. all in all, a fun gaming experience.

this level kicks ass

Temple of the Thousand-Faced Moon IKSPQ2.ZIP -- 416k
11 may 1997
author: Iikka Keränen. the architecture for this level has been done in a distinctively-arabesque style (the door frames and arches are strongly reminiscent of mosques i've seen in southern spain, for instance), and all the textures used have been created by the author. this level is one of the most immersive levels i've played due to this fact. gameplay is linear and the flow is smooth, though some areas ran a bit choppily (the area outside the gold key door in particular) due to the amount of detail. i found that the choppiness didn't bother me quite so much this time, because this level is simply beautiful. play areas run toward the small side, and the fighting is that much more intense because of it. monsters are plentiful (72 on Hard), and weapons have been placed wisely. more importantly, the ammunition has been doled out extremely carefully; as an example, the second time i played through this level (i died the first time), i finished the level with zero armor, 50 health, and the axe. and that's it. wonderfully balanced and crafted. lighting has also been done extremely well, both to make areas visible as well as to set the mood. brilliantly done, and a must-download.

this level kicks ass

Halls of the Shambler God IKSPQ3.ZIP -- 445k
23 jul 1997
author: Iikka Keränen. this level is a continuation of the style and theme we saw in Temple of the Thousand-Faced Moon, and has been done so well it blends seamlessly into the previous level. the architecture and texturing is simply astonishing (Iikka has used his own custom textures throughout) in it's design and execution; the structuring and proportions are convincing and detailed in many areas. unfortunately, this does mean that certain areas (particularly the entry hall) run slowly, especially during combat. the lighting has been done excellently, with most light coming from specific sources. the monster placement is very heavy, considering the size of the areas, and you're under near-constant assault throughout this level. in addition, the monster selection is on the heavy side -- fiends and death knights abound. scrags have been used to good effect as well; the high, vaulted ceilings allow for packs of them to attack, and they can be rather nasty when used this way. enough weapons and ammo have been provided for you to complete this level from a shotgun start, but it is very difficult. all in all, another outstanding level, and highly recommended.

this level kicks ass

Homecoming IKSPQ4.ZIP -- 522k
23 jul 1997
author: Iikka Keränen. this is the final level in the "blue texture" series, and what an ass-kicker it is. from the very start, you're under fire from the same type of monster mix as "Halls..." with one exception: there are many many more. i don't know if this level is survivable from a shotgun start; i tried, but wasn't able to do it on Hard. it is survivable if you carry over the weapons and ammo from the previous two levels, though <hint>. the architecture is similar to the previous levels, but it's a lot more spacious, and some strikingly-beautiful areas have been constructed -- the outdoor pool area near the end is gorgeous. runs fast, too, though there are some places where there is significant slowdown. what else can i say about this one that hasn't been said about the other two? get them all now, and settle in for some serious fun.

this level kicks ass

Initial Horror INITIAL.ZIP
19 dec 1996
author: David Jewsbury. a brutally cramped beginning and a lot of monsters in what really amounts to a fairly-confined space makes this one pretty much a non-stop battle. i got stuck once by the wind/push tunnel thing, because i had come into the room hugging the walls, and the 'open door' function didn't work properly. very good monster placement and groupings... some of the pairings / triplings seemed odd on the face of it, but they did work well together. not nearly enough health or ammo on Hard to survive this one, though. after trying to beat this level fourteen times, and dying each time by the wind tunnel room, i must admit i had to play it through in god mode in order to see the whole thing. this is not a good thing. very creative architecture and lighting, but on the whole, the spaces are either too dark, too cramped, too overpopulated, or all three. this level suffers from the 'fiend in the closet' syndrome... i don't mind a hard fight, but i do prefer to have a winnable one. one example: having a pair of ogres and maybe four enforcers shooting down on me from some rafters while i battle a fiend and another ogre on the floor in the dark in a room the size of e1m1's first entry hallway... BEFORE the first door. kids, don't try this one at home.

"j" reviews