8 mar 1997
author: Gary Marshall (Zedek). starts with you on a dock next to the ship you just got off of. great pacing and flow throughout this level. lighting and architecture are superb, though the texture alignment could have used some further work. this level runs a bit slowly in areas; due to the size of these areas, though, it's small wonder. lots of opportunities to jump and climb on stuff (which i enjoy), and there's plenty of swimming, too. the presence of some of the non-military-base monsters early on is a bit strange; surprisingly, though, the rest of them (as you progress through the level) didn't bother me at all. (note: after reading the .txt file, the monster selection made much more sense, and fit into the theme of this level perfectly.) the endgame is a bit easier than it has any right to be, but that's because you're so loaded up by that point. it'd have probably been a bit more challenging if i hadn't had the lightning gun. the secrets (i found three of five) are of differing complexities to locate. i especially liked finding the rocket launcher. all in all, this is an extremely fun level, and one i enjoyed.
27 dec 1996
author: "ET". the architecture in this level is adequate, though a bit unadorned. the lighting is erratic -- most places are darker than they really need to be, while the brighter areas should be darker (case in point: the 'sewers' with the zombies). this level has a one-way no-escape trap which destroys any recommendation i might have had. i did go back, however, and play it completely through in case i missed something good. unfortunately, i cannot honestly say i would have. there is no exit from this level. finally, while i'm not adverse to profanity on the whole, i'm of the opinion that it has no place in a quake level... not even as a joke.
NCROSEUM.ZIP -- 378k
13 apr 1997
author: Noel Weer. this level is short, tight, and fast. it's pretty cramped in most areas, making for some hard fighting (because you really don't have anywhere to dodge). the theme is difficult to determine unless you read the .txt file... in which case it makes much more sense. the architecture and lighting are done well throughout. some entities have been placed too close together, however, causing them to float in the air, even after you started shooting at them, which was a little odd. one of the scrags at the end had his head stuck in a ceiling as well. minor nitpick -- the exit sign texture is backwards. some minor technical flaws, but a fun and interesting mini-level nonetheless.
NETWORLD.ZIP -- 624k
10 aug 1997
author: Dave Kelvin. this level has been done in the "metal" theme, and is very very strongly reminiscent of E1M6; in fact, this level could very easily replace E1M6 and you'd probably not notice the difference. the architecture is simply gorgeous; all the structures fit into the theme, playing areas are varied in size (though most run to the smaller end of the scale), and the author has used the three-dimensionality of Quake very well. the lighting is excellent as well; most of it is sourceless, but it blends magnificently. superb monster placement and selection; you're under fire from the very beginning, but after that first burst, it's a "hurry up and wait" sort of monster placement. very effective, as they seem to ambush you and leap on you from all directions. this is the most mileage i've ever seen anyone get out of just 38 monsters on Hard; you'll swear there were more. there are very clever puzzles and traps, and of the five secrets, i found only three. enough superlatives -- this is a must-have and must-play level. incredible work. i'll be eagerly awaiting this author's next level.
NITEMARE.ZIP -- 600k
26 aug 1997
author: Jeff Farris. this level has been done in the base theme, and has been textured with many of the darker, grittier base textures. in addition, the lighting through a good portion of this level tends toward the darker side. the architecture is good, if a bit cluttered in places, and the play areas vary widely in size from cramped to very spacious. the flow is non-linear; the way the level was laid out, it was fairly difficult for me to get my bearings, and i ended up doing a lot of unnecessary backtracking. pacing is erratic, though -- monsters are grouped together in unusual ways, and i found myself getting weapons long after i first needed them. in addition, there could have been quite a bit more ammo at the start. an interesting first effort; this author has clearly mastered the basics of level design, and i'll be looking forward to the next one.
22 feb 1997
author: Steven Norrie. ten "walkmonster in wall" errors at the outset. this is definitely this author's first level; i've seen far too many Doom and Doom 2 "first levels" that looked and felt exactly like this one -- too bright, far too evenly lit, very square/angular areas, haphazard monster placement, and horribly aligned textures. i don't want to discourage potential authors, because first efforts are probably not going to be award-winners, after all... but this one probably should have stayed on the author's hard drive.