level reviews

 "c" reviews

All of the levels reviewed on this page can be found here.

Danger Room v0.000095 DANGER.ZIP -- 173k
15 jan 1998
author: Walter Sharrow. this level consists of two very-well lit rooms (the author indicates in the text file that VIS doesn't work, for whatever reason) -- in fact, it's fullbright at its finest. one room is the skill-setting room, and if the hardest skill level is selected, you are quickly dumped out of Quake2. the presence of plenty of weapons in this level, few monsters, and a symmetrical main room design leads me to believe that this is primarily a deathmatch level. texture alignment needs some serious work, however, as does texture variety, and the pop up messages weren't as informative as they needed to be.
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Dawgfight! -- SP98 DAWGFITE.ZIP -- 1,145k
6 may 1998
author: Bryan Pillow. this archive contains two levels, dawgfite.bsp and empire2.bsp, and they are linear in design; you won't need to go back to the first after leaving. at the beginning of both levels, the player is greeted with missing texture errors (one missing texture, that of a door), and it isn't too bad in the first level. in the second, however, the missing texture is very noticeable. good, informative F1s are present throughout both levels. the architecture throughout the first level is very well done; play areas are interesting, fun to play through, and widely varied in size. textures have been applied to both enhance the architecture as well as adhere to the theme, and no texture (besides the missing one) appears out of place or odd. some misalignments were noted, however. the flow is semi-linear, with some backtracking required, and the pacing is excellent -- combat situations aren't monster infestations but careful and intelligent monster placement makes them challenging. enough weapons and ammo are given for you to complete these levels, though some of the ammo placements seemed arbitrary. running speeds are very good through most of the first level, with the exception of the area in the screenshot; as nice as it looks, it was pretty chunky on my machine (probably due to the flowing liquid in the clear tubes). nitpicks: the gladiator always gets cooked by the security lasers, keyed doors and barriers are unmarked, and some areas that you have to backtrack through seemed empty. the second level of the set is mostly one big room (bottom screenshot), but what a room it is. you have to progress to the top level of four to hit the lever that opens the exit. pretty simple, no? the author hasn't used that many monsters in this level, but those that are here are very effective... since you have little cover to hide behind, and you're really overexposed through most of the level, you better make sure you know how to aim. :) the running speed in this level, at first, was pretty slow, making combat a bit difficult, but as you clear out the monsters, it does improve. the endgame is semi-predictable and i didn't care for the very end (dying from falling damage after successfully battling a horde of monsters isn't very fun), but all in all this is a good end to a well done archive. check it out.
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this level kicks ass

Doom1 E1M1 DE1M1_Q2.ZIP -- 1,286k
18 jun 1998
author: Borys Siewczynski. this archive contains a pak file with the textures, (mostly all) sounds, and music (!) from (you guessed it) Doom1 E1M1. unfortunately, the map name in the pak and the map name in the text file don't match, so you'll have to search through the pak to find out. (it's "doome1m1".) this map is a fairly accurate re-creation of the original, with colored lighting added. the textures are perfect and aligned well, the lighting is a bit different but not too badly done, and the monster placements are in the same spots and at roughly the same strengths. the inability of the Doom Guy to jump through the windows has been simulated with clip brushes, and for once i don't mind. truly a well done conversion... but a conversion nonetheless. (however, i'm seriously considering reinstalling Doom to play it through again; listening to Bobby Prince's Doom and Doom2 tracks is only making the craving worse...) oh, final note: if, after playing this, you can't figure out why i said "fairly accurate" instead of "completely accurate", drop me a line. :)
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Dead to the World DEADWRLD.ZIP -- 382k
3 feb 1998
author: Ben Caston. this level starts out with you in a small outdoor courtyard under immediate fire. there is an F1, but it is fairly terse, and there are no updates throughout the course of the level. one thing i took exception to is, at the very beginning, you are placed in extremely close proximity to one of those crew-served heavy guns with little room to dodge. the architecture in this level runs the gamut from stark to extremely detailed; the dark water area through the shootable wall was especially convincing. the author has made good use of the ambient sounds in this level. colored lighting has been used, and it does blend smoothly, but the usage of it seemed a bit gratuitous. the monster mix is consistent and somewhat challenging, and the author has given you a good balance of weapons and ammo to deal with them. the puzzle to exit the level was a bit non-intuitive, but just keep shooting at stuff that looks shootable and you'll find it. an interesting level, from an author that has potential, that's worth a look.
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Death Is Not Worth Trying DEATHIS.ZIP -- 452k
27 jan 1998
death is... author: YooShin Yang. this level starts out with a very nicely done F1. the architecture throughout this level runs toward the smaller end of the scale, with some areas approaching medium size (the endgame and the "power generator" room being two of the latter), and all areas in this level are nicely detailed and textured. some of the "non-essential" architecture (the shield/power generator and the beam assembly that shot out the window) was most excellently done, fitting in with the theme perfectly and being distinctive enough to not require further description; both areas are destinations in the F1, and it's easy to understand what these structures do when you see them. in fact, all of the architecture and texturing fit the theme perfectly. colored lighting has been done well, and adjacent areas blend smoothly into each other... with the notable exception being the red-lit elevator when it goes down to a yellowish-green corridor. as in this author's previous work, the monster placement is definitely on the crowded side, and they have been placed to their tactical advantage -- witness the pair of gunners behind the waist-high window. however, this time they're beatable on "hard". there is more than enough ammo to finish the level with, though it might be close at times, and the weapons and health have been placed intelligently and consistenly. three secrets in this level (all of which i found) will help you complete this level alive. the placement of the invulnerability was nicely done and subtle. the earthquake at the end seemed a bit long to me, the black crates didn't explode when shot, and the colored lighting transition was slightly abrupt. other than those nitpicks, this is a very strong level (albeit a rather small one) and is recommended.
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this level kicks ass

Deja-Boo and Deja-Boo II DEJA.ZIP -- 1,037k
15 apr 1998
author: "Dakila". this archive contains two levels, deja.bsp and deja2.bsp. it starts with a terse F1, no CD track, and a good, if somewhat questionable (flight trajectory physics) origin point. the architecture in this level runs toward the unornamented side of the scale, with somewhat large play areas balanced by odd texture choices and bare structures. the flow is linear and the pacing is decent, with monsters dropping occasionally illogical items and combat situations running toward the easier end of the scale. texture choices are, on the whole, odd -- there doesn't seem to be a solid theme running through this level, and the texture selection reflects this. some of the more bizarre choices were the blue lighting strips on the outdoor metal stairs and the black liquid in the first courtyard with the sun-bright under areas; you'd think a pool of what looks like oil would be pretty dark underneath, but that isn't the case here. some architectural quirks were noted as well, including the side-sliding doors with no wall grooves. some slowing was noted in the first level, but this was probably due to the overall size of the play areas rather than attributable to brush detail. one of the more striking "reality checks" came in the first level where it is possible to shoot out a window and walk into the sky. one notable use of rotating brushes in this level has to be the Turntable From Hell, and you get to fight the flying mini-boss while trying to get your bearings. pretty interesting, i have to admit. the second level of the two is in a low-g environment, and the origin point (continued from the first level) leads directly into the sky. texture choices in this level were even more bizarre than the last level, with the "banner flag" doors being the worst offender. a glass floor over lava and encounters with two mini-bosses and Makron ends this level. this author definitely understands the mechanics of level design; i'll be interested in seeing a release with a bit more attention to theme.
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Supply Station 2 DNSPQ1.ZIP -- 638k
16 Aug 1998
Author: Dan Naoumov. This level begins with a good origin point and a decent F1. The architecture in this level is very much on the large end of the scale, with structures having a very heavy or solid appearance. Supports, beams, and struts are logically and realistically placed to simulate "load-bearing" structures, and this adds immensely to the feel of the level. There really isn't a lot of fine detailing in this level (with small brushes and/or intricate structures) but what's here works well and gives an impression of architectural strength, heaviness, and absolute solidity -- you won't be bringing these beams down with an accidental rocket. The texturing has been done thematically well, though the combination of mostly metal (grey) textures with the mostly white lighting gives a sterile sort of feel. The flow is linear, with some backtracking (through empty areas, for the most part) necessary, and the pacing is good, if a bit on the light side. Nevertheless, the few monsters that have been placed are used well, if not too challengingly. Weapons and ammo are given somewhat sparingly, which adds a bit to the challenge, and monsters drop appropriate items when killed. The endgame is a bit abrupt, as it's unmarked, and the ascent to the next level doesn't actually go anywhere -- the elevator rises into a dead-end alcove. Nitpicks: the yellow security things at the beginning don't have a logical (physical) method of operation; some texture misalignment was noted; the boxes in the train have a blast radius that's a little on the large side; it's possible to get permanently stuck in two places; some rooms are bigger on the inside than on the outside; and blowing up the boxes on the train should have triggered a computer update, I think. A good, solid level, if a bit empty. (Note to the author: Including the map file in the archive is really not a good idea.)
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Doom2 Map01 - Entryway DOOM2_Q2.ZIP -- 1,142k
3 feb 1998
author: Peter Lomax. this level, as might be surmised from the title, is an accurate re-creation of Doom2's map01. it comes packaged as a .pak file; check the .txt file for installation instructions. the proportions and textures are just about perfect (the first hallway seemed a bit low to me, though), and seeing the Doom2 textures done GL-style is interesting, to say the least. the F1 is pretty basic, but that's to be expected. one thing that wasn't like the original was the fact that after the first shot, roughly 60% of the monsters in the level came charging down the hallway into the entry room, forcing the player to dispatch them all with the blaster. it's not that difficult, but it's a bit like chopping wood: tedious and unexciting, but necessary.also, i noted some monsters getting stuck in the walls (most notably on the door that leads to the back patio), as well as the lift getting stuck in the "up" position due to monster corpses wedged in the walls. nonetheless, this is an accurate depiction, and i bet it'd rock in deathmatch.
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The Strogg Downfall DOWNFALL.ZIP -- 935k
15 feb 1998
downfall author: Wiebo de Wit. this level starts out with a pretty terse F1, but it's enough information to get the point across. ambient sounds, along with the "communication" .wavs from Q2 have been used extremely well to give you the feel of being there. the CD track the author has chosen is a nice fit, mood-wise, with the level. the first outside area is a bit sluggish on my machine, though, but it's not unplayable. the immersiveness in this level is simply wonderful; every area fits logically and thematically, nothing's out of place, and the sights and sounds blend extremely well together. this is one of the most convincing base levels i've yet played. the flow is semi-linear and the pacing is good, if a bit on the heavy side -- monsters are placed to their advantage, and on hard, it's best to proceed with caution. the secret in this level is of a type that i've looked for in every level i've played thus far, and this is the first one that my hunch has paid off. very cool. the monster/weapon/ammo balance is about perfect, with weapons being given to you just when you need them... and there isn't a ton of ammo scattered around, so make sure your aim is good. the guardian on the bridge took almost exactly all the ammo i had remaining at that point, which made dispatching him a real nail-biter. the means of escape after getting the red key was a bit irritating, though; it's sort of non-intuitive, and i had a hard time dismounting without falling repeatedly. the endgame is exciting, as well -- there aren't a lot of big monsters, but the ones that are there are placed well. sporty ship, too; hope it has a vertical take-off capability. all in all, a very well made level, a good game, and recommended.

check out the author's home page for more of his work.

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this level kicks ass

Destructive Powers DPOWERS.ZIP -- 590k
15 apr 1998
author: Ian "[SnAzBaZ]" Packer. this level sports five major errors at the very beginning, along with a good F1. the architecture throughout this level is of medium size, but much of it is a bit odd; polygonal doors without matching textures, well-lit bridges that are pitch black, and a glass floor over slime that is "hot" are the ones that stand out. the flow is linear and the pacing is good, with weapons, monsters, and ammo in good balance and variety. monster placement is a bit haphazard, though, with easy areas immediately followed by "my god how am i going to survive this one?" areas. structures are good, but the texturing found in this level, especially on some of the doors, needs a bit of work. this level appears to be a mishmash of themes. the endgame is very very dark, with some monsters being placed into total darkness, making me wish for the rocket launcher so i could at least hit them. this is a level that shows the author understands the basics of level design; now all that's needed is a solid theme.
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Crystal Planet DYV1.ZIP -- 1,003k
18 jun 1998
author: Yuri Davidov. this archive contains two pretty small levels, named dyv1.bsp and dyv2.bsp. the first level starts off with a bevy of error messages. the origin is adequate and the F1 is fairly thin for plot and goal purposes. the architecture is adequate, with structures being fairly small and undetailed. good use of texturing alleviates this, however. the flow is good as is the pacing, though you do get a lot of heavy gear (power armor, quad, railgun, 30 slugs) a bit early. there were no secrets in this level, though one area was concealed enough to have qualified, in my opinion. the exit from this level is a bit abrupt, and it leads to a second level which appears to be identical in shape and form to the first. nitpicks: the black crates didn't explode, and you can get permanently stuck. a good exhibition of the basics.
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"e" reviews