MARTIM12.ZIP -- 462k
15 jan 1998
authors: The MarTim team: Tim van Hal, Marco van Schriek, and Roel Tiemessen. this level starts off in a very familiar way -- id-style, at the back of a 2-door tunnel. no F1 in this level, however. colored lighting has been used well; colors are appropriate, and blend well. this level is one of the more id-like in lighting, scale, texture usage, and structuring; it would be easy to believe that this level is one that, for whatever reason, didn't make it into the final cut. flow and pacing have been done well, but the monster count is a bit light, leaving the player to walk through largely-empty areas admiring the architecture. item placement has been applied with a deft touch; there is just about the right amount of everything, and the weapons you're provided match the combat situations well. this level's exit is unmarked. all in all, a good, solid level, but for whatever reason, it doesn't have a lot of "life" in it. with some work on theme, and maybe a bit heavier monster population, this would have been TLKA material.
|Missile Base 'A32'||
MARTIM13.ZIP -- 532k
15 feb 1998
authors: Tim van Hal, Marco van Schriek, and Roel Tiemessen, AKA "The MarTim Team". this level starts off quietly enough, with a terse F1 and no CD track. the flow of this level is linear and the pacing is good, but the monster count is very low, making combat infrequent and far too easy when it does occur. architecture has been done well, if a bit on the sparse side, and there's no lack of maneuvering room here. there are places in this level to become permanently stuck, though, and texture misalignments were noted. also, as for pacing, after getting the blue key, you backtrack through quite a bit of the level and no monsters appear to challenge your progress. there was one clever puzzle that i didn't figure out the first time through. all in all, another good level from the MarTim team; i'm just waiting for one that's a bit more heavily populated and thematically interesting.
MARTIM15.ZIP -- 612k
13 may 1998
authors: Tim van Hal, Marco van Schriek, and Roel Tiemessen (aka "The MarTim Team"). the introductory F1 to this level is terse and basic, but informative, and both the origin point and the CD track selected fit the level well. the architecture in this level runs mostly toward the basic end of the scale -- somewhat plain and unornamented -- but the texture application more than makes up for this, adding detail to what would otherwise be fairly bland. some interesting architectural touches, too, like the platform that uses lasers as a drive mechanism, and the pop-up turrets in the second room. (would have been really cool if those security turrets would have had a background noise, though...) some slowing was noted in places, however. lighting has been done adequately, with plenty of light available in most areas and not very many deeply-shadowed areas. most light has a visible source as well, though i didn't note too much colored lighting... either it was subtle or i'm color blind. could be both. the flow is linear and the pacing is good, if not great; some monster placements (i.e. the gunner up by the ceiling fan could never hit me with his grenades) left a bit to be desired. also, the level is very very tight on ammo, so shoot straight or die, soldier. i could have wished for the super shotgun instead of the chaingun. monsters drop appropriate items when killed (most, not all, of the time), and there's enough health lying around if you look closely. secrets are hidden well, and you'll be glad to have found them; i loved the grenade launcher secret. the endgame has been done well, with a logical leadup and conclusion. some nitpicks: the "marine killer" machine was wildly out of place for this theme; no messages on the machine gun cage bars and force fields; the noted slowing was very bad in spots; doors slid open had no side or bottom slots; and there was really no explanation why activating the pumps opened a door. a good, strong, enjoyable level from the MarTim team, and one i can finally give the TLKA to! nice work.
MBASE.ZIP -- 1,684k
20 jun 1998
author: unknown. this level begins with an adequate origin and a very basic F1; no primary goal is indicated. the architecture in this level is, on the whole, extremely large, with huge brushes and enormous areas giving a somewhat epic feel. the running speeds spike in a couple of places, but on the whole it runs pretty smoothly. the lack of detail brushes helped in this regard. the author has used textures fairly well to make up for the lack of brush detailing; however, some areas were somewhat plain. the lighting in this level was very erratic in appearance; some areas were extremely bright, while others used colored lighting with no visible source or reason. the flow is linear and the pacing is inconsistent; at times, you'll have far too much ammo and very heavy weapons for the situation, and at others you'll be sorely underpowered. the weapon progression is good, but the placement of the weapons seemed arbitrary. some texture alignments and mismatches were noted. the exit is unmarked and a bit abrupt, as it looks more like a transitory area than an ending one. all in all, this author has exhibited knowledge and competence with the basics of level design; let's hope his/her next level has a bit more depth and theme.
MEDIEIVAL.ZIP -- 413k
4 apr 1998
author: Costas Paraskevaides. this level is an odd mishmash of a medieval setting and somewhat modern technology (as witnessed by the front-loader at the very beginning). running speeds are slow throughout, with a serious speed hit in the first courtyard. the architecture is, on the whole, very large, most areas are very dark, flow is very linear, and pacing is erratic. many "realism" flaws were in evidence in this level; get up on the outer wall of the "castle" and you run directly into the sky. also (and perhaps not surprisingly), it is possible to get permanently stuck in this level. finally, this level was host to a couple of physical impossibilities, the least of which was the pivoting gun (a la the Jail in Quake2) barrel going through the wall as it rotated.
MEGSP1.ZIP -- 529k
15 feb 1998
author: Marc Gravett. this level begins with you in a small storage side corridor with no clear idea of how you got there. the F1 is terse and basic, and doesn't give much of a plot. the red forcefields have no contact message, though the job of opening them is mentioned in the F1. one thing i did like in this level and that is that the monsters cough up items when they're killed; unfortunately, these items don't often relate to the monster itself... for instance, a gunner coughs up an adrenaline when killed. this level has good flow and pacing, though the monster placement is a bit light, and the ammo is really tight. there are three secrets in this level and i found them all. the author has used quite a few rotating brushes in this level, and while many of them don't add anything to the theme, they've been done well -- i especially liked the gears on the rotating paddle things, because they not only meshed well, but they rotated in opposite directions like they should. also, some of the architecture was interestingly done; the elevated platform over the water that was open to the sky was particularly nice. the water pit with the "beaters" in it is death, though, because there is no escape from the damaging water. also, the brushes at the endgame were slightly off-kilter. all in all, an adequate level... this author has definitely demonstrated his technical skill. now all that's needed is a theme.
|The Memory Remains||
MEMORY.ZIP -- 71k
27 jan 1998
author: Dann Thombs. this level is basically a single room with a rotating platform.
|Mercy at Stroggos Deten3||
MERCY.ZIP -- 923k
15 mar 1998
author: Brad Kiefer. this level begins with you on a platform surrounded by armor shards, and the introductory F1 is both clear and concise. the architecture in this level is very clean and runs toward the larger end of the scale; there are a number of very large areas (one of which is in the screenshot to the left) and, with one exception (the aforementioned area) the level runs smoothly throughout. texture application and colored lighting work well together in this level, adding to the immersiveness of it. the flow is linear, with the flow pattern taking you back through a central room multiple times, and the pacing is good, running toward the heavier end of the scale... i think there are five or six tanks and tank commanders in this level. don't fear, though -- you're given more than enough ammo and weaponry to do the job. indeed, the secrets contain an almost obscene amount of hardware and ammo and powerups. also, the prisoners cough up items when shot, so that'll add to your total load-out. nice use of specials in various places, as well; in particular are the way the door lights up when you use the power cube, and the way the author drops ammo (with monsters) in areas you've explored and are coming back through. nitpicks: the assumption that i'd have to rocket jump to get the above-the-door items (i didn't), the fact that the door brush pushes that set of armor up when the door opens, the running speed in the huge water area, and the fact that i couldn't get to those fish in that tank to kill 'em. other than that, this is a large, fun level that offers lots of exploring and plenty of stuff to both pick up and kill.
note: the author didn't include an email address in the .txt file, so if anyone knows his address and reads this, could you let him know his level got a TLKA? thanks!
MIXSPQ1.ZIP -- 677k
15 mar 1998
author: Matt Fox [Mix]. this level begins with you outside a base complex carved out of the mountains, and has a "mode of entry" explanation that is as clever as it is appropriate. the introductory F1, like the rest of the F1s in this level, is concise, informative, and appropriate, as well as being easy to understand. in fact, this is the first user level i've played where i didn't have to wonder what or where the F1 referred to. the flow is linear and the pacing is just about perfect; you're nearly always on the verge of running out of ammo and health. the architecture has been done very well -- areas are proportional and logical, with each area fitting into the whole seamlessly. the feel of being in a place you're not supposed to be is very strong in this level, and you spend a lot of time sneaking around, which is a lot of fun. the structures, for the most part, have been done well, and in some areas they're a study in clean design -- the screenshot testifies to how much theme you can get out of a series of somewhat simple structures. the endgame is a bit abrupt -- i killed the last monster and exited the level before i was able to pick up all the stuff -- and there is an areaportal HOM on the lava machine exit door, but other than those two nitpicks, i thoroughly enjoyed this most excellent level.
check out the author's home page as well.
MOUTPOST.ZIP -- 1,128k
20 jun 1998
author: Charlie Birtwistle. this level begins without an origin point and an excellent F1. the architecture throughout this level is impressive in its size, detail, and texturing -- huge areas are found here, and they have been detailed most excellently. this excellence in detail comes at a price, however, and this price is running speed; many areas of this level run extremely choppily, with r_speeds approaching 2000 in a couple of spots... the average in the larger areas ran around 1400. the flow is semi-linear and the pacing is a bit on the outrageous size (three tanks and a tank commander and all i've got is a shotgun? it was like chopping wood), yet, for whatever reason, it's playable. the lighting has been done with an eye toward enhancing the play areas, and adjacent areas blend smoothly and convincingly. the monsters drop items when killed, but the items were often unrelated. this is a good, strong level that suffered mightily from running-speed issues; i'll be very interested to see this author's next work and am hoping that the running speed with be smoothed out.
MPQU1.ZIP -- 2,034k
4 apr 1998
author: Warren Marshall. this archive contains four levels, linked together both thematically and plot-wise into a cohesive, interesting, and complete unit. unlike the previous unit reviewed here, these four levels are all unique, and have been built around the plot that the author has used. all of the levels in this archive share some common features: colored lighting has been used, but somewhat sparingly, and most of the lighting in these levels is of the bright white variety; play areas are comfortably large in most areas, including connecting areas; the running speed is fast and smooth; structures are clear as to their form and function; areas aren't cluttered with useless ornamentation -- everything in here seems to have a purpose; and the plot is advanced logically through each section.
Prisoner Containment (level1.bsp) is where you start. as in many other levels prior to this one, you're breaking out of a cell... but no level up to now has had this particular method of escape. from there, you're immediately thrust into a pretty severe battle for the shotgun and some shells; i was so busy trying to survive that i didn't notice the shotgun the first time. the F1 is solid and appropriate, and introduces you to the level nicely. this level has a nice semi-linear flow, with side areas to explore and other areas that are inaccessible (at first). the side areas fit the theme of this level well, and they make sense in the overall context of this prison. the architecture throughout this level is spare without being boring, with the judicious and careful application of textures being used to breathe life into otherwise flat surfaces. the pacing is good as well, with monsters becoming progressively tougher as the level unfolds. their placement and groupings, as with all else in this level, makes sense. this level also features good item and weapon placement. finally, the transition to the third level (the second time you come through here) is logical and explainable, and has been done very well.
Information Central (level2.bsp) seems to be the storage and main computer level in this archive. the continuity from the previous level to this one (crawling through some kind of access tunnel) has been pulled off smoothly and reasonably. no CD track has been specified for this level, but the F1 is, again, concise and informative. the intro combat sequence (as you exit the pipe) is a bit easier than it had any right to be, but maybe that's because i'm a coward and i lobbed grenades out of the pipe until they were gone... and the squishy sounds of gibbing monsters stopped. ;) also, the presence of berserkers on the floor, while you were still up on a rafter, made them very easy to kill. there's an interesting secret in this level that was fun to have discovered. excellent implementation of lighting effects in this one; colored lighting has been used in greater abundance than in the previous level (and used well, too), and some of the lighting "specials", like (surprise!) when you blow up the computer, have been smoothly applied. one nitpick about this level: there was very little opposition on my way back to the pipe after i destroyed the computer. this level might be good for deathmatch as well, due to its cross-connectivity and fairly large high-traffic areas.
Down Under (level3.bsp) is the level you proceed to after you've gone back through the first level again. the transition from there to here is as smooth and logical as the others in this archive. when you first arrive, you'll be in for a pretty tough fight; it's not the monsters that are difficult (though they can be) but it's not knowing the architecture at first that makes it hard and fun. this level sports the best use of colored lighting, in my opinion, in the entire archive. there is a whole lot of ammo in this level, but that's okay because the monster toughness and difficulty rises sharply; you'll need it. some very good combat sequences in this level, though the amount of health made recovery simple. this semi-linear level is composed of mostly hallways, but since the architecture and texturing is distinctive, you probably won't get lost. the author has used a number of "split-level" areas (when you see them, you'll know what i mean) that disoriented me more than i would have thought... i guess i'm used to the clear-cut over-and-under of Quake2. this is another potentially excellent deathmatch level, with the same traffic patterns and spacing that the previous level has. the secrets were easy to find (for me, anyway), and one has quite a bit of stuff in it, which made the rest of the level a lot easier than it had a right to be. nonetheless, i enjoyed this level the most of the four.
Main Gate (level4.bsp) is the "showdown" level. it consists of one hallway and a big outside area (see the bottom screenshot). just kill everything and you win. :) the monster placement in this one makes that a bit difficult, but not impossible, and it was fun trying to figure out how to take the least amount of damage. at the very end of the game, the player gets to see the courtyard from a different angle (instead of just exiting the level) until s/he presses the "fire" button, just like classic Quake.
all in all, a total package that is a whole lot of fun to play, and one that comes highly recommended. even if you're on a 28.8, this one's worth the time to download. get it now.
MUTATED.ZIP -- 459k
15 mar 1998
author: YooShin Yang. this level has been strongly influenced by the early id Quake2 levels (the base ones), with enough newness and creativity to make for a unique experience. the F1s and pop-up messages are both appropriate and humorous (and yes, i laughed out loud at the super shotgun secret message; i'd be surprised if you didn't) and lend themselves well to the theme. as in YooShin's other levels, this one has a definite theme, and the immersiveness is complete; nothing is out of place or extraneous, and it all meshes together into a well-defined and playable whole. the architecture is nothing short of excellent, with play areas varying in size, and all areas having enough detail to get the point across without slowing the running speed. in a nice twist, all of the weapons and most of the ammo provided are obtained from killing monsters instead of having weapons just lying around; this makes sense, and is a refreshing change of pace i hope to see more often. indeed, the monsters drop weapons appropriate to what they use -- the shotgun guard drops the single barrel shotgun when you kill him. monsters have been placed to their strengths, but not obnoxiously so, which makes them challenging to beat... but beat them you most definitely can. only one nitpick: it's possible to get permanently stuck in this level. the endgame wasn't as hard as i would have expected it to be, but the combat through the rest of the level more than made up for this, and i had quite a lot of fun playing this one.