overall_rating 4.45 21

had tons of fun playing this. all maps look really good. while the new mechanics seem confusing at first but once getting used to, it’s really fun and complement quake’s original gameplay.

I’ve just played the introductory map so far Ranger Dynamics (rm_dynamics). It begins with an excellent tutorial for the three new mechanics, and left me feeling pretty comfortable with them. The map itself is an E1M1-inflected base which makes good but fairly obvious use of all three new mechanics, so that it functions as effectively part 2 of the tutorial. Highly recommended.

Concrete Substratum (rm_substratum) is brutally hard. It opens in a section where, so far as I can make out, the only way to progress is by crawling up the walls through a laser-field, taking damage. And it progresses through several interesting puzzle-ish areas via multiple very difficult combats.

There were at least staged fights where I needed multiple reloads: of these, one I only managed by boosting my initial health with an MH, and the other two I found tactical approaches that made them possible. At times this was frustrating, but I look back on it now with some satisfaction.

All in all, good stuff.

Swamps of Heretics (rm_heretics) is radically different from the previous maps, with its medieval setting. It took a bit of getting used to, with the three new elements looking radically different in this setting, but it plays really well.

Beginning in an underground castle, it makes its way up to a large above-ground slime swamp, where your task (apart from surviving) is to climb up various pillars to reach ever higher goals – ultimately finding your way inside a fortress that towers over the swamp.

If I were to criticise, I would say that some of the climbing/jumping puzzles were a bit too picky, and that one timing puzzle in particular was extremely difficult for me because I play with a touchpad instead of a mouse. But this really is nit-picking. It’s a great map, with a real sense of atmosphere and progression.

BTW., I finished with all 200 kills (on Hard), and six of the 12 secrets — but I found at least two more secrets and elected not to pick them up, in case I needed them later. (A bugbear of mine: I prefer it when secrets register when you find the powerup, not when you actually pick it up.)

In Spootnik’s re-imagining of E1M8 (Ziggurat Vertigo), what is the trick right near the end, after you get through the gold-key door only to find a small, dark empty room?

To answer my own question: for some reason, entering the empty gold-key room makes a new teleporter appear just outside the room. That’s … strange. But, OK.

So: RE:1M8 (rm_re1m8) is an enjoyably different take on our old friend Ziggurat Vertigo (e1m8), the bonus level from Episode 1 in the original Quake. It’s twice the size of the original, and the combats are more testing. Whizzing around on light-grapplers is more fun than jumping in low gravity, and in fact the one place where this maps arguably loses its way is the short low-grav section. Well worth playing for the combination of nostalgia and novelty. (“noveltalgia”?)

Waterfront Citadel (rm_waterfront) may be my favourite of these maps so far. It’s a complex, twisty set of caverns and chambers that has some of the feeling of Sock’s classic Horde of Zendar, but which makes great use of the new mechanisms to bring in some very satisfying (if rather contrived) puzzles. Somehow I finished with 116 of 107 kills (I know, right?) and just two of the six secrets. Very enjoyable from start to end.

I don’t understand why Urn (rm_url) is called Urn, which to me means a biggish boiler used to heat water to make tea in catering contexts. But that’s as it may be. This is another good-to-very-good level, this time taking place is a dark base with a mixture of base enemies and monsters. Once or twice I wasn’t really clear where to go, but a bit of re-exploration yielded results each time.

Interesting to see a trope emerging in the construction of these maps: it’s common to have a place where you cross a medium-height trampoline, then later return to the same area from a higher position and use the same trampoline to bounce across to a new area at the new height. Nice.

I just love The Yawning Temple (rm_yawning). It’s basically our old friend Koohoo with the new mechanics integrated, and with more satisfing combats. (And, to be fair, without the climactic battle.) Other maps in this pack may be more technically accomplished, but I’ve not enjoyed any of the others more than this, for its sense of freedom and exploration, and for the dingy atmosphere.

However … An excursion to Carcosa (rm_carcosa) is the first misfire in this pack. It’s not that it lacks anything — quite the reverse. It’s absolutely packed, with enough new ideas for three or four maps at least, including new monsters (little fiendish pixie things), new travel mechanics (inverted gravity zones), new progression mechanics (fetch a thing to plug into where it’s missing), a new power-up (the mask of stoning), three standalone recreational areas and a Chthon fight … all of this in a map that is supposed to be part of our introduction to the three new RM mechanics (trampolines, climbables and grappling hooks). It’s all just too much, too confusing, and impossible to follow; for me, anyway.

I’ve tried. I’ve made my way through the difficult and exacting movement puzzles that open the map, through the tedious combats where you’re drowned in little fiendy things armed only with the single shotgun, explored all the places available to me, pressed all the buttons. That’s got me as far as 118 of 169 kills (and 6 of 12 secrets) but now I am stuck in three or four places at once. I can’t get through the door at the top of the spiral staircase above the silver-key door, I can’t open up the barred-off area just off that staircase, I can’t figure out what to do with the forge, I can’t make sense of the laser turret (which, oh yes, is another new invention).

So I am calling it (unless I get some explicit hints) and moving on to the next map. I regret that, because there are so many ideas in here, and generally there’s nothing I like more than ideas. But it all reads like a brain-dump rather than a game.

Sorry, Inky.

Beneath the Frozen Moon (rm_moon) is unfortunately anothing map that does not really live up to the standards of the rest of the pack. It has some nice moment, but as you make your way through partly-ikblue castle, the progression feels like an arbitrary obstacle course rather than an exploration of a real place, and too many parts of the course are very strict timing puzzles with insta-death punishment. I fought through them to see what happens thereafter, but without really enjoying those parts at all. In the end, this is not a bad map, but it’s not up to the standard of those that surround it.

And sadly, after this pack began with so many outstanding maps, Echoes Of Repercussion (em_echoes) is another dud, at least for me. Its opening was OK, but once you get past the first big door, everything becomes opaque. I’m not sure what the intended method is for getting the gold key — I figured out something that might work but I’m nowhere near dextrous enough to pull it off. But more than that, I have no idea what to do with it if I get it. I can’t jump to anywhere useful. There are shootable buttons, but they all do things that (A) are no use to me, and (B) last only a very short time. There are grenadable bunkers, but no grenade launcher to activate them with.

So with a heavy heart, this is another than I am abandoning uncompleted.

And finally (I think? Unless there’s a hidden map), we come to Peak Memory Usage (rm_peak). I enjoyed this, but in a relatively low-key way. It’s a fairly vanilla base map that makes only incidental use of the new mechanics. I enjoyed it more than either of the two maps that I was unable to complete, but it’s a low-key ending after some of the outstanding maps that I played towards the start of this pack.

All in all, Re:Mobilize is an excellent release that falls just short of other great extensions (Arcane Dimensions, Alkaline) because of the inclusion of a few substandard maps alongside the amazing ones. It’s still very easily worth the full five stars, and I very much hope that it will be used as the basis for plenty more maps.

Bottom line here is that the new mechanics genuinely add something to the game. It still feels like Quake, but at the same time like something more. More RM maps, please!