overall_rating 3.578947368421053 19

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I played Ele-v8 and Unwarranted Phlebotomy.

The former is neatly designed and visually quite striking. I think it’s interesting that you can squeeze this different kind of gameplay out of the Quake engine. Alas, my skill level falls far short of the acrobatics needed to complete this kind of level, so I had to abort.

Unwarranted Phlebotomy is pretty rough around the edges from a visual standpoint (lighting and texture work) and is a bit reminiscent of the kinds of maps put together in the early days. However, the game play is solid as a rock. There is a definite sense of escalation and by the end it had me frantically fighting for survival, which was quite cool.

Picking this up six weeks later …

I loved The Vale of Dreams (100b4_redfield) as a spectacularly and freakishly unusual Quake experience, even if the aesthetics of the landscape didn’t mesh particularly well with that of the usual Quake monsters. You have to admire the sheer craftsmanship that went into making this very surreal experience work – and it does work, in terms of gameplay. My biggest disappointment was that, right at the end, I would have loved the sheer inappropriateness of being able to blow [REDACTED] away!

I enjoyed With Apologies to Insomniac (100b4_spud) without ever being blown away. The map feels very over-lit, which detracts from the atmosphere, and I never figured out the right way to get the silver key out of the cage. (I noclipped.) Also, the first time I finished the level it was by accident, when I slope-jumped over the railings that surrounded the plinth just to see what would happen, little realising it was the end-level trigger. All that said, it was fun, and I enjoyed the sense that the geography was basically a Firefly-class ship transmuted into earth and stone.

(P.S. Now that I read Lunaran’s thoughts on this map in the results file, I realise that how I should have got the silver key. That is … unintuitive.)

Frostbitten (100b4_ionfrosrt) looks beautiful, but it’s one of those maps that instantly crashes Quake when I try to save. Which makes it unplayable.

The Di[g]stortion (100b4_digs) is a lovely piece of work, fantastically substantial and varied for a 100-brush map, and disquieting in that classic Digs way. My only real disappointment is that the second secret comes too late in the map to be of any real use. Great stuff, and well worthy to stand alone, outside the confines of the competition.

Immortal Reach (100b4_spipper) is just magnificent: an extrardinary achievement with 100 brushes, or indeed any number of brushes. It’s a long, complex odysses across a sort of oil-rig arrangement made up multiple platforms in a sea a slime, where you need to defeat multiple waves of enemies appearing from different directions each time so that it never gets repetitive. A ton of fun, if perhaps a little over-generously provisioned, and with a satisfying climax. I’d give this one five stars in isolation, without ever guessing it was done within such constraints.

I think that we finally have a 100b map better than CZG’s classic Biotoxin!

Dammit!, but Ioian Shorelines (100b4_ionio) is one of those instant-crash-on-save maps.

Me, I think they should take that feature out.

(I just downloaded and installed the very most recent QuakeSpasm, v 0.93.1, just to be sure I wasn’t running into a bug that’s been fixed. Nope: it does exactly the same thing.)

N-Tities was quite a fund base-themed romp. I like the architectural structure of the map with corridors wrapped around a couple of central hub chambers. My one wish would be for a bit more variety in the combat encounters. But otherwise good use of the brushes available.

The Tutorial was well made and made good use of a small amount of space. Kudos for the original content and creative design ideas. I had two things that put me off a bit.

Firstly, I was seconds away from quitting when I got stuck in the same place as MikeTaylor, but figured out how to proceed at the last moment (spoiler at the end of this comment). Secondly, the starfield room was a bit frustrating because it was hard to see where the enemies were and generally quite disorienting.

I played on skill 0 but the Combat encounters were quite hard.

SPOILER: to get past of the lab with the rocket/grenade firing robots you need to first initiate their firing sequence by walking up to the console and then destroy the console by shooting it.

The Engineering Department impressed me. Rarely did I have the sense that the design was seriously limited by the 100 brush limit. i thought the two-key security override was a nice change from the usual keys-open-doors mechanic. Combat was also quite well balanced and made interesting use of the architecture

Cerebral Edema is a bit rough and ready in the design department, but it seems much more time has been invested in designing the encounters, to good effect. Gauntlets of waves of enemies aren’t usually my thing, but this map was well-balanced and varied enough to be fun (I was playing on skill 0 and didn’t have the Shambler-Voreling experience MikeTaylor described).

My 100b4 quest comes to a dispiriting end, with the discovery that Deflan’Ka (100b4_ww) is yet another that crashes Quake when I save a game. This means that both of the top two maps, which I’d been looking forward to, are inaccessible to me.

I really wish I understood why.

@MikeTaylor: in quakeSpasm 0.93.1 (on Windows 10) I am able to save on 100b4_ww without triggering a crash. I know that doesn’t help you very much, but at least it seems like there isn’t a problem being caused by the map itself.

Locus Genus was an interesting one. I found the monolithic architecture quite striking and, along with the colour pallette, I was reminded of some sort of cross between Gattaca and 2001: A Space Odyssey. That was quite cool.

I found the combat a little less compelling, even if it was satisfactorilly challenging. The fighting consisted mostly of large areas filled with identical high-powered monsters. Four shamblers in one room on skill zero?

Overall, a good experience though.

Thanks, ubiquitous: it’s obviously some bizarre combination of the Mac builds of Quakespasm (and I do mean builds, plural, as this happens with multiple versions) with specific maps. I don’t know what those maps are doing differently from others that makes them break.

Between Dimensions is aptly named because it feels like two maps in one: a base-themed environment followed by some sort of arcane hell-like setting. From an aesthetic point of view, I thought the latter was more successful (and, indeed, was quite cool). The overall design of the base section felt a bit more crude, even if it was geometrically interesting to navigate.

Well-balanced combat throughout, and a particularly good final battle.

I experienced Beyond and Within more as a piece of conceptual art work than a Quake map. But that’s fine! I like the geometry and atmosphere of the level, with a real sense of a foreboding descent into darkness (and, more conceptually, madness).