Overall solid jam with one bonafide top-tier map in Strideh's Towers of Torment. Sure, it's straightforward to navigate and fight through, but the unique change of pace and incredible aesthetics more than make up for that, IMO. En tsoy's map is another highlight, with its grim, disorienting (and End of Evangelion-esque) vision of post-apocalyptic dread. I found some of the navigation slightly... painful, but en tsoy certainly deserves praise for their brilliant command of mood and atmosphere.
ZetaByt's map made great use of crumbling walls and "traditional" grim aesthetics, combined with decently challenging, if simplistic, fights. Nickster and alexUnder's maps were both fun and weirdly cute, albeit in very different ways. I loved the final tower ascent in alexUnder's map.
I didn't enjoy Chuma's map all that much. It's not bad, but I found it kind of... dull? I didn't mind the rough visuals, but the overabundance of resources and room to run around made even that big final fight a walk in the park. I also thought CommonCold's map, while solid, felt a bit "standard" compared to the best maps here.
So, not perfect, then. But still well worth checking out. Good fun.
Played through it on skill 1, using Ironwail. I have never beaten Arcane Dimensions, so I guess much of the custom content comes from there (I recognized the robots from Rubicon2, though).
Pretty cool jam made of 7 maps that follow the theme of Despair and Decay. Some authors opt for a more atmospheric ambiance while others understand it as places where men is not meant to be, or urban decay. Due to the different styles I will provide a little summary of the different maps in the order I played through them.
Crucible of Worlds: Mixed feelings about this one. It is gorgeous to look at and incredible atmospheric with the use of redfog and basic geometric forms (which end up actually being textured once you are close enough), but the navigation is a pain. I got lost several minutes trying to find where I was supposed to be heading, the short visual distance made it very hard to figure out the correct path.
Salrath`s Tomb: Interesting map set in a decayed tomb and its surroundings. It goes for a very blocky design that reminds of a PSX, or 90s game. The player explores a couple of hubs to recover the keys for the final confrontation. The early sections consists of ambushes and huge amount of rockets while the ending sections throws hordes of enemies on an open courtyard fight. Surprisingly, this is not hard as plenty of ammo, space and resources are provided to take care of the fight. Very fun map, kinds of reminds me of Serious Sam
Towers of Torment: Crazy level set in a flying castle being taken over by some tumorous flesh and monsters. I never received any weapon besides the axe (not sure if any is available on the secrets, but I doubt it). Nice exploration, platform level. Really a change of pace compared to the previous one and most Quake maps I have ever played.
Castrum In Inani: Gorgeous map set in a castle taken over from inter-dimensional beings. It is a mostly linear level with an increasing amount of enemies. Difficulty wise is not that bad, but the last fights goes out for way too long.
Cannibal Abandoned Meat Packers: Short map set in a meat processing plant. Fast and furious with a weird boss fight at the end against one of those Rubicon2 robots. Not bad, but feels a little overshadowed by some of the more ambitious maps.
Fish God Grotto Outpost: Short map set in a swamp tower. The level is mostly linear, but with a huge amount of secrets as the ranger climbs up a tower taken over my necromancers. Lovely details, and I had a good time exploring the secrets, but the map gets over really quick.
Mall Prison: Another short map set in a semi-modern structure full of zombies and humanoid creatures. Nice use of vertical space, and some tense moments against Shamblers. Was expecting a secret for destroying all the garbage around but could not find any effect on it. Looks like something out of Half-Life 1.
All in all, this map set is worth playing. It combines gorgeous levels with very good modern game play and a good balance of shortish – longish levels that goes from very linear to very exploratory in nature; plus some experimental ones.
Note: I tried playing through this jam on skill 1, which was okay for some maps (Cannibal's Abandoned Meat Packer , Castrum in Inani, Towers of Torment), but I needed to go down to skill 0 for some of the others, especially where they had difficult final fights.
Strideh, En Tsoy and alexUnder had the most striking design choices, for me - I think I actually preferred alexUnder's blue-green theme (and unlike others, there was a point where I got stuck in Strideh's map because I couldn't see progression because I am not confident with jumps, but that's on me) - however, Strideh's map is also the only one I feel I could have probably completed on skill 2, combat-wise!
I also liked the dynamism of Zetabyt's map - lots of triggered crumbling really worked well, but I agree with others that the combat does do one too many waves sometimes.
Chuma's map deserves credit for ambition, but the final fight was definitely a dnf at skill 1...
Nickster's map I enjoyed the theme of, but I had terrible trouble seeing anything shooting at me through the fencing!
I am somewhat late, but wow, what a wonderful jam! I think there are no weak maps here, and some are definite bangers. I've recorded my blind skill 2 playthroughs.
Strideh, absolutely beautiful map with otherworldly lovecraftian feel. I enjoyed the restrained gameplay, but even considering having only melee I think you could be harder on the player, at least on skill 2+.
CommonCold, great combo of grim and eldritch outside and high tech base inside. Cool bossfight, but I didn't really get the previous encounter, where Floyd was just walking around the room.
alexUnder, a very well crafted map with a lot of verticality and exploration opportunities. I liked strong colors, secret placement and ascending the towers.
Chuma, sorry I ran out of space recording your map and missed a part of the last fight Despite looking crude, the map is surprisingly high octane, I enjoyed mowing down the hordes. However, a lot of the times arenas are too open, which make dodging very easy. I didn't get the thing about lifting the curse. I destroyed some crosses, but was it enough? What did it do?
Nickster, very fresh art direction, wow! Both the trashy theme and a choice to make the map very bright work really well here. I liked how the trash bag explodes, very satisfying animation. It seems that I missed the super-secret after destroying everything.
Entsoy, absolutely phenomenal. Best map of the jam and one of my favorite maps of all time. Open nature, oppressive atmosphere, striking shapes and colors, horror elements, nasty ambushes, exploration, secrets, environmental storytelling, everything here works for me. Thank you, you are amazing.
Zetabyt, very nice map, very detailed brushwork with cool theme (castle crumbling into the void). A couple of meaty arenas, with the last one being somewhat weaker (symmetrical, big, prone to sniping and line of sight abuse). Nice secrets.
I had a great time with all of the maps. Thank you!
Great jam you all. I had a blast and done the playthrough across 2 days. I usually lost interest after having skimmed through the more intriguing maps seen in the screenshots.
The highlights are Strideh for the outerwordly visuals. An absolute gorgeous of a map. Love the looming feeling and beautiful color scheme. Gameplay is carefully done with scarce and well chosen weaponry and appropriate monsters and ambushes. Loved the wormholes. AlexUnder scaffolding and colors was so moldy cool and intriguing. Spiraling up to the last tower was a great experience, keeping the whole map interesting all along. En Tsoy map was also a nice surprise, although confusing layout at times, but matching the style anyway. I just loved this idea of the red haze and hazardous environment. Great oppressive style.
Overall a great pack. I'm just not a fan of hordes and vast horizontal backtracking. Hence other entries of the pack I found less compelling, with nice design and ideas nevertheless.
Thank you all for this jam pack. It just shows how incredibly inspiring the old Quake still remains after all these years.
I originally wrote up a little blurb about each map, but don't want to write too large a message, so here's the highlights:
Crucible of Worlds, by En Tsoy - "The Red One"
The striking aesthetic of this map makes for a very unique feeling map that has you fighting vague silhouettes among monolithic ruins looming out of the dim. Really neat map.
Castrum In Inani, by ZetaByt
This is a gorgeous map, lush with detailing. I found the combat kept you in one room for a couple waves too long, but I'm sure this will be to many people's taste.
Mall Prison Dump Hybrid, by Nickster
Striking architecture, excellent texture selections, and lighting that really elevates the environment into something special. Combat craziness is on the light side (which I prefer) and you move through this map pretty quickly. I woudl love to see more!
Towers of Torment, by Strideh
The first thing I did was take screenshots and sent them to my friends that know nothing about Quake. The map is gorgeous and evocative of a much larger world. This map has concept art somewhere, and probably lore. I want to know more.
In terms of gameplay, it also doesn't disappoint. It's very nearly a pure platforming and exploration level, and it has the art direction to carry it. Enemy and weapon selection are both intentionally very limited, used to keep you on your feet across tricky jumps and carefully surveying your surroundings. It also opens with an excellent piece of game design by explaining the map's core mechanic in a visually obvious and safe way. Perfect. I love it.
My highlights were still pretty long. Each map in this pack is something special. I also want to give a shout out to the vibrant blue-green color palette of Fish-God Grotto Outpost (which was a trip immediately after playing Crucible of Worlds), the excellent theming and texture work of Cannibal's Abandoned Meat Packer, and the scope and sense of scale of Salrath's Tomb.
This was a hoot and a half, lots of great maps. My favorite was alexunder's, was fun to explore and jump around, was secret-dense, and had a really interesting visual theme. It was easy to see the care that went into it. Also special mention to commoncold's adorable floyd.
Stridehs map stands out. This one is simply jaw dropping. Gameplay is unusual, quite minimalistic. But in my opinion it fits the mood, and doesn't distract from the danger of falling off bridges.
nicksters maps is also the highligh of the pack. This one is also very-very nice looking. And also experimental gameplay wise. It's drastically more arcade than usual Quake maps. It's very fun and fills with smiles & happiness. I think with some 8-bit music track it could work even better
And the third one map I want to mention in my TOP 3 is ZetaByts one. This is one is quite classical AD experience. Quite long and twisting. Encounters are kinda simple, but I get that in 2 weeks it's impossible to come up with elaborate setups. Anyway I had a blast playing it. It's very brutal, even harder even than usual AD maps - but still not Smej of course