Fantastic set of levels here that really show off the diversity of the community and how flexible alkaline 1.2 is in the hands of such an inventive group of mappers. There's something to love in every map. Here are some brief thoughts on each:
start - A memorable start map that does a great job in setting the scene while also showing off some new alkaline features like the rising and lowering water mechanic, that are used so well throughout these maps.
sj2_alexunder - Expertly constructed with some pretty nice fights along the way. I loved all the little details like how the temporary lights are wired up together, the plants forcing themselves through the gaps in the ancient masonry and the descent into the crypt with all the eerie florescent mushrooms. The big crate room was a lot of fun - tricky with the combination of mines and fiends and then the panic when the slme level slowly started to rise. My one complaint is how I wish the rocket launcher secret did some backspawning to block the exit. It's a really nice little progressive trap and too easy to back out of instinctively.
sj2_yoder - Sufficiently grimy and atmospheric with the thick red fog enveloping everything. Enjoyed the grenade heavy gameplay and use of knight to apply constant pressure and frustrate player movement when dealing with high tier monsters like the shambler and vore. The vore needed a slightly wider sight-line to prevent player rat-holing and unfortunately the two shamblers had some trouble pathfinding across the wooden bridge and were easily exploitable. Very fun to play aggressively and the perfect palate cleanser when contrasted with the longer maps in the set.
sj2_catchdasmile - Extremely impressive for a first map! Lovely aesthetics and lighting. The water level changes were great and the large arena encounter after collecting the jump boots was a lot of fun to navigate around, hoovering up resources while under fire. The gold key trap with the mutants was terrifying too.
I managed to grab the jump boots early and break the map to a degree using a ramp jump off the wall but that's not something most normal players will try.
sj2_chrisholden - Took me a few minutes to realise where I was but it was a great moment when the penny dropped. Only complaint is I wish the final boss rush at the end was more densely populated and chaotic! Give me a reason to run the map aggressively and more value out of that quad and pent!
sj2_grash - I liked the chunky oldschool aesthetic and smooth gameplay loop. Wasn't really sure why there were such high value powerups in secrets when I didn't really have much of a chance to use them. Cheeky spawn at the exit!
sj2_grue - Really pretty and as Alex said, the progression deeper and deeper into older parts of the sewer was skilfully done. Great use of slime as a hazard when paired with combat. The section with the mutants and very narrow safe walkways at either side of the tunnel was intense. The tidal wave of suicide drones was extremely cool too and fun to try and dodge the subsequent barrage of laser fire.
sj2_hcm - Nice. A long linear trek with lots of engaging combat, but relatively straightforward by Mazu standards with no particularly gruelling platforming segments to master. The turrets are evil and blended nicely into the ceiling. Lots of meaty combat encounters up until the very end that had me falling into a steady rhythm of careful, methodical combat.
sj2_jitspoe - A lovely looking adventure which kept me engaged until the end. All of the industrial structures with the chains and stuff silhouetted in the distance reminded me of dimensions of the machine. I really loved all the mechanical detailing like the working gears, lowering drawbridge and the lift having a counterweight - it gave the map a real physicality.
Unfortunately the final arena bugged out and locked itself before I could enter, softlocking the map. I think this is because I decided to cheese out armagon from a distance: I can see the intention with the final fight with the rocket launcher lure and subsequent cramped arena, but I had no desire to run in a straight line towards an enemy that can output a hundred damage in the blink of an eye. It would have been better if they were spawned in as an ambush once I had grabbed the rocket launcher - or was that what was supposed to happen?
sj2_naitelveni - This is a really, really beautiful looking map. Great horde encounters and plenty of ammo to burn through and the quad secret made the start even more satisfying to smash through as aggressively as possible.
Having to return for the respawning suit and slowly clear out the underwater area was a little obtuse as the suit position means dumb fellas like me won't notice the suit is on a respawn timer at all and pressures the player to suicidally overextend in the water, which is a bit frustrating. It would have been nice if there was some underwater combat to break up the swimming when returning to press more of the switches too.
sj2_pinchy - One of my favourite maps from pinchy to date. Lovely theming with some very open and dynamic spaces for combat. Natural platforming opportunities and a well executed push/pull dynamic when exploring. it was a joy to systematically dismantle in a free-form manner.
sj2_recycledoj - Maintenance work in a rubicon style sewer! I admittedly got a bit lost here looking for a way to lower the final pipe section because I'm too stupid to follow a chevron. Always a fan of when maps make you choose how to spend a key, but I wish the window was larger/the choice more prominent because I didn't realise there was a meaningful choice until it was too late and I had inadvertently chosen! Final fight was great with the enemies on the perimeter walkways spamming down while being pushed around by fiends and big lads on the ground level.
sj2_riktoi - The most unique looking map in terms of theming with the sinister orange glow to everything and biomechnical looking machine and doors. Wasn't a fan of the first area of the map because it felt a bit flat, maze-like and confusing. Shooting the machine felt somewhat inconsistent and the timing wasn't clear.
The second half of the map once you've destroyed the machine is a big step up in pacing. Getting ambushed by the lieutenants is something that never ceases to be tense. I liked the big shambler cave and wiping out the entire pack with the secret trifecta was immensely satisfying. The final push was deceptively dangerous, demanding a balanced approach between aggression with the quad and self-preservation against a hail of projectiles. I also really liked the secrets that I found in general and how they relied on rocket jumping and smart movement.
sj2_smuphix - Extremely vertical and such impressive architecture. The initial vista set the tone for the rest of the map. The extensive use of water level changes was the best in the entire set and really took advantage of all of the vertical space as well. There also were some nice combat ideas here - the ambush where the door in front of the player is very slowly opening while a couple of enforcers ambush from behind stuck out to me as being cute. One of the best maps in the set and a real surprise.
sj2_sze - Savage and brilliant. I have to concur with the others and say this was the best map in the set by a wide margin on a gameplay level. Strong enemy placement and nasty traps kept me on the back foot throughout and demanded some aggressive pushes forward - something which I wish more maps would do. I particularly liked the use of lone vores in the more chaotic ambushes, whose projectiles retain a truly lethal edge in alkaline, especially on nightmare with the enhanced tracking. The platforming is deadly in its own right and well integrated into a lot of the fights too. Too often maps seem to change gear between exploratory tricky platforming sections and combat and seeing the successful synthesis of and the two is one of my favourite things about Quake. The two major multi-phase arena fights were truly brutal and unique without feeling cheap in the vein of fairweather, mazu or smilecythe's best. Really beautifully constructed too. Loved it.
sj2_wind_f - Another satisfyingly old-school looking map. The monster placement and general combat was thought out and engaging: A particularly good use of enclosed spaces and mid tier monsters to attempt to smother the player.
sj2_zbidou72 - Gargantuan in scale and genuinely impressive how it all links together in the end. The little crumbs of environmental storytelling and semi-realistic spaces and props really worked out well. There were a few obtuse bits of progression - following the footprints to drop onto the monorail car to get into the bunker/basement area and unclogging the machine were a bit confusing. Combat was enjoyable with some hairy encounters along the way and the secrets were amusing and fun to hunt down. An outstanding adventure map in the mould of something from Ter Shibboleth.
sj2_zetabyt - Another one of my favourite maps of the set. The gameplay was absolutely lovely in this one - big hordes and very satisfying to play as aggressively as possible. The only segment that slows things down a tad is the climb to the top of the towers as the middle levels platforms feel quite sparsely defended. I really loved the fight at the end with the proximity launcher and potential to trap the monster spawns between waves. The best use I've seen of that alkaline weapon in a map to date.
Thank you to everybody involved in the making of this jam, it was really entertaining stuff!
Sewer is my favorite map environment so this is definitely my jam.
All maps are great and beautiful and fun, but I have to say that Recycledoj and Wind_f maps have got my attention. I'm not familiar with these names but I hope they continue to make maps, as it felt like I was playing an actual Rubicon and an actual id map, respectively.
Also the start map is gourgeous, shout out to bmFbr!
Congrats to all the mappers, this was a delight to play.
Incredibly hi quality jam. Most of maps are very-very good looking. Layouts are intricate & interconnected. Gameplay is inventive and challenging. What else to wish?
Best map of the pack in my subjective opinion is mr. Sze map. It's absolutely brilliant and must play. It looks cool. It plays incredibly cool. Secrets are cool. Nearly perfect map
Mazu and Zbidou maps are longest. Heavy with environmental storytelling. Felt not just like a map but like a whole episode. 1 hour + long maps
Smuphix is perhaps the best looking map of the pack. It's a little bit easy. Not so challenging. But worth to mention that it's same difficulty as vanilla, so all cool. Vanilla difficulty is standart in the end
CatchDaSmile is 1st time mapper and the map is incredibly good. Probably will become famous mapper (if wil continue to map)
All maps are really good. THANKS boyz & girlz & squarrels
Nice variety of different takes on sewer environments. Gameplay and inventive puzzles were the most interesting part of this jam. Gameplay awards go to CatchDaSmile, smuphix and sze.
Sze made a map here that I would consider almost perfect map if it weren't for small disconnection finding a key door in middle of it. The map is absolutely brilliant with its platforming and puzzles. Some really clever secrets there as well. Great challenge at the end too. Got some really nice Smilecythe map vibes from it, awesome stuff!
zbidou72's map was epic and with insane scale. Somewhat confusing to find progression at times, but really cool visually. Must have taken many hours to finish it in one month.