AT A GLANCE:
Eeeesch. Writing the review for "DEAD" the other day was one of the most depressing undertakings I've had since leaving grad school. Much to my eternal displeasure, this take on the Quake deathmatch map known as DM5 / "The Cistern" is in some ways an even more perverse display of one's enthusiastic devotion to an old favorite combined with their desire to translate it to a new medium... taking a tragic, gag-inducing turn for the worse.
I think that green
glow is bing created by some sort of interstellar
snot monster that has escaped from the Unreal
I like to fancy myself as somewhat of a minor authority on id map conversions; my primary interest is classic DOOM levels converted to the various Quake engine games (and vice-versa), but another area of interest is Quake 1 maps that have been rebuilt for the Quake 2 engine. I've made myself look at as many examples as can be found, from the superior renditionings of the Quake 1 "game" levels by Serberus to the charming reconstruction for Quake 3 of the second secret Wolfenstein map from DOOM 2 by Dajan. Out of all those levels, "DM5_2099" stands out as the one can of tuna with the biggest rat hairs in it, despite the author's presumably good intentions.
DESCRIPTION: Wintermute's map description reads:
"This is Our Favorite DM5 Converted to QuakeII I reconstructed this entire map from Scratch so there are some "Liberties (read Kludges)" that you'll find here and there.. I attempted to keep the map as true to form as possible to preserve the gameplay. (PS. There is no way out there :)"
I'm not sure who the "we" he refers to would be... it's either his pill-popping clan buddies (appropriately enough called "Clan Muppet") or the disembodied voices he hears in his head commanding him to get naked and go to the grocery store with a pick axe. And what language is "Kludges" culled from? Never mind... further down the text Jeremy admits:
"It can't find metal37_1 texture on load However, I couldn't find the problem in the map file OR in the actual BSP so.. I guess I'm gonna ignore it."
Yes - just like he ignored the issue of TASTE when selecting the texture and lighting designs for this game level and indulged himself in a spray paint fume inspired flight into madness. Either that or he unplugged his monitor and worked by blind intuition.
The real shame is that the map is for the most part architecturally accurate to the original DM5 (always one of my personal favorites, which is what drew me to this level in the first place), plays more or less the same, and contains some interesting Quake 2 "jammies" that would be intriguing additions to the old favorite if they weren't buried beneath a haze of hideous textures and screwed up patches of obnoxious neon colored lights. Just looking at the map produces fits within me that bounce between suicidal rage and unreasoning hilarity. The lower "cistern" area is textured like the inside of a car engine and glows with a sickening, neon pinkish red hue that makes the water seem like a sewerfull of Pepto-Bismol. The two teleports so vital to the original formula of the map have been embellished with hideous structures featuring a lemon yellow and cherry red splotched screen that looks like molded Jell-O. He has made it a "space" map in that through foggy glassed windows that are inserted into the roof here and there, asteroids wheel in the heavens (as well as a "secret" BFG platform that can't be reached without turning your clipping off and flying through the wall). The roof is resplendent with weird H.R. Giger-ish looking "mechanical bone" textures in places that bring the expression (sic) Jismnasium to mind for some reason... this map is truly a demonstration of how to get everything wrong with texturing to such a degree that it makes what otherwise might be a respectable, dignified little Quake conversion look like something awful.
A view of one
of the lemon/cherry Jell-O teleports and,
at lower right, the inaccessible BFG platform
out in space.
GAMEPLAY: Once again I had to test the map with Omicron Bots, and once again they picked an area of the map as their own (the submerged "cistern" area with its Hyperblaster and Invulnerability powerup playing the role of Bot Bait) and stayed there despite the fact that I made some nice routes for them to use. Human players will no doubt range a bit further throughout the map if given the chance, but barf-bucket runs will probably disrupt the game as people step aside to hurl from the nausea induced by the abominable texture and lighting design.
FUN FACTOR: Whatever - I like to play Quake 2 so if you put me in a plain box and make me face off against my opponents with nothing but a blaster I could still probably enjoy myself if in the right mood. The classic map layout is still there, so maybe swtiching to software mode or your monitor to black and white is an idea to keep in mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE: An interesting experiment in combining the best of Classic Quake with some of the worst of what's possible with Quake 2 design overkill. The result is a hideous genetic mutation gone amok and rampaging across the Internet like that guy in Lawnmower Man. If you let it loose on your hard drive, take care.
ratings go from 0 (bearable) to -10 (painfully terrible).
Total score goes from 0 (ok) to -50 (the worst piece of shit you'll ever play).