AT A GLANCE:
I like Quake levels with lots of water; don't ask me why, I just do. With that thought in mind I downloaded "Pools" from the vacuous banks at FilePlanet, which seemed like a logical enough thing to do since "Pools" implies a Quake map with lots of water. Here is what I found:
for a larger view
of absolutely nothing.
Big empty oddly lit rooms with POOLS in the middle of them and the stray weapon placed here and there. BIG rooms, mind you, linked by BIG hallways that are too poorly lit to really discern what textures the author chose ... I like textures. I like to SEE them, and be able to tell one from another to see how they are used. The author has chosen a different route, and he richly deserves our ridicule for his efforts.
DESCRIPTION: There is no information text included in the zipped map archive, which might actually be a blessing since something tells me that the author is a "Goth" and might have included a list of the God-Awful music he listened to when building the map or some of his poetry or other bullshit along that line.
THE MAP: The entire sequence of these huge "rooms" is arranged in a "circular" pattern, so you can more or less dash from one polar end of the map to the other then back repeatedly and not see any opponents if you are chasing each other and are like a room behind or ahead, a feature that will no doubt appeal to players who are just looking for a nice nonviolent game of Quake 3 in a series of huge rooms with POOLS in the middle of them. They can run around like retards for a while, then pick a pool, jump in, and peacefully drown without firing a shot in anger and just let the timelimit feature repeat the map [Colonel Grossman might like that]. You could play for a whole night and not kill anybody if you like, a novel idea in the realm of Quake level design if I have ever heard of one. In order to truly appreciate the yawning sanctuaries of boredom that this map exemplifies I had to load up like 8 bots, a process that takes valuable time away from the act of drowning in the POOLS which is why I downloaded the map in the first place. And even then all they did was pick out a room, camp on the weapon in it, and then disintegrated me when I stumbled into the disorienting darkness. Lotsa fun.
The map's author knows how to manipulate Q3Radient. With that said, he manipulates it about as well as can be expected for someone who apparently doesn't have a mouse connected to his computer. He is familiar with the basic concept of lining overly large brushes up against one another to form huge rooms and tanks of water in such a way that when you look at the walls and certain floor areas from an oblique angle halfway across the room the textures shimmer with dazzling bsp vision errors, a nice touch for those players on Ecstasy, I thought. The brushes in the 'big BFG pool/room of meaningless glowing blue horror' are also so poorly aligned that one expects to either break through the floor at any second or watch helplessly as all of the water drains out of the map and through your PCI slots to short out your power like that episode of the XFiles where Mulder's waterbed sprang a leak and then got blown up in a bank robbery over and over again because his ATM card got wet. Another interesting "feature" of the level is that the author has slyly chosen to NOT seal it properly and enclosed it all inside of a huge box of animated sky texture (which probably accounts for the enormous file size) and in spectator mode you can fly out one of the windows and dig such obscure treasures as the staircase on TOP of the "map" that goes nowhere and the fuzzy looking brushes that don't line up properly and wink out revealing the other players running around inside trying to find each other in the dark. I honestly had no idea that you could do things like that with a map editor for any game.
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Now the map is not without certain merits, however -- it is a great demonstration of what could be politely termed "the typical overuse of fucking colored lights to try and give a boring underplanned game level 'atmosphere'" in that a couple of rooms are "blue" rooms ( with blue pools), some are "green" rooms (with a green pools, though you can hardly tell there is any water in them until you fall over the edge and realize that you are floating in something) and there is the inevitable "f4g0t neon purple" room with the fruity Quake 3 plasma rifle -- I guess it's supposed to make the whole room glow with its effeminate nature, including the pool. On the whole, though, it doesn't add up to much at all.
GAMEPLAY: The player seems to have three choices: running around in the dark like a fool, drowning, or laughing at how hideous this map turned out. Take it or leave it.
FUN FACTOR: I like tripping on acid as much as the next guy, but running through this map is kind of like being stuck inside of a huge empty creepy multicolored Peter Gabriel video about your ex-girlfriend and not being able to find anyone to Come Talk to You. Being a sensitive man can be a painful thing.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Well, it's a big colorful overblown Quake3 level and it supports Bot use. You can play it. I'm not sure why anyone would want to make a map that WOULDN'T allow users to explore it on their own and not inflict the pain and suffering of someone's shitty map upon the poor schmucks who are unlucky enough to join your looser server when you are running a particular map. "Pools" provides bot support, which is a Godsend in this case since the expanded .pk3 file that encloses this mother of all Grottos of Death weighs in at a whopping (and totally unjustified) 4.2 megabytes of water and lava lamp lighting. The saving grace being that after you have glutted your hard drive with the sucker you can at least play it later on your own and make the most of it while everyone else is off sleeping, having sex or playing a round of Half-Life and laughing at you. I actually prefer running this map with the bots because at least they don't rib on me with lines like "Another fucking Cranky map?? Squonk you ASSWIPE you promised you wouldn't do this to us anymore" after they download 4.2 megabytes of pee-warmed green and blue colored water, upon realizing which they then abruptly quit the game and leave you all alone wondering why the hell you ever left Genesis in 1975 when they were totally cool and ended up sleeping with the likes of fucking Sinead O'Connor. It hurts.
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).