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11.7.2000: Squonkamatic - Q2 SP: "Gloom1"
Its always nice to see a map fit its name, but I mean REALLY.
Author: Glyn Wadbrook
Reviewed By: Squonkamatic

Game Mode Supported: SP
Overuse of Colored Lighting: Aye, sir.
Spelling Errors in Text File: No. 

Pain Level: Inhaling boiling Drano though a soda straw.

Download Here (1000k)

Yonder awaits the jack-o'-lantern brush conglomerates and the graduating class of Crackwhore High from 1999.

AT A GLANCE: This summer I had to endure an entire month of no Internet access while moving between apartments in NYC. To prepare myself for this drought of online gaming, I downloaded as many Quake 2 single player maps as I possibly could during the last two weeks and thus had more than enough game maps to help me completely disgust my new roommates as I played Quake 2 to the exclusion of almost all activities for about three weeks.

I'm not sure why I downloaded "Gloom1"; perhaps the name made me think of DOOM. Upon initially opening up the map archive, one is presented with three .bsp files that comprise the epic nature of the map - it is a Quake2 Unit, so to speak. Sadly, the map's author apparently decided to experiment with the concept of designing game levels with his eyelids superglued shut, as each of the three levels is hamfistedly executed, nearly unplayable, inspires the use of cheat codes, and the result of playing through all the maps inspires a sensation of disorientation and nausea that I have not felt since reviewing "NukWasteFac" for Quake 3 back in October.

DESCRIPTION: Mr. Wabrook's info text describes his work thusly:

You have been assigned to investigate the Strogg's dungeons. get the keys to the transporter room and get out alive.

If this is what the dungeons of Stroggos are like, I'll elect to wait in my cell quietly until they come and process my internal organs or whatever the fuck they are supposed to do with their human captives. Such a death would be far less painful.

THE MAP: You start off in a narrow little shaft with pulsating light and are more or less forced to fight your way past three baddies with only your blaster. Eventually you fall though what appears to be a laundry chute into a large dark room populated by these odd conglomeration of brushes that are lit to resemble what I can only describe as "failed jack-o'-lanterns." A couple of stray items have been dropped here and there seemingly when the author sneezed and involuntarily clicked his mouse button. And yes, in the true keeping of Game Level Design Idiocy Theory (that the author apparently teaches at ReachAround University in West Bumfuck, GA), the entire 1999 graduating class from Crackwhore High is waiting to shoot enough rockets at you to protect the mainland US from missile attack until you manage to scramble down one of the holes underneath the jack-o'-lanterns that leads to...
Here we see the tricky, insightful maneuvering of the map editor to produce a world that is entirely slanted at an angle of -9 degrees to the vertical.

The next levels! And yes, they are as gloriously inept as the initial map! My favorite is the one that has apparently been modeled after those old Batman episodes where the world is tilted/slanted to enhance the despicable nature of Ceasar Romero's Joker or whomever. Either through accident or design, the author has twisted the frame of his map so that the entire level slants at what I calculated to be an angle of about -9 degrees to the vertical axis. How he did this deliberately and intentionally defies my comprehension, although I can see how it would happen if he selected the outside shell of the map and tried to slant it and by accident selected all of the map's horizontal vertices. The point being that there are no right angles in the entire map, and given the tiny little halfassed "hallways", incompetent brush alignment, and mind-numbingly offensive choice of texture graphics, it only takes about 6 - 8 seconds of exposure to result in sea sickness.

This is also one of the most horrendously lit maps I can remember. No thought to designing lighting effects was given; the author merely plugged them into the map editor here and there to seemingly show off how lousy he was at aligning brushes (or his complete absence of taste when selecting textures to adorn his crooked brushes). To top all of this off, I could not how to figure out how to exit the two additional maps and get back to the first to "finish" the unit (assuming that would be the point). I tried three times and the result was the same: one runs out of things to kill and then you sort of wander around until the power to your computer is unexpectedly interrupted. What fun!

GAMEPLAY: Ridiculous. Without cheat codes the maps are unplayable and the ineptness of the execution overwhelms whatever charm of the Quake 2 game is left.

FUN FACTOR: I had more fun cleaning the Halloween party vomit crusts off of my toilet last weekend.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Forget it - this one is a turkey. Not even ratable on the "so bad its hilarious" scale. A genuine waste of binary space that should be eradicated before it spreads any further.

- Squonkamatic for the People!!

Category: Rating:
Aesthetics: - 8
Gameplay: - 7
Item placement: - 5
Layout: - 8
Detail: - 8
TOTAL: - 36

Individual 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).

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