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9.26.2000: Squonkamatic - Q3 DM: "Conundrum" 
Snicker's "Conundrum" is hidden down under all of that shit somewhere.

Author: Aaron "Snicker" Benzick
Reviewed By: Squonkamatic

Game Mode Supported: DM
Overuse of Colored Lighting: Fog is too thick to tell.

Spelling Errors in Text File: None. 

Pain Level: Dunking a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, lighting in on fire and sticking it into your eye.

Download Here (282k)

Mmmm .... buttery.
AT A GLANCE: Most mapmakers I am familiar with start out a game level with some kind of "vision" that they realize via a map editor. The best mapmakers allow the intuitive action of making the map guide the evolution of the level, often modifying their vision as they go based upon what the editor is capable of versus what they had in mind. And the worst dogmatically follow a set pattern, rigidly constraining their expression to fit their preconceived expectations. It is easy to make a shitty Quake level.

DESCRIPTION: I do Quoteth:

"The idea of this map is a gameplay design I have been thinking about for a while. I created this map to get an idea of what Q3 editing is all about. The map isn't going to win any beauty awards but the gameplay is very exciting with 2-4 players. Play it online or even play it with some bots. The grappling hook has been included in this map but it obviously wasn't finished for the game. Anyway, the grappling hook makes a nice twist and adds some fun to the map."


No, sorry, even the hook can help this lemon. And as far as a "gameplay design" (whatever the hell that means), I have more fun negotiating my way thru my dentist's office.

THE MAP: Not content to take some time and experiment with what Quake 3 can do, snickerslapped together this abomination without any respect for the possibilities of the game's engine. The map is essentially a huge room with a claustrophobic layer of fog obscuring a small maze plunked down in the middle of it. On the sides high up on the walls there are catwalks with items placed haphazardly on them, and there is a shaft in the middle of the floor leading down to a foggy tunnel that leads to a jump pad that spits you out onto a Quad platform if you manage to spin just right while flying. Overall, the map reminds me of a DOOM level with a jump pad, but without the class and charm of DOOM's simplicity. It is one of the most pitiful excuses of a Quake map I have ever played. Someone ought to confiscate Snicker's Q3Radient before he unleashes more of this crap on us.

GAMEPLAY: As stated in the map description, Snicker has attempted to spice up the game play by including a couple of grapple hook entities to let players access his ingenious catwalks that are just platforms sticking out of the walls. I detest the grapple hook -- playing Quake 2 CTF would almost classify as "fun" if it were not for the inclusion of the fucking grapple hook, and many a good Quake player I have hosted on my server promptly degenerate into what I kindly refer to as "grapple monkey butt-bangers" whenever I end up in a CTF game with them. The inclusion of a grapple hook in a Quake 3 level can lead to only one thing: unscrupulous players camping out in some high out of the way nook and railing people who are stupid enough to play the game without such a faggy aid. Fortunately, Snicker has thoughtfully cloaked the lower confines of the map with a thick, gooey, buttery shroud of orange fog to seemingly discourage such actions.
This fucking bot was down here during the entire game.


FUN FACTOR: I hate "maze" levels. Hate hate HATE. I hated the mazes in DOOM. I hated the mazes in DOOM2. I don't remember too many mazes in Quake or Quake2, but I have seen a lot of stupid hackneyed Quake maps for all three games that rely on the maze configuration to try and conjure up the old "Ooops! There you are! POW!" angle of gaming that just isn't any fun in the first place. CONUNDRUM doesn't have much of a maze, but it is a foggy and poorly lit maze (the bulk of the lights supplied by prefab torches with very forlorn looking skeletons propped up against them) and that pisses me off even more. Another thing about mazes is that they inspire authors to put aside the possibilities of the 3d engine known on this planet as "Quake" and instead retreat to the safe confines of fake 3d engine game design and keep things on one even level. And no, the platforms stuck to the walls don't count. Neither does the stupid tunnel

Indeed, the addition of the tunnel (or "Bot Butthole Alley, as I like to call it) seems to be nothing more than an attempt to deny the fact that the author has essentially designed an inferior DOOM style level with annoying fog and a jump pad. One falls down through a square unadorned hole in the middle of the maze and falls straight down into a murky underlit passage whose texture I cannot dare to guess at ... one proceeds down the passage and steps onto a jump pad that hurls you up any number of times until you maneuver yourself to land on one of the catwalks stuck in the wall overlooking the maze. While that may sound like fun, what the apparatus does in botmatch mode is to furnish the bots something to camp in and indeed during my two "test games" the majority of the action considered solely of cleaning the bots out of the fucking tunnel. I'm not even sure what item was down there to make them decide that was THE place to be in this map because every time I went down there one of the damn things was waiting for me with the fucking Quad. I usually consider the inclusion of bot support in a Q3 map to be a benefit no matter how poorly it was made, but in this instance the result is truly annoying.

THE BOTTOM LINE: I usually keep some of the "Crankiest" of the maps I find around to purposefully annoy some of the people who join on my Quake server, but I think I am going to spare them with this one and urge you to avoid it.

- Squonkamatic for the People!!


Category: Rating:
Aesthetics: - 8
Gameplay: - 8
Item placement: - 5
Layout: - 10
Detail: - 8
TOTAL: - 39

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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