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9.29.2000: Squonkamatic - Q3 DM: "Jumbo Jet"
"JumboJet"'s first class area complete with fishtanks that are cleverly missing their textures.

Author: Kevin Richard
Reviewed By: Squonkamatic

Game Mode Supported: DM
Overuse of Colored Lighting: Ohh yes.

Spelling Errors in Text File: None. 

Pain Level: Getting your toenails stuck in an escalator and having your bones ripped out of your body by the gears.

Download Here (1100k)


Nothing says "airplane" to me like diamond tile floor, picnic tables, plain hallways, and glowing neon pizza grease vomit lighting effects.

AT A GLANCE: One of the most interesting emails that has turned up as a result of my map reviews was from a uniquely informed reader who very rightly reminded me that just because a map may not fit my particular sense of taste does not mean that it is a bag of fresh, warm dog shit. Agreed: for example, my intolerance for Q2dm1/The Edge defies my ability to verbally describe it (other than referring to it as "FAGOT Land"), but it is without a doubt a milestone in game level design that has stood the test of time. Mr. Richard's "Jumbo Jet" also is in direct violation of my conception of a "cool" Quake level, but I contend that this map indeed does blow chunks, and I mean that in the most literal sense of the expression.

My pal FunCrusher pointed this level out to me one evening and even offered to host a test game on his DSL enabled server. Since my only other option was to try it against a Bot on my own I enthusiastically agreed, and it led to one of the most embarrassing moments in my career as a Quake fanatic. Now I'm not sure exactly why it happened or what was ailing me physically at the particular moment (because I had been feeling FINE up until then), but no less than five minutes after being subjected to the bile colored neon lighting choking certain sections of the map I quite literally had to step aside for a minute and allow my stomach to empty its contents into the nearest toilet. The map made me physically ill, something that actually has happened to me before and I'm sure will happen again, what with the some 3 dozen plus maps suggested by interested readers over the past ten days or so I have yet to see. Nonetheless, this is the first map I have ever reviewed that made me barf.

DESCRIPTION: The download page supplied by the evil Pod People manning the console at FilePlanet contained the following information:

A highspeed deathmatch at 30,000 feet up!! Fight aboard the jumbo jet from the plush upper lounge to the baggage hold deep in the bowels of the jet.

Now I don't know if I have ever actually seen the "bowels" of a jetliner, but something tells me that it looks a little different than a bunch of Quake 3 crates stacked up and down the length of a long rectangular room suffused with vomit olive green neon lighting. Maybe I'm just being picky.

THE MAP: As someone who has seen John Woo movies and DIE HARD and all that crap, I can agree that the concept of a deathmatch set in the tight confines of an airplane is indeed a sound idea for a Quake level. Sadly, young Kevin has clumsily executed the map with a complete disregard for physical reality and the concept of map flow. The layout is essentially a long box divided into smaller boxes and split into three layers, and there is no quick way from one end of the map to the other as you try and find the meager allotment of weapons he provided (shotgun, lightning gun and rocket launcher). The bottom layer has crates to help signify it as a "storage" area, the passenger compartments have brush conglomerates that are supposed to be regarded as seats, and the cockpit room has one of those flickering "screens" with the Quake 3 logo to help remind players what game they currently have running. In fact, there are LOTS of flickering screens in this level (Mr. Richard's "overdone cheap gimmick" perhaps), the most charming being the half screens wedged into the doorless bathrooms -- I myself love taking a shit in public while being able to see only half of Oprah's smug, self satisfied and well fed face out of the corner of my eye. But the author has not bothered to even attempt to model the environment to resemble an airplane to such an extent that I wonder if he has ever been on one before. It could be a super train or a huge atomic powered bus or even a tramp steamer -- we have to take his word that it's a plane because there is no way to get outside of the structure and view it as a whole. We are trapped inside of his diamond plated olive green lit world with no hope of escape. Shudder.
Debating who was in line first to use the toilet.

And that right there suggested to me what might have helped contribute to my vomiting fit: I am by nature claustrophobic as all Hell and this map made me long for the feeling of wind on my face in a wide, open space. It's not that the level is predominantly cramped or low celinged or whatever -- in fact this is about the roomiest airplane ever designed and would be well suited for an in-flight basketball court -- but I think is more related to the dull, half witted uniformity of the design. It is hard to distinguish one "compartment" from another creating confusion within the player as to just where they are, and the panic created by the need to find a weapon and not knowing where I was combined with the nausea induced by the vomit colored lighting may have triggered some kind of involuntary gag reflex. Add to that the annoying little "jammies" included to spice up the landscape (my favorite is the fishtank structures in the "plush first class" section that one can hop into and shoot through but are missing their textures so you can't see through them) don't amount to much and just end up becoming obstacles. The whole map is essentially a claustrophobic obstacle course diffused with vomit yellow and red lighting. And the fact that he put so much time into doing things like making toilets and stairs and flight control panels out of stone textured brushes when he could have been trying to devise a way to make the map more interesting is depressing. But maybe I expect too much.

GAMEPLAY: "Boxy" is the term I would use. I also think that the way that people were going to play the map was the furthest thing from the author's crack-addicted mind: he had an idea of what he wanted to see and executed it to the exclusion of all other concerns. I've rarely seen such an obstinately unimaginative formula to plotting out a map.

FUN FACTOR: None. I found the map to be boring and it made me puke. Most of the maps reviewed at this site have some kind of redeeming laugh inducing quality that justifies looking at it just once for fun, but not this lemon. I don't ever want to be subjected to it again.

THE BOTTOM LINE: I think this map will serve as a good fulcrum around which to revolve the question of just what makes a map "Cranky" in nature? It isn't Cranky just because we say so, but rather has to rise up to such a level of ineptness or inherent evil that an atmosphere of pathos and confusion is instilled within the sentient Quake player no matter how eager he or she is to play. I am confused as to why this map made me barf, and it was so pathetic that I don't even recommend laughing at it. Does that count?

- Squonkamatic for the People!!

Category: Rating:
Aesthetics: - 9
Gameplay: - 5
Item placement: - 5
Layout: - 6
Detail: - 8
TOTAL: - 33

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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