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Review of Acronychal
"This map can makes me shed tears of happiness....and sadness..."
Being Mutemodes premier map, I was a bit hesitant when I first got my hands on it. Im always cautious and weary about first-time maps, usually because theyre horrible collaborations of distorted brushes with terribly chosen textures slapped onto them. As this is mostly the case, Acronychal exceeded my expectations, and surprised me in some areas.
The visuals of this map vary in terms of quality. Some areas look as though the author spent a lot of time on them, meticulously building each area and then conscienciously applying the textures properly. Examples of these areas include the Human and Spider bases, and most of the indoor architecture. The rest of the level consists of bland, flat, unattractive outdoor terrain that is about as much fun to look at as eating a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal without the marshmellows. Some areas included some interesting brushwork, such as unique designs stretched across skylights, with calm blue ambient lights shooting down into the room below. Yes, we have yet 'another' night-themed map. Must be the popular theme nowadays. The lighting was pulled off exceptionally well though. No area was dark enough to force me into bitching, nor was there any area bright enough to force my eyes to hide behind the safety of my eyelids. The Spider base supported some great atmosphere as well, with the red/yellow industrial lighting to go with the lava columns flowing all over the place.
Unfortunately, the Spider base is also one of my major gripes about this level. While it is probably the most beautiful part of the level, it has one major flaw. Both of the exits from the base lead to the same damn room. Although an alternate exit is supplied, it leads to the same room the primary exit opens up into. Great logic! Just what we need, another fucking huge chokepoint to fill with grenades and clusterfuck eachother in. No, its not as bad as...say Gloom2.bsp and that fucking terrible chokepoint, but its along those lines, although a bit more open. I can understand, however, why Humans would want to set up and spam that chokepoint to oblivion. Because they have no chance in hell of penetrating the Spider base. One compotent Breeder and a couple of Guardians can keep that base defended for the entire game. Even if you do get in, youll probably end up falling into an exposed lava column, which is always a treat to watch. If you ever progress out of that damn chokepoint, the level opens up quite a bit. The outdoor terrain provides good hunting grounds for the Humans, but Spiders can also raise some hell provided there is adept forward breeding. About halfway through the level is a small facility. This is basically a hub, to which you can take any pathway around the level. Its great for getting around the level, and provides different attack options. You might even be able to coordinate a flanking maneuver with the hub, but we all know nobody uses that kind of teamwork in Gloom. The last stop on the layout journey is the Human base, which sports some decent defense parameters and numerous entrances. Usually a few Spiders can coordinate an attack on the Human base by way of the alternate pathways around the level from the central hub facility, but by the time this happens the Humans have usually set up camp at that fucking chokepoint, and tossing grenades somewhat how monkeys do with their own feces.
Of course, while grenades are-a-spammin'like crazy, an occasional mech can pop up and try to break the eternal struggle at the chokepoint of doom. That said, it would be wise for the Mech to have his teamates deactivate the "Anti-Mechanism" (thats my little name for it) before he even thinks of taking a step into the Spider base. Deactivating this little device requires that a Commando head down the alternate exit from the Spider base and into the small side-room which contains the controls for it. (So there IS a use for the alternate exit!) Deactivating the device will allow Mechs entry to the Spider base, and will also deactivate and remove those god-forsaken lava columns inside the base as well. While this is all and good, if youre a sadistic bastard like me, youre hoping that nobody bothers to deactivate the Anti-Mechanism, and that the clueless Mech strolls into the Spider base, instantly destroyed by the Anti-Mechanism, so you can have a hearty laugh and mock the poor son of a bitch for at least a few minutes. Its a grand site, and brings a smile to my face to see a hapless player fall victim to an evil gimmick, especially when they are an expensive 5 frag class such as the Mech. While on the topic of gimmicks, there is one other. It consists of a boulder and a button. Pressing the button destroys the boulder, which in turn opens up a new pathway for players to travel through. Similar to deserted, but basically useless since the button to remove the boulder is situated within reach of any idiot foolish enough to push it. And you damn well know that button is way too tempting for the newbies to leave alone.
The r_speeds surprised me here. The outdoor areas dished out decent r_speeds, and so did the (much more detailed) indoor areas. Games went by very smooth for the most part, with only a couple of rough spots. Of course, if you cram 30 players into one compact space (such as that fucking bastard of a chokepoint) where you can see each and every one of those players, you can expect some severe slowdown. At least, thats how it is for me. Its ALWAYS like that for me. Ok Ill stop bitching, sorry. :(
Acronychal has some great aspects to it, which are true to Gloom gameplay mechanics and adhere to them favorably. Im glad Mutemode took the time to work on this map and meld it into a handsome level with some great playablilty, but it also seems like he rushed through some areas of the level. I know its hard to keep a constant level of dedication while working on a map, especially when its a large map such as that Acronychal is, so I guess I have no reason to unleash some fury upon poor Mutemode. No gripes coming from me aside from that chokepoint. I doubt another revision is coming, so Ill just take the level for what its worth: a large, night-themed level with fabulous architecture and textures, but a few rough spots that could have used a bit more work. Overall, good work Mute.
Great in-depth review, although I don't remember the chokepoint being THAT bad - Carcinogen
Quite a good map but a tad too large. - Xenoid
Good map, nice review. *cough*reviewarenasaigpls*cough* - Cataclaw
one thing that does bug me about this is that if the humans build inside the... - R1CH [more]
coool map - TaaGi
Comment: Above average use of textures applied here, especially in the Spider base. Mutemode chose appropriate textures to detail the level instead of relying on brushwork, but that doesnt mean he held back on brushwork either.
Comment: The layout works, but has a few kinks to work out. Namely the exits from the Spider base, both of which lead to a dreadful chokepoint. Some rooms can be defended way too easily.
Comment: The "Anti-Mechanism" device is superb, and brightens my day when it claims a victim. The texture usage in the Spider base is very unique. Other than that, nothing else struck my fancy.
Comment: There are problems, god knows there always are, but this map still shines through as worthy of a Seal of Approval. Good job Mutemode.
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