REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
Easter long weekend, 9th-12th April 1993: Eleven years ago, I couldn't get it over fast enough. My dad's long weekend off work and rampant dislike of my use of computers meant ninety-six hours of acute dullness
Easter long weekend, 9th-12th April 2004: Now, it seems unable to get itself over fast enough and send me back to work
At least I haven't fucking broken any milk bottles this time
If you are wondering what the new office in University House (aka the old National Grid building) is like inside, and you have been in the SRC on the second floor of the library, wonder no more. They are scarily similar. Okay there are fewer desks, which are bigger and have computers on them. But the overall effect is that I'm sitting there thinking I should stop staring into space and finish my maths assignment.
Outside in the hall the effect is rather more like a shopping centre such as West Orchards or Cannon Park. This is especially the case with the view from what will become the canteen or Starbucks or whatever on the ground floor, in which on Thursday there was a small reception involving free cakes and the most horrible cup of tea I've ever had.
I have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to be doing
I finished garrulo yesterday so I can follow up on the last time I posted about it. I gave up trying to do each map from a pistol start and began again, saving my game and carrying ammunition forward.
It's pretty much a straight rip off of Doom 2, following the standard base/technological to city/industrial to hell theme of the original. In saying that I am fully aware that I might be missing some nuances, but the plot is the only thing in the rather long text file that wasn't translated from Spanish.
The quality is mixed; most of the maps are of a high standard architecturally, with just the right amount of detail to be impressive but not so overdone to be, well, depressing to an inexperienced mapper. However it is let down somewhat by frustrations caused through areas not being accessible a second time, by bizarre choices of photos as wall textures, and by constantly using Wolfenstein SSs.
Some levels of note:
- 4: It's pretty much E2M7 but I love the effect of the strobelit view out of the windows
- 5: Yet another tribute to E2M2 but that's never unwelcome
- 6: The view of the town - the start of the next level - out of the windows as you pass by the exit for the first time is exciting and draws you into the game. In fact many of the maps directly follow on from each other (they're all supposed to, but sometimes it's not obvious)
- 14, 15 and 18 are all set in rising urban locations with great use of different heights. I am a huge fan of maps with high walls and ceilings. The views of the end of map 14 and from the start of map 15 are excellent.
- 31: the first secret level is pretty poor. Not only is it a cramped, dark and awkward traversal of underground tunnels, you have to miss half of it out if you want to reach the second secret level. There are other maps, such as 7 and 28 which are also guilty of having unremovable monsters, traps that don't trigger properly, etc. I think the guy needs more playtesters.
- 21: about halfway through you reach a big teleporter. On the other side the level is mirrored but instead of being a techbase it's now all gothic and gory. Yes it's your standard dimensional gate to hell idea but I like this kind of juxtaposition. Compare Equinox's first and last maps. Also it gets noticably harder at that point. There's no map for the second half, which is very unsettling. The first time I ran out of health in the whole run was shortly after the gate.
- 23: I spent this entire map with a horrible feeling of deja vu. It turns out that it's based on e1m1cnc, one of the earliest existing PWADs, and which I played ages ago but irritatingly I have no idea when. In researching this wedge.wad which upon loading I also realised I'd played a long but unknown time ago. I recall downloading a whole lot of really ancient PWADs but no idea when it was
- 24: This is a great example of use of questionable wall textures. It's a very well constructed hellish temple, running with blood... if only it weren't completely ruined by being plastered with cheesy pictures of Guns'n'Roses
- 26: Apart from being reminscent of Mt. Erebus (E3M6) - due mainly to one of the buildings being rotated away from the axes - this collection of buildings in and around a lake would be fairly unremarkable. Right up until the point when I was completely caught off guard by a bunch of monsters because I was too busy laughing at the giant photograph of Osama Bin Laden and his cronies on the wall
- 30: The final level is the usual rubbish with a monster spawner that must be killed off as quickly as possible. It's made slightly more interesting by the fact that the weapons aren't all right in front of you at the start, the automap has been entirely disabled, and instead of having to fuck around shooting rockets off a moving lift you get to shoot rockets through a hole that opens and closes at regular intervals. Also, instead of the usual "oremoR nhoJ em llik tsum uoy emag eht niw ot" it babbles at you in Spanish which is comical. Nevertheless there are very few Icon of Sin maps that I like and this isn't one of them.
There are touches of genius within these maps construction but at the same time touches of such idiocy you wonder if this guy really knows what he's doing. On balance though I still think it was worth playing, and many of my irritations are ignorable. It's still a 32 level set made by one author, which is laudable. I doubt I'll be arsed to do all the maps from a pistol start though, not for a few months anyway.