Screen Shot Screen Shot added 04-01-2005
level: magic lamber forever 15.3MB

author: mark shan

download it here: download map file


the good

the bad the summary
mark shan is back with a sequel to magic lamber: power of sewer. magic lamber forever is a much larger and much more ambitious effort, unfortunately bigger does not equate to better in this instance. while 'sewer' was repetitive, lacking in flow, and sparse in the action department, at least it was never annoying. this, sadly, cannot be said for 'forever'. the main problem is with the audio. perhaps he did it purposely to set the player on edge, and generate a sense of urgency and even paranoia (it succeeds in this way), or perhaps he just thought these sounds were cool. for whatever reason, over 50% of this large eight-map unit is bogged down with loud, obnoxious, repetitive, cacophonous sounds that are so horribly annoying i frequently quit playing for a few hours just to get them out of my head. this unit is far from perfect, with the unclear objectives, lack of quality computer updates, uneven play, some confusing areas with poor layout, and minor texture misalignments (not to mention a few large sections of this unit are ripped right from mark's earlier levels) it is still a pretty good unit, but for the hellish audio qualities. i cannot imagine anyone who could play this thing and not mind the audio they are subjected to. which is too bad, because there is fun to be had with these maps.

audio aside, this unit is evidence that mark is continuing to grow and improve as a level designer. colored lighting is used to subtle effect in some areas, although too much of the unit is underlit. the architecture is at times very pleasant to admire, and his layout is getting better: more logical, easier to navigate, more natural progressions. there is a lot of creativity within this unit, as mark has a unique vision that is in no way derivative of id maps, nor any other map author i know. he crafts some nice secret areas to uncover, and has a sense of humor in his levels (the strogg have a sponsor?). there are even a few cool scripted sequences inside that are a pleasure to experience and interrupt the standard gameplay with something fresh and unexpected. the challenge presented in this unit is good as well, despite weapon, health, and ammo imbalances the fighting stays fierce and they player is kept on his toes if he wants to stay alive. this unit is at its best when mark cranks up the action and gets the adrenaline flowing. quake 2 is at its best when the player is equipped with many weapons, faced with a swarm of strogg, and has room to run-and-gun - fighting for survival while scooping up health packs and ammo. mark provides this style of play, but only sporadically, and in small doses.

in conclusion, 'lamber forever' demonstrates another step in the evolution of mark shan as a level designer. it is good to see him taking chances, straying from convention, and broadening his scope. unfortunately he missed the mark one too many times in this unit for me to give it a more than average score. download and play if you can tolerate an hour of abrasive audio, and are willing to overlook some flaws. for those who can do so, there is fun to be had here, and potential to be witnessed.