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level: mel soaring 3: tomb of the makron god
author: shaun [kona] ross
download it here: download map file
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- great look/theme
- excellent atmosphere
- great action
- high challenge
- creative architecture
- good layout
- improper item drops
- very slow r_speeds
- disappointing end
a mixed bag of spq2 gameplay, tomb of the makron god borders on being exceptional, yet in the end it both satisfies and frustrates the player.
the visuals that greet the player upon entry to this map are wonderful. emitting a classic-quake style ambiance, the earth tones and weathered and stained look of the textures is truly admirable and well done. coupled with the sweeping and unusual architecture, this level provides an aesthetic experience that is unique and memorable. blasting your way through innumerable strogg as you move through massive rooms and over dizzying walkways, you truly feel as though you have entered some ancient strogg temple. ambient sounds are used to full effect to further along the eerie atmosphere and immersive qualities. gameplay within is fierce and brutal. it's run-and-gun strogg-slamming to the fullest extent in the tomb, and the action will satisfy any craving. well placed strogg and furious battles make for a more than adequate challenge that is a few steps higher than most spq2 adventures (i played the map on skill 1 - and i was put to the test). all of this sounds like the perfect ingredients to one of the better spq2 experiences you can have, right? unfortunately, there are several pitfalls within this map which keep it from really shining.
most notable among the problems here were the numerous instances of HOM i witnessed. there is nothing quite like the flickering distortion of areaportal HOM to disrupt an immersive experience. it seemed that nearly every doorway had it, ranging from minor to really blatant. next up is the sheer size of the level. this map should have been broken up into 2 or 3 maps to make gameplay smoother and more enjoyable. on a slower machine like mine (a P200 with a voodoo2 and 64 meg ram), i encountered a lot of slowdown in almost every area. i was forced to gib every single strogg i defeated just to keep framerates reasonable - and that got old very quickly. not only that, but since most areas of the map look somewhat similar, i got lost quite a few times before i got familiar enough with the level. on a more minor note, there were also several instances of strogg dropping inappropriate ammo. then, once the player reaches the end of this long and difficult journey, the final battle was simple and very uninspired. i was most surprised that (given the name of this level) i didn't even face the Makron! maybe on skill 2 he's there?
so, in the end i was left with a feeling that i had just played some seriously fun and action-packed spq2, yet i also felt let down that the experience wasn't nearly all that it could have been. with the large file size of this map, i only recommend that true die-hard spq2 fanatics download this level. while it isn't at all a *bad* level, there are much better experiences available.