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Author Topic: Reviews and Submissions  (Read 88146 times)

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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #270 on: October 30, 2020, 06:50:09 PM »

Wow!
A solid and well done review, Added to the upload of course.
Thank you very much!
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ck3D

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #271 on: October 31, 2020, 10:27:30 PM »

Always a pleasure to be of help!

CBP 9 Halloween 2020 released: https://forums.duke4.net/topic/11448-cbp9-halloween-2020-release/page__pid__351779#entry351779
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Duke64Nukem

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #272 on: November 01, 2020, 07:03:57 AM »

I was logging in to share that one, but ck3d already shared  :). Yeah check that one out when you get a chance puritan :)
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #273 on: November 01, 2020, 02:24:59 PM »

Thanks to both of you for bringing this map to my attention  ;)
CBP 9 is now a part of the CGS family, so to speak.

Took me more than an hour but it was worth it!
Plenty of action and cool areas. The areas are nicely nested together.
Keep up the good work !
« Last Edit: November 01, 2020, 02:26:39 PM by Puritan »
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #274 on: November 03, 2020, 01:14:29 PM »

Hey guys,

I've registered here a few months ago already, but never really got to post yet  :-[

Anyway, I've declared on duke4.net that I would review the CBP9 for this site, so if that's OK with you, Puritan, then I'll be happy to submit my review tomorrow or on Thursday.
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #275 on: November 03, 2020, 03:54:22 PM »

Hey guys,

I've registered here a few months ago already, but never really got to post yet  :-[

Anyway, I've declared on duke4.net that I would review the CBP9 for this site, so if that's OK with you, Puritan, then I'll be happy to submit my review tomorrow or on Thursday.

Welcome aboard, Aleks  :)
That's perfect. A review would be nice. Thank you.

You see, my policy has always been not to do reviews for new maps or where mappers are present.
I'm not a good reviewer.
Just only pulling together old maps and give them a simple DNR'ish review.
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ck3D

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #276 on: November 04, 2020, 01:06:27 AM »

Glad you liked the map!

And honestly, Kim's reviews on DN-R were the best. Short and to the point, usually overly nice and lenient and never too analytic, but you could tell he really dug the maps with his little descriptions and that's really what matters in the end, the enthusiasm. I don't think you should shy away from reviewing maps like it has to be something ambitious, with your writing style I think you capture the fun factor of individual levels pretty well too. Most Duke websites have that problem of putting maps up without ever describing or even rating them (late Dukemaps.net, Arrovfnukem, etc.), which is only that constructive as then the platform becomes a repository but also less federative (because more anonymous); and the ones that do take the time consequently don't update as often. I don't think you need to worry about the idea of just throwing in a quick line when needed (all the while remaining open to contributors).
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #277 on: November 05, 2020, 11:34:20 PM »

You're doing a great job here, Puritan! I've got great respect for people running Duke sites 25 years after the release of the game :)

As for DN-R, it's still a great site with a lot of less popular and older levels reviewed, despite not updating for like 10 years.

Anyway, here's the review as promised - hope it meets the quality level to be published and doesn't contain too much spoilers (if someone feels it does, I can edit it).

Another Community Build Project hit us right for the Halloween this year and it is not a coincidental release date – although there are various specific themes in each Author’s parts, they generally all share a sense of horror and bizarre feeling.

First thing to know, this map is huge – and I really mean it. The Authors aimed for making it feel like a single-map episode and they fully accomplished this job. It takes between 1-2 hours to complete not knowing the layout. The number of enemies you will encounter is also amongst the highest ever in a single map, reaching about 800 on Come Get Some. There are 19 secrets in total (although one of them – in StarCraftZerg’s part – seems inaccessible).

The map is built around a central hub (Sixty Four’s part) with 4 teleporters leading to the 4 chapters. Stylistically it feels like 90’s medieval FPS, albeit with better and more detailed architecture present in here. Some nice use of verticality is also present, with secrets and power-ups hanging on various balconies. The horror ambience of this part is intensified as we proceed, by splashing sounds and moving “meat pillars”. It is worth mentioning that the portals to other parts nicely blend in with the design and the connections between parts don’t feel out of place, in spite of different themes. They can be visited at any order.

Blue teleporter will take us to StarCraftZerg’s part, which is a deserted, alien-infested space station with strong stylistical link to “Alien” series and similar space horrors. Design in this part has strong emphasis on detail, with very elaborate (and accessible) structures below the ceilings, well designed laboratory and some cute little details like a table lamp. Sense of location is amplified by a window with outer space and part of the station’s exterior visible. The scale seems mostly correct, as the rooms don’t feel too cramped, although there’s one place where protector drones can get stuck from reaching you. Moreover, there’s a couple of misaligned floor textures (mostly noticeable on some of the beds in crew quarters), but that might be an effect of merging the parts together. Puzzles are quite typical button hunt with some non-linearity involved, but the Author made sure that this would not turn into frustrating search as the hints are very clear.

Behind the brown teleporter, we will find ck3D’s part. An expert in city maps, this time he takes on an alien planet – which is refreshing – and he pretty much nails it. His style is still very much present here, with well-planned 2D layout, frequent use of palettes and creative applications of original tiles. The interconnected layout is mostly centered around yellow lava lake with various cliffs and otherworldly plants to climb on and a single indoor location. Bold use of palettes (even with quite large portions with unusual glowing green palette 6) make for very original and colorful interpretation of an alien planet and – along with some serious platforming and heavy use of verticality – bring back instant associations with old-school sidescrollers (or a set of 1960’s original series Star Trek episode). This is also the longest part, which can alone take about 40 minutes to complete. Enemies are mostly troopers, commanders and octabrains, which renders the first part a bit tricky, as random plants will block the player’s way on some narrow cliffs and dodging the projectiles might be difficult. Furthermore, the enemies will sometimes stray off to the bottom of the lava lake where they will be difficult to spot due to palettes. Other than that, there are some intense, but fair and balanced battles with hordes of enemies as the player progress throughout the part, which makes for a satisfying gaming experience. Worth noting is also the unusual choice of weapons we will be supplied here, which mostly consists of pipebombs, shrinker and expander. There are some ships “flying” around which bring more life to this world and an alien hangar with simple, but creative design.

Still Wanted’s part can be found behind the grey teleporter. It will welcome us with grand scale dining room, which is turned in a way that one of its walls acts as a floor. This room makes for a tricky, albeit a bit tedious jumping puzzle, but along with another room – a funny small scale museum – winds the expectations quite high. The part is interconnected in many ways, but unfortunately doesn’t manage to keep up to the originality and quality of these first 2 rooms. There are some bizarre, but empty rooms, which might be a bit reminiscent of old Bob Masters’ maps, but here they feel like rushed and a bit lazy fillers compared to other parts of the map. Use of textures and layout is sometimes a bit “too creative” (e.g. stairs in library).

The last chapter was made by JMW and is located behind the green portal. It is a large scaled temple/ruins with a stylish composition of grey, green and brown texture set, reminiscent of Author’s other level, “Devil’s Gate”. It is the most straightforward part, with one quite unexpected intense battle in the middle. Following the Author’s distinct style, it also has the most natural theme connection to the hub part. Grandness of the structures present in this part gives a feeling of ancient, long uninhabited place once populated with a race of giants.

After dealing with these four parts, there is a rather elaborate path leading to the final boss. It involves some more blood and gore horror themes and a grand scale hill climb inside a red rock formation. This part was also made by Still Wanted and he certainly made up for the filler rooms in his part with it, as the place is awe inspiring and makes for a neat and quite long platforming with surprisingly balanced fights on the way (which is tricky to arrange in such a vertical setting). It certainly is one of the more memorable moments in the map. Final boss battle is fought in quite a difficult area (partially due to some unnecessary cramping of the place with blocked sprite structures), which makes for a challenging final battle of a monster-sized level.

Conclusion: A long and challenging level with various themes and heavy dose of creativity. As with every community build project, this map had its highs and lows, but in the end manages to showcase unique styles of 5 very talented mappers and entertain with action-packed gameplay and very original design.

Rating: 91
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #278 on: November 06, 2020, 05:37:24 PM »

Wow!
That was an impressive and in-depth review.
Added to the map and with credits to you.
Thank you very much  :)
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Merlijn

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #279 on: November 07, 2020, 10:31:07 AM »

Great review Aleks! I agree that this maps evokes a feeling of uneasyness and horror, mostly because it gets so strange and unpredictable at times. It's like you're trapped in some weird dimension where nothing is like it should be. And those moving meat pillars really add to the uneasy atmosphere. 

I personally really liked Still Wanteds part. It managed to create tension because you just didn't know what was going to happen in the next room.
Although I agree that the platforming in the flipped dining room was a bit tedious.

100% agree on the other parts, every author brought something unique to the table and did a great job!
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #280 on: November 15, 2020, 11:40:02 PM »

Thanks, guys!

ToiletDuck64 has just released a level called "Chillin'" on duke4.net forums: https://forums.duke4.net/topic/11461-release-chillin/.

If noone else volunteers, I could make another review for this one during the week.
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #281 on: November 16, 2020, 09:44:53 AM »

Thanks, guys!

ToiletDuck64 has just released a level called "Chillin'" on duke4.net forums: https://forums.duke4.net/topic/11461-release-chillin/.

If noone else volunteers, I could make another review for this one during the week.


Thanks for the heads-up  ;)
I'll take screenshots and upload this map soon.
It would have been nice if you want to write a review. Much appreciated!
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #282 on: November 19, 2020, 03:33:49 PM »

Here's the review of Chillin'!

The Author of this level seems to have quite a vast Build portfolio with lots of released maps, but in his own words, they were mostly Doom or Mario Kart remakes. I believe this one is his first shot at more ambitious design – and quite a well-executed one.

The level starts with a familiar sequence of alien’s shooting up Duke’s ride – this time pimped-up with the falling aircraft also damaging the large alien vessel. It seems that the aliens are targeting an abandoned government building, so Duke has to get rid of them as usual. The level includes the alien ship and a large, mazy building, along with some additional terrain around it.

The ship’s design is your classic green alien stuff, with some clever multilevel compartments and an alien’s mission log inside. The Author recommends you to visit it before tackling the building, and although it doesn’t really serve any key purpose required to proceed, Duke will find some starter pack consisting of weapons and goodies here.

Most of the level will be spent inside a large, single level building (and it’s very ill maintained basement). While the building’s architecture certainly does remind a typical boring government building, sometimes it feels like the Author has pushed this feeling too far, with a lot of repetitive, copy-pasted rooms that barely serve any purpose and are usually somehow hastily detailed with one sprite copied and scattered around (although one of the rooms contains a really cool looking spritework keyboard, which is a real treat!). The corridors seem a bit cramped and too tight. Extensively used swing doors lack the closing sound. Furthermore, there is an ongoing alarm sound that cannot be switched off and becomes really frustrating for a longer time (on the other hand, it can be quite useful for navigation of the basement).

The basement is a maze of pipes and boxes, filled with green acid (although the distribution of protective boots around the area is pretty fair and getting hurt is not something that should occur). There are some nicely designed elements in here too, but overall this area also suffers from repetitiveness and seems a bit too dark. Its layout feels a bit confusing.

There is plenty of enemies (about 140), but besides the first encounters, the fights tend to be quite dull. It feels that too many enemies inside the building were stayput, which means they wouldn’t leave the boundaries of their sector – which makes killing them a bit like shooting sitting ducks. This is especially evident in 2 large rooms which hold about 25 Pig Cops each – in most cases, they will just all gather at the door and be very easy to dodge and clear with just a couple of explosives. There is only one real puzzle to solve, but it might be quite difficult (especially with Polymost renderer, as the hidden hint message seems to be impossible to spot in this case).

There is a lot of viewscreen messages, which give the map a stronger than usual sense of mission. Furthermore, there’s also a really cool looking rotated plan of the building that can be seen on one of the information screens – be sure not to miss it! Some road and terrain forming on the outside looks very impressive, especially the elaborate pedestrian bridge – it’s too bad they are somehow “left out of action” and just sitting there in the corner, as the Author could have definitely found a better purpose for these elements. The boundaries of the player area seem somewhat not much thought of, as they give a feeling that we’re in some kind of large box.

The map is also really huge in terms of engine resources used and file size – this is also due to some weird design choices, such as making sector-based parking lines in quite a shy area behind the building or creating the entire unreachable structure behind the road out of sprites for seemingly no particular reason. The layout of the building and basement make strong use of sector over sector, which is very seamless and applied flawlessly here.

Conclusion: Quite original concept and strong sense of mission make this level stand out. The design is good for the most part, with some impressive eye-candy stuff, but leaves the expectations quite short with its unevenness and repetition. Gameplay feels a bit flattened out and static with lack of respawning monsters or really challenging fights – but hey, we’re just chillin’ here!

Rating: 85
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Puritan

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #283 on: November 19, 2020, 05:57:12 PM »

Yet another thoroughly written review.
Thanks a lot  :)
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Aleks

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Re: Reviews and Submissions
« Reply #284 on: December 31, 2020, 02:02:47 PM »

Artem Brullov has released a new map/mod, Fallout Freeze: https://forums.duke4.net/topic/11527-release-fallout-freeze/

It's definitely worth checking out! Great map with lots of creative ideas and top-notch design. I'm planning to write a review later on today if it's OK.
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