My 2 Cent Take on Horalky
Horalky - Memfis
DooM2 (Limit-Removing) - Solo Play - 200119 bytes
.: OverviewThis is a single map for DooM2 (limit-removing port required), and it features both indoor and outdoor areas, plenty of exploration and back-tracking, balanced gameplay, a couple of new graphics, and a new music track.
.: The Look & FeelThe premise of this map is that it is built entirely on a 64 x 64 map grid. In other words, every vertex sits on a grid intersection. For the most part this works well, but the thickness of walls and depth of windows becomes evident in a few places. It also means that angled surfaces are used sparingly. But otherwise, the map has a pleasing appearance, with a spartan design and architecture. The texturing is competent, with a few misalignments (e.g., the turreted castle wall); the mix of tech and marble/wood textures works in some places but not in others. There is a base theme in the "core" areas of the map, but it devolves into a medieval-tech mix in parts of the map. There are a couple of new textures (waterfall, sky), and a new INTERPIC; the night sky provides a nice change of atmosphere for Map01. Lighting throughout the map is adequate.
.: Game DesignThe map is wonderfully non-linear, with lots of scope for exploration. All 3 keys are required, each in a different part of the map, necessitating some back-tracking. As a bonus, you get to see areas that you visit later. The game has new music (borrowed from Map09 of NDCP2), which sounds like it came straight from Deep Purple. [I'm not complaining, mind you, as Deep Purple used to be one of my favorite bands in my youth.] It is upbeat, and goes well with the map. The secrets are clever and well-hidden; I could only find one out of the five secrets without using cheats. [A minor gameplay issue: The player might easily miss the switch near the crusher. As the switch opens an area the player is required to visit, it may frustrate a player that doesn't see the switch. In its defense, the area is also accessible through a secret area that is relatively easy to discover.]
.: GameplayDespite the fact that I started running low on ammo for a brief while later in the game, there is a good balance of ammo/health/armor/enemies throughout. No skill levels are implemented, but gameplay is not terribly difficult. The game was largely free of real traps, although the one at the red key was fun. Mini bosses are used sparingly, as are ammo caches for the bigger guns, so the player ought never to feel overwhelmed. I was expecting an epic battle at the end, but it was very tame. After entering the exit teleport I could visualize the author going: "Psych!" and I was pleased to find some additional areas to explore. Alas, however, they were devoid of any opposition. It almost seemed like the author created the final area for a battle royale, but gave up and released the map without it. 'Tis a shame.
.: Wrap UpIn summary, this is a good "exploration" type map that has some decent gameplay thrown in for good measure.