Author: Simon ‘Sock’ O’Callaghan
This review is way overdue, sitting in my to-do list for too long. Despite the fact I reinstalled the game just to give this one a spin upon its release. Unlike most levels released for Quake 3 that go for the expected multiplayer gameplay, this one is a singleplayer experience. Yes, you heard that right. Singleplayer. Your goal won’t be fighting against any foes this time however, but to solve several puzzles and to search the interior for ten secret switches scatter across the fortress to complete your quest.
It’s very rare to see a singleplayer level released for Quake 3, the last I remember playing being The Dark Conjunction. As such, it was a nice surprise, especially since I personally enjoy puzzle based gameplay. The author has provided notes on how the map is intended to be played, which can be found by following the download link. The puzzle aspect is usually performed by pressing nearby switches in a particular sequence, whether it’s getting the correct timing or pushing them in a certain order to solve whatever the puzzle may be. The puzzles themselves may not seem very special, but considering the game they were made for, the simplism works wonders here. The overall objective is to solve these puzzles to allow further access into the fortress. This then allows you more areas to find those hidden skull switches required to complete the level. There were plenty of times that had me stuck wondering what I was doing wrong, but visuals cues can be found with some careful inspection.
There’s a golden rule that seems to be forgotten at times which will apply a lot throughout the halls of this fortress. That rule is to look above you. There were several moments during my playthrough I forget about doing this, causing me to roam around lost as to what I should be doing next, otherwise the gameplay will become a much more smoother ride. The switches are made to stand out a little more amongst the other details, whether it’s a lever, skull face or wooden block with red rings painted on it. The latter two are cleverly hidden, placed in spots you wouldn’t think to look in other levels. Having some experience with typical Quake secret switches can also help here, using similar patterns here and there.
There is an amazing attention to detail, from the overall design to all the smaller stuff going on such as the arrangement of books, anything related to electronics and minor damage throughout the building. From the moment you start and gaze at the lovely scene within the portal, up until the area the map finishes, there is a consistence with quality and style that sticks with the experience. The level uses a mixture of wood and brick to create a large fortress on top of a mountain, with many angular and hexagonal shaped rooms. There is plenty of height differences and floors to access to add variety to the layout, and many windows to check the view outside making the level feel much more vast. The texturing and choices made for a colour scheme really brings the level to life, added together with the warm, well lit locations and the clean level construction, composes each overall scene into lovely eye candy.
Provides a simple puzzle based singlepayer experience, although there may be times you’ll get stuck, visual cues will help put you back on track. Level design is amazing, great work on the texturing, lighting and construction with a good attention to detail and polish.