level: executive quarters
author: jason 'heXum' mccord
email author: jmccord AT (nospam) itcouldbe9.com click here to download the map
3D gamers edge gold award winner!
- excellent architecture
- exceptional atmosphere
- great use of audio
- sense of humor
- awesome boss fight
- good PDA use
- meticulous attention to detail
- end crash
- uneven challenge
- some nitpicks (read below)
it has been almost two months since the last excellent spd3 map was released, and i have been waiting patiently, hoping that 'once upon a time' wasn't going to be the last great user created map i would play. thankfully, my patience has been rewarded, and my fears have been erased. while not quite on par with some of my other top-rated maps, executive quarters is an excellent way for fans of D3 single player maps to spend their time.
the first thing that hits you about this map is the attention that was paid to ever detail. the opening scene makes it quite clear that jason put much effort into creating locations that are realistic and believable. it is always in the details that the quality of a level are revealed. adding clutter to the rooms, putting lamps and computers on desks, having wiring lead to electric devices, these types of details are what makes a map come alive. they make it feel lived-in and used - as though real people could actually live or work there. the executive quarters come alive in this way, and help to immerse the player into the gameplay that is presented.
executive quarters gives the player the job of investigating the human genocide that has been visited upon them. reading abandoned PDA files and searching for the family of mars city brass while under assault by forces demonic and supernatural is your assignment. making your way through the level is a lot of fun. jason pulls many of D3's tricks out of the bag and flings them gleefully at the player: scripted events, fun with webs (i thought that was *fantastic*, jason), powerups, new graphics, new sounds, new models (love the shamblers!), and a boss fight that is among the best in any user created FPS map i have ever played. i really enjoyed how jason used triggered events and audio to make this map really creepy, and at the same time he adds in a few splashes of humor for those who pay attention to their surroundings.
the presentation and atmosphere are absolutely top-notch in this map. but, what of the gameplay? while it is not quite on par with the aforementioned presentation and atmosphere, it is of good quality. the action is well paced throughout, but rather slow paced and the fights are a bit too easy. there is a big discrepancy between the easy fights you face in the level, and the brutal challenge that the end boss fight throws at you. had the action and challenge ramped up a bit more as you progress through this map, it would have made for a higher quality overall experience.
as for my complaints: first off and most annoying was the end level crash. well, not crash, but - whether you win or lose the boss fight you get a final screen announcing the outcome. that screen loops infinitely and you cannot [ESC] back to the menu. the only way out (that i discovered) is to go into the console and "quit". at times in this map form overshadows function a bit, and objects/areas are designed to look cool even if they wouldn't necessarily be functionally logical. the glowing runes in this map are a bit over abundant. and, they often serve as a decorative flair (such as bordering the pool tables) rather than an ominous demonic symbol. there are a few cabinets that require codes to get to the goodies inside. each of these cabinets places all of its items immediately into the inventory of the player when opened - no matter how far away you are standing when the door slides open. also, the "save me" and other bloody messages are a bit overdone for my liking. a little more subtlety would have served to make this level even better than it already is.
complaints aside, this is an excellent, fun, and very high quality FREE map that should entertain even the most discriminating doom 3 player for a solid thirty minutes. thank you jason, for taking the time to design this awesome level for us to enjoy.