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Screen Shot Screen Shot Added 9-11-1998
LEVEL: 1964 (complete)
(1964com.zip 7,512K)
AUTHOR: J.F.Gustafsson

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RATING
118

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PLUSES

MINUSES SUMMARY
Well, although the quantity of maps has diminished of late, luckily the quality has gone in the opposite direction. J.F. Gustafsson has returned to the scene with another huge project that is epic in scope. Just as last time when he relesed 'Bring the Pain', and then included it in a 6 map unit titled 'Age of Panic', this time he has used his previous release '1964' and turned it into an 8 map epic. With an interesting premise to start things off (read the .txt file!!), J.F. places you in the midst of his own vision, and the Unit does well to immerse the player. I could give an award to this Unit for the cool map titles alone "The area turns red" - "Reflected by Time" - "Fuga da installation" - cool stuff. Not one to judge a book by it's cover, or a map by it's title, lets take a look at what's inside. The Unit begins to a reworked version of the previously released 1964-Echos of the Past. Toned down just a bit by way of eliminating a trap, and removing a Strogg or two, yet brutal all the same. Both the Strogg and the layout will work against you here, as navigation is a bit of a trick and Strogg attack relentlessly. Weapons are sparse, as is ammo this early in the Unit, and you are sure to be challenged. The map sets the tone for the rest of the Unit. You are in store for some brutal Strogg placements, extremely frugal health placements, wickedly clever layout, and great looking architecture. The atmosphere and look of destruction in this map are worthy of note. Also, you'll get the first of several looks at what is perhaps the most creative and best all-around use of the F1 computer updates that I've ever seen. Upon completion you will enter Fuga da Installation, which will amaze you upon entry. The opening room is wonderfully crafted with red piping. I was really in awe of this room, and it is one of the finer bits of art in the Unit. Strogg attack in waves, and you'll need to be a Strogg bashing expert to handle this map on Skill 2. Experimental use of sound is evident with the Tank Commander, but not if you discover the means of 'eliminating' him. You'll need to have a keen eye, and do some exploring (and find a cool new trick/key) to make your way out of this map and onward into The Area Turns Red. This map is very similar to the previous one in challenge and navigation, and once again takes plenty of exploration to find the exit. Once out, you'll find yourself in the appropriately named Los Tubos. Navigation is challenging here as you'll make your way over, under, around, and through a network of twisting pipes. One area seems impassable until you find the appropriate means of crossing it. Once you make it across, you're on to En Svensk Tiger, The Wet Spot, and Reflected by Time. These three maps break up a bit of the linear flow as you'll do some back-tracking and cross overs into the various maps. The challenge is cranked up ever higher as you progress, and J.F. has a philosophy that reads "you can never have enough Gladiators". I've got to commend him on his Strogg placements again, as I was nearly stressed out by the constant and brutal Strogg attacks I faced. Health becomes perhaps a bit too sparse during this portion of the game, and I began to get a bit frustrated, though a much needed Adrenaline was provided in a critical spot. I was actually running around with 1 health point through much of the Reflected by Time map. Once you successfully complete these maps, you are on to the final confrontation presented in El Lider Superior. It is of course the traditional fight against the Makron, yet many kudos go out the Mr. Gustafsson for making into a unique experience. The arrangement of the area in which the battle occurs leads to some interesting possibilities. I had a lot of fun with it, and was especially pleased by the fun inclusion of an Army of Darkness sound clip. I'll try and sum up the experience of this Unit as a whole: it's a very brutal experience in terms of the challenge presented. Even the most battle hardened Q2 player will be put to the test on Skill 2, and I'd rather not think about how Skill 3 would be. Following a trend in recent maps, Gunners are being used en masse, as they will not attack one another if their grenades should go astray. In other words - you're on your own, no in-fighting to help you. The architecture is at times beautiful, with evidence of an eye for symmetry and functional artistry. The atmosphere is mostly bleak, as is befitting of the story. Most areas are suitably damaged and display plenty of evidence of the Strogg infestation. There is a pleasant break to be found in the Reflections of Time map, which is much brighter, with some pretty outdoor areas, made even more refreshing due to the experience involved before arriving. The new textures, created by none other than Iikka "Fingers" Keranen, are used to great effect, and I really enjoyed the look created. Layout is a real star in this Unit. If you love lots of exploration in your maps, then you are in for a real treat here. Those easily frustrated by difficult to find paths ahead may be put off a time or two, but the Unit is well worth the challenge. Complaints include use of profanity in the opening sound clip, as well as in a computer update. Also, a little more health in maps 5 - 7 would have been nice. Bottom line: one of the finer Q2 experiences available. Gustafsson has crafted a Unit that features all the great looks, layout, and challenge of his last, but isn't quite as difficult to navigate, and presents a bit more variety. Highly recommended.