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added 04-25-2005
level: gladiator
gladiator.zip 18.7MB
gladiator patch.zip 1.38MB

author: milous

download it here: download map file
download patch here: download patch

rating
95

3D gamers edge: seal of approval winner

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the good

the bad the summary

milous' gladiator is an excellent map pack for those of us who enjoy fast paced, extreme challenge, high-enegry strogg-smashing. the adventure begins slowly with a cool, ambient, non-interactive opening level that sets the mood for what is to come. it showcases milous' trademark lemonhearth club music, wild texture use, and dramatic colored lighting. the next level sets the gameplay tone for this unit right off the bat with plenty of health and ammo, and huge swarms of strogg to contend with. the fights take place in huge arenas that are varied enough to keep the player interested, and challenging enough to prevent boredom. this is crucial to the success of these levels, as the player always has massive amounts of ammo, high-powered weaponry. and more than enough health. given those criteria, a player needs to be under very heavy fire by huge groups of strogg in order to have any sense of fear or challenge. if the fights were too simple, or only lasted a few seconds, it would be easy to escape with just enough health intact to run around and scoop up enough to get you back to 100%. the challenge lies merely trying to survive the battles. and battles they are, not just skirmishes. many of them lasted for several minutes of continuous running, firing, strafing and dodging. milous is not deft with wicked strogg placement that makes facing just a handful of well placed and well balanced strogg a nasty challenge. but he does know how to throw them at you in groups, and how to use the bosses liberally.

the levels in this pack are varied in quality. some, for example the first map, are a bit boring in terms of layout and architecture. others utilize some decent layout and average to somewhat cool architecture. there are some wonderfully well designed arenas that are as much fun to look at as they are to do battle in. there are also some areas that feature crowded, dimly lit passages that are annoying to navigate. there is a level with a very unique chess-board challenge and a slow rising elevator full of massive enemies. there is also an extremely annoying level featuring a really nasty teleporter puzzle. it is a bit of a mixed bag.

in praise of this pack i have to say that it features some very excellent music custom made by milous. it also features really excellent atmosphere derived from the music, the artsy texture use, and the wild use of colored lighting. there are a huge variety of massive arenas to do battle in. there is enough action to satisfy any appetite, and the challenge is high enough for any standard. there is a ton of gameplay in this 18MB zip file, and for a free add-on the value is incalculable.

to criticize it, i would point out the fact that milous doesn't maintain a constant flow and level of quality throughout this experience. he does not have a good understanding of item and enemy placement. there is no "less is more" approach in these maps. the teleporter puzzle is a real downer that interrupts the action with a boring and difficult to navigate puzzle. admittedly, the F1 updates are not in english, so i could not read them. perhaps they helped the player to navigate the puzzle? in the second-to-last map i found myself knocked literally right out of the map by a piece of moving machinery. and i was able to repeat it several times in a row, so it wasn't just a one-in-a-million happening.

in spite of these complaints, there is plenty of high-quality action-oriented gamplay available for the spq2 fanatic. i highly recommend this one.