author: guy "deadmeat" babin
download it here: download map file
- amazing details
- good challenge
- good action
- good layout
- a unique spq2 experience
- poor item/strogg placement
- f1 updates under-utilized
- uneven gameplay flow
- no ending?
skyscraper is the sequel to "got milk?", and in fact opens up to a slightly improved version of that very map. see my review of it for a detailed analysis. once you exit the house in that map you find yourself in the underground railroad which helped runaway slaves make their way to freedom. the design of this level is fantastic and i was very pleased at guy's use of historic photographs which present the player with factual information when they are approached. it is an american history lesson and an spq2 experience that shouldn't be missed. you eventually find your way to john carmack's house and get to have a brief conversation with his newly reassembled body. it is a bit funny and odd to experience this bizarre humor after such a somber lesson in the underground railroad, but a welcome relief that sets the tone for the rest of this map pack. carmack soon sends you on your way to a skyscraper where you must battle your way to the top in order to gain access to a particulary valuable data cd.
the majority of your time will be spent in this skyscraper, and considering that this pack uses the aging q2 engine, it is an amazingly detailed rendering of a modern day building. guy puts so much attention into every detail. from the posters on the walls, to the chairs, tables, and cubicles in the office environments, to the very cool lobby illustrated in the screenshot - every detail in this pack is crafted with great care and is a lot of fun to admire. it is well worth the download and play time just to experience all of the amazing 'set-pieces' that populate these maps. if you have played 'got milk?' you have an idea of what is in store, only this time guy goes a lot further towards making things as detailed and realistic as the q2 engine allows. the fact that the architecture is so wonderful takes the focus away from the gameplay, which, while better than that provided in 'got milk?' is still lacking.
health, ammo, weapons, and strogg are placed without a great deal of skill - and packs of enemies are used to increase the challenge. for example: imagine turning a corner and running into 5 parasites. not my idea of the best gameplay around, but admittedly it does make for a challenging encounter. health and ammo (and strogg) are placed with a feast-or-famine approach that makes it difficult to decide which weapon to use and when. use the shotguns too much and you run out of ammo - and you won't find more for a long time. another odd example is that you can acquire somewhere around 5-10 power shields in these maps. only one is necessary, and the rest could have been more appropriately replaced with cells. another complaint would be the sparse computer updates. i typically expect an update at least once in the beginning of each level, but that is not the case here. and a final gripe is about the ending. i'm not sure if it was something i was doing, or what - but for some reason the final level didn't have a proper ending for me. once i defeated the boss, that was it. i couldn't find any newly opened doors, nor any way to exit the map. after all the work i did, i expected to get some kind of closure.
those complaints aside, this pack is a must-download for any spq2 fan. even though the actual gameplay is very unpolished, the atmosphere and architecture are unique, detailed, and interesting enough to provide you with a lot of quality exploration. and the underground railroad map is an amazing experience that shouldn't be missed.