review: qt_pre02 – Grendel’s Keep by Distrans

An interesting fusion of idmetal and metlslime’s oblivion punctuated with zerstorer flesh.

it features some nice, well built organic sections (both terrain/caves and literal organic meat/blood sections) and consistent inorganic areas.  brushwork is clean.

there’s a lot of inter-connectivity going on and you often revisit old areas at different heights.  unfortunately, pathing became muddled for me shortly after picking up the silver key.  this caused problems later as i had to wander around for a minute or two and woke up a monster that shouldn’t have been.

i think the only serious problem with the player route is that when you hit the button that opens all the security barriers, there is one barrier in that very room that opens.  this implies that that is the correct way to go, infact this is wrong.  the correct route is to backtrack up two elevators and go through a different security barrier that you can’t see from the room with the button.

difficulty is generally well done.  i didn’t die on skill 1 although i had a few close calls.

my beef with the map is really just beef with the travail pack’s mech monster.  having never played through the whole travail pack, i had never fought the mech monster before.

whoever coded it decided it would be cool to have the monster not emit blood particles when shot.  as a result, i had no idea i was doing any damage when i shot it the first time.  i noticed it fired very rarely so i thought i might have to wait for it to fire before i could do any damage.  well, the particles were still grey, so i thought that idea was a bust.  now i wasn’t sure what to do and i had caught the edge of one of the rocket explosions and was down by quite a bit of health.

this led to me running around the room where i awakened a pack of tarbabies.  thankfully due to the tarbaby random jumping, they angered the mech and it wiped them out for me.

i still had no idea how to kill it though, so i ran around looking for health and stumbled on a secret teleporter that brought me into the room where the mech was but where it couldn’t shoot me.  completely on a whim, i tossed a grenade down and (i guess it was at extremely low health) it died.

anyway, that was a definite low point to the map, and entirely due to the monster coding.  do not mess with basic things like blood particles on damageable enemies unless you can communicate that it is damageable in a different way. (throw pieces of debris off when hit, always play a distinctive pain sound even if there is no pain animation…)

after defeating the mech, you can pass through the silver key door.  this is my second legitimate problem with the map itself.  ideally, you want to place a locked door where the player will pass it.  if he passes it more than once, all the better.

i’d say there there is a direct relation between how good a locked door is to the number of times the player passes it before finally opening it.  the point is to remind the player that there is something that needs to be collected.  in this map, the silver door is unreachable until after you gather the silver key (even worse, you pass by the security barrier that blocks the path to the silver key door after picking up the silver key, rendering the key essentially pointless).  the silver key door could have been a normal door because the player would never have reach it ahead of time anyway.

the final area is very cool.  a meat/blood cave with vores, zombies and scrags.  it’s a fun finish as you get the rocket launcher and the quad and basically get to run wild avoiding voreballs and blowing the crap out of zombies.

in closing, i’d say this is generally a great map spoiled by two progression problems and one questionable coding practice.  it’s still very much worth playing and a lot of fun.

[Check out the release thread for the map]

[You will require the Travail mod for this map]

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