Brumal Quest

  • Release Date: 2001-12
  • Author: Shaun [Kona] Ross
  • Genre: Quake
  • Rating: 88

Tronyns Review

Alk15: Brumal Quest is Kona's best map so far. While it doesn't contain many technical improvements - thing's aren't any larger, more refined, or more detailed, or more experimental - the short of it is this is still an Alk map and thus follows the formula - Brumal Quest improves in just about every other area.

First, Brumal Quest has the best atmosphere of any Quake map Kona has ever made. I can't pick out every little thing that contributes to this atmosphere, but it has a lot to do with first, the theme, the subtly reskinned monsters, and the skylight being cast by the very appropriate dull winter sky. This is a very atmospheric map. A few things might have made it even more so, though - since the map is supposed to be "built into the mountains", a long series of snowy canyons ascending, winding upwards prior to the actual 'mountain village' would really have increased the sense of altitude. As well I did notice one texture that didn't work very well, green grass with tiny bits of snow on top, it was very out of place both in terms of palette and pattern. But enough of that, all in all this map has lots of good atmosphere. Additionally the map feels a lot less like a formulated level, unlike, say The Looming Madness. This is because of more distinct areas and less emphasis on having everything look similar to everything else, angled and interconnected. Even in one of the best Alk maps, Alk07: Egyptian Myth, it was difficult to find one's way around because everything looked quite similar, half indoors and half outdoors. Well, in this map that is solved by having several main outdoor "hubs" and small indoor and outdoor passages which generally lead to them from one way or another. Additionally, indoor rooms obviously have no snow in them, where outdoor areas are fairly covered with the stuff.

I should not forget to make some comments about gameplay. This is basically your non-stop Alk gameplay, where despite the interconnective layout things are very linear with monsters teleporting in or coming out of secret closets. This type of play is starting to seem rather restrictive - no pausing, looking for things or figuring out what to do next. However by no means does this mean that this map is not fun, and depending on how you play you can end up with some interesting situations - at one point I was basically being hunted by a horde of high-level enemies while I tried to find some nails! Also, you can make good use of infights. As well, the end map has some excellent combat, watch out for those firepods. Overall Kona manages to get away with his semi-usual gameplay again, only this time it's a lot more enjoyable in this different and atmospheric setting. This is the best Alk map as of yet.

Tronyn's Score: 88