Grisly Manifest

  • Release Date: 2001-05
  • Author: Shaun [Kona] Ross
  • Genre: Quake
  • Rating: 85

Tronyns Review

Kona releases his fourth Q1SP, and it is a mixed bag. And I've got a lot to say about it.

First I'll discuss the looks. They're quite original, a cross between brown medieval and blue medieval, but, for some reason, the map doesn't have much sense of atmosphere - almost all blue maps with the exception of the IKBlue ones (which have their own atmosphere) have an excellent 'Wizard' or E2 feel. Unfortunately, Grisly Manifest lacks this atmosphere that is a trademark of most blue maps.

Another thing, the map is called a Castle, only it isn't really a Castle. But, I guess Charmhood was called a Cathedral and it wasn't really that either. Ah well. Back to the looks; they are original, atmosphere lacks however; and further on the bad side, they are quite dark and plain. However, I suspect that the looks had to be rather plain in order to make a map that is this big!

The one exception to the generally plain looks was the upper brown levels, with the 'imp head' trim outlining angular walls. Not very detailed, still, but it did look quite cool. Overall, the looks were interesting in areas, but below average.

Now on to the map's size and layout. What a massive map! This is one of the larger Q1SPs I've seen, and Kona has built an excellent, interconnective layout as usual. This has a downside, however - it is probably possible to get lost since most areas look quite similar. I didn't, however. The upside is that the interconnectivity helps out the gameplay, returning to old areas through new doors, every locked door is explored, the layout is very complex without bogging down the player wandering around trying to find which door he just opened. Somehow the path to go from place to place was always clear, despite this interweaving layout. As well, the great layout adds to the looks, and the general sense, as a mapper, of 'Wow, I'm back here now!?' was quite high in this map. Especially when the final gatehouse connected back to the main Castle area! How the hell did *that* happen!

So, a really big map, with an excellent layout.

And finally, the gameplay. Lots of new monsters here -nailgun Ogres who lunge like Fiends, the Snakeman from Kona's earlier maps, Axemen and Knights from Coven of Ebony, Centroids from Scourge of Armagon, and probably more that I forgot to mention. Some of these were great additions, the new Ogres were well used and fun to battle, while I'm sure he speeded up the Axemen - now another melee monster nearly as dangerous as a Fiend! However the 'Boss Hell Knight' from Egyptian Myth was annoying to fight, he took way too many hits and barely even got off a shot or two at me. With the huge amount of monsters and tougher ones, it looks like Kona did what I was trying to do with Coven Of Ebony, only more successfully.

Besides the new guys, there's your basic Knights, Hell Knights, Scrags, Fiends, and of course, lots of Shamblers and Vores. And I mean lots of Shamblers! In some cases, *hordes* of Shamblers! This has a downside as it really downplays the 'horrific' element that Shamblers have - traditionally it has been a single Shambler surprising you with that roar when you're low on supplies - e1m5 being a good example. However it isn't that bad, slicing through fiends, shamblers and vores results in a doom-like 'I am God' slaughter fest where you just burn your way through the map's 132 enemies (I killed 'em all) like they aren't there. Well that's not really accurate, as the map can get quite hard in some areas. About 2/3 the way through the map there's an area with two shamblers that was difficult, and the end was incredible. LTH's last, Exodus, had a nasty surprise at the end, but this map puts that to shame. First you walk into a dark corridor after slaughtering an army of baddies, and I expected that to be the exit. So, smiling, I grabbed all the ammunition in sight and blasted the hell out of the 'final' army. However, that wasn't the exit - it led outdoors and there were more Shamblers there! (which were fun to fight after I just wasted all of my ammo). So after them was a gatehouse, which I expected to be the exit. It wasn't - it was a trap with *more* shamblers and a hell knight boss. So I killed *them*, expecting THEN to find the exit. Only then the entire wall opened up and three more Shamblers and a Vore teleported in! Then I found that this gatehouse exit connected back to the main castle (wow!) and THEN the exit was there.

I've heard complaining that there aren't enough supplies in this map, well, some areas get a bit tight but overall there are enough supplies. However, the Snakeman and the Centroid monsters most definately look out of place. Both of these belong in desert or base environments, I don't know what the hell they are doing in a cold dark castle place. They detracted from the atmosphere severely (if there was a whole lot to begin with!).

So, overall:
Looks: original + somewhat interesting, however, plain, dark (a bad dark), and lack atmosphere.

Size + Layout: Massive size and excellent layout, one of the best I've seen.
Gameplay: The best way to judge a map. Did I enjoy playing this map? You bet. It was a tough challenge, 20 minutes with 130 monsters, and it's a definate keeper. Do I reccommend it? Damned right I do.

Damn, this was a long review. Heh, don't expect this as a precedent for further reviews after this, though. Kona's best overall, I think, is still Egyptian Myth, which I gave an 86, and which had a great layout and excellent original looks (and the Snakeman actually looked in-place) as well. However, this map, despite its shortcomings, was simply more fun - so I'm going to score it higher, even though Alk07 is overall a better map. Confused? Ah well.

Tronyn's Score: 86.5