House of Spikes

  • Release Date: 2001-07
  • Author: Biff Debris
  • Genre: Quake
  • Rating: 86

Tronyns Review

House of Spikes is the second Q1SP from author Biff Debris who also did 'The Corral', a good map that reintroduced the old idbase texture set. Well, he's back with a map that uses the old id Runic set, and ths is the best Runic Q1SP since CZG's Numb Nimbus.

How is it so good? Well for starters, the gameplay is great; challenging yet not (completely) unreasonable; there are quiet sections the start being one of these), so the monsters aren't spread evenly, which adds atmosphere (what's around the next corner?) and makes things moody and interesting. Supplies are reasonable, most places, and them being unreasonable in other places only adds that bit of an extra challenge.

The architecture is wonderful. It is solid and well-built, not using overly extravagant or detailed textures, in many cases not even using patterend textures - instead relying on lighting to give definition. The architecture is curved in many places, and quite grand and impressive in some rooms, though the whole level is indoors. The texturing as I said wasn't concerned with alignment or patterning, more with coloured contrast (mostly gray metal with bloody metal) and architectural definition strengthened by a most noteworthy lighting job. All in all the effect is brooding and spectacular.

Several neat areas include the elevator down after the two portals - descending into the House of Spikes - and the map's end sequence. Architectural highlights include curved windows with light coming in from the outside - my god what an effect - and a great texture trick (not sure if this was done with textures or brushes) - the 'elongation' of textures such as cross light fixtures, light-grates, and metal panels. Something that shows the attention to detail, gameplay-wise, is the nice convenient portal that opens after you pass through one portal onto a ledge - if you fall off of that ledge, you don't have to backtrack for a long ways, you can just take the return portal.

All in all, House Of Spikes is an incredible map that mixes classic id textures and mood with impressive curved architecture and tougher gameplay. No self-respecting Quake player can be without this map.

Tronyn's Score: 86

[Kona]s Review

This is a level I had been eagerly awaiting. Biff's first map was well recieved by the community, by it's solid design using the standard ID Base textures well, and decent Grunt/Enforcer gameplay. But with a much more favourable theme, standard yet still very uncommon, and using the medieval monsters, this map was a great pleasure to play. Style of the day is rune/metal. And all your metal details are here - spikeshooters, traps, lava, floating platforms across the lava while spikeshooters are nailing your ass and Ogres are pummeling grenades from above - classic! Gameplay was fairly good, a nice mix of monsters all used in good situations. However I do feel it could have been alot tougher. For instance one area you fight a lone Hell Knight and as soon as he dies to Knights spawn in. I do feel two Fiends or Vores would have been a much more memorable challenge, especially if you run past them up the stairs there is another Vore waiting for you. Nevertheless it was all great fun, and there were a few very tough battles such as falling into a tiny room with two Fiends.

The level design was, as I was hoping, fantastic. There are no great set pieces that really stand out, however angles and well used with a good combination of textures and trims to highlight. Also plenty of variety in the style of architecture. A nice layout is found, although quite linear, you do overlap a few times and are never too far from the center.

Overall a very well designed level with good fun gameplay, although some areas could have been a little tougher.