• Release Date: 2001-12
  • Author: Jean-Marc Gruninger
  • Genre: Quake
  • Rating: 82

Tronyns Review

Note: requires Scourge of Armagon

I don't know when exactly this map was created, but on Shambler's it's classified as an old level, so I'll take his word for it. What we have here is a hell of an old level that I somehow managed to miss up until now. Mars1 is plagued by none of the usual 'old level problems' - overlarge areas, bad texture handling, lack of detail - it has much more in common with newer maps, including good texture usage, detailing, use of 'new' elements such as space ships and rocket sequences, it actually has an interconnective layout, and hey, it's even actually hard, too! (on hard).

Mars1 uses the Scourge of Armagon mission pack though not to its full extent - basically, only the laser gun, a few centroids and the earthquake effect is used. Which is fine, these things complement the map well. The theme is an idbase/hipnotic one, and while not overly ambitious, it is carried well throughout and even the small corridors and outdoor halls look nice. Most of the rooms, though, do look quite a bit similar, with the exception of several rooms and halls which have slime in the bottom (some of these you raise bridges out of, a nice touch). However there are two setpieces later in the map, one is a rocket launch silo (damned cool, you actually get to launch it too - I travelled by this outside before realising what it was supposed to be from within), and a spaceship hangar at the end. Now these aren't so complex or amazing as those seen in recent sci-fi maps - say Colony, OUM4, or Elek's defunct Technophobia - but for the time they must have been impressive, and they're still cool today.

The gameplay is actually pretty tough on the harder skills, due to sparse health and not-sparse enforcers. Additionally you aren't given every gun on the planet - once in a while you get a new one, though ammo is also sparse so you can't shoot at everything or you'll find yourself axing. Overall the situation is tight. At one point, you have to travel down an elevator with an Ogre, a Shambler, a couple of Fiends and a Centroid for companions. They don't all arrive at once, but you don't get crap for supplies before going down there, and with my 40 health and little ammo, if I hadn't started a big infight I would have been toast. Additionally there are some other challenging combats, like when four Ogres hop across a slime room and land right beside you. Over all though, when I died it was because of the enforcers. There are many of them in this map, easily more common than grunts, and they *will* get you. A particularly.. fun.. setup involved some enforcers sniping out of pipes while I tried to take out another group across a bridge. Overall this is a tough, tight little map with some cool touches, a good layout, and overall well worth playing.