• Release Date: 2002-03
  • Author: Shaun [Kona] Ross
  • Genre: Quake

Tronyns Review

Necrobrood, a now semi-new release from Kona, takes the metal theme to somewhere new. Necrobrood's a 2.5 map unit which features some new stuff and follows, thematically, from Kona's Permutations of the Rotten. The story is this: you've gone through a slipgate, been captured, and now you're stuck in a cage waiting to rot. Or not. Happily you grab your trusty shotgun, axe, and 25 shells and into the world of Necrobrood you go.

Stylistically, I noticed the theme, in terms of architecture, textures and in some cases lighting, to be highly original. This doesn't nessecarily mean good (I'll get into that later), but it's safe to say you've never seen metal quite done like this before. Kona has taken a bunch of id Metal and Abyss of Pandemonium Metal textures, modified them and completemented them from various other sources. The result is that instead of the usual underground gray-metal complex, you're getting a sort of turqoise-brown-green-white combination. It really is quite colourful, yet manages to stay gloomy in most spots. The green grass might initially seem out of place, but somehow it fits. Architecturally, this is your "typical Kona" stuff here, only much bigger and more complicated. There isn't the same sense of place as found in, say, "Brumal Quest" or "A Cross To Bear," however the layouts and architecture are very complex. Despite the fact that angles are everywhere (making for some excellent lighting, especially coming from sky-grates), and damn should you see the wall detailing (layers upon layers of different textures), it really doesn't look outstanding. I'm not sure why; it's got a basically new texture set, lots of complexity in terms of both layout and architecture, but somehow it seems like if you really take a step back from all the texturing and look at the actual play space, it's pretty simple. This isn't really bad, just not outstanding. The interesting thing, though, is that there is a lot of texture variance within each map - there are the trademark turqoise / metal areas, but some might be gray, mostly turqoise, green, whatever. My favourite were the copper areas.

The first map, Escaping Bastille, starts off quietly, and then the enemies begin to come. Most have been reskinned and some other stuff has been added - additional attacks and sounds, I really liked the Hexen II sound for picking up armour. All of this adds a nice new feel to the pack. After you make it through the first map, which shouldn't be that hard, things start to pick up. The second map is definately harder than the first, and the third is most certainly harder than the second. Basic gameplay consists of grunts, knights, enforcers and hellknights on level with you; perhaps the odd fiend or vore, and of course, scrag ambushes and ogre snipers. Not bad, but gets tedious in large levels with the same gameplay continually. Some spots were good, like the outdoor ambushes featured in the end of the second map and the third.

In the end, you take down Mr. Chthon, who has made yet another nasty reappearance. In this case though you have to fight other monsters at the same time as him - a nice change though I did see this in another pack I beta tested a long time ago (ahem ahem), which has since failed to come out. In any case, the finale is pretty good and some of the areas there - the skull-ring beneath the runic panelling for instance - do look good.

Over all, Necrobrood really didn't inspire me too much, which is I suppose the reason I took so damn long (sorry Kona!) to do this review. It's certain that Kona put a lot of work into it what with the new theme and all the detailed architecture and layouts, but the gameplay was only challenging and interesting in the odd spot, and most areas, despite the noticable differences in texture schemes, looked pretty much the same. A good unit for a fan of Kona's work or the Q1SP enthusiast, but not a classic.