AQ2 Review: Kumanru by Shmitz

Kumanru by Mark “Shmitz” Major
| kumanru.zip | 510 kb | Mark Major | Score: 5.0 | By Oswald |
* There’s rumor of great treasures to be found in the newly discovered Temple of Kumanru. However, there are more greedy hands than can comfortably share any fortunes that may be found, so order of day is to take care of the competition first, and THEN go looking for the riches. Every once in awhile a very balanced map comes along which stands above rest. Kumanru: Altar of Kumanru is one of these gems, shining like a new found treasure in a lost city.

*- Reproduced from Kumanru readme.txt file.

Texturing [5.1]
The large, stone blocks used in construction are reflected in texturing seen throughout temple walls and floors. These textures dominate most all of map layout. The altar room, meditation room and slaughter room each convey a different feeling as seen in style and texturing used. One has dyed, dark green circular patterns on floor, with a raised, multi-textured/colored altar in center of room. The meditation room is set into floor and is surrounded in off white stone which the temple is built in. Outside in the courtyard, there is a small section and rocky cliffs, which lead to a temple entrance. Beneath the temple there are water filled caverns and stone carved patterns in the walls, which help to break up a reoccurring stone theme. Mark has paid exceptional attention to getting most detail out of simplest of texturing. This in part to lighting effects.

Ambience: [6.1]
What makes this map most impressive is use of lighting effects found in the many rooms of temple. Every area you enter, every corner and hallway you go through, there is some lighting effect used to create that much sought after ambience. Each room is lit completely different, one in the glow of a raised golden altar, another, in a recessed portion of floor, cast in a reddish glow. Down in the lower cavern system, its beautifully light in a glow of green. Well located yellow lights glow brightly, helping to break up the continuous green glow to create an eerie feeling while exploring. The use of shadows and darkened corners are endless. With a layout such as this, lighting helps to accentuate wonderful structural design on temple. The only sound you will experience, is when you are crossing the ledge in an attempt to dodge cast iron bells to get to a sniper tower, or on floor, in that particular room. This seems to be the only deficient portion of the map, good solid sounds to help create that so often needed ambience.

Creative Spark: [4.1]
This map goes in a completely opposite direction than many other maps of its time. While authors were laying out and constructing vertical cities of concrete and metal, Mark too took a different approach. Sometimes those maps which are simple, are successful. When you think of Kumanru, visions of Indiana Jones and nonstop action begin running wild. That is where this map takes over and excels. There have been other maps of this type when have attempted to recreate a map of this style, but most seem to be lacking one of details which Kumanru has.

Construction: [5.5]
Do you want to know secret to this maps success in Action Quake community? The r_speeds! The polycount is just outstanding on this map. Turn r_speeds “1” (ON) in console and take a run through map. These speeds peak at about 340, while averaging in low 100s. This is an excellent map which almost any system could run on an Internet based server. That is reason this map has gained its popularity. I don’t feel as if there are any major technical flaws, just a few areas which could may of helped playability. I think small, outside courtyard could have been increased in size. At times, attempting to hop up rocky to temple entrance can be difficult. There also needs to be another route into and out sewer area. It is too easy to control this area and dominate entire map.

Playability: [4.0]
This is a great map, which suits any type of style of game play, as choice of weaponry is not crucial. As experienced many times before, watch for snipers, squatting and sniping from either tower, into courtyard area. As rounds progress, it becames a game of cat and mouse as both teams wander the map looking for an advantage, without holding down a single area. The only exception is lower cavern area. It is possible for a team to guard entrances, thus beginning a standoff with the opposition. Most other areas seemingly have a “backdoor,” allowing for surprise attack. There are many pillars and corners to hide behind for cover. Not to mention what few prefabs we had, you are able to duck behind them. The map seemed to play best with teams of six to eight players per side.

6th Sense: [5.2]
I think many will agree, this is a great overall map. Given the layout, lighting and playability, this map has become a mainstay server favorite. There are many maps which try to emulate the combination which Kumanru has, but none have matched its success. There are many different areas and passageways which lead, virtually all over map. There is no need to feel trapped in a dead end. An escape route is just around corner, out window or down through floor. I wish there were more maps which could combine the needed effects to create results similar to this map.

Final Score: [5.0]
[Oswald] Upon initial release, this map was a success. It seems to have grown in popularity, as many servers I check are still running it. And for good reasons, as reflected in our choice of including as one of best Action maps. There are prettier looking maps out there. Maps which are more intricate. Maps with outstanding lighting and sound. But few have successfully combine these major categories to create an Action Quake map, like Altar of Kumanru which stands test of time, even as new Action maps are being released.

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