Urban Terror Review: Docks by BattleCow

Docks by Phil “BattleCow” Tasker
| Phil “BattleCow” Tasker | Score: 4.4 | By Oswald |

A small riverside town has been taken over by gangsters. The lucrative port has been transformed into a drug trafficking center under the dubious guise of a fishing company. The residents have long since relocated after the heavy hand of the mob gripped the townspeople to tightly. The gangsters have come under heavy investigation and the evidence has finally mounted sufficiently to have the lead gangsters arrested. You are the veteran leader of the most elite S.W.A.T. team in the world. Your team moves through the streets and you see the nervousness on the faces of your young lieutenants. You stand steady and poised as you send hand signals to your team. Can you make the town safe? Can you rid the town of the mob? Can you reclaim The Docks?

Texturing [5.0]  
Docks is one of the more diverse maps when it comes to the texturing found through the level. Many different textures and methods were used to bring the waterfront setting to life. Much of the exterior setting contains a multitude of brick, metal and concrete textures, finished in either red or washed out and dirty gray, which complement the surrounding areas. Many of the textures really accentuate the different areas that make up Docks. The overall quality of the texturing has been vastly improved over earlier versions of this level. Docks is one of the best looking levels to play.

Ambiance: [4.5]
While the darkened night sky helps to set the overall tone of the map, the lighting and limited sound help to carry the map. The glow of orange of flames rising from the burning trash cans cast a warm glow over the confines of the buildings, while the streets lights cascade a veiling of cool white light.The interiors are well lit, as box light lines some of the walls, giving off a vibrate white glow. One of the problem areas in the earlier versions of Docks has been corrected. That area being the inner corridor that allows gamers to overlook the streets from behind a window, or run up a ramp to access the rooftops. Along with the texturing, the new lighting helps to make this area more playable and player friendly. The only use of sound comes from the gentle lapping of the ocean water as it slapping against the docks and concrete supports.

Creative Spark: [3.5]
It is fairly obvious to see the straight forward and simple design of Docks and the influence from Action Quake 2. While being able to produce a higher quality city layout does prove to be successful, the map has some interesting effects that make you stop and look. For example, the light, low layer of fog that rises above the waterfront is quite an impressive effect. There are areas of Docks which makes you stand up and say, “Wow!” BattleCow, does allow gamers to access a considerable amount of Docks, again this goes back to his Action Quake 2 playing days, when he was notorious for strafe jumping. Overall, BattleCow has really turned up the overall quality and spark, with his continued work on Docks.

Construction: [4.0]
There have only been minor modifications to Docks, since it debuted in Beta 1 and was upgraded in Beta 1.27. Beta 2 introduces some new aspects in which the level was designed. The game layout, produces a great flow pattern. From the multiple routes through out the level to the minor choke points, gamers will continue to find advantageous routes the prove to be successful when trying to take or hold a position. Like other maps of its kind, Docks does seem to suffer from a scale problem. While it does become challenging to create a map that is scaled to proportion, there are some obvious signs, such as cardboard boxed which come to eye level and doors which tower over the models. These are both features which could have been resolved Nonetheless, the construction does provide for some solid game play.

Playability: [5.0]
Ranking up there, in part with the ambience, the game play is one of the best features of Docks. Isn’t that was gaming is all about? Being able to play a well designed level which does not suffer from dead zones or a lack of game flow. Once you learn the tricks to some of the more refined areas in Docks, the map is a real treat to play. BattleCow does a good job, providing alternatives when it comes to making your way though this waterfront design. Much of the action takes place near the ‘Tick Storage Company’ and the entrance to the ‘Pier 17’ entrance sign, but battles are known to escalate and usually spill over into the more intricate portions of the map. While a sniper may feel at home with Docks, one must always be wary of their back, as often times the enemy unknowingly will be able to sneak up unannounced. Wide open areas and many lines of fire prove a level does not need to all show!

6th Sense: [4.5]
So what makes Docks such a well rounded map? It’s the overall flurry of action which takes place round after round. While the game play is fast, tactics and support from teammates does come into play requires players to stick together as a single, killing unit. Once you learn the ins and outs of Docks, the level becomes quite enjoyable to play. The action is furious most of the time, which does not give you time to “stop and smell the roses.” As I have eluded to many times before, there is more to a map than just the texturing. In this case, Docks is carried by the layout and design BattleCow has developed.

Final Score: [4.4]
[Oswald] This level had a complete texturing facelift for Beta 2. Being one of the original maps for Urban Terror, Docks has always had a place in the development teams heart. Now the community begins to see what “quality” is, thanks to the effort of BattleCow, as he shows us some of his talent for mapping. The level was modify in order to increase playability and flow. Two thumbs up for the changes! Easy designs which are successful, usually lead to further well designed maps. We look forward to playing BattleCow’s next level for Urban Terror, while keeping in mind the challenges he faced with Docks.

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