Icepick by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons

Fear not young Quaker, the Quake 2 Level of the Week has returned with another installment. Since I cannot remember what happened last night, no since in trying to remember why there has not been review since April 16th. I think the Strogg had something to do with it. This week’s we return with a map that was nearly selected a few months back, but was still in a beta stage and not quite ready. The level I am talking about is, Icepick by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons. While it may take some extra time getting acclimated to this dark and chilly layout, no better place than the present to keep the frags ice cold.

The basis of Icepick start and end with the quality texturing which were seen in Metlslime’s previous level, Derelict. “All textures were made by me, originally for the defunct Oblivion mission pack. Icepick was originally available on the PCGamer UK release of the Oblivion mission pack in 1998. Revamped and tweaked for release as a vanilla Q2 level, Icepick now has three times the brushcount, and a somewhat larger capacity for carnage,” says John.

The texture usage has an entirely different feel and really sets the tone for the entire level. Add to the different shades of blue lighting which are cast throughout Icepick. The soft, blue glow helps to create a cold and ominous ambience as you traverse the darkened metal corridors. The cold blue lighting helps to make the less significant texturing seem to leap out. The interior of the doorways have been highlighted with bright orange lights that contrast the blue hues. There are also dimly lit white floodlights that shine down on the floors of the corridors.

Metlslime describes the layout as a, “two layer figure eight.” This is a level in which you cannot pin down a “central” location. Many Quake 2 levels feature vaulted rooms and rising atriums, none of those are featured in Icepick. Probably one of the most telling features, is the ice cold river of water which flows through certain sections of the level. It is quite and intricate level to play, as much of the level is quite non descript, but the texturing still remains very impressive. The entire level is essentially made up of numerous small chambers, connected by a corridor system. Some of these chambers allow multi-floor access and overlook a portion of the level.

The weapons and power seem to be sparse when you are running around with nothing but a blaster in your hand. You will find all the weapons, with the exception of the BFG. Who needs that in a level this tight? Two areas of note, the rocket launcher is sitting on a ledge, below a spawn point, which makes for quick kills, if you are able to get it. Directly in front of that on the level before, the body armor, ready for the taking. Nearly on the opposite side of Icepick is a second chamber filled with gib-o-matic goodies. The rocket launcher rest high on ledge and the chamber below contains a super shotgun and the all powerful Quad Damage. Directly through one of the two doors, a combat suit. The Mega-Health is contained in a small locked chamber that is only accessible though the river system. Find your way in and be rewarded.

After about an hour of testing, I realized one thing, I still suck at Quake 2. But that has absolutely no bearing on this level review. I felt like the “all powerful one” as I quickly armed myself with a rocket launcher and the body armor and went in search of fragile gamers to dominate. While there is an abundance of ammunition strewn through the chambers I quickly exhausted my rockets and was left with a blaster to defend myself. The server consisted of two other gamers and 3 bots, for a total of six in the level. Weapons and ammo came at a premium, as they do in most level which teeter on the maximum number of players. The level played very fast, and it was not soon after you enter a few chambers, you were a bit disoriented in where you came from and where you are headed. Thankfully the river, was there to act as a midpoint to the level.

Icepick is definitely going to chill you to the bone. It has all the important aspects of a quality map. Check it out and add it your next LAN. What holds this level together, is not so much the layout, but the strength and quality of the texturing combined with the ambient lighting. Another “must see map” called Icepick. Why don’t you pick it up today

– Download: icepickzip
– Author: John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons
– Website: Celephais

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.

Derelict by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons

03-26-01: Derelict
by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons

Without the PlanetQuake Community continuing to support Quake 2, the game would rest, covered in dust on some computer shelf next to countless other DOS games that were played out the day after you bought it. Of course Quake 2 is no ordinary game. I want to first thank Sven for keeping his Quake II web site, Sven’s Quake2 Reviews alive and kicking! That is where the idea for this week’s selection originated from and a damn fine choice at that! I continue to search out the best of the best and the new of the new when it comes to Quake 2 levels, so drop me a e-mail if you think your map has what it takes to be listed as the Level of the Week on PlanetQuake.

This week’s selection comes from John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons, who recently had an older level reviewed by Sven. Thankfully John still has a current web site in which to check out all his levels and I noticed he recently released something new which caught my eye. Since I am all about “new” I decided to check out the work on his latest creation entitled, Derelict. “Continuing my tradition of monochrome level design, Derelict is a conventional two-atrium Quake2 deathmatch level clad in some of my Oblivion textures” says John. But don’t take the author’s work on it, check out the and then go download this week’s select.

While game play reigns supreme, a well designed map with solid concepts receives more praise when textured well. This level was design with uniquely created textures from Oblivion, which the author created. In Derelict, “I was able to apply an architectural style already developed to a carefully planned layout” says John. Both aspects combine well to provide Derelict a unique gamin experience. What level is not complete without ambience? The final piece to this masterful puzzle are the visual lighting effects and Quake 2 mechanical sounds which never seem to grow old.

As stated previously, and like many before Derelict is an example of “control chaos” around every corner. Derelict is small enough for 1 v 1 or up to six frenzied gamers, after which the level of gibbage would be uncontrollable. The weapon placement is spread though out the entire level. But in our testing sessions, it was the hyper blaster which was the weapon of choice. Or maybe just my bad luck that I could never get behind the weapon, but always in front of it. This weapon is positioned on the top level of the atrium, directly above the rocket launcher, needless to say, this become a very popular and congested area. The other area of note can be found in the opposite atrium near the rail gun. Located in the corner is a darkened hole. While it is not a secret corridor, is was often overlooked, as the megahealth rested at the end of the corridor above a flight of steps. A well timed rocket jump would also allow you access to this area.

Derelict is just another in a long line of quality levels which will never reach is full potential, but with site like PlanetQuake and Sven’s these levels are able to be recognized and continue to keep that Quake 2 torch lit. I foresee more of John’s levels being reviewed in the future. Enough is enough, this is a top notch level, one which deserves to reside on your hard drive. So for all you Quake 2 addicts, do the download and enjoy the thrills Derelict provides.

– Download: derelict.zip
– Author: John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons
– Author Website: Celephais

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.