Lush by Tony Hafhead Hafner, Quake 2 Map Review by DeFrag
Lush is a strong-lesson in layout. It only sports a two-tier design but gameplay is exemplary. Basically, you just keep running your favorite pattern with a slight deviation to nab the juice-items. There are 3 sets of stairs & one plat that raise you to the second-level. You can almost run 2 loops within the entire level in under 30- seconds. Can you say fast? Aesthetically, its name betrays its innards. Lush is a little dark & bit red with a few offsetting blue-highlights about. The walls are thick & heavy while basking in twilight-mood. A near-perfect setting for deathmatch.
Atmosphere & Lighting
There are only red twin-spot lights to be found throughout the level. In contrast, the weapons & major items are bathed in blue emanating from demonic quake-art. In some areas, the reddish-hues are too strong which might have been better balanced with a soft-white. But I believe the author has attained that look he was looking for. As with most hard-core DM levels I’ve seen, there are absolutely no ambient- sounds that might overpower where your enemy may be. As simple as it seems, levels without sound but with great flow, can actually immerse you deeper into the game as you strain for information.
Style & Textures
Theme runs strong in Lush. You really don’t wonder why every part of the level looks similar as consistent texturing abounds. Textures are from the City-set, a great set indeed & often underused. Split-ceilings are prominent here, they hold everything together. I can’t think of a more consistent style of ceiling to use. They run the length of each hall allowing sky to show on each side. The stairs & halls spill into 2 atriums which are fully-open to the skies above.
Weapons, Ammo, & Items
All weapons enjoy their own unique niche as they sit in their cubbys or on pads. Each is bathed in the aforementioned blue-light. Absolutely beautiful in execution. Placement of the arms is very solid. You can grab a weapon within seconds of spawning. Hell, you can even spawn on a weapon! The weapon-set includes: 2 SSG, GL, RL, & an RG. Anything else would be overkill.
Ammunition is relatively plentiful & is scattered about nicely. I don’t recall too many blaster-fights in this one. The availible ammo supports the recommended player-load like a tee. When a couple more people are added in, rockets start becoming scarce. This is fine though as it evens the playing field by forcing the use of alternate weapons.
There exists a solitary Combat Armor which you had better control. Additionally, there are 2 sets of shards & a set of stimpaks. These act as sound-cues during a sneaky 1v1, but in FFA they are crucial to have. Health comes in packs of two usually at the tops of stairs. What a welcome relief having them set together in such fashion just when you need it most.
The silencer makes a showing here & at first you might think it would be useless. However that is far from the truth, it is indeed handy as you chase someone down. With all the twists & turns, sometimes its hard knowing from just where the flail is coming.
The Quad sits adjacent to the RG in an atrium. The MH is located in the other atrium a bit from the RL. Players can spawn on these items as well which leads to some interesting situations. If you spawn on the MH, you are presented with ample time to grab a weapon. When you spawn on the Quad, well.. even a blaster shows its force! I’ve never thought of it before, but I must say I’m glad the author placed the Quad away from the RL.
Balance & Gameplay
The weapon-balance is phenomenal while item spacing is adequate & about what you would expect. Player-load is accurate. You can certainly throw a couple more people in for extra-quick gibbage. But for a fair game, its best to stick to the recommended load.
Though the level is intricately weaved, navigation through the course is fast & efficient. Open bays or windows look down upon a flight of stairs & the MH-area to enhance your escape-options. I’m very elusive & welcome these extra-routes. I play Lithium & with a hook & this further increases the flow by allowing one to hook up into those windows.
There are camping-spots everywhere, especially if you use a hook. You can camp on the RL by hiding on the angle which is built into every wall. Hide on high in the two atriums if you wish. Most skinned-models blend in well with the colors anyway. So if you set up a tent, your element of surprise should be productive. There is also a spot in the floor under the CA where you can lob a couple grenades. Rarely will you catch anyone though as visibilty denies this camping spot.
Technical & Presentation
Clip-brushes are unnecessary as all the walls are smooth. Proper angles are present to help guide you out of a few trouble-spots as well. R_speeds are excellent averaging around 200 & peaking at 400. With speeds like these, I must say this temple plays the best online from all I’ve ever seen to date.
Documentation is average & includes the standard compile-information. There are no errors in the documentation or the game-console at loading.
The effectiveness of Lush is unquestionable. Impressed with experience, I see this level as one of the best playing fields ever. A few maps shall of course come & go in my rotation, but rest-assured this one shall be one to always remain. I highly recommend it as a top-ten & graciously give it the well-deserved… A