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You know, I haven’t reviewed many maps so far here at JK2Files.com. As records show, I've completed a grand total of just eight file reviews, and already, I've started to believe the demigods of my trade have cursed me. How long would it take before I found a file that blew me away? How many files would I review before I hit the pot of gold, the fabled "Map of the Ages" that I so desperately desired?
Admittedly, I expected to wait a lot longer. Thank goodness I found this awesome piece of work.
Sun Security is, reputedly, a remake of a very specific scene from the now-famous movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I admit, I have absolutely no idea whether it's faithful to the film -- I've never been a fan of movies I have to read along with to understand. As a result, I can't tell you how true it is to its filmstock relative. I CAN tell you just how awesome it is anyways, perfect remake or not.
The layout of the arena is actually quite simple: the primary dueling area is a wide-open courtyard paved with individually modeled tiles (many of which are breakable, allowing for some visually intriguing, but unobtrusive and non-distracting interactivity). Off of the central courtyard extend two passageways, both wide, one much longer than the other, giving the overall footprint of the map the outline of a slightly disproportioned cross. Above the main courtyard is a second level, replete with circumnavigating hallway and safety banister, which, while safely out of the way, is accessible easily enough with a skillful jump on up. The upper hallway can provide from some tightly packed dueling scenarios, or, in smaller FFA servers, a nifty observation area for the fighting below. All in all, the layout is quite simple, and quite generic, and it detracts nothing from the fun of the experience in any way, shape, or form. It isn't an amazing layout, but the map's beauty isn't in the layout, it's in the details.
Admittedly, the amount of detail in this map can't rival a UT2K3 creation; it isn't obscenely modeled, even for a level made in the Q3 engine. Nevertheless, one is drawn right into the atmosphere of the arena. Wooden panels swath the walls in deep, rich brown, while supported by individually modeled crossbeams that, when viewed as a whole, actually feel as though they can provide support for the architecture all around you. Subtle evening lighting is provided from the atrium's open-air skylight high above, and a few shuttered windows leak homely yellow tones through carved latticework. Racks of iron-tipped spears line the walls, intermingled with distinctly Asian chairs, tables, stools, and benches, and the floor itself is very subtly three-dimensional: individual tiles pop up out of the ground, and yet are neatly packed and arranged in bas relief frames. The FPS suffers, not at all -- I experienced framerates as good as I ever get, and since the map is of the Duel variety, you never have to worry about your system getting bogged down in the details of character models.
Now, as much as I love the feel of this level, I can't help but notice the negatives as well as the positives. After the beautiful detail of the rest of the map, the flat, single-textured rooftops leave a whole lot to be desired. Lighting, while enough for night gaming, is still very, very low, and you may have a hard time seeing your surroundings with the ambient glare of daytime lighting through your home or office window. I would have loved to see some sort of lanterns lining the walls, perhaps solely along the upper level walkway -- the visual composition of a ring of warm, red light surrounding the cold sheens of the evening on the tiled courtyard below would provide for a striking scene. Of course, I have no idea whether this would conflict with the whole concept of staying true to the movie, so I'm probably suggesting something that would ruin the authenticity of the map. If I am, you all have my permission to shoot me.
The Bottom Line: I wish against wish that the servers I played on were duel servers, because I'd love to experience this level online. As it is, I can't stand the waiting between turns... perhaps someone will add it as an FFA map that folks can have a tournament in. As far as dueling goes, you can't get much better visually than this. And as far as duelplay; well, that's really up to you to get right.
Bot Support: YES New Music: YES New Textures: YES Game Types: DUEL
- Dan "ViperEye" Tennant
[REVIEWER'S ADDENDUM FOLLOWS]
I am such a moron. I just realized that this is the author's re-release of an already-released map. I'm going to leave my above review as-is, considering that it's the first time that I'VE seen the map (if not necessarily yours), but I'll include Ultima's original review below:
This duel map was modelled off of the room in Sun Security where Shu Lien and Xiao Long fight. It's pretty simple, large open space to fight, with an open ceiling, fairly dark, and some chairs and tables along with a poster on one wall. The breakable floor tiles add a nice touch to combat on this map.
This is a nice map, though a tad dark in my opinion, but that's just me. The music and texturing, along with the symbol on the poster, capture the air of a good Chinese enviroment to fight in. A nice, relaxed duel map, one that I'd consider downloading and using.
Bot Support: yes New Textures: yes New Music: yes Game Types: Duel
*************************** JEDI KNIGHT II MODIFICATION *************************** Title : Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Sun Security Author : Chris 'IMP.CAES' Reed E-Mail : email@example.com File Name : Sun.pk3 File Size : 2.93 MB Date Released : June 8th 2003 Usage : Place .pk3 file in \base directory and choose 'Sun Security' from list. Description : A Duel map from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon of the room in Sun Security where the characters Shu Lien and Xiao Long (Jen Yu) fight. Comments : Inlcudes 100% custom textures (the sky is modified from bespin), a number of custom models (furnature), breakable tiles, and music from the original motion picture soundtrack by Tan Dun. Supports Bots. THIS MODIFICATION IS NOT MADE, DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY ACTIVISION, RAVEN, OR LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC. ELEMENTS TM & © LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC AND/OR ITS LICENSORS.
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