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Here's an update to the Castlevania Keep map.
While several problems have been fixed, the map is still hindered by the same weaknesses.
For a start, the music isn't all that good. It's a decent enough composition, but it's not fitting for an FPS at all. Maybe it works for a console adventure game such as Koudelka or Onimusha, but for a game that's all about action it doesn't fit at all. Nor does it set a very good atmosphere in the map. It's more "cryptic castle" music rather than "big empty room" music.
Speaking of which, that's another problem. There just isn't enough going on. While spacious rooms are OK, this room is really too big to be so empty. Even if it wasn't furnished like a normal room, and just had details such as chandeliers, or paintings on the walls... Anything that makes it feel less empty.
Next in the firing line is the texturing. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look bad, not by any stretch. For a Nintendo 64 replica, the texture work looks decent. But, just because the author is replicating an N64 map doesn't mean they can't increase the quality. Some of the textures used look very blotchy and fuzzy up close, and some look the same at long range too. Like I said, it doesn't look bad, but the Q3 engine is far more advanced than Castlevania 64, so for a future version, if there's to be one, I'd like to see the author increase the quality of the textures, and do some general modernisation. Oh, and always caulk the brush faces players won't see, no matter how small they are. I also recognise some of the textures from a website I stumbled on a while ago, so I know they weren't all made by Darth Zion. I'm going to say the same thing as Inyri - while I can't prove it (since I've long forgotten the URL), and two textures are hardly worth rejecting or deleting a file over, please credit your sources next time.
The architecture is basic, but that's not necessarily a bad point. Authors who are trying to replicate levels from a source often sacrifice architectural quality for accuracy. In this particular case, the map is accurate as far as my knowledge goes. Inyri mentioned, in her review of the previous version, something about "uniform lighting" - and I agree. Ambient lighting can be a good thing, when used correctly. In this case, it's not used correctly. The map looks like it's been done on a -meta compile (for you non-mappers out there, that's a test compile), and the only variation in lighting is the small flicker above the torches. A big no-no. Even if those torches were the only light source, they'd still light the room considerably well - and you could always put in a new lighting source, for example, a chandelier as I suggested. Anything but bland lighting, which just makes maps all the less interesting.
Also included is a skin called "Shade", which has NPC support. Basically, it's a darkened Reborn. But, since I'm not reviewing the skin, I'll avoid griping, shall I?
Now onto the errors. And believe me, there are quite a few. For starters, a ton of unused sounds have been included, bumping the filesize up unnecessarily. Secondly, lightsabers don't sound like swords. With this map installed, they do. If you need to use sounds for weapons, don't overwrite the default saber sounds - you can easily change the soundpaths in the .sab files for any sabers or swords you create.
This section is unrelated to the map, but two little things annoyed me somewhat. First, readme files are for the basic information and summary - you don't need to include Dracula's life story in it. If you want to include extras like that, you can put them in a seperate text file. This is the one and only time I'm going to clear up someone's readme, and I only did it this time because I was sick of playing the reject/resubmit game with this file. Second, while using RAR files is perfectly OK, it's a pain in the behind when I have to extract several folders just to get to the pk3, and then afterwards I can't delete the extra folders because they're set to Read-Only. I had to terminate Windows Explorer and use the system32 command shell just to delete them! Don't expect me to rearchive files ever again either, and do not make files read-only. It doesn't stop people ripping stuff, and it only serves to make reviewers grumpy - hence this paragraph.
*deep breath* OK, I'm done ranting. Sorry folks, just had to vent a little frustration. (Hey! I'm only human! :( )
If you liked Castlevania Keep v1, you may as well upgrade to v2. Personally, I just find this map to be too bland - but, I'm not you, am I? ;)
Bot Support: Yes New Music: Yes New Textures: Yes New Models: No
*********************************** Castlevania keep v2 *********************************** TITLE: Castlevania keep v2 AUTHOR: Dath Zion E-MAIL: Donvermicelli@hotmail.com FILENAME: Castlevaniakeep.pk3 FILESIZE: 6.522kb DATE RELEASED: 11 may 2006 CREDITS: Textures: Dath Zion Mapping: Darth Zion Music: Konami/Omegasigma Skins: Darth Zion NPC : Darth Zion INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS: Put the pk3 into your gamedata/base folder DESCRIPTION: This is the Castlevania keep v2 It has all stuff fixed that wasn't right in v1 BUGS: None that i know of. If you do find them please mail me. COMMENTS: If you want info on Dracula or castlevania please read the info file or play a Castlevania game. THIS MODIFICATION IS NOT MADE,DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY ACTIVISION,RAVEN, OR LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC. ELEMENTS TM & © LUCASARTSENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC AND/OR ITS LICENSORS.
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