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Map Title: Tentacle-Hunter's Maps: Series 1
Last updated in 2004, Tentacle-Hunter's maps have held a special place in my heart. I guess I was late to the multiplayer scene, because this map pack was the first one I ever played online. It's made up of six maps, but it should be noted that at one point, Tentacle-Hunter hosted an unfinished seventh map on his server. The readme says that the maps were intended for co-op play, but they work just fine for singleplayer.
Tentacle-Hunter's map pack starts out with the player in a small shuttle, in orbit around Na Pali. The engines fail have to be turned back on; the ship then becomes unstable, and you then have to teleport onto Na Pali's surface. There's no explanation as to who you are or why you're so close to the dreaded alien planet. The story itself was difficult to grade because, while it was inconsistent and there was no main plot that linked everything together, messages were well written and easy to read.
I felt that the gameplay was far too inconsistent. Sometimes it was outright unfair - there are tiny horseflies that are really hard to hit in the third map, and in the second map, there's a part where if you fall in the mud, you can barely move. It never seemed to get more difficult as the pack went on. Throughout the pack, gameplay would be easy, then get more challenging, and then go back to easy again.
Architecture is fairly basic, for the most part. A lot of the time, areas tend to feel empty, with decorations used to add a bit of extra detail. Tentacle-Hunter deserves credit for not using any buildings from Unreal, though, and his Nali huts were well done.
Texturing is on the poor side. There are times when ice textures are used where they definitely shouldn't be - The Cavern of Cregor is one of the bigger offenders of this. A lot of the time, textures are completely unaligned. With that said, Tentacle-Hunter chose fitting textures in most other areas of the pack.
Technical Execution was solid. There were no game-breaking BSP holes, but there were a few visual ones that were easily noticeable.
Lighting was decent, albeit a bit plain. Torchflames are used constantly throughout the pack, and unless you have Shivaxi's Torchflame fix, you probably won't see them very often. The lighting was consistent, but that's all that can really be said about it.
Ambient sounds were used well enough, but there were no dynamic ambient sounds that I ever came across. Music is used sparely, but to a decent effect. The music selection itself was fitting, but it never changed pace during fights.
Even though Tentacle-Hunter's maps suffer greatly from inconsistency and lack of a coherent plot, they're still fun to play through. It's home to quite a few impressive areas - the lake of the Leviathan and the shipwreck at the lagoon, to name a few - and it has an oldschool feeling to it that really works.
None to date.
Download thmaps.rar (4,5MB) from Tentacle Hunter's website *
* TorchFlameFix by Shivaxi recommended for playing on Unreal build 224 and above.