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Review: Priest Savior

Good storyline, brought down by basic visuals

Project information

Priest Savior
Michael "Condor" Eber
Single Map

Main review

Condor's work, like many reviewed herein, comes from the early days of Unreal SP mapping, specifically from September 1998. It is his first and while the level contains a variety of typical beginner errors and the setting is at times confusing, it remains an enjoyable oldschool romp if nothing else.

Unfortunately even though the author has specifically stated that only the first few rooms of the map look like they were his first rooms after all, the visuals aren't appealing at all, with several notable moments: the small waterfall at the beginning, the infirmary and the chief engineer's office. Everything apart from these is plagued by either misaligned, stretched or wrongfully placed textures. Despite the "mine" being revealed as a top-secret research facility with an objective of creating a time portal, there is evidence of neither purpose in the build. The already mentioned infirmary, the chief engineer's office and the monastery are the only locales that actually look as if they had served the purpose that is implied but otherwise... it's an ancient-looking dungeon with some technical decorations to spice things up. The concept is there... in translator messages and in the readme, so on "paper", so to speak but the construction does not fulfill it even by a long shot.

The guardposts.

As far as the audio layer is concerned... there's little of it, but it's there. Human screams indicate the horrors that await the imprisoned workers in the facility but aside from a basic cell block nothing else is shown - not the construction site for the portal (which is nonsensically stacked in a monastery's basement with the Nali priest around despite all storyline elements indicating that the priest is captured and the portal - still being worked on. The music sometimes fits, sometimes it doesn't (like Erosion for example, it is played in the worst moment possible), but in any case, the transition between the tracks is too sharp. At one point Erosion is playing, and then - BOOM! Another track suddenly replaces it. It came off to me as an annoyance - and again, it's quite the sad case because on one hand we have sparingly but properly used ambient sounds, on the other - music that doesn't always fit the scene and switched so drastically it can seriously irritate.

The infirmary.

The story is the best thing in the entire map. While saving a Nali priest and doing something about the time machine isn't necessarily unique, it certainly beats the repetitive I-Am-Prisoner-849-Clone-I-Must-Escape-The-Planet formula - and it's quite well developed, to boot. Translator messages (with little typos present) build up the feeling of suspense with the player entering what they think is a mine and discovering that the facility has a much more sinister purpose - but this clashes with the uninspiring architecture that does not reflect the story fully, nor does it any justice.

The monastery.

As far as gameplay goes, it's regular shoot-me-walk-past-me Unreal fare. It is pretty well balanced, not too easy, not too tough and at times the monsters will try to attack the player cohesively, so there are some patrol points and similar items present. At times the player will be required to do something to open up a door or two but nothing else besides that. On a side note, one of the doors seems broken and might lock itself behind you, forcing you to use the "ghost" cheat. The author should've fixed at least that if nothing else.


It's a basic construct with little redeeming value. The storyline is good and well-developed and the gameplay, while a tad flawed, gets the job done (with the exception of the infirmary back door that can get jammed behind you due to a bug) but there are very few parts of the level that can be visually appealing if you're famished or something... and the sound layer has just as many cons as pros. Still, for a first try in the editor, it's no tragedy and if you don't have any better maps to play through, give this one a whirl.

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Build (15%)
  • Architecture
    Imagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.
  • Texturing
    Use of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.
  • Lighting
    Lighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).
  • Sound
    Use of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.
  • Technical Execution
    Technical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.
Cast (18%)
  • Conceptual Grandness
    Scale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.
  • Story Construction
    Backing story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.
  • Story Implementation
    Progression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.
  • Gameplay Awe
    Quality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.
  • Gameplay Balance
    Balance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.
Below average

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