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Review: The Court of Izn-Nali

Even though it hasn't aged well, The Court of Izn-Nali is interesting to play through

Project information

The Court of Izn-Nali
Single Map

Main review

The Court of Izn-Nali is a very old map, having been made my Claycle back in '98. The readme tells us that it was submitted for a mapping contest, and that it was supposed to be the first part of a series. While it may have been impressive back in Unreal's heyday, it falls short by modern standards.

A pool at the temple

Architecture is quite a bit below Unreal-quality, but Claycle definitely tries. The outer ruins are decent; they're not great, but the author makes a point of having the player think about how he or she is going to get somewhere. The inside of the court is overscaled, though, and there are a lot of square places in the map. Textures are, more often than not, stretched. Lighting is usually sourced, but there are a few noticeable areas where there's no source at all. In terms of technical execution, there weren't any major problems that I came across, but there were a ton of visual BSP holes that were awfully distracting.

The lava pool in the court

Gameplay is fairly easy, but the tight corridors at the start of the map make it a bit more challenging. There are only three types of enemies, too: Krall, Skaarj Warriors, and Skaarj Troopers. The lack of enemy variety is disappointing, and there are some switches that very few will find unless they open up the editor and look. I stumbled upon one such switch by chance after running around and hugging walls.

The sound was passable; Claycle makes use of ambient and dynamic ambient sounds, but they usually end up being too quiet. The music was fitting, but there isn't much else to say about it. The translator messages were well-written, but there's not a hint as to what the player's motivations are. Is he/she part of a rescue team? Did they get to the temple by chance? A backstory would have been nice.


The Court of Izn-Nali is pretty bad by today's standards, but I still found it interesting. There wasn't really anything special about it, aside from its well-written translator messages and the occasional switch that's nigh impossible to find. If the author had put more thought into gameplay, it would have been a much better map.

download links:*

*Note that only the Unreal Archive uploads are checked to be the newest and most compatible/stable download link.


Build (16%)
  • 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 (16%)
  • 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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