It’s Quake time. Quake doesn’t get huge amounts of attention anymore, but it has an active community still making content for it.
Quake modding used to be about strikingly different total conversions / mods (Air Quake, QuakeRally, Fantasy Quake, Horrorshow Quake, Special Forces Quake), but nowadays it is more focused on providing an enhanced and refined Quake-style gameplay within the original Quake universe. Quake+. The bleeding edge of Quake modding is Quake gameplay in hugely expanded and often breath-takingly beautiful worlds, often with new enemies. Arcane Dimensions is the most visible of these.
Then are more vanilla offerings that provide a classic experience – meaning no new monsters, no changes to weapon or monster behaviour, no complex scripting and minimal or no use of new textures. Masque of the Red Death by Tronyn is one of those. It’s a mostly vanilla offering sticking closely to the design of the original Quake, just larger and far more action packed than the original levels.
Masque of the Red Death opens with a desperate battle against huge numbers of knights, death knights, fiends and scrags. The beginning is one of the hardest sections and if you’re not a master of monster infighting the fight is almost unwinnable. It gets easier as you pick up new weapons but the battles against huge numbers of monsters carry on throughout the level. The architecture is impressive but vanilla. It doesn’t make you wonder whether you’re playing a next gen game in the way that limit-breaking ‘Quake+’ levels do. It’s most definitely a Quake level.
I found the fights enjoyable for the most part. The level gives you a clear goal – get the rune to the door to leave – and a clear sense of progression – fight your way up the tower to get the rune. What I didn’t enjoy was how the large monster hit boxes restricted movement and made the combat in tighter spaces more of a chore, particularly the fight against the knights along the battlements.
The number of monsters really felt incredible, but I managed to win most of the battles first time. Ammo was tight in a few spaces but I almost always had what I needed to progress, even though I only managed to find 1 out of 8 secrets on my first play-through.
Masque of the Red Death is certainly worth a try. It’s an intense experience with a satisfying sense of progression.
The Cacowards are the best source of quality levels and gameplay mods for Doom. Anyone who wants to expand their experience of Doom engine gameplay should look there for the best mods and levels. That isn’t to say that it covers all quality content, but it’s certainly a good start.
Special mention for the 2x upscaling project – a project that uses multiple AIs in tandem to redraw the Doom sprites at double the resolution.
This is a trailer for Sonic Robo Blast 2 ver. 2.2.
SRB2 is a mod for Doom that creates a unique 3D Sonic game in the style of the older games. Honestly, it’s probably the best Sonic has ever been in 3D. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect (3d Sonic sets a low bar). The controls have always been too slippery for my liking which makes precision platforming a pain.
It’s nice to see this mod getting some love. It’s over two decades old (originally created in 1998), and it was a technical marvel (for the Doom engine) when it came out. The new release looks like it has added a lot of impressive new effects (destructible terrain using polyobjects!) and I’m looking forward to trying this.
15mm gaming has become increasing popular at my local club, with games like Flames of War and Team Yankee being especially popular. But I am a weirdo who likes to explore obscure rulesets and create my own games where I can.
I also have a resin 3d printer. This combined birthed a nice little mini-project.
The current total is 9 Abrams (the basis for Command and Conquer’s medium tank) , 2 Mammoth tanks, 3 stealth tanks, 2 flame tanks, some prototype M24 Chaffee (the basis for Red Alert and Command and Conquer’s light tank sprite). I’ve also made a massive set of Tiberium terrain and spore towers. It’s been very difficult getting some of this to print but I’ve relished the challenge.
I would like to restate that this is a mini-project. I am doing a quick army list book for the Critical Mass rules with no major changes. Along I was mulling a mass battle 6mm to 15mm sci-fi game after FRAG, I don’t want to let this district me from FRAG anymore than it has.
On 20th June, Amid Evil left early access. I’ve owned it for a while, but not played past Episode 4 (of 7).
I have really enjoyed my time playing Amid Evil, but it hasn’t grabbed me as hard as DUSK did. Something about the combat in DUSK feels more polished, and I find the pseudo-realistic level design and atmosphere a little more immersive.
However, it’s still a great retro-FPS throwback. Seven episodes with four levels each, with gameplay that is reminiscent of Heretic. Some of the level design looks absolutely gorgeous, and the designer clearly had fun making crazy patterns in the level editor.
Night Dive’s Blood remaster is out. It’s pretty good. It has the full game, cutscenes, all the music, both add-on episodes, and modern day graphics options.
The most important thing, and the reason I’m posting this as an update, is because Night Dive are offering Steam users with a copy of Blood a 50% discount on Fresh Supply, which lowers the cost to a couple of beers.
As a package, if you already have Blood it isn’t much different to running Bloodgdx or Nblood. It is nice to have everything in one place though.
If you’re new to Blood, this is the best way to start playing it. All the files in one place, modern options, and some nice quality of life improvements such as power up timers and easy-to-use custom difficulty (Blood is amazing with hard-mode numbers of monsters but medium or easy-mode aggression/damage).