Map Name: Echo
Author: ReNo
DOWNLOAD (from Lambda-Complex)

Reviewed by: Vengeance

It's always very pleasing when you've been away for a while, and then you see how much a mapper has improved. ReNo's first map, Obsolete was definately better than most first attempts. Since then he has released some superb maps, such as the visually stunning Elixir, and the brilliantly balanced, CM_Arena.

Personally, I've always preferred playing larger maps which are based more on tactics (which IMO Half-Life is based around) than speed. But I'm always on the lookout for good small maps as well. Echo is one of those maps that are usually released to keep the masses happy while the designer is cooking up something bigger.

I'll cut straight to the chase and say I have absolutely no complaints, so I won't go into too much detail. As we've come to expect from ReNo, Echo looks absolutely gorgeous. There's some wonderful, subtle coloured lighting (something which ReNo has excelled at since day one). Texture placement is spot on, and there's some good attention to detail, which all help to create a rich atmosphere. Also, there's some good use of ambient sounds, something which we see (or hear in this case) a lot more of these days, thankfully.

For something which was put together so quickly, Echo plays very well. The layout is simple and easy to learn, the weapon placement is very well thought out and there's some good use of intentional dead ends. Which brings me on to one of my favourite terms (you've guessed it). Risk incentive (article coming soon, hopefully). The most notable example of this is the rocket launcher, which is placed underwater, leaving you exposed when you exit. Also, the snarks are well placed, as you have to crouch to get to them. There are no problems with gameflow or connectivity - as we've come to expect - and it's good to see people utilizing the vertical aspect of map design more these days. All of these elements help to create a level that is very well balanced and flows like running water (/vengeance close book of bad analogies).

Finally, there were no technical problems. I didn't find myself getting stuck anywhere, there seemed to be no visual errors and r_speeds were kept at a very comfortable level.

If you're looking for a good small level to play at your next LAN party, then this is the map for you. Congratulations to ReNo on creating another very professional level. It'll be interesting to see what else ReNo has lurking up his creative sleeves.


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