Map Name: Reduction
Author: Fletch (aka Brian Thomas)

Reviewed by: Vengeance

As Fletch says in his readme, the name of this level is intentional. With Reduction, he was making a comment on the number of textures used in the level. He also states that this map was an experiment. The problem with experimental levels is that the author usually ends up focusing on one or two areas of the design. This also seems to be true of Reduction. It provides a valuable lesson that a limited number of textures combined with good architecture is a lot more effective than using lots of large, photo-realistic textures. Another benefit of this is the reduced file size. When people use lot of large, new textures (that are usually compiled into the BSP), it can boost the zip size up to 3 or 4 megs. Maps which make good use of existing textures are much more friendly to us humble 56k modem users :)

Texturing and brushwork, which appear to have been Fletch's focus are very good. The lighting used complements these two elements well. Because of his economical texture use, Fletch has kept the w_poly very, very low and the frame rates very, very high. There were no technical problems I could see either.

The main problems with Reduction are related to gameplay. We are told that this level is meant for one on one matches, which seems about right. But good one on one levels need to flow very quickly. Reduction is far too linear to make a good one on one level. I also have some problems with Fletch's choice of weapons. For such a small map, weapons such as the egon and rocket launcher should have been omitted. However, the way you get to these is made reasonably difficult. Also, to pick up the rocket launcher, you have to quickly run to the other side of the level. It is factors such as these which encourage gameflow. If the level had been made less linear and the weapon placement had been re-thought (we may not have been needed if the level was expanded) then this could have been a very promising level.

To summarise, Reduction provides a valuable lesson on how economical use of textures is more effective than using lots of them. But its gameplay problems prevent it from becoming much more than a lesson.


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