What do you get when you combine the long-range sniping power of the Railgun with the burden of carrying a flag through portals with the ever present danger of the void: the bane of all Quake 3 maps - the space CTF! So when I first loaded the maps in this zipfile I was left wondering as to why an experienced mapper would want to touch a map type that by its very nature embodies the pinnacle of frustration. The author admits to a certain level of foolhardiness in the readme file but I would hasten the suggestion that it is perhaps experience that has leant Kell the confidence and bravery needed to tackle a space CTF where less experienced mapmakers would have thrown themselves into the jaws of the proverbial lions.
Divided We Fall is a deliciously dry-witted name for a space CTF that might have rapidly decayed into corniness if it was not for the author's subtle and sensitive treatment of the chosen subject matter. Kell has used simple texturing and a basic map plan and observed, what I believe are, all the golden rules of item layout that make space maps playable in CTF and Team Arena.
There are no bold moves or flashy gestures to be found here; Kell has been considerate enough to know when to leave well enough alone in addition to avoiding and/or improving upon some of the mistakes made in the base Q3A and Team Arena map stock. For example, there are no moving platforms, no Railgun, BFG or Kamikaze. Platforms large enough to move upon, no Megahealth in Q3A CTF (leaving base defenders and flag carriers more vulnerable to attack), Railgun hard to reach and in centre of map (again in standard CTF) so the player guarding the base will have to leave his or her post, creating additional opportunities for blind-sighting and flag captures.
Divided We Fall includes a CTF, and Team Arena version of the main map plus a re-worked tourney version of the id Software classic, The Longest Yard (q3dm17). Also, a custom bot Pyre, who like Kell's previous bot Krusade, is a formidable opponent in the world of bots.
The standard CTF version epitomises the principle of controlled restraint with only the Shotgun and Rocket Launcher available in addition to a single Railgun in the common area. Also to be found on common ground is a health and armour regeneration station and above this a Battlesuit spawns. It sounds bland in the writing but gameplay is healthy and honest.
So too is The Tallest Yard, Kell's q3dm17 remake, which has been tweaked for tournament play. Rather than resorting to a simple bifurcation of this map, that plagues the majority of q3dm17 remakes, Kell has opted for small but profound changes to its content.
Retexturing has been kept simple and minimal with some important changes made to the item layout. Red Armour has been replaced with Yellow Armour, the Quad has been replaced with a second Railgun (kudos goes to the author on this one) and the Megahealth has been replaced with the Battlesuit. It does not seem like much but the net result is significant changes in gameplay on the most leeched-to-death map in Q3A history. Kell has taken a bold move here and managed to breathe new life into a level that for many has long overstayed its welcome.
The Team Arena version of Divided We Fall includes the Chaingun, Nailgun and Proximitymine Launcher and Guard, Ammo Regen and Doubler. Guard and Doubler are situated on the bottom tier of the homebase along with a Rocket Launcher and 50 health. Yellow armour is accessible via accelerator pads on the wings of the middle tier and is also accessible from the bouncepad on the way to the upper tier where you will find the Nailgun situated above the flag and across from the portal that leads directly to the enemy base.
In the common area you will find more armour along with a single Proximitymine Launcher and 2 additional team-based platforms that hold the Ammo Regen and Chaingun. Also included is the Medikit and Quad which spawn here as well. In this respect item placement in Team Arena is textbook meaning that roles within a team are clearly defined, even to novices of this game mode, without handing everything to a player on a silver platter.
As with all maps of this type both routes and tactics are limited in scope making your opponents movements often-times predictable and the gameplay repetitive; it will all boil down to which team is quicker off the block and better co-ordinated. For this reason many might want to avoid this release but Kell has been respectful enough to keep Divided We Fall playable and not irksome. There are several opportunities to avoid predictable paths on pads through direct movement from bouncepads to accelerator pads to portals for those teams fortunate enough to have a flag carrier with well-developed movement-based skills.
For seasoned Team Arena players there is the opportunity for lightning fast flag captures for the team who can set up and maintain their flag carrier with a Rocket Launcher and the Guard and Quad power-ups - but you are going to have to work for it! Divided We Fall is at its most potent when both teams are fighting for control over this route and item combination.
Divided We Fall supports all Team Arena gametypes and while bot play is also supported they can be predictably disobedient but play a lot better than I have witnessed on some maps. 3 players a side is just perfect. There could possibly have been some tweaking of distances between portals and pads to improve gameplay, but you know what, half the fun of playing on a custom map is learning to make the most out of the environment you have been given.
I am sure long-standing fans of space maps, CTF and/or Team Arena will really appreciate this author's refined sense of judgement and flair for understatement.
Reviewed by Mark