When I first saw the colours of this map I thought I had stumbled upon a surrealist canvas - a Joan Miró or Yves Tanguy. Blue glass looping across the central arena; green grass splashed around the outer frame. Flashes of colour - red armour, yellow armour, blue health, green health speckled across the top of this canvas. Solid dabs of colour - orange, green, red, brown; fiery and impressionistic like Chagall, luminescent and dancing like Seurat. Then all those peculiar skins dancing like twittering machines on the day of the dead - Bones, Neon, DoomMatrix, Hiriko, Plasma, and Charon.
I saw this level's title as a play on words: Suriel, the union of the surreal and Uriel, the dark angel warrior upon this autumn cannibalism of a landscape. I saw the colours as intentional and with purpose.
Playable in both CPM and VQ3 I would recommend playing Suriel in CPMA if you want to make the most out of it. I do not know how it fairs in Warsow but I can imagine the games being entertaining for both players and spectators a like even if it lacks the specific architectural and geometric features required for this mod.
Due to the small and open nature of the central arena the direction of play is slanted toward the vertical like in Takkie's small box maps with only glass walkways and platforms for cover. Gameplay gets more horizontal when moving around the external perimeters.
To make the most of this map I recommend playing it as a duel in CPM with someone who is prepared to commit to the spectacle and risk everything to take control of all major items. By this I mean all the available rocket jumps off walls and pads for the armours and lightning gun; the plasma sweeps of the minor healths or the RG-MH-LG combo in the main room. The quick combo runs across the map for spawn rapes and quick grabs of the big health. It hurts when you lose, and looks great when you win and if the two players are evenly matched then there are a lot of funny head on collisions to be had. And even if the openness of this map means r-speeds are too high to run properly on older computers: Never mind! This is still a great map to knockabout on and should work fine for small games if run through the unmodded vq3. Bl!cc3r's experience in mapping for DeFRaG really shows here!
But for all its internal complexity, Suriel did not hold me to it like other maps have. With committed, equally-matched players it is a gem but the reality of high-end rotation on a public server, at a LAN party or in a competition with a wide range of broadly skilled players is only going to highlight its greater inequities.
So what I would suggest in these settings is:
Small FFA: Watch for players with a knack for sitting back from the fray and racking up frags by circling the main pack. Concessions are the LG is hard to get but the RL is not, so watch for takers operating on the outside of the map.
Lightning Whores HF; there are some nifty takes to be had! Without them the lightning gun will carry no meaning for you in a small FFA.
Down players: work cooperatively; otherwise someone quicker and smarter will always have control over this map. The RA-RG-MH sweep is ridiculously easy and there are a few protected camping spots at the top of map, giving rail gunners god-like perspective (think The Longest Yard, Apocalypse Void). Talking with players helps, all you have to do is chat. say: "TO RG'r @ TOM" instead of dithering like fodder around the MH bounce pad.
Team Play: this also plays well as a 2-on-2, in much the same way that teamplay gives greater substance to the small tourney maps that come as part of the Q3 base stock but with greater weapon balance. The downside is the map does not ship with location entities, not that the map is large enough to really need them but 3 for the MH, RA, YA would have been nice in support of the gametype. Item placement remains unchanged.
Tourney: Do not bother with one-night-stands. Whoever takes first control will likely own the map and you as all locations are quick and easy to get to. Cautious gameplay, while wise, keeps you invisible to the flourishes and curvature of this sexy lover and leaves you open to getting a slug in the eye or taken out by a grenadier.
In this respect, Suriel comes off feeling like your first time with someone drunk - you may be waddling home with a gun-slingers saunter or with hidden desires awakened from within. At best you will be leaving dishevelled and with a rash!
Reviewed by Mark