You spawn into what seems to be the remains of a temple or castle, on a moon of a planet called Derwyllus that you can see high above in the sky. You have been dropped there with a mission: to get the enemy flag. But soon you realize that this is not as easy as it seems...
The map is comprised of three open areas: the two bases and a no man's land. Each section is only reachable through portals, like on Team Arena's Vortex Portal (mpteam6). You have got three ways out of your base: the portals on the left and right sides lead you straight into enemy territory; and a main portal in the middle takes you into the above mentioned no man's land where you can pick up a 45 seconds long Quad Damage, which comes in handy if you are planning a heavy assault on the enemy base.
Both bases are open and the flags are located on a building on the top of a mountain, so you will engage into a lot of vertical action when the fight comes to your side. There are three ways to enter the flag room: from both sides and from behind.
Gameplay is good, but what makes this map stand out are the visuals, thanks to custom made textures by the author himself and other textures by Sock. Both bases and the surroundings are built with enough attention to detail to make you feel you are on a planet far away, but also done in a way that does not take up more resources than what it needs. It plays just fine on my 7 years-old 2 Ghz Athlon XP w/512 Mb RAM and a GeForce 4.
Bot play is good, but they always seem to take only one of the three ways to enter the bases.
According to the readme file, this is the author's first map, and he recommends 4 players or more per team. 4 players on each side seem to be the right amount for quick and action-packed games, while more players would make it slower and more focused on strategy. There are 7 spawn locations for each team.
The only down-side I have found to this map is that a few parts should have been more open: sometimes you will find yourself in the heat of the battle distracted by watching your step so you do not end up falling into the void.
One final note: if the game crashes while loading the map, you will need to change the default memory value by setting com_hunkmegs to 96 or more.
If you love CTF and team games, you need this map on your hard drive. If not, download it anyways just to check out the gorgeous visuals.
Reviewed by GuitarMan
Tigs notes: Gooball has put together a demo of how to reach the secret Fountain of Youth area.
Ranked: 4.6 out of 5 (19 votes)
Download: Derwyll's Castle 2 by Noruen