It's kind of silly (quad!) for me to make a review about a map pack of Threewave CTF (short version : 3W CTF) without talking about the mod itself. I've spent so many months (or was it years?) just playing this mod some years ago and I know all of the maps from 3W CTF pretty well. Just like a lot of you, because, well, these maps were (and still are) very popular for playing CTF. I still miss the capturestrike mode on QuakeLive today. But before the reviews let's go back in time and take a quick look at where these maps come from. I don't want to go into the details of the original 3W CTF mod either because there is already a lot of info about it on the net itself and the mod is still widely available for Quake 3. The original webpage of the mod doesn't exist anymore today, you can still find the 3W CTF mod on a lot of gaming website. Full version is 1.6 with an update patch, making it 1.7 for the final release of the mod itself.
So, the 3W team already had a lot of experience with CTF maps because, well, they created the CTF mod genre itself (with Quake 1 and 2) and the team even went on to become a professional game studio - Threewave Software - When Quake 3 Arena was released, id Software contracted Casey and Zoid to make a small pack of 3 CTF maps (the first 3 maps of this review, see below) that later on, evolved to 5 packs of 39 maps for the 3W CTF mod. So when 3W CTF was released for Quake 3, most of the original mappers already had experience creating CTF maps from the previous version of 3W for Quake 1-2, and also, were already or would become professional level designer for the video game industry. The team also had some strict rules regarding maps creation and design for 3W CTF in order to have the highest quality in every map for the mod. Looking back at the past, I think these may be the reasons as to why these maps were, and still are, very popular 10 years now after it was released, from a team that became a legend in the mapping/modding community.
Some notes before the reviews ; Any map from the 3W CTF can be loaded in almost any Quake 3 mod that support CTF. So you can play these maps in standard Q3, Team Arena or CPMA if you want, that's your personal choice. All the maps reviewed in this pack can be played in 3W CTF in all the available game modes, which are, CTF, oneflag CTF, ClassicCTF and last but not the least, Capturestrike mode (even DM but who cares in a CTF map). Also all of these maps are fully compatible with all the game modes in Team Arena i.e. Harvester and Overload. The 3W team has made it a requirements to have at least 32 spawn point (16 per team) in all of the 3W maps. Of course, most of these maps are not designed to be played by so many players, so I'll post the suggested # of players for each map. Bot support included, they behave as they should! All the textures being used in this pack comes from id Software or the Threewave textures pack itself. Release date for this pack is October 5, 2001.
q3w1 - Bloodlust by Zoid - 6 to 10 players:
First map in this pack is one of the oldest, if not the first. Yeah you know that map, Bloodlust is still very popular on QuakeLive and I forgot a very important point about that, the Bloodlust version on QL is of course a remake of the original. Playing back the original 3W version I am reminded of how basic and easy the route and the layout of the bases where done. 2 ways, above and below from the middle ground with an open courtyard as the entrance (instead of a water courtyard in the remake) in each base and 3 entrances to the flag room (4 entrances for the QL version). The original version is not complicated and after a while we quickly get bored playing against bots. All weapons are present except the BFG, a Regen and a Mega Health in each base, players will fight in the middle ground over the Haste (on the floor) or Quad (on top). Bot support is okay and have no problem moving everywhere since the routes are not complicated and nothing gets in their ways. There is a reason it was re-made for QL, I think that the original version quickly wears out after only a few minutes of playing it. For me that is because the map layout is too simple. There are other, better maps in the 3W packs.
q3w2 - Courtyard Conundrum by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
The original one for Quake 3! There is of course the QuakeLive version and I also recommend the version by Seremtam, Courtyard Reloaded. This must be the map that I have played the most, after Space CTF. Even for you, you probably already have played this eternal classic. Here the flag room is a rectangular courtyard with a block right in the middle that will force the player to move along it to get to the flag (either on top along the exterior wall or on the floor. The original version has 3 entrances going from the middle ground to the courtyard where the flag is located (the QL version has 4). Still the remake for QL of that map is really not far from the original and that is because this map is very well done and is fun playing even with the simple layout and routes that are offered to the player. In this original version, all weapons are present, except the BFG of course, the plasma gun is located in the Haste room, Mega Health is almost in the same place compared to the QL version. Shotgun is located in the lower corridor between the pillars and Grenade Launcher is at the end of the hallway on the second floor. A great map that inspired many mappers.
q3w3 - Finnegans Revenge by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
This may not be the most popular in this pack but still, Finnegans Revenge is a well done map. We are placed inside a kind of castle/dungeon where, from the middle of the maps 2 ways are offered to the players for going to the flag. Both of these routes split along their way for offering a total of 4 different paths inside each base for going to the flag room. In each team's bases we have the Mega Health and the Red Armor not too far from the flag (with a death pit just in front of the flag). The middle ground offers a yellow armor with a Haste/Regen being spawned once in a while. All weapons are there except for the BFG. My main concern with this map is that for 10 players (5 vs 5) it may be too many people. A 3 vs 3 would be better. In my opinion, the fun factor quickly wears out with this maps and I think it's mostly because that the 4 different routes are too short and too straight forward. Still it is a fun map but I would not use it for competition.
q3w4 - Bitter Dungeons by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
A small and closed map, we are stuck inside a dungeon, only 2 routes for each base, bitter dungeon feel very cramped because of the ceilings level where mostly it's very low except for the middle ground. Surprisingly, even if it is small, because the rooms being large, we can play easily up to 10 players (5 vs 5) and have a blast. Missing weapons are the Plasma Gun and the BFG only. 2 Yellow Armors inside each base with a Quad spawning in the middle ground on a narrow bridge with a small pit below it. It may not be a map that we will remember for a long time, but still, it's a solid work and we can have fun with it, for a short time.
q3w5 - Gospel Crossing by Scancode - 6 to 10 players:
Each base is represented by a church that has seen better days with a dungeon just below. The place has an eerie feel with torches on the walls, church music with an organ and some ghost sound in the hallway. The flag sits at the end of the main room of the church with a chute just behind to go to the dungeon below (2 other jump pads are also placed in the dungeon to go back up). 3 paths to choose from the middle ground to the base. There are 2 floors in the middle area with a Quad spawning on the top level. Watch out for the big circular pit on the lower level. There are 2 jump pads to go back on the top and 2 tunnels that goes in the dungeons of each base. You will find the Grenade Launcher, Shotgun and a Mega Health in the dungeon below, Rocket Launcher, Lightning and Railgun are on the upper level of the church. The Red and Yellow Armors sit in a corner of the top level. A very nice map, it plays well for any suggested numbers of players. And I think that the architecture is still very beautiful for a map this old. If you do not know this old classic yet, shame on you!
q3w6 - Black Sky Mining Company by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
I think that this is the most unknown map of this pack and what a shame since it is really fun. Each base is a circular (mining) shaft where the flag sits almost at the bottom floor. There are a lot of floors inside each shaft (7 in total) and we can move between them by simply dropping or, for going back up, taking one of the many available jump pads that are scattered everywhere. The big problem with this map is the simple fact that each shaft has only 1 tunnel to connect them and where do you think the tunnel is located? Yes, at the top, outside of the shaft. Okay I must say that there is in fact 2 tunnels, but it is the same one with 2 different levels, you can drop from the top to the bottom inside the tunnel, in the middle, but if you want to change level in the tunnel, you will need to take one of the 4 jump pads outside of it to get back up (2 jump pads on each side). So to make a steal for the flag, you have to go down the enemy's base, take the flag and then go back up, get out of the shaft, go through the tunnel and go back down to your base to reach for your flag. Easy? With bots, yes, with human players? Not so much. This level plays mostly in a vertical way instead of an horizontal one. When you try to go back up, the enemies can easily shoot you from below because of all the jump pads that you need to take. Of course there are a couples of shortcuts located in each base that will make it easier for you, if you dare to venture inside the base. And you will quickly learn to take these since it is so much faster to get out of the shaft that way. Great architecture, great atmosphere also with all the concrete and metal textures being used, add a black sky with that for a space map look. All weapons are available except for the BFG, there is a Regen that spawns on the top floor, with a Red and Yellow Armor inside each base also. A fun and not very known map. Make sure to try it at least for having a different gameplay of CTF in a vertical manner.
q3w7 - City Crossing by Scancode - 8 to 12 players:
A very beautiful one. This map has the look of a futuristic city. Lots of light being used, the textures are mostly techno/metals with a gothic look, all of this brings to a great visual. No neutral middle ground exist for this map. Each base's main hallways are connected with 2 doorways for the middle. The players will have a choice of 4 different hallways for going to the flag (one of them is a water tunnel). There is a jump pad that bring you to a teleport, spawning you beside... The flag again. Great for an escape route, but it can be a death trap at the same time since all other players will know where to look for when you spawn. Quickly wears off to use it. All weapons are present except for the BFG, YA on both side in a lower hallway, there is also a Regen that spawn in each base not too far from the flag. There is the open window that I would like to mention, you can see a big open space that we cannot go to, but still, give a lot of depth to the map itself. An old map that still got a great look. Gameplay may not be the best but it is not bad either.
q3w8 - Denali Base by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
Damn! I forgot how much I love this map until I just loaded it for this review. The fog... it's everywhere, kind of a pea soup, you cannot see very far in this map. You fight along the sides of Mount McKinley in the clouds, this is some sort of secret lab. Did anyone said Half-Life? Yes this map has the right feeling to it. With the concrete structure for the lab, electric cables, and the respawn point of the teleports (and there is a lot in this map) you feel like you might see Gordon Freeman popping in and you would not be surprised about it. No crowbar included. The main way follow the sides of the mountain (watch out for not falling to your death, really easy), each flag sits outside at the base of a wall on the mountain. You will need to take one of the 2 jump pads for reaching a tunnel just above where it can lead you to a teleport or a tunnel that wind its way through the mountain to get out on the middle neutral ground. A Quad sits right behind a small pillar in the middle ground. Since the main ways just circle around the mountain you can choose between going left or right for getting to the flag, either ways gets you there. Only weapons missing is the GL and the BFG, there are 3 YA in each base, for a total of 6. A great map with an ambiance that we don't see often in Quake 3. Very well done and thought. If you don't know Denali Base by Casey yet, you should try it for sure! PS : Bots play terribly bad in this one. Are often stuck in a corner and fall easily along the sideways of the mountain.
q3wxs3 - Silly CTF by Casey - 6 to 10 players:
The name says it all. This map is for having fun only, nothing serious. You spawn in the map with a machinegun and a BFG only, no ammo, health or items are present in this map. You fight only with what you have. A small map in a space void, both flags sit on a platform separated by a wall. You need to drop on the lower floor and take one of the many available vertical platform that keeps moving to get up for the flag, then drop back down to get back an elevator to reach for your flag. 6 players are too much for this small map, a 2 vs 2 would be better. Fun for a few minutes only, after that, you will quickly move to something better.
If you are reading these reviews because you are still wondering if you need these maps or not, you are simply crazy. Stop loosing your time and download right away the greatest mod of all time for Quake 3, Threewave CTF!
Reviewed by DGhost