Celestial Mechanics Q3A (ermap2) is Eraser's Q3A conversion of the author's earlier Team Arena map Celestial Mechanics (erta1). The author has aimed to be as faithful as possible to the original release, and in this has been successful. For example, Kamikaze/Mega health/Haste spawns have been replaced with an alternating spawn of either the Haste, Quad, or Regen in the common area, the Medikit replaces Guard, and the Lightning Gun replaces the Nail Gun in the respective bases. Otherwise, design and item layout remain essentially the same.
Based on the author's previous releases (for example, on House of Dissent one can go on a tour of the map's creation when loading it in devmap mode) one should expect to find some kind of innovative feature, and here Eraser does not disappoint, replacing the Team Arena style vortex portals with custom wormholes. I like the idea overall, but a problem I found with them - a problem also to be found in Eraser's TA version - is that the portals that transport you into the enemy base do not function as dual-direction portals (as in mpteam6) or bounce pads (as in mpq3ctf4), meaning that if you try to jump through them you will end up falling to your death in the void. While it is easy enough to learn which one's will work and which will not, I personally would have preferred to see these replaced with some other differentiating entity, or simply removed altogether.
Something else that also puzzled me was why the opportunity was not taken to spruce up the textures. Eraser has gone to great effort to play with novel textures on other recent releases so I was a bit surprised to find the author went with a mottled concrete and base colours. I have liked to have seen something that reflected the eighties wormhole aesthetic, rather than the standard Q3A pads. Either way, r3tina's skybox is the real star of the show in terms of aesthetics and the simple texturing of the platforms makes for clear contrast and sighting against the background visuals. It does not hurt the eyes and in no way hurts the game play.
So was Celestial Mechanics worth remaking? Most definitely! Item placement feels pretty spot on and layout of the bases makes for some pretty fun games and in a day and age where it is hard to find dedicated Team Arena servers, it makes perfect sense to have a solid TA map converted to Q3A play. The author recommends 6-8 players but 2 v 2 works perfectly well too. 3 v 3 feels just about right.
The map supports bot play also.
Well worth the download, especially if you're a fan of space CTFs.
Reviewed by HelterSkeleton