Originally released in July 2004, NODM14 is the 14th in a series of maps designed by Rich "swelt" Jacques for Challenge ProMode Arena and the CPM clan Nobles. It was later released as CPM27 in January of the next year, as part of the official ProMode pack 7, whose release was set to coincide with the upcoming 4 x 4 TDM jolt league. The pack included 3 CTF maps and 6 TDM maps, including Realm of Steel Rats and Powahaus Redux, both of which have been reviewed on ..::LvL.
The official release remains virtually unchanged from this version: we have a new level shot and a floor grate, instead of tiles, to mark the location of Lightning Gun and that is about it. Aesthetically, the texturing is simple and functional in keeping with the overall aesthetic of ProMode maps, designed to be visually appealing in either high or low picmip graphics. This was crucial in the early days for minimising lag and keeping frame rates up. Textures are courtesy of Lunaran (mkoxide) and Evillair (e8), amongst others, while Amethyst supplies us with the skybox. Architectural features and geometry have also been kept simple to facilitate ease of movement about the map.
The long name for this map is "inspired" and judging by its design, as well as the author's previous releases (think NODM10 which has also been reviewed here), I am assuming swelt has taken his "inspiration" from the Quake2 Deathmatch level The Edge. The main atrium of NODM14 is very reminiscent of the main atrium in The Edge, albeit with a slightly different item placement. NODM14 consists of a main outdoor area with curved walls and plenty of height for z-axis fighting. It is surrounded by a series of platforms and stairs and a Quake 2 style lift, all of which will take you up to the top of the map. The main atrium also serves as a hub for direct access to the other areas, excluding the room with the Quad. These include: a rocky outdoor area (modelled by Black Dog) and housing the RA in a pool of slime, another slime-based room with both a MH and RG, and another room housing both a RL and YA. The Quad room can only be accessed from these latter two rooms. The Quad section is rather open and flat but given that it spawns in the back corner of the room, the Quad is a particularly risky proposition. Control of the entrances to this area will be crucial if your team is to stand a chance of picking it up.
Bots have a tendency to follow predictable paths between the main atrium and Rail Gun room and will even go to pick up both the RA and the MH (situated in the RG room). However, they often find themselves getting stuck in the pools of slime. Due to their location, bots in VQ3 won't go for either the Invisibility or the MH in the main atrium but I have seen CPM bots pick both items up, especially the MH.
NODM14 is unique in being one of few Quake 3 levels holding two MHs but the author has counterbalanced this by not including any 50 health pick-ups on the map. NODM14 is also unique in being one of a few competitive TDM levels to also include the Invisibility power-up. This item can be extremely useful to the downside for navigating the largely corridor-room driven layout when trying to gain control over the Quad spawns. The author has been wise enough not to place any player spawn points in this area but, unfortunately, the map suffers from an overall lack of player spawn points; it has 9 in total. This is clearly not enough to support the recommended maximum load of 12 players. When taking both the number of weapons and spawn points into account, as well as the size of this map, I would not recommend any more than 8. Personally, I think 4 x 4 TDM levels need at least 12 player spawn locations to be effective.
Concluding, this level will already be familiar to those playing in ProMode so, for you, there is really no point in downloading this release. But for those who are playing on different platforms, NODM14 serves as a convenient stand-alone release for those looking for something new to play on. Designed specifically for team competition, players will be pleased to note that NODM14 includes the necessary location entities so you can keep track of your team mates. Item placement is great but the design and aesthetics could be seen as relatively basic by today's standards. Bots navigate the level well-enough to play this off-line but have trouble picking up some major items. Their tendency to stick to some fairly well-trod paths will make game play somewhat repetitive after a while. Other than that, NODM14 has no real issues so it is at least worth checking out. Recommended for CPM, especially if you want to make use of all the routes, but VQ3 players shouldn't run into any troubles getting around.
Reviewed by HelterSkeleton