de_aztec (from CS)
de_aztec (from CS) by OXOTHuK

Oleg Perezhogin (aka OXOTHuK) is probably best known in the Quake 3 community for his many remakes of classic Counter-Strike maps, most of which you can find here on ..::LvL. On offer with OXODM6, is a remake of the Counter-Strike 1.6 version of the bomb defusal map, de_aztec (by Chris Auty), originally released for Quake 3 back in 2014. Visually, the author has remained faithful to this version, utilising brickwork and Aztec carving and reliefs for the stone blocks and ruins, and retaining water, grasses and plants (for cover) in the sewer system below. Fans of the original may lament the absence of rain (and perhaps also the lack of ambient sounds such as crickets) but while such features carry aesthetic appeal for a player's complete immersion in a realistic setting, these are not necessary for game play and can often be more of a distraction (e.g. lag, hearing item pick-ups).

While the labelling of the two bomb sites was swapped for later versions of Counter-Strike, I will retain the labelling conventions of the version on which this remake is based. At bombsite A (later bombsite B) you will find a Yellow Armour, a Medikit and the Quad. A Rail Gun spawns in the sewer below. At bombsite B and the adjoining counter-terrorist spawn one finds the Regen, a Shot Gun, the MegaHealth and a Rocket Launcher. In the sewer below the wooden footbridge is the Lightning Gun and in VQ3 a Personal Teleport also spawns on top of some stone blocks. You will find a Red Armour, somewhat out of the way from the action, at the terrorists' spawn location. You will also find Green Armour scattered around in CPM.

While something of a fan favourite for many Counter-Strike players, one of the complaints players had of this level was that games were imbalanced in favour of the counter-terrorists due to the lack of cover when crossing the footbridge, and the two choke zones into bombsite A that were easy for counter-terrorists to control. These were the entrances to this area via wooden doors that are open only slightly ajar. Even the sewers below leave players particularly vulnerable to attack. Because of this, de_aztec was finally removed from active duty in 2017. While these criticisms are particularly true of mission-based game types, this level works surprisingly well under the altered physics, random spawns and item balancing of Quake 3 (especially CPM, for which this remake is primarily intended). While the remake does inherit the flaws of design in the original, these short-comings are not nearly anywhere near as bad here and OXOTHuK has been fairly thoughtful in his placement of items.

The action will centre, unsurprisingly, on the Quad area and players/teams finding themselves here will find the area easy to control, with plenty of armour and health on hand and a Rail Gun nearby for sniping. But players will need to go much farther afield to pick up other weapons. The distance of the Red Armour (and weapons) from this area, in addition to both the availability of Regen and MegaHealth at site B, means that an opposing team can send several well-stocked teammates in to gain control over this area. With a few tweaks (e.g. removal of player spawns at Quad, swapping the Rail Gun for a projectile weapon and inclusion of location entities) this remake could have fared much better as a viable team death match.

While best played as Team Deathmatches, OXODM6 is better suited to casual games than competitive play. Fun for a while but games can get a little repetitive. Bots play the level fine. A must have for fans of Counter-Strike.

Reviewed by HelterSkeleton

Ranked: 4 out of 5 (3 votes)

Download: de_aztec (from CS) by OXOTHuK