The license applies to MSDN text/images and to my levels

3rd of December 2023

LA Meltdown 2047 | Single/Multi | Author: Aymeric "MRCK" Nocus | Download

The Review: MRCK's latest entry is a reinterpretation of the first episode of Duke3D, with Hollywood Holocaust, Red Light District, Death Row, Toxic Waste Dump and Abyss all crammed into a single map. Now, I'd like to emphasize that this is MRCK's reinterpretation of those maps, not a remake. The urban area has a movie theater, a sex shop and a bar, but so do a million other city maps. In fact, the only thing this one seems to share with the originals is the order in which you explore these areas. The Death Row bit and the ending are the only parts where the influence of the originals feels somewhat significant.
But all that is rather irrelevant. This is still a good city map with plenty of MRCK's idiosyncracies (for better and worse). The buildings in the urban area have some great detailing done to their exteriors, and the street areas in general are rich in detail without resorting to excessive use of neon colors and messy texturing. The canyon sections have a natural look to them with textures stretched in the vertical direction, just like in E1L5, making them look more majestic.
The map flows steadily from one segment to another, almost seamlessly (aside from the more apparent transition to the Death Row section). Still, LA Meltdown 2047 does feel abstract and "weird" in a way the originals did not, but this is on par with MRCK's recent releases: The map is more like a Build-engine playground rather than an authentic urban location. Combat is quite easy: For a long time you'll be facing mostly sentries and troopers in the urban sections where your pistol is plenty enough to deal with these enemies from a considerable distance. Commanders are noticeably absent, which to me at least is welcome, as these tend to be a pain in open sections, hitting you with missiles from high above. The map is flush with ammunition and health (and way too many trashcans; what's up with these anyway, as they seem endemic to MRCK's recent maps?), so that in the later sections you can safely resort to using the Devastator & RPG even against lesser enemies. Still, near the end of the map I was growing tired of what seemed like excessive reliance on respawns and simply left a whole bunch of enemies behind. Mostly I didn't enjoy the narrow canyon pathways combined with y-axis combat (the engine doesn't do this well due to your limited view angles) and vegetation constantly getting in your way.
Bundling together the entire first episode, La Meltdown 2047 is also a particularly long map, clocking in at around 50 minutes. Despite this, I didn't find the map particularly difficult to navigate. There are viewscreens to help guide the way, and due to the map's "idea" it's quite compartmentalized.

Conclusion: LA Meltdown 2047 is for sure an interesting map, but it really is more what it intends to be, i.e., a reinterpretation rather than a remake, allowing for more freedom but also lessening its "emotional" impact. (We all have such a strong attachment to the originals that maybe we expect a stricter adherence to them.) It's an all-around well-designed map with plenty of scale and variety, and at least until the final 10 minutes or so, its combat also felt less marred by MRCK's recent bad habits.

Rating: 93

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