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23rd of February 2024

Lunar Apocalypse 3072: A Space Oprah | Single/Multi | Author: Aymeric "MRCK" Nocus | Download

The Review: MRCK reinterpreted and compressed both LA Meltdown and Shrapnel City into single maps. Now it's time for a Lunar Apocalypse medley. If Shrapnel City 2096 was already a more loose reinterpretation of the classics than LA Meltdown 2047, then A Space Oprah is even looser. There were very few moments that reminded me of the classics, with only Warp Factor, Occupied Territory and Dark Side sticking out as real obvious. MRCK rarely goes for the space theme in general, but Blast Radius was a good demonstration that he can handle the theme well. MRCK always thinks big, and he handles scale well. That being said, Oprah is a mixed bag. Its wild and colorful visuals, gigantic scope and constant cacophony of ambient sounds make it seem more like the old space episodes of Looney Tunes (like Hare-Way to the Stars and Duck Dodgers in the 24½th century). The shifting themes don't really do it many favors either; the city maps felt more consistent despite being medleys of various urban themes. Moreover, at least "outdoors" everything is too bright, while a space station near Earth would be a place of intense contrasts, something the original Lunar Apocalypse maps understood well. Still, the sheer amount of stuff and creativity on display in Oprah is worth praise, and these include some clever additions, including a Pig Cop Tank factory, a conveyor belt with crates (funny how these always remind me of Quake 2), and a few other details worth seeing for youself.
As for gameplay, when it comes to navigation and finding keys and buttons, the map is pretty straightforward, with the separate segments flowing well from one to another. The map makes use of many high-speed elevators (thank god) and several 2-way trains to aid navigation, with some underwater tunnels thrown in every now and then. Only the last section involved a bit too much legwork, being a huge area with plenty of going back and forth.
Then there's combat, and it's here that Oprah takes a nosedive. First of all, there's a glaring overreliance on Sentry Drones. These are enemies fit for particular situations, but this map likes to throw large groups of them your way every chance it gets as normal fodder. Due to the map's scale it's fairly easy to keep a distance between you and the sentries, so fighting them is simply tedium (although still better than having them constantly explode in your face due to a lack of space). Then, after the "Fusion Station" bit the map starts to rely increasingly on Battlelords, often with little cover, to the degree that I started to wonder if half the map started off as a BattleDuke usermap. Add to this tricky sections with explosive ooze canisters next to cocooned babes that will spawn many nasty things upon dying and it just builds up the annoyance factor. (Traps such as these might work better in a different context, but here they just add to the chaos.) Luckily there are some sections (like the "Fusion Station" underwater bit) where you can simply ignore the enemy rather than engage them. If the map were shorter these issues with combat would be more bearable, but the map is an hour long and there's no reprieve until you kill the Overlord.

Conclusion: After his previous two maps I was excited to see what MRCK would come up with for the inevitable Lunar Apocalypse medley, and while Lunar Apocalypse 3072: A Space Oprah can be appreciated for its vast scope and occasionally creative "Looney Tunes" visuals, unfortunately the excitement of seeing what awaits in the next segment is continuously met with another batch of sentries, Battlelords, blinking lights and a cacophony of space sounds.

Rating: 90

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