When I was a kid, I used to boot-up multiplayer maps in games like Counter-Strike and Unreal Tournament and wander around them alone. I loved exploring the design of spaces like Facing Worlds and de_dust2, but was less enthused by the other people trying to kill me in them. I like my FPS enemies to be distinctly non-human, able to blast me into a quivering chunk of meat, but unable to call me "n00b" afterwards.
So it was with considerable joy that I learned about the Remix Jam map pack. It's the result of a recent level design jam, whereby Quake mappers have taken iconic multiplayer maps, and redesigned them to work as single-player levels. The result is a 30-map Quake episode that takes you on a whistle-stop tour of multiplayer shooter history, with dozens of enemies to blast along the way.
I had a little poke around the map pack's innards this morning, and it's a surprisingly comprehensive experience. The map has its own Quake-style hub level that lets you jump through a slipgate to any of the available maps. I picked one at random and found myself crawling through the vents of GoldenEye's classic Facility level, but with the guards and scientists replaced by Quake Enforcers. Other maps I recognised included a Death Knight filled de_dust2, and Unreal Tournament's Facing Worlds, reworked with a squirrelly theme. I was impressed by how well the latter functioned as a single-player map despite its geometric simplicity, with canny enemy placement keeping the action consistent.
Indeed, the whole mod works weirdly well as a coherent Quake episode. This is partly due to Quake's own amorphous, dimension-hopping stylings, which can be stretched quite far before it breaks. But there were several maps I didn't immediately recognise that felt right at home in Quake, such was their theme, pacing and progression. A few stick out like freshly bloodied stumps, such as a map that dropped me into the lower decks of a pirate ship. But these are fun for their novelty value, and still work as FPS levels even if they don't feel very Quake.
You can download the map pack here. Running it is as simple as putting the folder in your Quake directory, then running it by booting up Quake and entering "game [folder name]" in the console. If you're using Nightdive's remastered version of Quake, you'll need to put the map pack in the "rerelease" folder inside your Quake directory for it to work.
If thirty new, Quake-ified maps isn't enough for classic FPS action for you, well, we might not have to wait much longer for a whole new entry in the series. There are rumours that a new Quake game is in the works, lent credence by cryptic clues in Machine Games' recent Indiana Jones trailer.