Remember the post of Feb 2022 about the extended universe imagined by Inky?
In early May 2023, WhirledTsar eventually delivered their long awaited map taking place in one of the new proposed civilizations of Thyrion: Qazzarith, a Persian-Arabic world of threats and wonders. This is officially the very first work set in the extended universe, even before its own inventor Inky has made any map for it!
WhirledTsar’s Qazzarith Library aptly nods at the Tales of a Thousand and One Nights with silky night exteriors embellished with gorgeous plam trees and nice hanging pots. The interiors strongly remind of the author’s previous Shifting Sands map, with a neat architecture which, although not really succeeding in catching a genuine Persian-Arabic atmosphere, has really nice set pieces to offer.
Thanks to WS’s addtions to the SOC mod, the fights are once again a strong focus of the map. On top of the weapon altfires, a new system even allows the player to freely choose which character stat(s) should benefit from the experience points they gained. That improvement might be a big step forward for the game’s RPG side. Unfortunately one may easily miss the `readme_mod.txt` documentation for it. Worse: the selection system consists in a HUD popping up in-game and hiding the view almost entirely with no clear hint on how to get rid of it. By chance, the map can totally be played without caring about that feature.
Some sections are confusing due to corridors looking the same, and a few puzzles would admittedly deserve more clarity (you may wonder what the Tower Key is for until the end, as it’s never removed from the inventory once used, or how many times the star must be rotated, etc.) Yet those small bit of clumsiness don’t really lessen this work of one of the most skilled and prolific names of the current Hexen II scene, and the level of scripting (easily on par with the vanilla maps by Raven) proves it enough.