Combat maps may come and go, but nobody doesn't like Air Base. 

Okay, raise your hand if you like Air Base...Yea, you there in the back -- I saw you hesitate, making sure you weren't first; and you in the corner, you waited to see if the "in" crowd raised their hands first. Okay, everyone put their hands down. If you didn't notice, I had my hand up too. I admit it! I love the map: it's a great combat map! I'm sure if I had more time, I could probably explain how it's simplicity is it's greatest virtue (or did I just do it anyway?). But I'm not here to gush over Air Base, I'm here to tell you what I think is wrong with every other map in the world. As any critic knows: it's more fun and interesting to knock something rather than applaude something. Oh by the way, all you who didn't raise their hands -- we'll discuss your ideas later on, in group.  


To date, I have found few combat maps with the charm of Air Base, and I want more. I thought I would find a big-sparkling pool of maps on the net, but none have captured my heart like A. Base -- except for maybe Highway Zero (What? I like it!). "Aquila", you're saying, "Why don't you do us all a favor: shut your friggin pie hole for two seconds and go make a map with as much charm as Air Base, we could all use the sleep". Don't think I didn't try, but I am sad to say that the process involved in melee-map-making (ahem...) eludes me. Not thirty minutes after attempting to use "The Tool" (as Act-of-vision so charmingly calls it), I found myself at Debacle's site, frantically looking for a....ANY map to sooth the withdrawl symptoms (Debacle, flaunting his wares --ever so eager to please like some harlot from some red light....oh nevermind).  


So let me take a minute or two to play a role I know (oh so very) well, the typical I-76'er. I'll bitch about things that are basically beyond my control. I'll probably accuse the folks at Active-vision of something. But most important -- I'll tell you the things I wouldn't do, as if I was capable of making my own multi-melee map. Ready for an exercise in futility? -- C'mon it's fun!  

The "Stock" Maps

We'll start with the other "over the counter" alternatives first, in fact we'll do the hardest one first --  

Vigilante's Paradise -- Good map. But in all honesty, "Thrill Show" ramps scare the Bejeezus outta me! I don't think I've ever not killed myself utilizing one somehow.  

The Crater -- Please! Like the first whole month I played on the net, this is the only map I saw; Besides, it's the only map my Friggin' step-brother will play on his IPX setup. The one phrase I most associate with this map: "I don't like going and finding you guys." While we're on the topic, Alot of Asphalt can go here too (yawn).  

Salt Flats and Dunes -- I see them only as comprimises to The Crater. (I tell ya, it's like pulling teeth with those Crater-Heads!)  

Creeper Canyon -- Hey I just died! [SPACEBAR] Oh my Gosh! I'm right here in the same puddle of Fire Dropper! [SPACEBAR] Ahhhhhh! White Phosphurous! [SPACEBAR].....I could go on, but I'll spare ya.  

Suburbia -- I really, really really wish this map was in daylight.  

Hope Springs -- You Crazy guys! you blew up all the utterly impish of you....LATER!  


And Now...a few words on "Custom" Maps

  Even I don't have the huevos to bash anyone's particular labor of love, so I'll keep my insights on custom maps very generic. Note: any similarities to anything that you personally created in the following section is all in your paranoid-infected little head. 


Rule Numero Uno: "Evil" Kineevil is dead....I think....isn't he? But if he isn't, he would probably kill himself trying to correctly navigate a "Thrill Show" ramp.

  I hate "Thrill Show" ramps. I stopped paying 75 cents to play Atari's "Stunt Racer" like 5 or 6 years ago (Christ, has it been that long?), besides they scare the bejeezus outta me. If you're gonna use ramps, use them sparringly, but if you don't want to use them at all, I'll say "Hurrah!" 

Rule Numero Dos: This is West Texas, not Planet Xenon

  I live in Texas. I tell ya, it's pretty Gol-durn (actual Texas dialect, see!) flat and doesn't look like something outta Buck Rogers. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have huge spire-like rock formations here, and if we did, we wouldn't build donut shops there. If your map qualifies for a YES album cover, please reconsider a more subtle approach. 


Rule Numero Tres: Leave the surrealism to Salvador Dali and Lewis Carroll
Welcome to Gluttony, Nevada. There's a donut shop and Wagon Wheel Diner on every corner, (we have 500 of each, ya know) with a Spanish Mission in the center! Come visit our regen -- just up those three successive "Thrill Show" ramps! And be sure to take time and see our awkwardly placed oil rigs on the way out of town -- be careful, they do block the road! 


Rule Numero Quatro: If I have to see Yosemite Sam say "Back Off", or Garfield say "Get Off My Tail" one more time, I'm gonna throttle somebody. (Okay, so Garfield wasn't around until '78.)

Heavy vegetation damage is a suggestion, an encouragement if you will, not a way of life. I don't want to know what kind of sick S & M freak you have to be to actually like a map that damages you by design, but you guys can keep your "alternative lifestyle" maps to yourselves. I don't like being forced into taking mud flaps because I loose a special slot and mud flaps make my car look tacky (Western Auto's outta the ones with the shapely chrome babe on 'em). Thank You. 


Rule Numero Cinco: A good concept for a waterslide and a good concept for a combat map are not the same thing

Okay dude, picture this. Like the whole thing is like 2,500 ft. off the ground. You start at the top and bob, weave and spiral your way down well over 100 mph. One mistake, and you die a horrible, fiery death, dude. (Okay on second thought, it's not really a good waterslide idea either). 


Rule Numero Ses: "The Black Hole": starring Robert Forrester, Anthony Perkins, Ernest Borgnine and Roddey McDowell as "V.I.N.Cent"

Hey here's a great idea -- how about a hole in the map that you can never get out of....or several! Man that's a great idea.....wait a it's not...that idea sucks! What was I thinking? Look it didn't generate any post-Star Wars business for Disney, and it doesn't make for a fun time either (how in the hell did I come up with this whole analogy?) 


Okay, at this point, your either laughing with me or you're making a mental note to make a few new additions to Air Base -- like littering it with Aquila fodder. In any case I'm getting that queesy feeling in my stomach again -- Gotta check out Debacle's site for new Nitro maps! Whoo Hoo! 


---- Aquila (hiding somewhere near the tarmac)