I couldn't decide whether this should have 4 or 5 stars. The smaller levels are OK, and don't reflect the same quality that I see in Riki Tiki Tavi, which I think is an awesome example of what an XL map should be.
The first time $lave gave me a walk-through in Riki*, I imagined 6-8 player team-netgames in it and thought it would be a blast. I've played it about five times since then and it continues to grow on me. Yeah, it's big but it's got lots of good terrain to suit all types of fighting styles.
I agree with the other comments that $lave has really delivered on these new maps. Even if the smaller maps were dogs (which they're not) this would be a strong pack, but with Riki* being so good I have to score it as one of the best out there.
There's a lot of levels in this pack, so many that my eyes glaze over. One that caught my attention is "Kingdom of Cydonia".
This doesn't get as much play-time as maps like Werefrog, but to me it's every bit as enjoyable - lots of rooms and halls and elevators to run through, with a nice central room with pillars and sniper posts. Good ammo and weapon replacement keep every section of the map used.
Bungie's original net maps were OK for their time and purpose - to get people on the net and enjoying carnage. But, to me, most of them wear thin after a while.
The Second Quest project was a much-needed update to the original levels, adding the right additions to the basic feel of the originals without diverging too much.
Beyond Thunderdome is still a fast moving big ol' arena.
Return to Waldo World has new ramps and ledges that make it even more fun for small frag-fests. It's a bit darker than I like, but it's prettier... staring at the flashing lights over the central pit after being splashed by a rocket is actually kind of fascinating now.
King of Pain and Route 66 are nicely modified. In particular King of Pain gained some much needed complexity making it more of a challenge to splash or be splashed. Route 66 is probably my favorite KOTH level now.
This is my go-to pack, the one I grab when I want fast action.
My favorite levels, Simon, CFA 3000 and Werefrog, are great examples of simplicity in design that never get old.
To me, a level has to look like it would actually exist somewhere. In an intelligent alien world there would probably still exist aesthetics when designing a building, and we would notice those even if their culture and architecture was radically different from our own.
What I like about Ryoko's work is that his levels look like they could be real, and that they'd been designed by an alien architect.
That's not to say that Ryoko is alien... maybe he is... maybe not....
Anyway, that's beside the point that these are gorgeous levels, very playable, don't immediately reveal their secrets so they're fun to explore, and nicely spread the carnage all over their rooms, instead of focusing it all in one place. These are good for hunting, sniping, all weapons, and warfare styles.
They do slow down a bit on older/less powerful CPUs because they are complex, but that is the price we pay for great environments.