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Mageslayer (Quake-ish PC Game From 1997)
Back in the late 90's I grabbed a copy of Mageslayer from Wal-Mart for like $5.

It's a really cool game, but it suffers from poor control options.

It was made by Raven Software. They used to work a lot with ID and the Doom and Quake engines.

Mageslayer, though, was made with "their own engine" called Vampire. But if you've played Mageslayer, you can tell it's basically the Quake engine with the serial numbers filed off.

(Read the Talk page of the Wikipedia article where someone points out many of the similarities to Quake: )

Mageslayer plays top-down though, like Gauntlet, and also has a fantasy feel similar to that game.

Mageslayer uses either a software renderer, or DirectX 3!

Unfortunately, Mageslayer's controls still function more like navigating in a first-person 3D world, with forward/backward/turn left/turn right. You can set some "tank strafe" options, which feels better for moving in a top-down perspective, but you still have to use keys for "turn left/turn right" for aiming. It just makes for awkward controls.

I never did finish it -- perhaps the controls played a part of that. Yet the game itself is really appealing to me. It just has that "look and feel" of Quake, even with the top-down perspective. Like Quake, it just feels dark and gritty, with the same kind of color scheme and world "feel" which is hard to exactly pinpoint, but if you play it you will see what I mean (it's pretty easy to find online these days).

A few years back, I even set up a local network game of Mageslayer to play with my cousin and his friend (using a few of my old XP/98 computers). It was pretty finicky about connecting, and it liked to crash when going through end-level teleporters (much like how Quake's old network code was a bit tricky).

Now, I know it may be nearly impossible (if not completely so), since Raven never released any source code for the game, but I really wish someone could make an updated engine to run Mageslayer. In addition to getting better network code, it could address the control issue, and give it something more like proper "twin-stick" controls.

And it would run pretty similarly to a Quake server, so we might even get some online play going (Mageslayer supports coop and deathmatch).

Anyway, that will probably never happen. Too bad.

Anyone else ever play this game? It's basically a cousin to our favorite game.

If you're curious, give Mageslayer a try and you will feel like you're in a top-down fantasy Quake game.
I Did A Double Take On This Heading 
Saying it's basically the Quake engine with the serial numbers filed off really nails it!

Yeah, back in the late 90s I would devour any game that was affiliated with id, especially games made by Raven. Recently, I got Mageslayer running on Windows 7 but it's was super glitchy so I gave up. I agree about the controls. From day 1 that was the game's Achilles' heel.

I would love to see a new engine or perhaps a proper Quake mod using the assets from the original. The 3d level design was pretty clever in the game and I recall it being a very smooth gameplay experience back when I first played it 20+ years ago.,12331/

I tried the demo of Take No Prisoners back then too. 
I've never heard of this but I checked out a video and that top down style is really weird. I definitely see the similarities to Quake. It was especially obvious with the water texture. The top down style kind of feels like a regression from the first person style of their previous games though. I understand that early shooters like Doom and Heretic were essentially top down and just made to look like actual 3D, and I get that it's okay to have different styles of games, but this just seems strange when it bears similarities to an FPS. 
so... i searched mageslayer on youtube, just to see how it looks... and yes, looks like a top-down quake engine =D

But the most funny thing is the sound =D
The sounds are the same that you hear in Hexen2 =D 
The particles seems to be identical to GLQuake particles too. 
anything with lightmaps and water can be claimed as quake clones these days 
The guy sucks in the video Tribal linked to, heh. But I guess he's just trying to speed-run the game and avoid fighting the monsters (lame).

I suppose that's enough just to show the look of the game. There are many other videos featuring better gameplay though.

About using Mageslayer's assets, I'm not sure how easy that would be. Its "PAK" file has a VPK extension, and it won't open with PAK File Explorer. The format may or may not be similar to other games that have used a VPK format, so I don't know what tools would be needed to open it.

There was a console command in Mageslayer that would set it to first-person view, but then it becomes really obvious that all the monsters are just sprites that are designed to be viewed from the top!

But yeah, I really wish there was some way to update the game and fix the controls. It's too bad Raven never released the source code. 
Mageslayer Resources... 
welp, I got the .VPK file opened but the textures are in ".tex" format, whatever that is! I tried irfanview but it scoffed at the drag-n-drop, grrrr....

Sound is in .wav format though!

Right pane of Total Commander window, there was a plugin for mageslayer ;) 
After going thru figuring that out I found a page with all the textures, sprites, wav's and midi's all extracted/converted, HA! 
Ah yeah, I did some searching and it looks like someone has already plundered the Mageslayer resources (and those from all other Raven games):

And it appears the game music is free for non-commercial use, according to the the original composer and Activision.

So Quake mappers could grab any of the music they like and use it for a Quake map (be sure to convert it to OGG format, just because Baker hates that format so much that he refuses to allow Mark V to play it!).

Follow the link in this post to find high-quality remixes of the game's midi files:

Hm, do you see anything like a progs.dat in the VPK file (which could potentially be decompiled to see if modifications might be possible...)? 
Hey damage_inc, what's in that MAPS directory in the .VPK file? What format are they in?

It would be really interesting to see if those maps could be loaded in Quake!

It probably wouldn't be as simple as just dropping them in, but maybe some Quake mapper could check them out and see if it's possible, perhaps with some alterations.

The engines are so similar, so I would think there's a good chance of it being possible.... 
MAPS directory contains 121 files with 3 formats(extensions). 2 of which are plain text files(.vdt | .vpc) and 1 being the actual level I presume(.vbm)

.vbm, .vdt and .vpc files have the same name aside from extension differences BUT .vpc files occur less in number and contain text about "sprites".

Opening up a level(.vbm) in a text editor resulted in typical hex gibberish. 
Changing extension to .bsp and dropping it in my maps directory launching QS, crashed with a wrong bsp version number! 
Ah well, maybe you could upload files for one of the maps somewhere, and perhaps a mapper might want to play around with them and see if the maps could load in any of the Quake mapping tools.

I can't imagine the format would be completely alien, considering how similar Mageslayer is to Quake. 
The Meh Is Strong With This One 
I remember seeing it on the shelves back in the day but I never bothered to check it out despite my love for both Gauntlet and all things idSoft. I guess I probably read a review and got put off when learning about the controls.

I checked out a video and that top down style is really weird.
Top down was popular back in the 80's, with arcade legends like the aforementioned Gauntlet. According to Raven themselves, Mageslayer was a nostalgic tribute to that style.

The sounds are the same that you hear in Hexen2 =D
Well, it was made by the same developers, so no surprise here except maybe high level laziness...

As for loading the maps, considering that you don't know which editor they used and that even some vanilla Quake maps from the early days can't load properly in a modern editor, good luck with that! If you guys are serious about playing the game in a modern engine, you just might be better off rebuilding the maps from scratch. 
IS there not already some top down quake mods ? 
Probably, But... 
...this is a bit more than a mod. It's a full game set in a different universe. 
Cool. That top-down Quake looks strikingly similar to Mageslayer (not surprisingly), just in the movements and how the maps look from that angle. Too bad Mageslayer doesn't controls like that, with the character aiming at the mouse cursor.

I hadn't considered that type of setup -- I was just thinking about using "dual-stick" type controls, where one stick (or set of keys) would be for moving, and another stick (or set of keys) would make you fire in a direction relative to the world (rather than the character).

I bet that type of mouse control wouldn't be too dissimilar from mouse-driven menus, like in Mark V, where you calculate the position of the mouse to see what's under it, but then have the character aim at that point.

Actually, Mark V already has an experimental top-down mode, if you set "chase_active 1" and "chase_mode 6." Then if you use keys for "move forward/backward" and "turn left/right," you are pretty much controlling it just like Magelsyer's default setup.

Yeah, I like games like Gauntlet (which is also pretty much the ancestor of Diablo).

Maybe if Raven had been able to come up with a decent control option instead of just stupidly using the default Quake-engine type controls, Mageslayer would have been a much more popular game. Though I have to give them credit for trying something different with the "Quake" engine (or "Vampire" or whatever). It did have potential.... It was just crippled by the controls.

Thus my wish that Mageslayer could somehow be decompiled/hacked and altered to fix those controls.... But that may not be possible. 
Like I Said In Post #14, 
it is possible to rebuild the maps from scratch for use in a Quake engine using Mageslayer's assets. Then you can play the game with better controls. 
I Didn't Want To Upload Game Files Cuz.... 
... I found the game on an abandonware site and I didn't know if it would be looked down on or even legal. I wouldn't want to get func_msgbrd or quaketastic in any kind of trouble ya knows.

That's why I wasn't so "HEY, here's a link to the maps!" 
According to this forum thread, it can be considered abandonware: unsupported and no buy link. 
No-one ever had any legal trouble by sharing or using the assets of Raven's highly popular mission packs for the Quake series, so why should it be different for a game that never sold well? It's not like it's gonna have a commercial breakthrough any time soon... 
Don't Feed The Child's Copy Paste Fantasy 
"Abandonware," of course, isn't actually any kind of real, legal definition, but it usually is a sign that the IP owners just don't care anymore.

As I mentioned (with some links) in #9, it seems that the composer of the soundtracks for Mageslayer and Hexen confirmed with the Activision legal department that the soundtracks for those games can be used freely for any non-commercial use. I would imagine Activision feels the same way about the other game assets as well...
The fact that the whole Mageslayer game can be found on many "Abandonware" sites would seem to back that up. I mean, Activision could contact these sites have the game removed, but they probably just don't care about something from 1997 that has no potential to make them any money.

Perhaps if they ever decided to release the game on GOG (fat chance, since it would require updating for modern OS's), then that could change....

And of course, if someone were actually trying to SELL a game that contained their assets, then they'd probably disapprove. 
Legal Status Is Determined By Italian Teenager On A Forum. 
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