“An ancient legend tells of a place known only as Arachnopolis.
In this place a jewel too precious to place value on it, was
crafted by a 1000 Nali priests. Many have tried to retrieve it,
but none have returned. The legend tells that the Nali bread a
lethal nest of creatures to protect the jewel.
And now the task falls to you to find it. Will you?”
This is how the readme of this single-map adventure invites the player to enter the world of Arachnopolis, a map made by one of the renowned mappers of early Unreal mapping history, Simon West-Bulford ‘EZkeel’, who earned his reputation by his single player classics such as Xerania’s Fall and Invasion.
Arachnopolis, we have to say it, is unlike those classics and those familiar with EZkeel’s other works may be disappointed. However, what makes it a unique piece of Unreal mapping history is the custom-made pawn featured in it – the Scorpion, probably one of the first custom pawns for Unreal. Remember, the map was released less than a year after the original game. The Scorpion class was created by Unreal Creations, a team of two: Obi-Wan (the modeler) and Broken (the programmer) and EZkeel used it in Arachnopolis and later it also appeared in the third instalment of his Xerania trilogy, Legacy. Being an enemy much like the Spinners seen in Return to Na Pali, there are speculations that the developers of RTNP were inspired by the Scorpion class.
For a long time, Arachnopolis was a hard to access map for most players. This is because with the introduction of the latest Unreal patches, Arachnopolis became unplayable not long after its release, or, better to say, it required a non-upgraded install of Unreal which most players did not have. This issue was only resolved 12 years after the map’s original release by Victor Delacroix. On 21th June 2011 Arachnopolis 2.0, which runs on Unreal 224 or higher, was published. Both the original and the updated version are available for download below.