REoL TOUGH: The Uprising


Fact Sheet

Authors King REoL
IWAD Doom 2
Engine Boom compatible engine
Date 1998/9
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

I really wanted to give this level a bad review. I hate to admit that, but its true. What made me want to give this level a bad review is the ludicrously arrogant and ego-maniacal home page that the creator of the REoL Tough levels has put up ( This page is very amusing, actually... it is all about how the DOOM community is conspiring against George Fiffy, or "King ReoL" as he likes to be called, and keeping him down because "King REoL makes the ultimate levels, and TeamTNT ph33rz." It is full of incorrectly-spelled, gigantic essays about how "da man" is trying to keep oppress "The Metallica of DOOM" (huh?). Go take a look... its pretty funny, like what one of the Lone Gunmen from the X-Files would put up if he were a DOOM level designer.

So having laughed at this guy's arrogance first hand, I was ready to write a really scathing review of this level. I thought it would be a sure thing: his other levels haven't gotten very good reviews here, and the last level of his I played I turned off in disgust in just a few minutes.

The problem is is that 6fiffy1 is an -excellent- level. I know, my mind is blown as well. It just goes to show... if you do anything for 5 years, you get better at it. And this guy's been making DOOM levels since 1994... I know, I remember him from the now defunct Software Creations BBS, back when it was Apogee's "official" BBS.

Certainly, loading this level up for the first time hinted that there were going to be problems, because it was very choppy, and taking a look at the automap I saw an amount of linedefs that might have easily staggered the creators of nw_b1. I stopped and ran a reject builder on the level. 30 minutes later on my P200 (!) I had the product, and so I ran it. It was then very playable, so I started into it... and found that this was an amazing level.

screenshot The theme of this base is a sort of fortress built into the side of a mountain, with a few rivers and moats running through it for good measure. The architecture in this level is exemplary.: it really does look like a gigantic fort, with towers and everything. Texturing is great... it sticks to the theme throughout, with lots of unfinished wood, stone, and marble textures through out. There is a gigantic banquet hall with tables loaded with ammunition and food, a drawbridge you have to raise, a moat, etc. I'm tempted to say it is a "castle", but it sort of loses that castle them by the level not being contained, in that it isn't a gigantic building, but more of a complex. You can't, for example, walk around the castle: so it is more of a fortress built into the side of a mountain. There are a lot of great battles in this level, and a good spray of outdoor-indoor battles. It is nice to have variety in your DOOMing.

Another architectural trick that Fiffy used that I was very impressed with was using breakable glass. I'm not quite sure how this is done, but essentially, the level is littered with opaque glass windows. When you shoot one, it "breaks", and any monsters behind it can suddenly see you and attack. I had a great battle with a couple of Hell Knights shooting out the glass to the side and jumping through the holes to dodge the Baron's plasma blasts.

I have to warn, the level design is very intricate, and is very likely, even having built the reject, to shoot slower computers repeatedly in the kneecaps. For example, there is one room that has many arched ceilings. I know in past reviews I've gotten on people's cases about arches and domes, but I want to stress that in this level, they actually -look- good... mostly because the texture blends in well with surrounding linedefs. I'm not entirely sure that the effort was worth the linedef wastage, but I won't mark down for it, because a) it didn't slow -my- computer, after the reject was built, and b) it looked good.

The level is suitably bloody, cashing in with an enemy count of 4 buck 50. I love bloody levels, so this is good. I'm also impressed with monster placement and monster choices, for the most part. You may have noticed that I don't review many DOOM2 levels, preferring to stick to Ultimate DOOM. This is essentially because I think DOOM2 levels are much more likely to be impossible/badly designed than DOOM1 levels, mainly because it is so much easier to make bad choices in monster placement. I'll be blunt: I hate Revenants, Archviles, Pain Elementals, and Arachnotrons to death, and almost everytime I play a DOOM2 level, some Mickey-Mouse level designer desides to let a jillion of these mothers loose at me at once. The afore-mentioned monsters I so loathe can be used correctly, it just takes skill and the right placement. 6fiffy1 uses these monsters correctly: you always have enough ammo and weaponry to take care of them, the architecture around you gives you a fighting chance to avoid their shots, and these monsters don't attack you in droving hordes, but one or two at a time. This level has -great- monster placement and made me think how enjoyable a game DOOM2 can be, in the hands of a competent level designer.

I wasn't too fond of a couple of the new sounds, but I won't mark off for that, because they weren't annoying (no Beavis and Butthead "uh heh huh huh huh"s at the end of a pistol shot, for example). I rather liked the new teleporting sound. I believe there are one or two new textures, such as the breakable glass, but they are unintrusive and work well in their surroundings (actually, the breakable glass isn't a very good graphic... it is very pixellated, but I liked the effect so much that it didn't matter).

I'm unfortunately going to have to dock a point for gameplay, however. This is due to the fact that, unless you run reject on it, the level is so choppy and slow. This is a valid deduction: as far as I'm concerned, if you have a level that you know to be slow, and don't run a reject builder on it, you are releasing an unfinished product. On large intricate levels, a reject map isn't "optional", it is obligatory. This is really something that everyone who makes levels should do, and George Fiffy, who has been making levels for 5 years, should really know by now. There are many people who, if a level is choppy, won't play it and certainly won't waste the half an hour it for took me to build a reject map for this thing. Furthermore, George Fiffy mentions in his text file that it runs at like 3-4 frames per second on his P60. So, for future endeavors, King ReoL, make sure you run WARM on it before you upload it.

Overall, this is an excellent level and should leave you very amused. Intricate level design and great action... what more could you ask? In other words, purdy and bloody. Go get it.


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