REoL TOUGH: Lord of the Cyberdemons!


Fact Sheet

Authors King REoL
IWAD Doom 2
Engine Boom compatible engine
Date 1999/10
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

Uh oh.

screenshot 6fiffy4. This, like 6fiffy3, the first level to use King Reol's patented "Extreme Detail" style of development, is guaranteed to catch flak from the community. This is for good reason. King Reol writes in the text file (strange... his usual !!read!!.bat is still in the zip, which contains all the practical information of his level, but the much suggested !!read!!.txt basically consists of Fiffy's explanations and defenses against the grumbling DOOM community. Note to Fiffy: Anyone can read a .txt file in DOS, but as far as I know, Linux and the like can not run batch files, nor do intelligent people run batch files in this day and age unless they open it in a text editor first and make sure it doesn't contain any "FORMAT C:" commands): "The idea was to HELP push the DooM engine up to the standards found in today's engines, to a point, and to leave out guesswork as to what something should look like."

I have to say, I still argue that this is ludicrous. There is no way that Doom, regardless of how many sectors you have, can pull off something like an arch as successfully as Quake (which itself has a problem with that sort of thing). Q3A, six years after Doom, is the first game to be able to successfully do an arch... why cut a player's frame rate in half attempting to do it? The waste does not equal the expenditure. But this is a moot point: Fiffy does not agree, and I'm not going to argue. However, consider a room like the opening room, and then tell me that it couldn't have been just as well designed with half the linedefs.

This is a good level. Although it has its problems, I found this level consistently enjoyable, bloody, and good to look at. Its problems, like all of Reol's recent levels, lie in the fact that it is overcomplicated and architecturally a bit bland. What? you ask. It's "Extreme Detail" (tm)(c 1999)! How could it be bland? I'll explain. Bit first, the praise.

6fiffy4 is like the majority of Fiffy's levels: vast, bloody, and action-packed. I tend to criticize King Reol's levels for looking the same (at least the 6fiffyx series), but this probably isn't as true as I believe it to be. Actually, there are many differences between 6fiffy1, 2, 3, and 4... I think the reason the levels all seem so similar is because he has a few stock textures and he rarely alternates them. His color scheme, much like the bled-out world of Quake, is all brown. There's nothing wrong with this, but I'd love to play in a colorful Reol level for a change. King Reol, I must go on record as mentioning, makes the most literate DOOM levels in creation. Almost every room you enter in 6fiffy4 has at least one book case, and there are vast, sprawling libraries as well. I half-expect to see imps in silk dressing gowns, monocles, and sipping brandy while puffing on a cigar to be reclining in his levels, perusing Byron. There's a really nice fight in a library with a Baron at one point in the level. At any rate, most of Fiffy's levels, if real life buildings, could easily be wiped out of monsters and called into the librarian line of duty. Even with all of the thousands of gratuitous linedefs, I didn't notice any texture misalignments, which is admirable.

Furthermore, Fiffy just makes levels that are fun to play. I know that the community has a lot of rancor towards Fiffy, but he makes action-packed, bloody levels, and does it well. Going into a Fiffy level, I know I'll be using my shotgun a lot. 6fiffy4 is no exception. There are tons of close-quarter battles with barons, rooms full of lounge-lizard imps to mow down, revenants to dodge, etc. Fiffy knows a thing or two about monster placement and never over-does or underwhelms you in the monster department. To be blunt, this, barring serious bugs in a level, is my main emphasis when I review levels: if you have a bloody level that isn't impossible to beat, you can't go too far off of a '3' with me. Also, I have never rated a DOOM level that used pornography as wall-textures poorly... if Fiffy used these, he'd get a 5, no problem. Level designers, take note.

But let's get to extreme detail and blandness for a moment, shall we? 6fiffy4, for all of its bloodiness aside, for all of the thousands of linedefs expended for tricks like domes and arches, is a rather blandly designed level. The brown palette doesn't help much, but the fact of the matter is that Fiffy seems to spend so much time trying to get the extreme detail right and looking impressive that he forgets that, arches aside, all of his rooms are for the most part big and open. Yes, people might go "wow" the first time they see an arch, but if they keep on seeing it, they stop noticing it. There are very few of the stock-and-trade tricks of making good looking levels in Fiffy's: he rarely throws in anything you wouldn't expect, you never walk into a room and go "wow", he never varies the theme of his levels from the "bookcases-brown wood-brown stone" motif. If you play a Richard Wiles or a cyb level, things get mixed up - they take advantage of the diverse palette of DOOM and its abilities to design many different sorts of rooms. No such diversity with Fiffy. And this gets back to what I was saying about his levels looking the same - of course, they don't really look the same; in fact, they are all quite different. But they just FEEL the same.

This level is called the "Lord of the Cyberdemons", presumably because it has 4 cyberdemons in it. You kill 2 of them in a crusher, and then just basically walk past the other two. I'd like to mention that I -hate- this crap in a level. If you're going to put in a cyberdemon, which I highly recommend you not to do frivolously, at least have the balls to put the player up against one in a -real- fight, where both cyber and marine have a chance of taking the cup. But why put in a cyberdemon if you can just run past him and crush him? Pointless. There's a half-maze at one point that is completely dark with a cyberdemon running around in it. This is sort of cool, shades of the Minotaur, but, again, you can just run past him.

Overall, a good level, and extreme detail aside, it didn't slow down my computer too badly, and I had promiscuous sex last night, so I'm going to give it a 4. I love you all!


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