Fact Sheet

Authors Vince Russett
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1995/8
Levels 1

Review by Colin Phipps

Although this level replaces MAP10, it is much more similar in style to Monster Condo (original Doom 2 MAP27). There is a detailed plot accompanying the WAD, and also some hints, and a guide to completing the level if you are stuck.

The main part of the level are the alleys; these are brown stone or plaster corridors, littered with odd boxes, crates and monsters. The idea is very original, and gives the level a unique feel, similar to back alleys in a city. I can't say it is a style I'd want to play all the time, but it is interesting for its novelty.

Another original idea is the "shop signs". These are a small rectangular notice outside a door, depicted the trade within (so a picture of books for a door to a bookshop). Unfortunately, some of the rooms these lead to are not as detailed as the rest of the level.

The play is equally unusual. The author makes extensive use of a strange effect that is new to me: stairs that the player can only go up (not down). Personally I found this stupid, since it is not important to the level but breaks a sense of realism for me.

You battle your way around this strange maze, using the obstacles to help you fight the monsters. There are some good traps and interesting fights; the diversity of the architecture makes the fights varied too.

Unfortunately, the level progression is poor. I could hardly ever work out where I was, let alone where I was going. Further confusion is added by some walk-through walls, and the lack of keycard stripes on some keydoors. When I did find an exit sign, it pointed to a small room with no way forward; I searched the level, and found nothing. Looking with WinDEU afterwards revealed that the exit is a secret off of this room, that can only be accessed by shooting a particular wall which was some way away, back in the alleys! "Guess what, asshole? You forgot to shoot the panel...go back to the pillar box, shoot the panel, and run back to the exit room." as the author's guide to completing the level says.

This is a stupid exit design. The panel is unusual, I remember trying it as a secret door, but I don't usually shoot panels unless I have a good reason too. Personally I seriously dislike this type of exit.


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