Ander 2.0


Fact Sheet

Authors Magnus Ander
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1999/10/11
Levels 1

Review by Colin Phipps

This is a level where appearances are deceptive. For one thing, don't be fooled by the date, because Ander2 is an updated version of Ander (aka The mad scientist has been working!!) which dates back to April 1995, which makes this an old level by my standards. I remember when I first play this level, when I saw the start room with its automap, backpack, supercharge and shotgun, and barons in the distance through a window, I thought "Here we go, another level that loads you with ammo and goodies and sees how many barons you can blast through".

Far from it, the bulk of this level is a complex weave of corridors, acid canals, traps and mazes. The early parts of the level are a brutal shotgun exercise, with lots of sergeants and imps to work through, including some nasty traps. It's made more intense because much of it is against the clock as you have limited rad suits to get through some acid tunnels.

You can't rely on the automap either, because as you move through the level the structure changes, with new walls dividing rooms, new doors opening, floors lowering or raising - you are almost herded round the level by these obstacles that force you onward. Quite a few areas are hidden on the map as well, which makes navigating tricky at times.

The middle section of the level is a box room maze, quite nicely done with varying floor levels, subdued lighting and plenty of wandering monsters. It's a definite shift in style, with far fewer monsters than the early parts, but wandering in the maze they can easily surprise you from behind. You come back to this area several times, and each time there's a new crowd lurking in ambush inside this area.

screenshot The final section of the level moves to the Inferno style, with lots of ROCKRED tunnels and caverns to explore. There's some good spooky scenery it these areas. The gameplay is a disappointment though; after so many tight traps and mazes, the final area just has spaced sergeants and demons at intervals down the couple of tunnels, and some imps on pillars; very mundane compared to the earlier tension and drama. It's also possible to skip a large part of this final area, just get the yellow key then return to the exit (which you see earlier in the level).

The style of this level varies so much throughout that it's hard to summarize it in a single sentence. There are boring bits, there are tense bits, there are spooky bits, and there are brutal bits. The shifting-maze-of-traps style is liked by some, loathed by others, so it's a matter of taste. For parts of the level I could have given a 4 or 5 overall, but there were sections that let the level down I felt. Nonetheless people like me who appreciate older levels will definitely want to play this one.


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