Fact Sheet

Authors Brian Clever
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1996/5
Levels 2

Review by Colin Phipps

BANACH_1 depicts a dark space station overrun with bad guys. The level is very well detailed, with lots of crates, barrels, and other decorations. In particular the lighting is well judged, giving the level a dark sinister air without reducing visibility much.

However, the level is not a very convincing space station - while the textures are consistent (they are nearly all grey), the rooms share little style or purpose. The level feels more like a disorganised collection of grey rooms than a space station to me. There are also some minor graphics glitches and texture mismatches which spoil it a little.

The level has some good fights: the detailed architecture makes many of the fights much more interesting. The monster set is limited to mainly Doom 1 moinsters, but there is enough variety to make some interesting fights and traps. However, other fights were spoilt by the architecture: monsters down below you, and steep staircases, make many of the fights awkward, especially when some of these areas are poorly lit.

But what really spoils this level for me is the level progression. There are dozens of dead-end traps, like crushing ceilings and inescapable pits, which have been deliberately set as traps for the player (e.g. a dark steep staircase going down, just a few imps guarding it, and when you reach the bottom you fall into a deep acid pit. Ha ha, I'm laughing really NOT). To add to that, the real way forward is often through well-concealed secret doors (e.g. only a 1 pixel offset marking a door to find an important switch).

BANACH_1 does have an ace up its sleeve however - there is a secret level! Yes, the text file keeps the surprise by not mentioning it, so you could play through without realising it was there, but there is indeed a secret level exit from the main level which takes you to this secret level.

Unfortunately, the secret level suffers all the same problems as the main level: poor level progression, dead-end traps, and secrets required to complete the level. The architecture is more varied and interesting than the main level, but there are some terrible rooms which spoil it all.

These 2 levels are a real battle against frustration. Maybe some players like this, in which case they can have it, and I wish then luck. Personally I can't stand levels like this.


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