Barrel Version 2.0


Fact Sheet

Authors Cameron Newham
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/5
Levels 1
Other None

Review by Colin Phipps

barrel chain reaction

"No.... please. Not the Barrel! Anything but the Barrel...No! Not the Barrel! Not the Barrellllllll!"

Barrel puzzles were quite a common feature of early Doom levels. It was quite common for levels to comtain little transitional areas with lifts down into tiny little rooms crammed with barrels which the player had to blast a way through without being blown to bits. I don't know whether Barrel was inspired by these early attempts, or whether it inspired them. But it is the king of the genre.

The level won't win any awards for architecture, but it's not bad considering its age. In places it is a bit tacky - the doortracks are all unpegged, there are some texture misalignments, and in one room a switch texture is used on a wall too short deliberately to make it look light a floor light. But the textures are chosen well for a Shores of Hell style, and the lighting is well chosen to create a threatening atmosphere.

Throughout the level you are forced to fight at a disadvantage. The shotgun is not available for a long time at this level, so you have to fight with the chainsaw a lot. Later on, you get the chaingun in a frantic rush past 2 barons, in another good fight. The monsters are well chosen to take advantage of your lack of weapons, but with some thought you should be able to manage all the fights. There are plenty of traps and secrets, in fact there was barely an ordinary fight in the whole level. Never assume the worst is over at this level :-).

But it's the puzzles that make this level special. It makes extensive use of barrels, particularly their ability to trigger lines and teleport, with more clever barrel tricks than I've seen in any other Doom level. Save often, and keep a number of savegames at different stages of the level, because there are a lot of ways to go wrong, blow yourself up, get trapped etc. You have to experiment to get through this level.

This level is definitely a classic, and one of those Doom 1 levels that is well worth going back to. It is a puzzle level, and it has a steep learning curve in places, but provided you have the patience to keep trying then it's a great level.


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