Fact Sheet

Authors Robert Kry
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1997/11/16
Levels 1

Review by Colin Phipps

This level is based around a large cathedral or monastery. The file is large to start with, since there are new graphics and music. But also there are new sprites and flats, so for original Doom you have to use a utility to merge the flats and sprites from Doom WAD with these in order for them to work. NWT.EXE which is supplied with the WAD is just such a tool, and there are batch files supplies to automate the process. A modern Boom compatible port can just run the WAD with no such work needed.

screenshotThe new graphics are used to give the level a nice monastery theme. Importing stained glass windows may be predictable for a church setting, but importing sprites for candles, and graphics especially for graves and crosses really give this level style. The trees and water features in the outdoor areas are probably the most classy part of the level, but suffer from a rather cartoony feel which affects the whole level to varying degrees.

Gameplay is rather disappointing however - the most of the level suffers from being too easy, while the level progression suffers from being too hard. The opposition in Doom 1 levels are individually quite weak, so Doom 1 levels suceed or fail entirely on monster placement - and while it's not bad in Basilica, the enemy are just too few and the placement not aggressive enough. There's a good supply of health, and while ammo is tight early on, the opposition are weak enough that having to use the pistol is no major burden. There are a few traps which are exceptions to the rule, but you should have ammo and health to spare to take those on.

The real difficulty in beating the level is the series of switches, tricks and secrets necessary to complete it. There are three obstacles to lower in order to reach the exit, controlled by switches scattered over the level - be prepared to hunt for them. There are some good puzzles the player must beat to reach these, which I don't really mind although it's not exactly what I expect from Doom normally. However I do mind having to hunt down secrets even to get to these puzzles - these include shooting switches without any real indicator, presumably just on the grounds that the player gets so desperate they have no choice but to start shooting everything. No thanks. There is a spoiler document, and I made use of it. Oh, by the way, the sprites for keys are changed and they don't show up well on the status bar, and the colours don't match the originals, which adds more confusion.

I feel mean giving this level a 3, it's an impressive level but I just didn't like the style. Graphically it has a unique style but not really a special Doom setting. The good fights are forgotten by the time you spend ages over the puzzles.


File List