Fact Sheet

Authors Gregory Dick
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 2002/05/06
Levels 1
Other New sky; a few new sounds

Review by Colin Phipps

screenshot I think comparing any Doom level to Nirvana (Doom 2 MAP21) must be close to a death sentence, but it's the closest match I can get for Big Guns - it's in the Doom 2 Earth theme, with a mixture of dark courtyards, canyons and caverns. While it isn't anything special to look at, Big Guns does a fair job of the main canyon, and sustains a good dark and slightly sinister air throughout.

However it is the gameplay that really marks out Big Guns. The main feature of the level is the very restricted weaponery - you start out with only a rocket launcher, and you have to fight most of the level with this. Now usually there are two types of extreme rocket launcher levels - there are the ones where there are huge arenas with hordes of monsters; and there are the ones with tiny rooms and almost toe-to-toe fights where the players, monsters and rockets are bouncing off the walls, and you have to have a continuous supply of megaspheres to stay alive. Big Guns avoids these extremes however - the architecture is not spacious but is not so cramped as to make rockets suicidal. In the early parts of the level in particular, the opposition is fairly ordinary - but having only rockets makes the fights far more edgy, because every monster has to be taken out immediately - let them get close and you've had it. And since there are plenty of tricky situations - monsters teleporting behind you, outflanking you, limited space and cover available - it's makes a very challenging and action-packed level.

On the downside, the level is certainly unforgiving. While you are given enough space for the fights, it's minimal and if you do let them close you down, you've got no chance. In particular some of the later fights have lots of monsters, little cover, and no safe space, and I died plenty of times getting through these - if you are the kind of player that likes to play without saving, this is probably not the level for you. There are also a few weak fights, such as a rather pointless cyberdemon fight towards the end - you can double-shotgun him from a ledge and he can't hit you - and there's an easy spiderdemon fight at the exit which is little better.

Overall, this is a fun, challenging if punishing level. Denying the player the choice of weapons is always a little risky, as having the choice of how best to blow the monsters away is an important part of the game, but Big Guns gets the balance right and turns what could have been an average level into a challenging one.


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