Containment Area v1.1


Fact Sheet

Authors SailorScout
IWAD Doom 2
Engine Boom compatible engine
Date 2000/2/4
Levels 1

Review by Colin Phipps

While most of the praise given to Doom 1 is directed at the classic Knee-Deep, my favourite level of Doom 1 is certainly Containment Area (E2M2). I'm glad to see I'm not the only person who likes it - from contain.txt:

Consider this a tribute to the original Doom's E2M2. I always liked that level for some unexplainable reason, and thus felt it neccessary to emulate the style in this map. Even if you disliked that map I trust you'll have different feelings about this one!

It would certainly be wrong to describe this as merely an E2M2 clone, though - it's far more than that. SailorScout has taken the original E2M2 theme and brought it to life, with all sorts of touches that it feel much more realistic. There are the crates on palettes for instance, as pictured here. The conveyor belts are an excellent feature that enhance the industrial feel. The level is also much less orthogonal than the original, with crates scattered at all angles, and even overhanging ones. There are lots of other nice touches like bits of fallen roof. The level requires Boom for features like the conveyor belts, and probably due to the size and complexity too. The author suggests using ZDoom because there are some extra effects included for this, but it works fine in the Boom ports.

There aren't many easy fights at this level, right from the start where you're forced to fight just to get the first shotgun - the complex layouts rarely give you an easy place to fight from, you're often having to worry about monsters turning up behind you. Choice and placement of monsters is good, with mainly the base Doom 1 enemies but with revenants, mancubi and chaingunners mixed in to good effect. The difficulty was well judged for me; I spent most of the level with my health hovering around 50%, which combined with plenty of traps meant I could never take it easy. You gradually get all the weapons as the level progresses, but the fights get harder too with some well placed archvilles and a few cyberdemons too (which you aren't forced to fight). There are lots of references to E2M2 as well, with a scattering of beserk packs, and some sensible use of crushers.

The level is a lot bigger than E2M2; it took me about 2 and a half hours to play through. The level makes use of a Boom feature where key doors can require a specific key, e.g. red card key but not red skull key, which allows all six keys to be used separately. Finding your way forward isn't always easy - Boom highlights key doors, but you can't tell whether they use the card or skull key, so you'll have to remember that yourself. There are some good secrets that help though, including a computer map.

If I had to make one criticism of the level, it would be the length. For the first couple of hours of play I thoroughly enjoyed the level, as it progressed through the various styles from the original E2M2. The final part of the level, the blue key area, was a bridge too far I think, returning to the original crate room style which the player has probably seen quite enough of by that point.

The level imports various old Doom textures as well as some new ones in order to get the right feel, and of course the old E2M2 music is imported.

Overall, it's a definite winner for me. Even if you weren't impressed with the original E2M2, you should certainly be impressed with this one. A great showpiece for some of Boom's features as well. As a final nice touch, Boom tells me that the level has exactly 666 monsters. Coincidence? I doubt it :-).


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