Daemon Version 2


Fact Sheet

Authors Cameron Newham
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/04/04
Levels 1
Other None

Review by Colin Phipps

You are in a small grey room. There is a no entry sign on one
wall. Doors lead north, south, east and west.

> inv
You are carrying 1 pistol, 50 bullets.

> north
A baron of hell stands in the doorway.
You are in a small grey room. There is a no entry sign on one
wall. There is a baron of hell here. Doors lead north, south, 
east and west.

> fight
The baron hits... You die.
Restart? (y/n) y

You are in a small grey room. There is a no entry sign on one
wall. Doors lead north, south, east and west.

> south
You are in a short passage. The passage leads on west. Doors lead 
east and north.

> west
You fall into a deadly pit... You die.
Restart? (y/n)

Doom legend would have it that most Doom 1 levels ever made started in a small room with a baron of hell, but this seems to be greatly exaggerated because I've seen very few levels like that. Daemon is one of them, but let's not write it off quite that quickly. It's a puzzle level, and the best analogy I can think of it not from first-person-shooter games at all, but the world of text adventure games. It's the way Daemon plays - you have a choice of various directions and switches, and not only do you have to pick the right one - or face a quick death - you have to do things in the right order to beat it. So expect to take several tries to figure out the tricks and the order for this level.

Daemon is actually a name which appears on a few classic WAD lists, because it's by one of the early masters of the Doom puzzle level, Cameron Newham. The level is basically a puzzle - the actual fights are trivial for any experienced player, with only a couple of slightly cramped baron fights to test you out seriously. The hard part of the level is the cyberdemon room, which is somewhere between a puzzle and run-and-hope. Even accepting that it's basically a puzzle level with few significant fights, the level is too short to work well, and it tails off rather weakly at the end with a number of secret passages that don't seem to add any difficulty. From the amount of cells present I guess the idea is you might choose to go back and take revenge on the cyberdemon, but in the cramped layout it's hardly an enticing prospect and seems at odds with the puzzle style.

Certainly Daemon wins no awards for architecture - it's in the classic early Doom theme of STARTAN and cement textures, with plenty of misaligned textures, walls, vertices, and skewed corridors to prove its age. Looking in a level editor afterwards, the level shows its age even more with the general scrappiness of the finished product, with for instance lots of lines tagged as doors which aren't facing the right direction - none of this affecting the carefully plotted gameplay of course, but it certainly shows how manual and fiddly level editing was back then. There is also some minor HOM in one place although this might be because I was using a port, or even a Doom v1.2 vs Doom v1.666 compatibility issue.

Going back to a level this old is always taking a bit of a gamble. Even the best levels from back then can look primitive nowadays. The puzzle aspect of Daemon is good if that's what you like, but the level is too short to recommend for this alone, so this one is only for the historians.

Download daemon2.zip

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