Demonfear 1 : Escape Into Conflict


Fact Sheet

Authors Adam Windsor
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1995/8
Levels 5

Review by Colin Phipps

"Demonfear 1 : Escape Into Conflict" is the first installment of the DFEAR series, and contains a series of 5 small levels for Doom 2. There is plenty of plot to read in the accompanying text file, which ties up well with the levels themselves.

screenshot The style of the levels is present day; each level is based around a single house or base. There is good attention to detail, both things like lighting and texture alignment, and features like furniture and such that give the levels some realism and match the plot.

All the levels start out with a tough fight, you have to quickly work out the various directions the enemies are coming from. The first couple of minutes of each level is tricky, but after that it is just clearing up, collecting loot and moving on to the next level. Having lots of short levels like this is certainly different to the usual one big level in a wad. Here are my comments per-level:

  1. Wolves in the Kitchen - You start in a prison, in your cell, where someone has accidentally left a key for you :-). You break out, and the first minute or so is tricky as you have little ammo and there are lots of guards wandering around. Once you find some ammo you clear out the prison and escape. There is lots of good detail like lighting in the cells, beds, the lavatories, and the guard rooms which are triggered open later on.
  2. The Colonel's Car - This level is a small house and surrounding garden at night. The opening fight is excellent, lots of monsters come to the windows and wander round the sides of the house, so it's quite tricky. Once past the initial fight tehre's not much else to see, gather the loot and exit. The lighting is excellent, and the house is pretty fully featured with bathroom, beds, bookshelves etc.
  3. Gettin' Gas - Tough start to this level, with sergeants and an archville wandering around and revenants shooting in from the site. It's a very clever fight, you have to keep moving and dodging for a bit. You then clean out a few rooms and exit. The lighting is quite good, and there are some nice features, though the house-kitchen-and-bedroom theme twice in a row was not soo good I thought, I'd prefer more variety. The level uses teleports to simulate a building with 2 storeys.
  4. Transport Nexus - You enter a courtyard with imps and former humans shooting down from the walls; it's a good fight, keeping an eye on several areas at once. Once that's over you clear out the level and collect the loot. The base style is a good setting for the level, and there is good detail like computer consoles, lighting etc. All three keycards were used, which was a bit excessive I thought for such a small level.
  5. Communication Base - Another building surrounded by grass level, once again with lots of monsters that come out right at the start to make life difficult. It's another good fight, but too similar to the ones in the earlier levels maybe. Once you survive the first few minutes you can just collect the keys and stuff lying around and exit. Nice architecture again, including a pond and car parking space and all.

I think I liked the with lots of small levels early on. Maybe the theme was repeated a bit toward the end, which is why this episode doesn't get top marks for design. For gameplay, the main criticism of the episode was that every level started with a big fight then ended in anticlimax. But those opening fights are what makes this episode really good, and well worth playing. So in conclusion... play it! :-)


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