Fact Sheet

Authors Nicholas Bell
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/5
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

I just want to dope-slap Nicholas Bell. As far as I know, this was the last level that he designed (his previous entries, which I've reviewed, are dmpits, dmprtl, and dmturm). He seems capable of being one of the more brilliant level designers out there... the problem is is that every single one of his level has at least one thing that keeps it from being a wad I can truly call "great". dmifst, unfortunately, holds true to this pattern. What's wrong with this man?

screenshot The architecture in this level is dead on. Enemy placement is superb. The entire experience of playing this level is like a carniverous feeding frenzy: there's not a moment when 20 or 30 monsters aren't jumping out at you, teleporting behind you, etc. Rooms that you leave minutes before will be filled again with monsters when you come back. Tons of ammunition and health, but Nicholas Bell builds bloody levels that get you gnashing your teeth and salivating. He builds levels where you feel like a -MAN-, armed to the teeth, as opposed to a sissy in Lucifer's domain.

So what's the problem? The fact that you start out at the exit door.

The entire idea behind this level is that you can exit at any time, but the object is to kill everything in the level. I just don't understand this. I want to fight my way to the exit like a marine trying to escape from hell. I want the exit door to be a sigh of relief, a welcome sight, something I've fought long and hard for. I don't want to start off at the bloody thing, turn around, and kill monsters until they are all dead or it gets too hairy for me. Maybe some people like this sort of thing, but I just think its ludicrous. Why bother playing at all?

Other parts of this map just seem silly with an exit door that you can go through at any time. For example, all three keys are utilized... but most of them just lead to more monsters or ammunition. Key doors, I've always felt, are used to block off parts of the map and to force someone to make progress in a level to get to the exit. Bothering to get a key just so I can open a door, go head to head with a few Barons, risk death, and grab some rockets just seems stupid.

I think this is the best Nicholas Bell level I've played so far, except for that obnoxious exit door quirk which gives this a "4". It effects both gameplay and architecture. It can be difficult in places, as ammo and health usually exist in huge caches, so you can find yourself running a long distance across the map through clouds of demons to get to them. Its brilliant, bloody, and huge... a typical Nicholas Bell level. Its just that damn exit door... what was the man thinking?


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