Fact Sheet

Authors Nicholas Bell
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/4
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

Hmm, another "pits" level, another one from 1994. Still, this one is better than The Pits and is a lot more fun to play. I recently, after much searching, laid my hands upon an old wad review document by a guy I used to know named DJ Ski. DJ recommends a lot of wads in the document, but the wads that he hails loudest tend to be the ones by Nicholas Bell. Curious, I downloaded dmpits and decided to give it a go. DJ's decription sounded promising: "One of the best!! I think that this is THE MOST violent WAD there is. I'm sure there is some utility that could give me an exact number of the creatures in this WAD, but I don't have it. I just know you kill, kill, kill and kill some more. A room that is empty when you leave it will be full again the next time you pass through 10 minutes later." So, I decided to see how it held up.

Well, DJ's right on one thing, it is one mutha of a violent wad. There are around 350 baddies in the level, constantly coming out at you, teeth gnashing, in hordes. There are points where you are mowing down sargeants and imps by the dozens. I felt my adrenaline pumping as I mowed through the beasts, screaming something about my virility at the top of my lungs. BAM! Twelve imps go down! Yeah! Come get some! BWU HA HA! It is an extremely fun wad, though not really difficult, even on Ultra-Violence. There is a lot of ammo (this wad could have been -very- tense if there had been less), a good deal of health, and even though there are tons of monsters, the author inserts barrels for you to shoot out to even the score. The only enemies in the wad are former humans, sargeants, imps, demons, and a few Barons. All shotgun fodder. A lot of fun.

On the other hand, by today's standards, the level is a bit drab. For one thing, the texturing is almost entirely limited to gray, which makes the level look more or less the same no matter where you are. If the surroundings had been more exciting, this level would have been pushed up -big time-. Furthermore, there are a few misaligned textures, plus some very strange texturing choices (a door texture for the wall behind a lift?). Also, the hub of this map is blatantly lifted from E1M6. Granted, there are significant changes, but it is very noticable. On the other hand, it is the only really interesting looking area in the map, so I'm glad its there. :)

Speaking of which, a little rant: why do people design wads for levels besides either the first level in any episode (for Ultimate DOOM), or the first level with a new sky in DOOM 2? Colin was explaining to me that in the olden days, reviewers used to chastise level designers for designing a wad at a level number that did not "feel" like the original level. Example: if someone makes a small level that feels like Inferno, the complaint would be, "This level does not feel like an e1m1. It feels more like an e3m1." This is ridiculous: it insinuates that these wad reviewers are playing the entire damn game through each time they play a new wad. These odd map numbers, however, just end up being confusing. The only other reason I can think of, pre-idmusxx, to design a wad for a level besides exm1 is for the music. End rant.

Linear, but not a problem, since everytime you go back to a room it has filled with another drove of hungry hellspawn, so it keeps you interested. Not very difficult, despite the large number of enemies, but a blast if you are feeling in a carnivorous mood.

Bottom line: good level. Play only for blood, not for advice on interior decorating. I'm looking forward to trying some more Nicholas Bell levels in the future.


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