Der Turm


Fact Sheet

Authors Nicholas Bell
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/7
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

After playing dmpits by the same author, I was really interested in seeing what other wads he had done, and if they matched the blood-thirsty carnage of the first. Having played dmturm, then, I'd have to say that while its definitely a better level than his first one, it is much less violent and I often found myself wishing for a few dozen troopers or sargeants to mow down all at once while playing it.

screenshot First of all, Nicholas Bell has apparently learned -a lot- about level design since last time around. Unlike dmpits, this level is completely original, and very well designed. There are still the odd misaligned textures, but textures all blend in well together and fit the general theme of the level, ie: your standard DOOM military base, yadda yadda. None of the level was ripped off from an original id level, which I was pleased to see. What I liked most about the design of the level was that the further down into the ground you went, the more sinister the surroundings: it would be darker, the paths would be tighter, the texturing would be in darker earth colors, and you'd walk along side trickling rivers of slime. On the other hand, higher ground was usually very well lit and relatively out in the open, so that one felt that one was in a military base and pushing themselves deeper and deeper into the underground catacombs where the true evil was. Very nice design. Also, the lighting was done -verywell-, and Bell seems to have picked up some nice tricks concerning realistic lighting in DOOM. There were a few portions in the map where I felt the lighting was almost as realistic as Quake's.

Monsters, however, are scanter than in his previous outing. There is never a moment when you aren't fighting at least one monster, but a lot of times, you'd come across a lone imp or sargeant in a hallway, which is not nearly as effective as the hordes of hellspawn he unleashed in dmpits. However, I really can't dock him for "not living up to my previous expectations", since I don't feel that one wad author needs to necessarily stick to one particular style. There are always enough monsters to kill, it just doesn't give you the same "let's duke it out" feeling that dmpits gave me. Still fun, though. Monster placement is generally good, if a tad uninspired. There are a -lot- of Barons in this level... at the end on Ultra-Violent, you take on something like 12 of them at once. This is handled well though... the majority of them are in a building, shooting out of windows, but stationary, so they can't corner you. Four more are wandering a wall overlooking you, and only two Barons are in a place where they can directly come in contact with you. However, none of this is very difficult, since very close to this area, a fully stoked BFG awaits you with an accompaniment of 600 cells and some rockets.

The beginning of the level is definitely harder than the later portions. One of the things I liked about dmturm was that up until the rocket launcher, you really have to -earn- the higher weapons you get. For example, to get the chain gun, which is on a pedestal in the middle of a courtyard, you have to dodge the attacks of a roaming Baron, go up to two overlooking windows, take out some sargeants, flip the switches to lower the chaingun, go back down, take care of the imps that were just released, and blast the Baron to death with the shotgun. However, for some reason, these weapon fights peter out... in fact, the BFG is surrounded by only about two imps, who quickly became concubines to my plasma gun.

Architecture is very nice. I mentioned this in a previous review: older wad authors seem to be obsessed with gigantic open spaces. I think this must be because DOOM was the first engine capable of emulating real 3D, with heights and angles. All they'd had before this was Wolfenstein, and the idea of gigantic heights and spaces must have seemed like pushing 3D technology to the max. In dmturm, there are a couple of really gigantic spaces, most notably a sort of reactor core in the midst of the base. I also mentioned in a previous review that the problem with large areas is that it takes a lot of detail to make sure they don't look like shit. Well, the reactor area does not look like shit, mostly because the lighting is -just- right. and you are too busy putting down cacodemons and barons to notice. Lighting is very well thought out and suitably realistic. The only gripes I can find with architecture are the occasional misaligned texture. Overall, the level is well-designed and a fun place to hunt.

Some further notes: I think Nicholas Bell originally wanted to make this level bloodier, in keeping with his dmpits level, but was baffled by the "save game overflow" bug. Certainly, there aren't -nearly- as many enemies in this level as there are in dmpits, and this is a larger level. He replaces a lot of medikits with berzerkers to try to cut down on number of things, which I don't necessarily think made a lot of impact. I think some areas which, like dmpits, would have released herds of smaller monsters at you , were replaced with cacodemons and barons to cut down on the number of enemies. If he was designing on DOOM 1.666, it undoubtedly would have been bloodier. As it is, though, you have just enough rockets and cells to take out the mess of Barons at the end, so the level is fine, and fairly challenging.

One gripe, besides the occasional misaligned texture: why the hell bother putting a Cyberdemon into the level if all you need to do is flip a switch to squish him? I just don't understand that logic. Now, granted, I generally hate seeing cybers in pwads... generally, some snot-nosed punk kid puts an unmarked teleporter on the ground at the beginning of the level, whcih then teleports you into a small octagonal room filled with about five of the mothers. Still, if you're going to put a cyberdemon in your level, have the balls to make the player fight him mano-e-mano, or not at all. The cyberdemon -can- be beaten... he's hardly impossible, you just need some room to maneuver. End gripe. Overall, a very good level. Its huge, well designed, and a lot of fun to play. Go git it.


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