Fact Sheet

Authors Adam Foster
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1999/1
Levels 5

Review by DrCrypt

screenshot A great collection of bloody levels! I want to say that these are done in a Knee-Deep sort of style, only they aren't, architecture wise, so I'm going to say that they are done in a Quasi-Knee Deep style. I believe that this is the same thing as refering to one's girlfriend as "Sub-Rubenesque" to give the idea of beauty, but to avoid the obvious connotation with obesity. At any rate, these levels are beautiful to play and, just like Knee-Deep in the Dead, the majority of monsters in these levels are human fodder for the angry, shotgun beast. This is great: personally, I love large droves of humans, sargeants, and chaingunners to super-shotgun into oblivion. I think, with the exception of the cacodemon, baron of hell, and arachnotrons, these mothers are the most satisfying to pop.

screenshot All five levels in this pack are relatively small (I completed the entire episode in probably a little over an hour), but jam-packed with violence. Overall, the levels stick mainly to a military base and processing plant feel. Ammunition mostly comes off of monsters you kill and health is just rare enough to keep you uncomfortable as you wander the corridors. All levels feature a good amount of looping back through parts of the level you've been before, but without backtracking. Also, there are a lot of nice traps, usually of the "door closes behind you and monsters are unleashed" variety.

Since it seems to be the norm, here's a brief description of each level:

  1. The Pit - Small but violent first level pretty much overflowing with sargeants and former humans. The scene is a sort of nukage pit/refinery, a theme that is pulled off pretty well and creepy. There are some nice elevators in here, as well as some frantic fights that ensue because of the prominence of monsters and slight derth of health. A good, hard, bloody fight to begin things.
  2. The Portal - Another nice level. The name of the level is after a huge teleporting machine in the middle of the level that warps in a large amount of hell-spawned cacos and lost souls for you to duke it out with. The rest of the level is just the surrounding base. One criticism, which is actually my main criticism of the wad: the outdoor area looks rather "vacant" and unconvincing. I have no interest in marking off for this, because outdoor areas are few and far between and, overall, the pack is so excellent. Still, after the nicely detailed inside areas, stepping outside seems a bit "drab".
  3. The Axis - Again, another nice and bloody base-style level. There are more than a few really great fights, such as the fight for the blue keycard, which takes place in a small locked room with 3 hell knights (up until this point, you haven't received the super shotgun). There is also a frantic, -packed- gunfight at the end of the level.
  4. The Meat Factory - Small, lots of chaingunners, lots of blood. I wish I could describe it better than this, but almost all of the levels fit into the same "military base" theme. A nice bloody fight at the end with some cacos and spectres to finish things off. Regardless: nice setting (except for the rather dreary outdoor area) and bloody enough to burn your hands on the super shotgun barrel.
  5. The Warehouse - Like the name of the level, a warehouse. Rather a queer warehouse, in my opinion, ie: the river of slime that runs through the complex, but effective enough to convey its theme. There is a nice catwalk around most of the level filled with chaingunners. One thing I like about fracture is that there are relatively few hell spawn at the beginning of the wad but, as you continue to play, more and more "monsters" spring up over former humans and the ilk. This level has a great showdown at the end with a few cacos, pain elementals, and mancubi. I actually prefer this sort of thing to the standard "showdown with the cyberdemon" ending of an episode. Dark, moody, and, like its predecessors, very gory. One thing: the rocket launcher in this level is a bit much. I believe that the author of fracture probably intended more levels, since the exit room is stocked with a lot of health, shells, and ammo. I thought when I hit the switch, I was going to find myself in a room with a few dozen barons... but nope, just the tally screen. Oh well.

This is an excellent effort. It just goes to show that DOOM levels don't have to be hopelessly complex, gigantic, and loaded with heavy monsters to be thoroughly entertaining. A "5"... go get it.


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