The Call of Ktulu


Fact Sheet

Authors Rudy Jurjako
IWAD Doom 2
Engine Boom compatible engine
Date 1998/8
Levels 1

Review by Colin Phipps

screenshot The Call of Ktulu is a "marble castle and the surrounding mountains". Not an uncommon basis for a Doom level, but this is far better than most levels of this type. For starters, instead of just opening the castle gate, or hitting a switch outside which opens it, you enter via the moat and a secret underwater entrance. KTULU uses the Boom engine to allow this underwater area, and uses a modified colormap in this area to increase the realism.

The gameplay of this level is far from typical either. There are no big open spaces, no dashing for cover and no peering round corners picking off the enemy. Instead the fights are all intense, cramped, and point-blank-range. The author uses teleports, bars, drops and staircases to make every fight close and frantic. Each fight might only be a hell knight, or a few cacodemons, but in a dead end with only a few meters between you and the enemy that is all that is needed.

What really impressed me was the inventiveness of the fights and traps. Nearly every one has a twist or surprise to it; I remember about halfway through that I was shotgunning a baron through some cage bars, and I just thought "finally, a nice simple fight, I can relax a bit" when the bars flew open, and I the baron made short work of me.

Ammo and health are both extremely limited throughout the level, and later on in the level I was living a pretty hand-to-gun existence, firing what ammo I had and then cleaning up with the chainsaw. This, combined with the close nature of the fights, means that it is pretty easy to make fatal mistakes at this level; do a fight the wrong way, and the odds are you won't make it.

Just in case it wasn't clear yet, this is a tough level. Towards the end I was dying a lot, saving a lot too; chainsawing revenants and groups of cacodemons is a bit too tough for me I'm afraid. You have to get as many monsters fighting each other as possible to stand a fighting chance of completing the level. But the level is fair, and you can always get through.

The fights in this level require so much attention that you could easily miss the architecture altogether. There is no attempt to awe or amaze the player with overly detailed scenery or massive architecture, but that isn;t what this level is about anyway. The atmosphere is just right, sinister but with enough light; the lighting has been properly worked out to go with the light sources. There are some over-and-under bridges with textures borrowed from Requiem, and the Ultimate Doom sky is imported, again helping the atmosphere of the level.

Overall, this is a level that you'll either find a gripping fight, or you will give up halfway through because it's too hard or you dislike the style. I found it a gripping fight, and a great change from the more open style that most Doom levels follow.


File List