Memento Mori


Fact Sheet

Authors Avatar Andy Badorek Alden Bates Dario Casali Milo Casali David Davidson Orin Flaharty Florian Helmberger Mark Klem Scott Lampert Denis Moeller Thomas Moeller Jens Nielsen Tom Mustaine Henrik Rathje Michael Rapp Eric Reuter Michiel Rutting Eric Sambach Eric Sargent Kurt Schmid William Sullivan
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1996/2/22
Levels 32

Review by Colin Phipps

Memento Mori is undoubtedly among the greatest Doom add-ons ever made.

Compared to the speed of most Doom projects these days, it's hard to believe that Memento Mori was able to gather 21 level designers and texture artists, produce 32 good levels, along with a consistent theme with a liberal dose of custom graphics, all not much over 5 months. If only everyone else had avoided starting Yet Another Wacky TC and just made good levels, then the Memento Mori series and their successor Requiem wouldn't have had such an easy ride at the top of Doom add-ons. Their like will never be made again, I fear.

The gameplay of most of the levels can't be faulted. The interesting layouts of the levels, and excellent placement of monsters and traps, means that there's never a dull moment. There are also plenty of good quality secrets throughout. Unusually, Memento Mori was also designed specifically with cooperative play in mind, and it plays excellently in this mode.

A number of new graphics are included which are used to give a common theme to the levels. The trademark of the whole episode is definitely the wooden doors with a variety of metal logos displayed on them, but there are plenty of other good new textures used throughout.

Compared to modern levels, there is certainly a lack of detail at some of the levels here. Good textures and structures mean most of the areas look fine, but parts inevitably end up looking bare. This is definitely the weak spot of some of the levels here.

While I'm on the subject of age (sort of), I should mention that people using Boom will need to use compatibility mode, and users of MBF based ports need to enable comp_model and comp_floors, because there's a couple of dodgy uses of Doom line types that go wrong otherwise.

Well, I'd better get started on the individual levels then:

  1. The Teleporter by Denis Moeller, Michiel Rutting — Good, small starting level. The first fight makes you work for your shotgun; there are several tricky fights, this level certainly makes you think before you shoot. The main corridor is maybe a bit plain, but otherwise the architecture is quite good; every room has interesting features.
  2. The Bridge by David Davidson — There's an interesting mix of styles at this level. One the one hand, the opening starting courtyard with it's great arch, and the bridges across deep acid chasms; on the other hand dark tunnels and passages. The fights are good too; in particular there are lots of traps and fights with demons/spectres being released into passages; in the dark passages these fights can get pretty close. There are lots of good traps and fights throughout the level, quite good level progression and secrets too.
  3. Interlock by Tom Mustaine — A base level, reminiscent of Entryway (Doom 2 MAP01), but more compact; everything fits together very nicely at this level. The outstanding thing here is the ingenious tricks and traps; I remember with one trap, it took me several seconds to even believe the monsters were there, and plenty more to work out how they got there! It's mainly basic enemies still though, and there is a good supply of health and ammo, so the level is very fair.
  4. The Stand by Jens Nielsenscreenshot A fairly large level, with a lot of good medium-distance fights firing at monsters across courtyards. There is a good supply of health, but ammo is quite limited; OTOH there are lots of secrets to find, which make a big difference to how hard you find the level. It's a very non-linear, interesting level, a good mix of monsters, and the architecture is good too.
  5. Hell's Kitchen by Orin Flaharty — Similar style to Circle of Death (Doom 2 MAP11) at this level, with lots of walkways above acid lakes. The style is done well, lots of details like torches and cage bars made things interesting, and there is a good sinister atmosphere. The start is a tricky fight, enemies are well placed to snipe, but once you get past that there is plenty of health and ammo. There are lots of fights through bars, which made the fights less dangerous. The level is very non-linear, and there are plenty of secrets, so it's interesting to play.
  6. The Powerstation by Mark Klem, Eric Sargent — Mixed styles at this level; there are some industrial bits, including some good box rooms; and also some brick and stone areas. There are some really good traps at this level, and lots of secrets too; great level to play.
  7. Not That Simple by Jens Nielsen — This level has a strong style; several courtyards with lots of windows/balconies overlooking them, and plenty of enemies shooting down at you. These areas make a good fight. Also, there are lots of switches, controlling the various lifts between areas; the level progression is good. Alas there is a serious HOM bug in one place (at least, there is when playing with Boom).
  8. And The Dead Shall Rise by Orin Flaharty — Ultimate Doom style level, a marble wood and rusted metal theme. The central area is a clever area of wooden walkways above acid; there are good marble halls, and features like torches and pentegrams, all making this pretty interesting. The starting fight was good; there is a rather annoying fight against a load of barons, since the shallow staircase before the room tends to catch your stray rockets.
  9. Hightech Grave by Thomas Moeller — A large, interesting level which reminded me somehow of Shores of Hell. There's plenty of good architecture like stairs, lifts, ledges, gratings, acid areas, and a range of textures. It's a very non-linear level, with different directions for different coop players to go in. There are plenty of traps and secrets, and a good spread of monsters.
  10. The Mansion by Alden Bates — This level reminded me in style of Monster Condo (Doom 2 MAP28), with it's large, slightly bare plaster and wood rooms. Unlike the levels so far, this one was dominated by the big badies, rather than the good use of the basic enemies which made many of the earlier levels so good. There are some traps and secrets; there are also quite a few heavy shooting badies in fixed positions, which are boring to fight so are best ignored.
  11. Halls Of Insanity by Denis Moeller, Eric ReuterscreenshotLots of good, varied fights again at this level. The level progression is complicated, particularly interesting for coop play. The architecture is stylish too, with good use of gratings, windows between areas, and flaming barrels.
  12. Kinetics by Avatar — This is the first level in the set that really disappointed me. It's a marble style level, with a good marble hall near the start. However the other areas were generally poor, not very detailed, and with mistakes like wide doors (texture tiles horizontally), and boring corridors that initially go nowhere. Also, the level is a big step up in difficulty from the previous levels; in one place, you teleport into a small yard with arachnotrons, a pain elemental and an archville - even with two of us firing plasma continuously, it took dozens of attempts to beat it. The level progression is certainly non-linear, but rather awkward due to the number of one-way drop-offs you have to make, and teleports.
  13. The Inmost Dens II by Denis Moeller — Strangely, this level is placed at MAP13, instead of MAP14 (which is what the original Inmost Dens was). Anyway, it's a good level - it has the basic style of the original (light brown brick buildings, water channels, lots of windows between areas), but it has a lot more variety, like switches, bridges, acid vats and pipes. And the fights are good too, from distant chaingunners to the close traps. The level progression is interesting, and there are some god secrets.
  14. Aquaduct by Tom Mustaine — Another good level, again the light brown brick and rusted metal style. The level is focused around one big lake with high walls and windows overlooking it. There are lots of good fights, in particular the first fight into the lake area, and lots of traps. The level progression is good too, with switches and keys used well to open up areas around the lake. The exit is unusual; a cyberdemon stands before the exit door, and there is plenty of space to kill him; but with two players, one person can distract him while the other sneaks past to the exit.
  15. Karmacoma by Florian Helmberger — A large level, with deserted streets sandwiched between towering cuboid buildings, again in the brown brick and rusty metal theme. The start fight is good, but apart from that the outside areas fairly empty. Each building has plenty of action inside though. The level progression is good, and there are some secrets to find too; watch out though, there is a teleport behind some bars that leads to the exit area, and it took me a while to realize the bars just opened like a door (I was expecting a switch). There is a good twist near the end, where you hit a switch in a building, and hordes of monsters are released outside; you have to close the door, and fight them through the windows. There was some HOM in one place, but otherwise a good level.
  16. Stoned by Kurt Schmidscreenshot This level slightly reminded me of Nirvana (Doom 2 MAP21), with a light brown stone theme. The design was variable... some areas had good features like lighting and hanging corpses, but other areas were either bare, or the lighting looked ugly and unrealistic. Some of the fighting was good; there are several fights with barons and hell knights in cramped places, and in one room there were lots of pillars, which came down releasing monsters to surprise you. On the other hand, shoot through walls, and secrets being needed to complete the level, detracted from the level.
  17. House Of Thorn by Eric Sambach — A house isn't an unusual theme for a Doom level, but rarely a good one either. However, this is a house of evil, which you have to clear, and I liked it. Particularly the start - you start inside the house, and fighting through the rooms and corridors in the house is so cramped, that it felt like hand-to-hand combat, even though it was with shotguns. Very intense, I liked it. Once you get outside the style changes, with more heavy enemies; maybe a bit overdone, but you certainly get action.
  18. A Dead Man's Town by Henrik Rathje — This level carries the town-like feel outdoors; it's centered around a yard surrounded by buildings and walls. Not quite as cramped as the previous level, but with lots of traps and nasty opposition packed in it's definitely fiery to play.
  19. Maltraiter by Michael Rapp — This was quite a linear level in some ways, with several distinct sections. The start area was reminiscent of Inmost Dens (Doom 2 MAP14); the level starts out well with some interesting fights and traps. The middle section is a marble hell base, again with some good traps, but some shoot through walls later on. The final section switches to the tech base style. Plenty of heavy-weights to fight throughout, and some secrets.
  20. Mountain Depot by Scott Lampert — A spacious level set in a large canyon, with an island surrounded by a moat of water. You start in a large and somewhat empty building that spans the river, but most of the action takes place outside in the canyon itself, or in one of the several other structures set back against the canyon wall. I really liked the defended depot feel - there are a number of large stone pill-boxes scattered around outside manned with chaingunners, lots of cacodemons patrolling, and imps and shotgun men in the other buildings - you spend quite a while clearing out the pill-boxes and windows overlooking the canyon. Once you've done that you have to break into the buildings themselves, which involves getting past a cyberdemon guarding the back door (there's a secret invulnerability for this if you want to save some effort). It's a large level, and since the buildings aren't easy to enter it's a bit tricky to get around, making the level progression hard at times.
  21. Twilight Lab by Andy Badorek

    Another big level, very much in the industrial style. The main central hall around which the level is build is very impressive. The author has used a lot of clever ideas to avoid the large concrete structures looking bland here - the large wall-mounted lights are an obvious move, but I also liked how the first view you get of this area as you descend the lift from the start gives you a great view of the areas beyond, and of the half-open ceiling - it gives a great feeling of being high up in the heart of the base. There are also signs around this area saying what lies behind each door, things like "Containment Area" and "Toxin Experiment".

    The areas around this vary greatly in style, from dark acid halls through to computer rooms and even a maze or two. It's a big complicated level, so you can expect to spend a lot of time just exploring and clearing new areas before you get to each key. There are lots of big fights to keep you busy.

  22. The Escape by Denis Moeller — A very claustrophobic level - mostly dark, often cramped, and with plenty of traps that'll have you watching every step. The compact style means that it's more the basic enemies like chaingunners, imps and demons used; there are some good cramped hell knight fights too.
  23. Showdown by Milo Casali — As the name suggests, this is a big showdown level. It consists of a yard with very high brick walls; each time you complete part of the yard, you hit a switch which reveals another large part. The whole level is packed from start to finish with mancubi, revenants, arachnotrons, and barons, with some archvilles, cacodemons, and a cyber and spiderdemon thrown in for good measure. It's more them a hold-down-fire exercise though, with some close range fights and traps mixed in, but mostly it's a questions of getting the monsters to fight each other a bit to wear them down, then clean up with the tons of rockets and cells available.
  24. Diehard by Dario Casali — Another big level, this one reminded me of Against Thee Wickedly ( Ultimate Doom E4M6), with the vast acid cavern surrounded by ledges and walkways. There are lots of caged monsters on pillars, and plenty of chaingunners, which make this a very dangerous area. Although the focus of the level is just a few really big fights, like hordes of cacodemons being released into the cavern, there are some good smaller fights mixed in too; and in a level with this many distant monsters shooting at you, you always have to be careful where you stand.
  25. Cesspool by William Sullivan — A disappointing level. First there are some rather boring and painful acid lakes, which have to be swam through to get to second part of the level. The second area consists of a large bland octagonal hall with a spiderdemon, overlooked by various ledges with heavy enemies. It's best to just run through to the exit. There are a few nice rooms, but the main areas are poor.
  26. Between Scattered Corpses by Thomas Moeller, Jens Nielsen — A hordes-of-enemies level. There were a couple of good areas, but the others were rather dull - blasting spiderdemons, cyberdemons, hordes of cacos, mancubi, imps. Shoot-through walls, bland architecture in some areas, awkward movement around the level, all made me glad to get on to the next level.
  27. Fort Hades by Scott Lampert — Back to a more conventional style of level, in fact parts of this are definitely Knee-Deepish in style - a level of courtyards, acid channels, stone outdoors and tech indoors. There are a good mix of monsters, plenty of traps and secrets, so probably the main drawback of the level is the awkward level progression.
  28. City Of The Unavenged by Jens Nielsen

    A really good streets-and-buildings level. The great thing about levels like this is amount of strategy involved - there's no good going off down randomly down the streets, you'll have to carefully attack and retreat, taking out well placed imps, chaingunners and mancubi which make the level dangerous. It's even more fun at coop, where the players can each focus on different targets and attack from different directions, provide covering fire, etc. The moody blue sky and brown stone buildings give a great atmosphere to the level.

    On the downside though, there are quite a few cyberdemons you have to fight, and the level progression is poor - in particular, at coop it's easy to get completely stuck, and we were forced to look in a level editor to find the intended route.

  29. Island Of Death by Thomas Moeller — You start at the south of the island with a nice marble chapel, but as you work your way north up the island it becomes more Knee-Deep-ish, with lots of vine-covered walls and BROWN1 buildings. The views off the island, with water stretching off into the distance, and lots of embrasures manned with hell knights and imps looking out, are generally more impressive than those on it - several of the main yards on the island are a bit bland. Some of the rooms are a bit better, but the level ends up feeling a bit patchy overall.
  30. Viper by Milo Casali — The big showdown. Trust me, it's your worst nightmare.

There is good new music at most (all? I lost track) of the levels. Together with the excellent new skies this helps make the levels even more sinister.

Memento Mori is one of the must-play Doom add-ons. So if you haven't played it yet, no more excuses! If you have, then find a friend and play it coop, because that's even better.


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