Mountain of Fire


Fact Sheet

Authors A Barsella
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/5
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

Another nice map from the guy who did "Deadbase". I now know why Deadbase gives you such overkill in the weaponry department: you need it for Mountain of Fire. I still say he should have put all that weaponry at the end of Deadbase instead of the beginning of it, but regardless: you need every single one of those bullets in Mountain of Fire. In fact, I found myself running out and having to go and "cheat" by running down to the weapons cache the author includes in the level for people who didn't play Deadbase.

screenshot Like Deadbase, Mountain of Fire is a good example of an old school DOOM level. It picks up right where Deadbase left off, as you enter the mountain of fire that is the exit of Deadbase. It is a fairly dark level at first, and it feels as if you are twisting through long crevices in a volcano. This portion of the level is well sprinkled by spectres, which are -impossible- to see in the dark. Don't worry, though... the passages are narrow enough so that you are only attacked by one at a time, and can usually hear them grownling. Some interesting ideas: there are bridges that have collapsed, making you find other paths to the areas. Lava is difficult to fall in, but once you fall in, you are dead. The level has many different areas, but none of them seem out of place from the general theme of the level. Unlike Deadbase, this level alternates between tight corner fights and large area duke-outs. A lot of older DOOM wad authors seem to have fascinations with gigantic areas, and Mountain of Fire is no exception. I personally love dwarvingly-huge areas... the problem is that it takes a lot of detail for them not to look like crap. The large areas in this map are so-so appearance-wise, but fun to play. The author also paid a lot of attention to lighting effects, making the level very atmospheric. Especially in the caverns, it seems to get darker the farther away you are from a torch. The room where you get the blue key is -very- atmospherically lit and quite spooky. There are also some nice attempts to simulate cave-ins. Another nice thing about the level, as in Deadbase, is that the author gives you clues as to what to do to beat the level. For example, in this level, you have to touch a computer to open a door, which would normally be a pain in the ass, since no one expects that sort of Mickey Mouse nonsense in a DOOM level. However, in Mountain of Fire, you see a computer screen before you reach this part of the level that tells you how to open the door. Very nice! There is even a waterfall (a bit crude, but cool) with its own rushing water sound.

Alberto seems to have learned a lot about monster placement since his last level. Monsters rarely seem to be moseying along in solitary confinement, and when they are, it is in extremely tight corners. There are a lot more monsters this time around. One of the most exciting fights in the game takes place in the blue key room, mentioned above for its creepy lighting. By the time you reach this room, you've just taken out something like 40 imps, a few lost souls, some spectres, and a couple of cacodemons in the passages outside of the blue key room. You see the key, begin to walk towards it, and then you hear an imp sound off. Since there's only two, you quickly polish them off... however, as you take the shot, cacodemons start teleporting into the room at both ends. The door has closed behind you in the blue key room, so the only thing you can do is run around, fighting them off. The problem I found was that I had walked into this room with 50 percent health and had used most of my ammo on the baddies outside of the blue key room. You end up having to take out about 10-12 cacodemons with very limited maneuvering room and ammo. However, this isn't really an unfair fight: actually, its a lot of fun, since you have -just- enough ammo to take out the cacodemons. The room is small, so its a hell of a fight, but the cacodemons teleport in very slowly, so you're never fighting more than five at once. Some excellent fights. There also isn't any health except the occasional stimpak, but that really increases the suspense of the thing, and makes you play the level carefully and with a great deal of suspense, wondering when in God's name that next health boost will come up.

On the other hand, I have my gripes. As I said, you have to severely watch your ammo. I was using mine -very conservatively-, as the author advises in the text file, and I still had to run back to the cache in order to be able to continue with the level. Another big problem which I think is a bug is what happens when you get the red key. You are in the mountain caverns, you grab the red key, when a ceiling caves-in behind you. However, as far as I could tell, there was no way out of the area once that happened. I had to clip out of the area to continue playing. Another thing I disliked about the level is that the yellow key, which is -necessary- to complete the level, is hidden behind an unmarked secret wall. This is ridiculous. Keys, unless they are optional or lead to "bonus" portions of a map, should not be "secrets". Architecture, therefore, though overall impressive, has to be docked because of this red key bug and the yellow key as a secret.

Overall, though, great map, well worth playing, bugs aside. It is very spooky, a lot of fun, has some nice fights, and is very well designed. Give it a try, just watch the ammo!


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