Fact Sheet

Authors Paul Corfiatis
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1999/6
Levels 2

Review by Colin Phipps

screenshot Like most Doom players I loved Knee Deep in the Dead, so I couldn't fail to recognise the look and feel of this level. The first half of the level clearly draws ideas from Central Processing (original Doom 1 E1M6), with the many crossroads in acid lakes that characterised that level. The second half is more inspired by this level's namesake, Toxin Refinery (original E1M3), with a grey stone walled outdoor area, and an indoor acid lake with a walkway and gratings around it. The decoration is very Knee-Deepish too, with lots of barrels, deeply recessed computer panels, etc. Like the original, it can look a little stark by today's standards, with none of the fine structural detail and lighting that came only later to Doom.

The gameplay is unusual. Often the player only sees one or two enemies at the start of a fight, but many more enemies deeper into the area hear you, and these gradually find their way into the player's view. Certainly unusual, but those fights don't exactly stress the player. I found this lulled me into a completely false sense of security, so I died to several of the traps where I would usually have been more cautious. The author makes great use of blocks of demons and spectres in traps, so the second's hesitation was enough to leave me surrounded and soon dead.

There is a good supply of health, but ammo can be limited if you don't find many secrets, so keep an eye out.

So far I've been talking about the main level, but there is also a secret level included. Finding the secret level exit from the main level is judged about right: it's tricky but you get hints. You can miss out most of the main level if you find the secret level exit early, but the extra loot will certainly help with E1M9.

The text file describes the secret level as "one of the craziest DOOM levels in existance", and it is certainly pretty crazy. You start in a small building with a small courtyard either side; in this area are about 6 barons and some troopers, and tons of rockets and soul spheres. The fight almost makes you laugh, what with firing rockets at fairly close ranges, barrels going off all around, barons wandering around trying to get closer; you just have to keep dodging, and grab the odd soul sphere when the blast damage gets serious. There are a couple more fight in the same style, and that's about it for the level.

These are definitely two unusual levels. The main level is one of contrast, with only light enemies in view, but some nasty traps if you get careless. The architecture isn't bad, but you wouldn't download these levels for it. The secret level is fun, the size of the area and number of barons is just right to make a frantic little battle.


File List