Fact Sheet

Authors Roger Ritenour
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1998/7
Levels 4

Review by Colin Phipps

PHOBOS2 is a 4-level mini-episode which loosely follows the plot of the early Knee-Deep in the Dead levels. Unlike the originals, the levels in PHOBOS2 try to be what their names suggest - e.g the Nuclear Plant has a control room, reactor halls and waste storage areas.

The architecture is a strange combination of high-tech control rooms and industrial facilities, with dark underground tunnels and caverns. The high-tech areas were very good, with new textures imported to give a convincing feel to the rooms. The earthquake-wrecked base style to the levels was interesting, but the tunnels were perhaps a shade too dark.

The gameplay was rather average. There were some good fights, some not so good; the episode has relatively few traps, and few memorable fights either. The episode is interesting enough to play once, but not one that I would be interested in playing twice.

  1. Hangar - This level is designed to look like a real airport (starport?). The start area is very good, with the control tower, runway complete with aircraft, and the airport main building complete with shops! Plenty of tough enemies make for a tricky start to the level. But you then teleport to a bizarre outdoor area, which consists of a cliff face, some tunnels and brick buildings, which seemed out of place after the start area. The level finishes with an ignorable cyberdemon.
  2. screenshot Nuclear Plant - An attempt at a real nuclear plant. There is some impressive architecture at this level, like the girder tower at the start, the girder bridge over the reactor core, and the electricity pylons. The effect was a bit spoilt by the area joining them all - everything fans out from a single room, with unrealistically large writing on the doors to indicate what is what. Most of the opposition pour out of the main areas into this central junction, all heading your way, so the early part of the level is a rather tedious shotgun-pounding exercise. There are better fights later on though.
  3. Toxin Refinery - The outside of this toxin refinery is excellent, with large storage tanks, wire fence, and a raised girder walkway around one of the tanks. This is easily the best outside to a toxin refinery that I have seen in a Doom level. The fights are good too; you have to use the tanks as cover against revenants and arachnotrons. However, the inside of the refinery is an anticlimax, with some good rooms but some which needed a lot more work. Also, the start area looks very tacky.
  4. Command Center - This level depicts a ruined command centre, so is a strange mixture of a few high tech control rooms, and a maze of dark underground tunnels. I liked the high-tech parts; there is a quite realistic but not overdone office area, and the main control room is good too. I particularly liked the outdoor watchtower, where you have to ride up in a girder lift to reach a keycard, while trying to stop cacodemons from swarming around the tower. However, the tunnels were a bit too dark, and I got a bit lost and ran low on ammo for a while.

The music was changed for all 4 levels; one piece was an imported classical tune, the others were old Doom 1 music.

Overall, PHOBOS2 is an interesting episode. Clearly a lot of effort was taken to give the levels some realistic and appropriate architecture - I always prefer to play a toxin refinery that looks like a toxin refinery, instead of just the same as any other level with a few more barrels scattered around. This episode is a good example of creating a good theme without losing any variety in design. But although the gameplay was interesting, it wouldn't make me play this episode again. For people like me who appreciate an attempt at realism I can highly recommend this episode.


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