Fact Sheet

Authors Colin Phipps Robert Phipps
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1998/3
Levels 8

Review by DrCrypt

Colin Phipps, moderator of the Doom Underground! Rue the day! Vengaence is at hand! The time you made me edit out a passage comparing a good Doom level to enjoying a good woman carnally is finally to be recokoned with! Your levels have been reviewed! :)

Of course, since I know which side my bread is buttered on, one must tip-toe through the man eating daffodils on this one. Actually, the levels are quite good, so that makes my job easier. I think, having played through the levels on Ultra-Violence, I can say that Colin's specialty is more fast, furious gameplay than intricate architecture. Actually, that is my one real complaint about these levels: they suffer from boxy architecture and nothing feels particularly organic.

screenshot Overall, the levels cling to a quasi-Knee Deep style. What I like most is that Doom 2 monsters, generally obnoxious, stay in the background here: most of the monsters in this pack are imps and sargeants in large numbers, with Barons and Cacos playing backup, with only the occasional appearance of some bloodthirsty mancubi. When the Doom2 monsters do appear, they are used to good effect: a sniping chaingunner, a close-quartered revenant, a tribe of Hell Knights, etc. Overall, the levels have a good usage of traps and excellent health and ammo balance (by which I mean, agonizingly low - just looking at my ammo bar made me itch sometimes, just the way I like it). Another drawback is some minor texture misalignment, but nothing earth shattering. Here is a level by level run down.

  1. Hangar - Nice opening fire fight. It appears that what Colin was going for was an opening hangar where you've landed your space ship. Unfortunately, the space ship is pretty lame looking. The level isn't particularly organic feeling, with a lot of dependency on 90 degree angles. Still, monster placement is pretty good... as you leave the spaceship for the first time, you encounter a large outdoor area with lots of sargeants, imps, and cacos, where you scurry around for a bit trying to get them to take care of each other. A few texture misalignments, but nothing serious. Ammo and health are deliciously, though not impossibly, low. A good first level, excelling in violence but not in architecture.
  2. Toxin Refinery - A fairly good level, brought down by an obnoxious nukage maze. Ammunition is -really- tight in this level... I ended up using my unberzerked fists at one point. There is a huge trap in the room that yields that red key card that seems a bit overdone to me: thankfully, its a time based trap, so if you can stay alive for thirty seconds, then for another thirty seconds (once you grab the red key, the door shuts behind you), you'll be all set. This is the first level where the new switch that Colin uses becomes a bit frustrating, since it looks more or less just like a computer screen and it took me a bit to find it. This is actually a common theme in the later levels, and one that can be annoying - this computer switch blends in perfectly with a lot of the computer-room surroundings, and when you have to flip five or six of them at a time, can be almost impossible to locate.
  3. Nuclear plant - This is a power plant, but I thought that it didn't have much of a power plant feel, in that there wasn't a lot of chugging machinery or nukage around to make me feel at home. A pretty decent level with (as usual in this pack) some nice gun fights, although the architecture is really straight forward and none-too-elaborate. There's a nice close-quartered fight with a Baron of Hell and too large cooling towers which, again, while not particularly pretty architecturally, satisfy my dooming urge for really huge towers to stand up on. :)
  4. Command Center - The first level in the pack that I thought was -really- fun. Its very old school (like most of the levels in the pack) with a lot of imps, cacos, and demons running around as shotgun fodder. Architecturally bland, it still manages to fit in lots of pulsing gun fights. I really like levels where a room you emptied minutes before will be swarming with monsters again when you go back to it. One complaint, however, is that many of the monsters are gratuitous: I just ran by them, effectively leaving about 60 monsters looking for me once I exitted the level. I want to -have- to kill the monsters, not kill them at my leisure. Also, this level is distinctly multi-leveled, which is fun... you'll see an area or an alcove in one section of the map and mutter to yourself, "Gee, I wonder how I get up there," and then, ten minutes later, you find yourself up there fighting imps and sargeants. Very cool effort.
  5. screenshot Phobos Lab - I really liked this level as well. It is a level with a lot of nukage and base-style corridors circling around a gigantic pit where you can see other portions of the level, complete with monsters. In the middle of said pit is the exit, and you need to figure out how to raise a bridge to get to it. A lot of violence in enclosed spaces, and a harrowing fight with a baron of hell on a tiny catwalk that was a lot of fun. However, like all of the levels in this pack, it suffers from some architectural blandness.
  6. Central Processing - I remember this level most simply because you finally get the super shotgun in it. I thought this was pretty cool, actually: I really love the super shotgun as a weapon, but many times, levels play better if you are limited only to your workhorse shotgun, the single-barrel variety. It was rather strange, though, because most missions that you play in give the bloody thing to you right away. I had every weapon up to the plasma rifle when I got it. At any rate, level 6 is another very decent level, set in a very distinct computer and military base theme. A lot of fun, especially at the end, with a furious fight involving changunners, mancubi, cacodemons, and some spectres.
  7. Computer Base - The longest level and one of the most violent, this is also in a heavy computer-base style and a very fun play. It is one of those maps where every time you enter a new area, some place in the level that you just left changes in some way. The map loops back on itself by lots of new doors opening, secret passages appearing, etc, and there are always monsters to be shooting. It has a nice final shootout as well, with walls full of imps and sargeants shooting at you as you try to fend off two barons. This was fun, but Colin included the invulnerability sphere, which is necessary, but makes the area too easy. I'd rather play an insanely hard level which is possibly without the IV by way of architecture that I can take advantage of than just pick it up and start madly firing rockets around. However, another solid level overall.
  8. Phobos Anomaly - Kind of a disapponting final fight. 4 Barons that are essentially locked in pits in the ground to potshot, and then a 30 second mad dash as a room full of arachnotrons, imps, and demons warp into the room. You run around firing rockets for a little bit, then walk into the teleport, and its over. I was hoping after all the weapons I'd stocked up earlier in the game to go head to head with a cyberdemon or something. But no such luck. I just feel that in a final fight, you should be made to go up against enemies that you have not encountered in earlier levels.

Overall, what did I think? Good levels, and worth the download. Playability gets a 4 and Architecture gets a 3 for overall "blockiness", although this trait seemed to wear down as the levels progressed. I think that the map pack shows that Colin learned a thing or two about Doom designing as he made these levels. The pros are some furious gun action, great weapon and health balance, and overall bloody and fun maps. The cons are some minor texture misalignments, a bland architecture style in many of the levels, and one hell of an obnoxious switch texture (by the way, you can see said texture to the left in the navigation bar). A good effort.


File List