Recession 2: Underneath


Fact Sheet

Authors Joe Becht
IWAD Doom 2
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1999/3
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

Of course, this level isn't anything to squeal in excitement about, but I will say this: even though it doesn't reflect much in the score, this level has some -marked- improvements over rec001, the author's first level. I'm really glad that Becht is open to criticism: I actually played this level in beta and gave him a lot of suggestions just on terms of wall texturing and map flow, and he went right to it. I've since played the beta of rec003 and that, when finished, will probably get a 3 out of 5 rating. This is what I love to see: pretty much everyone makes a bad first level, but Joe Becht listens to criticisms and incorporates the corrections into his next map. All of his levels have steadily been getting better... I'm sure in a few levels, if he starts making his maps longer (that's what really gives this level a "2"... there isn't much to hold your interest as it is so short), he'll be commanding a steady "4" rating here.

At any rate, this level is supposed to be a treacherous series of underground caves. Actually, there are only two rooms that really seemed like caves to me... the rest seems just like an underground military base. The level really is pretty easy, and short, but on the other hand, Joe seems to have learned more about monster placement and weapon selection this time around. I'm especially impressed with weapon selection: where as rec001 had every weapon under the sun at your fingertips for a scant 15 baddies, rec002 only gives you weapons up to the chaingun. There are no huge powerups: there is a green armor, a shotgun, and a few medipacks at the beginning of the level, but other than that, not much health. This is a good idea: since this level has only 50 monsters or so on Ultra-Violence, the less health, the better the fights become. Secrets are also handled sensibly: no invulnerability spheres or bfg's here. They are limited to a backpack and a berzerker pack... these are good secrets, because they reward the player for finding them, but on the other hand, don't violently tip the scales in the player's favor. Also, there are two areas in the level which are rather impressive: the opening room is pretty nice looking, as well as the room with the large set of mossy stairs.

I have criticisms, natch. For one thing, texture misalignment is rampant through the level. I understand what a pain it can be to align textures, but really, it is usually the death of an otherwise good level. Another thing is that this level is really too short to interest most people: it takes about five minutes to beat. Lighting is not incredibly realistic: two rooms joined together will have jarring differences in light which is not particularly plausible. Still, having played the beta of the author's next level, I can see that he's really worked and improved on most of these complaints.

Regardless, like Team Insanity said, these levels are interesting in watching a level designer grow from mediocre to good. Check it out and give him your support.


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