Fact Sheet

Authors Alex Siegel
Engine standard Doom engine
Date 1994/5
Levels 1

Review by DrCrypt

This is very old school. I went back and recently played some of the old levels that used to have me shaking in the middle of the night, cursing under my breath, "This is impossible!" This was many moons ago, when Men were Men, and DOOM was DOOM: none of this BOOM or Legacy nonsense. DOOM reigned triumphant as king of third-person shooters, and Deathmatch was a small, perverted, fetishistic side-order of the legions of sp DOOM players who swore that the game could never be beaten in quality. At any rate, The Pits was one of the few levels back then that truly caught my eye, that I played religiously until I could beat it, that impressed me above all others in terms of gameplay and design. It was a diamond in the rough. Apparently, things have changed.

The beginning of this level takes place in an inverted pyramid, where a cacaphony of sargeants, imps, demons, and cacodemons wait above to dissect you. When I loaded the wad up, I immediately remembered that sense of fear that I had when I had first played this wad, and spent the first few minutes scrambling around trying to kill the monsters that were reaming me. I know the inverted pyramid thing is old by now, but as far as I'm concerned, The Pits carries it off better than anything I've seen before or after. The pyramid is designed so it is very close-quartered, but so that not too many monsters can take potshots at you at once (their shots are blocked)... and so that you can't shoot them all without moving around and fighting them up-close. Very well done and it had my adrenaline pumping. So far my memories of this level proved correct: it did kick ass. After a few tries, I managed to stumble out of the pyramid, with a few shotgun shells and down to 50 percent health.

However, it soon goes down hill. It has a great beginning, gets you thirsting for cauldrons of steaming blood to quaff, and then it turns the faucet off and leaves your thirst unslaked. The rest of the level is very unoriginal, undetailed, not to mention badly designed. You stumble through a maze to get the blue key. The maze is easy, if a bit low on ammo occasionally. You get the blue key, go through the blue door, and enter a large lava filled room with holes in the floor. Across the room is the yellow key. You run through the room, get the yellow key, when the holes in the floor (this had me as flabbergasted like a mime reacting to a butterfly) rise, and about 50 monsters come up. However, you have -ample- time to run out of the room, and they can't follow you. At this time, since I was bored, I just went back into the room and took the monsters out. It wasn't a problem, since at this point I had plenty of ammo, and the monsters, in many cases, were placed so closely together that they couldn'tmove to fire at me. Clearing out the room from the doorway, I went to the yellow door, expecting a final fight. Nope. Just an appallingly badly-textured exit room.

The texturing is "the pits" (clever). The opening pyramid is well-textured, or at least is satisfyingly-textured, but the opening fight is so fun you don't need excellent texturing. The rest of the level sucks though. Doors are wider or thinner than the textures applied to them. Doorjams move upwards. Holes in the lava floor have a different texture inside them, which, considering lava is liquid, flowing, and would fill empty space underneath it, is implausible. And, as I mentioned before, the exit room is horribly done. Just a wall filled with about 20 switches, tiled one on top of the other. Lighting is uniformly bright.

Mediocre level with one -great- fight. I'd download it just for that: its at the beginning, so you don't have to go too far for it, and once you beat that, you can just turn DOOM off, or spend the extra 5 minutes it takes to beat the rest of the level. I'm giving the Gameplay a 2, but the opening fight gameplay is at least a "4".


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