Well, although I reviewed a couple of mods for “Doom II” late last year, it’s been ages since I’ve reviewed some proper add-on levels for it.
In fact, until two hours before I wrote this review – I’m ashamed to admit that I hadn’t even played “Doom II” for a couple of weeks!
So, it’s time to rectify this sorry state of affairs by taking a look at a WAD from 2013 that I discovered a while ago called “The Eye“. As usual, I used the “GZ Doom” source port to play this WAD, although it’ll probably work on other source ports too. Hell, it might even theoretically work on the original DOS version of the game…
Anyway, let’s take a look at “The Eye”:
One of the first things that I will say about “The Eye” is that it’s only one level long. In fact, the entire WAD took me about an hour and three-quarters to finish.
But, does the quality of this WAD make up for it’s short length?
In a word, yes.
Although “The Eye” doesn’t feature any new weapons, textures or sprites – it’s a testament to the value of good level design.
The entire level takes place within a series of cocentric circles, and you have to find all three keys in the large outer circle before you can progess to the giant tower in the centre of the map:
Since the first part of the level is circular, you can decide which way you go round it – and, surprisingly, it’s equally challenging regardless of whether you choose to go right or left at the beginning of the level. Not only that, when you reach the other side of the circle, don’t expect the game to go easy on you.
In fact, once you’ve made one circuit of the outer part of the level, the game will spawn a small army of hell knights and barons of hell in the room near the beginning.
Even then, you’ll probably still have to go around the circle once or twice more to find all of the keys you forgot to search for on the first time round.
Once you’ve got the keys and have opened the door, you will have to circle-strafe your way around a giant moat filled with enemies until you find two switches which allow you to access the tower stairs.
After this, you will have to battle your way up a cramped stairway filled with enemies. Although this might not sound that difficult- thanks to the way that the ammo is distributed in this part of the level, you will probably only have rocket launcher ammo and a small amount of plasma rifle ammo left at this point.
When you finally reach the zenith of the tower, you will have a close-quarters rocket duel with a cyberdemon!
Anyway, once you have slain the cyberdemon, you then have to activate the device in the middle of of the tower. It has three layers, with a switch on the outside of each, which reveals the next layer when you press it. Pretty easy, right? Wrong.
Yes, arch-viles are spawned whenever you press one of the switches. By now, you probably have very little ammo and health left. So, you will probably have to backtrack a lot, jump/fall off of the tower a lot and use all of your reflexes to dodge them until you can finally run into the centre of the device about three picoseconds before one of the arch-viles kills you.
Needless to say, this is one of the most thrilling “Doom” levels that I’ve played in quite a while. Although it’s a short level, it’s fast, it’s unforgiving and it’s furious.
Ever since I played “Stardate 20X6” last summer, I’m reluctant to call any other “Doom” WAD “difficult”.
So, I’ll just say that “The Eye” is a moderately challenging WAD that experienced “Doom” players will absolutely love. In fact, it’s the perfect “warm up” WAD if you haven’t played “Doom” for a while and are beginning to worry that your skills are getting rusty.
And, yes, in true old-school fashion – jumping is disabled by default in this WAD. Although, if you’re using a source port, you can always cheat and re-activate it, although I wouldn’t recommend this.
Although you’ll face the occasional small army of enemies as you make your way through “The Eye”, most of the challenge in this WAD comes from the cramped areas that you will often end up fighting in and the fact that ammo is relatively scarce in the early parts of the level and, in the mid-late parts of the level, you will get far more ammo for your long-range weapons than you do for your short-range weapons.
Another interesting thing about “The Eye” is how spectacular it looks, despite only using the basic “Doom” textures. Seriously, this is possibly the first WAD I’ve seen that still managed to amaze me visually without adding any new textures and I cannot praise the ingenuity of the level designer enough:
All in all, “The Eye” is an incredibly good WAD (that can also be completed in under two hours). It’s challenging, innovative, well-designed and incredibly good fun. Seriously, if you like “Doom”, then play it!
If I had to give “The Eye” a rating out of five, it would get a solid five.