As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been playing a “Doom” WAD called “Temple Of The Lizard Men 3” recently. So, for today, I thought that I’d review it.
Like with most modern “Doom” WADs, you will need a source port such as “GZDoom” in order to play it. I should also mention that it is a good idea to turn dynamic lighting on when playing “Lizard Men 3”. Some of the items you need to use in this game (such as the flares and the flashlight) require dynamic lighting in order to work. However, if you want a more horror-based experience when playing this WAD, be sure to turn it off.
Anyway, without any further ado, let’s take a look at “Temple Of The Lizard Men 3”:
Like with the previous “Lizard Men” WAD, this one actually has more of a story to it than most “Doom” WADs do. In fact, this game actually has a whole introductory cutscene – with voice acting. Yes, you heard me correctly, this game actually has voice acting.
Although the story is mostly the typical “You are a marine who has to rescue some researchers from an old temple“-kind of thing, there is also quite an interesting backstory about the rivalry between two ancient Goddesses too.
I can’t remember what the good one is called, but the evil one is called Spectra – and you actually get to fight her at the end of the game. Most of this backstory is relayed through text-based items that you can pick up and through background details, like this one:
Another cool thing about “Lizard Men 3” is that you can actually choose which character you want to play as. There are four characters to choose from and they all have very slightly different abilities (for example, Dana can run more quickly than the other characters can).
Interestingly, there are actually a couple of small differences depending on whether you play as a male or a female character.
The punching animation looks slightly different, the pistol looks slightly different (for some reason, the guys get a cooler-looking pistol) and the voice-acting during the narration-based cutscenes is obviously different. The male voice actor sounds fairly cool during these scenes, but the female voice actor just sounds kind of bored (for want of a better description). Even so, it’s great to have actual voice acting in a “Doom” WAD.
As for the level design, although this WAD features some fairly cool levels – there isn’t really a huge level of variety here. About the first half of the game is spent walking through rather similar-looking ancient temples and the second half of the game is spent in both a hellish otherworld and in various gothic castles. Even so, there are at least a couple of rather unique settings on offer here:
Another interesting thing about “Lizard Men 3” is that there are a lot more puzzle-based levels here than there were in the previous game. Most of the time, this is fairly interesting and it adds some longevity to the levels.
However, I am ashamed to admit that I got totally stuck on one of the early levels – and after lots of frustrating searching, eventually ended up resorting to cheat codes to get past a locked door.
Yet another interesting thing about “Lizard Men 3” is that it is much more of a horror-based WAD than previous instalments of the series have been. You spend quite a lot of time exploring claustrophobic dark tunnels and corridors, with only a flashlight and/or some flares to light the way (or nothing, if you forget to turn dynamic lighting on). Of course, these tunnels are also filled with monsters who are lying in wait for you….
Because of the claustrophobic and cramped level design, the combat in this game often feels a lot more intense and brutal than it does in most other “Doom” WADs. Literally, you’ll be walking along a corridor and then something will jump out at you and you’ll only have a couple of seconds (at most) to react. So, make sure that your “fight or flight” response is working properly before you play this game.
Although there are a few other horror-based things in this game – such as the obligatory “Lizard Men” dungeon level (that is filled with pools of blood, screaming prisoners and gory dismembered corpses) – most of the scares in this WAD come from the dark and cramped settings you will find here.
Like many great “Doom” WADs, “Lizard Men 3” features a plethora of new weapons. Most of these are fairly “standard” weapons – although they’re very well-designed.
For example, the basic shotgun is a semi-automatic shotgun that can fire twelve shots surprisingly quickly before you have to reload it. The thunderous sound effects and dramatic recoil animations for this gun are so cool that it even made me forget how much I hate “realistic” reloading mechanics in FPS games.
Likewise, you can also get weapons like a sniper rifle (with a zoom function) and a magic staff that has a surprisingly powerful secondary fire mode. And, you will need all of these weapons because of the sheer variety of monsters you will be fighting in this game.
As well as the eponymous lizard men, there are some really inventive and challenging monsters here. Yes, some of them are either borrowed from other 90s FPS games or are slightly altered versions of classic 90s FPS monsters. But, there are some totally new monsters here (like the flying skulls that have surprisingly powerful projectile attack).
One minor flaw with the new enemies is probably the sound effects that two of them use.
If you’ve played 3D Realms’ “Shadow Warrior”, then you’ll recognise one of the large and ferocious monsters in “Lizard Men 3”. These monsters are just as fast, tough and deadly as they were in “Shadow Warrior”. However, the sound effect from “Shadow Warrior” that warns you that they’re nearby is used by one of the weaker enemies in “Lizard Men 3” – needless to say, this is confusing as hell.
Even so, there are also four boss battles in this game too.
Although these battles are fairly cool – they’re a little bit uneven in terms of difficulty.
Three of the bosses (including the epic battle with Spectra at the end of the game) are fairly challenging, but winnable with enough persistence. However, the second boss is almost invincible and – again – I have to confess that, after a lot of trying, I eventually had to resort to using cheat codes in order to defeat him.
All in all, this is an incredibly fun WAD that is a must-play for “Doom” fans. Yes, it isn’t perfect and there are a few flaws here – but it’s worth playing for both the intense gameplay and to see the sheer amount of cool new stuff on offer here.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get four and a half.