Review: “Frozen Time” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “GZ Doom”)

2015 Artwork Frozen Time WAD review sketch

Well, I was in the mood for playing another “Doom II” WAD and I thought that I’d check out a Cacoward-winning WAD called “Frozen Time“.

Before I go any further, I should probably point out that I used the “GZ Doom” source port when playing this WAD, although the Doomworld page for this WAD also lists a couple of other source ports that this WAD will work with.

Anyway, let’s take a look at “Frozen Time”:

Screenshot_Doom_20150628_145334

“Frozen Time” is a single-level WAD that is set around a giant wintery castle in the middle of nowhere.

Interestingly, this level starts off suspiciously quietly and you don’t even so much as see a monster until you’ve solved a puzzle involving a hidden switch (which shouldn’t be too difficult to find). Thankfully, this part of the level is fairly short and this helps to prevent it from becoming annoying.

Plus, there's a really cool building too.

Plus, there’s a really cool building too.

Although there are some indoor areas after this part of the level, the bulk of the level takes place on the roof of a gigantic castle – which looks absolutely spectacular:

Yes, if you started whistling the "Game Of Thrones" theme right now, you aren't the only one...

Yes, if you started whistling the “Game Of Thrones” theme right now, you aren’t the only one…

However, although the level design in this WAD looks really cool, there are at least a couple of flaws with this level. For the most part, this is a fairly well-designed “Doom” level that is filled with challenging battles and beautiful scenery. However, some of the puzzles in this level are absolutely fiendish.

In other words, expect to have an absolute blast when you play through the castle area for the first time and then expect to spend at least an hour wandering around aimlessly, trying to work out what you’re supposed to do next.

There’s one area where you’re supposed to rocket jump onto a platform in order to pick up a key. Even though parts of this puzzle can be skipped by jumping over a wall in another part of the level, the game doesn’t seem to let you progress until you solve the puzzle properly and press certain key-activated switches.

The switch you need to use this key on also seems to work normally when you don’t have the key ( it doesn’t do anything after you press it, but it also doesn’t display a “you need the yellow key” message), so expect to be confused by this.

Not only that, there’s also another area where, in order to progress to the end of the level, you have to shoot a tiny switch that is hidden inside a large pillar. So, yes, this level can get more than a little bit frustrating at times:

If you don't know what rocket jumping is, or how to do it - then you probably shouldn't play this WAD.

If you don’t know what rocket jumping is, or how to do it – then you probably shouldn’t play this WAD.

Yes, you need to find this tiny switch (which only seems to be accessible once you've used the yellow key)  in order to complete the level - good luck....

Yes, you need to find this tiny switch (which only seems to be accessible once you’ve used the yellow key) in order to complete the level – good luck….

Frustrating puzzles aside, this level is enjoyably challenging and, although it never quite turns into a slaughtermap, expect lots of challenging combat when you play “Frozen Time” – culminating in an epic duel with two cyberdemons in a vaguely “American McGee’s Alice” – themed area:

Curiouser and Curiouser....

Curiouser and Curiouser….

Even though this WAD doesn’t contain any new weapons, some of the weapons have slightly different sounds. The shotgun makes a slightly more mechanical noise when you pump it between shots and the rocket launcher has a much deeper and more resonant sound when you fire it. Both of these sound changes are really cool, although the new chaingun sounds make the gun sound slightly quieter and less powerful than it should sound.

As for the monsters – although this WAD only contains the standard “Doom II” monsters, some of them use new textures. The coolest of these is probably the cacodemon – who now looks suitably wintery:

And a merry Christmas to you too :)

And a merry Christmas to you too đŸ™‚

Most of the other new monster textures are fairly standard though – the imps look like the “dark imp” monsters that have turned up in countless other “Doom” WADs (although they are basically just ordinary imps, with new textures) and both the pinky demons and hell knights look paler than usual. Interestingly, the Mancubi are now a dark shade of grey:

Ok, this looks kind of weird.

Ok, this looks kind of weird.

Hmmm... He probably should have worn a coat or something.

Hmmm… He probably should have worn a coat or something.

All in all, “Frozen Time” is a beautiful and atmospheric WAD, with enjoyably challenging combat. However, it is let down very slightly by the frustrating puzzle design that will probably leave you completely stuck for about an hour or so.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it’d probably just about get a four.

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