Mini Review: “The Night Train” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”)

2016 Artwork The Night Train review sketch

Well, it’s been a while since I last reviewed a “Doom II” WAD, so I thought that I’d take a very quick look at a WAD called “The Night Train“.

Although I played this WAD using one of the more modern versions of “ZDoom“, it will probably work on GZDoom and possibly on many other modern source ports too

Anyway, let’s take a look at “The Night Train”:

Oooh, it's an intro movie!

Oooh, it’s an intro movie!

“The Night Train” is a short single-level WAD that can be completed in less than twenty minutes. As the WAD’s animated intro points out, the Doomguy is taking the train home (presumably after the events of one of the official games) when he suddenly realises that the train is filled with monsters. It isn’t exactly Shakespeare, but it’s pretty cool that this WAD actually has it’s own intro movie.

However, one problem with the intro movie is that – for want of a better description – it kind of spoils some of the later parts of the level by telling you exactly what you have to do.

Well, yes, I'd like to discover this for myself if you don't mind...

Well, yes, I’d like to discover this for myself if you don’t mind…

As you may have guessed by now “The Night Train” is a train level. If you play a lot of 1990s FPS games, then you’ll probably be more than familiar with this cool genre of level. It’s literally the one situation where FPS game levels can be (kind of) linear and still be really cool.

 I'm on the night train! Fill my cup!

I’m on the night train! Fill my cup!

Unfortunately, this level kind of takes the “linear” thing very seriously.

Although there are a few areas where monsters will appear behind you (and one or two times where you will need to retreat and find cover), there are virtually no real reasons to backtrack at all in this level.

In itself, this wouldn’t be a huge problem except for the fact that the level itself is absolutely tiny – seriously, the train only has about four or five carriages.

Not only that, you can’t even do the classic train level trick of carefully walking along the ledges on the side of each carriage. Yes, the carriages have large ledges but, for some bizarre reason, they’re blocked off with invisible walls.

 WHY? Just why?

WHY? Just why?

Compare this to other train levels – like the one in the first episode of another classic FPS game called “Blood” (where you have to go back and forth along the train a couple of times) or the famous “NJTrain” Doom WAD (which is considerably longer and slightly more complex) and you’ll start to see the limitations of this level.

As for the difficulty, this level is mildly challenging. Even though I was slightly out of practice, I still managed to blast my way through this level in under twenty minutes.

There are a reasonable array of low and mid-level monsters (but no Arch-viles though 😦 ) here, as well as a climactic cyberdemon battle. Most of the challenge in this level comes from the slight shortage of health power-ups in some areas and the claustrophobic areas that you fight in.

Well, it wouldn't be a REAL "Doom" WAD without at least one of THESE. But, WHERE is the obligatory Arch-vile?

Well, it wouldn’t be a REAL “Doom” WAD without at least one of THESE. But, WHERE is the obligatory Arch-vile?

Anyway, despite my criticisms, this is still a reasonably fun level. Yes, it’s hardly the best train level out there – but it’s still fairly enjoyable and, well, even mediocre train levels are still kind of cool.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get three.

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