Mini Review: “Fear Station Bravo” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “GZDoom”/”ZDoom”)

2016 Artwork Fear Station Bravo WAD review

Well, I’m still in the mood for playing “Doom II” WADs, so I thought that I’d take a look at a rather interesting one called “Fear Station Bravo“.

As usual, I played this WAD using one of the more modern versions of the “ZDoom” source port, but it was apparently designed for the “GZDoom” source port.

So, let’s take a look at “Fear Station Bravo”:

Screenshot_Doom_20160307_161130

“Fear Station Bravo” is a single-level WAD for “Doom II” and/or “Final Doom” that also features new textures, effects and music.

One of the first things that I will say about this level is that it actually has a difficulty curve. Shortly after I started playing, I actually began to wonder whether this was a WAD for the original “Doom”, since the first third of the level features nothing but weapons and monsters from the first game.

These parts of the level are mildly challenging (due to the number of monsters and the low-level weapons you’re equipped with) and they’re designed to lull the player into a false sense of security:

Ha! THIS should be easy...

Ha! THIS should be easy…

However, as you progress through the level, more “Doom II” monsters are gradually introduced into the level until it eventually becomes the kind of enjoyably challenging “Doom II” level that you would expect. It isn’t exactly fiendishly difficult, but it’s hardly easy either.

Another interesting thing about this difficulty curve is that you encounter the first revenant before you get the super-shotgun. This is actually a really clever piece of level design since it turns an encounter with a mid-level monster into something a lot more dramatic and threatening.

Yes, this is actually more dramatic than it would be in most "Doom II" WADs

Yes, this is actually more dramatic than it would be in most “Doom II” WADs

The level design in “Fear Station Bravo” is fairly good. The level itself is the kind of vast, sprawling non-linear techbase level that you would expect in a “Doom” game. It’s large and complex enough to require exploration and backtracking, but it never really gets too confusing.

In addition to this, there’s also a lot of cool stuff in this level too, which helps to keep it interesting. For example, there’s a totally optional outdoor area that you can explore during one part of the level.

With a new skybox and lots of monsters, of course.

With a new skybox and lots of monsters, of course.

Likewise, there’s another outdoor area, where you have to navigate a series of revolving doors, whilst monsters fire projectiles at you:

Yes, that's actually a revolving door in the distance!

Yes, that’s actually a revolving door in the distance!

But, some of the coolest parts of this level are fairly subtle. You can find malfunctioning wall panels that have their own sound effects and sparking animations. You also can find detailed pieces of futuristic machinery. There are also horizontally-opening doors and tiered floors too!

Great heavens! That door is opening SIDEWAYS!

Great heavens! That door is opening SIDEWAYS!

And what sorcery is THIS!?!?

And what sorcery is THIS!?!?

Yay! Machinery :)

Yay! Machinery 🙂

As for the new music, it’s absolutely brilliant. The music is both wonderfully gothic and ominously futuristic too. It kind of reminded me a bit of a cross between the background music in “American McGee’s Alice” and the end credits music in “Blade Runner”.

All in all, this is a really fun level. It’s well-designed and it features all sorts of cool stuff. In addition to this, it actually contains something of a difficulty curve too.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get at least a four.

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