Mini Review: “Disaster” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”)

2016 Artwork Disaster WAD review

Well, after playing “Brutal Doom” for a few days, I felt like relaxing slightly and playing something a bit more traditional. So, I decided to take a quick look at a WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom” called “Disaster“.

Although I played this WAD using the “ZDoom” source port, it will probably work on pretty much any source port. In fact, it might possibly even work with the original DOS/Win 95 versions of “Doom II” or “Final Doom” (although I’m not sure if two parts of the level actually require jumping or not).

Anyway, let’s take a quick look at “Disaster”:

Yay! Gloom :)

Yay! Gloom 🙂

“Disaster” is a single-level WAD for “Doom II”. Although it features a couple of new textures, it is – for the most part – a fairly “traditional” style level. The thing that sets this level apart from many other similar levels is the fact that it is a lot more puzzle-based than the average “Doom” level.

Although the earlier parts of the level are a little bit on the linear side, where you go from switch-based puzzle to switch-based puzzle in a pre-determined order, the level gradually becomes slightly less linear and the puzzles become a lot more challenging.

Yes, you'll have to find things like THIS if you want to complete the level.

Yes, you’ll have to find things like THIS if you want to complete the level.

Even though this level includes a small to medium amount of monsters to fight, the main focus is on the puzzles. This is both a good and a bad thing. Although there isn’t anything too fiendish here, expect to spend a lot of time wandering around aimlessly trying to work out what you’re supposed to do.

There are a few dramatic battles, like this (especially in the earlier and later parts of the level). But, most of the time, you'll just be wandering around and looking for switches.

There are a few dramatic battles, like this (especially in the earlier and later parts of the level). But, most of the time, you’ll just be wandering around and looking for switches.

Many of the puzzles are quite cleverly designed. For example, in one earlier part of the level, you’ll find a random shielding suit in the corner of a room. There’s no obvious use for it at the time but, as you might have guessed, you’d be a fool to pick it up there and then since you’ll need it in a later part of the level.

Yes, it might be what all of the cool people are wearing. But, you'd be an idiot to pick it up right now.

Yes, it might be what all of the cool people are wearing. But, you’d be an idiot to pick it up right now.

However, if you’re not used to being “stuck” whilst playing FPS games, then you will probably find this level more frustrating than enjoyable. Even so, there aren’t any unfair or unsolvable puzzles in this level if you’re willing to explore and persevere. Yes, there’s one part of the level that looks unfair/ unsolvable at first, but later turns out to be just another puzzle.

In terms of length, this level is probably medium sized. From the description accompanying the WAD, I was expecting a larger level, but what this level lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in complexity. As you might expect, this level is riddled with concealed passages, hidden rooms and all of that sort of stuff.

This isn't really a secret corridor, but some of the corridors are quite well-hidden later in the level.

This isn’t really a secret corridor, but some of the corridors are quite well-hidden later in the level.

As for the music, it’s an absolutely perfect fit with the level. The earlier parts of the background music sound a bit like the theme tune to “The Exorcist”, which goes perfectly with the ominously gloomy corridor at the beginning of the level. However, the rest of the background music is surprisingly upbeat and it sounds a little bit like something from an old adventure game or an old puzzle game, which fits in perfectly with the style of the level.

All in all, this is an interesting level. Yes, it can get mildly frustrating in a couple of parts but it’s still interesting to see a puzzle-based “Doom II” level.

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

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