Mini Review “Oniria” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

2016 Artwork Oniria WAD review sketch

Well, I was in the mood for reviewing another fan-made level for “Doom II”, so I thought that I’d check out a rather interesting-looking WAD called “Oniria“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this level. Although it may possibly work with other source ports, it happens to have been designed for “ZDoom” (which is always a bonus) and – like many modern (well, this level was actually made in 2006) levels, it requires a source port that allows jumping.

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

Yay! An ominous skull! This is always a good sign :)

Yay! An ominous skull! This is always a good sign 🙂

“Oniria” is a single-level WAD for “Doom II”/”Final Doom” that contains new textures and music. The premise of the level is that the Doomguy has fallen asleep and is in the midst of a dream…. a nightmare!

And with cool-looking posters like this on his bedroom wall, you can tell that it's going to be an interesting one...

And with cool-looking posters like this on his bedroom wall, you can tell that it’s going to be an interesting one…

The best way to describe this level is that it is what “Doom II” would look like if it had been designed by Tim Burton and/or American McGee… wait a minute, American McGee did make parts of “Doom II”. Well, although this level wasn’t made by him, it reminded me of his later game “American McGee’s Alice“.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Curiouser and curiouser…

The first sign that this WAD is more on the gothic side of things is the interesting choice of colour palette. The only colours you will see in this level are black, white, grey and blood red.

This minimalist colour scheme goes together really well and it really helps to add to the creepy, gothic and carnivalesque atmosphere of the level. Did I say “carnivaliseque”? Well, there are a lot of creepy clowns anyway….

Can't sleep, clown will eat me... Can't sleep, clown will eat me...

Can’t sleep, clown will eat me… Can’t sleep, clown will eat me…

Needless to say, the visual design of this level is fairly good too. As well as several new textures, there are ominously dark corridors, large imposing buildings and creepy swirling patterns. Seriously, this level really looks cool.

Yay! I wish more rooms in "Doom II" looked like this!

Yay! I wish more rooms in “Doom II” looked like this!

Yay! Lampposts and swirling patterns!

Yay! Lampposts and swirling patterns!

One interesting feature of this level is the key system. Instead of just collecting three skull keys, you have to find nine skull keys and one door key. This adds an extra level of challenge to the level, since most locked doors won’t open unless you’ve collected 2-4 skulls of a particular type. Of course, whilst many of the skulls can be found quite easily, at least a couple of them are hidden in clever places.

The same is true for at least one of the locked doors that you’ll need to open in order to complete the level (you have to jump/run off of a platform in precisely the right place to get to it). So, yes, this is one of those levels that requires a fair amount of exploration. If you’re the kind of player who doesn’t like getting “stuck”, then you probably won’t like this level. But, if you’re a seasoned 1990s FPS gamer, then getting stuck won’t be too much of an issue.

In terms of the difficulty, this level is moderately challenging. As well as cleverly-hidden doors and keys, you’ll also be fighting groups of low-mid level monsters on a regular basis and this is something that the game itself actually points out to you in one part:

Yay! I was wondering where they had got to....

Yay! I was wondering where they had got to….

 It is pretty much compulsory for "Doom II" WADs to include at least one of these, this level contains three :)

It is pretty much compulsory for “Doom II” WADs to include at least one of these, this level contains three 🙂

As for the music in this level, it’s a fairly good fit with the level. Although it’s suitably ominous and gothic, it’s also surprisingly upbeat too. It kind of reminded me of something that I’d expect to hear in a 1990s “point and click” game, which is always cool.

All in all, I really liked this level. Yes, some parts of it can get slightly confusing at times but it’s an enjoyable level with a wonderfully gothic atmosphere.

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

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