Mini Review: “The Last Sanctuary” (WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

2017 Artwork The Last Sanctuary WAD review

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I last looked at a “Doom II” WAD, so I thought that I’d check out one called “The Last Sanctuary“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port when playing this WAD, although it will probably work with other modern source ports.

Anyway, let’s take a look at “The Last Sanctuary”:

Nice! This background image looks really cool.

Nice! This background image looks really cool.

“The Last Sanctuary” is a large single-level WAD that also includes new textures, sounds and music. This WAD took me just under two hours to complete on the “hurt me plenty” difficulty setting.

Visually speaking, there’s a surprising amount variety on offer here. The level includes vaguely 1980s-style sci-fi areas, traditional “hell” areas, and a large outdoor area (which contains a day/night cycle!).

Although the level includes new textures, these are fairly low-key (eg: signs, screens, panels, laser barriers etc..), and the biggest visual change that you will notice is that everything that is blue is a slightly lighter shade of blue.

Yay! Retro sci-fi isn't REALLY retro sci-fi without angular walls and lasers! :)

Yay! Retro sci-fi isn’t REALLY retro sci-fi without angular walls and lasers! 🙂

This is what the outdoor area looks like during the day.....

This is what the outdoor area looks like during the day…..

And THIS is what it looks like at night.

And THIS is what it looks like at night.

Likewise, the level design is suitably complex – with lots of places to explore and the occasional tricky puzzle to solve too. In fact, in order to complete the level, you have to find and enter a six-digit code into a terminal.

Yes, you can change each of these six numbers. In fact, you'll HAVE to in order to finish the level!

Yes, you can change each of these six numbers. In fact, you’ll HAVE to in order to finish the level!

Likewise, this level contains six keys that you have to find. Yes, six! Although most of them aren’t too difficult to find, getting hold of the blue skull key involves solving a basic platform-based puzzle that can be easily missed if you aren’t careful.

The only major problem with the level design is that the level is perhaps too large. In other words, some parts of the level can be easy to get lost in if you aren’t careful. Not to mention that any type of backtracking (when looking for doors, keys etc…) can be rather time-consuming and labourious due to the sheer size of the level.

 This part of the level might look really cool the first time you see it, but once you've trekked across it a couple of times, your opinion might change..

This part of the level might look really cool the first time you see it, but once you’ve trekked across it a couple of times, your opinion might change..

In terms of the combat difficulty, this level can probably be considered to be moderately challenging. Yes, there are more than a few times where you will be faced with large numbers of monsters, but experienced players shouldn’t have too much trouble dealing with them.

And, yes, there are Arch-viles here too :) But, only about three or four of them.

And, yes, there are Arch-viles here too 🙂 But, only about three or four of them.

As for the basic gameplay, one of the things that I noticed about this WAD is the fact that the pistol fires slightly faster than usual. Although this is useful near the beginning of the level, you probably won’t bother with it for the rest of the level. This WAD also takes a very traditional attitude towards jumping, and it is disabled by default.

The music in this level is surprisingly interesting, since it’s a 1980s/90s-style synth tune that helps to emphasise the retro sci-fi atmosphere of the earlier parts of the level, but seems a little out of place during the

All in all, this is a rather cool level. There are lots of interesting places to explore, several puzzles to solve and a fair number of monsters to fight, although the sheer size of the level can sometimes lead to frustration, rather than enjoyable exploration.

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

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