Well, although I’d planned to review some more indie and/or retro games this month, this hasn’t really happened for a number of reasons. This is mostly due to a combination of being too busy with making webcomics and because I’m either not currently in the mood for more slow-paced adventure games and/or because I didn’t really get on well with the one retro FPS game (“System Shock 2”) that I’d planned to review for long enough to really gather enough material for a review.
So, instead, here’s a quick review of a short “Doom II”/”Final Doom” level called “Maximum Stafe“. I played this level using the “ZDoom” source port, although it will probably work with pretty much any source port.
So, let’s take a look at “Maximum Stafe”:
“Maximum Stafe” is a short, fast level that can be completed in less than fifteen minutes. Since I was slightly tired when I played it, I was glad of the fact that the difficulty level of “Maximum Stafe” (when played on ‘Hurt Me Plenty’) was on the easier side of challenging.
However, that’s not to say that this level is insultingly easy or anything like that. Most of the level takes place in claustrophobic areas, where you are often surrounded by low-mid level monsters. So, there’s still an emphasis on fast and strategic combat, although the difficulty level is reduced somewhat by the types of monsters that you’ll be facing.
In terms of the level design itself, it’s certainly on the linear side of things. Although there are a few secrets, set pieces and interesting side areas to explore – the level itself pretty much follows a single linear path.
However, this is disguised somewhat by the twisting nature of the path and the fact that it is often hidden within slightly larger or more complex areas (eg: there’s a large crate-filled area – which you have to cross, press a button and then find a transporter to get back to the other side in order to progress). This helps to avoid the “corridor simulator” thing that can be a problem in more linear levels, whilst also allowing the level to maintain an extremely fast pace.
Plus, one of the set pieces in this level is really cool too. Near the end of the level, you find a BFG just before stepping through a teleporter. Although this is usually a sign that an epic battle with a cyberdemon awaits you, this isn’t exactly the case here:
Instead, you are transported into a room where, if you want to, you can walk or jump straight into the level exit. However, there’s also a closed door at the end of the room. If you open it, you can enjoy one of the coolest and funniest set pieces I’ve seen in a “Doom II” level for a while.
All in all “Maximum Stafe” is a fun little WAD. Yes, it’s linear and yes it can be completed in less than fifteen minutes. But, it’s still incredibly good fun. Plus, it’s worth playing just for the BFG-related mayhem near the end of the level.
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get at least three and a half.