Mini Review: “Urban 2” (WAD For “Doom II”/”Final Doom”/”ZDoom”)

2017-artwork-urban-ii-wad-review-sketch

Well, although I plan to review an indie game called “Technobabylon” at some point in the near future, I realised that I’d been neglecting “Doom II”. After all, it’s been over a month since I last reviewed a “Doom II” WAD. So, in light of this sad situation, I thought that I’d take a quick look at a very short WAD called “Urban 2“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD. However, the WAD may possibly work with the original DOS versions of “Doom II” and “Final Doom”, since it also contains an installer of some kind (although you can just use the “URBAN2” and “URBANGFX” files with ZDoom without using the installer).

So, let’s take a look at “Urban 2”:

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As you may have guessed from the screenshot, “Urban 2” is primarily a deathmatch level. However, it does contain a certain amount of single-player content. This includes a defined exit and several monsters to fight. This WAD also contains quite a few new textures and a couple of new item sprites too.

One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is that it looks cool. The thing that drew me to it initially was the fact that it’s meant to look a little bit like “Blade Runner”:

Seriously, WHY are there so few cyberpunk WADs? The only other vaguely cyberpunk WADs I can think of are "Dead.Wire", "Valhalla", "Hacx", "Nerves Of Steel", "Winter's Fury" and a few levels from "Ancient Aliens".

Seriously, WHY are there so few cyberpunk WADs? The only other vaguely cyberpunk WADs I can think of are “Dead.Wire”, “Valhalla”, “Hacx”, “Nerves Of Steel”, “Winter’s Fury” and a few levels from “Ancient Aliens”.

Since it’s primarily intended for deathmatch, this WAD is very short too. You can complete the whole thing in less than ten minutes even if, like me, your “Doom II” skills have atrophied somewhat from lack of practice.

Yes, I have one health point. Since I've mostly been playing "point and click" games, platform games and isometric shooters for the month before writing this review, I even actually had to get used to using FPS controls again!

Yes, I have one health point. Since I’ve mostly been playing “point and click” games, platform games and isometric shooters for the month before writing this review, I even actually had to get used to using FPS controls again!

As a deathmatch level, I imagine that “Urban II” probably works really well. The level is divided into a small “street” arena and a subway station. The street area is a fairly simple square arena, with quite a few cool secret areas, lots of explosive barrels, a few alleyways and several low-level monsters.

The subway area consists of a platform, a track, some low-level monsters and the level exist. However the use of a slime texture for the train tracks is somewhat misleading, since it doesn’t actually damage you when you step on it.

 Yes, it's completely harmless! But, unfortunately, it doesn't also give you a healthy green glow.

Yes, it’s completely harmless! But, unfortunately, it doesn’t also give you a healthy green glow.

As a single-player level, it’s short and fairly easy (even if, as I said, you’re slightly out of practice). Even novice “Doom II” players won’t find much in the way of a challenge here. But, to be honest, there’s more to this level than than combat. Even though it might only take you a few minutes to complete it, it’s worth spending those few minutes just for all of the cool visuals on offer here.

It would have been nice to see a full-length single player level in this style, but even a short deathmatch-based level that looks like "Blade Runner" is worth playing.

It would have been nice to see a full-length single player level in this style, but even a short deathmatch-based level that looks like “Blade Runner” is worth playing.

This graffiti art looks really cool, although the lack of imps in this level is somewhat strange (seriously, there are just zombies here).

In addition to all of the enviromental textures, the level also includes a few improved item sprites too. The rocket, bullet box and super-shotgun pickup sprites all contain changes. These changes are fairly subtle, but they all help to make this WAD look a bit more distinctive. I haven’t seen these textures in any other WADs, so they also have a certain uniqueness to them too.

 This new item texture for the Super Shotgun is probably my favourite. However, the actual weapon sprite is completely unchanged.

This new item texture for the Super Shotgun is probably my favourite. However, the actual weapon sprite is completely unchanged.

All in all, this is an entertaining way to spend five minutes. It looks really cool and the new textures work fairly well too. Yes, it’s probably ten times more fun if you’re playing it multiplayer but it’s still cool to see a deathmatch level that acknowledges the existence of single-player gamers too. For what it is, “Urban II” is a pretty cool little level.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it might get a four.

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