Well, since I’m still reading the next novel I plan to review (“Fall Of Night” by Jonathan Maberry), I thought that I’d take the chance to look at another “Doom II”/”Final Doom” WAD, since it’s been about two or three weeks since my last WAD review.
As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port to play this WAD, although it will probably work with almost any other source port. However, since this WAD uses a couple of the WW2-themed “Wolfenstein 3D” textures and enemies from Doom II’s secret levels, this WAD may not work with censored versions of the game (eg: the BFG edition and/or the German version of the game).
So, let’s take a look at “The Phantom Of The Opera”:
The level takes place in two different areas, an opera house-style area and some underground tunnels/crypts.
Given that the level only uses the standard textures (including the “Wolf 3D” ones from the secret levels), these areas are fairly well-designed and they look reasonably close to what they are supposed to be (for example, in order to progress to part of the opera house, you have to walk through a curtain. Likewise, there’s a boat that teleports you to another part of the level etc..).
In addition to this, the level also tries to add a bit of visual/combat variety by using a couple of enemies and a portrait from Doom II’s WW2-themed “Wolfenstein 3D” secret levels.
But, although this WW2-related stuff adds a bit of extra content to the level, it does seem at least slightly out of place in a level that is supposed to be set in 19th century France.
The level design itself is reasonably good, with the level being a non-linear level which is also small/streamlined enough that you’ll never really get lost. Like in any classic “Doom II” level, you’ll be searching for keys in order to progress (and these are pretty easy to find). Likewise, there are a few secrets to find too. Although the very first one is pretty easy to find, there’s a well-designed secret involving a piano/organ, which was kind of cool.
The level’s difficulty is kind of interesting. Although there aren’t that many monsters, the level achieves a certain level of challenge by heavily rationing the amount of ammo available to you.
If you find the blue health sphere near the beginning of the level, then this won’t be too much of a problem – but this is one of those levels where you have to know when to fight and when to run. This is especially true in the final segment of the level, when you are faced with multiple arch viles (and have little to no ammo).
Surprisingly, this adds a bit of extra fun to the level, since you’ll have to use all of the reflexes and tactics that you’ve learnt from playing other levels. Likewise, the sheer number of arch viles near the end means that the final segment is much more like a basic puzzle (eg: you have to work out what to do and how to do it quickly) than a combat segment, since you can’t possibly fight all of the arch viles.
Even so, experienced players will find this level to be very much on the easier side of things. Even so, it’s still fairly fun.
In terms of music, this level uses the standard “Doom II” music – which is kind of annoying, given that it is meant to be based on The Phantom Of The Opera.
All in all, this is a fun and well-designed – but rather short and relatively easy level – that is a fun way to spend 10-15 minutes. It’s interesting to see someone trying to recreate The Phantom Of The Opera (even with some anachronistic WW2-era elements).
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it might just get a four.