Review: “Xmas 2004” (WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “GLBoom”/ “ZDoom”)

Well, since I’m still reading the next book I plan to review (“Heresy” by S.J.Parris), I thought that I’d take the chance to review another “Doom II”/”Final Doom” WAD. And, after clicking on the “Random File” button on the /idgames Archive a few times, I ended up finding a WAD from 2004 called “Xmas 2004“.

Since the weather was annoyingly hot again, I was in the mood for something wintery and, since Christmas 2004 was one of my favourite Christmases, I decided to take a look at this WAD.

Although the WAD’s attached text file recommends using the “GLBoom” source port (which is part of “PRBoom”), I couldn’t get this to work on my computer. So, instead, I ended up using the “ZDoom” source port (after having issues with using the WAD with an older version of “GZDoom”). As such, the lighting in the screenshots in this review may not reflect the intended experience.

Likewise, since the “Wolf 3D” enemies from Doom II’s secret level are used as the basis for the “elf” enemies, this WAD may have issues when played with versions of “Doom II” that do not include this secret level.

Anyway, let’s take a look at “Xmas 2004”:

“Xmas 2004” is a seven-level WAD for “Doom II”/”Final Doom” that contains new sprites, textures, end level screens and music. One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is that, whilst it does have a few cool elements, it really isn’t that great overall (for several reasons).

I suppose that I should start with the good parts of this WAD, which are the location design, the music and the hub system.

Although the hub system means that, out of the seven levels, only two of them are actual full-length levels, the fact that the Doomguy returns to his apartment (and checks his e-mails) between levels is kind of a cool touch. In addition to this, the new music (a mixture of easy listening, Jingle Bells and relaxing Christmas music) really helps to add a festive atmosphere to the levels too.

Plus, another good thing about this WAD is the location design. Seriously, I absolutely love both the level of visual detail in this WAD and the wonderfully gloomy festive locations too. Yes, this WAD does include a few annoying invisible walls, but there are some really cool-looking locations here:

Woo hoo! This looks wonderfully Christmassy 🙂

Seriously, I really love the location design here 🙂

And this area looks really awesome too 🙂

But, these are the only good things I can say about this WAD. Everything else about it really isn’t that great. I should probably start with the actual gameplay, which is pretty much the dictionary definition of badly-handled difficulty.

Not only is there a paucity of health power-ups here (I only found about four stimpacks in the entire WAD and actually had to use the “Give Health” cheat at one point!), but it is also one of those WADs that includes wide open areas with lots of hitscan enemies who can snipe you from a distance. This is further compounded by the fact that the “elf” enemies in one level are absolutely tiny and therefore more difficult to hit.

Not to mention that there are loads of them too…

Then, there are this WAD’s “comedy” elements. It makes unsophisticated, clumsy and/or imperfect attempts at the “edgy” humour that was more popular in the 1990s/early 2000s – with little to none of the depth, creativity and/or thought that can be found in these older works.

There’s no intelligent social satire here, no creatively-expressed irreverent criticisms – just a few cringe-worthy “politically incorrect” elements (eg: stereotypical “gang member” enemies in one level etc…) which seem to be there for the sake of shock value and some crude jokes, random drug references etc…

In addition to this, the level design is a little bit annoying. Whilst the levels are thankfully non-linear, the combination of wide open spaces, numerous doors that cannot be opened and some slightly hidden level-critical areas means that the levels can be a bit annoying sometimes. Yes, if you explore a bit, then you’ll be able to work out where to go next, but a few elements of the level design seem a little bit obtuse at times.

Although, saying that, one of the levels quite literally tells you where to go.

All in all, whilst this WAD contains some cool-looking areas, it really isn’t that much fun to play. This is a WAD with badly-handled difficulty, occasionally frustrating level design and some cringe-worthy elements, which really isn’t as enjoyable to play as other Christmas-themed WADs like “Mori Christmas” and “Xmas Doom 2015“.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get a two.

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Review “The Phantom Of The Opera” (WAD for “Doom II”/”Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

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.

And, after clicking the “random file” button on the /idgames Archive a couple of times, I ended up with a single-level WAD from 2005 called “The Phantom Of The Opera“.

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..).

What do you mean, unsafe? It looks perfectly seaworthy to me!

And, for something made with the standard textures, this opera house looks pretty impressive, if a little small.

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).

Well, it wouldn’t be a “Doom II” level without THESE!

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.

Review: “Denial” (WAD For “Doom II”/”Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

Well, due to the hot weather, it’s taking me a bit longer to read the next book I’m planning to review (“Final Destination: Dead Reckoning” by Natasha Rhodes) than I expected. So, for the final review of the month, I thought that I’d take a quick look at another “Doom II” WAD. After all, it’s been a few weeks since my last WAD review.

So, after clicking the “Random File” button on the /idgames Archive a few times, I ended up with a single-level “Doom II”/”Final Doom” WAD from 2006 called “Denial“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, although it’ll probably work with most modern source ports. Likewise, since it’s a “vanilla” WAD (eg: it only uses the standard textures, monsters, weapons etc..), it’ll also work with many mods (like “Brutal Doom” etc..) too.

So, let’s take a quick look at “Denial”:

“Denial” is a medium length single-level WAD which, for some bizarre reason, takes up the level 28 slot. What this means is that, when you start the game, you’ll have to type “IDCLEV28” to skip to this level (if you don’t want to play levels 1-27). I’ve never quite understood why some WAD designers do this. If it’s a single-level WAD, then it should be level one!

One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is that it’s a lot of fun. It’s a mildly-moderately challenging level that will probably take you an hour or so to complete. It’s a perfect level if you’re slightly out of practice, if the weather is a little bit too hot or if you don’t have too much time. Likewise, if you’re a more inexperienced player, then this level will probably be quite an enjoyable challenge.

But, if you’re a more experienced player, then you’ll get to feel like an expert when you play this mildly challenging level.

A lot of the level’s challenge is achieved through careful weapon/ammo/health placement, claustrophobic design and well-planned monster encounters. Although you’ll mostly encounter low-level monsters throughout the level, these segments still remain mildly challenging due to the number of these monsters (eg: small hordes of them), the cramped locations you fight them in and/or their hitscan attacks.

Seriously, this segment might look really easy, but there’s very little cover to hide behind…

Still, the level throws a few mid-high level monsters and/or small arena fights at you occasionally in order to keep you on your toes. Even so, don’t expect the large numbers of monsters that you’d normally see in a more challenging modern WAD. But, saying this, the level still includes the obligatory Arch-Vile too 🙂

Seriously, no “Doom II” WAD is truly complete without one of these 🙂

In terms of the level design, this WAD is reasonably good. Not only is the level an old-school non-linear level, but there’s also a good mixture of claustrophobic corridors and small-medium size arena areas too.

The bulk of the level is spent trying to find one key – which can sometimes lead to you getting lost or stuck, although this thankfully doesn’t last too long (thanks to the size of the level). But, once you’ve found the key, then the level becomes a lot more straightforward – with the other two locked doors being fairly close to the first one.

Still, it’s always awesome to see FPS game maps that look like this 🙂

The level also includes a couple of basic switch puzzles and a few fairly obvious secret areas too, which help to keep things interesting (since they’ll sometimes allow you to glimpse later parts of the level). Plus, whilst this WAD can probably be played using a more “traditionalist” approach, if you want to get the plasma rifle, then you’ll need to use a source port that allows you to jump.

Luckily, this wall of switches doesn’t seem to be a combination puzzle 🙂

I’m pretty sure that you can’t get this without jumping, although there might be a hidden teleporter or something.

All in all, this is a reasonably fun and well-designed level that will provide an hour or so of mildly-moderately challenging fun. Yes, you might get lost or stuck for a few minutes, but it’s always good to see an old-school non-linear level that requires you to explore 🙂

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

Review: “Unruly Evil” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/”ZDoom”)

Well, since I’m still reading the next novel I plan to review (“Bring Up The Bodies” By Hilary Mantel), I thought that I’d take the chance to review another “Doom II” WAD, since it’s been about three weeks or so since my last WAD review.

So, after clicking on the “Random File” button on the /idgames Archive Database a few times, I ended up finding a WAD from 2006 called “Unruly Evil“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD. Since it seems to be designed specifically for ZDoom, I don’t know how well it will work with other source ports (although I guess that ZDoom-based source ports, like GZDoom, might possibly be ok).

So, let’s take a look at “Unruly Evil”:

“Unruly Evil” is a short to medium length single-level WAD which includes a few new features/mechanics.

It also, for some bizarre reason, takes up the Map 28 slot – so, when you start the game, you’ll have to type “IDCLEV28” to skip to this level (or play through the first 27 levels of “Doom II” or “Final Doom”) before you can get to this level.

Yes, if you see something like this, just type “IDCLEV28”. And, yes, I’m using “Final Doom” (because “The Plutonia Experiment” is awesome 🙂 )

One of the first things that I will say about “Unruly Evil” is that, according to the accompanying text file, it was apparently made as a tech demo to show how a level editor called “DCK 3.62” can use some ZDoom-specific features. And, as a tech demo, it’s pretty cool. But, as a level, it isn’t really that great.

Ok, it has some good moments but, on the whole, it’s kind of… meh.

The main features that this WAD shows off include enemies that can turn invisible, in-game text and underwater areas (with an accompanying oxygen mechanic). For the time that this WAD was released, I can see how they would have been fairly impressive. However, whilst it’s neat that this level shows all of this stuff off, it does ruin the gameplay somewhat.

For starters, the enemies that can phase in and out of visibility at will are an impressive feature. However, they are more than a little bit frustrating, due to the fact that they can suddenly pop up out of nowhere without warning. Whilst this does add a little bit of extra challenge and tension to the level, the way it is implemented (eg: with no spectre-like silhouettes when the monsters are invisible) can come across as a cheap, annoying and unfair way of adding difficulty.

Likewise, the in-game text is a rather cool feature. However, it often relays obvious instructions to the player – which can come across as patronising at times. And, when combined with the reasonably linear design of the level, this makes the level feel less like a “Doom II” level and more like a caricature of a more modern FPS game. Still, this text is used in a rather interesting end-level cinematic… which then crashed ZDoom after it had finished.

However, the dark blue text used here is kind of difficult to read against the gloomy background. The bright yellow text in the rest of the WAD would have been a better choice.

Finally, the underwater area is kind of a neat addition. Still, given that most “Doom II” levels with underwater areas don’t include an oxygen mechanic, expect to get caught out by this when you venture into this area for the first time.

The Doomguy can drown? But what about that spacesuit/oxygen mask that he usually wears?

The level itself is, as I mentioned, somewhat linear (with only a few non-linear elements) and there are a few moderately challenging elements- such as a couple of enjoyable small-medium size arena fights (which, to the level’s credit, feature a Cyberdemon and an Arch-vile).

On the plus side, this is one situation where the in-game text is actually kind of epic.

The level is both generous and stingy when it comes to heath too. Although there are a reasonably number of health packs near the beginning of the level, I didn’t really find many in the later parts. And, since your health is likely to be low during the later parts of the level, the sudden appearance of invisible enemies can result in a frustrating insta-death occasionally.

All in all, this is a pretty cool old tech demo. But, when seen on it’s own merits as a level, it isn’t that great. It’s linear and frustrating. Even so, it’s a cool glimpse into the history of “Doom II” modding, source ports etc…

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get two and a half for the level design but four for the features.

Review: “Try Before You Die” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”)

Well, since I’m still in the middle of reading a rather long C. J. Sansom novel (is there any other type?), I thought that I’d take the chance to review a “Doom II”/”Final Doom” WAD today.

After all, it’s been at least a couple of weeks since the last WAD review and, despite playing an older version of “Reelism” occasionally, I was worried that I was getting out of practice.

So, after clicking the “random file” link on the /idgames Archive a few times, I eventually found a rather interesting-looking WAD from 2016 called “Try Before You Die“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD. According to the accompanying text file, this WAD is designed for ZDoom-based source ports – so, it will probably work with ports like GZDoom too.

So, let’s take a look at: “Try Before You Die”:

“Try Before You Die” is a medium to long single-level WAD which revolves around a demonic invasion of Earth.

With Earth in ruins, humanity’s only hope is for the Doomguy to complete some kind of infernal trial in order to rid the planet of hell’s forces. So, yes, pretty standard stuff really.

Well, what were you expecting? A romantic comedy?

One of the first things that I will say about this level is that it’s pretty cool. Not only is the level design the kind of interesting non-linear level design that you’d expect from a classic 1990s FPS game, but the gameplay is also suitably challenging too 🙂

And, in keeping with the 1990s style of the level, this is also one of those modern levels where jumping is disabled by default (although the level is designed with this limitation in mind, so it isn’t really that noticeable whilst playing).

I should probably start by talking in more detail about the level design. In addition to containing a reasonably good mixture of claustrophobic corridors and arena-like areas, this level is also divided into two distinctive areas. There’s a ruined city area and a demonic fortress area (with four sub-areas you can teleport to in any order you want) – and, considering that this WAD only uses the standard “Doom II” textures, both areas look pretty cool.

Woo hoo! Gloomy post-apocalyptic landscapes 🙂

And THIS area almost looks like something from “Final Doom” too 🙂

This is also one of those awesome non-linear levels where you’ll often find yourself having to explore, in addition to finding new routes back to earlier areas of the level. Although the level is reasonably large, it’s still small enough to make exploration interesting rather than frustrating. In other words, it probably won’t take you too long to work out where you’re supposed to go next.

Likewise, this level also contains some fairly interesting, but solvable, puzzles too. For example, if you step through a teleporter in one area, you’ll quickly get torn to pieces by imps when you emerge on the other side. As such, you have to find where the teleporter exits and then use a nearby window/hole in the wall to deal with the imps first.

The level also includes an interesting little puzzle involving teleporters and barrels, a few basic switch puzzles, some combat-based puzzles etc… These puzzles are interesting enough to be reminiscent of the classic FPS games of the 1990s whilst also being straightforward enough not to become frustrating.

Hmmm…. I’m surrounded by barrels o’ fun!

In terms of the difficulty, experienced players will find this level enjoyably challenging 🙂 Whilst it is more of a standard-style level (think “Final Doom” turned up to eleven) rather than a “slaughtermap”-style level (where you’re faced with giant hordes of monsters), the level’s difficulty is achieved in a variety of interesting ways.

When you start the level, you’re faced with a reasonable number of mid-low level monsters, few health power-ups, relatively little ammo and a few claustrophobic areas. Whilst the difficulty in these parts of the level can feel a little bit cheap (especially if you’re slightly out of practice), the level soon begins to include a variety of different types of challenging combat.

These include really fun arena areas, areas where you’ll be running for your life, tense battles in narrow corridors, a Cyberdemon battle and even a fun little slaughtermap-style segment where a wide corridor quickly fills with powerful monsters (and you’ll have to use quick reflexes and clever tactics to find a way to escape).

And, yes, this level fulfils it’s mandatory Arch-vile quotient too 🙂

In addition to all of this, the relative scarcity of health items throughout the level (seriously, my health was less than 20 for large portions of the level!) helps to keep things suspenseful and challenging too 🙂

All in all, this is a really fun level 🙂 It’s a really cool modern twist on classic 1990s-style FPS levels. If you feel that “Final Doom” is a little bit too easy or you want a slightly more epic classic-style “Doom II” level, then this one is certainly worth checking out.

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

Mini Review: ‘Xaser’s Arena (Version 2)” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

Since, once again, I’m still reading the next book I plan to review ( another 600+ page Tudor tome called “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel), I thought that I’d review another “Doom II” WAD, since there really aren’t enough WAD reviews here these days.

So, after clicking on the “random file” button on the /idgames Archive a couple of times, I eventually found an interesting-looking WAD from 2003 called “Xaser’s Arena (Version 2)“.

Interestingly, this is an earlier WAD from the creator of several WADs I’ve reviewed in the past called “Zen Dynamics“, “Dead. Wire” and “Dead. Air“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, although I’m guessing that it will probably run with most modern source ports.

So, let’s take a look at “Xaser’s Arena (Version 2)”:

“Xaser’s Arena (Version 2)” is a single-level WAD that includes new textures and music. This WAD actually has a backstory in the accompanying text file too. Basically, the Doomguy is in the middle of a holographic training simulation when a virus causes the monsters inside the simulation to become real and dangerous.

So, yes, it’s basically like a “Doom”-themed version of one of those holodeck-based episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” 🙂

Set phasers to “obliterate”!

One of the first things that I will say about this level is that it looks really cool. After you’ve worked out how to enter the hologram area (just press the two consoles next to the doors), the main part of the level uses a really awesome neon green grid texture that reminded me of both the holodeck from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and some of the sci-fi levels from an amazing “Doom II” WAD from 2015 called “Reelism“. Seriously, this level looks really cool 🙂

Yes, technically speaking, this is a cyberpunk WAD 🙂

The level design here is pretty interesting too. This is one of those intricate, compact, claustrophobic levels which will require you to press switches, collect keys and constantly search for where to go next.

The level’s small size works really well here since, although some switches may affect things slightly further away, you won’t have to search for them for too long. Likewise, the many claustrophobic corridors you’ll find yourself in really help to add some challenge to the level’s combat too.

However, this level does have something of a strange difficulty curve. Basically, although it is technically possible to get the shotgun near the beginning of the level, you’ll probably miss it – since working out where it is and going through the steps to get it whilst being hounded by multiple cacodemons etc.. is a little bit difficult when you’ve only got a pistol and your health is getting drained quickly by multiple monster attacks.

What this means is that you’ll probably spend many of the early parts of the level with low health and an inadequate amount of pistol ammo. In other words, you’ll probably end up having to use your fists a lot. If you’re experienced with “Doom II”, you’ll probably be able to use tactics to get through most of these parts of the levels in a slow and methodical fashion. Still, whilst this turns low-level monsters (eg: imps, pinky demons etc..) into a genuine threat, it does come across as a rather cheap, and occasionally frustrating, way to achieve difficulty.

Five health and no bullets. Never let it be said that “Doom II” is an easy game. Still, this crumpled door looks pretty cool.

However, as soon as you get the super shotgun, chaingun and/or rocket launcher slightly later in the level, everything quickly becomes far easier. So, yes, the difficulty curve of this level is a little bit strange.

Seriously, once you find this place, the difficulty level suddenly changes from “challenging” to “pretty easy”.

In terms of the new background music, it consists of fast, upbeat, futuristic music that goes surprisingly well with the level. It’s cheesy enough to be fun, but good enough not to become annoying for the 15-45 minutes you’ll probably spend with this level.

All in all, although this level has a little bit of a strange difficulty curve, this is a cool-looking and reasonably well-designed WAD. It’s a fascinating early level by a designer who would go on to create even cooler sci-fi WADs (the most enjoyable of which is probably “Dead. Air).

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

Mini Review: “The Shining” (WAD For “Doom II”/”Final Doom”/”ZDoom”)

Well, since I’m still reading the next book I plan to review (“Heartstone” By C. J. Sansom), I thought that this would be the perfect time to check out another “Doom II” WAD. After all, it’s been about three weeks or so since the last one.

And, after seeing the first minute or so of this video review of a “Blood“-themed WAD from 2014 called “The Shining“, I just had to check it out.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, although I’m guessing that it will probably work in most other modern source ports.

So, let’s take a look at “The Shining”:

I live… again!

“The Shining” is a single-level WAD that is very heavily based on the first 1-2 levels of “Blood” and it features new music, new textures, new weapon/explosion sounds and a new weapon item sprite.

One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is that it both is and isn’t like “Blood”. On the one hand, many of the new textures and sounds are from “Blood” – not to mention that the level design itself has also been heavily influenced by the first 1-2 levels of “Blood” too. However, in terms of monsters, difficulty etc.. it is very different to the source material.

Yes, it looks similar to “Blood”, but it plays very differently.

In essence, this is a little bit more like a WAD such as “Derceto” (which was based on “Alone In The Dark) in that it tries to make sure that this level still looks very much like a “Doom II” level, rather than a total conversion (unlike something like “ZBlood). In other words, expect to see the classic “Doom II” monsters and some of the classic “Doom II” textures here.

For example, whilst this area has some cool flickering/variable lighting effects, it looks more like “Doom II” than “Blood”.

Likewise, some elements of the level design have been altered or simplified slightly in order to take into account the classic limitations of the “Doom” engine. Even so, if you’ve played the beginning of “Blood”, then you’ll be right at home here. Although a few parts of the level are an almost pixel-perfect recreation of “Blood”‘s opening level, the basic structure and geometry of some other parts is still very reminiscent of the original game.

For example, this part of “Blood” is reconstructed perfectly, but I’m pretty sure that the design of the maze is somewhat different though.

However, one thing that the designer of this WAD should have kept is the difficulty level of the original “Blood”.

The very first level of “Blood” is difficult. It is meant to be a punishing challenge that helps you to prepare for the even more difficult levels later in the game. On the other hand, this level is… easy. Most of the time, you’ll be facing low-level monsters, with only the occasional Cacodemon, Hell Knight or Baron thrown in to add a little bit of challenge.

Seriously, one of the more “difficult” areas just includes two Hell Knights and a Baron – in a large arena with lots of things to hide behind and lots of raised vantage points you can use.

Yes, this level does achieve a bit of mild challenge via things like a couple of well-placed monster closets (which might catch you by surprise) and the fact that the super shotgun is hidden (I thought it wasn’t there but, upon watching all of the video review after finishing the level, I noticed that it actually was. I just missed it).

However, experienced “Doom II” players (or anyone who has played the original “Blood”) will find this level to be disconcertingly easy.

The level design itself is reasonably good, with the level itself being a slightly simplified version of the kind of non-linear level that you would expect from a classic 1990s FPS game. The level is divided between a funeral home and a maze-like area, just like in “Blood”, although some liberties have been taken with the layout and design in order to keep things new, interesting and a little bit more streamlined.

The blood spatter effects near this door are pretty cool.

And there’s an extra reference to “The Shining” too.

The new textures, sounds and music are pretty cool too. In addition to a fair number of textures from “Blood”, this game also includes some of the weapon sounds (and possibly explosion sounds) from that game too 🙂 Likewise, the chaingun also gets a cool new item sprite too.

But, looking more closely at it, the handle is pointing in the wrong direction.

And, of course, the level’s background music is the kind of ominous, gothic ambient music that you’d expect in anything based on “Blood” too 🙂

All in all, this is a fun little level. Yes, it’s a bit too easy and it can be completed in 15-20 minutes or so, but it’s always cool to see things that are based on “Blood” 🙂 Still, as “Blood”-inspired levels go, you’re probably better off playing something like “ZBlood” or “Infuscomus“.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get three.