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.
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”:
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.