Mini Review: “Valhalla” (WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “GZDoom”)

2016 Artwork Valhalla WAD review sketch

Well, since I’m still in a “Doom” kind of mood, I thought that I’d check out a rather interesting Cacoward-winning WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom” from 2006 called “Valhalla“.

As usual, I played this WAD using the “GZDoom” source port. I’m not sure if this WAD will work on other modern source ports, but it probably will.

Anyway, let’s take a quick look at “Valhalla”:

Hey! I was promised feasting, battle and mead! Well, at least there's one of these things here.

Hey! I was promised feasting, battle and mead! Well, at least there’s one of these things here.

“Valhalla” is a single-level WAD that can be completed in under an hour. One of the outstanding things about this WAD is the fact that it’s extremely atmospheric. Seriously, this WAD looks like a combination of “Quake II”, “Blade Runner” and “Doom 3”.

Woo hoo! Gloom :)

Woo hoo! Gloom 🙂

This is further emphasised by the fact that the level starts out eerily empty, with only creepy ambient music and occasionally the distant sounds of monsters to accompany you. Whilst these kinds of level openings don’t always work in “Doom” WADs, it actually kind of works here. Seriously, I cannot praise the visual style and atmosphere of this WAD highly enough.

A new life awaits YOU on the off-world colonies. A chance to begin again in a golden land of… Oops! Wrong movie!

"More human than human" is out mot... Ok, I'll stop with the "Blade Runner" references.

“More human than human” is out mot… Ok, I’ll stop with the “Blade Runner” references.

As for the gameplay in “Valhalla”, it’s reasonably good. This WAD has a few moderately challenging moments – mainly due to the claustrophobic areas that you’ll fight your way through during several parts of the level – but there’s nothing here that an experienced “Doom” player will find too difficult.

 It also contains two or three of these, so it's certainly a proper WAD :)

It also contains two or three of these, so it’s certainly a proper WAD 🙂

And, no prizes for guessing what's going to happen HERE.

And, no prizes for guessing what’s going to happen HERE.

Although the gameplay is certainly fun enough, the main attraction of this WAD is it’s visual style and the various cool things that the WAD’s creator has done with the “Doom” engine.

The most technically impressive part of this WAD is, ironically, hidden away in a corner of one room. There’s an animated security camera monitor which shows an earlier part of the level, complete with the remains of the monsters you fought there earlier. Yes, this is in a “Doom II” WAD!

 Astonishing! I've only really seen stuff like this in "Duke Nukem 3D"!

Astonishing! I’ve only really seen stuff like this in “Duke Nukem 3D”!

As for the level design itself, it’s a proper non-linear “Doom” level. But, although it’s fairly complicated, the fact that most of it consists of distinctive small rooms and cramped corridors means that you won’t really get lost or stuck when you play “Valhalla”.

Yes, this isn't as confusing as it might look at first glance.

Yes, this isn’t as confusing as it might look at first glance.

All in all, this is a WAD that has both style and substance. Yes, it certainly isn’t the most challenging “Doom II” WAD that I’ve played, but it’s certainly one of the most atmospheric.

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

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