Well, after finishing “Temple Of The Lizard Men IV“, almost all of my “Doom II” playing over the past couple of weeks has been restricted to an awesome mod called “Reelism Gold” (seriously, play it!). But I thought that I should probably play something new – so, I decided to check out a WAD from 2016 called “Outland Industries“.
I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD. Interestingly, from what I read about it on Doomworld, this WAD pretty much requires “ZDoom” and can apparently cause errors in some other source ports. So, make sure that you use “ZDoom”.
Anyway, let’s take a look at “Outland Industries”:
“Outland Industries” is a single-level WAD for “Doom II”/”Final Doom”. It is a ‘vanilla’ WAD (eg: it features no custom content) and it is apparently the very first WAD created by it’s designer (Professor Bucket). And, surprisingly, it’s actually quite good.
The WAD begins in a wonderfully gloomy area that makes expert use of “classic”-style lighting effects. There’s a really good balance between ominous gloom and muted lighting here, which really helps to give this area some atmosphere. There are also a few low-level monsters and a shotgun nearby. But, don’t get too comfortable! This easy opening segment is designed to lull you into a false sense of security!
If there’s one thing to be said about this level, it is that it has a fairly good difficulty curve. If you’ve completed “Doom II” and you want to step into the exciting world of modern “Doom” WADs (or even if you’re just in between “Doom II” and “Final Doom”), then “Outland Industries” is a good starter level to help you prepare for the increase in difficulty you’ll encounter.
Although the creator of this WAD was aiming for something similar to a traditional “Doom II” level, the difficulty and style of this level is probably more like a mixture of a milder version of “Final Doom” and a toned-down version of a modern “Slaughtermap” WAD.
What I mean by this is that you’ll be encountering small-medium size hordes of low-mid level monsters occasionally. These segments are also spread out quite well throughout the level (seriously, I cannot praise the pacing enough). Compared to, say, “Stardate 20X6” or “VeryHard” – these segments are extremely easy. But, they’re handled very well and are a great introduction to the more strategic playing style (where retreating/running is sometimes the best option) required in many modern WADs.
Still, even though this WAD isn’t exactly super difficult, it is still mildly – but enjoyably- challenging for more experienced players. The stand-out moments have to be a battle with a group of monsters in a relatively small room, the segment with the rocket launcher and the brilliantly epic (if somewhat small-scale) final segment of the level. This final segment is a brilliant mixture of “Final Doom” and “Slaughtermap”-style level design.
You’ll be dodging a small hail of projectiles, a fair number of lost souls and a few well-placed spider demons, mancubi and chaingunners as you try to work out how to get the “exit” door open. Although this area is fairly small (and the key isn’t too hard to find), it manages to cram in some really cool fast-paced non-linear gameplay into a relatively small area.
The level design in the rest of the level is really good too. Seriously, for a first WAD, this is spectacular!
The level is non-linear enough to be interesting, and both the level’s size and design also mean that you’ll never get stuck when playing it. In other words, you get to explore and backtrack, but you’ll never really be uncertain about where to go next. Likewise, although it just uses the standard textures, monsters etc… the variety of areas (from claustrophobic corridors and rooms, to larger outdoor areas) and some clever monster placement means that the gameplay never gets monotonous.
The only real criticism I have of this level is that it doesn’t seem to include any arch-viles! A well-placed arch-vile or two would really help to add a little bit of extra suspense, challenge and drama to the level. And, yes, I’m one of those weird players who actually likes arch-viles.
All in all, this is a really good level that is almost up to the standard of an “official” level. The level design helps to keep the gameplay flowing at a fast pace, the combat is enjoyably challenging and the monster placement is superb. It’s an enjoyably fun and relaxing level for experienced players, and it’s a good “starter” level for people who are new to “Doom” WADs. For the designer’s first level, it is really something!
If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get four and a half.