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.

Advertisements

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.

Review: “Osiris” (WAD for “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”)

Well, since I’m still reading the next book I’ll be reviewing (“Nefertiti” By Michelle Moran), I thought that I’d review another “Doom II” WAD. After all, it’s been a few weeks since the last one. And, since I was in an “ancient Egypt” kind of mood, I decided to check out a rather cool WAD from 1996 called “Osiris“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD. However, interestingly, the WAD also comes with an installer program – so it will probably work with the original DOS/Win 95 versions of “Doom II”. I’m not sure if it’ll work with the original Win 95 version of “Final Doom”, but – if you use a source port – it is compatible with the “Final Doom” IWADs.

So, let’s take a look at “Osiris”:

“Osiris” is an eight-level WAD that includes new sounds, textures, skyboxes, sprites, music and a new weapon. One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is… wow! For a WAD made twenty-three years ago, it is as impressive as a more modern WAD. Not only that, it was also inspired by the movie “Stargate” too – which just makes it even cooler 🙂

Woo hoo! Seriously, I love Stargate-themed WADs 🙂

And there are even “Stargate” computers too 🙂

Where do I even begin with this WAD? The level design is ’90s level design at it’s very best. All of the levels are wonderfully non-linear and there’s a really cool mixture between tense claustrophobic levels, epic levels set in multiple locations, the occasional switch-puzzle based level, an arena battle or two – and at least one level which has a vaguely “loop”-like structure (eg: you end up near the beginning at the end of the level). Plus, one other cool thing about the level design is that the beginning of each level looks like the end of the previous level.

There are also lots of cool little flourishes and tricks. For example, there’s one area where you stand on an unstable floor and it collapses. Ok, it’s just a one-way lift. But, the speed of it and the accompanying sound effects really make it seem like the floor has suddenly collapsed. Plus, all of the new textures mean that many of the levels look absolutely spectacular too 🙂

Yay! Ancient Egypt 🙂

And THIS is like something from Iron Maiden’s “Powerslave” album too 🙂

Which brings me on to the sound design. Normally, I don’t talk about the sounds and music until later in a review, but the sound design in this WAD really blew me away. Not only do all of the weapons sound ten times as thunderous, but there are also more intense monster sounds, lots of cool sound effects, even some voice acting in the background (eg: an ominous voice) and some truly excellent music – which is a brilliantly fitting mixture of “Ancient Egypt”-style music and 1980s/90s-style rock music 🙂

In terms of the monsters, there are some really awesome sprite replacements. The best ones are probably the fact that the imps have been replaced by Anubis-like creatures and, even better, the pinky demons have been replaced by hooded scythe-wielding zombies with glowing eyes:

Seriously, this guy needs to appear on a heavy metal album cover 🙂

It’s bark is worse than it’s bite, I think.

My only criticism of the monsters, and this might have been because of the source port I was using, is that there’s a really hilarious glitch. Basically, if you gib either the zombieman or the shotgun zombie, then ammo drops will keep spawning from their bodies in a vaguely fountain-like fashion.

Well, at least I’m not going to be running out of ammo any time soon…

One interesting thing about this WAD is how it achieves it’s difficulty. Although experienced players will find this WAD to be mildly-moderately challenging at most, one innovative trick is that many of the levels are filled with hit-scanning monsters. Whilst this does lead to some rather cheap moments (eg: monsters sniping you from a distance), it really helps to ramp up the drama and suspense of many of the game’s battles.

Plus, there are a lot of chaingun zombies too – which also adds to the difficulty as well 🙂

In terms of the weapons, they’re fairly interesting. Although the fist, chaingun and plasma rifle get some rather interesting-looking sprite replacements, the rocket launcher is replaced by a flamethrower. This is a weapon that can actually be used at close range, although the trajectory of the shots means that it doesn’t always work as well at longer ranges (which helps to balance it slightly).

In the words of Rammstein, feuer frei!

All in all, this is a really impressive WAD 🙂 Not only is it thrillingly fun, but it also gets the “ancient Egypt” atmosphere absolutely right. In other words, it feels as gloriously dramatic and stylised as not only the original “Stargate” film, but also other ancient Egypt themed FPS games like “Killing Time“, “Serious Sam: The First Encounter” and “Exhumed” too 🙂 The level design is splendid and both the sound and sprite replacements are really cool too. As I said before, this is as impressive as a good modern WAD and it was made in 1996. Seriously, this is awesome 🙂

If I had to give it a rating out of five, it would get a very solid five 🙂

Mini Review: “Abandoned Mansion” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”)

Well, since the novel that I’m reading (“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson) is taking longer to read than I expected, I thought that this would be the perfect time to review another “Doom II”/”Final Doom” WAD. After all, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last WAD review and I want to make sure that at least one appears this month.

So, after clicking on a random WAD on the front page of the /IDGAMES Archive, I ended up with a WAD from 2011 called “Abandoned Mansion“.

Although I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, the level has apparently been designed to be vanilla compatible. So, it’ll work with pretty much any source port. And probably “Brutal Doom” too, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Anyway, let’s take a look at “Abandoned Mansion”:

“Abandoned Mansion” is a single-level WAD that contains new music. Bizarrely, it takes up the Level 21 slot though. So, when you start a new game, you’ll have to type “IDCLEV21” in order to skip to this level. I’ve never quite understood why designers put single levels in any other slot than the first one, but it happens sometimes. So, remember that this WAD only changes level 21.

As for the level itself, it’s a short-medium length level that features non-linear level design, albeit with a fairly linear progression. For the most part, this works reasonably well since it allows the player to do a little bit of exploring but also means that they’ll never get stuck or lost whilst playing. This is helped by the fact that the level is divided into three distinctive areas.

At the beginning, you have to fight your way through a rather gothic courtyard- complete with cemetery- and find the yellow skull key in order to get into the mansion.

All made using the vanilla textures too. Luckily there was a skull or two in there for the level designers to use.

The mansion itself is an interesting little area, that consists of a central corridor with several locked and unlocked doors branching off from it. Once you’ve got through all of these, you’ll find yourself in front of a teleporter.

Hmm… Obviously the hotel reviews for this place weren’t entirely accurate. This is not what I’d consider to be “charmingly rustic”!

Well, that was a reasonably short level…This is the exit, right?

But, instead of ending the level there, there’s a fun little surprise in store for you. As soon as you step through the teleporter, you’ll find yourself in a hellish arena where the air is heavy with projectiles and the nightmarish roar of a Cyberdemon can be heard soon after you start dodging the projectiles.

Ah, stuff like THIS is why I play “Doom II” 🙂

After fighting your way through this area and raising a rather cool-looking bridge, you can complete the level.

Best of all, since this is a vanilla-compatible level, there’s no annoying first-person platforming. You literally just walk diagonally from platform to platform 🙂

In terms of the gameplay, it’s reasonably good. In addition to the smooth way that the level flows, it also has a bit of a difficulty curve too. Although experienced players (even out of practice ones like me) will only find this level to be mildly challenging, the level’s combat is pretty enjoyable, with a small to moderate number of mid and high-level monsters.

Including the obligatory Arch-vile too 🙂

However, the difficulty is kept relatively low thanks to the generous amount of ammo on offer. Seriously, by the end of the level, I was able to defeat the Cyberdemon with the plasma rifle and still have more than enough plasma left over for the monsters that remained. So, yes, this level would have been more enjoyable if the amount of ammo lying around had been reduced a bit.

In terms of the new music, it’s really cool 🙂 Apparently, it has been taken from something called “Hell To Pay” and it’s this wonderfully atmospheric, droning MIDI tune that really helps to add to the level’s “90s horror game” vibe 🙂

All in all, this is a reasonably fun way to spend twenty minutes. Although this level won’t provide experienced players with that much of a challenge, it flows really well, it has a nice three-part structure and some interesting moments. It’s also cool to see a haunted mansion level made using the vanilla textures too (the only other example I can think of is possibly “Derceto).

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

Mini Review: “L O L L Y” (WAD For “Doom II”/”Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”/ “Doom II Legacy” etc..)

Well, it’s been nearly a month since my last “Doom II” mod/WAD review. So, in keeping with the ancient and hallowed traditions of this site, it seemed like time to review another one. And, after seeing this video review by Major Arlene, I thought that I’d check out a short WAD from 2002 called “L O L L Y“.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, although it was apparently originally designed for the “Doom II Legacy” source port. Still, given the age of this WAD, I guess that it will probably work on most modern source ports.

So, let’s take a look at “L O L L Y”:

“L O L L Y” is a short single-level WAD that was originally designed for deathmatch, but also has some single-player elements too. In addition to this, this WAD also contains some new textures and sounds too.

And, yes, it looks pretty awesome 🙂

One of the first things that I will say about this WAD is that it looks really cool 🙂 Thanks to all of the new textures, it has the kind of bright vivid sci-fi look that I’ve only ever really seen in a few other WADs (like the one and only “Ancient Aliens). Plus, in defiance of the laws of “Doom II” physics, it also contains rooms that are placed on top of other rooms!

What sorcery is this?!?!?!?

This phsyics-defying marvel is further emphasised by some really cool-looking translucent floors that allow you to look up or down at the rooms above and below you. These not only give the level a slightly futuristic look, but they also fit into the bright ice lolly-related theme that the WAD’s name hints at:

Nope, this floor isn’t mirrored. You can literally see right through it.

As for the actual gameplay, it’s reasonably ok. Although experienced players won’t find the level’s 40-50 mid to low-level monsters to be too much of a challenge, the arena-like nature of the level means that it plays a little bit like a cross between a very mild “slaughtermap” level and a more traditional “Doom II” level. Yes, you’ll probably be able to blaze through the level’s monsters in about five or ten minutes, but it’s still reasonably fun if you’re a little out of practice and/or are a novice player.

Seriously, this is the most challenging part of the level!

The ammo distribution in this level is a little bit strange though. Although there’s just enough ammo in the level, it slightly tends to favour the rocket launcher and chaingun – which is probably in keeping with the level’s deathmatch roots. This element of the level is also noticeable by the fact that the only health pickups are four beserk packs and a couple of spheres. Needless to say, this makes the single-player experience even easier, since your health will rarely drop below double-digits.

The level’s deathmatch-based design is also notable because, although the level does have a (very slightly hidden) “exit” button, it doesn’t actually work. So, technically speaking, there’s no way to actually finish this level.

Seriously, it’s just there for show. The button doesn’t actually do anything.

As mentioned earlier, there are also a few new sounds too. These are glorious examples of late 1990s/early 2000s-style silliness. For example, whenever you take damage, the Doomguy will shout something like “we are many”, which is hilarious. Likewise, the level’s teleporters have a slightly different sound effect which sounds like the kind of thing that you’d expect to hear on an old computer program from the 1990s or early 2000s. It still sounds futuristic, but it’s also mildly nostalgic too 🙂

Then again, if you’re still playing “Doom II” these days, then nostalgia is probably something you love 🙂

All in all, this WAD is a fun little novelty. If you’re a little bit out of practice or you just want to spend a relaxing 5-10 minutes playing “Doom II”, then this WAD is well worth checking out. Yes, there’s technically no way of finishing it and it is primarily designed for deathmatch, but it looks cool and there’s still some single-player fun to be had here.

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

Mini Review: “Xmas Doom ’99” (WAD For “Doom II”/ “Final Doom”/ “ZDoom”)

Christmas, “Doom II” and 1990s nostalgia – is there anything better? In keeping with tradition, I thought that I’d try to review at least one Christmas-themed “Doom II” WAD this month. And, after finding one called “Xmas Doom ’99“, I just couldn’t resist taking a look at it.

As usual, I used the “ZDoom” source port whilst playing this WAD, but I guess that it will probably work with any source port that allows jumping.

So, let’s take a look at “Xmas Doom ’99”:

“Xmas Doom ’99” is a two-level WAD from (you guessed it) 1999. It also contains new music, new textures, a new skybox and new menu text too. Yes, you heard me correctly, new menu text. The difficulty setting descriptions have been replaced with hilariously festive things like “Bambi Mode” and “Hail Santa!”.

But, you might be wondering why I mentioned this, of all things, first. Well, it’s because it is probably the best part of this WAD. Although the new background music during the main menu and the first level is pretty cool too and the new monster textures are fairly amusing (especially how the monsters’ hats fall off when they die), the novelty difficulty setting text is, by far, the best part of this WAD.

You can probably see where I’m going with this….

But, what about the level design? Or, you know, the actual gameplay? Well… er… Let’s just say my rose-tinted nostalgia about the 1990s clouded my judgement when choosing this WAD. Whilst the level design isn’t exactly objectively terrible, it isn’t great either.

Both levels are reasonably short and have some cool-looking segments, but they can be a little bit annoying to play. The first level mostly involves wandering around large open areas, fighting low-level monsters and searching for keys. To give you an impression of how dull these open areas are, the blue key is literally hiding in plain sight in one of them. It still took me at least a couple of minutes of random wandering before I found it.

Oh, there it is…

These wide open areas also contain a reasonable number of shotgun zombies, who can occasionally snipe you from a distance. Although they aren’t too much of a challenge to fight, having to find and shoot them all as soon as possible can get a little bit annoying.

Even so, there are some cool-looking buildings (that you can’t enter), some cool lighting effects (eg: the areas around some lanterns are brighter) and a segment where you have to dodge a Cyberdemon. So, this level isn’t all bad.

Merry Doom-mas 🙂

And Season’s Doom-ings too 🙂

The second level begins in front of a rather cool-looking ice castle, that reminded me of something from a “Commander Keen” game. The “Christmas medley” background music also has an enderaringly “early 1990s” kind of sound to it at first, although there are some discordant segments of it that can really grate on the ear.

Yay! It’s an ice castle! This is so 90s 🙂

The ice castle segment is relatively short and reasonably fun, although the designer of this level uses the cheap tactic of filling the castle’s battlements with shotgun zombies. Again, whilst this isn’t objectively difficult to deal with, it is a bit of a cheap way to add difficulty – especially given that they sometimes have a habit of all shooting at you in quick succession.

On the plus side, at least they aren’t chaingun zombies…

After defeating these zombies and pressing a button, you can progress to a snow fort-like area where you have to battle a Cyberdemon. However, the Cyberdemon is restricted to a small square area, so he’s kind of a sitting duck. If you’ve conserved your rockets and plasma ammo, then this boss battle will take you all of two minutes to beat.

Seriously, I actually felt kind of sorry for the poor Cyberdemon….

After this, there’s a short ending segment that involves walking through a couple of poster-filled rooms that include the credits for the WAD, a poster for an upcoming WAD and some endearingly immature 1990s “edginess” (eg: a badly-cropped, low-resolution suggestive photo and some informal Christmas/New Year greetings). Ah, the 1990s!

All in all, this WAD has a few cool-looking areas, some good music and a couple of amusing moments. But, in terms of the actual gameplay and level design, it really isn’t that great. Still, it’s probably a vaguely interesting piece of historical ephemera and it’s possibly “so bad that it’s good”, I guess.

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