End of one megawad (for me), beginning of one of the best
June 16, 2006

I got fed up with 30 Levels and threw in the towel on it last night, so here are my final comments on it.

Level 12: Finally! The style changes. This is a visually-cool level with lots of lava and an awesome sky with Hitler's face superimposed over it (from the Doom II Wolfenstein level sprites). In his read-me, Huff noted this episode was based on a hellish world overrun with Wolfenstein soldiers and wanted to design the levels to show a completely evil world full of atrocities. Good job in that aspect. He also mentioned wanting to primarily use small enemies, but in ways that made them a lot tougher. Success here, as well.....maybe too much success, as having Wolfies, former humans and chaingunners assaulting me from all angles was absolutely brutal. A couple soldier-infested side-levels were also pretty fun, with one very nice trap, although the multi-level base section has really gotten overdone in this wad. Rating 7/10

Level 13: It's not like this is a bad level, but it was so similar to those I've done before (except longer) that I've completely lost interest in this megawad. Most of it takes place indoors. The first major area is loaded with trap walls hiding soldiers. The second is a small, dark area full of specters and crushing ceilings. The third place is absolutely huge, but flawed. You start out in a courtyard and kill roughly one million Wolfie soldiers and a few lost souls and maybe some imps as you ascend to the top of the structure. From here, you go around the perimeter. A cyberdemon trap is on the far wall, but the trigger is poorly placed, so you can easily avoid it if you choose. From here, you don a radiation suit and fall down a shaft into the tunnels below another fricking multi-level base! And this is a large one, that's loaded with enemies behind fake walls (you can't see them, but they can shoot you and likely will get a free set of bullets in you before you figure out where they are). It's a decent level, but I'm sick of following the same template over and over again. Rating 4/10

Level 14: I only started this level before deciding I'd lost interest in this megawad, quitting and deleting it from my hard drive. Called "Hitler's Chessboard", you immediately take a teleporter to a large room with toxic waste and lava squares arranged like a chessboard. On the ground are a bunch of soldiers and imps. On the ledges above it are bigger foes like Barons and Reverents. Might have been a good large-scale fight, but I'd had enough. Rating: Incomplete

FINAL SYNOPSIS: It's not like this guy is an untalented programmer or anything, but he just didn't seem to have enough ideas to fill a full conversion, as a number of tricks and styles were repeated, some in most every level. The main offender was the base with more than one level. The reason for this, I assume, was because, as Huff said in his readme, he likes using lost souls. And having holes in the floor and ceiling to change levels is a great way to use them (you think an area is clear, start walking and immediately get hit from behind because a lost soul came up/down from a hole and charged you), but there is a line between effective use of a concept and overkill. Another problem I had was with some monster placements. At times, I got the idea he was more interested in creating a wad that challenged him, as opposed to one with logical, intelligent placements. There were too many instances of the "fake walls" and, let's face it, if you don't know ahead of time that a soldier is behind said wall, it will riddle you with bullets while you're wondering what's shooting you. That's not "challenging", that's "cheap". I didn't overly dislike many of the individual levels I played, but as a whole, they come off as a bunch of long levels that just blended into each other with little to seperate one from the next.

After that, I went to the next on my list, titled Alien Vendetta. Initially, this was to be another ultra-challenging game in the style of the Hell Revealeds, but as the many level-designers started to work, it became more of a regular Doom game that focuses more on creating great levels. This wad is tougher than the norm and has its share of brutal fights and very long levels, but it's not some "impossible challenge" sort of game. And after 30 Levels, the proficiency used in crafting these levels will be quite welcome to me!

LEVEL 1 (Sunset by Martin Allen Hungager):
A bit longer and tougher than the average intro level, this stage gives you a decent amount of good fighting. You only fight weak enemies and (hopefully) won't be too tested by anything, so this is more of a warm-up level than anything. As first levels go, though, it's effective.

LEVEL 2 (Rusty Rage by Anders Johnson):
Surprisingly tough, especially when you consider the only two tough enemies (one Baron and one Mancubus) are placed in a way they're most of a distraction than a real threat to all but the careless. However, there are some effective traps and very good use of the weaker enemies, making it hard to get through some areas unscathed. It's a small level, but it took a while to get through it, as I had to develop some good hit-and-run strategies in a couple of rooms.

LEVEL 3 (Cargo Depot by Matthias Berggren):
A fun level that puts you against a number of hordes of soldiers, imps, demons and spectres. For the most part, these fights simply involve you shotgunning fools down as they run straight at you, but I enjoyed myself, mainly due to the imaginative use of big enemies for a tiny handful of battles. You get enough health and ammo to accomplish your goal, but not so much that victory feels like a foregone conclusion. I had a couple moments where I was hoping I'd get another box of shells before triggering another battle....

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Halon Halon - June 17, 2006 (03:02 AM)
I never got around to trying a Doom mod, but I've spent so much time playing Half Life mods.

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