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Wow (PC) artwork

Wow (PC) review

"At first glace, itís just an empty room. After moving around for a while, it remains an empty room. You will decide it is an empty room and is the epitome of awful .wad construction. You will be proved wrong. Against all odds, it manages to get worse. Worse than an empty room."

I respect the hell out of the people who sit down to program .wads, the fan-made add-on levels to the original Doom thatíve helped a blocky, pixalated FPS first made all the way back in the tail-end of 1993 keep relevant and fresh even today. Maybe iD have turned their back on their primitive masterpiece, but there are talented people out there still who understand the need for sadistic level design and clever enemy placement, and my hat is off to them. For a while now, Iíve found myself enjoying a trip through such .wads as Cyberdreams, which tries to alter archetypical Doomís formula by factoring in a pseudo-puzzle element based around seven-foot goat demons with rocket launchers grafted to their arms; or Alien Vendetta, which takes iDís maniacal level design (back when they clearly cared) and added in a new sheen of spite. Itís because of them, because of their care and hard work, that Iím still as in love with Doom in 2008 as I was some fifteen years ago.

And then, thereís Wow. Something so painstaking awful that all those people that sunk hours and hours in to homebrew maps feel completely embarrassed by association.

Wow is a single room. Itís not a big room; itís square and it has one corpse hanging from the ceiling in a seemingly random fashion. You start in a small indent in the floor and thereís a BFG and a few plasma cells slightly to your left. Other than that, the room is featureless -- no doors, no pillars, no enemies. No exit and, seemingly, no way to progress or finish the level.

At first glace, itís just an empty room. After moving around for a while, it remains an empty room. You will decide it is an empty room and is the epitome of awful .wad construction. You will be proved wrong. Against all odds, it manages to get worse. Worse than an empty room.

The roomís not empty.

Thereís a pit in the floor. You can not see the pit because it still has a floor over the top of it. The inside of the pit is more noteworthy; because no walls have been coded in, the entire underground section reverts to a hall of mirrors -- a section providing nothing but a constant stream of blurs, the type used by lazy animators trying to create an illusion of speed. Itís an error that even a basic bit of .wad coding could have cured but, instead of work on his flaw, the author decided to try and pass it off as intentional. Hereís his overview:

"A cyberdemon has escaped from a lab, where they are trying to find his weakness. He was injured by a marine,which was made short work of, and he was trapped inside a illusio-pit. Your job is to find it, and kill it."

Which causes the following problems:

  • Even if you know where the pit is, the sides are too steep to allow the auto-targeter to lock on to the cyberdemon. The demon has no trouble smacking up the side of the pits with his rockets, though, pelting you with splash damage

  • Therefore, the only way to hurt the demon is to drop into the pit and square off face-to-face. However, the pit is too small to dodge the demon's hailstorm of rockets and youíve no way of sinking enough artillery into the hellspawn before you fall.

  • By the way, they lied. The cyberdemon isnít injured at all.

  • Create a miracle (or just cheat and God Mode like everyone else) and slay the beast. Congratulations: youíre now stuck in the illusio-pit with no way to get out.

  • Do nothing. Thereís no way at all to complete the .wad. Thank Paul Thrussell, who couldnĎt even put an exit into his hopelessly pathetic 5-minute-to-make max abortion of a room that would be infinitely better if it was as empty as it first appeared.

  • In fact, thereís probably more lines in this review than there are in the level's entire coding. Create square room, make hall of mirrors error, claim it was intentional, look like a prat. The legacy of one Paul Thrussell.

    Perhaps this would be somewhat excusable if it was a .wad made back when the fan-made programs used to construct levels was still unevolved and misunderstood by most, but the most depressing factor of all? This was made in 1999. The only excuse imaginable is blinding incompetence.

    Letís close things out by enjoying the written prose of one of Paulís levelís many, many fans:

    For an injured cyberdemon, this one did a pretty decent performance in obliterating me as I mysteriously happened to fall through the floor, as if pulled by some strange vacuum, and than BLAM!!!, the screen went red and all I can remember was that I died! Paul Thrussell was an intelligent man for actually giving away his name and surname in the text file, so that everyone can see who was the mastermind behind this creation! GO! PAUL! GO! We're waiting for your next map!

    Waiting we might be, but with a decidedly marked sense of dread.

    EmP's avatar
    Staff review by Gary Hartley (November 02, 2008)

    Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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    If you enjoyed this Wow review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

    board icon
    bluberry posted November 02, 2008:

    excellent work.
    board icon
    EmP posted November 02, 2008:

    I suffer so the rest of you can stay safe.
    board icon
    bluberry posted November 02, 2008:

    I can't imagine how you stayed sane after playing this one.
    board icon
    EmP posted November 02, 2008:

    Superior mental conditioning
    board icon
    WilltheGreat posted November 02, 2008:

    Perhaps, but when was EmP ever sane to begin with?
    board icon
    overdrive posted November 02, 2008:

    I've read about this before and felt that only a truly insane person would willingly play this attempt at a wad.

    Thanks, EmP, for proving me right!
    board icon
    bluberry posted November 02, 2008:

    you dick, I played it too.

    mostly I've been playing Scythe, though. Map28 was clever, if you ever stop moving you drop dead. not sure how exactly they set that one up, probably with voodoo dolls and crushers. Map30 is the hardest Doom level I have ever played.
    board icon
    wolfqueen001 posted November 02, 2008:

    board icon
    zippdementia posted November 02, 2008:

    Was this something you actually had to pay for?
    board icon
    EmP posted November 02, 2008:

    God no; .wads are free fan-made downloads. A lot of them are actually really good. This is simply the worst of the lot.
    board icon
    overdrive posted November 03, 2008:

    Which further proves my point.

    You talking Scythe or Scythe 2, cuz I remember a little ways back you were saying you were playing Scythe 2.

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