It may look like Quake 2, but this is all Doom, baby. The Parallel Teams steps up the the plate and delivers a homer with their incredible deathmatch WAD, Fragfest Initalized...


  - Fragfest Initialized Preview
  - Parallel Team Interview

Preview by Covaro

Weíve all seen the pictures of FragFest Initialized at the Parallel Teamís Homepage, but that really doesnít do these levels justice. I have to say these are some of the best looking military base theme levels I have ever seen. They are simply beautiful, and just makes me drool in anticipation waiting for the team to release their upcoming Parallel Dimension 2.

These levels excel in architecture, much like GothicDM did for itís own style. These levels are all highly detailed romps through some great military bases. There are the obvious influences from Quake 2, as the large leveled, open feel from those levels is shown throughout the three levels sent for us to test. What really makes the Parallel Team stand-out is there attention to lighting detail. Every light source has itís own dynamic lighting to it, much to the affect of the classic Ola Bjorling lighting. I must say it is very impressive, being in a large arena with the lighting all purty, that is, until you get blasted from your friend in the back.

There is an excellent use of colored lighting throughout the levels as well. Which can instantly allow you to understand why they chose Boom and ZDoom. The lighting and colored lighting mesh, to give it that pseudo-3D card feel.

FragFest holds some surprises to those who are willing to do a little exploring. Such as in Map01 of the demo, Linguica found his way into the hills surrounding the battlefield and constantly nailed me while we were testing the levels in deathmatch. It took me a while to get up there though, once a person gets situated up in the hills, you are as good as dead if you try to come after them. It is fun, putting a sort of King of the Hill aspect into the game. Of course, the Parallel Team will hopefully cordone off these areas as one player hiding in the surrounding mountains can pretty much halt a deathmatch. Word for the wise: cordone off EVERY area that you don't want players in with impassible linedefs, since resourceful rocket-jumping ZDoomers will probably find a way to get there...

Weapon placement was great, as you never really found yourself wanting for a gun. Which is good, I hate not having a good weapon near my spawn spot, makes it way to easy for my opponent to get a cheap frag. Which then results in name calling, which results in more cheap frags, which results into a fight at school or work the next day. There is one thing to watch out for, some weapons are in the dreaded death-trap like areas, and if you fall in, you shall die. Then, that must be why they call them death-traps!

FragFest levels tend to be a little on the larger side and are best played with 3 or more players, or 2 players who like the old hunt and strategy games. Personally, I donít think they will be the best Internet playable levels until a better TCP/IP playing port is released. But, until that time arrives, you can always go ahead and tackle your friends in modem or LAN play.

Possibly the best feature that these levels have, is that they are probably only a mild example of what we have to look forward to from the Parallel Team in the near future. So even if you arenít a big DM fan, you should take some time to download these levels and look at a good indicator of what the future holds for the Parallel Team in their upcoming Parallel Dimension 2.