volveré y seré millones
The areas in DOOM resemble something? They're either generic and unrealistic maze "tech bases" or hell that sometimes uses the same textures used in the tech bases. DOOM marks the game's general theme well enough, as it's the original thing and gives a good idea of progress towards hell, but that by itself doesn't make its levels better. Just good in that department.
The areas don't really resemble anything.
I definitely fail to see this. Various levels in DOOM II have more strategic monster and item placement than many of the levels in DOOM. If anything, the authors still maintained a good degree of consistency between the two games, but showed some additional versatility during the sequel.
Each area exists mostly of random rooms and shaped glued to each other. The fights are often less creative with allot of levels just throwing large amounts of monsters at you with very few surprises.
Petersen, who is generally criticized more than the other designers, arguably managed a better atmosphere in many of his DOOM II levels than in most of his work in DOOM, and came up with new concepts which tended to have more game play elements than his early levels: A level using teleporting hordes (16), a intense boss-like earlier level (7), a tricky barrel-based level (23) a level combining ledges, lost souls and vast environments with separate areas to explore (24), a level using buildings to play with height variation (13), a trick-theme level (8), and a unique and fearsome* boss level that wasn't just a plain shootout (30), to name some. It shows that he had more experience and time to put into them.
* The thumping bosses in DOOM may have been intimidating at first, especially when we were still struggling with the controls as newer players, but they certainly weren't as scary as that evil face that spewed endless enemies in a closed environment.
DOOM II added American McGee that did a solid job with relatively tough levels. Just think of any of his levels. Romero expanded his repertoire by adding more massive and challenging levels and not repeating what he had already done.
I'm not surprised that people that fret over "the environment" and mimesis can't fully appreciate DOOM II. By '94, the id guys knew the limitations of DOOM's technology and concentrated on the bottom line of what the tech can deliver, setting a mood and providing fun stages to play. And they delivered the game just in time, instead of stalling it for secondary and time-consuming aspects.
It sure delivers a gloomier environment than something like Duke Nukem. It's kind of like when you read a Lovecraft story; the places depicted aren't realistic, instead they set a mood.
I was always puzzled by the choice of textures: an overabundance of stone masonry, tapestries, standards, wooden panels, libraries etc. as if they planned to make a game mostly set in a gothic/magical setting or even in another point in time.
Heh, I missed that one...
even pirate ships.
The retexturing was actually a weak point there, as much of the new texturing was of poorer quality. Remember those wooden crates? The MS-paint-like tech texture edits? I favor managing a loose but relatively pleasing aesthetic than something that tends to look recognizable of "like something", especially if the former also shows more play-oriented development: stuff made a certain way specifically because it's fun and made primarily to be played.
On the converse, TNT: Evilution had a much more convincing setting, also thanks to the massive retexturing.
I sense that many people who are dissatisfied with DOOM II seek more of DOOM in it, but they're different. DOOM II delves more into being a violent and oppressive environment, while DOOM is a bit more about suspense. DOOM II is more clearly or effectively an action game. This difference makes sense for a first game and a sequel, as a new game is good for exploring and a second game should concentrate on exploiting what the game is best at instead of trying what a new game can do.