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The Red Line

   (18 reviews)
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About This File

9 maps for Doom 2 with a mixed theming. In each map you get one additional weapon. Due to this concept, the first 4 maps can be played without pistol-start. In later maps, pic up all weapons because of some important line triggers. The maps are small to mid-sized, maps 8/9 are long.

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i started playing this shortly after it was released, got stuck on the third map, and i left it unfinished until just about a week ago. Spent at least an hour trying to figure out what i couldnt find before, and finally made progress. i cant remember anything about map01 or 02 but map04 to 9 are excellent. 

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Playability notes: Worked fine in PrBoom+: anything limit-removing will do. According to the text file it's been tested in a lot of source ports, so there shouldn't be any problem.


The Red Line looks great, REALLY great, but doesn't have a clue how to engage the player when it comes to combat. It's not outright bad so much as uniformly peppered with encounters I was never interested in fighting. The beginning starts well enough but by the end it descends into a tired rhythm that barely registers a pulse. (Just to reiterate: the mapset, as an architectural work of art, is fantastic. My criticism and overall review is based on whether the set is worth playing, however, not simply viewing.)

The first few levels are fun enough, as you're forced into either close quarters or complete evasion due to melee-only scenarios. Berserked fist and chainsaw, while certainly interesting weapons in their own right, cause the player to be in a situation of constant threat, as nearly every enemy has the advantage of range and requires you to close in. As a result, this makes the challenge somewhat automatic, and here it proves to be interesting on a basic tactical level.


The foremost problem is the pervading use of imps and hitscanners. Normally you wouldn't expect this to be a problem, as imps are generally good fodder and hitscanners have their own niche use in attrition. The problem stems from their usage in every single fight: you would be hard-pressed to find a single area that didn't contain a handful of these low-tier enemies. To convey this simply, here's a list of Former Humans, Sergeants, and Imps relative to the total number of enemies (including Lost Souls) once the maps involve ranged weapons:

  • MAP04: 90/121 (74%)
  • MAP05: 55/68 (81%)
  • MAP06: 96/116 (82%)
  • MAP07: 86/139 (62%)
  • MAP08: 208/311 (67%)
  • MAP09: 423/586 (72%)

To be fair, the density drops over time: MAP09 in particular has a section near the end with literal swarms of Former Humans and Imps (though MAP07 is lowest because of the obligatory Dead Simple fight, containing a good 20 enemies by itself). But it's not so much the count as it is the fact that they're everywhere, no exception, and you have to get rid of them or they'll plink you to death.


For an illustration, this is one of the opening fights in MAP08:



I just can't wrap my head around this composition! It's not intended to be easy or hard: this is a haphazard menagerie that looks kind of amusing. And while this is an exaggerated case, it's also roughly what you should be expecting throughout the set.


It took me a very long time to understand why I wasn't having fun (starting near the end of MAP05), and my conclusion is that there's so very little worth fighting. Exterminating fodder all the time isn't an enjoyable experience to me, and the occasional sprinklings of harder enemies don't make up for it. This mapset doesn't appear like it's meant to be hard, but a low number of carefully-crafted encounters would play far better than a constant barrage of enemies barely worth using the chaingun on. I expect this set could be made significantly better with improved thing placement alone.


My recommendation: the first 3-4 maps are neat to play through, but after that just nuke the enemies and enjoy the view. The view is worth it, even if the fights aren't.

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I think this is Didy's best release so far.

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The first few maps can be off-putting but they really are not if you try to adapt and see their brilliance. The WAD gets even better as it progresses, with excellent visual design and well placed fights. Layout is built in a way that makes key progression points hidden in plain sight, so keep your eyes open or you may get stuck.

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  • File Reviews

    • By Argenteo · Posted
      A lot better sights and tougher than S1, with another pack of cute midis. 
    • By P41R47 · Posted
      Pretty entertaining and challenging mapset. The maps start in a somewhat heretic or cave theme at first, and with a really abstract style with just tiny little realistic details. It use TNT as iwad and there are just a few maps with name patches. The rest and the text screens are the ones from TNT. The story is interesting: Serena, B.J. Blazkowicz's wife, worried that, after the incident on 20 Days In Hell (but it could be also after Doom 2 final map), he hasn't returned home yet. So she decide to go search for him. In the proces she found that every map we play is an hour of torture for her husband, and thats from where the title 32 Hours of Pain come. Thematically, the maps use the TNT skies to tell the story, starting with Serena on earth, vayaging throught space on map12 to map20, and reaching hell where her husband is being tortured on map21 to map30   Maps have a good gameplay, and the little and few details really stand out from the abstract design, like in map11 the ship sailing out to space. The design varies from really large and big open areas to really cramped and difficult to traverse tunnels and areas. Thus, it somehow really grasp the TNT feel and style. The texturing is varied, from monotexturing to using different themes like starbase and marble on the same map, especially on those where the hellish influece is seen as bigger.   I really enjoyed it! Its not a masterpiece, but it certaily has a charm and offers a good challenge. Kristian Aro's story, maybe i'm wrong with this, was use as a base for 2002: A Doom Odyssey later as its pretty similar. This mapset is kinda analogue to Paul Corfiatis The Twilight Zone. Both follow a free thematic texturing from map to map, both have a story mostly told throught little details (TTZ has a proper mapinfo on it, though) and both shows the first mapping efforts of their respective authors and how the ideas here lead to their later awesome mapsets.   I recommend it to anyone who is seeking abstract design and challenge.
    • By Meddy · Posted
      Short, but pretty well done. The best custom Hexen levels I played so far.
    • By Roofi · Posted
      Very decent map from 1995. As previous comments said, it looks like a workplace with two floors tons of openable doors.   The gameplay is very classic but very enjoyable. The progression may be quite confusing, especially about finding the yellow key which was hidden in a little compartment as if it was a secret. However , discovering each room was a pretty exciting experience.    Also this level has a cool sense of place. I really like the idea of creating "elevators" by using teleporters as well as the partially demolished 2nd floor.    Despite being an easy level, some traps may kill you like the surprise monster closet with barons near the author's signature located at the beginning.   Aesthetics are ok but I really enjoyed the use of light gradiants in some corridors , they make the stock textures look a lot better !
    • By Argenteo · Posted
      Hunting for those letters reminds me of Star Force, that alone makes the set memorable. Cute midis, some custom textures and fun gameplay. Maybe it was the first episode replacement I played. Long ago. :)