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The Uprising

   (11 reviews)
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About This File

Looks like you're coming out of retirement, son.

Another citadel was taken over by the forces of Hell, just when you thought you exterminated them all!

This time, it's not so easy. The minions are more dedicated than ever, to take over the world! They've teamed up in larger numbers, and in tougher groups. This will be the toughest battle you may ever have been in, provided you can last through this marathon of gunfire.


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Woolie Wool

  

Layout: 2 | Visuals: 3 | Combat: 2 |  UV: 2 | Overall: 2/5

Time to completion: 30-60 minutes

Release date: 9/6/98

IWAD: Doom II

Format: Boom compatible

This wad made quite an impression on me when I first played it in 1999 or 2000, shortly after discovering PWADs and source ports for the very first time. Colin Phipps’ Doom Underground gave it a positively glowing review, and being a cheater using the default keyboard controls, I really had no idea what made a good level and just marveled for what, at the time, seemed like incredibly detailed architecture. In the day, Fiffy was a notorious internet troll going by “King REoL” who declared himself “The MetallicA of DooM” [sic] but the only quality he shared with said band was his pathological grandiosity (versions of his website from before he embedded it inside a homebrewed Flash monstrosity can still be accessed on archive.org and make for interesting reading), and while his level-design “brand” did garner some notoriety, it was mostly a secondary effect of the drama he generated everywhere he went. So how does this map hold up over 15 years later? Not too well, I’m afraid.

 

“The Uprising” is a sort of castle-like thing built into a cliff face; with the “back” of the fortress being a rock wall, and all approaches to the gatehouse except from the front blocked by other rock walls, the need to actually plan a coherent castle layout was obviated, and it really seemed like George Fiffy had no real plan for this map but just kind of added stuff as he went along, starting from the start across the moat and working his way in a mostly straight line back to the bailey, and thence sprawled out in various directions for the various key hunts. There is a succession of five or six areas but each is its own “thing”; they don’t connect together or look into one another, and correspondingly there is very little sense of place (for instance, the underground chamber you access from the moat to raise the drawbridge has no connection to the fortress at all; it’s just there, with no way to tell that they’re supposed to be part of the same structure, and a teleporter near the drawbridge switch just dumps you back at the start of the map. The color selection is very drab; almost exclusively dull greens, browns, and grays; a strongly colored sky would have added greatly to this level’s eye appeal, but knowing Fiffy’s taste in custom textures (the Taz-Mania yellow sky from 2fiffy4, anyone?), perhaps the drab look is for the best. On that note, there is a really ugly new status bar and a set of modified sounds; I strongly recommend opening the wad and deleting them. Fiffy also included a breakable glass texture; as usual his art looks awful but the effect was so novel in 1998 I can let it pass.

 

The infamous detail that old Socket 7 machines struggled with back in the day manages to be both elementary and gratuitous; almost the entire map is made of rectangular areas with straight walls, connected by long straight corridors and dotted with pilasters, sector furniture, and (very ugly) rows of stepped sectors to give the impression of sloped or vaulted ceilings. The only area that aspires to more than “a room” is the bailey in the center of the map, a walled courtyard with some buildings (the keep included, which doesn’t actually fit inside the wall but just kind of splatters outward in a diarrhea of nondescript birds and trees and rocks and rooms and corridors and things) which conjures memories of “Industrial Zone” from the original campaign but is more orderly and, consequently, less fun to play. Everything here is simple, regular shapes, with no overlapping geometry or structural complexity; all the detail is just ornaments tacked onto floor plans that aspire to nothing beyond mere existence. The lighting is very basic, with little contrast between lighting and shadow with none of the complex chiaroscuro gradients employed by contemporary “extreme detail” wads like 99 Ways to Die, GothicDM, or Caverns of Darkness. Fiffy’s lazy lighting combine with his ill-chosen graphic and sound replacements to give a slapdash, amateur look and feel to nearly all of his work, but the sheer laboriousness of this level undermines any naive outsider aesthetic such art might cultivate in say, a 1994 wad.

 

The gameplay is very much what someone who can’t beat a difficult map thinks a good difficult map is; lots of monsters (431 after PE spawns) placed in blocks directly in front of the player or to one side on a flat plane, but not even the most perfunctory attempts at choreography or pressure. Furthermore, a lot of these monsters are shotgunners or chaingunners, which brutally punish any attempts to rampage through areas and sow infighting. The result is a festival of corner-camping, chain-sniping, and pie-slicing that some might call “tactical” but I’d rather just call a slow, tedious grind. Making this worse is that the plasma rifle and most of the rocket ammo are tucked away in secrets, so if you don’t find any, you just have to grind, grind, grind away with the SSG. A few revenants and archviles are placed throughout the map in situations where they cannot possibly pose any threat; one of the switches required to access the red key had the first two-archvile pincer I’ve ever seen with literally no difficulty because you can slice the pie to draw them down a narrow corridor one at a time and casually butcher them.

 

Fiffy’s love of narrow doors doesn’t help; there must be a hundred of the things, usually with some monsters right behind it to serve as a “door with health” to retard your progress. Most egregious is one small room, which, when opened, disgorges four Barons of Hell clown car-style to waste your time and your shells. They file out into a long L-shaped corridor with plenty of room to dodge them, but there’s not quite enough room to move around them without risking melee, so you just have to stand, dodge a few fireballs, and occasionally move back a bit while firing your SSG over and over until they’re all dead. A solid minute of your time wasted. It took me 37 minutes to complete this map (I got turned around a few times; I expect a player good at FDAs could manage a thorough exploration in 20) but because the layout was so incohesive and the combat so dull, there was no “epic” feeling to any of it. It’s long, bombastic, and superficially violent, but simplistic, rote, and soulless…just like a bad Metallica song, come to think of it.

 

Also, instead of a proper /idgames/ text file, the documentation is in a batch file full of echo commands called !!READ!!.bat, the relevant information being interspersed with bragging and grandstanding and force-fed to you screen by screen, because King REoL is just that kind of guy.

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Played the whole series and this is the best. 4/5 coldfusio.

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You all suck! I'll kill all of yaz! *****

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Unknown date

  
it's good

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While this level feels somewhat bare detail wise the gameplay is top-notch with some nice enemy placement. Its also a long, long level so don't play this unless you have 30 minutes+ spare.

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Unknown date

  
sextastic

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King REoL is an asshole, but he can make himself a damn level. 4/5 --Woolie

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Unknown date

  
Nicely Done. 4 stars.

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pretty darn good-4/5

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I liked it

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This is an early source port level, but it's pretty good. There are very few gimmicks, and lots of action, with just over four hundred monsters. It's a castle level, much better than typical 1994/95 dreck. The detail is simple but there's lots of action - you get masses a weaker monsters rather than a few toughies. Lots of ammo. Some dire new sounds and graphics but that's normal. Not too hard, although the archviles near the end are a bit tricky.

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