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fezzador

Knee Deep In The Dead Episode Review

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I'm reviewing each level in the first episode because I'm bored and because I haven't done anything here for a while. I'm evaluating several aspects of each level and will come up with a composite score that isn't necessarily an average of the reviewed aspects.

Here's a brief rundown of the review template:

Difficulty: No-brainer. How hard a level is (UV mode only).

Ambience: The feel of a level (i.e. fluidity, music, usage of environmental hazards)

Architecture: Basic structure of the level. This measures how pleasing a level is to the eye, and also measures the placement of objects such as barrels and decorations

Intangibles: Basically anything not covered in the prior 3 areas. Monster and ammo placement, general level enjoyment, crap like that.

And here we go:

Level 1 - Hangar

Difficulty: 2

It's the easiest level of the easiest mission so anything above a 2 would be ludicrous. The only thing to really be careful of is the sergeants guarding the armor by the entrance, but once you nab the shotgun the level's yours.

Ambience: 8

This level itself is nothing spectacular, other than being the introductory level to the greatest FPS of all time. It doesn't even remotely resemble a hangar. The slime pools, lift, and staircases serve little more than eye candy, merely demonstrations of the Doom environment. The music is great, ranks up with the Mario theme song as one of the most recognizable songs from a video game.

Architecture: 5

If it weren't for the fact that it doubles as a fantastic deathmatch level (lots of open space yet plenty of places to hide - love that hidden 'sniping window') I'd rank this lower. Very bland map with little difference in either elevation or texture.

Intangibles: 6

Monster placement is solid, some of the sergeants are rather sneakily placed (when you open the first door you know what I mean), but being the first level I suppose it should be straightforward and the surprise element would be best served for a later, more difficult level. Way too much ammo on the level, especially for the shotgun. There's probably 150 rounds worth on this level if you take the sergeants into consideration. It's abundant with health too.

Overall: 8

It's not all that great of a map in itself, but as the introductory level it serves its purpose quite well. After facing the imps for the first time you're left wondering what other demonic beings are waiting beyond that exit switch?

Next part of the review to come later.

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Level 2 - Nuclear Plant

Difficulty: 3

Considering the relatively high amount of monsters, the vast majority of them are imps and pistol-toting zombiemen. And most of them are found out in the open at that. The closest thing to a 'scary part' is the dark maze with the flickering lights which eventually leads you to the chainsaw.

Ambience: 6

The music is rather bland, lava pits are sparingly used, and the textures are pretty homogenous with some techy graphics thrown about here and there. Hardly anything in this level suggests it's an overrun nuclear plant but at least it makes good use of different light levels.

Architecture: 7

Much more complex than its predecessor, it has many more staircases, lifts, and other nifty things than Hangar. There's several major parts to this level, each distinctly identified by its main wall texture and light level. All in all, it's still relatively plain.

Intangibles: 9

This level's one of the most fun to play. There's an abundance of ammunition and health, and the monster placement is about as good as it gets. It's still very easy, maybe a demon or two could be thrown in to keep you on your toes. It's a deceptively large level, the secret areas account for about a third of the entire level.

Overall: 7.5

Slightly disappointing for a second level, even on ultra-violence there's no monster more difficult than an imp and there's a surplus of ammunition, it's also the first place you can find a chaingun and a soulsphere (not that either of them are really necessary here). Just a fun medium-sized level with plenty of baddies waiting to get pelted with that 12-gauge.

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Actually it's a good idea. Not useful, but at least someone expresses something. Go on and review all IWADs.

Note that Doom as a whole is too easy on UV, compared to nearby games, Wolf3d or Quake, which are harder on their "tough" skill. Heretic's and Hexen's "tough" skills can be considered the fifths, because they don't make play leet-possible as Nightmare! does. But Doom's easy and Doom2's borderline easy. Try reviewing Doom 1 by playing it on -fast or Nightmare!.

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So you're saying that Doom and Doom2 are too easy because their top skill level is too hard? Doom(2) on NM is certainly a lot tougher than Quake on NM.

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Yes Doom nightmare is much harder than anything else, but that also makes it less popular to casually play. -fast reacting monsters only require some ducking and quick shooting from the player. But -respawn is really tough because it requires quick thinking and high alertness. While that's satisfying, one's not always prepared for surviving say, a random map, and often requires metagaming (such as trials and errors). Nightmare cancels the motivation of killing; some plays are real pacifist, and I don't see pacifist as a standard way to play a shooter.

Doom2 is acceptable on plain UV, but in the end gets easier with all those cells, megaspheres and invulnerabilities. Doom however is a true blaze but playing it on -fast makes sergeants shoot on sight, fireballs no-longer-danceable, demons real fierce. But still playable without stress.

Also, I noticed that the Wolf3d enemies react faster than the Doom ones. Often just walking on sight triggers a shoot state, or keeping in sight of a SA causes him to draw, shoot, draw, shoot, till you die. The Quake monsters are also more aggresive, and the Fiends (or, yikes, Spawns) kill you if they fall on you, even if you are healthy.

I'm pretty sure you know better about demos and wads, however.

I'd suggest fezzador to write his review in a text file (if he finishes it) and submit it to /idgames.

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