Oh look. A gimmick map. Sigh.
That was my first reaction on starting this level, with its instructions about a bomb. The reason I'm still playing Doom, 19 years after its release, is because I like the game. I like the way it plays. Gimmicks are not necessary for me to enjoy it, and generally make me like a level less.
So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I did not hate this level. It certainly has its share of missteps, but these are not generally related to the 'bomb' gimmick.
Starting with the looks of the level: it's a pretty decent looking tech base. Silver and computer textures dominate in the 'core' area, which features four wings. From each wing, you can access different subsections of the base. Each subsection has its own look and feel. Texture work is fine. Architecture is more problematic. Each of the four core area 'wings' has the exact same layout. It's pretty much copy/paste with a 90-degree rotation. The monsters in each wing are also identical; the only differences are the weapons you can pick up, and the type of key needed to access the related subsection. This ... well, symmetry like this is pretty unimpressive, in my book.
Dotted around the core area, and indeed around the subsections, are voodoo dolls, just like in map01. I wasn't surprised therefore to learn that it was by the same author. The purpose of the dolls in this level is much more clear, though: they're frequently placed in such a way as to complicate combat. "Dodge, and the voodoo doll behind you might get hit", "Miss, and you might splatter a voodoo doll", "use rockets, and suffer area damage via a doll". It's a bit tiresome, frankly, but at least it's a clear reason for them to be there.
So, with four subsections and three keys to get, it should be no surprise that we're in linear level land once the core is cleared; go through the door requiring no key, complete a subsection, get a key. Open that key's subsection, complete it, get another key. Repeat, etc.
Alas, this macro linearity is replicated to some degree in most of the subsections. The southern area is the worst offender: flick switch to open door, go through door, flick switch to open door, go through door, etc.
So why, given all the above complaints, did I not hate this level? Well, mostly because the "activate a bomb, then make it to the exit before 2 minutes is up" gimmick was actually not that annoying. I mean, it's probably a complete pain in the ass if you want to do 100/100, but I don't care about stuff like that. Finishing the level is all that matters.
So while the level was a bit repetitive and linear, and the voodoo dolls did make me roll my eyes, the basic gameplay was almost all standard Doom gameplay. So I got a mediocre level which ended in a brisk run for the exit (in fact, a brisk run, ignoring monsters, was my strategy for the entire last wing). Given my low expectations when the level started, 'mediocre' is a win :)