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[Doom] SUDTIC.WAD - E2M9 UV Maxdemo

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Published on Jun 8, 2012

Pwad: Slaughter Until Death
Author: The Innocent Crew (Denis & Thomas Möller)
Date: 21st June 1994
Map: e2m9 - "Arena of Punishment"
Category: UV Maxdemo
Executable: Doom.exe
Time: 5:55

We're up to the Slaughter Until Death secret level now. And, not that I've designed a Doom megawad or anything, but I'm sure there's some thought process behind choosing which levels go in the regular sequence and which get relegated to the secondary spot of secret level. Are the ideas too extreme or unusual, so it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the levels?
Is the theme or the gameplay sillier? Or maybe it's just too difficult a level, something it wouldn't be fair to expect the player to complete? Surely there's a *reason* this isn't a regular level.

Well, after playing this level for a bit, I'm still not entirel sure what marks it as the secret level of the episode. One thing that is very noticeable about it is that the enemy count has been bumped way up. You've got to deal with crowds of monsters, not just in one-off rooms, but throughout the level. This is the only level in the episode that gives you the BFG, and that's not an accident. It can be tight and difficult going, particularly at the start before you've found a safe place to start fighting back from. I like the extra challenge, it makes a change after the more moderate level of opposition you find in the rest of the episode.

Something else that caught my eye were the very Wolfenstein-style corridors near the start, lined on both sides by dozens of monster-hiding alcoves. This did feel a little derivative of Wolfenstein 3D, and that may have been enough reason for the Möllers to hide it in the secret slot.

Visually this does feel like a melange of styles, green marble to outdoor wooded areas to techbase areas. They're freer with the theme of the level. And there are other unfinished qualities, a certain lack of polish. For instance, there are three enemies in the level it's impossible to kill. One of them is an imp they somehow managed to bury underneath a wall - you can catch the faintest glimpse of it at 2:31. And the other two are demons in the outdoor area circling this room. They're marked as deaf, and placed behind the walls so closely that they'll never be able to see the player. So you can never see them to wake them up, or aim at them to kill them remotely.

This whole area is a bit baffling actually. You can see into the outdoor area through those semi-transparent windows, but it's impossible to get out there. And yet there's a crowd of demons placed out there. The only way they can bite if is you forget where you are and take a rest right up against the window. I really have no idea what the designer was thinking there.

But flaws aside, this level isn't a tossoff at all, and doesn't feel like something they didn't spend time on. It has the same qualities as the rest of Slaughter Until Death, the same concrete sense of space, the same enjoyable gameplay. I love the pentagon-shaped trap near the end, that looks awesome. The small circular ampitheatre near the start is great as well.

It'd be nice if my run looked better, but pushing for time on small cramped levels nearly always results in ugly demos. And, I have to admit, this level kicked my ass a bit. But at least this run is faster than any of my smoother tries.

Download levelset from idgames here: http://www.doomworld.com/idgames/inde...
Video captured using prboom-plus 2.5.1.2.test.

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