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Published on May 22, 2013
Pwad: Tibet.wad Author: Keith Sheehan Date: 5th June 1994 Map: e1m1 Category: UV Maxdemo Executable: Doom.exe Time: 5:57
This one's quite good, it's a fairly large level with a lot of distinct areas and you feel like it's had a lot of work put into it. Theme and texture wise it's quite varied, but the changing styles, the dim lighting and the omnipresent mold and decay give it a very strong Episode 2 feel. Visually, it holds together quite well. And the author's gone the always-appreciated extra step of doing some custom graphics, even digitising somebody's face for one room. Though I'm not quite sure why...
There's also a storyline for the level, something incomprehensible about a Tibetan cavern containing a deserted monastery where scientists have been testing some kind of radioactivity. Can't say I noticed anything Tibetan or monastic about this level, though radioactive pits and barrels are certainly a recurring feature, and the helipad is also quite hard to miss.
It takes a lot of exploring to really learn the layout, and to encourage and reward the player you're given a healthy smattering of secrets, hidden in various ways and requiring different techniques to get. Well, except for the pointless secret at 1:22. On lower skill levels it gives you a plasma rifle, but UV players go unrewarded. As you explore you'll keep coming back to familiar areas, which is always a good sign of a well designed large level. It's easy in an editor to just sprawl off in any direction you choose, but to actually play those sorts of levels always feels like you're just running on aimlessly. Whereas here the new areas keep reconnecting with the bits you already know. So you never feel completely lost.
Unlike most of these 1994 levels I do, someone's actually already recorded a run here - or at least on the version of this wad contained in the WADPAK4 compilation. Just the one demo, lasting 9:52, and it wasn't really pushed for speed. So I wanted a decent improvement here. I think my play is mostly okay, I'm happy with this, save for that one shotgunner in front of the red key door I just couldn't hit. The Baron/Caco room went really well, the infighting started almost immediately and they all went down quite fast. And the exit room was great, though not all me sadly - it looks like I've taken down three sargeants with one shotgun blast, but one of them was either damaged or killed by the one behind. Definitely looks cool. And I don't know what the psychological reason for this is, but a time just under the minute barrier always feels a great deal more impressive than one just above it. Much rather a 5:57 than a 6:03 :)