I’ve played and enjoyed most of these levels before and seem to be having a much better time than the Megawad Club over at Doomworld seems to be allowing themselves to have. One criticism constantly levelled at D2Reload is that it has corridors, which, er, it does, but the author obviously wants a measure of realism in his levels and since there aren’t an undue amount of tight hallways so far in the mapset, I think they work. One poster goes as far as to suggest that having areas linked together by passageways rather than looming over one another is enough to be considered “creatively bankrupt”… it’s tough to imagine how these hyperbolic opinions arise if not from the need to sound jaded on a messageboard. =P Lest we forget, Doom’s balance and gameplay creates fun in and of itself, to the point where almost any situation a mapper throws at you can be both enjoyed and conquered. Don’t be too quick to judge someone’s hard work, especially if it’s on you for approaching it in the wrong manner!
Anyway, here comes level 3, a circular tour around a once-inhabited outpost, complete with dining area, sewage works and staging ground. For the most part, the gameplay is a push-over, much easier than the previous two levels, with less set piece encounters and no real moments where an enemy is entrenched to the point where it puts you at risk to fire at them. That all changes upon grabbing the yellow key, though, whereupon sixty monsters of all varieties pop out of a warp hole and flood a courtyard, somewhat preventing you from immediately leaving the area. The best solution to this battle seems to be to pump rockets into the midst of the fray, then hide around the crate-strewn margins for the wounded stragglers to tidily jump in front of your double-barreled shotgun, one by one. Of course, that strategy ain’t going to appeal to the speedrunners – one max demo exists of this level where the runner simply charges and weaves through the crowd of angry demons with abandon, lots of fun to watch.
One more thing – the secrets in this level and both previous ones have been very generous (this time bestowing Doomguy with a megasphere and countless crates of rockets) but it feels like the author wanted you to find them anyway, mostly hiding them behind offset doors, computer activated cupboards or cursory running puzzles, and hardly feel like secrets at all, really. I’m fairly sure the easily available rocket launcher makes this level flow far better than it would with the super shotgun alone. Secret tagged sectors in general seem to create a Pavlovian response in some players, who say, “what if I hadn’t have found this??” and that they distort the gameplay, but I’d argue that every secret so far has been obviously accessible from the main route and serve to punish the unobservant!
giggle as a shotgun guy casually evades my wrath
MUYSHORT.MID is what I hope feels like a companion piece to this level, a stop-start drumathon with haunting electric piano and the faintest tinges of jazz. Closer to the trippy side of the electronic music world than rock this time. Knowing tomorrow’s level in advance, and dreading the idea of creating a MAP29 max demo, I imagine there’s going to be plenty of riffs in the future!