28/03/2006-29/03/2006 @03:09:32 ^04:47:10


I am told writing about clocks and lightbulbs is a symptom of insanity?? Fine, I'll just write about Doom and you can lump it. Haha, lump. No-one's going to get that...

Holy Hell

Holy Hell is, as I just wrote on Doomworld, a parody of Deus Vult. Apart from that it's a complete waste of space but a funny waste of space. It's funny because the sheer size of the monster teleporters made me giggle. However I didn't even bother trying to play it without god mode and the super weapons patch - apparently it's "just about playable" in Easy mode but I didn't try.

It replaces MAP01-MAP05, 5 (20000 monsters, the cause of low framerate) being the accumulation of maps 1-4 (3000-7000 monsters each). There is also a map named HOLYHELL to access which you need an engine that can run maps without conventional names (or you can edit the map's name with a hex editor) It's not worth it though, it appears to be a very early prototype of the first area of MAP01/MAP05, and isn't complete (it doesn't even have an exit as far as I could see)

The architecture is quite sparse, nothing special but okay. The texturing is also mostly okay, except in a couple of chambers where it is rather garish; the theme of the map varies wildly from area to area, bricks, hell, modwall, etc.

There are bugs: after you get the red key a wall takes nearly 5 minutes to descend, after which, if you run over the wall, you will get a MapPlane segfault unless you switch to the automap beforehand; also, in the final area, whose texturing hurts the eyes and whose number of rendered sprites hurts the framerate, some of the monster teleporters fail to go off if you don't press the buttons in the right order. There is a sequence of switches to follow, repeated twice; what you need to do is start with the south wall, then do the same thing on the north wall, and so on. In particular you must visit the south alcove before the north one.

Hell Wad Pack

Hellpak (evil.wad, tex.wad) is a set of seven maps and new textures from the author of Hell Gate; indeed the latter could fit into this wad quite seamlessly.

Many people might call these maps ugly but for some reason I really like his style of architecture. There are high ceilings. There are large windows, everywhere. The maps are very open and there is bags of scenery and room. There are little glimpse points and other points of interest hidden around the place. The new graphics aren't bad, the tree sprites are okay - probably better than Doom's originals, but that's not hard - and I particularly like the pink "cloudy sunset" sky texture.

However the gameplay utterly frustrates me. There are huge crowds of monsters basically everywhere, and they don't behave well. They sort of come at you in single file; you're never quite safe from lone wanderers. Health and ammo are very tight in the initial stages of a map, but if you manage to finish it you'll have piles left over. It all suggests to me that there has only been a minimum of playtesting.

Let's take map02 as an example. You have to do over half the map with single shotgun and rocket launcher, despite there being large quantities of cells available. You're almost three quarters done by the time you get the plasma gun, though, and the BFG is right at the end, when there are less than 50 out of 1000 monsters left. The second secret area... I could go on.

Map03 purports to be for ZDoom only but it works fine in PRBoom except that you don't get the extra species of monsters there. I'd say it's still populated enough without them, though.

In contrast map04 has about 20 monsters and is trivial; map05 is manageable but suffers horribly from top-heaviness, having to kill all the monsters with very limited resources, before you can get to the larger weapons; and then having nothing to use them on.

Map01 starts off okay but you basically run out of ammo halfway through. Map06 in contrast overwhelms you with zombies and you run out of health before you can clear out a "safe zone". Map07 is just stupid - give the player a bfg, a roomful of cells and invulnerabilities, then throw a huge cavern of monsters at him, complete with a monster spawner. It purports to be another Nuts tribute - like Nuts Lite then, only more blunt.

In summary, I think that there is the potential for greatness here - map02 could be wonderful with just a few tweaks, most of the others, too - but it has not yet been realised. Perhaps in the future...

Hell Meets Earth

HME won first prize in a competition in Acorn User magazine to design a Doom map, after the source came out and was ported to RISC OS. If you don't have a soft spot for RISC OS you won't think much of this map, its theme varies rather oddly, it's like a mansion surrounded by a huge wooden corridor, and could just be a random level from 1994/5. I'm only really mentioning it since I found the page again the other day and gleefully decided to play it again.

The basic idea is you have to find the three keys hidden in corners of this surreal environment. Killing the monsters as you go, obviously - unfortunately this map, like so many others, also suffers from top-heaviness; by the time you've found the larger weapons, you'll probably have dispatched most of the monsters with lesser ones. Anyway, while running around watch out for 10 walls with pictures of skulls on them (e.g. there are two either side of your start position) Once you have the three keys you can press a large switch which causes these 10 walls to lower, revealing switches, all of which need to be pressed to raise a staircase to the exit. The exit itself is in fact a monster spawner and you exit by shooting it - fortunately no jumping is required here. Also if you make sure everything is dead after you get all the keys you can then take a route around the map to avoid waking up the spawner before it is absolutely necessary.

Having written that I've just realised how similar the structure - find three keys, then 10 switches - is to Blastem2, which is three keys then 10 Commander Keens. Oh well, now I can see another reason I like this map... Also I think it was the first map in which I noticed lost souls would bounce off the floor and ceiling.

If you decide to play - and why would you? - you might have to rename the file, adding a .wad extension. PRBoom is full of crazy DOS-isms - its ancestor, Boom, given a filename without .wad on the end, will add the .wad for you as a convenience in a DOS environment, and a bloody nuisance anywhere else as it doesn't try to use the unappended filename first.

Subheading without the word "hell" in it

I also found DIY's page once more. It's still the same, it hasn't updated, but the URL was changed by the ISP that hosts it, which broke all other sites' links. It still hasn't been updated since 2003 and I don't think it'll ever be again, as its author Andreas Dehmel seems to have given up on RISC OS entirely.