What does "Tormention" actually mean, anyway?
Death Tormention 3, released at the end of last year, is the third in a series of Ultimate Doom episode 4 replacements by Paul Corfiatis and Kristian Aro. It is larger and more detailed than the first two, indeed it needs a limit-removing source port, and some of the maps use Boom features. The final map needs ZDoom to work properly although it is playable in PrBoom.
- E4M1 is like a bigger version of certain maps from the previous episodes, in particular the first couple of maps from Death Tormention 2. Starts a theme, of lots of torches (or other glowing decorations) inset into walls, that carries on for the rest of the wad. Pretty easy. Not much else to say.
- E4M2 is the interior of some kind of gothic fortress. It has Doom E4M7 influences but also a flavour all of its own; watch for the shootable stained glass windows. Not exactly hard, but tricky; can be quite low on ammunition. Leaving monsters "for later" might be necessary. Be careful.
- E4M3 The classic hub-based key quest level. Firstly you have a triangular shaped room full of blood and lost souls, then there's a dark cave with various locked doors leading away. It uses the old trick of having doors that are locked with different coloured keys on each side - people don't seem to do that so much any more, so it stuck out a bit. Gameplay is rather top-heavy, you start off up against it but about halfway through, after you've done the yellow key section, it's pretty easy.
- E4M4 A sprawling fortress made up of various different bits that'd take too long to describe completely. It starts off with a fun surprise! Also the large outdoor blood canyon in the northwest corner of the map is pretty good, although difficult.
- E4M5 This map centres on a huge lava lake crossed by stone walkways, it is surrounded by various wings of a castle. There are fiery underground sections, and blood and god knows what else. It's very hard, especially from a pistol start, you pretty much have to find the berserk box secret early on and then punch as many monsters as you dare. Also it is annoyingly complex, there's chains of keys and switches and often you won't know where you're meant to go next. This slightly lets down what is otherwise a beautiful map.
- E4M6 Some red brick corridors, lifts, bridges and smallish outdoor areas comprise the major part of this map. Plenty of traps and not a great deal of ammo again - once more, you must make good use of the berserk box. One bit I liked was a chasm in the middle of a corridor, underneath a big ceiling light. Working out all the different sectors for it must have taken ages. Anyway the map ends with a double cyberdemon arena, but there's plenty of room and hopefully you'll have the BFG from the secret area earlier.
- E4M7 is some kind of a palace. You start off in a brick room with some locked doors, and keep coming back. Firstly you go off running round some walkways over a blood river, then with the red key you go up through an area that's annoyingly symmetrical. Then to get the yellow key you go through a library into some corridors and through a large hellish underground that is too big and, I thought, felt quite out of place. But the weirdest thing about this map is the secrets. There's this one with these 7 pictures of pool players from some ancient 16-colour game system. There's also this barf-inducing room with a picture of a girl superimposed on an idyllic beach scene, and a heart shaped pit of lava in the floor. Honestly how often do you get MY GIRLFRIENDed by a doom map? Ugh!
- E4M8: "This is what DOOM is all about!, Darkness, Darkness, Darkness!!. Go to HELL!!" rants the text file. In other words, it's really annoying! Features a partially invisible hellknight as a new-ish monster. The underground was impressive but just as annoying to play. It ends via a teleporter in some kind of futuristic hallway where you can get three spiders to fight each other.
- E4M9: the secret level is rather odd. You start in someone's bedroom next to their stereo. Go out through the garage and find the graves of those pool players from map 7... There's a lot of fences and a chapel thing, then some cyberdemons to telefrag to exit.
This map in fact has a super secret exit which only works in ZDoom, it leads to:
- E3M9: The super secret level is a fairly small thing that doesn't seem to have the polish of some of the others. There's a couple of weird texture combinations, that sort of thing. You don't need ZDoom to play it, just to get to it from E4M9; you can just IDCLEV here or whatever. It's not bad, better than the super secret level in 2002ado anyway, but requires tactics for ammunition usage (don't use it all at the start)
So in summary we have here a solid Doom episode well worth playing. It maintains a consistent architectural style throughout. Gameplay is challenging but, after a few attempts, beatable. A few weird bits that always seems to crop up in Paul's levels (he makes a lot of joke wads as well, Spacia is one example that also features one of the pool players) E4M5 is probably the highlight, even in spite of all the backtracking and whatnot (if you manage to do it from a pistol start you'll feel very pleased with yourself!!)
Overall - ignoring E4M8 which got on my nerves - pretty much excellent.