Yet another hugely impressive wad from Eternal, author of Remain1 et al. This is a trek through 5 varied jungle/desert locations which have, typically, suffered a hell infestation. These maps are large and very open, being mostly set outdoors, and with highly realistic detail and texturing insofar as the Doom engine allows. However I feel that for their size they are quite underpopulated, especially the final map which feels rather empty. Each map in turn:
- A fool's paradise You're at some kind of dock at the edge of an island. A wood and water theme recalls TNT:Evilution's MAP32. Just an introduction, not too difficult, but plenty of nice things to look at. Boom features abound, as they do throughout the whole wad.
- Sand-storm You are briefly dragged through a teleporter which explodes around you. You find yourself inside a building in the centre of a desert warzone. Ruined buildings, sniper towers (with inevitable chaingunners), exploded tanks, it's all here. Eventually you gain access to a rather airy, rich-looking and surprisingly intact townhouse; the exit is underneath it at the end of a very long underground river.
- Arc of the Pendulum A castle or fortified temple, it contrasts with the others as it is mostly indoors. Complex and full of traps, and many secrets. If you survive, use the dynamite to open up the abandoned train line.
- The Helltrain Somewhat inevitably, you've caught the train. The illusion of a moving train here is very convincing. Obviously if you fall off the side, you're screwed. Unfortunately the map is rather cramped - necessitated by its design, but nonetheless.
- The Citadel Finally we arrive at the destination, which is so large that it causes all kinds of overflows in the renderer. I don't understand why it needs to be quite so large, the monster count is under 350 and the majority of the map feels incredibly empty. The map is dominated by the gigantic structure in the centre, and there are also interiors of pyramids and alien spaceships to visit.
There is a certain amount of evidence the wad was designed for hardware renderers; the size being the obvious thing, other signs being the large number of floating middle textures (e.g. force fields) that appear to bleed into the surrounding floor or ceiling*. Indeed I believe EPIC would have been GZDoom-specific save for the fact that Eternal is friends with entryway, the PrBoom-plus author, who made a lot of changes to his port specifically to support the extremes of this project. Not that I'm complaining - a very good wad reaches a wider audience.
Highly recommended, as if I needed to say.
* A side effect of the software renderer, when a middle texture is on a two-sided line, and the visplanes on either side of the line are merged. Something like that anyway. As I've said many times before, I'm not very sure how the renderer works. You can work round it by making the sectors on either side of the level have a difference in light level of 1; this is too small to actually render any differently, but will cause the visplanes to be split (but will increase their number of course, if you are mapping for vanilla and care about the visplane limit)
Return to Techbase 6
Techbase 6, previously only available on a site that has since disappeared off the internet, has recently been uploaded to /idgames under its other filename, Techbase 1. It's worth playing so if you haven't already, now's your chance.