Sunday, April 23, 2017

DooM Resurrection Episode One (DOOMRES.WAD)


When Doom's source ports started incorporating "advanced" features like scripting, I believe that there was a sort of fevered excitement as though these things would "elevate" it from a 1993-era FPS to something more in line with at least the late 90s, like Quake, Quake II, and Half-Life. Over time, the enthusiasm for expanding Doom's gameplay beyond the niche it rather robustly occupies waned and we are now up to our knees in vanilla and Boom-oriented maps and mapsets that continue to mine new depths beneath its rugged exterior. There's still a solid brace of people making highly inventive things with source ports, of course, but the days of people like Kurt Kesler churning out little ZDoom mini-adventures appears to be gone, its peak madness left back in the early '00s.


Doomworld highlighted Tomi Rajala's Hell Factory E1 as one such interesting experiment; 2001 had another such Tommie, Team TNT's Fatal, and another ill-fated Episode One. At least, there hasn't been an Episode Two. Quick's comments in the .TXT put the subtitle in the context of an ellipse trailing off to a question mark. But, well, this is Doom Resurrection, a five-level minisode for Doom II occupying MAP01-05. Historical observers may note that Tommie had released another ZDoom episode earlier in the year, 2001's Trust. Resurrection and Trust are two fairly different creatures in the nuts and bolts of their execution if not the gist of the story itself.


That being the UAC was gutted in the aftermath of Hell on Earth (referred to here as "the hellwars") with you taking a job as a security supervisor in new tech startup Core, which does a lot of work for the military. Sound familiar? An incident with their experiments forces the corporation to confirm rumors of bio-chemical research, using demon DNA to engineer a retrovirus. Their captured specimens got loose, of course, and while the site itself has become infested, your proceduralized lockdown of the station has so far ensured that the beasties are contained from the outside world. That just leaves you to clean things up... again.


I mentioned Trust because the meat of the two narratives is fairly similar. Both involve corporations performing shady experiments with the player fixing the inevitable containment issues; in fact, both feature a tour of the research laboratories with goofy monster-killing chambers. Under the hood, however, Trust appears to be inspired largely by Half-Life where DOOMRES clearly borrows from Quake II, particularly its ambient noises showcased in the opening level but also in the clearly defined "hub" transition points as you work your mission ("hub" because Resurrection's levels are not of the highly entertwined and cross-connected variety a la Hell Factory but have a Quake II sort of logic in how they transition).


Resurrection feels like a much more meaty mapset than Trust, which relied more on atmosphere - not that DOOMRES doesn't have its moments. The monsters are fairly thick and the action more or less constant; if Quick had used Sonic Mayhem for the soundtrack, I wouldn't have batted an eye. The scripted bits are pretty cool, including a laser you have to use to cut through a door, several instances of supporting ships flying overhead and bombing the fuck out of something, and the typical "bad stuff happening to bad demons" Fatal already played around with his other 2001 release. The one thing I don't really understand is the exploding gore seen in MAP03 and forming a nigh-insurmountable obstacle in MAP04. It really feels more like a bug given the air duct scenario, but maybe it's gobs of the demonic retroviral bioweapon discussed in the story.


DOOMRES is a pretty cool ZDoom mapset that's still pretty entrenched in Doom II. I love the aircraft flybys, even if they're comically slow, and it feels the most substantial of all the early ZDoom episodes I've played thus far. It's too bad Quick quit Doom; I'd be interested in seeing what other dalliances he might coax out of the engine with this experience under his belt.



NOTE: Before you load up Resurrection, you'll have to open it up in a lump management tool (like SLADE3), find the lump S_END, and then delete it. Otherwise, ZDoom will bomb out while trying to load it. From what I understand, this wasn't a showstopper with versions of ZDoom contemporary to DOOMRES, but the years since have necessitated this simple if unusual fix.







DOOM RESURRECTION
EPISODE ONE
by Tommie "Fatal" Quick

Ammunition BunkerMAP01
Quick immediately stakes out an atmosphere that derives a lot from Quake II with the ambient sounds of combat, though the action is pure Doom II corridor shooting. The level's basically linear with an indoor - outdoor - indoor - outdoor progression with a few cool set pieces like a Cyberdemon that gets blown up via air strike or the Hellish organic growth in the basement corridor immediately prior. Nothing really kickin' as far as combat goes, just solid incidental fights with a bit of sniper stuff in the final outdoor area.

MAP02War Factory
The addition of revenants and stealth monsters among a few other things, like droves of hitscanners, makes "War Factory" a considerably tougher experience. Mostly it's getting nickeled and dimed by zombies and then slipping up on the occasional stealth revenant or imp. It's a rock solid installation level but lacks in the factory department except for a conveyor belt in the northwest portion of the map and the occasional handful of crates. The big room with the two forcefields, secret stair passage, and Baron in the control console is my favorite of the bunch as far as fights go. The ending features the appearance of "reinforcements", really just another excuse to show off that plane and bomb the shit out of a sewer grate.

Sewer SideMAP03
Mirroring the in and out baffles of MAP01 but beginning in a cramped and dangerous sewer, especially if you suffered a ton of attrition through the previous level. The meat of the action is around the outdoor front of the base and stepping inside with a relatively dull air duct crawl inserted into a slice of enhanced techbase with some pretty cool polyobject machinery in the computer room in the middle of the map. The finale is beyond the keyed-off fence and isn't too bad, featuring a few cacodemons and arachnotrons, but the little piles of gore are actually LAND MINES that will slay you dead, so good luck with that running in blind.

MAP04Core-Gen Labs
This is actually a remake of MAP06 from Trust as far as a techbase level with a lot of hallways and labs where grueling experiments are performed on demons. The meat-generator from imps is a new one on me, though not too far removed from the grossest parts of Quake II. Corridor shooting and stealth monsters abound with a surprise arch-vile making for a pretty interesting encounter. Not sure what to make of the exploding gore things since they seem more like a bug than a feature with one of them plopped down in the middle of a tight air duct.

HeadquartersMAP05
A semi-boss level that starts out with an awkward front steps climb with imps on the ledges and demons on the floor with two Baron door guardians and a Cyberdemon for overwatch. The Cyb isn't meant to be attacked directly, of course, but he's an annoying element and you can't move on until you slay the rest of the nasties. The inner sanctum tucks stealth demons behind a slight bit of cover from two Masterminds, but if you take your time and just work your way from switch to switch, your mission will soon be complete.

THE GORY AND THE RESURRECTION

4 comments:

  1. Come back KMX E XIII, we miss you!

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    1. well, here's the thing

      I've been working a ton of overtime and it probably won't stop in the near future. the upshot is as a utility worker in a federally regulated industry, there's actually an upper limit to the amount of hours i can work! the downside is, between that and having a baby daughter, when i'm off work i really don't feel like doing a whole lot when i get home, even moreso because there's still a lot to do to finish off the article for Inquisitor 3. INQSTR3 is the hump basically and i'd like to hammer it out so that I can at least play single maps in what little free time i get. this isn't a dig on INQSTR3 though, it's fantastic and highly recommended.

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  2. Well regardless it's good to hear that you are doing ok. Just checking to make sure you were still alive :)

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  3. Yes, glad you're alive as well. Your blog is very useful, and a good read!

    Sounds like life is pretty busy at the moment though, and some stuff is more important than doom :-)

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