Friday, April 29, 2011

Hell to Pay (HELL2PAY.WAD)


Hell to Pay is the other half of WizardWorks' WAD combo, crafted by Jimmy "EvilGenius" Sieben (who was also a major contributor on TeamTNT), Mackey "Avatar" McCandlish, and Jim Elson. It's a full replacement for Doom II, replacing all 32 maps, and a partial conversion, replacing the sprites of several weapons and more than a few enemies, using primitive 3D renders for the imp, demon / spectre, cacodemon, mancubus, pain elemental and lost soul. They also have a host of new sounds to go along with the mechanical enemies resulting in some gaffes; the mechanized sounds replace some of the generic demon noises which are shared by the upper-class demons.

From UL and around, counter-clockwise: Imp,
Cacodemon, Demon, Mancubus, Pain Elemental
and Lost Soul sprites

The story is an intergalactic romp set two hundred years in Doom's future. Apparently everyone got tired of fighting and Earth became a peaceful planet, turning earth into a paradise. Then ten years prior to the start of the game, a wormhole opens outside Jupiter; demons pour out and violently enslave humanity, exterminating most of the Earth's population. The protagonist is a revolutionary, sold out for his fervor by a fellow slave. When the guard enters his cell to lead him to his death, he kills the guard, takes his pistol, and the adventure begins.


Similarly to Perdition's Gate, H2P narrates the adventure through the intermission / progress screens. It starts on Earth, which the player liberates, smuggling himself aboard a space ship. After eliminating the hellish crew and destroying a secret installation, he lands on Io, clearing it from Demonic activity, finally ending on "Planet Hell," where the Demon species originated from. Note: this WAD has no "secret" levels; instead, MAP31 and MAP32 are the only exits available for their associated maps so that the designers could weave it into a consistent storyline. Most of the maps have a heightened degree of verisimilitude with missile silos, slaughterhouses, stockyards, gun batteries, and more. It gives way to much more abstract design in the final episode, however. Hell is quite bizarre.


The soundtrack is pretty good, composed by Tom Mustaine and others, and there are a lot of neat map tricks, even using some notorious bugs like the ghost monster bug. Some of these levels are INCREDIBLY rough on pistol start (MAP31 comes to mind) and most of the final levels boil down into small slaughtermaps, very similar to the end of Perdition's Gate. It's essentially a pseud-hub style gauntlet of "trials" you have to undergo which other acolytes of Hell similarly endure in order to gain access to the main computer, returning to the same area every time, a copy of the final room of MAP22. In spite of their brevity, they're still fun to play.


For all this and more, I'd highly recommend Hell to Pay to anyone who wants a high-quality Doom II megaWAD, in spite of the 3D-render sprite replacements and some ugly, ugly textures. It has a consistent progression of theme and level links and has some clever features never seen in the id-produced maps. I particularly like the story aspect, which brings a more coherent experience to the game than contemporaries like Evilution. I wouldn't necessarily vouch for it it over Final Doom, but if you haven't played it before, you should give it a try!



LINK TO OFFICIAL DEMO


HELL TO PAY
by Jimmy Sieben and Mackey McCandlish

The Holding CellsMAP01
Very short compound level. You start out in a prison cell, guard murdered in front of you. As you explore the base, you see some goofy effects, like rockets launching in the distance, that would look have aged better were it not for the 3D-rendered sprites. The laser-grid doors look nice as does some of the duct work.

MAP02The Slave Quarters
Nice big level, a few large, open rooms with very clear purposes (mess hall, slave quarters and slaughterhouse). Not a lot of challenge, some chaingunners of course but the big appearances here are the imp and demon replacements. The map is basically more of the same with some winding about. The imps don't look too terribly out of place, though they're really jerkily animated. The demons look nightmarishly weird as the monster's a walking bundle of scythes. The biggest (and worse, IMO) texture offender shows up here, the garish wooden paneling that looks like a technicolor yawn.

The MinesMAP03
Good level, clever use of architecture for the bridge / lift. Also like the shaft secret with all the goodies. It's all underground, starting out in a finished installation and proceeding into darkened tunnels whose speckled nature greatly obscures the spectres. The opening is a little tense but it quickly quiets down. Dangerous things here are the shotgunners and chaingunners. Most memorable moment for me is the chaingun trap. I saw it coming but it was still a pretty rude awakening.

MAP04Nukage Processing
More techbase with of course some sewer stuff. Some surprises here like the only teleporter trap in the level. Again I see that bridge layout they use to circumvent the lack of 3D floors, it's actually quite novel. Other than that it's a pretty standard techbase / sewer slogfest with some nice areas like the soul sphere room and several uses of deep water. I like that the body count is starting to climb.

Trustee CountryMAP05
Haha, wow. This is a very hectic beginning, pretty much sprinting on eggshells. You have to be careful with all the hitscanners running around. The map is mostly outside in a badlands type area with a few indoor installations breaking things up. The cacodemon replacements make their debut. They look significantly worse than the other monsters up to this point, I think because their sprites are larger and more cohesive. I have to commend excellent map flow; you fight all the way to the yellow key and bam, you're right next to the yellow door. Lots of SSG usage on this map. And several nasty spring traps, like the first demon swarm.

MAP06Command and Control
Cool techbase-style level. Not too pretty but lots of action, especially the opening. None of the architecture really stands out but I enjoyed the teleporter swarm battle with the yellow key and the opening fight. There's also a couple surprises waiting for you to lower the shield blocking the exit.

Industrial ParkMAP07
Bland and ugly city style level. I think "Downtown" has more character than this place, but I digress. There's some okay fights, only a few big outdoor ones but nothing really difficult or memorable encounter-wise. Some of the building interiors are slightly more interesting, and I actually do enjoy the rooftop battles.

MAP08The Warehouse
Obligatory crate level with lots of boxes but it's actually set up quite nicely. Really the toughest part of this map is the room that unlocks the louver doors and the open compartments right afterwards which caught me off-guard. The rest of it is hide and seek among the crates with a bit of a surprise with the mancubuses in the grated room on the way to the yellow key.

The Military ComplexMAP09
I take it it's an Infernal military complex. There's actually a lot of interesting fights here and I like the architecture, especially parts like the revenant cage room or the central room with its pillar teleporters. Also some clever secrets. Favorite moment, I dunno, the whole level feels like it never lets up with monsters constantly leaking in.

MAP10The Liquid Metal Labs
Much shorter than previous levels, and a bit more conceptually intact. Introduces the lost souls and pain elementals, aka the Liquid Metal stuff. Except for the blue key room (depending on your actions) it's an easy level. The forcefield trick with the two baby liquid metals was pretty cool, same with the glass wall facing the blue key room.

The Space PortMAP11
A lot of really intense fights here. The opening courtyard fight works out pretty good with the trucks and all the bruisers hanging around. The bar is a nice touch as well as the end of level sequence. I'm not sure the office building really adds anything to the level. To be honest, without Duke 3D doodads like calendars and stuff, it feels pretty barren. First appearance of the plasma rifle, I think? It's pretty ugly and unless you managed to coast to here without dying there's not a lot of ammo but it helps get you to the yellow key room.

MAP12The Cargo Hold
There's a neat bit, here. You entered the space ship smuggled aboard one of the food lockers in the last level, so here you open it up from the inside and start the fight in the cargo hold proper. It's short and sweet. I love the detailing but the fights are nothing to write home about. The AV anti-burglar alarm was a laugh but I'm not that fond of chasing spectres in the wide open dark, much less with a chainsaw. The BFG makes its first appearance here, but it's basically a recolor of the plasma rifle replacement. Meh.

The Engine RoomMAP13
I like the Deck idea made manifest here. The opening gauntlet can be rough depending on how the arachnotron plays out, but the real threat is the shenanigans in the red key room. I like the engine core.

MAP14The Habitat Deck
First appearance of the ghost monster bug! Also my first real time encountering it in a map, I think. Kind of freaky. The map has little height variation, being as it is a deck, but it has a couple interesting fights, namely the aforementioned ghost encounter and the mess hall, which is a delightful bit of action. The quarters however feel bland and underpopulated, though great care was put into detailing the rugs.

Captain BellowsMAP15
Holy shit. This level seemed like just a bunch of nasty corridor fights with some perks. The liquid metal monsters (lost souls) come out of the walls at certain points, making things a little tense. Then I stepped into the airlock. The outdoor battle must be played to be believed; with invisible floors and rad suits you have the very appearance of a jerky battle in space, harried by hellish constructions. There's even a phenomenal airline you faux-climb up to the airlock door, after which you need to cross over to the next switch by "hanging on" to the grating. Blown away.

MAP31Secret Facility
Oh God this level. Low health, low ammo (for the most part). Starting off with a SSG and two boxes of shells never felt so unhelpful. I'm glad I persevered, though. None of these fights really let up, except for maybe the final room on account of the way the main chamber's structured. I'm not sure what my favorite moment is, maybe the room with the yellow key door, though I rarely see the infighting that goes on here 'cause I'm sprinting out the way I came in.

Self DestructMAP32
The soundtrack to this level is pretty cool and there's plenty of nice details. You have to blow up a number of fuses (Keen replacements) in order to lower the exit forcefield, and you need to do it before your timer (displayed in nooks on some of the walls) runs out, after which you die! You've got ten minutes, though, and the fights themselves are pretty easy (well, after MAP31). Once again I'm amazed by the ingenuity of the designers.

MAP16Io Base
The Io leg of the journey starts here. Themes are big architecture and large outdoor areas, with this map having more of a "Living End" vibe given its suspension above molten lava. Nice unusual architecture. Easy fights, the standout being the final room with the teleport coffins. I like the way the level plays with the architecture to create multiple routes using the same space.

Hot as HellMAP17
This Io level is more techbase-d. It's short and pretty fun. Most of the fights are easy but there's a couple of nasty traps that can take a piece out of you. Standout fight is probably the blue key room, though the walkway with the blast shields near the end also has a couple of good moments.

MAP18Big Crane
Haha, wow, that light tunnel effect in the yellow key hallway is fuckin awesome. And the exploding tunnel effect! Jeeze. Some really tough encounters here, the opening crossfire isn't much but when you warp into the main compound the fun begins. Personal buggery highlight is the room with the arch-vile. You really need enough health to survive a single archie blast 'cause you can't depend on the SSG to stunlock him and your rocket launcher, at least on pistol start, sits on his platform. There's a couple of other memorable fights, like the tunnel or the imp ambush in one of the garishly textured buildings. The Crane is pretty cool but the elevator is kind of broke. Also, fuck you guys and your megasphere.

Demon ChowMAP19
A more abstract layout culminating in a meat-processing facility. None of the fights here are actually tough, they just kind of chip away at you. The big killer for me was the final room with the chaingunner pillars which I couldn't seem to work out the first two attempts. Favorite moment, eh, nothing really stands out. Probably that final room, to be honest. Those giant steel columns remind me of Wolfenstein.

MAP20Master Computer
Pretty intense level. Short on ammo, not so short on health and armor. Hardest part is definitely the final fight, where your traditional cover pistons up and down agonizingly slow, so your best bet is pain stunning. Save your shells – you're gonna need 'em. Rockets are for the fools. As for architecture, the level is dominated with computer iconography, complete with a CD drive, among other things. It definitely places it firmly outside an otherwise serious mapset – more like it could have been one of the secret levels, if not for the storyline. Doom programmer shrinks marine down to kill bugs!

Planet HellMAP21
"Planet Hell" and its trials round out the final ten levels with an emphasis on surreal architecture and large fights. The opening shot looking at the planet looks very good, and there's a lot of interesting features that manage to not bog down the map. For example, there's a giant outstretched hand holding a yellow key. The giant mouth complete with throat dominates the second room while the first room has a desiccated rib-cage and skull. Hell, a skull in a later area manages to work with gameplay, and seeing the two liquid metal monsters pop out of its sockets was a pretty cool effect. Finally, the portion following the yellow key door manages to shine with floating/descending monsters surrounding a grand lift-based staircase. Didn't have any trouble with this map difficulty wise. The only questionable portion was the fight when entering the second, large room, but as I think about it I could have just mosied on up to the revenants as the blood river is crossable.

MAP22Vile Temple
AHHHHH. Every time you think you've got the map figured out, they go and throw more annoying shit your way, like ghost monsters. By far the most painful aspect of this map is the sudden convergence of arch-viles, which, go figure, "Vile Temple" and all. It's not really HARD per say, but some of the spots can be tricky. The area behind the yellow key door can go kind of sour if you're not ready for it, leaving you in a tough spot.

Hell's CavernMAP23
So begins the trials of Hell. Each map from here on out begins in the same room, imitating a hub, but without actually being a hub, as new supplies are laid down at the beginning of each map. This one's a tough little level from pistol start. I tried going in guns blazing before I figured out the lift which made this exponentially easier. Once you grab the rocket launcher you're pretty much done.

MAP24Hell's Park
Did they run out of steam or something? These last few maps seem incredibly short. Is this even doable from pistol start? Okay, it is, but you have to leave most of the ridiculous first room alive. I don't believe a 100% is doable from pistol start, though. Maybe with some baron boxing, but I don't have the patience. Regardless of the map's difficulty, the fights don't feel very well planned out for such a short map, though the ending room has some cool architecture and elevator tricks.

Hell's GauntletMAP25
A fun small map with a hell theme. Much less difficult to muscle through than "Hell's Park". The opening is kind of difficult, especially with the limited munitions / pain elemental, but a massive amount of infighting is pretty much guaranteed. Nothing really impressive with the architecture, it's pretty much just a means to an end.

MAP26Circle of Hell
A mini slaughter with enemy entrance gated by the lift surrounding the red key zone. It's not hard, by any means. Taking out the AV is a little tricky but unless he manages to resurrect a corpse on the lift itself you'll be fine. The most annoying part of this map is a pair of pain elementals introducing lost souls at a fairly regular pace, and who you probably won't get to until the rest of the map is clean. For a very simple map, though, I like the architecture.

Hell SquaredMAP27
Pretty rough, actually, but action packed and I had a much better time of it when I killed the first AV before he could teleport into the main room. The arena isn't intricate at all but the cube staircases look really cool in an otherworldly sense. Really, there's more than enough health to deal with this place. Just don't forget to grab all the ammo before you plunge into the main fight.

MAP28Neophyte Reception
The trials are over, so back to some hellish architecture a la MAP22. This map has some pretty intense moments, but nothing really difficult. Most of the monsters make a showing here, and the Cyberdemon fight is fairly memorable as they drop you right on top of a temp invisibility sphere, so you HAVE to pick it up, making dodging rockets far trickier. None of the other fights are really memorable, though they're fairly fun.

InitiationMAP29
The wood clashes awfully with the silver texture at the beginning of the level. Apart from that, it isn't too rough. There's some tricky parts, like the hallway with revenant / chaingunner closets, but the big "fuck you" is the center room, which after introduced, fails to thrill on subsequent attempts. My finishing attempt even wasted the megapshere by taking a Cyberdemon rocket to the face. This map isn't easy, but it's fun working out the various rooms.

MAP30Sky High
Fairly interesting boss level where you take on Hell's master computer thing. There's a demon spitter but you don't directly engage it. It's actually rather clever. The biggest issue I had here was the walkway teleporters warped you directly onto demon spawner points, telefragging me the first two or three times. Other than that, the second I saw the Cyberdemon fight, it was kind of obvious what the gimmick was. Thankfully he bit it in one BFG shot. The final "cinematic" is pretty awesome; you get to see that beautiful planet render from MAP21, well, I won't spoil it.


NO COMPUTER STANDS IN MY WAY,
ONLY BLOOD CAN ANSWER MY PAIN;
GUARDIANS OF A NUCLEAR DAWN,
LET THE MAPS OF WAR BE DRAWN.


This project is part of a series on id's
ICONS OF SIN
DoomHeretic
(Thy Flesh Consumed)(Shadow of the Serpent Riders)
Doom IIHexen: Beyond Heretic
Master Levels for Doom II(Deathkings of the Dark Citadel)
Final DoomChex Quest
TNT: EvilutionThe Plutonia ExperimentStrife: Quest for the Sigil
Console DoomThe Wraith Corp MegaWADs
Doom 64Perdition's GateHell to Pay
No Rest For the LivingHACX

12 comments:

  1. normaly i didnt like new sprites but these ones are okay. some nice ideas in the levels. good gameplay flow / level design / music. worth to play.

    on map 18 with gzdoom i couldnt get out of the cellar after taken the yellow key, all doors were closed. bug with gzdoom or i oversaw something. so i used noclip.

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  2. This and/or Perdition's Gate should have been in Final Doom. Or they could have made a Final Doom II.

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    Replies
    1. I agree wholeheartedly...and some quality control on the Hell to Pay assets would have helped it immeasurably.

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    2. That was my comment BTW. :)
      off-topic: I hate how most of times my anonymous comments get thumbed up/praised on certain sites/blogs but when I put my registered name, they get nothing. That was just a comparison I did sometimes on other blogs and trust me, it happened a lot of times, lol.

      On-topic: As I said, I can buy this but not now as it's too expensive and maybe if it was a separate (AND official) product (Final Doom 2) as I mentioned above in anonymous form, it could have been in hands of millions Doomers as they got the rest of official Doom series.

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  3. So, it is still possible to buy this? I want to get a psychical copy of this rarity. :)

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    Replies
    1. If you squat on eBay long enough you'll probably see one pop up. I know someone in a Doomworld thread got his or her copy by this route.

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  4. I love the "NOT ABNADONWARE BUT NOBODY CARES" logo. I certainly don't. That said, I have no problem respecting requests to not post links.

    H2P has some bigger, more creative maps compared to PG but I still prefer PG especially the maps with Mustaine's name on them. That's not saying H2P is a waste though, more just that it doesn't lend itself to the 'pick up and play' notion as well IMO.

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  5. You should replace NOT ABANDONWARE logo with "Download wad from Speed Demos archive" as you added in STRAIN.WAD!

    That's because I found the links to Perdition's Gate and Hell to Pay, albeit demo versions which are legal. So what do you think? Instead of linking to Doom Wiki, how about linking to direct link download to wad? Only difference is that I'm talking about demo versions of wads (that contain about 10-15 maps) to avoid illegality.

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    Replies
    1. I might add the demo links but they won't replace the NOT ABANDONWARE buttons.

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    2. Thank you, it looks alright. I actually meant to add as a separate link to NOT replace NOT ABANDONWARE banner but I thought it would show at end of review. :P

      Anyway I have started since a month ago playing Perdition's Gate Demo Version with Brutal Doom and I think I reached level 7, damn I'm so slow because I am busy with school. :(

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  6. I actually bought this on a CD a while back.

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    Replies
    1. it would be cool to have a physical copy

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