Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Infinity (INFINITY.WAD)


Infinity, published in 1995, rounds out the end of Bjorn (tester) and Holger's (mapper) episode replacements, this one taking the place of E1. It's got all the -ity features: music replacements (ha!), lines that block monster movement (usually the same lines that mark dynamic lighting), and goofy mazes. Finally, and most importantly, Bjorn and Holger made sure every map was readily completable from pistol start this time around. E1M8 is still kind of hard, but for different reasons. You still have some ammo show up sans weapons, but rarely to the effect of the previous episodes.


Like the others, Infinity has no secret level. Whatever the reason for the habitual exclusion, it's never been reported. Though the map count never improved, their final episode is a more mature mapset then either Eternity or Serenity. It features a nice mixture of Eternity's solid composition with Serenity's more distinct architecture, standing as one of the best examples of free-spirited mapping from Doom's early years, just two guys having fun, making a WAD so that we can all have fun. Thanks, dudes.


This wouldn't be the last of their work, though. There's a few more B&H maps knocking around the Internet and they even contributed to the classic project, S.T.R.A.I.N.. From what I understand, they were working on a Serenity IV for Doom II project, but eventually canned it. What a shame!





INFINITY
by Bjorn Hermans and Holger Nathrath

Switch Bored?E1M1
Simple wood-themed level with a few tricky sections like the blue key or the exit path, which is a timed door. The abundance of unavoidable damage floors with little mitigation doesn't work very well but the fights are okay with an emphasis on survival as there is not a lot of health to go around. Most memorable section is the large wooden room with the dual cages that fill up after activating the final switch.

E1M2Say Jazz to Another Excess
Large silver techbase level. Pretty abstract with the most memorable and painful moment being a lift maze that kills the pacing of the entire level. There's also a particularly noisome section that has you running out into a courtyard in the middle of a group of hitscanners which can be difficult and especially at low health. There's plenty of ammo, though, and even a chaingun for explorers.

Beat It!E1M3
Grey stone-themed level. Nice pacing and plenty of demons to slay. You're rarely hard-up for ammo, either. The most memorable encounter involves a large, eight-pointed star structure (housing the blue key). It's not difficult, but it alone stands out amongst all the other fights. Some nice lighting in the opening room, at least.

E1M4Everybody Frag Now
Extensive grey brick compound with some more surreal features, like a waist-high maze. It's not awful as far as mazes go, it's just tedious to navigate to get all the pickups on successive attempts. There's two good fights here, one involving a giant crossfire with the blue key in the back, and the other a sequence of slugfests leading to the exit door. It's easier than it seems, and there's plenty of cell ammo lying around if you grabbed the BFG from the "secret". The room with the "i" would be the trickiest room, in my opinion, merely because of the pack of shotgunners waiting in the drink for you. I also don't mind the slat maze with the red key, either. The construction keeps it from being boring.

Dungeons of DoomE1M5
Techbase with some sewer undertones. It's an interesting map that doesn't skimp on ammo and while there's no rocket launcher to be found there's at least a cell, which depending on how you clear the map you may never get to use. The fight around the N, the red key fight, and the fight in the gray courtyard are the major encounters with the courtyard battle edging out the others in terms of sheer enjoyment. The architecture is a step up from the usual fare with a few nice staircases and some interesting trim around the nukage pools.

E1M6Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?
Even trickier! Bjorns and Holger lay out plenty of ammo for your pleasure here; the main difficulty of this level is managing your health with all the hitscanner ambushes. The large, caged room in the northwestern section of the level stands out as the most memorable simply because you're rerouted through it several times, each time with a little more opposition. The others aren't all that interesting though the exit room has a decent caged walkway thing going for it.

Blaze of GloryE1M7
Pretty simple winged level with techbase textures. Each wing has a particular theme and none of them are particularly difficult to clear with the exception of the blue key wing, as finding a safe spot to clear from can be somewhat difficult. The yellow key wing has an obtuse method of locomotion where in order to cross to either side of a walkway you must jump into a pit in the center, ride an elevator up, and then drop on the side of your choice. It's interesting at first but fails to thrill on subsequent uses.

E1M8Stargate Into Infinity
Sorry Bjorn and Holger. Whoever thought the idea of putting shotgun guys behind the blind stained glass windows was good is a sadist. It just makes you waste tons of ammo making sure THEY'RE ALL FUCKING DEAD. Apart from that, this level is pretty fun, and pretty well balanced. Like their other finales, it's a dark gray brick construction with some of their custom windows and it's got a very nice main chamber complete with throne. It would be nice if they had a rocket launcher or plasma rifle stashed somewhere, but you have to make do with what you have. There's no incredible final battle here, just a few good firefights.

SERENITY III
Still trying to think of an
-ity word for Serenity IV



This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1995

Fava BeansInfinity
Boothill / A Fistful of DoomH2H-Xmas
The Final GatheringArtifact
Nostromo's RunObituary
The Enigma EpisodeDWANGO5

This post is part of a series on
the Serenity series

SerenityEternityInfinity
ArachnaTrydentSER3LV11
STRAIN

4 comments:

  1. Does these wads (Infinity, Eternity and Serenity) run under Chocolate Doom? I want to replay them due to sake of vanilla and infinity being included to Maximum Doom CD and these 3 are on my re-do list.
    I ask because they were done for version 1.666 but I have Ultimate Doom 1.9. Do they run correctly? I want to ask because I will start a playthrough soon and need answer fast. Otherwise I will not bother with them again on ZDoom.

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    1. Yeah, they will function in Chocolate Doom. You might run into bugs that are just map features and unrelated to engines, though.

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  2. As the megawad club found out, these episodes are really only for those who want a lot of nostalgia, even if they're better than most episodes released in '94 or early '95. There are a lot of quirks that bring these levels down and especially WAY too much monster blocking lines.

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    Replies
    1. there is a certain charm to ye olden levels that is somewhat rooted in nostalgia that is inextricably linked to the wild west days of doom mods. it is far from being pure garbage at the v least

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