Monday, August 8, 2011

Corebinder (CBNDR.WAD)

Corebinder's subtitle is "Raw Action", and Callum Guy Oliver aka Doomworld forum superstar phobosdeimos1 delivers. This 4-map minisode for Doom II features some well-crafted map flow and gameplay. The biggest criticisms leveled at it are its lack of detail and substandard texturing. There are some misalignments, and Oliver uses the DOORTRAK texture in places I'm not used to seeing it, but Doom II's core gameplay remains, tightly packed into four small-to-medium-size maps. Granted, because of some goofs, it's a ZDoom-only WAD, but you aren't allergic to ZDoom, are you?

The maps aren't difficult in the usual sense. Your average Doomer can probably play through them without breaking much of a sweat, and while there are some switch hunts to be had, the levels are small enough that finding the reaction is never a chore, with Oliver's texturing usually highlighting where a once-sealed aperture now looks open. No; those looking for a challenge should try each map for pistol start. They will find that MAP03 and 04 contain no placed weapons besides the BFG, with other armaments needing to wrested from the cold, dead fingers of zombimen. They are all completable as such, though, and while MAP03 stands the most difficult (requiring some Tysoning skills) it's doable with the given resources, if not capable of a UV-MAX.

Corebinder represents perhaps the baby steps of a mapper with some great promise making his way into the wild world of WAD works. If you've been looking for maps that play great and don't care if they're a bit rough around the edges, look no farther. Oliver's made a quick play that should keep both puzzlers and exterminators entertained for its full duration. I'm assuming from the progression of quality in the WAD itself that Oliver's talent will only improve in time.

by Callum Guy "phobosdeimos1" Oliver

MAP01Enter Your Hell
A small level in a light brown brick theme mixed with some green. The layout keeps things interesting by reusing space wisely and features a few memorable fights, like a courtyard of arachnotrons or several sections where you're being harried by imps on the sides. It's also a fairly easy map, a good intro with plenty of ammo laying around for you to pump into some demon trash. There's even a boss of sorts, though any player worth his salt should be able to knock him out without a scratch.

Like MAP01, it's a small level in light brown brick with some splashes of green marble. It also has another interesting, layered layout with a few sequence-based puzzles, including some teleporter-fu and switch-fu as well as one-way doors. The map ups the difficulty a bit with the introduction of a few more Doom II monsters, though they're easily handled. Favorite moment is probably the mancubus ambush in the green marble section of the map.

MAP03Simply Dead
It feels like a smaller map than its predecessors but with a far more deliberate layout and encounter placement. It uses the same brown-brick theme It's possible to complete this level from pistol start, but I wouldn't call such an endeavor reasonable. The BFG is the only ranged weapon that's actually been placed on the map. You'll get a chaingun from a commando early on, and if you persevere to the exit you'll get a shotgun, but you'll have to step lively, make the most of your berserk pack, and save every bullet you can to take out one of the arachnotrons at the very least. Anyone carrying weapons over from MAP02 should find this a delightful romp with a tricky Cyberdemon in the main open area.

Carabach BaseMAP04
The best of the bunch, a decently-detailed medium-size techbase map with some tricky solutions to taxing problems tied to its outdoor areas. One of the earliest situations involves a Spiderdemon on the low ground that you can either take on its own (not recommended) or tether to a Cyberdemon on the high ground (recommended). That's about the trickiest part of the map, though. Later grand encounters aren't quite so vexing, but the big reveal in the northeastern outdoor area was a neat sight (and harmless in comparison). All in all, some fun stuff to be had here.


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