Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Fistula (FISTULA.WAD)

by Christen David Klie

Of all the contributors to id's Master Levels for Doom II, Christen David Klie's are the most numerous, just barely edging out John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson and Sverre "Cranium" Kvernmo at a total of six. Like most of Klie's work, they're small levels, creating miniature adventures as opposed to large, performance-demanding landscapes. The Fistula is one of Klie's most constricting creations, only letting up on its claustrophobic sensibilities at the map's very end. It has a techbase texturing theme but its layout is fairly nonsensical, more like one of his earlier works.

First, let's get one thing straight. What the fuck is a fistula? Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines it as "an abnormal passage that leads from an abscess or hollow organ or part to the body surface or from one hollow organ or part to another and that may be surgically created to permit passage of fluids or secretions". In the context of this level, I believe it applies to the odd intersection found immediately north of the starting area, if one considers each of the map's wings separate organs. There are a few other crossroads, however, that could serve such a purpose.

The Fistula is a tricky maze of passageways and rooms. The criss-crossing layout serves to elongate its puzzle-like nature. None of the encounters are difficult, despite the influx of hitscanners and perhaps an atypical pain elemental battle. No; most of this map's challenge comes from sorting out the keys. It was more confusing as I had accidentally bypassed the teleporter to the yellow key. The opening room and the fistula are the two most memorable architecture bits of the map, save the southern area, an outdoor area featuring an encounter with an arch-vile.

The hallways that make up the majority of the map's central section are pleasant enough; they just don't add much to it beyond their maze-like arrangement. The Fistula is a fairly fun map and I wish I had more to say about it (except maybe a secret requiring the red key). It's just very much a brainchild of Klie's earlier mapping efforts and thus beyond a few elements isn't very memorable. It's still a fine portion of the Master Levels, and fans of Klie's work should enjoy it heartily.

Don't GIS "fistula"

This post is part of a series on
id's Master Levels for Doom II


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