Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Farside of Titan (FARSIDE.WAD)

THE FARSIDE OF TITAN
by Jim Flynn


The Farside of Titan is Jim Flynn's fifth map in his Titan series, though it's only the third of his non-commercial Titan WADs. The setting, of course, is on Saturn's eponymous moon. This time, you're infiltrating the Titan Farside Research Base where researchers were studying some alien technology (in Trouble on Titan, it's made clear that you were specifically investigating a communications blackout). From there? Who knows? I suppose you can steal the technology and raze the base to the ground...at your discretion.


Compared to its contemporaries, FARSIDE is a much smaller map, clocking in at just below 150 monsters. It's still got all the hallmarks of a Flynn map. Massive complex staircases erupting out of the ground, puzzles and secrets rewarding exploration and unconventional thinking, and thoughtful monster placement that challenges the player combat-wise. Perhaps the most important difference between this map and the previous Titan levels is the fact that Flynn changed the music order up, which is pretty nice considering it sometimes feels like I've had an eternity of D_RUNNIN.


The map doesn't really resemble a research base, but that's okay, because Flynn has constructed a number of features that make the map distinguishable regardless. Of course, first and foremost, there's a symmetric staircase that pops out of the ground in the map's opening room. You can use it to access some of the raised areas, most importantly a side-jump into an outdoor area on the western side. The fight starts out easy but eventually you'll trip the switch that releases a steady mudslide of mancubuses into the yard, which you may or may not have the proper ammo to deal with. There's also a great bit with an invisible lift that becomes a total mindfuck when you're standing on top of it.


The red key area that immediately follows isn't that impressive at first. The lighting is good and the alignment is great. The true treat, though, is the amphitheatre-style staircase that pops into place when you're contemplating descent into the southernmost room, which is dominated by a bizarre silver-colored techbase apparatus and a decent skirmish. After navigating an enormous crusher, you quickly shuffle on over to the eastern area, another outdoor yard, but this one is swarming with monsters (and a penned-in Cyberdemon) that, together with an arachnatron patrolling the outer wall a la MANOR, can get out of hand in moments, especially if you're not properly armed. There's also an arch-vile surprise, but he's easily handled.


The final area, though you can access it prior to obtaining the yellow key, is the northern offices, some small rooms in the Doom II house style, but with some nice detailing. The library wing has buku secrets while the left wing has a fireplace, easy chair, and private bar, looking very nice. Really, this is where most of the puzzle-solving elements are located. Finally, there's a solid computer core containing the exit room. You'll have to successfully navigate the science offices in order gain access, but it's pretty easy to handle when you get there, like most of the science building seeing as how there's reams of shit to take cover behind should something ugly get the drop on you.


The Farside of Titan is a bit understated when put up against Flynn's other works. It's not as big, or as violent, or as cryptic, but it's an enjoyable level with some neat vistas, set under the planet's starry sky. There are plenty of secrets for the player to hunt for, however, and lots of demon-splattering goodness with heavy weapons, appreciable if only for the fact that Flynn has loaded this map down with Doom II toughs. In fact, I'd recommend it to virtually everyone looking for a good Doom II level; it shouldn't disappoint.



TROUBLE BREWING


This post is part of a series on
Jim Flynn's Titan series

Titan ManorTrapped on Titan
Mines of TitanTitan Anomaly
The Farside of TitanTrouble on Titan

2 comments:

  1. So many wads, such little time. I vaguely remember Jim Flynn's name from back in the day and have played some of his maps, but it's time to revist them all. Except Titan Manor... ugh. - MajorRawne

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    1. If you didn't like Titan Manor, I'd steer clear from most of Flynn's stuff except for maybe Trapped on Titan and Titan Anomaly. I don't know what you didn't like about Manor, but if it was the puzzles, Manor is the best place to work through them since it's such a limited space, where Mines and Trouble have a staggering playfield to sort out.

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