Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Interdiction Zone (INTZONE.WAD)

by Jim Flynn

The Interdiction Zone is a solo affair from Jim Flynn. It's a large level for Doom II, replacing MAP07. It's got a large selection of textures but the main area appears to be somewhat patterned after a library. Now, this wouldn't be out of place as part of his Enigma Episode, but as this was initially released as a Doom II level, I suppose he excluded it from Enigma (which is composed entirely of Doom II remakes of his early maps). As is typically the case for Flynn, there's some great, abstract design and plenty of puzzles to be had. It almost feels a bit like an adventure game at times.

The plot is pretty standard. You've been dropped into hostile territory and have to fight your way out and across the eponymous interdiction zone before making it to the main structure and locating its self-destruct switch. You start out in a small, compact building that uses an elevator / teleporter trick to take the player through its multi-tiered environment. There's a few good fights, especially in the top floor. After figuring out the tricky puzzle to access the teleporter, you'll wind up on the other side of a small window in a large, bare room where a tower of bricks erupts from the ground. It's a decent fight that opens up the huge shutters that allow access into the outdoor area.

The outdoors / library combo dominate the center section of the map. It's mostly three large structures jutting out of a pit of water with the entrance to the library on the eastern side. You're immediately assaulted by roaming cacodemons and monsters sniping at you from the ledges that ring the drink. Something you'll want to do is visit the north and south platforms to activate the crushers. You'll need to hit one in order to escape, but there's no reason to not get both grinding. The reason soon be comes apparent when you walk toward the library entrance, with a nice wave of monsters teleporting in, including two (!) Cyberdemons.

From there on it's the excellently detailed library itself. There are stacks of books, little reading nooks and tables for media, even some file cabinets. And one of the best bits you HAVE to see, a revenant librarian sitting at the desk who pops out of the seat upon your intrusion. I laughed, I cried, I fragged. The northern section has a particularly obtuse red key puzzle but you'll feel pretty good when you figure it out. The southern section has two VERY memorable puzzle sequences, only one of which is mandatory. The secret one grants access to some previously viewable library stacks while the other is required to get the blue key and has several steps, but as before, you'll feel pretty smug when you manage to solve it.

The blue key takes you to a fairly unmemorable crate warehouse where you have to find the elevator-crate. Nothing out of the ordinary. Your reward, besides the yellow key, is access to the previously inaccessible megasphere in the outdoor section. Finally, you get a nice shootout in a marble-floored outdoor area with tons of monsters and I daresay adequate cover. You could always cheese it and run for the northern bunker, but you're a better marine than that, right? As a final bonus, Flynn even included one of those neat-o short-step staircases that simulates a ladder, this one climbing up a river of nukage to the exit switch and victory.

The Interdiction Zone is good. It's large, moderately challenging, and has plenty of brain-teasers that make you feel like a Doom scientist. Well, except that you're alive, and not some stupid zombie. Some of the moments like the revbrarian or the Cyberdemons warping into certain death had me giggling while I marveled at Flynn's portrayal of the library (his more realistic levels in Enigma were kind of boring). I especially liked the fireside reading spot, not the least of which involved the puzzle. Finally, the action is moderately challenging. I didn't get a chance to die, but I'm sure I could have. Details like lighting admittedly are ho-hum and mostly bright or quite dark, but there's at least one spot where he pulls out some great contrast, and details like irate revenants I'm more inclined to remember, really.


1 comment:

  1. I've always really enjoyed Interdiction Zone - it was one of the first of few custom Doom levels I'd played and I was blown away at the creativity the Doom community could put into their levels. ~vf