Monday, September 19, 2011

Trapped on Titan (TTRAP.WAD)


TRAPPED ON TITAN
by Jim Flynn


Where Titan Manor was an example of an adventure based within a single, large structure, focusing on puzzle-oriented gameplay, Trapped on Titan is a longer, combat-oriented adventure through a number of settings. It's got some puzzles, to be sure, but they're more intuitive, with the enemies providing the real challenge. Jim Flynn gave the two Titan maps from id's Master Levels for Doom II no canonical order, but I'd like to believe that Titan Manor portrays the marine infiltrating Titan to steal the alien technology, while Trapped on Titan involves escaping the forces of Hell after succeeding. Like Titan Manor, it uses Anderson's starry sky to separate its setting from Doom II's setting.


The level is based around a tricky, nondescript hub using lifts to separate various avenues of gameplay. It sets the tone of the map with its fairly ruthless monster placement. Once you've caught your breath, you have four distinct wings of the map to explore; north, south, east and west. The western wing, which contains the blue key, is entirely optional, but it's got an interesting construction based on lifts accessing five successive levels. The individual boxes adjacent to the main chamber have a neat motif on the wall and the doorway detailing, while easy to miss, is appreciated. It's got several firefights that leave you feeling exposed and perhaps a little wary.


The eastern section follows. There's three rooms you'll access in succession. Encounters in each one can wind up pretty tense. The first room has one of Flynn's trademark stair assemblers while the second is a neat crossfire with a nice-looking floor plan. If you grabbed the blue key from the west wing, it serves to unlock some goodies (and some monsters you'd otherwise be unable to slay). The final room looks fairly boring but it's got some nice moments. It's a selection of pillars, each one housing a monster, that will descend when you approach them. When mixed with the free-roaming beasties, it can get a little hairy, but it gets worse depending on how you approach the rest of the room. There's a few good surprises, all of which can be neutered with a proper order of attack.


The red key grants access to the southern wing (well, southwestern). It starts out with a cramped, somewhat dangerous fight in an overlook and spills out into a large, outdoor area with no less than four small buildings to explore (as well as a reflecting pool!). It's one of the best segments of the map, serving up a steaming dish of threat where the safest option is to get over the railing and into the open as fast as humanly possible. There are mancubus and revenant snipers perched on the buildings with a roaming gang of assorted monsters on the ground and a few toughs scattered about.


When you've finally made the yard safe, you can start about cleaning the squatters, a process that doesn't take very long. You'll have to clear them in order, but Flynn makes the process quite interesting. The first, central building is my favorite. There's not much on the inside but navigating your way through to the secret is a great simulation of crawling through air ducts and navigating precarious ledges. You don't need to do the whole thing to get to the next building, though you'll have to jump. The other three bits are pretty straightforward, but Flynn pulls a dirty (but awesome) trick when you attempt to grab the yellow key, a clever use of barrels taking advantage of player negligence. The final fight is a nice slugfest rife with infighting opportunities, but I'd watch my back for an unpleasant surprise.


With the yellow key secured, you can finally leave the area (and supposing you flipped the right switch, the level), proceeding to the northern wing. It's a cavernous underground section with a skylight and a windowed stairwell leading to the exit. It can get a little out of hand but supposing you fall back you shouldn't wind up in too much trouble. The climax involves a Cyberdemon you can kill three different ways. While you have enough ammo for an old-fashioned, the other two are far more entertaining, with the crusherless version my favorite (and my first instinct, so I'm slightly proud of myself). Really, you don't even need to kill him to leave, it's more so you can sleep at night.


Trapped on Titan is a great quality WAD from Flynn. There's loads of monsters (249 to start, I believe, but I finished at 312), plenty of simple puzzles, and a large variety of areas to explore. He keeps the action running almost nonstop and keeps the pressure on the player so that they're never sure what's going to happen next (until they grab the automap, and even then there's no accounting for what's behind the various doors). I'd say TTRAP is one of Flynn's best works. Detailing is adequate throughout most of the map and while I could use some more variation with the lighting, gameplay is top notch so you never really have time to stop and view the halos. It's just one reason of many to add id's Master Levels for Doom II to your WAD library.







TRAPPED!
THE TRUE STORY OF DOOMGUY


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

ATTACKBLACKTWRBLOODSEACANYON
CATWALKCOMBINEFISTULAGARRISON
GERYONMANORMEPHISTOMINOS
NESSUSPARADOXSUBSPACESUBTERRA
TEETHTTRAPVESPERASVIRGIL

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. It's good to see someone picking up the Doom wad review torch without any real active sites left. I've been following this for a short time and just wanted to encourage you to keep up. Can't wait for that HR review.

    -Snakes

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  2. An 'epic' level in respect of its scale and hectic action and most enjoyable (not least for the absence of 'challenging' puzzles a la Titan Manor), but not all that difficult even on UV, thanks to the abundance of health and armour in particular. As you imply, the Cyberdemon needn't really have bothered turning up - he had his back to me and offered no resistance as I toasted him with the plasma gun at the end.

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