Friday, October 14, 2011

Mephisto's Maosoleum (MEPHISTO.WAD)

by Sverre Andre Kvernmo

Mephisto's Maosoleum is another MAP07 replacement for id's Master Levels for Doom II by Sverre Andre Kvernmo. However, where the previous map (Bloodsea Keep) made no specific use of tag 666, this map (like "Dead Simple") is based around it. In the context of the Cabal series, the player (the previous ruler of Hell, ousted by his own advisers) wanders across the tomb of his old mentor, Mephisto, the head of the Cabal prior to the main character. Apparently, though Mephisto had been ousted and slain, his spirit still sat on the council, and he was in on your betrayal. Accordingly, when you happen upon his grave, you decide to exact revenge by laying both body and mind to rest.

The whole exterior of the map has an earthen texture theme, dominated by a massive keep in the center. It's where you'll do all the difficult fighting. The outside has some stone protrusions that serve as handy cover for confronting the few waves of revenants Kvernmo throws at you during the course of the map, coupled with a number of trees dotting the blasted landscape that may or may not trip you up while you dodge rockets. There's also a tiny building in the map's northwest corner, something you'll be entering after your first visit to Mephisto's fortress.

You arrive in the fortress in style. It's a square layout with an octagonal walkway around the edges and paths criss-crossing on the center. This makes handling the scads of skeletons that greet you a bit tricky, but with some fancy footwork you should be able to clear the catwalks to safely handle your mancubus overlords from on high. They're not nearly as dangerous as they might seem, which is good, 'cause you'll need some careful aim to take them out and open up the second phase of the main fight. The boss shooter wall stares at you impassively from all four sides, but you needn't worry...yet. It's a bit more sedate, eschewing revenants and mancubuses for Hell knights and arachnotrons, respectively. After some more dancing you'll be in a great position to grab the red key and head outside.

Which brings us back to the northwestern building I mentioned earlier – the actual mausoleum, I believe. It's dark, and there's a sarcophagus, and pressing the switch leads to a cool moment – presumably the broken body of Mephisto awakening. When you finally blast it apart, the real fun begins. There's a massive staircase to the south that takes you into one of the upper alcoves and, after a quick blue key grab (with some token resistance) you're ready for the map's finale. Enter the blue gate and then prepare for a fight that goes south quick if it isn't resolved quickly. You'll have to put Mephisto's twisted soul down before you can claim victory.

And that's it. It's a really simple map, but hard given Kvernmo's excellent exploitation of its layout. Handling the initial onslaught in the level's interior is probably the most difficult moment you'll encounter. Most of the other monsters aren't given the proper trappings to make them nearly as obnoxious. Despite not being difficult to handle, I'd say the destruction of Mephisto's physical form is the standout moment of the map, some great usage of vanilla Doom's constraints to tell a story. It's a worthy addition to the Master Levels, and another fine entry in the Cabal series. I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a decent '95 challenge, especially in a more arena-style format.


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


This post is part of a series on
Sverre Kvernmo's Cabal series

Bloodsea KeepDerelict StationBloodfloodThe Watchtower
Temple of DeathWe Who are About to DieThe Express Elevator to HellEye of the Storm
Mephisto's MaosoleumBlack TowerThe Image of Evil

1 comment:

  1. This is the best of the Master Levels! So creative and so much fun!