Sunday, November 20, 2011


STRAIN is a 32-map partial conversion created by the Alpha Dog Alliance, a loose confederation of Doom enthusiasts, many of them fairly prolific in the community at the time. While some I recognize from their individual works, others are familiar contributors to the community WADs of the past (MM and MMII) and then present (Requiem). STRAIN was in production for quite some time; Patterson (the project director) spoke of work stalling while a number of 1996 high-profile WADs were released (some of their authors also contributing to STRAIN!). Fortunately, STRAIN saw a release, and though it has a few very short levels and some donations (from the cancelled Serenity IV project and Dystopia 3), it would still be worth your attention if half the WAD went missing.

The story follows after the events of Doom II. You settled in to the Earth's military, still yearning for the days of indiscriminate violence. Then you're contacted by your superiors concerning a demonic incursion at a base on the Earth's moon - Daro. They wanted you to train a squadron of enhanced soldiers, but you opt to undergo the treatment yourself, as this new, unholy strain seems even more lethal. Hell strikes before you can pass on much of your experience, however, annihilating everyone but you and three other soldiers that resisted the incapacitating side effects of the "enhancement". The four of you set out for the launch facility from where the demons arrived, intending to save the Earth once again.

First of all, your armory. Doomguy shoots faster with the pistol and shotgun and punches with a one-two combo, both of which benefit from the berserker powerup. Pistol starters should note that beginning from scratch entails beginning with no ammo whatsoever. The plasma rifle is restricted to 100 ammo with the backpack, but has been significantly strengthened. Lastly, the BFG is some kind of psi-controlled apparatus that uses three rockets a shot and merely does splash damage the normal way, as opposed to the 9000's often arcane mechanics. Your sole new powerup is armor that bestows upon you 300% protection, though it isn't any stronger than the combat armor. Of all the changes, I like the dual fists the most. The NFG is cool, but the 100 ammo limit leaves it feeling underwhelming. The BFG change isn't that harsh, mainly due to...

...the new strain, which are many. The mancubus, arachnotron, revenant, pain elemental and spider-demon do not appear in any recognizable form (as Charlie Patterson wasn't fond of the Doom II additions to the bestiary). The imp comes in two flavors, original and speedy. Demons are now bright red and have slightly increased health. Lost souls - now "Dopplegangers" - spit fireballs before charging. Commandos have a new graphic, but are pretty much the same to me. Brand new monsters: The Holo-bot is a slow-moving aerial aberration that fires revenant rockets that move at a crawl and can also be found in a specterized variety. The Ministers of Pain are shrunken Cyberdemons, fragile but firing rockets just as powerful as daddy. Polydrones are ponderous boss shooter cubes that attack with the Spiderdemon's machinegun and have flaming wrecks that can damage the player. Demon Lords are super barons that spray green plasma, and are the new strongest monster in the game. Finally, there's the BFG trooper, which is indistinguishable from the zombiman until you hear the charge-up noise. Don't say I didn't warn you.

The big shift you'll see is away from higher-HP monsters and toward more manageable attack patterns. In fact, many of the monsters can now be killed with a single blast from the SSG. However, they won't always die to a single SSG hit, and that's ignoring blockmap issues. That's because three monsters - the demon, holo-bot and polydrone - have enough HP to escape complete annihilation, with the demon and holo-bot doing so almost regularly. Of the new guys, the Minister is laughable, rarely a credible threat. The holo-bots are annoying, since their slow-ass rockets throw off your dodges, especially if you're used to normal (revenant) speed, and the invisible holo-bots are annoying as Hell. They're hard to spot since they move so slow. The polydrones are amusing and again, not that dangerous. Same with the BFG trooper, which is more of a cheap trick. The demon lord is actually something to worry about. Its packed waves of plasma will annihilate you at close range and it's practically impossible to continuously dodge in a tight corridor. Its 1400 HP will soak up your ammo pretty handily, as well.

So, that's what STRAIN does to gameplay. How about its maps? Well, it's got some pretty good maps, see, with a texture style that kind of builds off Dystopia 3, but with even more color. Most of the game, which takes place in techbases, uses a consistent theme, with the black and yellow hazard striping as well as blue and red lights and piping as well as rails and white walls. It'd be hard to accuse STRAIN of being brown. Sure, it's there every now and then, but it's fairly infrequent. It's also got lots of great lighting, which kind of gets lost in all the action. As far as special effects go, uh, there aren't many. I think Landis trots out the pseudo-3D lifts in MAP06, and Hermans plays with light and shadow as well as see-through floors to create the quite striking "Unknown" (MAP28), but this megaWAD doesn't attempt to push the limits of the .EXE except when it comes to the things you play with inside the maps themselves.

There are some puzzles, of course, and a few of its maps are almost entirely puzzles (MAP21 comes to mind), but most of the focus is on blowing through the new STRAIN of Hellspawn. Patterson and co. gradually introduce the new beasties (alongside your upgraded arsenal) until MAP21, after which everything apart from the BFG trooper becomes a regular cast member. I would describe its pace as excellent. Most of my gameplay misgivings are unfortunate oversights in balancing the maps for pistol start, like a lack of weapons (usually the rocket launcher), especially when monsters like the Demon Lord are involved. Solutions are rarely if ever obfuscated with maps being small enough that backtracking is never a problem when it's necessary. There are also some novel encounter elements to spice up gameplay when the new breed of demons doesn't cut it. Then, there's the magnificent soundtrack, donated by the masterful David "Tolwyn" Shaw and Rick Klem, veteran fungineers.

You should play STRAIN. The Alpha Dog Alliance set out to create a "new game" for Doom - Doom III, in fact - and they succeeded, more or less. Much like TiC's Obituary (which was a source of inspiration) the partial conversion carves out its own distinct feel in terms of gameplay and balance with its new weapons and monsters. It's a unique experience, and you don't even need a source port to play it! Fans of Dystopia 3 may find this especially interesting, as it showcases Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka's mapping talents. It also features the last works of Bjorn Hermans and Holger Nathrath, responsible primarily for the Serenity trilogy. IMPORTANT NOTE: There are two STRAIN downloads on idgames. One is in its original package, which may be difficult to unpack for casual players. The other, reformatted by a kind soul (and linked here), presents it in a format that is much easier to digest.

by the Alpha Dog Alliance

by Bill McClendon
Nice little MAP01 that introduces you to some quirks, like the weapon changes or the fact that "pistol starts" now begin with no bullets at all. It's pretty much everything you'd expect a MAP01 to be, otherwise. Competent, open layout, and a few nice bits, like the bonus room or the central yard. No real favorite encounter, except maybe when McClendon unleashes a pack of imps into the map for you to bump into.

by Bjorn Hermans
Hermans has constructed a novel, open-air fortress whose configuration changes as you explore it. While the overall feel leaves you feeling a bit railroaded, at the end you're free to wander almost to your hearts' desire. The demon debuts here, packing what feels like a few more HP than the original model, which can work to establish some decent pressure on the marine. Lowering the first gate and handling all the insurgents is about the only standout encounter as the rest is standard early-episode stuff. I did like the mountain range that surrounds the keep. Biggest issue are those pitch-black gunports Hermans has stuck here and there.

by Florian Helmberger
The name may say "Downtown" but the design screams "Factory". At least, initially. What this map does best is showcase another new enemy you'll be seeing a lot of, the hyper imp. Your first encounter after chipping away at the two packs of zombimen may be quite memorable. Most of the action will take place in the largest building, to the northeast. It's got another pretty memorable moment when a horde of Hellspawn erupt from a pool of toxic waste. Also, props for the lighting, especially the entrance to the main building.

MAP04Industrial Zone
by Adam Windsor
A fun, criss-crossing blasted-out techbase with a minor sewer section. This bit debuts the lost soul replacement, a more colorful monster that also has the ability to puke fireballs at you, as well as the chaingunner marine, which is functionally identical. It's a bit tricky as a pistol start, requiring a speedy shotgun grab and some maneuvering through imps before you confront the rest of the baddies. The southern section is my favorite portion, with some neat architecture, as well as the sewer yard, which has a good crossfire going. And a nasty end of level ambush to round things out.

by Jon Landis
Very small symmetrical map with brutal fisting gameplay. This won't be quite so tough if you brought any goodies over from the previous map. If not, be thankful for Landis's generosity in medikits, and don't forget to grab the limited-opportunity secrets at the onset. You'll have to punch out a variety of opponents. Once you get outside and grab a shotgun from one of the sergeants it's not so bad, and the menacing final wave does a fine job of taking itself out.

MAP06Launch Control
by Jon Landis
Honestly? I wasn't too fond of "Depot". This, though. This is a great map filled with plenty of brutal, claustrophobic gameplay. You have to kind of vault past the opening, which has an obnoxious close-quarters segment marred by teleporting imps, but as you explore the base taking care to go west and grab the SSG first, it gets much better. Landis has plenty of nasty traps, including some teleporters as well as the standard ambushes (and a very special red key surprise), and some novel modes of progression, like the lower tunnel that criss-crosses the map, or that whole bit with the northwestern segment that has a neat secret sequence after you've already traipsed through. I also enjoy the final bout, which is basically the opening but with more room to move and with super imps.

En RouteMAP07
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Pretty fun interstitial map where you clean out the shuttlecraft taking you to the moon. Very small and very basic but it's got some neat FX, like the doorway leading to the bridge or the trippy exit teleporter. While the outline resembles a spaceship, the interior isn't really representative of that fact, with the layout serving gameplay first and foremost. Aside from some interesting secrets, my standout moment is the blue key trap, which is pretty brutal when all you have is the shotgun. Thankfully you can bypass it until you're rocking a more potent arsenal.

by Rich "Nostromo" Johnston
Rich Johnston settles in with a nice, large map, much in the spirit of his Nostromo's Run. It's a huge starbase with two landing pads, two large yards to the north with some large buildings (and battles), and a few smaller branches, including a maze section to the west that avoids evoking boredom. It's my standout moment of the map (aside from clearing the northwestern yard), as the use of black walls and flashing lights throws you off while you stumble around, tripping open monster closets, and as there are a fair number of windows in the walls, you have to watch yourself constantly. It's pretty short, though, and the northwestern maze with some teleport magic ups the ante a bit. The rest of the base is great. I especially enjoy the landing pad configuration.

Cargo BayMAP09
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Veterans of Adelusion's works may recognize this as the excellent MAP04 of Dystopia 3. It's basically the same layout with most of the changes due to the new monsters. The cargo bay itself looks just as good, and is about as annoying to deal with, though the rest of the map is arguably a bit tougher with the new lost souls and revenant slowballers throwing you off your game. Actually, I think the SSG is available a bit earlier in this iteration, so it's a wash. The red key trap is the standout encounter, though if you've done it before it's pretty easy to bypass to a safer position.

by Charlie Patterson
Charlie Patterson trolls you for maybe three quarters of this level. It's an intricate map using gates and criss-crossing paths that funnels you toward the rocket launcher, only to have it snatched away every time you make a grab. The opening tunnels are fairly rudimentary but I enjoy the tiered encounter to the east where several waves of enemies are lowered to your position. There are also a few memorable fights in the northern area. Really, every encounter there is pretty good, from the baron / cacodemon room to the baron-infested tunnels and the army of demons unleashed when you finally acquire your boom tube. Very nice.

Command ControlMAP11
by Bill McClendon
Another moonbase map that starts outside before you run in, guns blazing. The northwestern segment has some slight puzzle solving while the southeastern area (by far the bulk of the map) involves keyhunting and switch hunting. How much of the switch hunting is necessary, I dunno. I just hit all the buttons I saw and I managed to leave okay. The first fight inside the base is pretty intense, just for your meager resources, but the battle around the blue key area is the most memorable, if only for introducing the specterized holo-bot, which is kind of annoying given that it floats and moves slowly, making it even less distinguishable.

MAP12Power Station
by Bill McClendon
An extension of MAP11, using a few rooms to bridge the story. This map lacks a rocket launcher as far as I can tell, so rev up that chainsaw and be careful. The majority of this level is a network of sewers linking up all the other places. It's fairly dangerous as it's full of speed imps and red demons, the first of which do a good job on sneaking up on you. The side areas are crammed full of former humans and tougher fare like holobots and Barons. They're nice pauses in the dark and foreboding trek. The center chamber fight is the most varied, by far, but McClendon does a good job of stuffing the final areas full of monsters to keep you busy.

by David Rotramel
Don't blink, or you'll miss this awesome creation, a jaunt through some Hellish ruins to a more setting-appropriate exit. Tons of punchy gameplay centered around gathering the three keys, after which the map is pretty much over. The yellow key instigates a nice swarm, the red one involves some great crossfire (and a clever option to end the mini-Cyberdemon), and the blue key is a nice gated series of encounters, a few of which might surprise you. Detailing is excellent with a fantastic foyer and the side areas have great stuff like hanging chains, or even just the moment you make it to the map's exit. Cool stuff!

by David Graves, Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka, Rich Johnston and Arthur Chang
This rather large techbase level involves several wings branching off of the main hub, a small room with a clever switch-based secret sequence. Each of the key traps are cool moments, with the red key bit being among the deadlier sections this map has to offer. Despite being owed to four different authors, I think it managed to maintain a cohesive feel with the way various rooms are detailed. Standout encounter for me is the cage trap, encountered fairly early on, though the use of the glossy black texture to make a leather office chair is a pretty clever detail. Also enjoy that little isolated walkway at the most southeastern point.

Subsidiary PowerMAP15
by "Chainsaw"
Chainsaw's sole contribution is an interesting underground techbase that's constantly under assault. While there are a fair number of monster closets, he manages to make most of them believable, as walls are constantly blown out, heralded by explosions and demonic incursions. Nowhere is this more evident than your run for the yellow key, which has a pretty dangerous trap unleashing a nasty concoction of Hellspawn, which you can either tackle with the rocket launcher or give the whole thing a pass and snag the SSG, which is also close by. The only bit I didn't like was the nukage maze to the west, which seemed to be randomly damage floor vs. no damage floor. I'm sure there's a solution; I just didn't care to puzzle it out in such an action-packed map. Also – did my eyes deceive me, or was there some kind of a hack resembling a slope in the secret annex?

by Jon Landis
I hope you're ready to rip and tear! Landis provides an interesting and brutal excursion in green and tan brick that features the zerker pack. Grabbing any kind of ranged weaponry will be a feat, especially in cramped corridors full of imps, demons, and barons, with the occasional curveball. It's also a very symmetrical map, though Landis takes care to differentiate between the similar areas. The super secret area only opens up at the end of a long sequence, I believe, though it's not very hard to puzzle the whole thing out. Standout encounter, probably the rocket launcher grab, a true "uh oh" moment.

by Holger Nathrath and Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
I can believe this was a Nathrath map prior to its inclusion in STRAIN, but the only evidence that remains for me is the classical midi (and now for something completely different, indeed). This is kind of a mini-Showdown where you clear everything you can see to start off with, then hit a switch that opens up another portion of the map, defeating that encounter, until the exit is laid bare. You will find yourself more rich in shotgun ammo than you could ever want, thanks to the opening encounter, where two invulnerabilities and soul spheres aren't overkill. After the baron-led battle to the east, you get a wave of cacodemons you can turn on a couple Demon Lords. Just don't get caught in the crossfire. Afterwards, things mellow out, with a fitting final gauntlet. The texture job is a bit schizoid, but it helps nail a map that's outside of STRAIN's story.

MAP16Living Quarters
by Charlie Patterson and Eric Roberts
A medium-size fusion of marble and Hell house textures. Its most distinguishing feature is the moat that surrounds the "temple" area, located in the map's center. There's a lot of demons to kill, especially in the imp dens located to the south. The biggest surprise is a close encounter with a Demon Lord. It's easy to handle since you're given adequate cover, but it can get a little tedious with the single shotgun. Two barrels would really help to speed up the encounters, which sometimes drag on. The little tunnel section off to the east is pretty cool, I'll admit. Much more atmospheric than the rest of the level.

by Holger Nathrath and Arthur Chang
This level is a tough one that starts out with a believable city complex (well, kind of) and turns into a gauntlet where you're placed into increasingly nasty encounter after encounter. The first bout, involving an imp crossfire, isn't that tough, but the second one which demands you deal with a Demon Lord and his ilk, requires some infighting if you want to get out alive. The third bit has a nasty ambush waiting on a damage floor where you can't rely on cover to keep you safe, so you have to vault past everything, flip a switch to make the floor safe, and then dispatch your adversaries, and after a few more skirmishes finally get the rocket launcher, a godsend, especially as the final encounter is a brutal free for all from all sides, before ending on a pleasant note in a cafe with a view. Fun, but taxing.

MAP18Relay Station
by David Rotramel
Starting at the door that was locked in the previous level, which leads to a derelict railway that's part Satanic. I wish the railcar texture was used a bit better, but the level is altogether a very nice piece of work. There's some backtracking to be had, of course, but Rotramel keeps things interesting. I particularly like the architecture in the northwest, or the arch-vile pillars to the southeast, just for the atmosphere. And, of course, the introduction of the polydrones. The end battle is also pretty good, with tons of cubes crashing and burning. It can get dirty pretty quick, though, especially if the demons below get aim priority.

Waste ProcessingMAP19
by Darrell Esau
Ye Olde Waste Mappe. It's not one of the better levels I've seen, but it's still good fun, with some inspired puzzle sections, like the searching of the waste vats for the yellow key, or the high ground / low ground maze to the west, or even just the automap secret in the eastern computer room. It's an attrition map, using mostly hitscanners, but there are a few surprises to be had. My standout encounter is the clear of the outdoor area that surrounds the entrance room, which gives you license to go nuts with the weaponry you've amassed. You might pass by the plasma rifle entirely, though.

by David Davidson
Short and sweet intermission map to end out the second episode. It's in the classic blue and dark gray tech style, with some cool-looking silver hallways approximating oblong structures. It's three separate encounters, the first of which is a typical wave of teleporting monsters, pretty easy to handle. The second is also pretty easy to deal with as you can get the Demon Lord leashed pretty easily. The third, of course, is the tricky one, forcing you to deal with an arch-vile and some other trash while four polydrones stalk you from the air. Then all you have to do is flip the killswitch. Barring you messing up on killing the easily handled switch guardians.

by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka and Arthur Chang
Another very short map, this one a puzzler. None of the thirteen monsters that appear are all that threatening. Your real challenge lies in navigating the teleporter mazes and switch sequences that dominate the area, the most confusing of which is the teleporter platforms to the east, with as lateral a solution as you can get. And, goodness gracious, if you had the sense to grab the automap, they even supply you with the solution to the final portal maze!I still have no idea what's going on with the lifts in the opening room, though.

MAP22Specimen Storage
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Nice little romp that takes you through where they've been breeding the new monsters. Pretty much all the brand new beasties make an appearance (except maybe the BFG Trooper, I couldn't tell). It's actually a pretty tense underground map with a great main hall (dig that jutting staircase). Several Demon Lords make an appearance, some in fairly indefensible positions, so use your cover wisely. The storage room looks pretty cool, but the standout encounter is the northeastern blue key room, located just past a balcony that overlooks the courtyard first featured in MAP17. There are several waves of enemies as well as a few you spring on your own that spice things up.

Dispensary AlphaMAP23
by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
AKA MAP10 of Dystopia 3, except for all the shiny new enemies, which make the map hard as fuck until you grab the rocket launcher. Actually, it's still pretty tough until you access the first secret warp, where you can snag some much needed armor and the plasma rifle to expedite the Demon Lord smashing. Really, if any map hammers home how dangerous STRAIN's new foes are, it's this one, with its claustrophobic arrangement. If you can grab the rocket launcher, though, you're pretty much done. The map itself blends in well with STRAIN's moonbase setting, with some strangeness in the opening segment.

by Anthony "Adelusion" Czerwonka
Tough as nails underground laboratory with a sewer theme that kicks off pretty hard. The first big bottleneck is a huge swarm of dopplegangers guarding the blue key, though you wouldn't know it until you survive the encounter (perhaps my favorite), made a bit easier if you can find the secrets. Afterward it's a neat intricate trek through gated-off portions of a toxic lab with staggered opposition. The central annex is I believe optional for the most part, but there are some handy power-ups for anyone willing to soldier through the barons and Demon Lords. The final fight is pretty well-balanced, with two Demon Lords, two hell knights, and enough cover to dodge around to avoid getting fried. Very fun, if pretty rough.

Main LaboratoryMAP25
by Arthur Chang
Chang delivers a huge techbase with some unique features, like a collapsed tunnel leading into a network of caverns (with a great invul-powered fight) and the excellent demonic room in the dead center, with its enormous pentagram and warped / imploded door. Also of note is the blue key wing, with its massive spiral structure, and some excellent lighting found here and there. It's actually a very tough map until you acquire the blue key, after which you have access to the armory and a desperately needed rocket launcher. The final portion, beyond the ruined room in the map's center, isn't quite as memorable, as beyond the breach lies more nondescript techbase. Still a fun, if not exactly well-balanced level.

MAP26Main Laboratory II
by Holger Nathrath, Charlie Patterson and Eric Roberts
Short and simple but a touch brutal. It's another underground techbase with some toxic bits. Most of your standard weapons are shucked in favor of the chaingun and the BFG replacement, which is fine by me. Nuking the Demon Lords is pretty cathartic. It's a very boxy level, otherwise, with its main features being the dual Lords near the beginning or the southern room with its semi-shooting gallery approach and slowly released mini-Cybers. Fun, but not all that memorable.

Dispensary BetaMAP27
by Andy Badorek
Another very large techbase, this one fairly ornate. The layout is much a Badorek map, and while not as freestylin' as "Twilight Lab" from Memento Mori, it's a more mature composition with some challenging segments and even an entirely optional segment left and center with some decent rewards. Among the more memorable moments I include the imp shooting gallery to the southeast, closely followed by columns harboring enemy forces, and a baron / Demon Lord melee you can game to your heart's content. The cacodemon finale isn't very exciting, but it's fun, and a nice finish.

by Bjorn Hermans
Hermans knocks it out of the park with a frighteningly brutal map unlike virtually the rest of STRAIN, following in the footsteps of Doom II's "Spirit World". I say brutal because, well, it's not especially balanced from pistol start. You'll have to punch your way through several imps before prying a shotgun from a sergeant's fingers, then taking care to avoid the cascade of imp fireballs as they blink from ledge to ledge to get a shot at you while you clear out the half-world you're in. Once you grab the red key you'll see some more traditional structures, though swamped with Holo-bots, before moving on to another visually striking portion, where thin red lines trace along the pitch black walls as you battle demons in the dark. The final arena is just as gorgeous, with blood trails edging toward the Demon Lords which you can gleefully dispatch with the toss of a switch. Just watch out for those Polydrones. Excellent stuff.

by Ron Allen
A nice, mastodonic underground techbase that shows evidence of its destruction, like the massive fissure to the west of the starting area. It's one of the most balanced standalone maps I've played so far and not very difficult, all told. Mainly some puzzle-elements on top of the monsters you'll be slaughtering. The northern section is probably the toughest, on account of its long-distance imp turrets and roaming cacodemons, though you're enduring crossfire in pretty much every direction you take. I particularly like the secret sequence accessed toward the end of the map, which takes you through virtually all the previously inaccessible portions of the base. Standout encounter, eh, probably the first shootout you have to the east. It's pretty low-key but fun to pick off all those infighting imps.

by Jon Landis and Rich Johnston
Pretty much every other boss shooter map, excepting its blue / green / gray color scheme and pretty architecture. And, uh, good luck getting the lift the head is mounted on to sync to any of the four lifts you can shoot from. Otherwise, you could be waiting awhile. A decent end to STRAIN, however.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 1997

RequiemEternal Doom
MordethThe Talosian Incident
Dawn of the DeadHell Revealed
Hell's EventideCHORD_NG

This post is part of a series on
the Serenity series



  1. Re: the nukage maze in map15; because both 'damaging floor' and 'light flickers' are sector types, they're mutually exclusive. So any sector where the light flickers can't be damaging.

    1. File this under "Things about Doom you just found out". Good to know!

  2. Years later, another observation: maps 11 and 12 were originally one map. It got split because (a) the person originally doing map12 was a shiftless flake who didn't come through (i.e. it was me :-) ) and (b) map11 got so large it broke the save game buffer.

  3. MAP23 is named "Dispensary Alpha", not Dimension Alpha.

    1. whoa, that one was up there a long time. fixxed!

  4. One thing I thought was a particularly nice touch was the very first appearance of the BFG trooper (on UV/NM) on map08. There's only one of them, and it's in the middle of the bizarre blue and black maze; the fact they don't appear again until map19, the fact that lone trooper is easy to kill (so most players won't realise how deadly it really is), and the general weirdness of the area, makes it all the more alarming if it ends up firing and killing you.