Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lunatic (LUNATIC.WAD)


Lunatic is a five-map minisode by Paul "Skillsaw" DeBruyne for limit-removing Boom-compatible ports. To make a long story short, if you enjoyed Vanguard (another 2011 release by DeBruyne), Lunatic should be right up your alley. It's a similar style of gameplay with smaller, tighter maps (compared to Vanguard's later, sweeping epics), and a few new twists. It's set on the moon, which recently collided with a giant ball of demons, the combined mass breaking it from its orbit and sending it toward Earth. You've got to fight your way across Luna's surface and through the resident UAC outpost to make your escape.

As mentioned, Lunatic's gameplay occurs on the smaller side of size and combat. DeBruyne's intent was to combine "the gameplay of Doom with the upbeat setting, music, and feeling of retro / arcade scrolling shooters, while still remaining faithful to Doom." Nowadays, Doom is oft compared to said shoot-em-up games rather than the modern shooters that proliferate the market, so it seems Skillsaw had his work cut out for him. His sentiment is that he ended up with a peppier Doom set on the moon, but I think he nailed his mark short of creating something on the scale of Action Doom. After having played Vanguard, I think these kinds of maps are simply his style, introducing the player to hordes of bullet Hell-producing enemies. The final map I believe exemplifies his intent more than any of the others. Shit; I almost expected to see monsters dropping temporary powerups.


To facilitate his goal, DeBruyne added two new enemies via DeHackEd. They're low-HP zombimen that add more moving projectiles to Doom's vast arsenal. The first you'll encounter is a plasma trooper, modeled after the sergeant, that shoots, uh, plasma in short bursts. The second, a commando edit, fires rockets, but not in the style of Obituary's kamikaze jerks. Rather, DeBruyne's fire revenant missiles. Both are introduced in the second map and then appear sporadically throughout the rest of the WAD. They're cool additions and very well-balanced. I'd like to see these guys again some time in the future.


Aesthetically, Lunatic is about as sexy as you can expect from DeBruyne. Textures and lighting are paramount with plenty of neat architecture to keep you busy. While Skillsaw has nailed down two styles of techbase for you to drool over, he's also done a good job with the lunar landscape, especially where lighting is concerned. It's pure eye candy (as long as you don't mind the contrast). Finally, tying everything together are his musical selections, all bouncy excepting the goofy Lunar theme from Final Fantasy IV (the minisode's title music). It's an excellent package, one I highly recommend to anyone looking for more Doom II.





LUNATIC
by Paul "Skillsaw" DeBruyne

MAP01One Small Step...
Short and sweet map that takes place on the moon's cratered surface. Lighting is exquisite with clear direction in shading and gameplay is mostly run and gun with a couple not particularly lethal traps to get you revved up (in particular, the chaingun challenge, probably my standout encounter). DeBruyne uses a small open-air techbase (gorgeous architecture) to break up the two halves of the map which does great on the eyes. Pretty fun.

Space Weapon ResearchMAP02
A short, madcap techbase romp with some tricky close encounters with toughs like mancubuses and the introduction of two new enemies, the plasma troopers and the rocket troopers. Both encounters are pretty memorable, though the second one you should see coming. Also some nice features like the plasma wing, which has a great view of the moon's landscape, and the initial techbase portion which looks pretty sharp and puts a couple barons on your back to keep you sweating. Great action.

MAP03Rocket Zone
Contains both NASA rockets and a rocket launcher. Also, a ton of enemies. DeBruyne throws everything at you but the big two in a number of hectic shootouts. The most important advice I can give you is to watch where you're running when you're shooting rockets so that you don't shoot directly into a monster when it spawns. Combat involves cleaning the entrenched opposition and then triggering a number of well-orchestrated firefights, like the yellow key battle (very fun) or the gateway battle that takes place between the north and south zones. The north side has a bit more bullet Hell going on, but nothing you can't handle. The final fight is delicious, a mash-up of all the former humans you can gleefully pulp with your burgeoning supply of Boom.

Super LunarcomputerMAP04
Underground techbase in predominantly blue and gray. Skillsaw shows his abilities in alignment and composition in a structure that's generally very orthogonal, but which keeps your eyes busy with clever texture usage and architecture. Gameplay is similar to MAP02 but with a broader palette of weapons. It's got a great opening shootout where you're virtually surrounded with Hellspawn and have to prioritize your targets and weapon grabs. Once you start clearing the annexes things get more traditional and claustrophobic, with some traps you should see coming, though the big band of monsters on the way to the red key teleporter caught me off-guard at first. It's very fast and very fun. Not sure what I'd call the standout encounter; probably the opening fight, though the yellow and blue key traps are also great battles.

MAP05The Final Countdown
DeBruyne pulls out all the stops in a slaughtermap in his particular style. After the usual weapons grab you get dumped in a small segment of a large, ring-like structure, the majority of which is sealed off. As the large digital displays count down to zero, monsters teleport to the battlefield in waves while the boundaries between sections break down until the central section opens, revealing the rocket upon which you escape. The mobs are generally full of mixed baddies with the obligatory imp-only and demon-only waves to put the pressure on. Toward the end, you'll see Skillsaw's DeHackEd monstrosities take the stage, as well as a few Cyberdemons. Things don't really heat up until you get access to the BFG, appropriately. All in all, a great end to a great mapset.

FREAK OUT IN A MOONAGE DAYDREAM

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2011 Cacowards

The Top TenBest Multiplayer
Plutonia Revisited32in24-11: Occupy Doomworld
VapordemoBest Gameplay Mod
LunaticBrutal Doom
Double ImpactMordeth Award
Vanguard1994 Tune-up Community Project
ReverieMapper of the Year
JenesisSkillsaw
IceboundHonorable Mentions
Mandrill Ass ProjectDoom II Redux
Khorus's Speedy ShitDoom64 EX

3 comments:

  1. I look forward to playing this! ~vf

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for taking the time to write this review up, kmxexii. I'm glad you enjoyed Lunatic!

    I enjoy reading this site and check regularly for updates. It's great that you take the time to play and review both old and new wads.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks!

    This is a fun hobby made all the more palatable by the talents of the WAD authors.

    ReplyDelete