by Chris "Mr. Chris" Pisarczyk
Michael Jan "valkiriforce" Krizik
Marine's Folly is a joint effort by Doomworld forum superstars Mr. Chris and valkiriforce, a vanilla-compatible MAP14 replacement for Doom II created over the course of three days. The text file doesn't leave much story, simply leaving it at "A place you don't want to wander around without means of defending yourself." It's pretty succinct, and indeed, you don't want to be exploring without packing heat, so it's a good thing they throw you a shotgun near the start.
While playing, I honestly couldn't tell who was responsible for what area. Not only am I unfamiliar with Chris's mapping style, but the map has quite a uniform character. It draws much of its aesthetics from the level it replaces, "The Inmost Dens". Well, more the texture scheme than anything. While there are a few pools of water to splash around in, most of your adventuring is done on (and in!) terra firma. It is also, as advertised, decidedly non-linear. You can explore in one of several different directions, your efforts either opening up pathways facilitating better movement or in a few cases unlocking new areas of the map entirely. If you hit a switch and the result isn't immediately apparent, revisit any previously barred doors.
Gameplay is mostly normal room-clearing with a denser assortment of enemies. There are a few flies in the ointment, of course. One of the more memorable fights is a pit trap sandwiching you between two caves full of beasties, so experience in close-quarters combat is a must. The other big fight comes right at the end, when approaching the switch opening the exit. You let lose a swarm of monsters, one of which is an arch-vile. Things get tense here as you have a limited amount of ammo and the demons are no doubt breathing down the corridors. I hope you saved your rockets or it's gonna be a bumpy ride. The battle on your way to the aforementioned switch is pretty good, too. Just some high-HP monsters to serve as a dangerous choke point.
I can kind of see where people might get lost in this map, but it didn't bother me any. I did miss the staircase switch on my first pass because I was a little hopped up from the pit trap, which may be what's throwing off some players. Really, if Mike and Chris did some more of these – Doom Done Different, or something (apologies to DominicWhite) – I'd play them. I would recommend Marine's Folly if you're looking for a more complicated take on Doom II that doesn't stray too far from its core values.