Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tantrum (TANTRUM.WAD)

TANTRUM
by Ola Björling


Tantrum is Ola Björling's earliest available map, finished late '95 but released in '96. Tantrum enjoyed a sequel, of course, the 1998 Cacoward-winning Tantrum 2, and as someone noted on the archives, Tantrum is basically the PG-rated version with no nudity, no gore, and very little swearing (on both ends). It's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II in a brick and metal style, opening in a little marble chapel. For all the world, it reminds me of something John Anderson would make. Except, you know, not quite as polished.


The combat of Tantrum isn't that difficult. The most obnoxious room of the WAD is a large indoor bloodfall peppered with imps and a few revenants. It's just an exposed position, trying to get in close to handily dispatch the skeletons, though with all the ammo laying around you can probably just take potshots at them for quite awhile. The only other awkward bits are a few arch-viles that could give you a shock and perhaps starting out with your limited arsenal, particularly the bridge room with the opposition on the other side.


The actual difficulty comes from a limited health pool, not counting any secrets. Seriously, avoid getting hit as much as possible. It's not something you can easily bounce back from, unless you find the hidden megasphere. There's a Wolfenstein-esque health bonus room, where you can EARN your pick-me-up by taking down two pain elementals. Yup. Also note a cleverly tucked-away security armor. I suppose Björling has a few stronger tricks up his sleeve, like a little pressure on the player with demons for the yellow key trap, but your window for recovery is fairly small.


I also can't say I'm fond of the modular-feeling northern section of the level, either the bloodfalls or the dark imp maze. They feel like non-sequitors compared to the rest of the map. What this WAD does showcase is Ola's famous lighting style. Granted, it's in its infancy, but some rooms look quite breathtaking, like the junction immediately prior to the demon slaughter room, or even the light pouring in through that marble window in the very first area. If you want a fun, slightly challenging Doom II map with some nice detailing, you should play Tantrum. Hardcore Doomers should hold out for the hyper-violent sequel.



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