Friday, June 1, 2012


by Richard Wiles

Richard Wiles burst into the Doom scene with a series of ten Doom II maps released in 1998, released under the affectation of his first name, DICKIE. The entire collection portrays the story of a warrior landing on a Doomed planet, quickly dispatching the master of the invasion. The rest of the levels depict his further battles vs. the remaining enemies, covering a broad variety of locales. DICKIE08 shares some similarities with the rest of the series, but it also has one major break with previous maps. Wiles explicitly worked some puzzles into this level, in the spirit of "Tricks and Traps", though in practice it feels like a mix of the map layouts of The Innocent Crew and just a dash of the puzzles of Eternal Doom.

You need to get the map's three keys before you can exit, and they're locked into an order – red , yellow, then blue. The keys constitute the map's main puzzles, with the method of acquiring each one involving a tricky sequence. They're all of the timed platform variety, but Wiles changes things up each time so that each enigma feels distinct from the other. I believe that the successive puzzles show a gradual increase in Evans Factor, so that the red key is pretty easy to figure out while at the opposite end the blue key involves either terrible luck or an insidious mind that's acclimated to secret hunting. The yellow key is a nice median that's hard to spot at first but quickly pays off for the observant.

DICKIE08 is as difficult as past outings. The puzzles pair up with some nasty enemy layouts, with tons of commandos choking the level (especially the tech areas) and other nasties like arch-viles making an impressive showing as tricksy traps. That pack of demons nipping at your heels at the beginning forces you into an ever-escalating series of firefights where it's hard to catch your breath. One of the more memorable sequences is the yellow key room, full of carefully-arranged monsters above and below, making pillar-hopping dangerous, not to mention the ambush waiting for you when you hop in the guarded teleporter at the bottom.

The map's themes cover beige brick and mortar to the west contrasted by dark metal sewers to the east and the occasional illuminated computer areas cast in lime-green, a favorite spot for hibernating chaingunners. The use of all the criss-crossing pathways complicating map progression really brings the Moellers to mind, particularly that little intersection just south of the crate room. Another factor is the emphasis on workmanlike architecture. Nothing really stands out visually besides the large western pool's ceiling cutout, but it's all serviceable, leaving the emphasis on Wiles's traps and puzzles. Altogether, it's another great entry to the DICKIE series, which puzzle fans in particular should enjoy. Haters might want to sit this one out or read the hints provided in the .TXT.

This post is part of a series on
Richard Wiles's DICKIE series


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