Sunday, June 24, 2012

Four Maps (4MAPS.WAD)

Four Maps is, unsurprisingly, a collection of four short maps for Doom II from one Brian "Snakes" Knox, released late in 2009. It's made to work in ZDoom, due to the first level, which uses the Hexen map format. His freshman output, the offerings showcase decreasingly bland level design, going from flat to more height variation and from simple to more complex lighting. It's plain to see where he drew his inspiration from as far as level themes goes. MAP04 is perhaps the most interesting offering here, but you'll want to play through the first three so you're not down a combat shotgun or rocket launcher. Certainly, Knox has produced much better material since this, but 4MAPS is hardly unpalatable.



FOUR MAPS
by Brian "Snakes" Knox

MAP01
Short little techbase with indoor green paneling and outdoor dark green areas. Basic architecture, with the interior rooms not very interesting (very flat), and very well lit. It's essential MAP01 – all zombies and some imps and no nasty traps. The bit before the blue key room is pretty neat, though.

MAP02
This is a dark metal underground map. Knox looks more comfortable playing around with lighting in an area that's realistically not supposed to be as bright; some nice touches here and there. It's still pretty flat, but areas like the southernmost room help break things up a bit. It's a little more challenging, introducing demons and specters (with perhaps a hint of the frozen demon army from Hell Revealed's "Into the Gate"?).

MAP03
Some kind of a techbase that takes part of its theme from "The Focus" (made more apparent from the music selection). It's a step up in difficulty with some nastier traps, like the beginning with two imps at your back and a bit of a hoof to get any decent arms, the westernmost room (requiring a lot of health or a lot of painstun) and several higher-HP monsters making an appearance, like cacodemons and hell knights. The poison maze is a bit of a dud, but it's as painless as could be by being super short and having a few nice powerups not that secreted away inside. The lighting is a bit of a step up, giving the map some character by sitting between the super bright MAP01 and the dark MAP02.

MAP04
Clearly meant to evoke more of a Knee Deep in the Dead feel. It's one of the most interesting maps, with a more complex layout and nice centerpieces like the large pentagram to the south, nukage lake to the west, or outdoor view to the east. It can be pretty tough when beginning from pistol start, mainly because there's no rocket launcher to be found when rocket ammo has clearly been budgeted toward the enemy's health. I had to finish off the final enemy, an arachnotron, with punches (not impossible in the target engine, ZDoom). Players carrying the SSG or RL over will have an easier time. Standout encounter is definitely one of the two revenant ambushes, pretty dangerous considering your limited arms.


WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN

1 comment:

  1. Oh wow... this was, um... unexpected :P

    So many rookie errors in these maps that it makes me chuckle. Map04 clearly didn't have a pistol start in mind (though I'm kind of shocked that it's doable without), but I think of that as the map where I first "Got it." Now I see you're taking on Into Hell? Well... it's a big step up from this wad, so I'll be interested on your comments there as always.

    Cool to see someone giving my old stuff a little attention!

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