Sunday, July 15, 2012

Object "32" (32.WAD)

by "Lainos"

Object "32" is a single map for Doom II to be played in Boom-compatible ports, authored by Lainos. It's also a large level, clocking in at around 400 monsters in this dense, dark techbase, which will quickly inflate as you take down the various pain elementals Lainos has seeded around the map. Object "32" was originally created to be part of a Russian project, Grid 32. He elected to release the final product on his own, however. The single release is the start of a trilogy of maps, followed by Object "33" (the final level of Da Will) and ending in Object "34": Sonar. His throwaway story here developed into a loose setting for the rest. Object #32 is important and headquarters lost contact with it, so you're sent to the housing base to find it. Of course, demons abound, so get to killin'.

"32"'s relationship to "34" is quite obvious from the onset. Both levels are large, intricate techbases, loaded with traps and monsters. However, if Sonar was just too big for you, or the means of progression too obtuse, you will find "32" to be a much more straightforward alternative. There's a degree of freedom to explore early on, but pretty soon you bump up against the need for the blue key, unlocking a linear (yet complex) pathway that terminates in the switch which allows access to the yellow key. There's little confusion involved as you're looking directly at the structure as it changes. If you're going to run into any kind of wall, it will be in the vast, northern expanse, where I suggest you thoroughly inspect every structure if you wish to proceed.

The level enjoys a solid separation between the indoors area, which features claustrophobic gameplay in the dark recesses of the base, and the outdoors area, where a number of buildings are spread out, with a few annexes located at the yard's boundaries. You've got a lot more room to maneuver in the latter, but the number and type of enemies means you have to be fast on your feet, or you'll be fried unawares. There's also tons of ammo lying around, though, so don't despair at the monsters you'll have to dispatch. The northern section is fun to play around in, but my favorite section of the map combat-wise is the sequence of events surrounding the blue key area. It's awkward, dangerous, and enforces a sense of paranoia as the walls constricting movement lower at several points, unleashing monsters that congest the new playing area.

I also like the trip to and back from the yellow key switch. You're forced to jump into a sewer pipe sans suit (well, maybe there was one hidden), and wind up in what looks like a subterranean city. Perhaps the site of some excavation? It's a nice shock as you prioritize your targets and then make the climb upwards through a seemingly innocuous gauntlet to the vital switch. On your way back, you find the route fundamentally altered, having to brave a revenant shooting gallery and a short, filthy maze (that you can first see from the top) populated by a few imps. Lainos does a good job of making the backtracking interesting, which I understand is easier in a more linear adventure (as opposed to the labyrinthine Object "34").

Object "32" enjoys some very clean visuals, looking like a dark and sometimes spartan techbase at first, then giving way to some Hellish strangeness in the northern area, as with that floating marble platform that hovers over the red key switches, or the subterranean adventure to the east. It's a treat to look at, though you may be too busy fending off demons to strain your eyes with sightseeing. Really, between combat, puzzles, and the excellent architecture, "32" stands as a good medium-large level for you to flex your Doom II muscles in. Classic Doomers may appreciate Lainos's style without being stretched to their breaking points. As for me, I'm looking forward to Objects "1" - "31". Or, not, as the case may be.

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