Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reclamation (RECLAIM.WAD)

by Christopher Lutz

Christopher Lutz, one of the patron saints of Heretic, published Reclamation back in 2001, though it bears a 1999 time-stamp. It's a nicely sized adventure for Corvus, clocking in at ~200 beasties, replacing E2M1. It's not nearly as crazy as his more recent (2011) Icebound, instead feeling comfortably close to vanilla Heretic, both in special effects and difficulty. The plot is pretty simple. Evil has inhabited an ancient sanctuary, so you've set out to slay them and reclaim the cathedral. The journey covers a variety of gorgeous locales, including dripping caverns, subterranean ruins, and an island in a lake of fire.

Lutz has plenty of powerups scattered around the map, and you should be well stocked in health. The only thing you're not swimming in is ammo, so make wise use of your items. The multiple tomes should come in quite handy for some of the larger sallies, and if you muck it up, I suppose all the healing pickups can assist in worry-free gauntlet zapping. The highest tier weapon you'll encounter is the dragon claw, encountered in a hidden area close to the level's end (actually a pretty important secret, not just for the weapon). Your bread and butter will be ethereal bolts, wand sniping, and finger lightning, red or green. Take your pick.

Similarly, the enemies (and fights) reflect a more toned-down take on Heretic's action. About the biggest monster pack you'll take on happens right at the beginning, a confluence of gargoyles and golems that will sap your ammo stores or prompt you to run forward to something more economical. There are a few nice ambushes, but the standout encounter has you battling an enthroned Lich in a grand hall, with some golems on the ground running interference. The only fight that's really bound to give you trouble is the green key trap, as taking on acolytes in an enclosed space is rarely a clean endeavor.

Reclamation looks about as clean as could be expected with an author of Lutz's pedigree. It's got great contrast lighting and bears at least one special effect I noticed, a swinging door. Altogether, RECLAIM is a worthy entry in the miniscule Heretic PWAD library. It's a nice romp, a solid play that doesn't exhaust. If you're at all interested in Heretic, you should download this level and give it a go. If you're not, well, I'm sorry.


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