Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Putrefier (MA_PUT.PK3)

by Ed Cripps

Ed Cripps, known as the brains behind the famous Sin City series, released Putrefier in late 2012. Originally meant to be part of a much larger release (think legit TC), he saw fit to make one single level for Doom II in GZDoom. It's more or less a sequel to 2010's Valhalla, another single map for ZDoom. There's no given story, but with the context of the mission profile that pops up right before the level's finale, the character is ostensibly the Doom marine, sent to another charming military base that has since been corrupted and overrun by Hellspawn. And that's pretty much all there is to it, so grab the gear laid out for you at the front door and get to shooting!

Putrefier sure is pretty. Cripps made a ton of textures for this WAD and they add up into a new industrial aesthetic for Doom. Of course, id games jokes will abound as the level is predominantly gray and brown, with the occasional green and bright yellow lights. The architecture is leaps and bounds above all that, though, as your first look at the base exterior can attest. Some neat effects beyond all the gorgeous slopes are things like the water, the sliding doors, the ceiling fans, and – what you'll later discover – a hideous organic growth that's installed itself in the station's power supply.

Players will have plenty of time to admire the station's architecture as there is a fair amount of dead-end backtracking to be had. Early on you can't help but notice the effects of flipped switches but as you roll on you'll be revisiting every locked-off area you took mental note of. It's not nearly as annoying as a much earlier GZDoom release this year, Spawn (given how distinctive the areas are and the fact that movement is confined to a single map), but a lack of familiarity with textures (primarily doors, as switches are usually obviously set up) combined with a lack of author direction will hinder more easily confused Doomers.

Cripps shies away from "found" encounters, preferring instead to spring teleported formations of enemies on the player, populating previously safe areas with monsters that usually carry some sense of urgency. You'll still find placed creatures guarding the compound, but the stuff that you walk into is usually less dangerous from the things that wink into existence. There are a few major additions in the bestiary department. The first is the pustule, an organic thing that resembles Duke 3D's protozoid slimer except it explodes when it dies, and it attacks by suicide. The other is the boss, the corrupted power core you'll need to scrap.

Most of the fights involving teleporters are action-packed, though the two encounters involving the cysts are the most memorable. In the first, the pustules are more of a distraction that keep you occupied while a Cyberdemon makes its way toward your location, possibly trapping you at the end of the hall you're holed up in. In the second, they're a kind of trash monster that arrives during the phases of the power core fight. It doesn't help that the lights dim whenever this action occurs, activating ancient fears as you fire blindly at the floor rather than suffer the indignity of creeping death. The power core's other two attacks spray the room with laser fire. You can take advantage of both to do some damage but only one of the patterns is genuinely safe.

Putrefier is some good stuff! The only real stumbling block will be Ed's take on Doom-style progression, which depends mainly on your patience and somewhat on your inquisitiveness (and it isn't much to ask for what's actually a pretty short level). It's not hard at all to get around in the compound but hitting every locked location while looking for a change is bound to wear thin. On the plus side, good fights and great visuals make the price of admission worthwhile. If your computer can handle GZDoom, you should give Putrefier a look.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2012 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Doom the Way id DidWhoDunIt?Beyond Reality
Strife: Absolute OrderBest Gameplay ModMasters of Chaos
PutrefierRussian OverkillFrozen Time
5till L1 ComplexMordeth AwardPlanisphere 2
Community Chest 4Community Chest 4Coffee Break Ep. 1
The EyeCall of Dooty II
Combat Shock 2Mapper of the Year
Winter's FuryKhorus
Base Ganymede: Complete

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