Thursday, February 7, 2013

Planisphere (PLANISF.WAD)

by "Perro Seco"

Latin Doomer Perro Seco made a bit of a splash when he released Planisphere 2 mid 2012, which begged the question: Where is original Planisphere? Well, Deathz0r archived it on Gamebanana, though the distribution clause means it could show up on the /idgames server if some kind soul wants to upload it. It dates to roughly a year before its sequel. Planisphere, like its younger brother, is something of a city map, but with a few jaunts to other domains that better encapsulates it as a single-map PWAD for Doom II. It's meant to be played in a limit-removing port, with no other real restrictions, at least that I could see, and plays in the MAP01 slot.

Planisphere's story is quintessential DoomCute; you're a victim of a train crash only for the UAC to inform you that demons are the cause. They've overrun a missile launch facility, and what's more, there's a cadre of Nazis in the area poised to take advantage of the chaos. Naturally, you're supposed to clean it all up. All of these elements are present, though the trip to the ziggurat in the wilderness and time portal to a dead future are mysterious outliers that one can only chalk up to the reality-bending powers that Hellspawn are prone to exhibiting.

Perro's debut map is, as mentioned, a city map. You start out in a wrecked train and then fight your way through the demon-torn buildings. You're bound to meet a major roadblock here – finding the blue key. As it turns out, you can open the windows of one of the buildings near the start and shoot a switch on the inside to open the door. It's rough going at first with little ammo and little health. Things don't really let up when you enter the next area, a canyon flush with imps and housing a large ziggurat. If you're intent on killing all of the monsters, it would be wise to put your chainsaw to good use so that you have enough scratch. Otherwise, saver your stuff for when the arch-vile teleports into the valley floor, which is an awkward fight no matter how you approach it.

When you get to the teleporter at the top of the ziggurat, you're in for some strangeness. You're informed that you're trapped in the future. It's the strangest – and best – part of the WAD as you walk through an empty techbase where lights blink to life. It's lacking in action, but it's a critical moment for you to take a breath and grab what ammo and health you can before you return to the past. My only real issue is that using all four switches to open up the teleporter is overkill; that whole structure makes no sense. After that it's Nazi slaughter and fighting some heavier monsters, but between the BFG and plasma rifle you won't have any trouble.

Planisphere is a rather scattershot debut. The subway tunnels with intact trains smack of superfluous realism and a lot of the combat isn't at all interesting, but Perro has a few moments in here that hearken to the kind of wide-eyed optimism of early WAD authors that makes such works so enticing to me some fifteen-plus years after their heyday. It's a half-decent city map with some intriguing side areas that may tickle your fancy. If you're looking for a little less reverent romp in Doom II, you might want to give PLANISF a shot.


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic review! I've got a Wad you could review, how about reviewing this new wad that came out called Titty Milk? It may sound like a joke but it isn't. Tell us what you think about it.
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