Sunday, March 10, 2013
The Plutonia Revisited Community Project was fortunate enough to have enough submitted maps to be able to reject a few. Well, lucky for PRCP; not so for the misfits' authors. Pitfalls, by C30N9, was one of the levels that didn't make the cut. Released on its own, it's a medium-size level replacing MAP01 to be played with the Plutonia IWAD. It's pretty abstract for a Plutonia level, which is probably one of the reasons it didn't make the cut. C30N9 plays around with a handful of interesting set pieces, but the whole package feels kind of scatterbrained as it moves from theme to theme.
The opening isn't exactly thrilling, a handful of rooms sectioned off by waist-high walls with monsters that you can shoot from behind without waking up the others - not very exciting. The reveal for the exit is kind of neat, but there's no cool fight that comes with it. Afterward you'll reach an outdoor elevated platform area, probably my favorite in the entire map as the monsters are deviously arranged without being frustrating. I could have used a better route to get back on the first platform than the teleporter, but whatever. That arch-vile / revenant room to the far west has an unusual arrangement but is more straightforward than it looks at first glance.
The rest of the level isn't quite as exciting, though I did like the fact that the Spiderdemon is easily tricked into killing its buddies. C30N9's architecture doesn't help as it's very open or very cramped and with little detailing. Again, I like the outdoor platform area with its teleport ambushes and that weird overhang at the eyeball switch, but the rest of it isn't nearly as eye-catching as anything the Casalis did in Plutonia, feeling something more like... I dunno, TNT meets Plutonia, minus the Casalis (and zombies). It's got its moments, but things would need a bit of an overhaul to bring it up to code with PRCP. As a map that doesn't have to compete with, it's actually neat in its abstract nature. Bits like the rising (if nonsensical) water halo to the east help make things stand out in an otherwise bland playground.
Pitfalls may not be the level of choice if you're craving more Plutonic action, but as a stand-alone level it's a decent romp with a few interesting fights to keep you occupied. I can see why it didn't meet Plutonia Revisited's standards, but it was good of C30N9 to publish it on its own, and should be plenty for your typical PWAD spelunker.