Saturday, March 23, 2013


by "Nort"

Xided is one of those pleasant Doom releases that shows nothing but love and a little art for a game that's eighteen years old. Actually, it's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, but I still appreciate the gesture. I'm not sure what port Russian Doomer Nort intended this to play back in; I think it might work at the very least in any limit-removing port, but I make no promises as I played it in ZDoom. Nort only affords you one goal: escape your surroundings (an infested base) and make your way to a...floating island in the sky. Cool, huh?

You can divide this map in to two different play areas. The first is the infested base, a 1994-ish labyrinth of unusual rooms mashed together where things fit. This is where you get your start and, depending on your fortunes, things might be a bit rough. Nort evokes more of a scavenger sense of play as you use your pistol to off those first zombies and imps. A secret box of bullets is integral to avoid resorting to hand-to-hand combat pre-berserk pack. Most of these early fights don't really stand out to me, except for maybe things like the rocket launcher battle (predictable but appreciated!) and that roundabout computer room to the east. Nort tends toward using Doom monsters over Doom II, with scant few commandos, revenants, and mancubuses to be seen.

After you make it past the blue key gate you start an upward climb toward freedom, the nastiest bit of which is a battle with three pain elementals. Given your limited weaponry (at least, I only had the shareware weapons available) it's kind of a bear the way it's laid out, but you can always hang back and take them out in a safer location. After that combat is pretty stale and exploration limited to navigating some narrow, uninteresting tunnels that lead up to the showdown, where you witness the floating island, a pretty cool trick. It's actually just a spiderdemon on a platform - easily rocketed to death - but the map was never about difficulty in the first place.

Xided lacks the professionalism of higher-pedigree mapsets but it's got a very...ancient sensibility about it, one that evokes a certain nostalgia without the typical downfalls associated with it. While I think it could stand to be a bit better action-packed, I'm happy with what he's published and would really like to see more. If you like less typical Doom II maps, or something with the feel of '94 amateurishness while remaining entirely entertaining, you should grab Xided and give it a shot.


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