Friday, May 3, 2013

HeDRoX: Doom 3060 Apocalipse (HEDROX.WAD)

by Rodrigo "El Rodo" Acevedo

HeDRoX is a single map for Doom II released in 2005. The author, Rodrigo Acevedo, suggests using ZDoom to play the level as it is considerably detail-intensive, but limit removal isn't the reason it's suggested for ZDoom. Suffice it to say, use something in the ZDoom family if you want to play HeDRoX. There's no real plot, though the subtitle suggests that the year is 3060, and some end-of-the-world shit is going down. Doomguy arrives on some kind of mostly underground base, because that's what Doomguys do, and proceeds to slay all the demons entrained within.

This level has a fair bit of controversy surrounding it, due to a fact already mentioned in my opening paragraph. HeDRoX is detailed to the point of it being pornographic and fields less action than usual to show for it. Its soundtrack ("Plasma" from Duke Nukem 3D) suggests a more atmospheric journey, and that's somewhat true, as the level's final stretch feels very tense as the monsters are few and far between. By that point, though, the threat has decayed to zero, missing a wonderful opportunity. Not that the relatively tepid ending makes sense as a whole. The level's encounter pacing starts out fast and furious with the mess of zombies near the beginning and then, excepting a few punctuations, slows to a trickle.

The detail looks nice but all of the careful wall panels and poor man's slopes and that cool glass tunnel can't distract from how flat the plane of action feels. I think the most dynamic it felt was firing down into the trench with the mancubuses right after the teleporter, or maybe that little horseshoe with the imps and revenants up top. The rest is, well, serviceable. I mostly like the way the level is rendered but I rarely like the appearance of those staggered white lights. Not to harp on it again, but the finale is the weakest part of the PWAD. A pair of Hell knights guarding the yellow key and a semi-darkened room with a bunch of spectres connected by a garishly detailed crossroads corridor.

HeDRoX does some stuff right. I admire Acevedo's use of detail to give his base a lot of character, though I'm not a fan of all his decisions. I like some of the fights but I think the WAD is frontloaded and could use some better pacing, and that final segment is a huge down note to end on. Still, HEDROX is far from being unplayable, and the fidelity of his base is very nice. I can think of worse Doom II PWADs to blast through, and as short as it is, you won't hurt yourself if you give it a try.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks to your screenshots I wound up downloading this, being a visual junkie myself. I think, like you touched upon, it encapsulates the perfect issue relating to designing a map with looks in mind first, as the layout and size of the rooms feel very boxy, disconnectedly attached and too narrow, the use of monsters most likely an afterthought. But this and Crucified Dreams will remain my guilty pleasures to stand in awe at.