Sunday, June 16, 2013

Painful Evil (PAINEVIL.WAD)

by Tomi Rajala

Swedish Doomer Tomi Rajala didn't have a lot of single-player works to his name besides his top 10 entries and his abandoned Back to Hell megaWAD, but he had Painful Evil, released late in 2000 for limit-removing ports. It's a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, and draws from the episode four aesthetic with blood, marble, metal, wood, and brick, all in spades. As is usually the case, he doesn't muck around with any kind of setup, just mentioning that it was actually one of his first levels, just touched up for release with new areas and detailing. To be honest, given the quality of the rest of the finished product, it's hard to believe that he just waved his hand over it, but I'll take his word for it.

Painful Evil is somewhat on the large side. You'll be doing a lot of running around as you clear the Hellish entrenchment of its denizens, with nearly the entire Doom II cast making an appearance in one form or another (the spiderdemon being the major exception). They're also used quite fiendishly. I got knocked around a lot in the opening moments and things will stay tense until you manage to snag the berserker pack, a much-needed reset button. There are a lot of nice incidental fights, from the CHORD-ish opening moments to the token Cyberdemon finale and all parts in between. There are also plenty of commandos which may end up feeling unfair if you're unprepared, and several points where tons of shotgun guys teleport into the playing area, though the layout renders them mostly harmless.

As a whole, I think the level's a gorgeous exploration of the EP4 theme. The lighting is great with tons of contrast used for the sector-gradients to make them pop and it's appropriately gloomy in the exterior without robbing the player of all sense. The only major problem I have is that little blood tunnel that leads to the red key switch and beyond. It's a health sink and with the amount of exploratory backtracking you have to do, some of the level changes not readily apparent, I found myself cursing on return trips only to find nothing revealed. It's, like, my sole real grievance, though, as the way the level slowly opens up to make backtracking easier makes eases the pain.

If you love that E4 look, especially in Doom II, you need to grab this level. In fact, as long as you don't hate Thy Flesh Consumed, give it a shot. Painful Evil looks great, plays well without being too challenging, and has a lot of ground to cover to keep you occupied a good while. The backtracking might throw some players but it's all worth it to see what's behind the next obstacle in Rajala's little corner of Hell.


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's Top 10 WADs of 2000

The Darkening Episode 210 Sectors
Chord 3Classic Episode
Hell FactoryPainful Evil
Atomic TombContainment Area

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