Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Skyewood (SKYEWOOD.WAD)


Steve Rescoe is another one of those WAD authors who went on to game design. He was one of the names attached to Daikatana in its early development, but later went on to do level design for No One Lives Forever, Doom 3, and lately Rage. Here is his sole Doom II map credit, a three-level minisode published in 1996. Skyewood is an interesting hodgepodge of psychedelic trappings, replacing barrels with huge toads, burning barrels with flashing toads, health potions with mushrooms, and various other graphical oddities like talking trees and specialized wall textures that fool the eye in to thinking that the torches are casting a soft glow. Oh, and there's a dragon.


Skyewood's levels are small affairs, with the last fielding the most at less than sixty enemies, normally. There are claustrophobic interior caverns, floating islands in the sky, and dense forests on those islands and other places. Imps climbing through false tree walls are a standard feature. So are required secrets, but the levels are small enough that a little searching won't take too long, and most of that is contained in the final mazey level. The combat isn't at all tough. I think the most dangerous enemies are the revenants, besides the dragon, which as a Cyberdemon replacement is kind of hard to read as far as not being used to its graphical cues.


The huge exploding toads don't get to me, but the clips quickly wear as you hear Ash's "Groovy" every time you pick up a shroom, or "Let's go" when you hit the ground. The revenants shouting "I'll swallow your soul!" are kind of cute, though the death doesn't quite match up. Something's off about the demon death noise, though, which is annoying; the body hitting the floor doesn't match up to the SSG blast, which is an irking oddity. It worked in the Army of Darkness TC, but that was Army of Darkness. This is...floating islands in the sky. I half expected to hear "Eat Your Veggies!", but I did get the Scooby Doo Memento Mori song.


If you want a funny trip from '96, Skyewood is the WAD for you. It's a little odd, but not abusively so as is the case with works like The Sky May Be. Just prepare for something visually out of the ordinary and don't lick any toads.



SKYEWOOD
(by Steve Rescoe)

MAP01
You start out in a little acid-trip shack and plow your way through some psychedelic stuff. There are a lot of floating islands and skywalking in store for you as you fight through Rescoe's entrenched enemies. It has some decent combat, mostly popping imps and demons with shotguns, with what I'd call any real threats appearing once you reach the more Doom-ish green stone area with the bridge. Some cool tricks like the bar you crawl across with your hands and a deep water effect.

MAP02
Something more typical in this network of caverns, but not quite. The level's size means that the dead-end backtracking isn't that demanding of your patience but you'll find most of the tunnels in the mountain's main chamber sealed off when you first arrive. There are some tougher enemies, here, but the barons and revenants and other fare are easily handled with the SSG and several available BFGs and plasma rifles. The little skybridge to the plasma pillar is cute; the outer area has a lot of empty space. I like the finale, though, which has a cool ogre head graphic or something on the arch-vile stage.

MAP03
This level has a decent finale, but it's marred by mandatory secrets and the fact that most of it is composed of mazes, the northern part a darkened tunnel with the larger southern part a vast skyewood forest with tons of trees you can walk through and lots of imps that pop out of the cover. Actually the sneaky imps isn't a problem, but not knowing where the blue key is - it's behind the bloodfall - may slow down some players, though if you made it this far in Skyewood you should know not to take any feature at face value. At the very least, the final map is about as short as the others. The end fight is vs. a big, green dragon and can be circumvented with some footwork and switch pulling, which is nice, because the weapons you have would be an otherwise slow job.

'SCUSE ME WHILE I KISS THE SKYE

2 comments:

  1. Haha wow this looks fucking awesome, nice find man! Going to add this to my "to play" list that I never play. :P

    - DeathevokatioN

    ReplyDelete