Thursday, October 17, 2013

Temple of the Lizardmen (LMTEMPLE.WAD)

Temple of the Lizard Men, dating from 2009, is a cool pastiche of several things. I get an Unreal vibe (no doubt due to the soundtrack selection) and the setting feels like a mix of sword and sorcery (battling alien-minded lizard people) and Indiana Jones (exploring ancient ruins from a modern mindset). Storywise, it's not much different from a Doom PWAD, except instead of battling demons, you're against the savage lizard men. Apparently a bunch of other marines have tried to investigate a mysterious temple but never reported back, so you're sent into South America to put these malcontents down. All of the resulting action occurs in this seven-map episode for Doom II, to be played in GZDoom.

LMTEMPLE is composed of short, easy to navigate levels with gameplay leaning toward trappy, just as you'd expect in the kind of ruins exploration the adventure genre has. They're not always the most engrossing series of temples and chambers, but alando1 has a good handle on basic architecture to make things look less like corridors and more like real Mesoamerican ruins. I couldn't help but wish he tackle some megastructures to play through for a more meaty experience, but it looks like he prefers bite-sized excursions. There are some idiosyncrasies, like the appearance of some Doom textures, or that hall of Egyptian sarcophagi in "Mountain Temple", but I think it's otherwise tied together very well, with a few treks through dark jungles to boot.

As far as fighting the lizard men goes, there aren't a whole lot of brand new custom monsters. You'll be seeing Heretic / Hexen resources put through the paces again, a couple monsters from Blood, and even a few Doom II enemies, which I guess plays into that whole sword and sorcery thing I was talking about, with the evil lizard men clearly calling on the powers of Hell in some fashion. The lizard men themselves are sprite edits from the imp; they don't throw fireballs, but they will quickly get up in your face, and the blue ones (I'm assuming they are supposed to be green?) can charge at lightning speed. It's a decent cast of characters, though with the way they're used, I don't think the gill beasts work at all, and Hexen's lurkers are just as annoying as ever.

To deal with this rag-tag assortment of monstrosities, you have a nice selection of armaments. LMTEMPLE does have some features you'll have to get around, like weapon reloading a la Duke 3D's pistol, which will freak you out whenever you're robbed of your ability to fire with the shotgun and rifle. Both, alongside the SSG, will be your bread and butter weapons, with the grenade launcher popping up in a few isolated cases, usually to help you stamp out some uglies. There's a chainsaw in there somewhere, and a rocket launcher, but in the world of Temple of the Lizard Men, they're not very practical weapons.

If you like level sets with a uniform theme and an atmosphere more along the lines of Tomb Raider / Indiana Jones meets Conan the Barbarian, you should go ahead and load up LMTEMPLE and give it a shot. The first level is over pretty fast so you'll quickly know whether or not you enjoy this kind of experience. Avoid if you are a stickler for classic Doom / Doom II action.


by Alan D. aka "alando1"

Temple EntranceMAP01
Short but cool level with a lot of Mesoamerican iconography that helps to set the stage. It also introduces you to a lot of the monsters you'll be killing, particularly the brown and blue lizard-things that will eat so many of your shotgun shells. Favorite fight for me was the one in the ruins past the jungle section, a pretty good congested battle requiring a lot of footwork. The spiders are also delightfully creepy. The western area has my favorite architecture. The minotaur boss is kind of like a maulotaur, but not quite. Good luck dodging him.

MAP02Temple Guardian
A pretty linear but very pretty trek deeper into the heart of the Temple to a very familiar tune from Unreal. Alando throws a few new baddies into the mix, but none of them are very threatening, especially with the badass double-barreled shotgun. You also pick up an automatic rifle, which is very nice for dispatching popcorn monsters. All of those gill beasts in the water aren't very threatening, like shooting fish in a barrel. The eponymous guardian looks interesting but won't last very long.

Less linear than MAP02, this involves infiltrating a lizard-operated fortress and a couple of adjacent compounds. Again, there's a pool full of useless gill beasts. You have to clear them out to proceed safely, but there's no danger involved. The minotaur is a decent challenge and that chaos serpent-beast makes a few cameos. The main fortress looks nice but my favorite area is that spiraling hallway to the north. With the care taken toward the rest of the level, it's amusing how lo-fi the helicopter looks.

MAP04Death From Above
Cinematic action map that has you mowing down a ton of gargoyles in a helicopter and then taking on a dragon. The novelty of both kind of fades fast as you realize how limited your cone of action is and how worthless the rocket launcher feels, except for those moments where the dragon charges you head on, provided he's not at an acute angle. At the very least, the health and ammo are plentiful, but not unlimited, so be careful where you take cover or you'll find yourself short of bullets.

Mountain TempleMAP05
Another linear temple crawl, though this one has a murky underground river trudge that will probably set some people off with the lurkers in the pools. Most of the encounters are on the edge of trappy, with reveals like the eight revenant room plus lost souls and the Hell knight grenade launcher free-for-all. Apart from that, your main concern will be ducking fireballs in the opening few fights so that you don't get prematurely roasted. Nice and tricksy.

MAP06Dragon Arena
Just a boss map, this time a showdown with the dragon you fought at the end of the helicopter run. The fight's a little different on foot, with you trading security for mobility, but any player worth their salt won't get so much as singed while jousting with the overgrown lizard. The arena itself has some nice fidelity as far as the craft put in to it, though there's not a whole lot of point to jumping around in the stands.

Cinematic escape. Enjoy one last look at the sights and sounds of Temple of the Lizard Men and roll the credits.



  1. Just downloaded this and I'm enjoying so far but I have to point out some things.

    1. The (invisible until they attack) water monsters are easily dispatched with the Chainsaw when you're in their faces before they can even attack you so at least with that I wouldn't say it's not practical, it's very useful for me.

    2. On full screen size (11), there IS an indicator of when the weapon is about to reload but it's coded incorrectly; Instead of the number going down to 0, it goes UPWARD to the clip size number. In other words, you have to get the number to 12 for the pistol before it reloads.


  2. Oh I forgot to mention something.

    This might be because I've never played Unreal, but I instead get a Serious Sam vibe with the modern weapons in the ancient temples. Hell, I might make a music replacement for this.....


  3. I think you were a little unfair on the rocket launcher in the above review. True, it's difficult to use effectively in the helicopter fight, but against the Revenants and Hell Knights in the subsequent level it's the ideal weapon. Get the aiming right and they can be toasted before they can even leave their cubby holes.

    1. It's been a long time since I played LMTEMPLE but the "worthless" comment is reserved solely for the helicopter ride. I imagine that I felt that the gameplay as a whole was just too claustrophobic / close quarters for it to really shine (for me) in "Mountain Temple". If it worked for you, though, that's great!