YEAR 21 THE VANISHING POINT
by Eric "The Green Herring" Baker
Back in 2008, Eric Baker started what he hoped would be a yearly tradition, celebrating his birthday by making a speedmap and then sharing it with the Doom community. Years 22 and 23 did not enjoy the same speedy timetable, with 22 suffering from a series of unfortunate events and 23 turning into an epic, and there have been no followups since. Maybe Baker will see fit to give us a little minisode to update things to a more current timetable. Anyway, this is Year 21, the first level in the series, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II to be played in Boom-compatible ports. The story is simple. As a marine, you locate an abandoned warp gate facility in your free time only to find out that it isn't exactly devoid of inhabitants, and must thus get to killin'.
Year 21 is a very short level, fielding a scarce 45 monsters using only zombies, shotgun guys, and imps. Ammo and health are a little tight if you don't locate any of the secret cubbies, which give you useful things like a berserk pack, medikits, and shotgun shells. I mean, any Tyson pro should have a field day grabbing the zerk at the start and commence to punching, but you don't have to play that way. Some of the fights can be a little challenging with your limited resources, like the imps at the start and several segments where you've got to face shotgun guys in the corners. Apart from those, though, it's some fairly standard room clearing, and you've got to clean out all three annexes before you can access the exit teleporter.
It's a decent-looking dark techbase with some abstract rooms to the north, west, and east, but the real highlight is the teleporter / garden thing in the central area. The view is blocked off for most of the gameplay but it's a nice centerpiece and contrast to the annexes you infiltrate. The lighting is understated but pretty, something you'll probably end up breezing by. And that's pretty much it, except for that rockin' "Goin' on a Rampage" midi, which reminds me of surf music with that driving drum beat.
While not nearly as substantial as some of Baker's other releases, Year 21 is a neat little techbase diversion. If you don't mind an "Entryway"-sized romp every now and then, load up this little offering and burn a few minutes of your time. What's the worst that could happen?