Saturday, January 18, 2014

900 Deep in the Dead (900DEEP.WAD)

900 Deep in the Dead is a takeoff from the popular 100 Lines project, the latter began by Adam Windsor. The concept - make a map with only 100 lines. The challenge is in creating something that both looks okay and is also entertaining. Doomworld Forum superstar Jay "Jayextee" Townsend took the idea and ran with it for a full episode replacement for Doom's Knee Deep in the Dead. Townsend tackles the constraints in what I'm assuming are staples of working within 100 lines, using abstract geometry, double-sided linedefs separated by height to reuse walls, and other bits of level geometry for monster closets.

It's a very fast play and some of the levels - at least, the ones that aren't patterned after symbols - are pretty fun. I prefer the hub-maps using elevators to the hallway stylings of E1M3 and 4. Without knowing what the rest of the 100 Lines success stories look like, I think Townsend did a pretty good job of working within the confines and making interesting if not entirely substantial levels. I dunno how well this concept would work over an entire OG Doom replacement, but I liked it.

by Jay "Jayextee" Townsend

Stand-in for "Hangar". There's a ring with a room inside it - the exit - and two branches off the ring that hide some zombies out of sight for something a little more nuanced than a shoot-em-up. Jayextee coops the one bit of architecture not on the walls for a monster reveal, not that it's much of a challenge. The end is an E1M1 walkway homage while you gun down the imps standing between you and the exit.

E1M2Two Plinths
Named after the two big platforms in the center of the map you have to run across to reach the exit. Oh, and they're not initially raised. A pretty open level with one section a micro computer maze dedicated to the red key which reuses the wall linedefs pretty well and an eastern section with lifts where the switches to raise the platforms are. Mostly zombies with some imps but you'll have a few demons to gun down and when you're just starting out it can be a bit daunting.

Deep Deep TrebleE1M3
This level is shaped like a treble clef, of course. I've spent most of my time with the bass clef, but I won't discriminate. It's pretty linear, basically a bunch of hallways twisted around and intersecting to form the clef. Townsend manages to vary things up by the flow, requiring the player to leap across pillars to the blue key area and including a nukage pit you have to wade through. Oh, and there's also a pretty obvious secret exit. Pretty much shooting fish in a barrel.

Straightforward gimmick map. It's got some crosshatched platforms you have to fight some imps on. You can either do some hardcore pistol slinging or do the combo of the berserk pack plus rad suit and punch both demons (running in the nukage) and imps into oblivion. All three keys are hidden in the poison; you'll have to do some snooping to grab them all. Kind of fun.

The Root of EvilE1M4
Kind of like E1M3, except it's a dollar sign ($) instead of a treble clef. Downside - movement in the south and north are basically mirrored. Upside - Jayextee changes up the pot of gold at the end of each rainbow, and that reveal at the end with all the imps is actually kind of threatening! Fun and short.

E1M5The Hub
Pretty amusing level that feels maybe the most "normal" of the set so far. You can either shoot for the maze that reveals the yellow key door or go for the yellow key at the beginning. Grabbing the key will unleash a ton of imps and zombies so that you'll really be knee deep in the dead by the time you're done. The computer maze is nothing to write home about; Townsend's already used the gimmick once, though using maze bits as monster closets is a smart move.

Central ElevationE1M6
Kind of a crazy abstract shape that uses an elevator as its hub. There are a lot of monsters to kill and you'll start out Tyson style, punching demons and imps to death and whatever else you feel comfortable using your fists on. The beasties can get a bit overwhelming at times, which is a nice step up. Really, it's just cool seeing a level this compact, though the lack of height variation makes things slightly bleh.

E1M7Filtration System
Same concept as E1M6, but on steroids. There are more elevators, making this level confusing to navigate at first and given where the bulk of the ammo is situated a bit dangerous, especially if you're reduced to shooting rockets into demons and imps at comparatively close range. For what it is, it's a pretty cool play.

Barons DelightE1M8
This is a refreshing take on "Phobos Anomaly", at least one I haven't seen before. You get your rocket launcher and plenty of rockets but the ground has both spectres and barons walking around, plus the barons on four large marble pillars, and finally you're on a timer provided by the rad suit which keeps you from taking incidental damage. If you clean up in time you'll be better off for taking out the finale wave, a mess of imps and demons you can clean up with any remaining rockets you have. Cool.



  1. That may be the cutest TITLEPIC I have ever seen. =D

  2. E1M7 impressed me the most. It feels absolutely huge for 100 lines. I feel Jayextee really made maximum use of the strict limits, far better than Zone 300 for instance.

    1. Yeah, I just don't think Zone 300 was even trying to push the limits, instead feeling like a modern-day BF_THUD.

    2. I agree. More like pcorf just wanted to make small maps.