Lakeside is a little Doom II level from TWiD alumnus Megalyth, released in 2013 for vanilla Doom II, replacing MAP01. It's short and sweet and as usual in this day and age lacks any kind of framing narrative, preferring the location and action to stand on its own in tickling the player's imagination. Confession time - I actually played this level probably more than half a year ago, back when Pantley had it in release-candidate status. I sadly missed the release while I was on hiatus. It hasn't changed much, as far as I can tell, though according to the .TXT there have been a few tweaks.
The map, understandably, takes place around a body of water. Of course, it's not so much a lake as it is a crater, one you won't be climbing out of, but that's okay because the view from the bottom is pretty neat. Lakeside excels at the use and reuse of a relatively small playing field through clever implementation of features like monster closets. The level itself is actually pretty linear but Megalyth does a great job of changing things around while you backtrack through new monsters and changed environments, first from the blue key back to the beginning and then doing a couple loops through the northern section, finally ending up with a plasma rifle after some up close and nasty gameplay.
The layout is pretty much designed for both flow and enforcement. By the latter, I mean guaranteeing the players have to deal with the situations they're given, usually with either blind drops (like the one into nukage that starts the whole thing off) or multi-directional encounters, often putting monsters behind careless players after they've already advanced. Well, I guess some monsters you can try to ignore, and you might be able to dance around the Cyberdemon to flip the switch lowering the bars that keep you trapped in the cistern, but where's the fun in avoiding a perfectly good plasma rifle duel? You can always expect something to be lurking around the lakeside every time you return, like commandos, revenants, cacodemons...
Lakeside is a fun outing from Megalyth, and if you like short, clean Doom II levels that pack a bit of a punch, this one is right up your alley. Provided you don't mind not being able to retreat like a frightened bird every time a monster pops up. Nice job! Dig the soundtrack, too.
KEEP IT IN MIND
IF YOU'RE LOOKIN' TO FIND
A PLACE IN THE SUMMER SUN