Saturday, March 22, 2014


by Kurt Kesler

There are a lot of KBOOM levels, and I'm already despairing of writing intro paragraphs for them, because I'm committed to telling you the same basic information for every one of them. KBOOM_5 was released in 1998, it's a MAP01 replacement, and it was made for the Boom engine. Kurt Kesler would go on to make six more in 1998 and then top things off with KBOOM12 in 2000, which was a very long time ago. KBOOM_5 is more of what you might expect from Kesler as far as themes go. It's a fairly large base level with some castle elements. It's not the base parts that I'm currently remembering it for, though.

It's the substantial use of deep water effects that sticks with me. Eat your veggies because you're going to go for a swim. I like the lack of horrifying Duke3D underwater reverb, even if the sections aren't particularly thrilling in fights and details. You'll have to ford a little swamp (which is pretty cool) to grab the SSG, jump into the drink to make your way to the blue key (possibly sustaining an imp encounter), and dive one last time to raise the metal pillars blocking access to the final teleporting switch. Oh, yes - that's another Boom feature Kesler makes use of, here for the first time. There's also a spillway you'll want to keep an eye on as it has at least one goodie that pours out among all the corpses that quickly drift on by.

KBOOM_5 is full of skirmishes. There are about two major battles, both of which involve shootouts with monsters on the railings surrounding the water, first a combination of imps and hell knights and second imps and hell knights plus some mancubuses as spoilers from another angle. The deep water leads to a few awkward battles, one of which involves killing some Hell nobles at the bottom of the spillway blocking the drain. They're a little hard to see but if you're a vet you can probably tell when they take a swing by the horns peeking out of the water. The other moment is earlier, when going down the stairs to grab the blue key. If you try to jump off and into the water, you'll bump into the infinitely tall imps - depending on port settings - and wonder just what the Hell is going on before you wake them up.

Still, it's a pretty fun map with some solid themes and development of Boom features and potential BFG overkill. You actually get close to running out of conventional SSG ammo toward the middle before you get to restock! Not that I hate being overburdened with supplies vs. having to slow punch my way through hordes of monsters. KBOOM_5 is another fun Kesler map. If you want more Kesler, here you go!

This post is part of a series on
Kurt Kesler's KBOOM series


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