Thursday, May 22, 2014


by Eddie Nguyen

TALPOIDA, released by Eddie Nguyen in 1994, is the second map in the UCA series. As it was intended to be played consecutively after UCA, it occupies the E2M2 slot of the original Doom. TALPOIDA continues the action of the first level, detailing the marine's invasion of Deimos's Uca Crater. I guess you didn't finish your job, but you are a lot deeper in the enemy installation. The story in the .TXT is mostly delivered via a transcript of your audio log. Unsurprisingly, the rest of your squad is dead, and the demons have a big freakin' gun of their own, capable of bringing down starships. As you penetrate further into the base, you're intent on taking down a "pulse laser cannon". It was strong enough to take down the Aquarius - the ship from the previous lost unit - so it can probably destroy the Gateway, and that's your ticket out of here.

As with UCA, TALPOIDA is one of those amalgams of Hell and tech, though it doesn't really try to emulate The Shores of Hell. The layout is kind of one of those Russian nesting doll things, with hallways in the shape of six sides of an octagon layered on top of each other, one after another, with some rectangular rooms squeezed in between. It's also got some tricky progression, mainly centered around the toxic channels to the north. When you find a rad suit in one of the offshoots, it's so you can go kicking around in the muck. If you do it in the wrong order, though - like visit the northwest pit before exploring the eastern tunnel off the southern side - you're fucked. And, uh, that's pretty much it, though there's a bit of frustrating backtracking to and from the red key. Nguyen throws some more monsters your way, but the fairly bare hallways aren't conducive toward threatening the player.

Since you kick it off with a full weapons loadout - at least, the shotgun, chaingun and rocket launcher from UCA - there isn't much here to threaten you. I guess you can fight a few barons, but really, navigating Nguyen's network of hallways and rooms is what is going to hold you up in the absence of any kind of resource management. There are a few cool setpieces, like the big ass red core by the exit, but the focus on hallways means that things are just a little less spectacular this go around. Oh, that baron room has a neat hook - taking a teleporter so you can grab the key and armor, after which they are no longer in their cages. Plus if you aren't paying attention there's a cool visual cheat with the opening door. That catwalk over the nukage is another good visual hook; if Nguyen had squeezed a bit more of those moments into the layout, it would be less of a drag.

TALPOIDA isn't exactly as cool as its predecessor. Part of that is due to the lukewarm difficulty, but I don't recommend you play it from pistol start - I don't see any weapons available here besides the berserk fist and shotguns held by shotgun guys. Tyson fans might have a ball, though. I'm also not a fan of its relentless octagonal hallways, but I'm holding out hope that Nguyen comes up with something more interesting for DIOPATRA, the next level in the series. Regardless, it's still a pretty good '94 Doom map, so there isn't any reason to stop if you enjoyed UCA.


This post is part of a series on
Eddie Nguyen's Uca series


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