Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Odessa 2: Oasis (ODESSA_2.WAD)

by Bob "Odessa" Evans

Bob Evans was working on a project called LORDDOOM but decided to split it up, releasing the levels piecemeal as the Odessa series. Not all of them made it to completion, and fewer still made it to the idgames archive until 2014. Now, though, we can all scratch our noggins to Bob's fairly uncompromising gameplay style. As is the case with the first in the series, Odessa 2 - aka "Oasis" - is a single map for Doom II, released in 1995. There's a brief aside about long journeys, rest, food, and water. The long journey refers to the "story" of the Odessa series, and rest assured, there will be water. Don't hold your breath for food or rest, though.

Odessa 2 is more along the lines of what I would think an early Evans map might look like. It's very clean and divided into a few large, distinct areas, each of which has their own chain of puzzles to solve. The north is an enormous circle with a slight "Docks" vibe a la Heretic, mostly due to the construction of the circumference. It's an open air shootout until you break into the keep, by which you eventually access the nukage area to the east, which is less intensive. Combat is pretty light, favoring shotgun action. You don't even get the combat shotgun until you get into the second major area, anyway. At least there isn't a whole lot of big monsters you have to dispatch early on, just a few cacodemons.

The second area is more about catwalks a la "Circle of Death". There are a TON of enemies lurking in the trenches and on the ledges, so do your worst with the shotgun and then use the triggers to sort out accessing the different sides, which end up lowering the keys found on the north side of the dock area. Well, two of them, I think. As long as you explore everywhere and are on the lookout for texturing oddities, you should be golden. Attrition is the only real threat you'll encounter and it isn't that strong, unless you fall prey to the couple of revenants at the level's finale. The opening of the walkways section is more manic, but I like the unraveling of the keep, ending with the bridge extending to the northeast nukage.

"Oasis" is a cool, water-heavy map from Evans. The combat is still pretty light but it's got some nice, laid-back puzzle-solving and distinct, set piece areas. I'm kind of hoping for more toughs, but you should always be careful what you wish for. In any case, if you liked Eternal Doom, or maps in that style, give Odessa 2 a shot. You could do a lot worse.

This article is part of a series on
Bob Evans's ODESSA series


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