Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 1) (MOHU1.WAD)

MONSTER HUNTER LTD
PART 1
by "Didy"


Every now and then a kickass Doom release sneaks under the radar because the author just uploaded it to /idgames with virtually zero hype. Monster Hunter LTD is one of those projects, what was once a huge Boom map that got split in two because of technical constraints. Whether the narrative depends on any context to Doom II is anyone's guess. Basically, the world is in some post-apocalyptic state and monsters now (or still) dominate most of it. You're part of a company, Monster Hunter Ltd, who apparently functions as a mercenary organization that does things in the infested parts of the world. In Part 1, you're tasked to retrieve a valuable piece of art, which you've tracked to an industrial complex. If the monsters did in fact steal the painting, the "why" isn't really elaborated on, but that's fine because any excuse is a good excuse to go kicking demon ass.


Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 1) is a grade-A adventure map. A lot of this is due to the fidelity of the locales. Didy has poured tons of heart into the areas you travel through, using a boatload of custom textures to sell the industrial building itself, the surrounding urban decay, and the little slice of home at the end, complete with decon chamber, bedroom with light switch, and connecting darkened walkway complete with vicious feral dogs. There's also the setup, which has either your scout or a random citizen murdered next to his motorbike on a forested mountain road; various bits of machinery all throughout the factory including a production line crafting glowing orbs; and the saw room, where grinding gears prove a hazard for your foes while a fantastic easy-to-miss detail sits in the back, an arachnotron just descended from a silken thread. Oh, and some of the best working ladders I've ever seen. Props!


Another reason this level succeeds is its relatively sparing opposition. You have a lot of ground to cover in MOHU1, and most of the monsters you fight feel more incidental than anything, at least until you hit the final sequence where some larger ambushes start to rear their heads. It's easy to drink in the details when you're not getting harassed by a constant flow of lethal opposition, not that it's a walk in the park, what with occasional revenants and mancubuses and Hell knights and other unsavory things cropping up, plus attrition via hitscanners. As one might expect, most of the real heavy hitters don't show until you're in striking distance of the painting, including a few arch-viles. No boss monsters, though.


The only downside comes part and parcel with all the noise introduced by the custom textures and stuff. If you get lost easily in normal levels, you might have a lot of trouble figuring out where to go in Monster Hunter. The lifts don't immediately look like lifts and the switches aren't exactly hidden, but I didn't see the lever that lowered the red key until I'd already gotten to the pillar and looked across to a balcony that I'd stood on before. That's when I saw the necessary switch. The only other real pitfall I had was getting inside the central building to the southwest, which is more a case of not quite grasping the author's design language through the chosen textures than anything.


Monster Hunter Ltd (Part 1) is a supercool adventure level with lots of unique sights and custom textures and if the ending is anything to go by, Part 2 should be just as polished, if taken in a slightly different direction. I'd love to see more missions of the Monster Hunter given the amount of effort poured into this, even if I'm forever tracking down artifacts from Earth's cultural history.



THE HUNT BEGINS


This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2014 Cacowards

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2 comments:

  1. Uh, wow. This looks amazing, both by the theme created with the new textures, the unique plot (stolen art? yes why not), and the sorta scripted details you describe. Definitely going to try it and it's follow-up out.

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