Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Urotsuki: Inferno Road (UROTSUKI.WAD)

by "Lainos"

It seems that Lainos's specialty is post-apocalyptic urban landscapes. Where his Sacrament-derived works are transformed by pure social decay, his Urotsuki trilogy shows the influence of a darker power. Inferno Road is a single map for any limit-removing port that can play back .OGG files (prboom+ recommended) and a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. The plot is non-existent and to me it seems that Lainos is less concerned with building some kind of narrative and more feeling out a new style of detailing / texture combinations / etc..

The author claims inspiration from two main sources. The most obvious of these, evident from name alone, is the infamous Urotsukidoji. I've never seen it but a cursory reading of some articles still leaves me curious as to what this series of maps is drawing from. My guess is that it's pulling from the aftermath of the birth of the overfiend, but I really don't know. Maybe the second and third map will shed some light. The Giger influence is more tangible as the urban world you journey through is awash with techno-organic corruption, almost as though two different universes are colliding. You're on the shores of... something, with step pyramids erupted from the brown soup bearing baleful eyes, plus light pole trees with grotesque vines. It's different, yes.

It's too linear and boxy for it to really gel, though. Granted, the title is Inferno Road, but the novelty of the scenery is quickly worn out by the copy / pasting. Unique set pieces like the tech mountains to the east are few and far between. In fact, the only other bit that really compares is the contraption on top of the skyscraper, another cool moment. For what it's worth, though, my favorite area is the forest of corpses in the blue key area. The ambushes initially caught me by surprise, and they're still disorienting even once you've figured out what's going on. I also like the graveyard right before the tank gauntlet. The dual arch-viles plus pain elemental make for a pretty challenging fight as far as how you decide to split your attention.

I hope that Lainos takes some time to flesh out a real devil of a level once he's done roughing out the kind of aesthetics he wants to use. The current execution in fighting and layout is just unsatisfying. There isn't enough cinema or action to distract from the linearity and the setting lacks the wow factor to justify the adventure. Inferno Road feels like proof of concept, and in that, it succeeds, though I think I've seen techno-organic before... Just not the way Lainos is trying it. What horrors await?



  1. Right title is Urotsuki: _Inferno_ Road

  2. BTW, you asked me about my future big works. Ask Antroid about it, he played Overdose 2 (already done). ;)

  3. There's no doubt Lainos knows how to make an attractive place, but I always am underwhelmed by the gameplay. It seems to be a constant weakness in the author, from his BOS Clan wad maps right to his standalone releases like the Object series, Overdose, 5til, and now this trilogy. If Lainos could improve on the playability he'd probably be a pretty awesome mapper.