Dead End follows hot on the heels of Lainos's Urotsuki: Inferno Road. Having played the former, I can't say I'm any wiser, but I digress. UROTSUK2 is a single MAP01 replacement for Doom II to be played in any limit-removing port that also supports .OGG playback. As usual, this basically means PrBoom-Plus and on up. The action of Inferno Road was bizarre; you emerged from a crate into a world undergoing a dark metamorphosis and fought your way to a skyscraper which appeared to have been surrounded by military vehicles. After a climactic battle brought on by draining an ominous contraption of its precious fluids, you drove the vehicle until reaching a dead end at a chasm, after which this level picks up.
I'm still not sure where Lainos is going with this, but I feel like I've got a fuller glimpse of the seedy world in which Urotsuki is set. It's still inscrutable, but there are plenty of machines that either engineer or feed off of human suffering. The usage of interior space gives the level a bit more of a lived-in feeling since it isn't all metamorphosing cityscapes, but the outside areas you do have are still pretty undistinguished besides the already boilerplate style Lainos has gone with. It looks a little more fresh in the blue key area, I'll admit, but areas like the corpse power core near the exit are far more visually arresting.
Dead End feels more manageable than its predecessor, largely due to the fact that the battles are confined to distinct room spaces. There are a few cool fights, though I'm mainly thinking of the revenant clusterfuck in the area with the arbitrary flesh walls and enormous ziggurat. There's an honorable mention to the arch-vile / revenant saw room merely because of the sheer awkwardness of the setup, ducking into alcoves before getting roasted by the sorcerers while dodging revenant rockets. Really, there's a lot about this level that uses arch-viles to contort you into uncomfortable positions, but monster-blocking lines let you look at some monsters as obstacles rather than opponents.
I'm still holding out hope that Lainos takes this into overdrive a la 5till or Doxylamine, but I think that this is going to be more or less the equivalent of him doing speedmaps, which is a shame. A take on this setting with the depth and dedication of 5till L1 Complex would be formidable. As it stands, here's another proof of concept level in the Urotsuki trilogy, worthy at the very least as an aesthetic curiosity.
HEY, IF MY HEAD WAS ANY HARDER,
YOU COULD USE IT AS A CANNONBALL.