Thursday, February 12, 2015

Urotsuki: Radical Way (UROTSUK3.WAD)

by "Lainos"

Lainos started releasing his Urotsuki trilogy in December of 2014. It was an experiment in aesthetics, trying to pioneer a brand new theme for Doom II that borrowed from the works of H.R. Giger and the infamous anime movie series, Urotsukidoji. The end result is a post-apocalyptic cityscape whose war-torn ruins are being slowly overtaken by some kind of bio-technical creep. Part of the influence is marked by sinister step pyramids standing far and near. After finding a way through the insidious machinery of Dead End, the player slowly picks through a scene of urban desolation, with one sole structure standing ominously in the distance. The true nature of the evil you oppose is never made clear, but its thrust is unmistakable.

Like the other levels, Radical Way is a MAP01 replacement for limit-removing ports, preferably PrBoom-plus due to its .OGG music. The theme should seem familiar but the desolation and sprawl give it a more lived-in feel when compared to Inferno Road, whose linearity and settings left the delivery feeling stilted. Dead End wasn't much better, but it had more fun with the interior areas to create a zone of demonic industry. The one big caveat is that your playing area is about as flat as it can get, and while stuffing monsters in some of the upper floors of the ruined buildings makes things slightly more dynamic, it doesn't help the sense of adventure.

Speaking of monsters, the combat is more in the vein of cover shooters, mostly due to the urban landscape. There's a lot of ducking around in between the derelict structures, eventually ending in a more open courtyard battle with a Spiderdemon, which is okay if a bit of a bore. Things take a turn into pure drudgery at the ending, though. There are no less than four Cyberdemons gumming up the final structure, and your intended weapon to take them down is the rocket launcher. It isn't exactly hard, though one false move will mean you're meat. It just takes for fucking ever, and it's frustrating since I know that Lainos can make a suitable climax for a map.

Then again, this whole endeavor has had more of a speedmap feeling to it, anyway. I think that something of the scope of 5till L1 Complex using this theme would be a much more satisfying experience. It remains an interesting experiment and Lainos's take on post-apocalyptic Doom imagery is kind of refreshing. It's hard to recommend it in terms of gameplay, though, and I know that there is so much left to be done with this particular... "style". If you're dying for some Hell on Earth that moves beyond the basic conventions of Doom II, it's worth checking out.


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