Sunday, March 22, 2015

Squid 2 (SQUID2.WAD)

author unknown

I am pretty darn sure that the same person who made Squid also made Squid 2. Both levels are E1M1 replacements that have the same bizarre 1980 time stamp, crude workarounds to deal with design staples that apparently hadn't been quite figured out, and optional areas locked behind yellow key doors that were presumably meant to power you up for the final conflict. Both showed up as Doom II conversions in Maximum Doom, but I would rather play the original, which I've done.

Squid 2 feels like a larger and longer level than its predecessor, and also has like a hundred less monsters to deal with. The single biggest pacing issue is having to backtrack through the entire map once you grab the red key, when you've probably forgotten there ever was a red key door (negated if you play in a port that colors key doors, like me). Sure, the yellow key is right behind the red key door, and the yellow key door is just down the same hallway, but there's a lot of dead time involved. I guess you could make it exciting if you rushed there and back again and let yourself get shot at. There are still imps and things confined behind light posts, but I think the architecture is slightly more compelling, mainly because of that huge, sloped / staircase area that dominates the central northern section of the map.

Squid 2 also has more of those strange switch gate things. I can't figure out whether the author just liked huge, open hallways, or if they would have gone with a door action but for realizing that it would have either sectioned off the huge rectangles or looked ridiculous because he or she didn't have the know-how to make a recessed door. The logic behind the design is utterly alien to me in a way that I find fascinating. Other novel concepts include the optional yellow key area, which has a fairly worthless plasma rifle and some more monsters to kill. Lastly, the two nukage wells in the starting room. One of them teleports you to a gray brick annex that feels like a secret tunnel or something. The other is filled with inescapable death. Hey, at least it's at the start of the PWAD!

Squid 2 is in some ways an improvement over the original, plying just a little more imagination in some areas, but making a few major steps backward. It's still only recommended for those who are interested in dusting off the most misbegotten antiques of Doom's early days, for whatever the reason may be.


No comments:

Post a Comment