ESCAPE FROM DEIMOS
by Chris Christenson
and Nicol Jarvie
Escape From Deimos is the second in a trilogy of works by Chris Christenson (with help from Nicol Jarvie) that are supposed to take place roughly concurrently with the events of Doom. The protagonist of this exercise, however, is none other than Snake Plisskin, hence the title. Rather than a minisode of sorts for this second entry, Christenson restricted himself to a single map, this one also for Doom II and also released in 1997. In Phobos, Snake was released from suspended animation in a desperate bid by the Deimos project coordinator, one John Carmack. In Deimos, Carmack suffers a violent death off camera, with your actions after finding his corpse documented in the followup, Escape From Natas, where the rest of this story's assertions are made.
Truly, Escape From Deimos is a larger level than any of the single maps from Escape From Phobos. It's got a monster count that all but encompasses the totals from EFP. Granted, a lot of these are easily-slaughtered zombies and imps and you won't even get to see or slay a huge crowd of commandos unless you lose in a particular fashion. Things heat up around the yellow keycard grab, starting off with a mob of revenants followed by the outdoor shenanigans, where you'll encounter chaingunner snipers plus skeletons and arachnotrons. You'll want to rush to the tower with the plasma rifle and all the ammo. If you don't, well, have fun planning your escape.
One really odd detail Christenson went with was replacing the imp wandering noise with the hum of a reactor. I know there were better ways of doing this in 1997, since ALLHELL was using DEH to make ambient noise actors, so this strikes me as one of the author's more... quirky decisions. As with EFP, you also have instances of actions never seen in Doom, like using computer consoles to actuate puzzle elements. There's a lot of that in this map, starting with the hidden yellow key door behind Carmack's desk and moving on to the consoles in the three ancillary towers that surround the Deimos outpost. I'm not entirely sure how to remove the raised blocks that keep you from strutting down the brick bridges, but a nice running strafejump should clear them.
I think Chris cribs a bit from Eternal Doom with this level's ending, specifically "Time Gate". You'll want to take careful note of the markings on the cube in the central structure and their orientation, because once you open up the teleporter, you won't be able to tell which of the pads is supposed to go where, and that's pretty important when two of them are dead ends. You wouldn't be able to tell from the level alone, but the DOC file outright states that the Phobos and Earth teleporters are functionally worthless. As long as you have those two lined out, the others are pretty easy to figure around. Of course, you could always just trial and error with saves and reloads... which is what I did.
There are some definite signs of improvement from Escape From Phobos to Escape From Deimos. I like the larger map, which gives Christenson's concepts a little more room to breathe; the more meaty monster placement helps the action out in the second half; and there are some cool special effects paired with the...stranger ones. It will be interesting to see where the author takes things for his finale. Certainly, it's worth a play, especially if you liked EFP at all.