Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hell Revealed II (HR2FINAL.WAD)

Hell Revealed remains an inexplicable enigma; for awhile, when someone would pop in and ask what they should play after having finished and loved Doom II, a sizable number of people would throw it out there. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were trolling, attempting to turn people off Doom forever with HR's sheer difficulty curve. The truth, though, is that a lot of people love it, and when the iron was hot, some of its fans got together to make a sequel. Hell Revealed II took a lot longer to make than its forbear, though; about five times as long, in fact. Released at the very end of 2003, its influence is undeniable. I've seen numerous explicit citations when parsing the more elaborate commentary provided by PWAD authors. There are moments of sheer BFG frenzy sure to satiate fans of demon-reaping gameplay. Then, of course, there's the other stuff.

Hell Revealed II has no given story, not that the original Hell Revealed had anything beyond fourth-wall breaking sarcasm as a framework for its action. It takes you through a pretty good variety of locales, from spanking-silver techbases to cryptic cities to more exotic locales like volcanoes and the ol' sewer standby. Owing to its Hell Revealed origins, HR2 plays with more abstract settings for many of its more populated levels. It's hard to imagine levels like "Resistance Remains" and "Playground" as anything other than virtual battlegrounds for you and your infernal opposition, but I suppose nothing really has to make sense when you're engaged in conflict with ancient, inscrutable evils.

At times, HR2 clearly patterns itself after the open-aired blood tornadoes of its forebear. On the other hand, I can't help but shake the feeling that much of its level design is inspired by '97-'98 Doom II PWADs (particularly Requiem and its faux-3D visual cheats) while attempting to meet the expectations of the Hell Revealed brand through sheer monster density with little regard for pacing. I know that the original was occasionally guilty of using monsters as annoying bullet sponges, and I can think of a few moments that still remain in my mind (like "Gates to Hell" and "Hard Attack"). Still, these events were a far cry from many scenarios in Hell Revealed II, where you diligently funnel monsters through doorways and grind them down with your weapon of choice. Its take on ultra-hard gameplay feels more claustrophobic through the sheer lack of space that EVERYONE has to move in where my admittedly distant memories of Hell Revealed recall more open layouts with congested monster placement that require technique in maneuverability and crowdshaping.

The release of Alien Vendetta some two years earlier creates an odd parallel. Both mapsets are dominated by a primary contributor, with AV having Anders Johnsen and HR2 fielding Jonas Feragen, who has credits on almost half of the levels at fifteen entries. Both share some of the same personnel, even. There's Mattias Berggren, Yashar Garibzadeh, and Sam Woodman. Both PWADs have decidedly different characters, though, and not just in the visuals department. AV initially started out as a tribute to Hell Revealed, but as the project developed, the authors had to tone down the violence as they lowered the sense of scale. In Hell Revealed II, you can achieve the same effect by turning the difficulty dial down to HMP, leaving an experience something less like monsters crammed into rooms like sardines.

Of course, Hell Revealed II is hard. I can't emphasize that enough. It's just that it often drifts from "hard" to "tedious", and I don't mean that to say that you're constantly dying. Half the fun of playing Hell Revealed cold is in developing your exit strategy in real time. When you're facing down a corridor swelling with whatever the flavor of demon happens to be, though, the solution is abundantly clear. More rockets! The author that manages to channel that classic Hell Revealed vibe the best, I think, is Mike "Cyb" Watson, who contributed a paltry two levels to this mapset. Feragen's presence assures his status as the backbone of the project. His early techbase levels aren't so fun due to the sheer meat involved but once you get past "Insatanity" he starts opening things up and playing more with staged fights and less instadeath monster closets. MAP29 is my favorite, showcasing a clear split between Hell Revealed's stark visuals and Alien Vendetta's sense of adventure as you make your way to the top of the volcano.

Sam Woodman of "Demonic Hordes" infamy threw a handful of levels at this set, and while not completely offensive, his tendency to retread ideas in carbon copy format within the same map sours some of his best efforts. Yashar Garibzadeh's maps have a lot of cramped gameplay, but the token "Sewer Slaughter" is actually pretty cool, if heavy on the commando hordes. Martin Friberg's two late slot levels are pretty fun and feel closer to the Hell Revealed target than some, and the light gimmick in "Fear of the Dark" is done well. PAGB's levels are like night and day, with the slow awkward pace of "Dis 8000" set up against the devil may care breakneck BFG antics of "The End is Nigh". Even current DSDA maintainer Andy Olivera has a few credits, though all but one of them are as a co-author. If anything, his most important contribution was to rescue the project from potential oblivion. Without his final efforts, it would probably be standing alongside Doom Millennium.

I was kind of surprised to find that Hell Revealed II had almost no custom textures to speak of, with almost everything appearing in MAP25. The prevalence of those faux-3D special effects kind of gives the set its own unified character, though, and the tag team of Sam Woodman and Petter Mårtensen aka "Thyrbse" bring things together with a soundtrack that's pretty metal at times. At others, uh, it's interestingly quirky. Certainly, it's a change from the now well-worn Rise of the Triad tunes that lets Hell Revealed II stand apart from its predecessor as something more than an imitation if only for the depths of its deviations and in spite of the obvious nature of some of the sources of inspiration.

Just as Yonaten Donner and Haggay Niv inflected a profound influence, Jonas Feragen and crew have left a distinct impression on the Doom community. How you decide to confront Hell Revealed II, if at all, is entirely up to you. It won't go down as one of my favorite mapsets, but it might be waiting to become one of yours.

by assorted authors

by Jonas Feragen
Jonas sets the tone with a pretty ballsy opening level that has packs of chaingunners, a pair of arch-viles in the exit room, and plenty of flying gasbags to soak up your ammo. I'm not entirely fond of some of the micro-detailing, but all the faux-3D bridges are appreciated, and it's a far sight from being ugly. Not getting shot up by commandos feels like a pretty difficult task given the way Feragen has abused them. I imagine that the dual arch-viles might give some players a lot of trouble. Hopefully you saved your rockets... and are prepared to use the escape hatch.

MAP02High Voltage
by Jonas Feragen
It's like Feragen crammed Innocent Crew-style slaughter into a cramped, squat techbase. You'll be killing zombies, demons, and imps en masse with the occasional interjection from Hell knights and barons. The Hell nobles provide the only real moments of danger due to the level's claustrophobic trappings and vigorous side-stepping will get you hung up on wall details in areas like the yellow key door corridor. The exit portal room looks pretty cool.

by Jonas Feragen
More of the same, but with much tougher meat on this island retreat. There are several monster closets that will box you in and kill you if you're not anticipating them, like the pair of arch-viles that come up behind you when you meet the baron corridor, or the slaughter at the blue key door which is slowly but decisively cleared through patient infighting. The layout of the red key room is pretty dastardly, and outfoxing the arch-vile and his revenant retainers with your lowly combat shotgun is an act of finesse.

MAP04Reluctant Pain
by Jonas Feragen
This little murder fortress is built on a toxic river. The enemy placement isn't quite so trappy, but if you start to run low on ammo, you might find yourself wiped out by moments like the three Hell knight room just beyond the red key door. There are a fair number of viles to deal with, which contributes to the ammo problem, with the level's most potent ambush involving not just two viles but two pain elementals as well. It's nice to see Feragen moving away from easily-slaughtered packed-in monsters.

by Jonas Feragen and Derek MacDonald
Another cramped brick level that is more in line with a sewer adventure. It's got a few really ugly fights. The shotgun guy / Hell knight crossfire is practically begging for doorway camping since you can't blitz past the zombies and a pair of arch-viles backs the Hell knights. There's also the blue key switch, which forces you to deal with a row of commandos while you wait for the opportune moment to squeeze past a baron and then magically slide through the tiny doorway so that you can act from a zone of superior movement. The commandos surrounding the exit seems more like a threat to speedrunners / pacifist players than anything.

by Mike Watson
A short level utterly lacking in guile. The end result feels more like an order of operations puzzle as you systematically clear rooms by tripping traps and then running to a slightly less claustrophobic area so that you aren't brutally murdered. The opening hook with the teleporting horde of imps backed by arch-viles is neat, but when you come back to it all you're going to do is pump it full of leftover rockets. The Cyberdemon fight is just weaving back and forth while blasting it with... rockets. It's about the only thing you can't solve by just funneling monsters to a choke point.

Not That Simple IIMAP07
by Jonas Feragen
It's also Not That "Not That Simple". The opening two firefights are iterations of a now classic format, though Feragen throws in an arch-vile as a confounding factor as you start out, and you might potentially get a Cyberdemon in on the arachnotron action, who can also be coaxed into killing most of the imps in the red key area for you. Once you take out the revenant swarm and snag the BFG from its arch-vile guardian, everything falls into place, though the mess of commandos that appear after breaking the plane of the blue key corridor may come as a surprise. Lots of nice, open areas to let loose in.

by Sam Woodman
I was really prepared to shit all over Sam, but I found out that there is a combat shotgun surrounded by rockets through the door on the south side of the starting area. Between that and the rocket launcher by the yellow key bars, you should be more than ready to tackle the first area (supposing you manage to duck all those revenant rockets), after which comes a belt-fed BFG slaughter. Even the nastiest surprise, the end-of-level Cyberdemon you may have forgotten was coming, can be handily dispatched with a delayed blast trick. I'm not a fan of the dual-courtyard setup, but whatever.

The Siege IIMAP09
by Jonas Feragen
Ahahah. After a short opening where you rocket blast your way down an imp tunnel and then turn around and hold down your fire button, you're subjected to the ultimate cage fight. The good news - you've got four megaspheres and about as much ammo as you could possibly need to fend of your attackers. The bad news - your movement space is very limited and apart from imps, your attackers are commandos, revenants, cacodemons, and pain elementals. The chaingunners don't matter because they will be destroyed through infighting, but the skeletons force you to constantly move, and the cacodemons / pain elementals are bad business once they manage to crest over the walls of your fortress. The whole fight is pretty much running from corner to corner, firing off a few rockets, and then switching to the plasma gun when something airborne makes it inside.

MAP10Base Blaze
by Yashar Garibzadeh
Once again, a cramped techbase with little available real estate. At its worst, Yashar forces you to fend off a wave of revenants that quickly overwhelms a cramped room. It's manageable if you're capable of baiting their punches from one of the alcoves, but still dangerous. There's also a Cyberdemon that owns the west wing's outdoor area, but Yashar was kind enough to give you a telefrag option rather than just grind him down with rockets and / or shells. Those are actually the nastiest two bits to work through. There's a DoomCute fakeout with the two easily available keys leading to a fake exit that exposes you to the meat of the gameplay.

Raw HatredMAP11
by Mike Watson and Eric James Roberts
A pretty straightforward, squat base. The BFG is a must-know secret, which together with the invul should save you plenty of cells that you can use to knock out the troublesome enemy packs that follow, including the two arch-viles perched on the exit. Diligently killing the arachnotrons with the chaingun is pretty boring, and it's followed up by clearing out a well of pain elementals, but at least you have the combat shotgun for that. The level kind of opens up afterward, but you still have to grind down a Spiderdemon before easily snagging the rocket launcher and going to town on a column of barons. The final leg isn't much to worry about as long as you have enough cell ammo.

MAP12Anti Static
by Michael Reid
Starts out feeling kind of reasonable after a sort of claustrophobic opening leading into an outdoor area and then BLAMMO!, the first northern area opens up, which is chock full of a bunch of scattered enemies including a cadre of arch-viles. Experienced dice-rollers may contemplate ducking through the crowd and keeping the arch-viles tethered through infighting. Mere mortals like myself will be reduced to sitting in the closest approximation to a safe space (for me, the exit alcove) and letting the arch-viles slowly attrition out through jam-packed infighting. It takes a very long time... but it's better than rampage roulette.

by Jonas Feragen
Basically a remix of "Dead Progressive", though I can't shake the feeling that the monster contingent is just a little more...dense. Major progression points release more enemies into the map, but things are not so bad. The main problem you'll run into is the dense concentration of cacodemons and revenants in the northern area - once you activate the right trigger, anyway - but you can lure the friendly neighborhood Cyberdemon into destroying most of them, albeit at a great time cost to yourself. I couldn't NOT provoke it - the setup is just too perfect. The imp assault in the starting area hardly compares. There's a semi-hidden BFG, of course, though you'll have to navigate dem bones if you want to use it on them.

MAP14Metal Meltdown
by Sam Woodman
Well, this level isn't completely annoying. It's a floating metal fortress, which is a neat twist. The opening is a pretty boring clusterfuck firing the combat shotgun down on a horde of monsters. After that, a nasty bridge that's chock full of monsters. Thankfully, it's not too hard to get the Cyberdemon to off some of the most troublesome elements and then run past him to the other side where you deal with the incumbent imps and eventually earn your BFG. There's sort of a "Cyberden" thing going on in the southern annex, which has a few nice switch-ups with the revenants pouring in as a confounding factor, but having to endure the same leg of monsters for both weapon pickups is pretty boring, and the commando enclaves guarding the key teleporters feels like a waste of space. Neat cinematic exit, though.

The Path IIMAP15
by Jonas Feragen
This one kind of grew on me as I suffered. It's clearly an homage to "The Path". You don't need to grab the secret BFG right off the bat, but making the run will help immeasurably, considering the Hell knights swarming the rocket launcher and the Cyberdemon blocking off the eastern area. The Hell knights can be somewhat corralled, but ol' Cybie will otherwise require some lengthy infighting baiting. The blue key ambush seems utterly dangerous, but you can rocket punch it away with the obvious invul sphere, which gives you another shot at the BFG if you haven't gotten it already, plus a prime sniping point for ousting that troublesome arch-vile nest. After that, the combat devolves into throwing rockets down corridors or bursts of BFG frenzy. The southeastern room has a fairly unique setup with the dangerous staircase guardian and the arch-vile tower.

MAP31The Descent II
by Mattias Berggren
Another HR homage, of course. I loved "The Descent"; Berggren's take on it is a bit less elegant, but how are you supposed to improve on perfection? The BFG is available up front, and it will make some aspects of the elevator chase roll by quite smoothly. When you finish, you're stuck between arch-viles, but you should still have plenty of ammo to make it to the eastern half. I thought I had that invul sphere figured out, but when returning back with the red key, I realized just how horribly wrong I was. You can still do some corner popping with the BFG to oust the Cybs, but it would have been so much easier while invincible... Lots of revenants packed into tight spaces.

by Jonas Feragen
Ah, the infamous "Playground". This is another level that, for me at least, is more fun to watch being played by an expert than to suffer through yourself. It feels like a cross between "Resistance is Futile" and "Mostly Harmful", minus the boss-shooter. There are enemies covering just about every square inch of the map and even more that are just dying to be released. A lot of them are on troublesome platforms, the worst being crammed full of arch-viles, which will lock down their visible range until they're dealt with. Hitting major progression points will open up huge chunks of the map housing things like hordes of cacodemons, packs of revenants backed by Cyberdemons, and walls of Hell knights backed by - you guessed it - Cyberdemons. To his credit, Feragen has afforded you one invul sphere to get you started, which may just give you the foothold you need to slowly make the rest of the level safe. There's certainly more than enough cells and rockets laying around for you to take your time. When the final enemy collapses into a bloody mess, it's... a good feeling.

MAP16The Chapel of Black Granite
by Sam Woodman
Not too bad, except for that bit where you have to face down a baron in a fairly narrow hallway. Otherwise, it's one of the more forgiving levels from Hell Revealed II. There's cover just about everywhere for you to hide from your more militant foes, and plenty of rockets / cells / shells. The revenant teleport ambush can be easily turned to your favor with the Cyberdemon from the level's opening. I'd say the trickiest thing to clear would be the pair of Cyberdemons in between the red brick columns. There's a murderbrawl in the exit tunnel, but it's pretty easily smote with the BFG.

An Eye For an EyeMAP17
by Yashar Garibzadeh
Another slower-paced level that's less slaughter and more tightly-packed meat. Patience is a virtue as you slowly chew through the Hell knights and barons; there isn't enough health to get too reckless, but there's usually a zone of safety you can retreat to if things get too scary. The biggest hook this level has is a Cyberdemon right off the starting area, which you won't want to deal with until you come back with a BFG, but which is a bit of a threat. The finale pits you against two more of the fuckers, so if you're not packing any more cell ammo, it's gonna be an endless waltz with the combat shotgun.

MAP18Excess Meat
by Jonas Feragen
This is almost downright normal. I mean, the monster density is through the roof, but this plays more like a brutal Memento Mori level than anything. At least, after the invul-fed chaos of the opening, which gives access to a teleport hub from where you'll journey to gather each of the keys in sequence in sectioned-off areas, each with their own particular gimmick. The last bears a superficial resemblance to the finale of the previous level... The two Cyberdemons that serve as this level's climax, however, are a bit trickier in dispatching.

Mind TrapMAP19
by Jonas Feragen
A pretty cool level in what feels like a classic-style layout. The big spectacle is the network of bridges in the central tower complex, but that isn't the only bit of eye candy. Feragen is still up to his old tricks, and this level is a bit tougher to start out on than others. There's way more footwork with arch-viles and the regular ol' shotgun than I'm really comfortable with, but that and a secret is the early pickup for the combat shotgun and rocket launcher, essential pieces of equipment for the rest of the level clear. There isn't a lot of wholesale slaughter, but when it's on, it's on, as is the case with the storm of revenants when you enter the ground level of the tower complex, or the teleport trap to the northwest with the clutch of chaingunners. The exit trap is a true dick moment, though.

MAP20Fear of the Dark
by Martin Friberg
Friberg unleashes this simple but effective level that shines through the contrast of light and shadow. Honestly, it's mostly shooting down corridors, but it plays so quickly that I can't feel bad compared to the other slogs I've gone through so far. Twice it's huge waves of Doom II trash monsters, and once it's a bunch of barons and Hell knights and other unsavory things that floods the main area. I suppose you could use one of the inclement Cyberdemons to thin them out at no cost to yourself, but it's much more satisfying to BFG bump them into oblivion. The colonnade section at the end... not so great. Just simple and satisfying.

by Jonas Feragen
Okay, this is a pretty cool map. I mean, a few of the elements are a bit much, but the opening atmosphere is a great hook, and the tight layout leads to a few good firefights, especially in the main outdoor area with the nukage falls. I'm not fond of the corridor chock full of demons, which seems like a pointless slaughter, and the huge pack of revenants that awaits you when you return with the yellow key isn't much better, but I like the rest of it, especially the time-release teleporter battle vs. cacodemons and Hell knights. The penultimate battle is a little ridiculous; the Cyberdemon got quickly mobbed and stuck vs. all those nobles. The arch-vile surprise that follows is the nasty part, supposing you already burned all your rockets.

MAP22Sewer Slaughter
by Yashar Garibzadeh
For a cramped sewer level, it's pretty fun, but maybe that's just the past slaughters talking. Yashar has inserted his own little embellishments that add touches of faux-realism here and there. In Doom, they feel more like Easter eggs. "Sewer" inevitably turns into a ton of corridors linking up some cramped rooms, but Yashar manages to make it work. That is, if claustrophobia is your kind of thing. The bridge battle in the southernmost area is the best battle for your money. You just have to juke Hell knight plasma and grind down the spectres and Hell knights while you attack with rockets and BFG blasts until one of the sides is safe to intrude upon. Most of the teleport ambushes are hordes of commandos in places where it's easy to get them to shoot each other up, but the occasional duos of arch-viles appear in more tactical locations.

When the Heavens FallMAP23
by Martin Friberg
Friberg eschews the astute lighting of MAP20 for this level, which kind of feels like a mid-megaWAD Alien Vendetta map. Friberg's fights aren't that multi-faceted and many of them can be held back at strategic checkpoints with some liberal rocket suppression. The most complex thing you have to look forward to is the red key battle, which can be partially automated by bumping the Cyberdemon so that you can entice it to take out the ring of monsters that pops up surrounding its particular area. The most fun I had was the exit room, where the smart money is on bolting past the cacodemons and riding the elevator down to do some quick and dirty BFG weaving between the mancubus pillars before picking off the stragglers.

MAP24The Inmost Dens III
by Sam Woodman and Andy Olivera
A super-cramped slaughtermap built vaguely in the image of "The Inmost Dens". It's... really tough making any headway in this map, whether it's dealing with the cacodemons on either side of the bridge to the blue key area, or the mess of monsters installed in said blue key area, or the fantastic decision to place roaming mancubuses in the yellow key room, which can arrest your movement through an already difficult-to-navigate window. All of the good stuff is locked away in secrets, like the combat shotgun you'll use to oust the first pair of arch-viles, or the invul sphere that turns the Cyberdemon four-way into a cakewalk. It's pulling teeth all the way, and ever so slow. You'll appreciate moments like the giant cacodemon cage when they finally arrive.

The End is NighMAP25
by Pedro Arturo Gomez Blanco, Sam Woodman, and Andy Olivera
A veiled remake of "Everything Dies", perhaps? This is a refreshingly straightforward slaughterfest with belt-fed rocket launcher and BFG action where you can really cut loose and enjoy your mobile superiority. Of course, the first thing you have to do is blitz past a bunch of Cyberdemons, arachnotrons, and pain elementals to grab your BFG, but once you have it in hand you'll be able to enjoy things until what appears to be the obligatory cramped murder section in the eastern techbase annex, which has a ton of lethal traps for you to endure. The new textures help to distract from the simple but effective layout.

MAP26Dis 8000
by Pedro Arturo Gomez Blanco
The opening room has shades of "Ascending to the Stars", I think. PAGB sets us up with this slaughter-ified version of "Dis". While the scope and scale of the areas are on par with MAP25, it feels like a much slower level to me. I do appreciate the artistry in the cacodemon ambush in the northern Spiderdemon showdown room and the pentagram room behind the red key door is a great opportunity to just trigger the ambush and let infighting sort it out. The actual layout of "Dis" is kind of awkward for the mancubus shootouts that occur on two separate occasions. Is it better to let them live until the inevitable Spiderdemon x 4 showdown?

Resistance RemainsMAP27
by Sam Woodman and Andy Olivera
An obvious homage to the king of overcrowding, "Resistance is Futile". It's actually not too tough... or maybe I've just seen enough of these to know the score. It's very easy to make a safe space by clearing out the revenants in the interior space and then pick off the imps and Baron towers before rooting out the arch-viles. The channel of Hell knights backed by imps is the biggest obstacle to surmount, supposing you don't do what I did and accidentally unleash the arch-viles backing the Hell knight mosh pit. The southern room is fun with BFG weaving. The western room... Well, I wish I would have known that there were Cyberdemons waiting in the wings, because it would have been very satisfying to turn them on the revenant / arch-vile cages. As it stands, not bad. Not bad at all.

MAP28Beyond the Sea
by Andy Olivera
Holy Moses does this map drag. I appreciate all those time-release soul spheres, but what I really needed was like a million billion rockets. Olivera starts out with a sort of "Circle of Death" / Orin Flaharty main chamber with some basic brick and mortar trappings to the north and south. It's a slow, grueling level, with the vast majority of your ammo weighted toward shells. No cell weapons to speak of, not that they'd do you a whole lot of good with Andy's monster placement. The east and west pillars are staffed with commandos and arch-viles, and every time you go to hit one of the central switches (this is a cause / effect search level by the way), the author drops another. The Cyberdemons seem like an ineffectual afterthought, ready to be slow-waltzed to death with the combat shotgun and your multitude of shells. Hold on to your rockets as long as possible, because when that pack of arch-viles lets loose in the northwestern balcony, you're going to be in for the long haul. None of those entrenched hitscanner cages really compare. This is basically pulling tooth after tooth from a great white shark.

Hell's CauldronMAP29
by Jonas Feragen
Well, now; this is something cool. "Hell's Cauldron" is a lengthy summit to the top of mount Crumpet, using a liberal mixture of shotgun shells, rockets, and BFG blasts. The open air lends a very different feel to these fights compared to most of what has gone before, and though a lot of these fights seem solvable through sheer rocket spam, there isn't enough ammo to just mindlessly fire into the crowds of enemies, a few of which have been very kindly cordoned off with monster-blocking lines. Some of the encounters impart shades of the original Hell Revealed's encounter design. I really like the catwalk that cuts through the two ledges of revenants, for instance, and the time-release arch-viles that lower with the sections of the southwestern gate make up a pretty clever bit. The stinking caldera at the top of the volcano is a little anti-climactic, but it's still enough of a milestone and visual change-up that it's immensely satisfying to reach. Very neat.

MAP30Source Control
by Jonas Feragen
This is... pretty good. The opening is plain Jane slow dancing with arch-viles using your combat shotgun, but I like the effective, simple visuals. Once you slay the final imp horde, it's on to the finale, which gives you plenty of time to evaluate what you're up against. The madness doesn't start until you pull the trigger, but the monster density increases exponentially. All three keys are guarded by arch-viles and you still have to slay the Cyberdemon sentinel via traditional means or telefrag before you can flip the switch that reveals the core. Running circles around the slaughter room isn't too bad, but you have a time limit to your BFG zerging governed by the available ammo, not to mention the potential telefrags (squares clearly marked) and the fact that you only have two megaspheres to run through. A fun finisher.



  1. I really wish they didn't include map28. Its among the worst attempts at HR-gameplay I've ever seen in a big name megawad. This being in HR2 makes it all the more worse for me. Map06 also feels like the Author barely even tried.Map10's fake exit trick doesn't exactly work for me, either. Especially since the tone of the megawad was already set with the maps prior to it. The rest of the map is decent, though. Other maps are pretty fun, though a lot of them were closer to Plutonia and AV's mapping sensibilities, than HR's. In fact, I believe Map17 and 22 were originally meant for PL2.

    Anyways, Would love to see you review Kama Sutra soon. I personally find that megawad did a better job at capturing HR's gameplay and less serious atmosphere.

    1. Kama Sutra is farther away than you might think. Look for Deus Vult, first.

    2. Aight then. I look forward to that review, too.

    3. Map28 was actually pulled from this episode:

      Which was released in 1998!

    4. a fact I was aware of but neglected to mention. I'm not very enthused about trying out the rest of Andy Olivera's Doom 2200

  2. I never quite understood why they made so many "sequels". The Siege II, and The Inmost Dens III aren't even true sequels and just seem more like they didnt know what else to call them. Not That Simple II is more of a Dead Simple sequel, too.

    1. it probably goes hand in hand with making a PWAD and calling it Hell Revealed II. I think that the community of yesteryear was a lot less defensive of its "classics"; nowadays, if you have the guts to call something a sequel, like brad spencer did with his Alien Vendetta thing, you are going to have people breathing down your neck and beating you into the ground

  3. Would've loved more maps from Martin Friberg and Mattias Berggren, and less from Sam Woodman and Andy Olivera. But oh well.

  4. About AO. IIRC Eugene Kapustin one day said his energy saved this project from falling to final mordethness.

    PS This photo-captcha is NASTY :(

    1. oh, crap. in all my writing i completely forgot to mention that Olivera basically dragging this thing out the door. fixed.

      and uh, sorry about the captcha!

  5. Thanks for doing this one. I actually looked for your review before I tackled this back in early February-ish and I was surprised you hadn't appraised it.

    Um, I enjoyed it a lot for sure. Resistance Remains wasn't as hard as the original IMO, Beyond the Sea was underwhelming and frustrating to navigate at times. Mind Trap gave me the hardest time if I recall correctly. Memorable map set.

    1. it is a mapset that is very much its own, and that's cool.

  6. This is an example of a megawad where I'd say its more fun on HMP than UV for some maps. Not so much for difficulty reasons, but more for pacing reasons.

    1. kind of. this sort of reminds me of the new difficulty standard, where HMP becomes "hard but manageable fun" and then UV depending on the author becomes "crazy but manageable" or "pulling teeth with every monster" like some of bloodstain's later levels.