Thursday, June 2, 2016

That Urban Sence... (URBAN.WAD)

by Christian Hansen

Chris Hansen released a bunch of shorter levels for Doom II through 1998 and 2000, but That Urban Sence - a MAP15 replacement for Doom II published a mere month after Hansen's retirement from level design in 1999 - may be the shortest. It only figures, since it's an attempted deathmatch level that's also populated with monsters to court the single player crowd. While Chris notes that URBAN has the accoutrements of a deathmatch WAD, you'll see manic acknowledgement that he never actually tested it as such. If you've had some experience, then by all means, write in! Otherwise, it's getting the same treatment that Hansen gave it.

The author neglected to give this excursion a story. Which only figures; its primary purpose was a deathmatch map. Hansen also notes that he did not implement difficulty settings, so if you have any trouble dissembling his monster placement, you'll just have to suck it up if you want to finish. If the title didn't clue you in, it's got a vague city feel, mostly brought on by the night-time edit of Doom II's city sky, which looks pretty cool. If I had to describe the part of the urban landscape that this level represents, it would be a sort of in-between segment of an industrial park. Which, uh, is probably just a coincidence!

The level is easily divisible into two segments, linked by teleporters. The north is a pretty sedate experience with the most dangerous moment being a bunch of shotgun guys in the upper floor of the warehouse thing, which has a neat little parking garage thing going on and a Doomcute street light. The bunker teleporter and the secret both send you to the southern yard, which is where the true danger lies. It's got a lower sewer section that's claustrophobic plus specters and surprise skeletons, which will be a hit with less experienced players, and the water pit has a couple of free-floating cacodemons, an arch-vile as area control, and a couple of revenants at one of the windows as snipers in case you're foolish enough to take the arch-vile on in the open. That's why id gave us rocket launchers.

It's a very quick play, at thirty-five monsters, though the southern flooded yard can be a little disorienting due to its compact layout. I actually got there via the secret teleporter, first, which was a bit of a shocker, and since I ducked into the underhalls I had to get my bearings a bit. If you don't mind the idea of an urban microcosm, it might be a fun little Doomventure. It's certainly got some neat architectural flourishes; I really dig the leaning metal struts in the southern Hell knight yard, for instance. More than anything, I'm wondering what Hansen's city maps might look like when he starts to stray from bite-sized Doom.


1 comment:

  1. "More than anything, I'm wondering what Hansen's city maps might look like when he starts to stray from bite-sized Doom."

    = High/Low 5, more so than anything else he's made at least (to date).