Wednesday, November 2, 2016
PC_WOLF, a Wolfenstein Classic (PC_WOLF.WAD)
I grew up playing Wolfenstein 3D, and while I'm not against playing it, it's not something I look for in Doom II levels. There are some who can't get enough of that shit, though. Paul Corfiatis continues to cram Wolf3D-themed maps into his work as late as 2015; back in '97, he was doing the same thing with his his brother Joe. PC_WOLF is a collection of what Paul calls his brother's best levels - MAP01-04 - and two that Paul hadn't yet shown to the world. Released in 1999, this six map episode will probably find favor with a select few Doomers who, like Paul, enjoy slaying SS Nazis in boxy rooms ad nauseum.
The good... The brothers Corf have included a science fiction sky that is completely at odds with the surrounding material. It looks like something out of Star Wars; Bespin Cloud City, maybe? It's also got some decent action scenarios, though they're almost entirely confined to Joe's MAP03 ("The Dark Secret") and Paul's own MAP05 ("The Solved Trick") which both use a fair variety of Doom / Doom II monsters. There are the occasional interesting rooms and bits of detailing that sort of freshen up a format that some may argue hit its peak with its debut in Doom II.
Every bit of non-Wolf3D detailing and architecture sticks out like a sore thumb, though, reminding me how dull said format is, at least in how it's typically presented. I think it's okay for a laugh and the occasional secret level, but I wouldn't want to base the main event around large, rectangular rooms and SS Nazis delivered in groups of four. I think it's perfectly possible to create Doom II levels using Wolfenstein 3D as a theme and I'm sure that Laz Rojas's WolfenDoom PWADs fit the bill, not to forget stuff I've actually played like "An Inglorious Basterd" from Zones of Fear, Xaser's divine "Wolfenstein" from Doom 2 In Name Only, or Paul's own "Hitler's Theatre" from Doomed Space Wars. The Wolf3D stuff is just the least interesting to me. Bring on more stuff like that cacodemon room with the two corner mancubuses.
PC_WOLF also has its own soundtrack, but the tracks are among Paul's least appealing. MAP02 has the most "normal", but like the rest it's a very short, simple loop. It's got sort of a feel of building atmosphere, but none of the pieces ever develop. While I doubt that a rockin' series of tunes would significantly change the way I feel about this collection, the more or less ambient orientation makes already lackluster action drag. Well, it's presumptuous of me to assume that these songs are actually Paul's, but nothing in the presentation leads me to believe otherwise. I feel like I've heard MAP01 from somewhere, it's more a nagging feeling than anything substantial.
I'm still part of PC_WOLF's target audience; though I'm not the kind of person that digs MAP31-style levels, I AM the sort of person that would play Paul's lesser-known PWADs (or obscura in general). Call it completionism, curiosity at how Paul was doing stuff back in '97, or the pursuit of something worth sharing with people who haven't... And there is!
a Wolfenstein Classic
by Paul and Joe Corfiatis
POLITICALLY CORRECT WOLF