Friday, December 2, 2016

Warp House (MA_WRP.WAD)

WARP HOUSE
by Ed Cripps


Ed Cripps may only release one level a year, but if anyone has shown where GZDoom can push the level design of Doom, it's him. Mostly known for his Sin City series, which rolled on into stuff like Valhalla and the Quake II-like Putrefier, Ed's levels typically feature painstaking level design including architecture, detailing, and lighting. 2016 is no exception with the publication of Warp House. It is, unsurprisingly, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II. It's also saturated with only the finest eye-candy that slopes and 3D floors can produce. Alas, there is no framing narrative to set the scene; I guess the least you can do is come up with your own after Ed did all the hard work!


The basic style is a sort of corrupted techbase map in the general sense of Doom's second episode, also referred to as the Deimos style. Little bits of demonic influence are everywhere, whether it's something as subtle as the skull overlooking the nukage cistern that dominates the level's western area or the cavernous, fleshy, toothy tunnel that leads to the map's Hellish northeastern section. All exploration is done under the baleful E2 sky, brought to life as a skybox that aids the feeling of a UAC installation built around a crater, now plunged into a dimension of untold misery and suffering.


There are a lot of cool areas, but my favorite would have to be the opening crater scene. You start out on a platform in the pool at the bottom, afterward riding an elevator up to the walkway that spans from the east to the west. The eastern side leaves an impressive facade, leaving the west looking slightly scatterbrained in comparison. It's a great environment, though, which reminds me of something like Metroid Prime. The bodily grossness of the Hellish northeastern is not to be underestimated, either, with its toothy protuberances and bloody, flowing staircase. On the cleaner side - as long as you ignore the nukage - the walls and windows of toxic cistern look immaculate. The upper ring with the partially lit UAC sign is a great cherry to have on top.


Warp House's combat is very trappy and often employs things like clown-car style revenant ambushes coming from a distance or a handful of brutal arch-viles. Each of the boss monsters appears once; the Cyberdemon's my favorite, since you won't have the secret BFG to just flatten him, unlike the Spiderdemon. Plasma and rockets are pretty fast and loose once you've got them, though, and you'll want them for those relatively claustrophobic ambushes and pile-on teleport ambushes. Of all the encounters, my favorite is an elaborate trap encountered early on that combines lethal, piston-style crushers and damage floors with a potentially limitless supply of demons and lost souls as you bounce from switch to switch, opening up more of your very small space and probably forgetting about the squishers again and again since they move rhythmically rather than constantly... if that makes any sense.


In spite of all the traps and skeletal kicks to the head, Warp House feels like a very fast play, even if my time counter read 43 minutes (not counting the reloads, of course). If you should slay the final big badass and wonder if there's anything left to do, I ask whether you found the Dopefish. If not, well, looks like you've not yet finished! If you can play MA_WRP on your compy, you should. It's really cool.



THAT'S A MA_WRP, PEOPLE

This post is part of a series on
Doomworld's 2016 Cacowards

The Top TenBest MultiplayerRunners Up
Tech Gone BadAeonDMWarphouse
Ancient Aliens32in24-16THT: Threnody
Nihility: Infinite TeethBest Gameplay ModBloodstain
MutinyDoom 4 DoomStrange Aeons
Absolutely KilledMordeth AwardEchelon
Elf Gets PissedDoom the Way id Did:Shadow of the Wool Ball
ComatoseThe Lost Episodes
MiasmaMockaward
Alpha Accident: Terra NovaLudicrium
Japanese Community ProjectMapper of the Year
Blades of Agony E1Lainos

2 comments:

  1. I get the feeling that Ed Cripps (given enough time) could make his maps into a mega pack. Although playing this, it reminded me of an odd splice between Thunder Mountain and E3 M1.

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    Replies
    1. a set of Cripps maps would be awesome, but given how he works and polishes probably a longshot

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