Sunday, April 2, 2017

Flood Mines (TQMAP1.WAD)

by Tommie "Fatal" Quick

Flood Mines is Tommie Quick's (aka Fatal) first published level, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in 1997. A member of Team TNT at the time, it wouldn't be until their later deathmatch WADs (Pursuit and Reclamation) where he would establish himself as a contributor. If he's known for anything, though, it's probably his 2001 ZDoom projects, TRUST and Doom Resurrection Episode 1. Where those horsed around with stories and setting there is nothing establishing the narrative of Flood Mines. It's just an ordinary extra mission for Doom II, prestigious by association.

And, uh, Flood Mines is an interesting play, exhibiting some of the more contentious traits associated with 1994 user levels. Woe to the player who triggers the red key area ambush unawares since you'll either have to quickly kill the arch-vile leader or run right up the tunnel you came in from. There's also the dickish blue key shrine, a red herring in an inaccessible poisonous pool, not that the monster closet full of commandos or death trap damage floor do a good job of cluing you in. It's probably easy to get hung up on this one thing, as obtuse as it is. There's also a friendly neighborhood arch-vile (while you're using the invul sphere, at least) hiding in a false wall alcove. You'll need to dart inside in order to access a slightly elevated switch.

The southwestern area is a chasm with an invisible bridge that incurs a pretty nasty encounter once you cross the halfway point, raising up a couple of skeletons and chaingunners on the side you're moving two and unleashing two cacodemon / single pain elemental trios to tangle with. The skull pillar drainage pit is one of the more inspired traps since it's got a lot of trash monsters plus a couple of heavies trundling around and happens as a not-quite-false-floor thing. I also like the relatively straightforward mancubus / revenant arena since it's mostly about dodging fireballs and shooting your rocket in a pretty open space. Contrast with the computer maze immediately opposite, which is just deadly dull shooting zombies counter-clockwise and then chewing through three Barons of Hell on the way back.

Progression involves moving forward until you hit a series of bars blocking a passage or door and then ducking into the latest side-area before you can remove your obstacle and keep on chooglin', starting out in the flooded mine portion that dominates the level's eastern half and then taking on a sort of dark metal and shiny starbase annex that constitutes the western portion, which substitutes bars for plain ol' tech doors, using open-wait-close actions as a timing-based wrinkle. Architecture is pretty basic / plain and while most of it doesn't stand out I can't help but notice the dynamic lighting divide, adding some character to the brick and mortar flooded portions but mostly nonexistent in the futuristic area save some token strobes in the E1M2-ish computer maze.

I like Flood Mines; the combat may not be the most thrilling but it's got plenty of goofy Doom things you're not likely to see on a regular basis like the one long corridor trap floor leading to the skull colonnade or the multiple random crusher pillars found back in the starting area once you return. It has all of the elements of "charming" 1994 levels plus some of the things that are known to cause rage quits. It will be interesting to see how he moves from this to the acclaimed Doom Resurrection.


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