Wednesday, November 15, 2017


by Joe Pallai

Joe Pallai hasn't been one of the community's more prolific authors but he's enjoyed a fairly prestigious career during the source port boom as a contributor to 2002: A Doom Odyssey and the lesser-known Endgame as well as part of the original Plutonia 2 development team. Joe started out making his one-man megaWAD, PUREDOOM, and releasing the levels as they were finished. From what I can tell he completed four of them, with three making it to the archive and one languishing in obscurity as one of the cut Plutonia 2 levels. Entryway is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II released in 2000 and I assume that it would have been the first level of the finished megaWAD.

PUREDOOM's narrative is completely appropriate given the working title and most of the specifics are left to the imagination. You're the marine from Doom II and you're fed a long list of reasons why there is no reason to worry about another infernal invasion. First, the gateway experiments have been discontinued forever. Second, the UAC has developed a new "dimensional seal" technology that should prevent further breaches between realities. I'd like to know more about those seals. You're unconvinced, not because of any obvious malfeasance but due to how badly Hell wants in. It was only a matter of time.

Entryway is pretty meaty for an opening level unlike its namesake. It fields Hell knights, lost souls, cacodemons, and arachnotrons in addition to the usual Doom II trash. It's also really tight on ammo, suspiciously so. Survivalist players will get more out of this on UV than others. I'm not sure how much use you'll find in the chainsaw. Patience and pistol play are paramount considering that most of your shells will come from dead shotgun guys (not counting the two boxes in the exit room). The chaingun is a similarly late pickup, snagged from the commandos in the final two chambers.

Most of the action is concentrated in the opening yard which also makes up the majority of the level. The initial opposition isn't too threatening but there are some imps overlooking you from a barred window and a handful of fliers ready to sneak up on you at the first sign of action.  Partway through you'll bring one of the outer walls down to reveal a northeastern segment but the arachnotrons are the main draw. I like the two interior areas. The blue key bunker is a dangerous place to stumble into while looking for shelter from the storm and not just because of its crusher trap. The eastern passage leads to the exit and seems to be some kind of production environment complete with an obligatory crate warehouse and a couple of bits of moving machinery to add to the ambiance.

The thing that strikes me the most about Entryway is its layout. The exterior of the northern building has an interesting facade that elevates it above banal orthogonality and the section of the eastern building spiraling off the overlook is decidedly organic in its design, resembling nothing of the actual interior of a building because right angles are typically more functional in realspace. They're much less interesting, of course, which is why it's nice to see the irregular shape of the machine corridor running northeast to the exit room. I live and work in a world dominated by rectangular spaces and find Doom's unusual designs more interesting to play.

If you're looking for solid scrapper-style gameplay or just more adventures in Doom II you'll get some mileage out of Entryway. Having played it I'm looking forward to the rest of Pallai's admittedly limited output.


No comments:

Post a Comment