Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ockham Complex (SWOCKHAM.WAD)

by Sam "Metabolist" Woodman

Woodsy spent the year 2000 throwing his weight behind a lot of different projects. The only one that really panned out was Plutonia 2, just not with him at the helm. Ockham Complex, a MAP01 replacement for Doom II, begins 2001 without a continuation of any of the previous material. Sam does mention the hotly anticipated Mortiser 2, but it's in reference to another classic megaWAD: Alien Vendetta. I guess he was waiting to see whether or not Anders and co. were going to accept or reject it and made SWOCKHAM in the meantime. Woodman did get one map into the illustrious AV - but you already knew that, didn't you?

Ockham Complex is a very short - perhaps parsimonious - level with just under 70 monsters. The theme is a sort of fusion of Hellish castle and techbase portions and almost maybe brings to mind Chris Hansen's Flay the Obscene. The architecture is serviceable if not distinguished. The opening area sticks out in my mind for the lightcasting from the southern windows, the elevated computer deck, and the neat-looking but potentially frustrating metal ribs that line the hallway leading to the exit room. The descending u-shaped staircase / corridor is the neatest feature of the tech portion apart from a little barred-off elevator. It tries, halfheartedly, to convey a greater sense of depth beyond this misbegotten microcosm of masonry and manufacturing. The little basement window in the alley to the southwest does a much better job.

The action is about on par with Mortiser 1 but it's more compelling since Woodman doesn't try to stuff oodles of ineffectual zombies down your throat. The Doom II trash is as a result much beefier and the three main legs of your journey are capped with Hell nobles. While the combat consists mostly of hallway clearing the population is less dense and the two major rooms offer some decent fights. The southeastern room has a drip feed of commandos arriving on the central pillar so you can still sort of push around with a slight division of your attention. The yellow key courtyard and all its demons is a bit more awkward since Sam has included ten torches and two tech lights to fuck up your maneuvering, making things a bit easier for that revenant to get ya.

SWOCKHAM is a fun little Doom II detour provided you're not looking for any sort of non-linearity or orchestrated combat scenarios. Drop in, clear the base, and drop out. Hopefully the rest of his output features more of this and less mindlessly mowing down malefic undead. 


No comments:

Post a Comment