Sunday, May 6, 2018

Rule the World! (RULER.WAD)

by Malcolm Sailor

Rule the World!Omelet FaceTEKRKBRN

After beginning his career with the truly titled Darker mid-1995, Malcolm published Rule the World! later that year in September and then quickly re-released it after a few quick bugfixes as part of a package alongside Omelet Face and TEKRKBRN. I will be reviewing 3_PACK1 aka Three Kick Ass WADs as a whole package but first I'll be covering each of the included levels. RULER is a MAP01 replacement for Doom II and Sailor claimed it to be one of the better ones that he had seen. It's certainly more visually interesting than Darker, whose light levels prevented you from actually witnessing the map itself.

The intro makes some other pronouncements but they aren't really reflected in the level design. At least, not without a considerable amount of playing pretend. The author asserts that this time you are a bad guy rather than the good one. Presumably, completing the PWAD enshrines you as the lord of this domain. I doubt whether you are literally a villain. It appears be a matter of perspective since the level geometry itself borrows heavily from Doom II's "Gotcha!" and "Nirvana". Together, they mark the moment in the threadbare story where Doomguy crosses over from our dimension into Hell to slay its apparent ruler, the Icon of Sin.

MAP20 and 21 aren't the only things that Sailor borrows concepts from but the latter informs the level's design the most. It's divided into four physically separate locales, accessible via teleporter, and features smaller permutations of "Nirvana"'s two northwestern areas. The changes to the platform room are fairly novel as reaching the key terrace opens up a couple of side areas with commando / cacodemon turrets and you have to clear out one of them to trigger the lift to return to the red key door. The opening southern section is a similarly fun-sized derivation of "Gotcha!"'s island sandbox style minus the damage floor as well as any ambiguity about where you have to go. The only really recognizable element besides the ocean / outpost dynamic is the superficial resemblance of the western teleporter to MAP21's northeastern island's descending staircase / ledge jump feature.

The final segment is a bit more novel as it's a big outdoor marble staircase whose steps are littered with commandos and which has a boss shooter somewhere out of the picture. The megasphere right next to the start makes things easy but it's still kind of dangerous to just run in blazing and snag the plasma gun which you'll need as entering the room closes the door to the exit switch for thirty seconds, forcing you to deal with a demon invasion for a bit. It looks nice cool and it's pretty fun to play. The "Nirvana"-islands homage is another good piece of action since Sailor makes the rocket launcher available and has crammed a ton of explosive ordnance into your hands by then so you can really cut loose on all the heavies.

This map isn't nearly as atmospheric as Darker but the combat makes it much more fun to play. Part of this is a result of borrowing tried and true concepts from Doom II, of course, but I'm way more excited to see Malcolm's next release since this one is so far removed from the claustrophobic experience of his debut. It's not great but it's functional and is recommended to those folks who enjoy seeing echoes of the original levels in the PWADs that they play.


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