Thursday, June 21, 2018

Quick is Good (QUIKISGD.WAD)

by Malcolm Sailor

Quick is GoodBaron GateCenter

The archive has QUIKISGD listed immediately after 3PACK_1 as far as release dates go but the .ZIP for its sequel, QUIKISG2, has a bibliography of sorts that calls a lot of things into question. I believe it to be an artifact of Sailor's penchant for updating stuff to fix bugs. In the previous year, 1995, he released a couple of single levels - DARKER and RULER - before a package of three individual outings including a new version of the latter solo venture (3PACK_1). All of his 1996 stuff is timestamped in July of that year but I couldn't tell you whether he was just storing PWADs like a camel, updated a bunch of stuff at the same time, or had one really productive summer vacation. I'm leaning toward the second.

This one actually has a small framing blurb but it doesn't make a lot of internal sense. You don't know where you are, but you are sure that there is a chapel outside and it contains a teleporter capable of taking you back to your house. To make matters worse you're under some kind of assault from evil things, a powerful motivator to escape. The juxtaposition of mystery and certainty is to me the sort of sensation that I experience in a dream. I usually do not know the specifics of whatever world my slumber has conjured forth but my knowledge of its focus feels absolute... until it isn't.

Quick is Good is both a very short level and quite fun as well. Making any headway requires leaving the safety of your skin-clad bunker and venturing into the marble and metal outer yard. The mixed denizens on either side, caged revenant overseers, and Hell knight bridge guard make for some dynamic combat that is sure to keep you moving into the hitscanner Hell of the southern annex. When you finally clinch the yellow key you're free to collect the combat shotgun but the upswing in skirmishing power comes with a similar boost in the nature of your opposition, including a total of three potential arch-viles.

This map looks way nicer than Malcolm's early levels and a lot of it comes down to the lighting, whether it's the small candle highlights on the marble Icons or the long lightcasting (both dynamic and not) built into the southeastern sections of the level. The contrast is pretty much perfect. It's also fun to see the author's new forays into sector machinery like a hitscan switch which opens up part of the bullet tunnel. It's also worth mentioning that the level's one secret offers no pickups as a reward... but it is the place where you can trigger a switch to crush an arch-vile to death before it can become an actual issue.

My favorite moment of QUIKISGD? The blue key puzzle, because I love to field that kind of curve ball. I found it to be intuitive. Your mileage may vary. It may not reach the pinnacle of the CHORD series but when it comes to crunchy, challenging popcorn Doom you could do a lot worse than Quick is Good.


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