Saturday, September 1, 2018

Rip It, Tear It, Smash It! (RITESMIT.WAD)


Chris didn't know it when he started to help Paul out on 2002: A Doom Odyssey but he was beginning a love affair with the Ultimate episodes that has gone on until - as of right now - his Shores of Hell-themed collection, Monument, released in 2015. While most of his contributions to 2002ADO were styled after Thy Flesh Consumed, he did squeeze out "Obituary Written" for E3 and "Station Beta" for E2 before moving on to Phobos-style stuff (CH Retro Episode). Rip It, Tear It, Smash It! is a pair of Deimos-influenced oddities, uploaded to the archives at the end of 2002. As was the case with his Knee Deep in the Dead tribute, these E2M1 and E2M2 replacements have no associated story and could just as easily be tacked on to Doomguy's continued adventures through the Doomed base.


RITESMIT showcases a kinder, gentler Hansen than the one who cut his teeth on E4-stuff. The author isn't trying to grind you down through sheer meat and austere item placement; he just wants you to have a fun time killing demons and maybe get a little lost. The first level is a short episode-opener that also kicks off Monument as the appropriately-titled "Rip and Tear". The second is a lot longer, fielding four times as many enemies... though you won't see a single lost soul. The level that would be known as "Smash It!" has a few precious optional areas containing valuable pickups like the rocket launcher and a somewhat non-linear layout that leaves you to figure out how to reach the tantalizing red key.


Many of the Deimos tropes are here, though the damage floors tend more toward nukage green than blood-red for E2M2. You won't see any crushing ceilings but Hansen has teleporter traps - often big ones - and keeps players on their toes and distrusting the level geometry with monster closets and lock-in fights. There's even a save-or-die scenario but it's patently obvious and marked by a sign. The author is otherwise accommodating with his pits of pain and while he may put your back against a potentially treacherous chasm, retreat is still possible and even escape should you happen to fall in.


Transporters are still used sparingly and, continuing on with the theme of engendering player skepticism while exploring, they unilaterally consist of one-way tickets to disparate sections of the levels. Thrusting the player into new territory is a nice way to resurrect the fear of the unknown since there's no place to retreat to and it's even better when you aren't placed immediately under duress in order to develop the tension. In its strongest form the player has no real frame of reference to the place where he or she came from except for sheer distance as viewed on the automap but Chris doesn't push the envelope in that direction. At least, not for this outing.


RITESMIT is a cool mini-adventure with enough space given to warm you up before setting you loose on a real twister. I'm looking forward to see how he pulls together and polishes his Shores of Hell diaspora to create his lauded Monument episode. If you're looking for a nice, meaty jaunt for the original Doom, then you could do a lot worse.





RIP IT, TEAR IT, SMASH IT!
by Chris Hansen

E2M1
Kickin' out the love with a nice, short opener. The overgrown and corrupted look of the Deimos base is evident and Hansen shows off the Shores of Hell toolkit by adding several traps, one of which is a large, drip-feed teleporter ambush. The great gimmick is a lock-in that seals you off from the starting area until you fight your way through to the return teleporter. While there are a lot of monsters including a cacodemon or two the shotgun guys are the main threat. Cool architecture; I particularly like the staircase run from outside the exit hallway to the overlook where you start out.

E2M2
A huge, infested techbase with a complex layout that slowly opens up as you explore. Well, most of the opening up happens toward the very end. I see some parallels between this and its much younger sibling, The Wailing Horde, particularly in how you see the red key in its room but won't build the catwalk to cut across it, much less stand astride it until considerably later. The southern section has a very utilitarian look with the repeating sewer canals and the method of their connection gives the appearance of serving a real function without the baggage that often comes with the perfunctory clearing of such architectural features. I really like the organic-overgrown hallway to the southwest and its portal to oblivion. Taking you through the previously glimpsed northwestern portions to end the level is a nice way to cap things off. There's a lot of meat to slay but my two favorite encounters are 1) the chaingun trap, which triggers a veritable mob of demons and 2) the lock-in fight with the two Barons and interfering cacodemons that serves as the finale.

3 comments:

  1. This is still one of my favorites, and I believe he released an entire episode's worth of Deimos-style maps including these two. I just can't remember the name of the wad...

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    Replies
    1. as I mention in the opening paragraph it's called Monument.

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  2. lol Of COURSE you did. This is what I get for reading your post four hours past my bedtime...

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