Friday, January 4, 2019


by Malcolm Sailor

Quick is GoodBaron GateCenter

Whatever the final release order looks like on /idgames, it appears as though Sailor hadn't made NOSUN5 before compiling Short and Hard. The 1997 collection of three individual PWADs - much in the spirit of his earlier 3PACK_1 and DS-61-3 - gathered 1996's Quick is Good and threw in two new punchy, pint-sized Doom II adventures. CENTER will be covered in a different review; this is all about Baron Gate. Sailor was very happy with the way his MAP27 replacement played but felt self-conscious about its appearance based on the layout as drawn from the top down. I can agree with him that the automap is not the important thing when it comes to levels.

The basic feel of the level is somewhat similar to "Tricks and Traps", not because of its style of progression but as a function of the way in which it presents its encounters. The center of the map is a small arena where all of the Barons are fought and as Malcolm is quick to point out there are a total of twenty-eight to be killed... plus whatever a certain late-level surprise manages to bring back to life. You may have decidedly less fun based on your feelings toward the pink-skinned goat men. They're introduced in groups of four and while you could theoretically save them all until you receive the BFG this feels more like a case of "slow and steady wins the race".

Each switch off the main yard opens up a new wing and ushers in some more Hell nobles. The last one feels like the most inspired of the otherwise perfunctory ambushes. Other surprises include a solid brick of chaingunners who infight so easily that you actually have time to react; a couple of pain elementals for you to chainsaw to pieces; and a few ambushes centered around the crossroads-layout annexes. The last bit is where this really starts to feel like the Malcolm Sailor that Doomworld remembers. Claustrophobia is king and your ability to squeeze past dangerous, beefy enemies will be a boon.

It's cute but I wouldn't necessarily call it short after you factor in the sheer amount of meat walking around. Hard, yeah; I think BARONGAT can lay claim to that. I wish I had more to say but any additional detail would result in a play-by-play of the encounters. It's not an ugly map, just simple. If your idea of a fun jaunt involves slowly killing a small army of Barons and other sundry creatures then you might consider this.


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