Thursday, October 3, 2019

They Will Repent (House of Pain Part Two) (PD-TWR.WAD)

by Pablo Dictter

It's unfortunate to generalize an author's entire career based on a single level but Pablo Dictter has been most remembered for Alien Vendetta's "One Flew Over the Caco's Nest" (MAP21). It's not a horrible level but it can't compare to the masterstroke of "The Spooked", his MAP16 submission to Doom 2 Unleashed, Paul Corfiatis's 2011 community project. Judging by his AV work, his 2001 self had a pretty good eye for architectural detail but little ability to create interesting spaces. He made many levels prior to here but this is his earliest /idgames material. An archived version of his 2001 home page lists a bunch of stuff but circa the included.TXT in 04/05/00 he listed Two Gates - I believe a work in progress - and what I assume is this very PWAD. It's titled They Will Repent (House of Pain Part Two) and is an E4M5 replacement for The Ultimate Doom. Pablo doesn't mention a source port but I don't see anything that a limit-removing one couldn't handle.

This level claims inspiration from the map slot that it replaces but there is no direct link between it and the Theresa Chasar / Tim Willits joint apart from featuring marble and, sparingly, blood. I get the "House of Pain" namedrop, though, since there's one window for viewing a torture colonnade and the ending puts you in the thick of one. The geometry is otherwise similar to AV's MAP21. Think corridors and rectangular rooms minus any real twists. Most of the difficulty in navigating the piece comes from it being composed of six isolated spaces, all linked via teleporter. Dictter has a pretty cool aesthetic going on, including both tech guts and actual intestines in recessed wall graphics and large, centerpiece columns. They add some much needed color to the scheme.

PD-TWR is tricky to complete without jumping but trivial with. The first of these instances involves the organic pedestal centerpiece in the southernmost chamber. If you manage to fall into the pit - which you might while you're dodging fireballs and demons - then you will become stuck. No damage floor, just a pitfall. The other bit centers around the yellow key. You have to raise a further section of platform in order to reach it but must still vanilla-hop to the torch pedestal, then following onto the key ledge.  Combat is mostly easily-slaughtered imps and demons with a couple of Barons thrown in for good measure. None of the encounters offer much of a surprise apart from the one around the organics pit. Neither Baron is capable of exerting pressure on a practiced player, making for relatively banal shotgun grinds. You have plenty of health and ammo, though. I had eighty-three shells by the time that I had cleared out this cozy little corner of Hell.

Pablo has a pretty interesting debut but I don't see a huge amount of difference between this and the flat, underwhelming "Caco's Nest". I really dig the architectural theme, at least. It will be interesting to see what sort of deviations occur between here and then and parts beyond.


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