Saturday, November 30, 2019


by "Memfis" and Aleks Shahov aka "Plut"

Memfis has had a long and obscenely productive authorial career. 2011-2012 was a sort of warming-up period, followed by an even more prolific string of ideas in 2013-2015. Suteni isn't the last of his '12 period - that honor belongs to Horalky - but it wasn't uploaded into 2014, part of a huge dump to /idgames. Of all his early releases it's distinct for being a tag team feature. I dunno what sort of relationship Memfis and Plut had back in 2012 but they appear to share some similar interests. After all, they both cameoed in the French community's 3 Heures d'Agonie II. On this particular occasion they collaborated to produce a MAP01 replacement for Doom II that affirms compatibility with limit-removing ports.

Memfis is a bit of a Japanophile and has named his PWADs after manga. I was expecting to run into something salacious given Menkui and Tayutayu but through some digging discovered that it's a brilliant bit of wordplay. It's actually an anagram of tenisu, the Japanese word for "tennis", referring to the fact that the authors passed the level back and forth during development. When I plugged Suteni into the ol' Google translate, though, it helpfully broke the word down to a phrase - "sute ni" - which, roughly translated, means "to throw away". Given Memfis's sometimes self-deprecating attitude I have no problem believing this to be a dismissive double entendre.

It's a fun little level. Most of its playable space consists of outdoor courtyards. All three major exterior areas are physically linked by a relatively small indoor / underground segment but a handful of teleporters offer more options to freely move around the layout. The up-front challenge to anyone venturing into the cave is, of course, a relatively early arch-vile. The authors have tucked in plenty of shells into an alcove behind you but I can imagine folks being hesitant at confronting an archie with only the basic shotty. It's perfectly doable, though, and you might do some hoofing before you acquire the trusty super shotgun.

The rest of the combat is generally easy to handle. The early chaingun pickup lets you pick off zombies and shotgun guys with ease and the toughest thing to outmaneuver - besides the second arch-vile - will be revenant rockets. Memfis and Plut take things to a weird 11th-hour twist with the final encounter. It's a simple telefrag scenario but the timing is off then I imagine that you could catch a rocket while you're stuck in a destructing Cyberdemon. The lack of mancubi, arachnotrons, and pain elementals gives the set a relatively relaxed feeling. It's not like there's a lot of truly hard work for the few viles to undo and the isolated skeletal surprises are pretty easy to waffle through.

Suteni is a cute map. The architecture isn't anything to write home about but the authors took the time to include some cute props like a gazebo / ring structure and a weird post-modern FIREBLU and rebar sculpture. I am imagining some sort of symbolism here, or maybe the cracked red earth under the dead marine that looks like the Zodiac sign of aries. Other less sensical objects include the free-floating piece over the lake next to the single graveyard (an echo of ICARUMEM?) and a pushbutton in the sky in the western, adjacent room. I like the music track, too. I haven't played Alundra but "Dream a Dream" has a nice fantasy feel and the overgrown ruins vibe doesn't really conflict with the presentation.

This isn't the coolest entry in the Memfis back catalogue but Suteni is notable for its tennis match approach to level design and better illustrates his camaraderie with Plut. If you can handle the couple of arch-viles then you might better appreciate its relatively relaxed pacing.


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