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Level Review: CLEIM20.WAD
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Overview

Obviously a lot of time went into this MegaWAD. It's 32 levels built by just two people. It contains new textures, a redesigned monster, and a few new sounds. There are some faults, however. Many of the levels are maze-oriented. I don't mind mazes, as long as they're done with restraint, but the ones found here show no restraint, whatsoever. Prepare to be frustrated and annoyed by the repetitive gameplay within. With three exceptions they're all pretty easy in the monster category. All that aside, this is a very nice effort.


Advent 3:33
Easy
From the start, you can see the authors are obsessed with puzzles and mazes. It introduces you to elements seen more often later in the collection, as every first level should. A large number of secrets can be found, too, and they aren't all easy to find. There are seven of them, to be exact. Item placement is acceptable and level design is good... images/cleim_01.jpg

Holding Pens 4:08
Easy
One of my favorite levels in the set. Excellent Metal design; the outer area, in particular, is awesome. Level progression is great, with the player advancing from one side of the level to the other and back. The keys, in particular, are very well placed. Item placement is okay, but the monsters are few for such a large playing area. For a nice surprise, there are no puzzles or mazes to be found... images/cleim_02.jpg

No Quarter 2:49
Easy
A nice short level with some confusing teleporter work involved, but once you've found the right pattern it's simple and easy. Less coordinated players will hate the pillar jumping sequence, but it's really not that tough, since it's so short. Texture alignment is good and the layout is fine. images/cleim_03.jpg

Torment 2:39
Easy
This poorly designed level tries to mix too many themes. No puzzles or mazes. If you're trying to record it, a short strafe-jump in the dark room will save you a few seconds. There's not really much I can say about this one... images/cleim_04.jpg

The Cleansing 7:05
Hard
Not an inappropriate name for this level, which cleanses you of all the ammo you might've saved from the previous levels. Starting from scratch is tough, to say the least. To begin with, it has a monster to ammo ratio of 1.9:1. There's no Berserk Pack here, so you have to Chainsaw almost half the map, and that's assuming you never miss. The critical point is making sure you save enough ammo to kill the two Barons in the Yellow Key section. Health isn't terribly abundant, either, so be very careful. As far as design goes, this is an excellent level. A bit dark in places, but not many. In fact, one of the toughest parts takes place in a pitch black room where you need to Chainsaw several Imps, Demons, and a Revenant, some of which are on a slightly raised platform (it's a sort of maze)... images/cleim_05.jpg

Enclave 5:52
Easy
I'm not sure how to describe this level. It's got a short maze, a room consisting entirely of moving plats (a classic structure, but it can be really annoying), no puzzles to speak of, and a tri-maze (a series of triangle shaped rooms and doors). It's one of those levels where it's very easy to leave a monster behind... images/cleim_06.jpg

Bastion 2:05
Easy
Excellent design, but way too few monsters. Very nice, compact layout. Containing obvious goals with not so obvious solutions, it can be completed by using some clever problem solving skills. Another of my favorites in the set... images/cleim_07.jpg

Hazard Base 4:18
Easy
Mostly indoor design consisting of gray, tech, and wood styles. It all seems pretty jumbled, but it's interesting somehow. You don't need the Blue Key to exit, but it does give you access to some Cells and a Plasmagun. The switch that gives you access to the exit can only be reached after hitting another switch which is easily missed. Gameplay isn't bad, consisting mostly of tight quarters with a few open areas thrown in... images/cleim_08.jpg

Cauldron 2:26
Easy
Good marble and wood design with some excellent areas. As with some of the previous levels essential doors are only visible if you're looking for them. Short, with very few monsters to threaten you. The last area with the Arch-Vile can be fun... images/cleim_09.jpg

Veil of Blood 3:56
Easy
Standard Inferno style level. More of the same with little resistance and much running around in a fairly small level. There are two Blue Keys in here; one of them is a trap. As I'm sure you've guessed, the obvious one is the trap. Just thought I'd warn you... images/cleim_10.jpg

Annihilation 6:36
Medium
Now this is a fun level. Design is okay, but there are too many styles thrown in. No mazes, but a few teleporters should keep you off balance. Some nice lighting, too. Gameplay, however, is the highlight of this map. You're required to pass through several areas more than once and there are almost always more monsters when you return so it never gets boring. The Red Key battle is the climax, and what a climax it is. A level not to be missed... images/cleim_11.jpg

Trapped 5:24
Easy
Opening the first door reveals a very cool room. I hope you like it, because you're going to be seeing it quite often throughout this repetitive level. Opening a few more doors will lead you down a dark passageway, exiting into a large lava-filled area. There's a platform and a teleporter in the middle. No way to reach them, so you press a switch and watch as part of a series of bridges is built. You'll be repeating this task three more times, so get use to it. It looks like the author built the first section, ran out of ideas, and, in an effort to make the level longer, copied the section. Very boring, to say the least... images/cleim_12.jpg

Ground-Zero 2:55
Easy
A pitch black stone level. Design isn't bad, but gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. You can run out of ammo near the end if you're not careful... images/cleim_13.jpg

The Five 2:25
Easy
Just as dark as the last one, but design and gameplay are better. About the same length, too. Again, there're lots of switches, but it doesn't take too long to figure out what they do... images/cleim_14.jpg

Stairway to Hell 6:58
Hard
Another of my favorites. The design is easily the best in the set, with no mazes or tough puzzles to discourage you. Even the secret exit isn't much of a secret. Gameplay rates a perfect ten. Tons of action and none of it easy. There's plenty of ammo, so why isn't it easy? You'll realize it not long after you get wounded: there's not enough health. Keep in mind that most of the monsters are Former Humans, so there's no easy way to avoid their attacks. A total of three climactic battles! Need I state that this is a classic??? images/cleim_15.jpg

Bulletproof 7:47
Medium
Two cool areas connected by three annoying mazes. This is what happens when an author begins to run out of ideas. He came up with two excellent sections and couldn't think of a way to tie them together. Not surprising, since the styles are slightly different. He decided to connect them with mazes. There just has to be a better way to do it... images/cleim_16.jpg

Sole Survivor 5:00
Easy
Definitely a lack of ideas here: two mazes, with a really bad conclusion. The suspended bridge maze is actually pretty nice, but the hedge maze is boring. The whole thing is made barely tolerable by a few new textures. Also, take a look at the map. The level was built in the shape of a foot! Sole survivor, indeed... images/cleim_17.jpg

Scent of Death 8:30
Easy
Excellent level with only one section that could be called bad. I'll start with the bad part: the maze. This isn't any ordinary maze, though. You see, it's long and built out of moving plats, making it incredibly annoying. The rest of the level both looks and plays great. The first section could be straight out of DooM2. The second, a fantastic mansion-like area, is the best. Third, we have the maze. To finish it all, there's a brick island structure. Another of my favorites (just get rid of that maze)... images/cleim_18.jpg

Rise & Fall 6:52
Medium
Not many levels both look and play great, but this one does. I haven't seen such a successful combination in a long time. Complex, no mazes, and lots of action. Comes in just behind Stairway to Hell in the design category. Gameplay and level progression are great. Partly non-linear, where not all areas need to be visited to exit the level. To say this is another classic might be a bit redundant... images/cleim_19.jpg

Hip Deep 9:26
Easy
Simply put, this level is a montage of Knee Deep in the Dead. There are significant differences, but every area is inspired by some section of the classic DooM episode. You should be able to pick out what comes from where. It plays exactly the same, too. Tons of small monsters and even more ammo. No challenge here. Fans of Ultimate DooM are likely to enjoy this... images/cleim_20.jpg

Full Metal Island 8:05
Medium
Good level centered around a small metal (surprise!) island. Teleporters to the other five parts of the level, and the exit, can be found here. You can go through them in any order. The one containing the SSG is the standout section. Another moving plat maze to find your way through, but at least it's short. Good design and quite fun, too... images/cleim_21.jpg

Rosewood 7:09
Medium
A graveyard is the setting for this well-themed level. Realistic structures, including a small underground river. Very stylish design. Good, but slow, gameplay. Overall, a very nice effort... images/cleim_22.jpg

Castle of the Ancients 5:21
Easy
Brick is the dominate texture here. It's more a series of identical towers than a castle. Another case of an author having a good idea and not being able to finish it. Very repetitive. In short, it looks great, but plays bad... images/cleim_23.jpg

The Ungathered 6:46
Easy
Very dark level takes you through a series of realistic structures. Texture alignment is off in places, but otherwise design is good. There's little opposition, but the climax, containing one of only two Cyberdemons in the WAD, is excellently staged... images/cleim_24.jpg

Well of Fire 11:12
Hard
Much like The Cleansing, this level has a ridiculously high ammo ratio (2.3:1) and no Berserk Pack. This time, however, there's no Chainsaw, either. This makes for some very boring battles with Lost Souls. Tight quarters and awkward angles make Barons and Hell Knights nearly impossible to punch. Only 37 monsters, but how slow that number dwindles. The dark, boring design doesn't help, either... images/cleim_25.jpg

Release Me :30
Easy
An appropriately short last level, but way too easy. Nicely designed. It's here you'll meet the replacement for Romero's head. The brain of the operation, if you will... images/cleim_26.jpg

Command + Control 5:16
Easy
This whole level is a maze, and not exactly a pretty one, either. The texturing is bland, as is the gameplay. A level you'll most likely want to forget... images/cleim_31.jpg

Tomb of the Forsaken 2:38
Easy
Plenty of action in this fun level. Design is pretty basic, but it works great as a stage for all the violence. Still very easy, but at least it's not boring... images/cleim_32.jpg