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Level Review: ETERNAL.ZIP
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Overview

Tons of new textures, 34 new levels, a darkened Imp, and a front-end make up this incredible acomplishment. The textures are all very nicely done, giving the game a completely new feel. The game begins with a few TechLab levels and then goes back in time to Medievil and Castle-like constructions. Most of the levels are full of puzzles, both easy and hard, and they're all bigger than anything you've seen before. Special effects are everywhere. I continue to be amazed by these levels, in that they were all constructed to run under v1.9. Before I played this I never thought this much detail was possible. The front-end makes running the levels easy for all of you new players. It also keeps the files a little bit more organized. The few new sounds that are used aren't all that different, but they're not annoying, which is the case with most sounds. The new music does a good job of both creating an atmosphere and sounding awesome, though it can get repetative after awhile. Now, a few words of caution. First, given the enormity of the package, it clocks in at almost 9.5MB. Second, if you're not running a Pentium you'll experience considerable slowdown in many of the levels, due to their impressive size and detail. Finally, don't expect to go through this very quickly. It contains some extremely complex levels, which, when coupled with the size of the levels, can take an amazingly long time.


Genesis
Alex Mayberry
4:36
Easy
Nice introduction to the futuristic theming. It is here that your journey begins, in this seemingly abandoned Mars outpost. Very few monsters to deal with and a simple layout make it easy... images/etern_01.jpg

Tower Of Hell
Adam Landefeld
9:17
Easy
Tons of special effects on display in this dark level. The invisible rising staircase is the coolest, though. This one's a bit tougher with a group of Cacodemons chasing you at the beginning. Just find some ammo and kill them off. The rest of the level is pretty easy, but it's hard to see the monsters with the light level so darn low... images/etern_02.jpg

Inter-Base
Dia Westerteicher
15:04
Easy
Large, intricate Gray/Base level. High detail, great lighting, and an awesome layout. Entire areas transform right in front of you in some of the best looking sequences ever. A few clever puzzles to be found, as well. Item placement is superb. Monsters are everywhere, but the gameplay never seems to get overwhelming. Excellent level... images/etern_03.jpg

Nucleus
Sverre Andre Kvernmo
18:38
Medium
Huge, extremely complex Sewer level. Very detailed, especially in the crate areas. Excellent layout and a few incredibly complicated secrets. Resistance is moderate. Plenty of monsters to target as you make your way toward the exit. Ammo is low, so use those knuckles. A nice battle with a Spider Mastermind concludes this beautiful level... images/etern_04.jpg

Time Gate
Sverre Andre Kvernmo
10:26
Easy
In a purely visual sense, this level is among the best. Blue textures comprise two separate areas and both are fantastic, although the flashing staircase gives me a headache. Unfortunately, the beauty of this level isn't enough to compensate for the awful gameplay. While there are a good number of monsters, the whole thing just seems so empty. It's also a real pain if you don't know your way around. One highlight is the exit. You have four options to choose from. Each takes you to a different point in time. Two of them end the level(the right ones), but the other two are rather interesting. One takes you back millions of years, the other takes you to the future. If you go back too far you end up at a time when the Earth is forming and burn alive. If you travel into the future then you've failed your mission and the demons have taken over the planet... images/etern_05.jpg

Pathos
Alex Mayberry
11:44
Easy
Your journey through time has taken you to this castle. Very dark, as I suppose it should be. Good lighting, but even the lighted areas aren't very bright, setting the appropriate mood. The design is very linear, with almost no detours to take. Most of the level is staircases, but the aquaduct section is very cool, indeed. Monsters aren't hard to deal with given the ammo present. There's a Cyberdemon at the end, but two(!) Invulnerabilities prevent it from being challenging. Not a great level, but it's an excellent exercise in theming... images/etern_06.jpg

The Abbey
Paul Schmitz
9:56
Medium
The first of the two levels Paul contributed to the MegaWAD is this beautiful map. Design is perfect and extremely colorful, for DooM. Plenty of complex puzzles to solve. It took me forever to find those Keens the first time through. The effects are also excellently done. It's nice to see fences you can cross rather than the traditional Impassable tag which blocks everything, regardless of height. Monsters are fairly abundant, spread about the level carefully instead of the common groupings seen so often in other levels. The complete lack of downsides makes this a personal favorite of mine... images/etern_07.jpg

Woodhead
Dia Westerteicher
12:30
Medium
As the title suggests, this one, set inside what appears to be a mansion, uses tons of Wood textures. Not as complex as I've come to expect from Dia, but it certainly isn't simple. Contains some good outdoor areas and the whole thing is designed with a realistic touch. Gameplay leans toward the easy category. Sparse population, but there are a few very creative situations. For instance, you'll fight one Cyberdemon in three different places, each designed with the purpose of weakening him via other monsters. The final confrontation has said Cyberdemon teleporting between a number of platforms in a not-so-large room. The other two situations are nothing as memorable, but if you pay close attention you'll see exactly how Dia planned them. They're really quite ingenious... images/etern_08.jpg

Forlorn Fortress
Chris Couleur
14:36
Medium
Huge Castle/Fortress level. The priority here, without a doubt, is realism. Several large, elaborate courtyards provide some nice visuals, but also promise a good deal of running around. Thankfully, there's plenty of monsters to keep you busy. Keeping track of them all is a different story entirely. Be careful as you round those corners. If you have a problem finding your way through this level, you'll realize its downfall: it gets old really fast. Other than that, it's a great theme level and there's plenty of action. Just don't get stuck... images/etern_09.jpg

Crimson Tide
Kathy Bruni, David Bruni
11:54
Easy
Another castle level, but this time there's a church inside it. A courtyard separates you from the castle and that's where this level is fun. As you take out the Former Humans you awaken several Cacodemons. They slowly rise over the surrounding wall to pursue you. Later parts of the level aren't as good. Overall, quite a forgetable experience... images/etern_10.jpg

Dawn Of The Dead
Chris Couleur
16:02
Medium
Now this is an awesome level! Same huge Castle design as Forlorn Fortress, but with better gameplay so it doesn't get old. Eleven secrets will keep you searching for quite some time. You really have to be in tune with Couleur's style to figure out his levels. He has an amazing talent for making you search an entire level before finding what you were looking for right back where you started. Excellent archetechture and lighting. Nearly every area looks great. Monsters are everywhere, but if you know when and where they appear it'll be a smooth ride. Only the three Cyberdemons could possibly be a threat. The real problem here is the length: this level is just so darn long. Playing with savegames is fairly easy, but if you're thinking about recording it, beware... images/etern_11.jpg

Darkdome
Sverre Andre Kvernmo
26:14
Hard
The last of Sverre's work in this collection is this masterful Castle level. Detail and lighting are so realistic you can almost feel those rockets flying past your head. Monster placement is just plain perfect, especially the first Cyberdemon. The only complaint I have is those switches placed throughout the level. You see, before you can exit you have to run back through the level to hit a few switches. Thankfully, monsters are provided to liven up what would otherwise be extremely boring. Still, this is an extremely complex level, so you're going to have some trouble unless you remember the locations of them all. Other than that, it's absolutely brilliant... images/etern_12.jpg

Drop 'Em!
Dia Westerteicher
:08
Easy
Nothing more than a transition level, offering you three different ways to die. The title refers to your weapons... images/etern_13.jpg

Pistol Only
Dia Westerteicher
6:58
Easy
A creative, if not wholly original, approach to level design. Everything here is placed specifically for Tyson play. The design is nothing great and the gameplay is still pretty easy. Could be interesting to play without any weapons. I have a question, though. If this level is called Pistol Only then why is there a Shotgun in it? Also, the end of the level still leads into Halls Of Disarray, even though it was transferred to MAP32... images/etern_14.jpg

Celebration Of Evil
Adam Landefeld
18:37
Medium
Fantastic design and amazing lighting are highlights in this large Castle level. Four separate areas are incredibly realistic and the whole thing ties together very well. Gameplay runs at a fair pace, which stays constant throughout, starting with a group of Cacodemons chasing you around the opening area. There are very few periods without monsters and some nice traps to be found. No tough puzzles to solve or elusive switches to find. A huge improvement over the original MAP15(Halls Of Disarray)... images/etern_15.jpg

Guardstation
Adam Landefeld
9:14
Easy
Though not a spectacular level as a whole, it does have several areas to look at. Most notable would be the waterway sequence. Not much more than a series of pillars, but it looks good. Gameplay isn't anything fantastic, either. Standard small enemies to be battled. Unfortunately, there's no SSG present to make the Baron/Hell Knight killing any quicker... images/etern_16.jpg

The Crypt
Dia Westerteicher
7:57
Easy
The title should clue you in to what this level is going to look like and let me be the first to say it looks good. Ideas like taking the Blue Key reviving some of the inhabitants are cool. If that weren't enough, it's unbelievably fun, too. Just the right amount of ammo to keep your weapons loaded in preparation for the many monsters sure to step into view. The final battle with a Cyberdemon is similar to the conclusion of Inter-Base. Be careful not to run into any pillars while dodging his attacks or you may find yourself among the residents of this particular crypt... images/etern_17.jpg

Stands
Dave Brachman
6:53
Easy
If nothing else, this level is incredibly fun. Design is okay, like something out of Icarus, maybe. Gameplay rates very high, being one of the few Eternal levels that's a joy to speedrun. Lots of monsters hidden in alcoves to be activated by you. There's even a teleporter trap that allows you to eliminate some of the monsters before they teleport into the open. Not a great level, design wise, but you're going to enjoy it... images/etern_18.jpg

Warheros
Chris Couleur
28:17
Medium
After the last three short levels Chris comes back with another huge, complex, beautiful Castle level. Design is so good it's almost beyond description. The entire level is made up of many large, open, detailed areas. Add in the fact that they're interconnected and this becomes a nightmare to navigate. Over 280 monsters are present to insure your undivided attention, but they're spread kind of thin. Depending on your style of play, you may end up wiping out most monsters and walking around with nothing to do except search for switches you may have missed. You could hardly ask for a better place to wander, though... images/etern_19.jpg

Silures
Bob Evans
23:45
Medium
Whoa! The word complex doesn't begin to describe this level. There are so many switches and other triggers that it's impossible to keep track of them all. I'd say this one pretty much qualifies for the puzzle genre. It contains eleven secrets, all of which are so elaborate, if you happen to stumble onto one of them, you won't even notice you've gotten sidetracked. In fact, many secrets link different areas of the level allowing for virtually endless route possibilities. Needless to say, the design is top notch, with excellent lighting that's essential for a cave environment. A good number of monsters provide plenty of carnage to distract you from the headache inducing puzzles. A great level, altogether, but it's pretty tough to complete... images/etern_20.jpg

Fire And Stone
Adam Landefeld
7:44
Easy
While it's nothing amazing in the design department, it does offer some fair gameplay. The chapel area is nice, as is the beginning, but the rest is just okay. You'll enjoy blasting the various monsters, but there's no real threat here. While I'm on the topic of gameplay, that "Jump Here" sign was not needed. I mean, if someone can solve Silures they shouldn't have much trouble figuring out an Arch-Vile assisted jump to a very visible switch... images/etern_21.jpg

The Seeker
Chris Couleur
30:36
Hard
I'll start by saying this could easily be split into two levels. The last area is medium sized on its own, but when you add the rest of the level it becomes classic Couleur. That's right! He's come up with another Castle masterpeice, but this time it's even harder. Same style of population, with a few more monsters, including four Cyberdemons in the grand finale. Overall design is just what you'd expect, but it's not quite as complicated as his others. The lighting fits perfectly, of course. To describe this any further would be pointless. Just play it... images/etern_22.jpg

Time Gate 2
Dia Westerteicher
18:16
Medium
Unlike Time Gate, this one takes you to different points in time within the level. The overall design is very good. You may recognize one of the areas: an altered version of one of Time Gate's bad endings. Aside from that one area this has absolutely no resemblance to Sverre's work. To start with, the visuals aren't quite as impressive. That's not to say it doesn't look darn good, though. Also, there's an interesting Cacodemon-filled secret area that's worth mentioning. The gameplay is a huge improvement, with plenty of action. Altogether, this is just about the best time travel themed level I've ever played... images/etern_23.jpg

Rainbow Bridge
Chris Couleur
27:41
Medium
If you need more than the author's name to use as a hint as to what you're going to see here, you probably couldn't finish it, anyway. Of course, it's a Castle level on the grandest of scales. How grand? There's over three hundred monsters and you still aren't the least bit overwhelmed. However, some nice attacks will have them coming at you from different angles, which should make it a bit more fun. Enjoy the excellent archetechture while you look for the next switch... images/etern_24.jpg

Beginner's End
Jim Flynn
20:31
Medium
A very unique theme level that's centered around the 1st Eternal Bank Of UAC. Good, realistic design and extremely complex. Not hard to finish, just complex. Lots of special effects on display, too. The gameplay is excellent, with a few original puzzles. At one point you have to enter the correct three digit code to gain access to a key. Areas are constantly changing which can be somewhat confusing, at times. This is one of those levels that's next to impossible to describe... images/etern_25.jpg

No Parking
Jim Flynn
23:10
Hard
Ultra complex continuation of Beginner's End. As before, it's realistically designed and has lots of cool gimmicks. Even more monsters are present, upping the difficulty level a few notches. Again, its abundance of interesting ideas make describing it a futile effort. Needless to say, you're not likely to get bored... images/etern_26.jpg

Paldorian
Dave Brachman
27:20
Hard
Several good areas and fast paced battles keep this from getting boring. To start with, there's an awful lot of running around to do and not many monsters until you hit the halfway mark. After that there are a number of tough situations to survive. The whole thing's quite dark. The design is good in parts and bad in others. Overall, it's an okay level that starts out slow, but picks up speed towards the end... images/etern_27.jpg

Timeslip
Paul Schmitz
16:02
Medium
Though not quite as good as The Abbey, this second offering from Paul is still an excellent level. Designed in a combination of TechLab and Stone styles, it has a very original look. Parts of it are dark, while others are bright. Lots of special effects, including some very convincing 3D structures. It's populated with mostly larger monsters(you'll be running into Revenant's quite often), but there's more than enough ammo. The only downside I can find is its maze-like feel. Even though it doesn't have any mazes, I just can't shake the feeling of being trapped with nowhere to go. It probably has something to do with the close quarters and odd angles. That aside, you will most likely enjoy every minute of it. After all, it is one of the best levels in the set... images/etern_28.jpg

Dominion
Chris Couleur
30:24
Medium
Yet another huge castle level by Couleur. While it does contain everything usually seen in his levels, I must say this one unfolds a bit differently. To start with, the layout seems more redundant than usual. I suppose, after designing six large levels in the same style, even the most creative of us would begin to run out of ideas. That said, it's still pretty impressive. The other odd thing is the gameplay. Lots of running back and forth to kill monsters. Enough nitpicking, though. It fits perfectly with the rest of the collection... images/etern_29.jpg

Excalibur
Bob Evans
24:58
Hard
Good lord, he's done it again! This one's for those of you that thought Silures was too simple. Anyway, it's a large, intricate Castle with an excellent layout, good lighting, and great item placement. The layout, you'll notice, is very complex, offering so many opportunities for secret passages that I wouldn't even try to count them. Lighting is generally dim throughout. Still, there's tons of shadow work to be seen. Gameplay(monsters) is very carefully planned, giving you just enough ammo to take out the resistance, but not enough to be careless. As to the other side of gameplay(progression), you'll need to be pretty devious to figure this one out. If you thought Silures was too complex, this one will redefine the word for you... images/etern_30.jpg

Monster Mansion
Jim Flynn
22:25
Hard
A Summer resort complete with swimming pool, parking garage, tennis court, and...demons? Very realistic, complex theme level by everyone's favorite theme level artist, Jim Flynn. Some very cool ideas here: a security office where you can activate, and teleport to, various secrets; a TV that shows you how to reach a secret; turning on the TV via a remote control on the ground. Clever things like that make this an interesting level. Couple that with the fast paced gameplay and you've got an excellent level... images/etern_31.jpg

Halls Of Disarray
Matt Bollier
9:00
Easy
To say this level is boring would perhaps be an understatement. For the first ten or so rooms there are no monsters, but there are plenty of switches to hit. It's made up almost entirely of one Wood texture and has no alignment, whatsoever. How hard is it to unpeg the Sidedefs on a staircase? Play through it just so the author doesn't feel unappreciated... images/etern_32.jpg