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Level Review: HR.WAD
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Overview

It took Yonatan Donner and Haggay Niv approximatly one year(not long, considering that there are 32 original levels) to complete this awesome MegaWAD. If you've played the Plutonia Experiment then you should recognize the style; it's very similar. The levels are all top quality, of course. There are a few fairly original designs(when I say original I mean as in style, nothing was copied), and one that is so completely original it almost looks out of place. Aside from the beautiful levels, the most noticable feature is the difficulty level: it's off the charts! However, before you dismiss them as impossible, take a look at the UV DemoPack(no MegaWAD is complete without one). It proves that all the levels are possible, if just barely. The type of difficulty alternates: sometimes your ammo is limited, but most times the only thing you need to worry about is staying alive. All levels are loaded with monsters; some tactically, some not so tactically. If you have trouble completing these levels there's no need to feel bad, because everyone else does, too.


Into The Gate 1:10
Easy
A very small TechLab level. Some nice lighting and a set of motionless Demons make this memorable. There's a teleporter trap towards the end. You'll be seeing tons of those throughout the set, so get used to it. This is just a warm up. There's an unmarked secret area that some of you may like... images/hr_01.jpg

Gateway Lab 1:45
Easy
Same style as the last one, but slightly longer and with more monsters. Over a hundred monsters, actually, but it's still a walk in the park. Enjoy it while you can... images/hr_02.jpg

The Dumpster 1:37
Easy
Again, very small. Kind of an odd mix of styles, though. Cement, Brick, TechLab. Surprisingly, they work well together. Same gameplay as before, but the structure is a bit more confining this time around... images/hr_03.jpg

The Garden Terminal 1:11
Easy
The first part(by Yonatan) is a good outdoor area, with a few ideas you'll see later on. If you pay attention, you'll notice the caged Revenant can move through his cage. Also, don't even bother trying for that BFG. The latter half of the level(by Haggay) is an acceptable TechLab... images/hr_04.jpg

Core Infection 2:43
Easy
I'm not sure why, but I've always liked this TechLab level. The design shows a deffinate talent for intricate designs, but Yonatan never really explored that. It's complex, in a basic sort of way... images/hr_05.jpg

The Round Crossroads 2:52
Easy
The great outdoor segment makes up for the somewhat boring interior. The indoor part mixes several styles and seems quite bare, while the outdoor area is excellent. Quite fun when speedrunning... images/hr_06.jpg

Arachnophobia 4:25
Medium
You're inside a giant spider. Your mission: kill 46 Arachnotrons and one Spider Mastermind. Simplistic, but original, design. Clearing out that many Arachnotrons with only a SSG handy can be pretty tedious, though... images/hr_07.jpg

The Jail 3:28
Easy
Composed mostly of Brick, this small level by Haggay is actually quite good. Though it isn't much of a theme level, the design does contain some dark spots suitable to a jail. The chopping block, in particular, is very clever. Gameplay still resides in the easy category... images/hr_08.jpg

Knockout 7:54
Medium
Generally attractive TechLab, Brick combination. It contains serveral beautiful areas, such as the Yellow Key arena as well as most of the first half. Tyson style gameplay also makes for some interesting battles. It's filled to the brim with over three hundred monsters. 128 Imps will drop in on you after you take the Yellow Key, so be prepared. Those of you that aren't good at punching, or just don't like doing it, will find this level more than a little repetative. Given my natural Tyson tendencies, I love it. It's the first level in the collection that will benefit from a source port... images/hr_09.jpg

Chambers Of War 3:49
Easy
A friendly Mansion level, where ten Hell Knights and a Mancubus can eat dinner together, in peace. That is, until you disturb them and the Mancubus accidentally hits a few of his friends with fireballs aimed at you. That's probably the most creative situation in this theme level. The rest of the party isn't as friendly, since the residents are all demons. Short and mildly entertaining level, by Haggay... images/hr_10.jpg

Underground Base 9:53
Hard
The first level you're likely to encounter problems with. The design mixes too many styles to be completely coherent in the beginning, but the latter half holds together pretty well. However, difficulty is the star of this level. Assuming every shot connects, you'll have 5% of the initial ammo to spare. There are three Cyberdemons in the level and two are placed to allow them to take out other monsters. Arch-Vile's are also present, giving you the opportunity to kill Former Humans and have them revived, ad infinitum, to generate more ammo. As you're doing all of this, be careful, because health is fairly slim... images/hr_11.jpg

Great Halls Of Fire 3:51
Medium
Deffinately not the best level in the collection, but a few nice areas make it worth a look. Mostly Subterrainian design. This was originally going to be a transition level for difficulty until Yonatan repopulated Underground Base. The SSG trap is inventive, but it's much faster to grab it and come back later after all the monsters have been released... images/hr_12.jpg

Last Look At Eden 8:38
Hard
This beautiful outdoor level is one of the best in the collection. Yonatan perfectly captured the style of Plutonia. The excellent layout and the shadowing effects alone will blow you away. The gameplay starts out fast and never lets up. There are two ways to complete it: the speed demon approach, or the calculated, methodical approach. Speedrunning this level is nearly impossible due to its unpredictability if all the monsters are let loose at once. If you go through it carefully it's not nearly as bad. Either way, it requires a good amount of infighting to preserve ammo. You should be warned: almost everything is a trap. The Blue Key cage is particularly lethal... images/hr_13.jpg

City In The Clouds 8:09
Hard
Another beautiful creation, this is Yonatan's answer to the common Cityscape level. Various styles of buildings span what is basically one huge open area. Gameplay is tough, of course, offering straightforward action from beginning to end. A few of the buildings have little alcoves in which Revenants have been placed. Ridding the level of these annoying pseudo-snipers is a very boring task. Otherwise, the rest of the level is great... images/hr_14.jpg

Gates To Hell 6:54
Hard
A grim courtyard area surrounded by some brighter Brick designs. Gameplay is a mixed bag. On one hand, you've got the secret exit. You gain access to it by finding three cleverly hidden switches throughout the level. The nonstop action will keep your mind off the somewhat confusing teleporter work. On the other hand, there are the four Cyberdemons that teleport into the courtyard. You can wait until all of them have teleported or take them out all at once. Either way, it can take some time, as can the Baron/Hell Knight windows in the outer area... images/hr_15.jpg

The Path 10:43
Medium
Simple Subterrainian design. Kind of bland, actually. Lots of monsters, of course, but it's easier than the previous three. Although you need both keys to finish the level a shortcut allows you to get the second one first. I'm pretty sure Yonatan left it in there on purpose... images/hr_16.jpg

The Black Towers 9:24
Hard
Great outdoor area and three seperate TechLab sections comprise this unusual level. Though the indoor sections are pretty bare, the outdoor area is very well constructed. Gameplay will keep you on your feet throughout. No real surprise attacks, but those Cyberdemons may catch you off guard. Well, there are a few teleporter traps, but when you see a SG or Berserk sitting in a quiet room, what do you expect??? images/hr_17.jpg

Hard Attack 13:29
Hard
One of my favorite levels, this Subterrainian masterpeice is beautifully designed, with great lighting and nonstop action. The scariest start in history has you staring at the back of a Cyberdemon. The level consists of a central arena, surrounded by high walkways, with an exit on each of the four sides. One of the side doors contains an awesome Stone area, while another has a great sequence where you must telefrag a Cyberdemon. With nearly five hundred monsters, you can bet this won't be easy... images/hr_18.jpg

Everything Dies 1:31
Easy
The first in what I like to call The Visionary Trilogy. Yonatan was aiming for an end of the world mood here. Anyway, the entirety of this tiny level is designed in Brick. Interesting gameplay, with the only available health and ammo being at the start. Pretty easy, though. At the beginning, Yonatan makes a very original trap using one of DooM's limits. You start surrounded by four Pain Elementals, but for some reason, they aren't spitting any Lost Souls at you. They're harmless. At least, that's what Yonatan wants you to think. You step up to the Megasphere and a chorus of Lost Souls start screaming in the background. Suddenly, those harmless Pain Elementals aren't quite so harmless anymore. He used the 21 Lost Soul limit to prevent the creation of more Lost Souls, then, once you've got that false sense of security, crushes them. This was the first time that limit had ever been used as a trap... images/hr_19.jpg

Judgement Day 7:56
Hard
Good Marble design with a couple of excellent areas, such as the Yellow Key area. A frozen Cyberdemon(like the Demons in Into The Gate) and a set of invisible stairs make the Red Key area memorable. The rest, including gameplay, is pretty standard stuff... images/hr_20.jpg

Siege 4:33
Medium
You start in a small house containing lots of health before venturing out into the open to find loads of ammo. You daringly open another door and are bombarded by Barons. Suddenly, you're very happy Haggay left you all those Rockets. This describes the first half, but the last half is the best. A bridge, surrounded on both sides by water and three towers, make this one of the most beautiful areas in HR. Deffinately not to be missed... images/hr_21.jpg

Resistence Is Futile 5:40
Hard
Very similar, in gameplay, to Milo Casali's Showdown. Constant, fast-paced action in an incredibly simple, but attractive, level. Though this one's smaller and looks better, it still feels exactly the same. Needless to say, if you like violent levels where planning your next move is impossible you're going to love this... images/hr_22.jpg

Ascending To The Stars 12:58
Hard
Part two of The Visionary Trilogy is some sort of space station, I suppose. This one just has so many memorable areas it's hard to describe. The first would be the Spider Mastermind room. In the center you have the Spider Mastermind herself, surrounded by a force field. The outer ring of the room is a fenced-in balcony upon which many Mancubi walk. That's the best scenario in the level, but some others are pretty original. The self-destructing power source, for one. Altogether, it's quite an unique level... images/hr_23.jpg

Post Mortem 8:49
Hard
Great The Living End style design, but that's not what this level's about. It's about monsters, and lots of them. 579 to begin with, but by the time everyone's dead you'll have killed well over six hundred. Don't worry about ammo or health, as the walkways are quite literally covered with both. All you need to worry about is staying alive. Only the best can defeat this level... images/hr_24.jpg

Dead Progressive 3:13
Medium
Yonatan's sequel to Dead Simple may be completely different visually, but the gameplay remains the same. The design, while incredibly compact, is beautiful. It's amazing how much action Yonatan can squeeze into such a small area. The gameplay is specifically designed for speedrunning. While simply completing it is relatively easy, doing it quickly can be tough. Yonatan actually held a LMP competition long ago for this specific level... images/hr_25.jpg

Afterlife 17:26
Hard
Third and final part of The Visionary Trilogy. To what exactly this one represents I have no clue, but it's the most original level in the long history of DooM. The first area has you walking through what looks like a town square in space. Two buildings present: inside one, a small room with two frozen Cyberdemons; the other contains a life size chess board. To the left of either building is a spacial rift of some sort, each taking you to another part of the level. One of them leads to an area with, among other things, a pitch black room where you'll be facing some serious opposition. The other rift takes you to a temple, of sorts. The gameplay category also has a few innovations. A scenario where you are required to dispatch a number of Ghost Imps without the aid of a RL is a completely original concept. Once you've passed through both rifts you get to face an entire army of Ghosts, but the troops aren't confined to Imps, this time. Demons, Cacodemons, Revenants, all make appearances, among others. Also worth mentioning are the couple hundred normal monsters you have to contend with... images/hr_26.jpg

Cyberpunk 3:25
Medium
Sewer and Metal design in this average level. The layout is fine, but the Cybermaze is the most annoying section in all of HR. Some misaligned textures in there, too. Missing texture in the Spider Mastermind room. Poorly designed teleporter at the beginning keeps Imps from entering the playing area. The style feels like something out of Evilution... images/hr_27.jpg

Top Hell 4:07
Medium
Good Subterrainian design with great gameplay, an interesting layout and a few fairly detailed areas. Though it may seem bare in spots it still looks good. Gameplay is perfect for speedrunning. Tons of monsters running loose throughout the level and you with plenty of ammo. A funny situation has the Cyberdemon/Baron room from Tricks And Traps reversed... images/hr_28.jpg

Temple Of Fear 9:06
Medium
Excellent Marble level. A few very nice structures make up for the completely dark maze. The giant pentagram at the end is great. It's a favorite of mine because it's one of the few HR levels that requires even mild backtracking. It's not a completely straightforward level, giving you a choice as to where to go next. Fast, but pretty easy, in the gameplay department. Overall, a deffinate keeper... images/hr_29.jpg

Hell Revealed :30
Hard
Much like Plutonia's end level, this is extremely short with lots of crossfire around the lift you have to shoot from. The switch not being immediately accessible makes this a pain... images/hr_30.jpg

The Descent 5:21
Hard
Wierd level has you trapped in a descending lift that is slowly being filled with monsters. When you finally reach the bottom it's Wolfenstein. The secret exit doesn't require either of the Keys... images/hr_31.jpg

Mostly Harmful 3:27
Hard
This one is so insane I'm not even going to comment on the gameplay. The design, though, is fantastic, if a bit repetative. Many special effects here, the most obvious being the bridges. Other not so obvious ones include a set walls that appear at certain times to help prevent HOM and the use of the Sky texture to mimic 3D archways. Pretty creative, even though one area was copied four times... images/hr_32.jpg