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Level Review: MORDETH.ZIP
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Overview

A partial conversion to be proud of, Gaston's Heretic-inspired Mordeth clearly shows his mastery of atmosphere and theme. Though comprised of six maps, it's essentially one huge level, as the theme and general feel don't change at all between them(making it very hard to comment on them each individually, I might add). All are very complex in layout yet still pay amazing attention to detail; so much, in fact, that these are probably the most life-like levels I've ever played. In the monster department, there's three new additions. First is the Fire Wyvern, which is exactly as it sounds: a flying creature that shoots fireballs at you(Imp fireballs, three at a time ala the Mancubus). Second up is the Ghoulspawn, a green PE that hurls homing-ghouls at you. Finally, we have the master of the episode, the Swamp Dragon, yet another monster that shoots fireballs at you(again, in groups of three). The cool thing about these fireballs is when they hit something, they flare up(using a red Arch-Vile flame). A very nice touch. Other new items to watch out for: fog(one variety of which follows you); torches(again utilizing the Arch-Vile flame); gargoyles(which can be destroyed); wood barrels. Now, I suppose I could rant about how annoying these levels are 90% of the time, but I won't. Suffice it to say if you don't enjoy a good adventure, you won't have fun here. Mordeth was most certainly not made with speed running in mind. Aside from my gameplay complaints, this is an excellent example of how to craft an adventure out of DooM. The full MegaWAD, if it ever gets finished, should be very impressive...


Prelude To Damnation 9:02
Easy
Relatively easy level serves as an introduction to the mansion theming. One of the new monsters(the Fire Wyvern) can also be seen towards the end. Not too much action, so it's very easy to avoid getting killed. Here you will get a taste of how frustrating this episode will become: a total of eight secrets, most of which involve navigating thin ledges. Still, it's hard not to appreciate the authentic, dreary atmosphere... images/mord_01.jpg

The Four Stairs 13:57
Easy
More open areas than in the first level and more monsters, too. Very little ledge walking required, which helps to keep the frustration of finding your way through the map at a tolerable level. The numerous monsters provide you with plenty of targets during your quest. However, if you don't know where you're going you'll end up wiping out all the monsters in one area, then slowly searching for a switch, key, or tripwire to advance to the next area... images/mord_02.jpg

The House Of Shadows 13:35
Easy
With the exception of the swamps, this is considerably less gloomy than the previous two. Amount of monsters and skill level remain about the same. A few clever secrets to find, plus a really nice battle in the throne room. Another look at the Fire Wyvern here, but no other new monsters(though the little patches of fog are cool)... images/mord_03.jpg

Babel By Gaslight 17:38
Medium
Decidedly different in theme, this appears to be a town. Lamps illuminate the foggy streets very effectively. The layout is good, but gameplay is even more confusing than usual. The Ghoulspawn, another new monster, shows its familiar face... images/mord_04.jpg

Babel's Inner Quarters 16:32
Medium
Now this is more to my liking. The atmosphere isn't quite so overpowering which makes it much easier to keep playing. Very 3-D in design, with more jumping required than I've ever seen before. Still, it manages to keep the frustration to a minimum by providing you plenty of monsters to kill along the way. That this all takes place in a fairly non-linear environment is just one more reason why it's my favorite level in the episode... images/mord_05.jpg

The Draconic Guardians 17:50
Medium
The final level starts out good, continuing the city from the previous level, but then it turns into a swamp. I suppose this is appropriate, but I still don't like the style. The most violent of all, it also introduces the Swamp Dragon, this episode's boss. Though not very difficult, it does provide a suitable opponent to end a first episode... images/mord_06.jpg