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Level Review: REQUIEM.WAD
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Overview

A production plagued with problems and endless delays, it's a wonder Requiem ever got released at all. You'll find a number of small bugs: the rare VPO on MAP12; SaveGame Buffer Overflow on MAP12, MAP15, and MAP29; an inescapable lift on MAP08. I didn't find any of these bugs to be particularly distracting or annoying(the cheat codes are available to escape from the lift on MAP08 and MAP12 sucks, regardless). Those bothered by the inability to save may simply use one of the many superior source ports(you should be using one, anyway). Okay, after naming all of its faults, I'll name the WADs more numerous qualities. To start with, many look awesome, and some are quite difficult. Special effects are everywhere, from simple invisible steps to complex double-decker over-and-under bridges and even a room-over-a-room(sort of). If ever there was a showcase WAD for special effects this would be it. Then there are those authors who rarely use such effects, and depend purely on their skill and classic DooM design tactics, like: Thomas Moeller, Adam Williamson, Adam Windsor(too bad he only contributed one reasonably sized level), and Matthias Worch. Requiem joins the likes of Memento Mori and Memento Mori 2 as one of the great DooM community projects...


The Gateway
Orin Flaharty
:40
Easy
Dark, effective opening level blends Tech and subterrainian styles with total success. Somewhat similar to Entrance, but more detailed and atmospheric(all the bodies help tremendously). There's a few missing textures that can be seen if you clip through the windows, but you shouldn't be out there, anyway(unless you're looking for a good screenshot). Nothing else to complain about... images/req_01.jpg

Sacrificium
Anthony Czerwonka/Florian Helmberger
1:06
Easy
Further subterrainian design continues where the last level ended. Quite small with only twenty monsters. Design is highly detailed. The stonehenge area looks excellent in combination with the new sky texture. The level appears to have a faulty Reject Map, as all but one of the Demons in the outdoor section won't wake up until you shoot them. Odd, since after they're awakened they can see you just fine... images/req_02.jpg

Poison Processing
Iikka Keranen
6:06
Easy
The pace picks up considerably with this excellent sewer level. The icy exterior is very nice and the Brick tunnels that conclude the level contain some fancy special effects(a reasonable mockup of doors that swing open, a number of slopped ceilings). In between is one of the best sewer sections ever built(see MM2's Frustration for another). Lots of little monsters(many of them Former Humans) combined with low ammo(toward the beginning) and health create a good balance for gameplay. It's not tough, but it'll keep you on your toes... images/req_03.jpg

Fireworks
Matthias Worch
4:25
Medium
Part Lava, part Brick, all awesome. I don't care for Lava designs, but this one's polished enough to make it work(what else to expect from Matthias?). Gameplay? It progresses well and has enough surprises to keep it interesting; plus, the layout is easy to follow. You don't get much more health or ammo than you need so use it wisely. The warm-up period is obviously over... images/req_04.jpg

The Canyon
Bill McClendon
8:53
Medium
Accomplished author, tutor(The Unofficial WAD Designers' Handbook), and reviewer(Quake levels) McClendon serves up a large, stylish, violent level. When I first played this, I'd never played any of his DooM levels(and still haven't, actually), but was very familiar with his Quake reviews(back then I'd visit his site on a daily basis). Naturally, from someone who seemed to be so in tune with the art of level design my expectations were pretty high. In short, even with my expectations, I was still impressed. With an odd mix of styles he still manages to keep everything coherant, if unusual. Every area flows well into the next despite radically different texture schemes(I still don't know how he did it); nothing ever seems out of place. Gameplay has a variety of monsters attacking you from every angle. The canyon, itself, is particularly impressive: battling teleporting monsters while distant Imps shoot at you from four seperate positions. It's hard to describe, so play it and then you'll know what I'm talking about... images/req_05.jpg

Natas Ot Etubirt
Thomas Moeller
8:16
Medium
Gray/TechLab design by Thomas Moeller? The question isn't whether or not this will be good, but how good will it be. I believe this was Thomas's final DooM creation and it's a fitting sendoff to one of the greatest authors who ever defined a sector. Very complex in layout, a few incredible sequences(the Yellow Key), and over 200 monsters to blow away as you progress. Quite reminiscent of High-Tech Grave, but with much better gameplay and a slightly more open feel. It can truly be said that no other author knew how to design a TechLab better than Thomas and this is but one out of many pieces of evidence that may be used to back up that claim... images/req_06.jpg

Hell's Gift
Jens Nielsen/Matthias Worch
3:45
Easy
Another farewell level, this time for Jens. It's rather atypical for him, though. It contains many switches and his trademark texture scheme, but it's incredibly small. I'd really love to know where Jens work ends and Matthias' work begins, because this all looks like Jens to me(or Matthias doing a very good impersonation, maybe in the last half). Gameplay is quick and violent. The level actually contains a number of bugs, like the tutti-fruity effect just beyond the two sets of pillars(entrance to the last half). A few missing textures, too. Altogether, not bad, but forgettable... images/req_07.jpg

The Reactor
Iikka Keranen
9:43
Medium
Good mining installation level is typical Iikka: linear progression, lots of large monsters in tight quarters, and a few special effects. This one has as many flaws as it has qualities, though. The mineshaft elevator is great(see also: Dystopia 3), the gameplay's fun, and it feels realistic enough. On the other hand, there's at least one bug(you can get trapped in a lift), the slow lifts are just that(adds to the realism, but still...), and texture alignment is marginal. The Reactor is a little rough around the edges, but all the most important elements are there... images/req_08.jpg

Deep Down Below
Matthias Worch
6:21
Medium
A slightly tweaked version of a level from The Trooper's Playground. Offers plenty of action in a subterrainian structure, part of which is a TechLab. An inventive Red Key chase is the high point. Not much different from the norm, but still a good, polished level... images/req_09.jpg

The Black Gate
Orin Flaharty
3:56
Easy
A beautiful, detailed Marble level in the style of Thy Flesh Consumed, but with a better layout and a far more polished appearance. Similar gameplay has enough smaller monsters to keep the action moving with enough larger ones to avoid making it too easy. The Cyberdemon battle is staged well, too. Only one oddity: what's up with those three occurences of STARTAN3 in the final room??? images/req_10.jpg

Rats In The Walls
Adam Windsor
3:06
Medium
Adam's really outdone himself with this small, ultra-realistic Base/TechLab. Pipes run through every room(one of which leaks, marking a secret), light and shadows are everywhere, and little details(like the ceiling-mounted monitors) make this an incredible example of realism in DooM. Check out another cool secret(near the Yellow Key) that's marked by a color change in the floor tiles(very clever). Oh, yeah, and it's fun, too... images/req_11.jpg

Militant Reprisal
Ian Quick
9:48
Hard
Falling comfortably into the "What the hell were they thinking?" category of level design is this massive mass of...everything, except Wolfenstein. Little to no texture alignment; constant style changes with no logical progression to speak of. These things and more add up to a level that could've been picked at random from any archive. This certainly does not belong in a MegaWAD among levels by Matthias, Anthony, and Iikka... images/req_12.jpg

Town Of The Dead
Iikka Keranen
7:17
Medium
A showcase level for special effects, this small Cityscape plays the same as every other level Iikka's done: big monsters, small hallways. It's got the same strengths and weaknesses, too: moderate detail, semi-realistic, but not much attention to texture alignment. Most of the design is standard, while the Graveyard area is impressive. The special effects, which were new at the time, are now common knowledge thanks to Requiem... images/req_13.jpg

The Portal
Eric Sambach
6:50
Medium
A series of mines for you to navigate through as you search for the exit. The design and layout are pretty repeatative, but it does feel real(the last area breaks the repetition). Gameplay can be challenging, as ammo is slim. Fortunately, there's a Berserk Pack included; unfortunately, there's very little health so you'll need some Tyson skills to survive it. Nothing terribly memorable, but fun, nonetheless... images/req_14.jpg

Last Resort
Matthias Worch
11:56
Hard
Large, complex Metal/Marble masterpiece. It contains many cool situations and definately benefits from a tactical approach. To give you an idea of the type of gameplay within, the level begins with a trap and continues that way throughout. A few of the memorable ones involve a hoarde of constantly teleporting Demons and a Demon ambush at the Yellow Key(this one proves you don't need a Cyberdemon to kill off the player, though experienced players will simply stand on one of the teleporter destinations and take the Demons out in two waves). Architecture is great, though it's easy to see where Matthias would've gone further had the limits been removed(the second courtyard looks particularly empty with only two planters). The secret exit is quite memorable, as well. images/req_15.jpg

Escape From Chaos
Iikka Keranen
8:05
Medium
Another good level from Iikka. I'm running out of ways to describe his levels and since his style never varies I'll just stick to this one's unique points. The ledges and 3D architecture(the opening area) create a very realistic feel. Ammo is low at the start so Chainsaw usage is advisable... images/req_16.jpg

Dens Of Iniquity
Michael Rapp
8:56
Medium
Mixes too many styles, but the layout, gameplay, and overall feel are superb. Plenty of ammo to kill hoardes of mostly smaller monsters(where are all the Cyberdemons?). Michael's become much better at keeping his levels at least semi-coherant since Maltraiter. Most of the level looks good, even though the transitions between styles are less than seemless and don't always make sense... images/req_17.jpg

Base Of Thorn
Eric Sambach
5:08
Medium
Okay, another lesson in clashing styles. At the start we have Wood hallways which lead into a Marble area. That's not bad, except the Marble area has an acid pit surrounded by Gray borders; the gray pipe doesn't help, nor does the Wood pillar(!) that holds it in place. However, the small Yellow Key room has a cool skylight and the Red Key area is good... images/req_18.jpg

Skinny Puppy
Anthony Czerwonka
5:43
Medium
Unique, beautiful, violent level uses the new textures very well. In addition to the great architecture, the gameplay is also quite fun. Having all three keys visable from the beginning, and lowering them one by one as you visit each area, is inventive. The Arachnotron area is especially memorable and the pillar sequence isn't bad, either... images/req_19.jpg

The Forsaken Hall
Adam Windsor
:36
Easy
Extremely small mansion level. Quick and easy, just as you'd expect. I can't be sure, but this looks to me like something Adam built to fill an empty slot in the MegaWAD so it would be complete for release. There's nothing wrong with it, but this is much smaller than any other MAP20 I've played before... images/req_20.jpg

Den Of The Skull
Anthony Galica
11:21
Medium
Though it's far from being the best level in the MegaWAD, it's definately my favorite. Why? Maybe because the general architecture reminds me much of my work: a collection of cool looking areas connected by whatever comes to mind, rather than establishing a cohesive theme, throughout(though Anthony's better at creating realistic locations; with one notable exception, I usually don't bother). A few cool locations like the skywalk and a brief stroll on an invisible floor over a large area(a Cyberdemon battle here would've been great). Gameplay is standard: hit a switch, fight some monsters, advance to the next room, repeat(another similarity to my stuff). Unfortunately, this also has a few bugs. To start, demos will desync on the current version. To remedy this, download Zennode and run it on this level alone(use the "/rz" parameter). This will take care of the demos. It will also, contrary to what you may've read in the text file with the second demo collection(RQUVLMP2), allow for 100% Kills(see this in the original collection, REQUVLMP). Aside from those problems there are also one or two places where you can trap yourself and a secret that won't register(the Megasphere at the end)... images/req_21.jpg

Arachnophobia
Iikka Keranen
5:18
Medium
Okay, now here's something original. This level houses a very quirky sector: within it, monsters won't attack you and radius damage from rockets won't harm you. Now, blinding monsters has been possible for the longest time, so that's not really surprising. However, a sector where you're protected from radius damage is incredibly bizarre. Despite spending a fair amount of time staring at this in an editor I still can't figure out how the hell he did it! Until this, all known special effects(many of which Iikka is responsible for) are visual; you fool the game into producing an invisible floor or ceiling. The idea that gameplay can be effected by similar means is unbelievable. Anyway, if anyone has managed to figure this out, please tell me(and the rest of the community), as I haven't gotten around to disecting the level myself. Oh, the design is...Iikka(you know by now)... images/req_22.jpg

Hatred
Dario Casali
7:22
Hard
Attractive, difficult level by half of the famous Casali duo(I guess Milo was unavailable). The first area is almost gothic in appearance, though the last half is bright(the entire level is made in Dario's unique Clay style). Though this is quite a bit less detailed than Plutonia, the architecture is still of high quality and the excellent gameplay remains(watch out for those ghosts)... images/req_23.jpg

Procrustes Chambers
Anthony Czerwonka
6:51
Hard
Extremely detailed and realistic gothic castle. The entire level looks good, but sections like the staircase(Yellow Key room) and the chopping block stand out. Let's not forget the hanging corpse(poor Anthony; killed by his own beautiful creation). For gameplay, strategic playing is required(you'll need the secrets, too) as the monsters are greater than the available ammo. Provided you can punch through a few Revenants and resist the temptation to speedrun(it's a relatively small level, but if you play fast you'll regret it) then it provides an enjoyable challenge... images/req_24.jpg

Chaos Zone
Adam Windsor
3:27
Easy
Another small level presumably made to fill in the gaps. It would fit better at the beginning of the MegaWAD, but it's still a great level. Awesome Brick design(with a bit of Marble thrown in) with Adam's usual detail in lighting. Nonstop action with mostly teleporting monsters helps to keep your mind off the level's miniature size. Enjoy while it lasts... images/req_25.jpg

Excoriations
Adam Windsor
:42
Easy
Yet another filler, this one even smaller than the last. If nothing else, Adam's really got the Hell Revealed style down(short, straightforward, violent). Watch out for that Arch-Vile... images/req_26.jpg

Cursed Kingdom
Iikka Keranen
16:24
Hard
Iikka decided to dispense with the effects(save for a few windows) and create a good, old fashioned City level. Does he succeed? Absolutely. Lots of empty rooms, but it'd be hypocritical of me to call that a flaw given the levels I've designed(I'm just not used to seeing it elsewhere). Many new textures are put to good use and the layout and progression are very good. Keep your trigger finger in check, as this is another low ammo level... images/req_27.jpg

Fetals' Remains
Anthony Czerwonka
5:41
Medium
Another gothic beauty from Anthony. Gameplay is very similar to Procrustes Chambers: ammo remains slim and requires some planning. I love the whole mission idea; grabbing the Red Key, then placing it on the altar to open the exit was very creative. It gives one a mild taste of what DooM would be like with a more adventure oriented angle(usable items and such)... images/req_28.jpg

Downer
Adam Williamson
14:02
Hard
Despite the fact that I absolutely loathe the level that inspired it(Ratamahatta) I find this to be thoroughly enjoyable. It's a superb example of a level that foregoes realism and continuity in favor of creating an attractive, non-repetative battlefield. The design is standard subterranian with a few outdoor areas(that courtyard looks awesome). There are one or two Marble and Brick areas which look excellent, but the rest is comprised of those red textures I hate so much. Gameplay is fast and violent. You're provided plentiful ammo with which to kill plentiful demons. There's also a string of crushers that I could've done without... images/req_29.jpg

Nevermore
Adam Windsor
1:09
Easy
One final shootout to end the MegaWAD. This MAP30 is different in that you don't need the RL to kill the Boss Brain. Looks like a TechLab built into the side of a mountain... images/req_30.jpg

Doorway To Quake
Iikka Keranen
2:04
Easy
A faithful recreation of Quake's The Door To Chthon(as faithful as one could get in two dimensions, anyway). This was the first occurrence of the 3D room illusion(the fake floor hides the real room below, the fake ceiling hides the upper area). Convincing, if not entirely practical, as you can't use the upper area for anything. BooM added the fake floor/ceiling effect and a silent teleporter to make this workable on a larger scale, but this is as close to 3D as DooM is going to get... images/req_31.jpg

Bitter Herb
Adam Windsor
1:22
Easy
The final filler level from Adam: a quick, dark courtyard, lots of Cacodemons, and a pair of Arch-Viles. Violent, yes, but not difficult unless you're speedrunning... images/req_32.jpg