Saturday, 10 May 2008

The City of The Damned : Apocalypse

It's a long time since I've last played a good WAD. And this one I am reviewing now is not the only recent good one. But I will just start from this one and maybe I'll write later about the rest. There is a long time since the weekly doom wad reviews gone missing from doomworld. I don't know what happened and didn't have the time to ask the community about or search for any announcements or news in the doomworld forums. I found this one from the Outpost of Doom 2 site which features reviews from only the greatest WADs released. Maybe it's a nice alternative resource to discover the recent diamonds now that doomworld reviews are missing.

Looking at the screenshots of this one on the reviews site, I was immediately obsessed to play it as I happen to be a great fan of the game blood. The WAD doesn't only use gfx and sound resource from blood but also from several other games and WADs and it builds a dark and gloomy atmosphere running on the GZDoom port. It has the same adventurish exploration style as few other WADs I played back then, like wandering in forests, abandoned buildings, cemetaries, etc and discovering notes that reveal part of the story, only though this time it doesn't have much searching around as the other WADs. Nor is the map very big which can be good or bad for some. But personally I prefer it this way. It gets too annoying if the map grows big sometimes..

What impressed me very much was specific parts of the graphics design. Judging by some details at some places, it's tailored enough. Even when you try to read any message you find in your path, you look at some greatly detailed torn papers with beautiful and different calligraphic fonts each that only make the game more beautiful if not more atmospheric. Even at the finale credits, there is a nice upscroller with great antialiased fonts and shades that fade to black in the upper and lower corner. It's very well-looked after in these terms. I can't speak about the rest of the graphics because they are not new but old reused resources, although they are greatly used for sure.

What dissapointed me a little is how hard the game is. Not only you are getting low on ammo and health too easily but the enemies have to get too many bullets to fall, much more than the regular doom monsters. At the beginning you start with the trident from blood which is a very useful weapon since several monsters need quite more hits with the pistol (which you have to use for half of the map till you find more interesting weapons) and there are not even enough bullets there. Also, the WAD uses the secondary fire mode of Zdoom (as in blood too) and baring the trident in hands, this mode will throw the trident and inflict enough damage (Like, the beginning monster needing to take around 10 bullets, can only be killed with two trident throws. Also sometimes the gun carrying monks can be hit with a single good trident shot!). It's not only useful at times but also fun! It's much later when you manage to get the shotgun in your hands which does enough damage and has a powerful secondary fire mode.

Still, after being frustrated with it's difficulty, I restarted the game in the easiest mode and there were times I was still in serious trouble. Only the final monster was quite easier than I thought, hopefully. Usually in such total remakes, the end bosses are not only total killing machines (e.g. throwing a blast of BFG that throws smaller BFG balls scattered all over the place, nowhere to hide) but also have x10 times the energy of a Cyberdemon. Here the second is not valid and you can easilly hide from the first issue. I thought it would take aeons to reduce it's energy to zero but it ended so soon after 15-20 bazooka blasts and several hits with the tommy machine gun. I liked very much the particle effects on the boss and also it's motion blur effect. Neat!

There are quite more surprises in this one and quite many beatiful places! It's one of the best doom WADs of this kind (Total conversions, big adventure style, using zdoom resources) I've played so far. Recomended! (Play in easy mode except if you like hardcore and watch out to not loose your ammo or your trident(I threw it over an unreachable fence but I found two more through the game so it's ok).