31 December 2016

Random Reviews Chapter-17: Dash And The Forces of Alien Hell (Prodoomer)


Recently, I completed a Doom wad/mod called Prodoomer. This is an interesting mod made by PsychoSilverTH. It's been a while since I reviewed a Doom wad. Let's get started.

This mod is very visually and mechanically impressive. By that, I mean it uses who knows how much scripting to achieve feats which would never have been possible in anything less than GZDoom. It introduces new game-play mechanics such as RPG-ish experience systems and upgradable weaponry. It also introduces a slowly re-filling Mana bar which lets you use skills with varying effects. So basically, it does drastic changes to Doom's original game-play. It also introduces a double jump and a (annoying to use) wall jump to the game.

Now that we've got the elephant in the room out of the way, let's dive a bit deeper.

To me, it seemed that PsychoSilver is really good with scripting and took on this super ambitious project. But while focusing on the big and complex things, he overlooked the smaller, simpler, yet equally important things. While he was so intent on spicing up the original gameplay, he forgot that not everything needs spicing up.

This mod introduces a weapon recoil. It slowly raises your weapon up when you fire. I can see this being realistic, but it's a pain in the ass. Realism is fine and all, but a game needs to be enjoyable above all else. If something seems irritating in a game, it shouldn't be there, in my opinion. This is the problem with this recoil system. Though it is manageable with lower ranking weapons like the uzi and the pistol, it reaches the annoying territory with weapons like the sniper rifle and the sawed-off shotgun. In fact, the recoil gets so annoying that it made the plasma rifle, one of the more powerful weapons in the game, useless to me. I tried using it on multiple occasions but it never worked out well.

This mod also introduces platforming sections. The problem is, normally when platforming is there in Doom, it's kept relatively easy. But this mod introduces platforming sections which may be easy to pull off in platformers but the id tech 1 engine or the Doom engine was never meant for platforming. Hell, you can't even jump in vanilla doom. Even in advanced sorceports like (G)ZDoom, you can't control your jump direction as well as you can in platforming games. So when you introduce tight platforming sections in Doom, you better be prepared to do extensive coding to make sure the player doesn't rage quit. PsychoSilverTH did do extensive coding on this mod but he didn't tweak the jump mechanics enough to let you through the tight platforming sections without getting annoyed. And that's forgetting the moments in MAP04 where you can't clearly tell which is a platform and which is not.

The boss fights in this mod are all over the place in terms of difficulty. A particular "mini-boss" segment is an arena with 4 black flying spider demon. It is really frustrating. Another "mini-boss" is a maze with acid spewing demons and Cyber-demons chasing you. But in my opinion the boss of MAP08, Spiderdemon666 is the most unfairly difficult boss in the game. It's really hard to dodge it's attacks and it's harder to beat it with the weapons and skills you should have access to at that point. But the oddest thing is that the bosses get easier as the levels go on. Kranium, the 2nd last boss of the mod, is the easiest boss of the mod. It's nothing more than a re-skin of the Icon of Sin which you kill with your Electric Zeus instead of your rocket launcher. The Electric Zeus is a weapon that replaces the BFG9000. Think of it as a powered-down version of the Demon Tech BFG from Complex Doom. Not really a bad weapon but it takes some getting used to.

The later levels of this mod are confusing as all hell. I think each of the later maps took me 4 times longer than it was supposed to because I spent so much time trying to figure out where to go and what I'm doing wrong. And by "Later" I mean it starts getting confusing from MAP09. In my opinion, the confusing maps stop at around MAP29.

The music in this mod ranges from meh to pretty good. I personally liked the music of the maps 9 to 30, with a few duds and one SUPER DUD (MAP21).

My favorite map all round has to be Mad Space. Its concept and execution, though not amazing by any means, is pretty decent. My only grope with it is that it's also confusing (though slightly less than some of the previous maps) and the fact that it's the embodiment of all the frustrating platforming sections of this mod rolled into one. You'd think low gravity would help platforming sections. Not when you can't control your jumps. Doom was never meant for this kind of platforming.

Another thing I noticed is that a lot of the maps seemed a little... weird? There are enough texture misalignments in this mod for one to notice without actively seeking them out. Some texture choices in the tech base maps seemed a bit odd to me. But I'm not really good with textures myself so I can't really judge.

Overall, I'd say this mod has tons of problems. It has way too many frustrating sections. But I just can't hate it. The amount of work that went into it is pretty obvious and the mod itself, isn't complete shit. So while I don't recommend playing it, I won't tell you to avoid it either. Give it a go if feel like it. You can also drop it if it seems annoying 'cause it won't get better.

I rate this: 49/100

Thanks for reading!

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