level: once upon a time
author: thomas creutzenberg
click here to download the map
3D gamers edge gold award winner!
- superior architecture
- exceptional layout
- excellent atmosphere
- exceptional challenge
- superior non-stop action
- excellent texture use
- awesome ambient sound
- fantastic pacing
- read below
download this now. this is by far the best single player add-on for doom 3 to emerge from the scene to date. from the uniquely crafted opening load screen to the closing text at the end, every last detail of this map oozes with professionalism. the story is simple enough: your vehicle has broken down, and you need to acquire another, which lies at the other side of the complex. what happens between these two events is some of the best gameplay you could ask for set in an amazingly well crafted level.
the action is the highlight of the gameplay - and it is challenging, fun, and relentless. as in samuel villareal's map: the refueling station, the concept of luring the player into a false sense of security before throwing a surprise attack at them is thrown out the window in favor of a near non-stop onslaught of demonic forces. there is no time to relax and enjoy your surroundings as you journey onward, you will be under heavy fire at all times. developing this style of gameplay requires a high level of skill in terms of providing the player with appropriate items such as health, ammo, and weaponry. not enough, and the player is frustrated. too much and it becomes boring, thoughtless attack. the distribution of items in this level is near perfect. health packs are scarce enough to make sure you pay attention to your health score, but not so scarce that you need to keep reloading. weapons and ammo are provided with enough thought to keep you well-armed, while not overloading you with tons of high-powered artillery. what this creates is perhaps the most enjoyable pacing i have experienced in a doom 3 level outside of the expansion pack.
the action and challenge are perfect, and could lead the player to want to run through this map without a care for the game world it is taking place in. lets face it: gameplay of this caliber could take place in boring square rooms, and still be fun. however, just the opposite is presented. the architecture, texture choices, and layout of this level are so incredibly professional, and so amazingly detailed, that i could not find a flaw. a minor drawback of this futuristic base-style of map is that the color tends to be drab and grey, but i didn't really notice this until after i had finished the map and went back and looked at the screenshots i took. the new textures (of incredibly high quality) combined with the lighting and fantastic ambient 'music' make this level so immersive and moody that i was drawn right in and never became bored or detached enough to find complaint. this level is so 'alive' with motion, lighting, sound, and action that it never ever feels bland despite the lack of color. and, once you reach the outdoor area, you are treated to a spectacular courtyard that makes up for the cold dreariness of the base itself.
my complaints are few, and not worth detracting from the score of this map. the only downside is the lack of a real plot. there is no use of the PDA, and no humanity in the gameplay. i enjoy a good story when i play a game such as doom 3. it fleshes out the overall experience and makes me care about what i am doing and why i am doing it. the only story here is - your jeep breaks down so you have to kill demons until you find a new method of transportation. it is better than no story at all - but not by much.
that aside, this level is virtually flawless. i tip my hat to you, thomas. for a first release from a designer i had never heard of - this level is breathtakingly good. no fan of spd3 should miss out on this incredible free add-on level.