I've been a bit stuck in DOOM the last week. Maybe two weeks. I'm not sure how it all started, but it ended with me playing through the fourth episode again, followed by the Eternal DOOM megawads TNT Evolution and Plutonia... and then I somehow found out there was a sequel to the latter, which I'm playing through right now.
It's taking a while, because apparently these episodes are hella long compared to the original episodes, and this particular one seems to be way longer than the ones before it.
In the beginning I was honestly feeling a bit tired of the game and the level designs overall, wondering why I'd picked it up again, but also why I didn't feel as into it as I've been before. The first few levels just didn't have me hooked. I pondered dropping the project, but the further I go the better it gets, and recently I'm awed by the aesthetic of each new level I encounter. From looking forward to finishing the episode I've started hoping I can make it last just a little longer with each level that goes; wanting to see what type of architectural quirks they might come up with next.
It's not just in the structure of the levels themselves, but in the textures, certain additional graphics, most recently a little Commander Keen sprite dropped into a bath of fire, and little bits of trickery like I remember from the old levels. Not just the jumpscares and aggravating teleportation hordes, but the lack thereof. The anticipation. The feeling of hitting a switch and wondering if THIS is when that Cyberdemon you've been staring at for the past fifteen switches will finally come to life and shoot a barrage of rockets at you.
That and the houses of living flesh. The invisible bridges. The little details that make it all so worthwhile, and in the latter levels in particular the demonic hordes, spawned not in unison but strategically, one group of foes at a time, more similar to the open-layout levels of Serious Sam than to DOOM. And I loved that game too. It's an awesome hybrid.
Apart from the design the difficulty level is also an extensively higher one, and I've lost count of the amounts of Cyberdemons that've been on lure in these levels at this point. And the masterminds. With each one I thought it was finna be the final level. The boss fight. But no: it just keeps on going. I'm having a blast. So much so that the recent corrupted save file issue (more on that later) isn't bothering me at all right now.
Though I started this session of DOOM remniscia feeling unexpectedly tired of this particular franchise I don't feel so any longer. I'm having a blast. I want to play more. I'm looking forward to trying out Sigil, too, Romero's newest promise: a full fifth episode, albeit an unofficial one, meant to tie in to the original DOOM saga.
It's got me plotting a whole new marathon, with all the original episodes in order again, and maybe I'll catch it on video too and upload it somewhere. Been feeling like these occasional gaming sessions might feel a wee bit more useful if I do. Extra views too. No extra income because YouTube rates are crap these days, plus third-party content with the music and what-not that'd hinder proper monetization anyway, but at least it'd be out there. At least there'd be something to show for all this spent up time.
Speaking of third-party content this latest segment of my dooming sessions features a pretty fresh, dystopian; true-to-the-original-style original soundtrack too.
I've played a fair share of community WADs at this point, but this might very well be my favorite thus far. It's definitely one of them.
It feels like the series is coming to a close, though. i was thinking I'd run through the levels tonight. All of them. But I think I'll leave the last few for tomorrow instead. Something to look forward to. Something to savor. Plus the bobbing motions in these old FPS games still make me mildly nauseous after extended play. Much less with DOOM than say Wolfenstein 3D, or Duke Nukem, or Marathon, or Chasm, or pretty much any of the other ones from the same time (probably thanks to an appreciatively spacious level design with less bobby ceilings right in your viewpoint).
But anyway, what I was coming to was: after this that's it. I get lost in games all too easily, and I need to take a break from this one at least. So when Plutonia 2 is done I'm clearing out my DOOM directory and starting fresh next time I play. It's a good time as any. And a good time to get the latest versions of the mods and ports I'm using, and put them all in a directory uncluttered by a surplus of other experimental files. You forget which ones really serve a purpose. Which ones really need to be there. Sometimes you just gotta do some drastic things. Start fresh.
I know it'll be a counter-productive move until next time I get to playing the game again, but that'll be a while. I'll make sure of it. After this it's time for a long hiatus from Hell - not until the game beckons again but until I really have the time for it. You can't rush these things. The days aren't over yet. It's still a game to savor. Later.