My 2 Cent Take on Communications Center
Communications Center - Chris Weathers
Doom2 (with ZDooM) - Solo - 81079 bytes
.: OverviewThis is a single, base-themed map for DooM2, with plenty of curvy architecture, nice map design, and really just one tough battle.
.: The Look & FeelThe first thing that strikes you about this map is the seemingly organic appearance of the structures. Curved architecture is used throughout, and in my opinion this is very well done. [In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I am partial to curved architecture, and I may be somewhat biased in this department.] The lighting is competent, and "source lighting" is simulated with the use of sector-based lighting. This is put to good effect in some of the indoor areas. There are a few plain-looking corridors, but there are plenty of other interesting-looking places, and there's a decent amount of height variation. Texturing is consistent with a base theme, although there are some minor instances of texture misalignments.
.: The DesignThe map design is clever, with the main part of the map looping in upon itself. This allows you to see areas that you'll visit later (e.g., the blue key area), and return to the core area without back-tracking. Previously inaccessible areas open up to you after you've completed some exploration. But otherwise, the path is straightforward, and you will not get lost. The author has helpfully provided a computer map in a "regular" area of the map, but you'll only need it to root out the three secrets, all of which are unmarked. You'll play both indoors and outdoors, which provides a nice change of scenery. I had issues with a couple of choices the author made. First, to get to the outside you'll need to lower a section of one of the windows, but it was not immediately evident to me. [The lower edge of the window is indeed marked with a different texture, but it might be mistaken for a decorative device.] The second is that the door to return to the main area after picking up the blue key is textured identically to the surrounding wall, meaning that there's no clue that it's a door.
.: The FightsFor the most part the fights in this map are pedestrian, with your main opposition being former humans and sergeants. There is a smattering of chaingunners thrown in, but plenty of demons. You have the choice of picking off the demons through windows from the safety of areas they can't reach. But you may have more fun if you run outside and try and mix things up a bit. There is a big fight about mid-way into the map, and depending on how you choose to do things, featuring revenants, demons, and chaingunners. The first time I played the map I tried to pick the demons and revenants off through a window, but with just a shotgun it got really tedious, really fast. The second time, however, I darted out and released all three species, allowing the in-fighting to begin. There's more risk, to be sure, but more excitement. A couple of traps are implemented through the instantly-lowering sector trick made popular with BooM. There's plenty of ammo and a decent amount of armor; however, there were times when I was scrounging for health (at UV). The author has "strategically" placed barrels throughout the map; those I really needed were useless because they were too close to walls, and I was unable to lure the enemies close enough to them to create any real damage.
.: Wrap UpThis map has a pleasing appearance, with the potential for some "weave & strike" gameplay.