My 2 Cent Take on The Sadistic Enclave
The Sadistic Enclave - Obsidian
DooM2 (limit-removing port) - Solo Play - 140697 bytes
.: OverviewThis is a short but sharp map, with fast and furious scraps throughout. The start area can be a real pain, but stick with it and you'll be rewarded.
.: Just Take Your LumpsLet me start by saying that this level will demand patience from even the likes of Job ["....through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)]. Surviving the start area is very challenging, and could be frustrating. I had to try more than 15 times to get out of the trap, and when I managed, I was down to 20% health. What's worse, is that playing the game at a lower skill level won't make any difference. There are some health potions in the trap, but barely enough to balance out the damage. Once you venture outside and duck to find cover, things start getting just a little better. [Although, facing a revenant with just 30% health and only a shotgun in the cramped confines of the library was no picnic.]
There is a chronic shortage of health at the beginning. Things get a little better after the library, and if you manage to find the berserk in a secret area that has an obvious clue, you'll get a much needed adrenaline boost. Ammo is tight at first, but becomes easier to score in the latter half of the game. I managed to exit the level fairly well stocked, despite there being negligible opportunities to encourage infighting. There are some nice fights & traps, such as the one at the super shotgun, at the blue key, and the nasty surprise behind the red key door. Otherwise, during the first half of the level you'll find yourself sniping and taking pot-shots as you try to minimize the damage you sustain and scrounge for that next cache of ammo. Generally, however, there is a decent balance of weaponry & ammo vs. the opposition against which you are pitted.
.: Tricks & TrapsThe level design and architecture are quite competent, although I wasn't overly fond of the occasionally cramped quarters within which I was allowed to maneuver. Texture choices are well done, with barely noticeable texture misalignments. The blinking skin tunnel with the archvile was fairly atmospheric, but the suspense did not translate into an explosion of action, as I'd expected. The level features clever "vanilla" DooM tricks, such as the hidden sunken floor, the enemies in plain sight hidden behind "invisible" walls, and "swinging" doors (at the exit). A couple of the secrets are relatively easy to find and the other two are diabolical.
Just a couple of minor issues to point out: First, the text file says: "Should run with the original Doom II wad, but hasn't been tested." With a name like "The Sadistic Enclave.wad", the wad will not be recognized by doom2.exe (or chocolate-doom.exe), as it is not in an 8-character alpha-numeric format. Renaming it to, say, enclave.wad will fix the problem. Second, the text file indicates that a DECORATE lump is present, and that: "The DECORATE lump won't work in ports that don't support it". In fact, there's only a MAPINFO lump (not a DECORATE lump), which is ignored in doom2.exe (or chocolate-doom.exe).
.: Wrap UpThis has the potential to be a challenging and enjoyable map for those that can make it through the first couple of areas. Give it a whirl.