DooM Nexus: City of Despair Review

My 2 Cent Take on City of Despair

City of Despair - Chris Pisarczyk
Doom2 - Solo - 105755 bytes

.: Overview

This is a large, city-themed map for DooM2, with an inordinate amount of switch-hunting, backtracking, and exploration. Unfortunately, the rewards you get for your efforts are meager.

.: The Look & Feel

This is a map that, according to the text file, was completed in 1997 and was built with DCK. It is a city map that features large, ordinary-looking buildings with straight, unadorned walls. The up-side of being so plain is that this map is playable in vanilla (or chocolate) DooM, which gives it an old-school feel that some players will appreciate. Although this is billed as a "city", you'll find a wide sweep of themes, ranging from brick & mortar (in keeping with this being a city), to base & computers; from wood & iron, to fire & brimstone. Perhaps I've become jaded, but I didn't seem to mind the use of every conceivable DooM theme in the book. Others, however, may see things differently. Oh, and see if you can spot the "movie theater" and nearby "toilet".

.: The Design

The map design is one of openness and general freedom to explore. You'll need all three keys to exit the game, and some of you may give up before you find them all. [I'll admit that I contemplating rage-quitting (minus the rage part) when I couldn't find the yellow key. However, I persisted, mainly by the simple expediency of opening the map in an editor and identifying its location.] There are probably a couple dozen switches you'll need to find to make progress. I'm not averse to switch-hunts, but even I found this to be excessive, particularly as it was not always evident to me what a particular switch did. I played this map twice, and was still lost the second time. And, after a while, the back-tracking got very old.

.: The Fights

With all the shlepping I was doing around the map I was fully expecting to encounter a goodly assortment of hostiles. Instead, I found a bare (almost barren) landscape that offered nary a challenge. Virtually all the fighting occurs indoors, and being able to snipe from doorways means there is almost never a significant degree of risk. [Although, the trap at the first rocket-launcher was fun.] The bestiary used is limited in scope, and the armaments provided are more than adequate to mete out the appropriate punishment. If you find the secret area with the first super shotgun you'll be able to cruise through. I was able to complete the map with mostly just the shotgun and chaingun. Health and ammo are scattered about the map; the health is sufficient for the job at hand, but there is far too much ammo. Armor, too, seems overly abundant - I ended up leaving behind two green armors when I exited. Overall, I found the fights to be a disappointment.

.: Wrap Up

This map may appeal to "old-schoolers" and aficionados of switch-hunts, but I found the experience to be rather tiresome.

Plain City Architecture
Hostile Receptionist
Widely Varying Themes