DooM Nexus: That Damn Cake Review

My 2 Cent Take on That Damn Cake

That Damn Cake - Janizdreg
Vanilla DooM2 - 264894 bytes

.: Overview

This is a single-map, arena-style-combat themed wad with a twist - it celebrates the year that DoomGuy can legally carry a gun (in the U.S.A.) and vote. To commemorate DooM's 18th birthday the author has crafted a game with a rather simple objective - blow up all the balloons and light all 18 candles on a monster-sized, icing-covered, jelly-bean-festooned birthday cake. You start off with a pistol, immediately pick up a cigarette lighter, and are pitted against waves of floating balloons. Each balloon is easily dispatched with a single bullet or a single flick of the lighter (when used in melee range); the lighter is fueled by the puffs of smoke that remain after a balloon has met its untimely end. However, the author has nicely balanced the weakness of this enemy with a number of factors.

.: Pop Them B'loons!

First, there are swarms of these balloons. I played both at UV and at HMP, and at each skill level there are plenty of balloons to keep you dancing. Second, these critters are vicious. A single bite can take deplete upward of 25% of your health. Third, the health you came in with is all the health you're going to get. [No armor too.] Such a situation brooks no margin for errors. Fourth, the number of balloons you face far exceeds the number of bullets you get. In other words, ya gotta 'man up' and put on your best Tyson impersonation (only, with a flick of your Bic, instead of getting pissed with your fist). And finally, you have a limited room to maneuver - fall too far off the edge of the cake and you're well on your way to oblivion. All of these factors create a nice challenge, even for the seasoned DooMer, I'd wager.

.: The Revenge of Mama Balloon

There is a new mini-boss, and the author was not quite so cruel as to pit you against it armed with only a cigarette lighter. But, despite its potentially devastating attack, I found it to be a considerably tamer challenge than its smaller and much less threatening cousins.

.: Behind the Curtain

Aside from the new sprite graphics, there are a few new sounds, a music-box tune, and a new TITLEPIC. All very simple, but effective in creating the tone and mood for the game. But to me, what makes this game stand out is the fact that so much was achieved with so little. Using only DeHacked, the author has relied on stock DooM tricks (e.g., voodoo dolls, Commander Keene/Tag666 special, etc.) to emulate special effects that would ordinarily require at least simple scripting. Opening the map in an editor felt like looking behind the magician's curtain to see how he pulled the rabbit out of his hat.

.: Wrap Up

In summary, this is a different wad with a retro, 1990's feel, that is sure to provide 5 to 10 minutes of fun for most DooMers.

Happy Birthday, DoomGuy!
Stinkin' Balloons
Mama Balloon looms
Mama Balloon strikes!