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Level Review: ASD2.WAD
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Overview

With this WAD, Andy Sheppard had created what was basically the Hell Revealed of years past. Most of the levels were considered extremely hard when it was released. Sadly, it's lost some of its punch over time. That doesn't mean it isn't a challenge, though. On occasion, you'll still find yourself searching for health or ammo. Monster counts are low, but who would've thought a level with 46 monsters could be impossible. It should also be noted that these levels are meant for consecutive play. Level design is remarkably similar to HR, as well. Well, it's not quite up to HR, but you get the idea. Some of the levels are pretty bland, others are quite good, and all are acceptable.


A Walk in the Park 3:54
Easy
We begin with a fairly easy city level. Lots of led flying around when you start, but after that there's not much to be afraid of. Level design is pretty darn good, but could use some texture alignment in a few places. Not really any flaws to mention, unless you count that annoying ladder... images/asd2_01.jpg

In the Hall of the Mountain Kings 3:41
Easy
A very short level, built entirely in the brick theme. You get a taste (just a mild one) of how hard some of these levels are. There's not too much ammo around the beginning, so aim carefully. Plenty of health, though. A fairly tense (because you're surrounded by pillars) shootout with two Cyberdemons is the highlight of this level... images/asd2_02.jpg

Moody 3:55
Easy
If I had to pick a level out of this set to call the worst, it would be this one. Gameplay is fair, but nothing fantastic. The stone textures comprise the entire level, so it gets old really fast. Level progression is good, with a central location (Blue Key/four switches) which controls the critical barriers throughout the level... images/asd2_03.jpg

Going Down? 7:13
Medium
The first level that's not completely dark. Good design, but that lift is really annoying, considering the number of times you need to use it. A faster plat would've been nice. Monsters are fairly easy to dispose of. Don't get hit too often, though, because there isn't much health lying around. The only downside of the gameplay is the lift. No other flaws to be found... images/asd2_04.jpg

Hell of a Knight 8:31
Hard
One of the tougher levels in the episode, for a long time I thought this was impossible until a demo was created, proving me wrong. After examining the tactics used I concluded that the level isn't really as hard as it looks. That's not to say it's easy, though. Surviving the first group of monsters can be a real pain. There's enough ammo to kill everything, but not at the beginning where you need it the most. So, you must substitute your RL with a Cyberdemon. Once all the monsters are dead the Cyberdemon can be safely telefragged. The rest of the level is fairly routine. The design is nice, but still pretty dark in spots... images/asd2_05.jpg

The Heat Is On 8:16
Hard
Remember that level I mentioned earlier that had 46 monsters and was impossible? Well, this is it. The toughest level in the collection. Here there's not enough ammo to kill all the opposition, nor is there a Berserk Pack (until the end) to aid you in punching. The impossible part is the beginning. You have to punch three Barons (at once) on a series of 64-unit thick walkways surrounded by -10% lava. There are teleporters to get you out of the lava, but that doesn't do you much good once you've run out of Rad Suits and used up all the health. After reading my review, Anders Johnsen decided to give this a try and managed an improvement of four minutes over my TAS time on a first exit. Apparently, it's not that difficult, after all. images/asd2_06.jpg

A False Sense of Security 5:38
Medium
This city-style level is the best in the collection. Good design, with the best gameplay this side of HR. The level starts out peacefully, with a lone Trooper walking in your direction. You open fire, and suddenly, are surrounded by Chaingunners. Dead, you realize it might be a good idea to put some space between yourself and those teleporter pads before you wake up the rest of the monsters. Authors have been using this kind of trap for ages and it still works. The level is actually pretty empty for its size, but there's enough action to keep it interesting... images/asd2_07.jpg

Finale 8:43
Hard
Following very closely behind MAP07 as best level is this wonderful TechLab. Great design in the courtyard, and the arena towards the end isn't bad, either. Gameplay is excellent with a few nice ideas. To start with, you only need one key to exit the level, but you'll want all three, unless you'd rather fight four Cyberdemons instead of one. A good ending to an excellent set of levels... images/asd2_08.jpg