Artificial truth

The more you see, the less you believe.

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Shrine, a doom2 mod
Tue 14 January 2020 — download

I'm usually not a big fan of doom and doom2, I prefer quake and its verticality, but since I'm currently reading some Lovecraft tales (they didn't age very well), I thought about giving a try to Shrine:

Shrine is a total conversion mod for Doom 2 set in a Lovecraftian inspired world. Battle new demons with new weapons, while exploring ancient cathedrals and eldritch worlds from the dark beyond.

I'm far from being an expert in doom levels, but I really liked this WAD. Its atmosphere is astonishingly good: the monsters are really cool, weapons have a distinctive appearance and have a good feeling (the grenade-launcher is amazing ♥), and all the environments are gorgeous: gloomy forests and cemeteries, deep caverns, dismal manors, bleak mountains, … there is a really great Lovecraftian vibe everywhere, supported by a top notch sound design and music. Moreover, the monsters placement is top-notch, creating some credible scenery, like worshiping scenes in obscene cathedrals, insane invocations of grotesque creatures, … also, it's worth mentioning that the animation of the water cascades is astonishing!

In most of his stories, Lovecraft refers to impossible geometries, elusive angles, seemingly moving spaces, intricate Arabesques roused into a kind of ophidian animation, … and I was curious if this could be somehow implemented in zdoom. I don't want to spoil too much, but Womb (map10) has some horrible corridors, and Archive (map11) gave me the feeling that everything was constantly falling down.

Unfortunately, on the not-so-bright-side, the level-design is a bit simplistic, there is only a single ammo type, and you get powerful weapons quite early in the game, including the completely overpowered BFG-like, which makes the game super-easy, even on Ultra-Violence difficulty. The last boss is a huge disappointment, I was expecting something epic, and … well I don't want to spoil it, but … meh.

But everything else is pretty neat and if you like Lovecraft's universe, those 16 levels are completely worth 45 minutes of your life.