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 P H O B I A

By Kristian 'Ebola' Käll Homepage phobia


Sometimes an author has an idea. A great idea, one that will thrill the community and entertain the massses. Where the indication of the author's dedication to his product and his hard work shines through your monitor with massive force. You know you're playing something out of the ordinary and which only comes around every 2nd year or something. Ladies and gentleman, I give you 'Phobia'!

There is so many aspects of this great level, that I do not even know where to start. A good starting point would perhaps be the new amazingly great looking textures and flats which carry this level's theme all the way to the top. The atmosphere is thick and it's been awhile since I have seen anything as thrilling and awesome as this. These textures and flats have found their master in the hands of Kristian Käll. He really does magic with them as they build up enormous pillars and dark hallways. Not to forget carpeted floors and balconies built of heavy grey stone. However, what is these amazing textures in the hands of an amateur? Nothing and a waste of time! So to supplement them, the author gives us some of the most impressive looking architecture I have ever encountered in a gothic themed level before. It's filled to the rim with aweinspiring and epic environments that never seems to end. All packed with a wide selection of 3D floors that holds you in constant state of amazement. They fit in perfect with the architecture and adds to the high level of detail. You have your more or less common church like bigger rooms, however there is also a good portion of scary and moody ruins embedded in caves with flames and old wooden bridges that seems to have grown tired and old and are just waiting to buggle under the stress of your weight. Hell yeah, it is moody and I never felt welcome at any point. The big wooden doors hiding our old friend the Cyberdemon was a situation not easy forgotten too. The most impressive thing about the architecture is most certainly the various designs brought into this one theme and only the best designers can create areas upon areas that seem recognizeable but with a consistent theme. It's repetitive in a fresh kind of way.

The gameplay is a chapter by itself. Unlike 99% of every level out there 'Phobia' presents the player with a couple of choices: Action, sneaking around or what I would call nomonster admiration. The latter being totally empty just giving the player a good scare once in awhiel and plenty of time to gaze at the structures and absorb the atmosphere. I'm an action-loving sucker, so my favourite would have to be either skill 1 or 2 where there's monsters, weapons and well, action! Unlike what mr. Käll writes in the txt file, I think the ammo balance was a little irregular at times and forced me to fight a horde of imps with a couple of shells and my fists. However, the single most annoying thing, and which really tested my patience to the limit, was the jumping over a big black void on some floating tiles, not unlike something I have seen in 'American McGee's Alice'. A noble and good idea, and definitly a nice break from the action. However, it just takes way too many tries to get it right. It can get pretty frustrating. The reason why you have to survive this test, it because the level has you running all over the place searching for artifacts that will raise bars, lower bridges and activate teleporters. It's fun and very professionally made, obviously inspired by many newer games. But don't worry, I'm not expecting any new inventions and a gaming revolution in a Doom pwad. The addition of scripts gives this amazing level it's final touch, and keeps the player in a constant sphere of amazement! 'Phobia' is above the average level. Download it now.


Score: 92%