Sunday, July 03, 2011

Review: Deadly Sleep

Mod Title: Deadly Sleep
Author(s): Schabbs/Brian and Arielus
Dos/SDL: Dos
Number/nature of levels: 16 consecutive maps
Requires orginal Wolf3D/SoD files: No
Released: August 1, 2009
Download: You can download the mod by clicking here or clicking on the title screenshot.


Gameplay/difficulty balance/fun value: This was among the first mods I played when returning to the Wolf3D community in late 2010. Advertised on the Dome as "we hope you find it enjoyable", I can certainly say I enjoyed playing this and then some. Most of the 16 levels are quite large and the average map took me around 10 minutes to get through. The two authors have slightly different styles but they blend together very well. Each level is very well made, has an appropriate ceiling color, and is relatively challenging to finish with plenty of guards and rarely an excess of health or ammo. I was hooked into this game by the third level and as such, finished the whole thing in just a few days. The only bosses are on the last level, where all Spear of Destiny bosses appear, with five distinct boss battles. The original Wolf3D/Spear feel is very much retained throughout the 16 levels. I never got lost or stuck and level progression was very good. Additionally, while challenging, I was never put to frustration in any of the maps. To conclude, this is an extremely fun and well-playing partial conversion. I give this category a rating of 9.5/10.

Level Design/Texturing: As said above, all 16 maps, except appropriate the first, are quite large. They are also very well designed with generally fitting textures. The textures are almost entirely from the original Spear of Destiny but they fit in well. The main new textures I can recall are locked doors are now in the color of the key they require, and I find this to be a very good addition. The two authors clearly have different styles of design and by looking in an editor it's fairly easy to guess who made which map even if you ignore the signatures the authors left. However, in play, it combines very well, and the switching of authors of the levels does not make it feel discontinuous in any way. Both authors are well-known Wolf3D mappers and have very good styles of design. Secrets are done well and necessary items are never placed in secrets or otherwise unusually hard to find places. My only complaint in this category regards the occasional use of the Angel of Death red hellish texture on some normal levels, but that is minor and does little to detract from the game. I give this category a rating of 9/10.

Code Changes: This game is meant to retain the original feel and does so very well. As thus, coding changes are limited and mostly of the basic variety (new introductory screens, different status bar, modified between levels screens, fitting ceiling colors, four keys, etc.), but they are all very well done and none feel out of place. Since all coding changes were good and approrpriate, I give this category a rating of 10/10.

Other (music/ceiling colors, etc.): The music is unchanged from the original Spear of Destiny. Unfortunately I must deduct a point or two for this because while the music still fits most levels acceptably, boss music plays on Floors 5 and 10, but there are no bosses on these levels. Also, the mod loses a slight amount of points for having no secret levels. Ceiling colors, once again, are changed and fit the levels well. There are no other miscellaneous changes I can recall. I give this category a score of 7.5/10; it would be a 9/10 or better if music was changed and there was at least one secret level.

Final Summary: This is an excellent partial conversional with very well designed levels, highly enjoyable gameplay, and a good challenge. It presents a very appropriate amount of new features (coding changes, textures, etc.) such that it fits the game but also strongly retains the original feel as intended. If you still at all enjoy original styles sets, I strongly recommend you play this game, which is IMO one of the more overlooked mods, receiving far less attention that I believe it should have upon release.

My final score for this mod is 9/10 - excellent.

Disclaimer: All reviews represent my own opinion and should not be taken to any offense. You may feel differently about a mod than I do, and that is fully acceptable.

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