Saturday, September 03, 2016

Review: Passage to Höllenteufel

Title: Passage to Höllenteufel
Creator: Barry Christian

SDL Version Released:
Length: 31 levels
Level Format: Continuous
Story: Yes
Graphics: Original game + some new ones 
Sound: Original game
Special Features: New objects, new doors, bad food, two new keys, increased amount of ammo

Passage to Höllenteufel is Barry Christian's first mod in 15 years, and it's always great to see one of the old-school Wolfers return to the community. After releasing mods such as Armageddon, The Road to Neuschwanstein & Domination, Barry became less prolific for a number of years. Though new projects had been announced, they never came to fruition.

Until now.

And it is quite the return to form. From the start, you can tell that this mod is made by someone who is not only a big fan, but who is also very knowledgeable about the originals (Wolfenstein 3D & Spear of Destiny) and their map designs. There are various references and homages to the original game (e.g., Floor 25 is a clear homage to E5L6, E6 is referenced multiple times), and it stays relatively close to the original in design as well.

Mapping: The mod starts off a bit shaky. While it makes sense for the Tunnel-section of the game to feature a lot of mazes, it can be quite a drag to get through. It really puts a bit of a damper on the beginning of this mod. However, it does stay true to the original in the sense that this section is clearly inspired by levels 1 & 2 from Episode 6 of the original game. This (i.e., staying true to the original game in its mapping design) is a trend that continues throughout the whole game, and luckily, it means we also get a lot of stuff that made the original game so great. But the amount of joy you'll get out of these first few levels will heavily corrolate with how much you enjoy those first two levels of E6, and mazes in general. All in all, your mileage may vary for those first couple of levels.
        Once you've passed the tunnel-section of the game, which does contain the excellent level 4, a pattern starts to emerge. The designs become grander and grander, with more open spaces and larger hordes of enemies. The choice for mazes in the first level therefore makes a bit more sense, as that design choice really makes the following levels feel bigger. Next to that, I would say that the maps get better and better as the game progresses. Once you get past the relatively slow start, you're treated to a great old-school mapset which fans of the original game are going to love. The variation in room sizes, enemy placement and traps is akin to something like Chemical Warfare. Furthermore, the game is really well balanced. Though it is, at times, tough as hell, there usually are more than enough supplies to keep you going.
        Though the mapping is, in general, quite excellent, it should also be noted that there are some negative aspects. Overall, I'd say that alcoves containing enemies are a bit overused during the first portion of the game. There almost is no level where there isn't a big area where you have to pick off the enemies in their alcoves one by one. This mod also slightly overuses the 'enemy right around the corner'-trick. Though it is an effective trick to keep the player on their toes, it is also a bit of cheap trick when employed too often. And when it's mutants that are hiding in the corner, it is also a very deadly trick. But that is more of a nitpick and, for me, not too big of a problem. A slightly bigger problem is that the mod started to repeat itself a bit too much towards the end. During some levels, a fatigue started to set in because I started feeling like I was going from room to room, opening a door which was followed by a horde of enemies coming towards me. Luckily, this fatigue was only felt during a small number of levels, and was countered rather well with interesting traps, designs and enemy placement later on.

Likes: The mapping ranges, after the slow start, from good to excellent throughout the entire mod. In general, there aren't really any filler levels, though not all levels are as consistently good as the peaks of this mod are. But it keeps on getting better and better, and overall you can tell that the levels are building towards something massive. The levels are overall well balanced, and become more challenging the further you get into the game. There is a distinctive progression detectable, and that is no small feat. Because properly balancing a mod, making levels slightly more challenging every time you progress, is quite tough to get right. And I think this mod, in general, did just that. It also manages to stay interesting thanks to its colorfulness, the variation in room designs, and the enemy placement. I also really liked the addition of the bad food, which makes you lose health. It is, at times, hilariously frustrating to be in need of health but you only encounter bad food. I also appreciate the opening of floor 22, which is something I had never seen before. That's how you keep the player on his/her toes!
Dislikes: As I stated before, I think the game doesn't start off well. You really have to get through those levels in order to get to the good stuff, and that is unfortunate. Luckily, there are few bad levels after that, and I'd argue that those first couple of levels are never truly that bad to begin with. But those long passageways can become a bit monotonous, and they just aren't that much fun to play through. Finally, during the last section it occasionally felt like the game was repeating itself and the action sequences felt a bit uninspired. Luckily, this didn't occur very often, and quickly the quality of the mapping would improve once again.

Ron's Score: 8.5/10
Difficulty: Very challenging!
Best Levels: 4, 7, 8, 11, 17, 19, 21, 25, 27, 28 
Worst Level: 2, 6, 12, 26

Wrap-up: Passage to Höllenteufel is a fantastic mod and a must-play for everyone who likes the original game. It contains some fantastic mapping, though you'll have to get through a couple of blander levels to get to them. But after that, you'll have a blast with this one!

Where Can I get it?: You can download the mod HERE or by clicking on the screenshot at the top of this post.

Kakhome1 (MrWolfForever) is doing a playthrough of the mod, which you can view right HERE.
Disclaimer: All reviews are only my opinion when playing the mod and are not intended to discredit anyone or the hard work they have put into creating their mod.


  1. Thanks for reviewing this! I'm glad to see you enjoyed it at least mostly. :) I hope you'll find time to check out the first five levels of Atomprojekt soon. Still open for feedback/changes.

  2. Just started playing it. I am loving this mod so far! Very challenging