Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Review: Beyond Mutantstein SE - 10th Anniversary Edition

Title: Beyond Mutantstein SE - 10th Anniversary Edition
Creator: Wolf3D Community
SDL Version Released: 25/12/2012
Length: 19 Levels (1 secret)
Level Format: Continuous
Story: New
Graphics: Original + Some new ones
Sound: Original (Changed Order) + Some new ones (HEY MO!)
Special Features: Mutants can open pushwalls, thunder + lightning

Initial impressions: The opening is reminiscent of the original opening to Beyond Mutantstein: the player witnesses a mutant opening up a pushwall. For those who haven't played the original it must be a moment of awe.

Those initiated with his style will immediately recognize the creator of this first level: Arielus. It's a good opener that sets the tone quite well. It is also fitting that someone who has been such a significant part of the Wolf3D community gets to create the opening level of this tribute set. His style is instantly recognizable: colorful and symmetric. The only downside to this style is that the symmetry makes the level too predictable at times. If you have a certain amount of guards on one side of a room, the same amount is bound to be on the other side in the mirror image of that section.

Gameplay: The levels vary quite a lot, which is logical when you take into account that so many authors created levels for this one. This means that you can go from a large level filled with enemies to a smaller level that are less fast paced. Personally I don't mind these extreme changes of the flow, but I can imagine it being too abrupt for some. Thanks to the coding features, this game feels fresh even though it is still quite similar to the original Wolf3D. The 'enemies pushing pushwalls' feature has been used quite often, everytime in a new and interesting way. It definitely adds a new tactical element to the levels (especially in ack's level and Poet's secret level).

Mapping: The first level is a good level, which is then followed by a really short second level. It's not bad, but it just feels out of place because it is a bit lacking. Given the opportunity to work with this engine, I feel more could have been done with it. Luckily, the third level is a better, if still somewhat conventional level. It picks up a bit with the fourth level, which immediately makes an impression thanks to the striking visuals of the level. I love the combination of the walls and the ceiling color. Other standouts for me were Schabbs, ack, WSJ, AReyeP, Dean and Thomas. The only thing that stands out to me is that relatively few maps go all out with the features. The mapping is quite good all around, but this does feel like a wasted opportunity at times. It's why ack's map stands out so much, he really goes all out and uses everything to its full potential.
Poet's secret level is certainly one level that deserves mention. This map is insanely difficult and complex, full of puzzles. In short, it is a typical Poet level, making smart use of the features to create a challenging puzzle. Thankfully, a quite detailed walkthrough is included in the game files. Poet has also put up a YouTube video that can be viewed HERE. He also did a playthrough of his other level (level 17), which can be seen HERE. That level is also excellent. For some reason, though Poet is much respected in the Wolf3D community, I do still feel like he is underrated as a mapper. These two levels are another showcase for his skills.

Likes: There are some outstanding maps in here, and at the same time it's nice to play maps by modders I was not that familiar with. The enemies pushing pushwalls feature is still fantastic though it is underused. Nevertheless, there are a couple of levels that use it to great effect, creating interesting puzzles for the player (most notably ack and Poet's levels). The variety in ceiling colors is another plus, as most mappers seem to have made the most out of the aesthetics as well. Notable striking levels in this regard are Serpens and AReyeP. Using the hell walls and flashing lights, AReyeP can even make a tension-filled corridor out of 64x64 graphics. Really says a lot about his mapping skills, and why he's one of the best.

Dislikes: The features are a bit underutilized. I have mentioned before that I thought more levels would use the enemies pushing pushwalls feature to some effect, but I also thought that the exploding barrels were rarely used in interesting ways. They're 'just there' mostly, rarely used in interesting, tactical ways. There is a map or two that I didn't like, but overall the mapping was good to great.

Ron's Score: 8/10
Difficulty: Harder than the original SoD, easier than original tribute set.
Best Level: 4, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 17
Worst Level: 2, 10

It's always good to see a new Community set release, and there are a couple of outstanding maps to be found here. It's unfortunate that some of the features are somewhat underused, but overall I'd say that this set is well worth giving a shot.

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

You can download the original Beyond Mutantstein SE Tribute set (in SDL) HERE.

You can read Dean's review 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. There is no DOS version of the Anniversary Edition - not enough memory to support the new features!

  2. That's a long list of best maps already (which is a good sign) though I think Ariel's Level 1, Hair Machine's Level 5, and Daniel's Level 11 are right up there too more or less. Perhaps even Ipank's Level 9, the whole 'hard secret' thing was a good twist IMO to spice the level up.

    I'm still at the start of Level 10. Levels 2 and 3 are the ones that didn't impress me too much, Level 3 was just way too ordinary I guess. I guess I can't say I'm looking forward to Level 10 that much but hopefully that's the last downer.

    (I mention Level 11 to be potentially among the best simply with knowledge it's from AReyeP's son and looking at the map it seems quite impressive looking.)

  3. Thanks Andy, updated the review.

    @WolfForever: level 11 is indeed quite good as well, but didn't stand out for me as much as the others I mentioned. To each their own right? But hey, if you're playing this, you can do a review too. Three perspectives on the mod.

  4. Well reviewing depends if I get the time, but through Level 9 and factoring in Level 10 probably not being so good, 8/10 seems reasonable, I might go 8.5 simply because I don't care much about use of the new features but that's it.

  5. I played Level 10 finally and agree with it as a 'worst' for the following main reasons:

    1) Too much of a straight 'mutant slaughterfest'
    2) Mandatory secrets, and 3 of them, aren't cool