Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Game 12: The Catacomb Abyss

Name:The Catacomb Abyss
Publisher:Softdisk Publishing
Developer:Gamer's Edge*
Time:Under 2 Hours

It could just be nostalga talking, but I still like this game. Most fantasy games tend to be Doom with wands. The gameplay in this hasn't really been copied by anyone else. As a sequel to Catacomb 3D, its ironed out most of the big faults. Judging by the end, not all of those were intentional.
This isn't the last we'll see of Big Jim and Mike. To immident interest of myself, they were the programers of Blake Stone. Big Jim would go on to do something for Duke Nukem and Mike would end up going on to iD Software. Current iD Software. I wonder if this came up in the interview?
Almost all of the same criticisms and advantages apply to this as they did to the game this is based off of. Its basically the same game except better. One thing to note is that there are two sequels. They're just the usual shareware games, first episode free, rest paid. I feel like the only reason why people call them different games is because no one played them until they were seperate.
Despite this Abyss is cleverer with its level design. Encounters in most single plane shooters are solely what you find in room. Abyss can have something sneak up on you without you knowing it even exists. The high points of the game are where this can actually happen. Around a third of the campaign involves this, which is good, it sticks to its strengths without overwhelming its strengths. Unfortunately, some of those times it sticks to its weaknesses. I don't mind spamming attacks against a boss, but when your normal enemies take around 4 zappers to kill, you probably shouldn't fill the levels with them. I guess you could call it balanced around the extreme amount of items, but I wouldn't. Because its not. This won't blow your mind if you don't like games like Wolfenstein though, and I'd wager that's most people.

Weapons from Catacomb 3D are mostly unaltered, with the exception of the removal of charged shots. Thanks guys. 2/10

The enemy selection has been greatly improved from Catacomb 3D. The undead are the real standout, but mages also provide some variety to encounters. We're starting to get to Doom levels of enemy variety, but not enough that you could release a 1 Monster levelset. 5/10


A lot of time and effort went into these levels. This is a graveyard, this is a mauseleum, this is a sewer. I hate the sewer. The level descriptions just make each level easy to navigate and just more interesting than the comparable Wolfenstein levels. With some annoying exceptions, especially the secret levels, of which I don't even feel like bothering telling you about, they're just that lame. 8/10

Player Agency:
Same as before, now with quick turning. 5/10

Same as before. 1/10

Funny, removing the music and adding more room descriptions makes the atmosphere so much better. Its very tense at times when it really isn't. 5/10

Despite reusing a lot of assets, the new assets don't really clash and generally feel like they belong. The most out of places ones are the trolls/demons, and Nemesis himself. Those were around since the beginning. 5/10

Oh, nice, you screw up what little story you had. 0/10

No music this time, which is actually a boon. Not much sound, but I feel like the footsteps are a nice touch. 3/10

That brings us to 34. More than the Wolf series. Unsurprising. If you're interested in a good flat plane shooter this is much more fun as an overall package than Wolfenstein. Unfortunately nobody ever seemed to make levels for ol' Catacomb Abyss, so this could very well be the last we see of it.

*Which, for my own selfish desires, will not be in the labels for this game, because they're literally just Softdisk's developing division.

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