Saturday, March 13, 2021

Freaks!: Does Hell Have a Frequent Flyer Program?

 Hmm, that joke is probably more appropriate to a Doom wad than this, oh well.

Automatic double-barreled shotgun? The dead swimming through a lake of blood? Music that doesn't feature the worst midi bank? You're back in my good graces, Freaks, try not to leave again. The opening section here is a surprise return to linearity, not that its bad for this. Gets pretty hairy in places. Especially when the mutants show up. Some very original level titles, like Towards the Within. I don't know what that's supposed to mean in-game.
Eventually, there's a fork in the path, and I enter a forest level. Its still a river of blood on the ground. The enemies here are all tentacles in the water. They're no pushover either. This comes off as cruel, but ultimately ends up being fair, as I win.
For a good while after that, its uninteresting to talk about. Perhaps as an attempt at difficulty, the developer threw out dozens of enemies rather than trying to come up with clever paths to get through a level. What's interesting...I that this episode's keys are...whatever these are. The manual tells me its going to make sense after I find them all. Okay, whatever.
Then, there's this level. Praying mantises are the primary enemy, but the important bit is that there are crucified corpses on the walls. Er...souls. Also, there's a mantis is a side-room for no apparent reason.

The lull in difficulty changes almost instantly after that. A level full of more mantises. The problem? There are too many to just shoot down at once, so the level has a bunch of little rooms. Thus the level's name, The Crypt. Its mostly just moving back and forth between two of the doors, most of the doors lack a good shot at any of the enemies.

Curiously, there are quite a few level titles relating to the dead. At first I assumed there was going to be some undead again, but I only encountered the mantises and recolored imps. A few tricky levels here, nothing interesting to talk about. Then I find The Old Cemetery. A bunch of graves, and I eventually come across a cross. Its an item, so I take it. At this point I go to write some of this, but because of the weird button combinations, DOSBox is on a different plane of computing than the text box, causing DOSbox to disappear and vice versa.

When I returned, this was going on. I guess there are undead. Forgot about that gimmick. This was actually pretty cool, although the problem I now had was that it seemed like I was stuck here, because there was a horde of these guys. This whole level exceeded at being creepy, because to begin with all the tombstones were moving.

It feels like this episode's big gimmick is enemy control via these doors. It was interesting at first, but every time it pops up again its just running around two doors because all the others are pointless to try. This comes to my great annoyance in The Dead Town, in which enemies are tucked away in the interior. I wait by the side, they just scatter all around, or I'm not fast enough to reach them. I wait by a door, well, doesn't take a genius to figure out that's not going to work. I eventually figured it out.

The cathedral section is okay. Lots of gnome ghost-like enemies. Reminds me of the levels in Deadly Rooms of Death where you'd have to trickle enemies in around a curve. I realize what the keys are forming, at least, I think I do. A funeral urn. I actually find the episode exit before I find all the items.
Somewhere in the cathedral are The Dungeons, which felt weird, but whatever. By this time, I have all but 1 items, and there's a door that's locked. Okay...weird...whatever. The final item is here, which spawns more enemies...and the locked door is a boss...I think? I feel like I've seen this in something related to Junji Ito, but I haven't seen anything. On to the episode exit...feels like I've missed something. Nope.
This episode's ending text is rather short, fitting considering the final episode is supposed to just be a boss battle.
The boss battle is...uh...not terribly impressive. The music's the same as the first episode; I don't even die once; And The Learner is some alien-looking dude. He's tough, but bullet sponge, all that.
C'mon, you give me all this awesome backstory, and you don't even give me some ending text? Man...Well, I guess I gotta decide how I feel about that.

Final Time: 8.5 hours

No comments:

Post a Comment