30th of October 2023
Der Zorn Gottes | Single | Author: Alex Pistol | Download
The Review: Der Zorn Gottes takes place on an oilrig, being one of a few Duke3D maps that do so (the most famous being Slick).
This was originally meant to be Alex's entry to Sanek's BattleDuke-themed community project (to be reviewed
later), but he ran out of time and went for a standalone release instead. That was a good move, as Der Zorn Gottes benefits greatly from being
standalone, enabling Alex to tinker with the rules. As a result, the map is significantly less annoying than your standard BattleDuke map for a few reasons: The Battlelords
in Der Zorn Gottes have less health than their BattleDuke brethren (but still more than a standard Duke3D miniboss Battlelord), you get better weapons (not that you can afford to waste a lot of ammo, but at least you don't have to
rely on tedious Mickey Mouse tier weapons at all), and, most significantly, many of the Battlelords don't have miniguns at all, making their custom projectiles far easier to dodge.
Moreover, the gameplay area is fairly big and has a fair amount of cover
(at least the rig's topside; the bottom area has less cover but luckily there's only one minigunner there). Still, there are some
annoyances. There's a jump from one sprite chain to another that's unnecessarily tricky - and not least because there's a good chance you're getting
shot at while trying to perform the jump. Then there's one Battlelord
who's on a moving boat, making the target hard to hit regardless of your autoaim setting. (But at least it's balanced by the
fact that the Battlelord doesn't have a minigun, making him somewhat safe to ignore.)
On a purely technical level, Der Zorn Gottes is one of the most impressive maps ever made for Duke3D. It makes great use of several modern features, including true-room-over-rooms and sloped sprites. Spritework is extensive (there are no "flat" elevators here, for example), and the map's got some of the best uses of the "subway" effect ever. Texturing is creative but never out of place. My only slight criticism is that topside lighting seemed a bit flat. As a bonus, the author has included extensive documentation of the various tricks and effects used, so take a good look if you wish to learn something new.
Conclusion: Der Zorn Gottes could be faulted for featuring only Battlelords, but then again the map was clearly designed as a sequence of battles against them, with each segment accommodating specifically that segment's Battlelord variant: Ordinary monsters wouldn't work without significant changes to the map's layout. And with its alterations to the Battlelord code, the map largely avoids the pitfalls of BattleDuke. Design-wise, there's no ambiguity: Der Zorn Gottes is a true marvel of engineering.