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9th of March 2024

Nuclear Plant 2024 | Single | Author: StarCraftZerg | Download

The Review: Doom's iconic first map, Hangar, has seen many remakes over the years, leaving the rest feeling neglected. StarCraftZerg, whose portfolio includes a Hangar remake as well, has now given E1M2: Nuclear Plant, some needed attention. The map's layout is very close to the original, much more so than, say, Bruno's Hollywood Holocaust remake (let alone MRCK's recent Duke3D original episode medleys). But this one is insanely more detailed than its Doom counterpart. The facility is teeming with intricately detailed machinery and gadgets, and a lot of it is the kind that really draws your attention with interesting details and creative ideas (including nifty implementation of the Devastator sprite and the E1L4 crane). Furthermore, there's plenty of stuff beyond the immediate gameplay area, and not just outdoors (which is where stuff like that typically lies): Almost everywhere you can look up, down or to your sides and find that the facility keeps going beyond the playable area. And the place is not just a sterile showcase of fancy design; the place feels like a living and sprawling facility where people once worked (although it could've used more ambient sounds). There's humor in the map too and plenty of optional exploration. In fact, this is where your knowledge of the original comes in handy, as without it you could miss basically half of the map. The author has also included a "super secret" for those who don't mind looking for some scattered buttons.
There are two snags that ought to be mentioned though. The amount of stuff beyond the playable area can throw you off, as you're not sure if the areas are truly inaccessible (i.e., mere decorations) or if they're so only for the moment. This problem is further exacerbated by the amount of decorative doors that are everywhere. My second complaint is that the map is noticeably lacking in "3d lighting". The first room along with the first outdoor area are good examples of places that have an insane amount of details and yet the overall look is a bit flat because every wall has the same shade value.
Combat is for the most part enjoyable despite potential for being annoying due to the map's cluttered, detail-filled hallways. Whether you explore the map's secret areas has a considerable impact on the map's item balance, as without the optional areas the map is much shorter but also tougher. Whether this is a good thing is another matter, but at least it's more or less as the original was.

Conclusion: Nuclear Plant 2024 is in many ways the ideal remake. It's up-to-date with modern standards concerning the level of detail (aside from its occasionally flat lighting), and yet thanks to its adherence to the layout of the original you always "recognize" where you'd be in the original Doom map. Moreover, it goes further than just being a more detailed version of the original, boasting plenty of creative visuals, some good humor and rewarding exploration.

Rating: 94

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