Starship Konrad - Level One is
a single, survival horror map inspired by the original Alien movie. Designed
for GZDoom, this map uses multiple features added by the port to create a
dark, moody atmosphere, and conveying a sense of dread uncommon in most wads
The first thing you'll notice
while starting up Starship Konrad is the abrupt change in pace it offers
compared to most other Doom maps scattered around the net. Rather than
pitting you against hordes of demons and the undead, the map instead takes
on a survival horror atmosphere. The starship is dark... Extremely dark.
Half the time, you won't know what you're shooting at, or where the
Xenomorphs (I'm told there was only one Xenomorph in the original film) are
coming from. But you can hear them. With your sight taken from you, your
ears are your first line of defense against these beasts.
And what beasts they are. The Xenomorphs are highly aggressive. They move
fast, try to strafe around your shots, have a massive melee range (according
to the author, 64 pixels), and are extremely powerful. Even with full health
and green armor, you do NOT want to get too close to these bastards. Unless
you're out of ammo. The good news is that the Xenomorphs can be stunlocked
quite easily, and once you lure them into a long corridor, their defense of
dodging your attacks is quickly negated.
While there aren't many Xenomorphs to encounter - 18 on UV, in fact -
fighting two or three of them at a time in an open area is a nightmare. And
yes, you'll have to do this.
Starship Konrad is laid out
nicely. While the map is dark, the main corridors are lit enough to see
where you're going. That is, until you start crawling through air ducts,
where it's pitch black, and not even your pulse rifle can light it up. The
crawl spaces are difficult to navigate, but once you pick up the full
automap, it gets a little easier to move around. Just watch out for the
Xenomorphs in there, as it's easy to get cornered.
There are a few new weapons to help you survive, though ammo is extremely
scarce and difficult to find. Along with your standard shotgun, which
already puts Xenomorphs in their place with a few well placed shells, you
can also find the Pulse Rifle, which functions not unlike the Chaingun with
an underslung grenade launcher, and the Flamethrower, reducing the beasts to
nothing more than a burning pile of flesh. While the Pulse Rifle runs off
pistol ammo (as you might expect), the Flamethrower has its own ammo pool,
and I was unable to find any other ammo what was supplied with the gun.
Which is a shame, because the lingering burning effects were a nice touch.
Starship Konrad is riddles with death traps you can plunge into without
being any the wiser. You'll really have to watch your step, but once you
figure out what to expect, you realize the map is screwing with you. And
that adds to its charm.
Keeping in key with its
survival horror nature, picking up this map isn't exactly the easiest when
you're used to circle strafing cyberdemons with a plasma rifle. While it's
certainly playable, you'll take quite a beating before you realize this
isn't a run and gun map. Unless you're used to this kind of thing, you won't
finish the map, and instead get extremely frustrated.
But once you get used to it all, it becomes second nature.
Overall (Not An Average): 7
Kontra clearly knows what he's
doing, and provides just enough atmosphere to make you dread every second of
your stay on the Konrad. It's dark, it's moody, it's terrifying, and I loved
it. Recommended for players that want something a little different to break
up your Doom experience. Or if you just want a good bitch slap to keep your
senses in line, that works too.