Knee Deep in the Dead Again

New source port installed and configured, I dive back into Knee Deep in the Dead, the first DOOM mission, a game I was first introduced to in the form of a blue 3.5” shareware floppy. While I eventually did spring for a full version of the game, for years I only had the first episode to play around with; while I was aware that other episodes existed, KDITD was the practical DOOM experience while I was in high school.

This time I dive right into the Ultra-Violence difficulty level, and yeah, this feels like DOOM. Monsters everywhere, getting in each others’ way, shooting each other – and I remember that that was one of the big things in the game, getting the monsters to fight by luring them into each others’ firing paths.

It forms a big part of my strategy as I go on.

Rusty or not, I’m better than I used to be, FPS reflexes honed by twenty – no, almost thirty – years of Bioshock, Half-Life, F.E.A.R., Far Cry, and the like. In fact, the only thing that really throws me – beyond not being able to jump or look up or down – is not having to reload, as I keep reflexively trying to do so.

I blaze my way through The Hangar, the Nuclear Plant, the Toxin Refinery, the Command Center, trying to avoid dying, trying to memorize layouts, looking for any walls with slightly different tiling that might indicate a secret door.

Back in the day I’d play the game again and again, enough to get an intuitive understanding of enemy patterns and the structure of each map… but I’m probably not going to run through this more than once.

What’s my end game here? What do I want? To recapture the feel of what it’s like to play the game. To make a few retrogaming videos. How much DOOM is enough DOOM to make a comprehensive video about it?

I’ll finish Knee Deep in the Dead, certainly. That’s the purpose of the shareware episode – to let the player know what they’re in for and keep them wanting more. That’ll let me make a general overview video. I’d also like to make a video on the community level/WAD scene. Will I go on to The Shores of Hell?

Maybe? Maybe I’ll switch to some other retrogame and come back to compare the other Episodes later. There’s a lot to DOOM, its sequels, its ports.

Leave a Reply