Designing and developing levels in a game is no walk in the park. That’s true even if you’re a professional but even more so if you’re just getting started. So you can imagine the creativity, hard work, and old-school persistence of Doom modder Ben Mansell, who poured no less than 300 hours making a Doom 2 level. Yes, a single Doom 2 level. But don’t let that lone digit fool you, because that very same single level will take at most 3 hours to finish.
If you were playing an open world, open-ended RPG with dozens upon dozens of side quests, and have a completionist streak within you, spending 3 hours on a single level isn’t exactly unheard of. But for a fast-paced first-person shooter like Doom, that borders on ridiculous.
But Mansell’s inspiration for this insane, even my modders’ standards, Doom 2 level is actually the older Doom games, where success doesn’t exactly depend on the rising body count and the amount of entrails left on the cold floor. Mansell’s level, instead, is a throwback to an age where the player not only has to defend against enemies but against the very environment itself, like moving platforms and traps. As such, this mod level is as much a puzzle platformer as it is a shooter.
The level’s name, Foursite 4-in-1, is taken from the fact that this single level actual has four areas in it, each with its own environment and enemy types. This stage within a stage would have been impossible given the hardware that existed back when Doom 2 was launched, but, today, computers make mince meat out of it. The end result is a level that takes even its creator an hour to conquer.
Perhaps just as unbelievable is the fact that this is Mansell’s first attempt at creating a Doom map, and that it is only his hobby project. Hobbies are meant to keep you from going insane, not become the cause of it. Either way, mods like this usually become portfolios for launching a real game design career, so who knows if Mansell will get the honor of becoming part of the next Doom dev team.