T11: There's No Place Like Up
Of course, this level is the crappy counterpart to Attack of the Wheenies. It's just a continuation of the previous level.
However, where Attack of the Wheenies was a fun little run-from-bad-guys romp, this level is an infinitely frustrating test of patience. The objective, based on the name, is simply to climb; the exit is at the top of this vast
Pfhor hive. You start at the bottom. The level is a big jumping puzzle, working your way to the top, as respawning enemies hound you constantly through your climb.
This level is enormous, the architecture is repetitive and the texturing and lighting are uniform. There are no
distinguishing features from one area in this map to another. I mention this now because it's important to put this in context: it's far more difficult than it ought to be to even figure out what the ledge to jump to is. Even getting off the floor (where the bulk of the respawning enemies are) is tough; there are several large buildings to choose from but only a couple you can enter.
Even from there, it can be difficult to figure out where to go when you find the right building. Your task for the following pic is to spot the wire panel.
Now, while the infinite horde is trying to get to you and you're desperately looking for where to go, how the hell
are you expected to find that wire? It's the little blue-and-black panel above the 3x can. Even if you see the 3x can, you might not notice the wire. It just looks like another blue texture. It took me three or four lives to actually recognize that it was a wire.
From there it's just an irritating climb that takes way
too long. This level is long! Even without deaths, this level takes time, patience, and a keen eye for details. So throw in infinite Fighters that bother you while you're near the bottom, infinite Wasps that bother you as you get higher, and Enforcers hiding on ledges around corners to electrocute you long before you could even think to expect them. This level is a hopeless nightmare, and again, another level that might be tolerable on Normal but is so ludicrously difficult and unfair on TC that it makes me wonder if anyone actually bothered to test it.
The respawning enemies thing was a fun gimmick back in Attack of the Wheenies but long overstays its welcome here. Besides this horde of enemies constantly bothering you, there's so much stuff
in this level that it just confounds the player. And it all looks the damn same! You have to spend far too much time thinking and looking about the next spot to look at that you just have to allow yourself a death or two to probe the next area. There's no other way! And the path doubles back on itself and continues in these weird unexpected angles. This level gives no quarter whatsoever, as if the game actually wants you to lose.
Interestingly, there's a "secret" shortcut path that's more obvious and sensible than the actual way there. The jump you need to make is no more difficult or obscure than any of the actual jumps, and you get triple health for your troubles!
This level is a gimmick gone way, way wrong.
Level design: 1/5
Memorability: 3/5; this is the level that, if it were done right, would be a quirky and interesting sort of puzzle level.