Oniria is a single-level PWAD for Doom II, authored by Aluqah and designed for ZDoom. The new color scheme (PLAYPAL and COLORMAP), that plays a significant role in the level, was created by Jon Dowland. At the 13th Annual Cacowards, the PWAD was listed as a runner-up alongside Zen Dynamics of Xaser.
In Oniria's story, you are having a nightmare from which you cannot awaken. You find yourself in a bizarre world where everything is black-and-white with the exception of the color red. The only thing you can do is to explore the world with the hope that the nightmare would eventually come to an end.
While the visual look of the game has been altered substantially, the gameplay of the sole level does not differ much from a regular vanilla Doom level. A noteworthy feature, however, is the amount of keys. You actually have to find many items of the same type to unlock new areas. To make the progress easier, an info table of the found keys is visible on the screen by default. Obtaining the keys requires mainly slaughter of monsters. Their behavior has not been changed, and the black-and-white palette does not render them difficult to see, but there is a considerable amount of them (the ultimate count being over 250). Aside from monsters, a few tricky parts are offered. Solving them requires jumping or attention to visual details.
- Letters in italics refer to marked spots on the map. Sector numbers in boldface are secrets which count toward the end-of-level tally.
The first thing you will meet is the stimpack equivalent of Oniria. After the opening drop, you can see it as a red object in the corner in front of you. (A) Approach the item, and you will become ambushed by a group of zombiemen to your left. Slay them one by one with your pistol. After doing so, kill the heavy weapon dude that lurks in the adjacent checkerboard room (B) and get his chaingun.
Once the coast is clear, enter the doorway in the north and watch out for the monsters to your left. (C) To the right, there is a supercharge in a distance protected by a couple of bars. (D) Kill the imps that guard the area and arm yourself with the super shotgun that can be found next to the bars.
In the following part of the level, the progression is fairly non-linear; in order to get the soul sphere and reach the hidden zone behind it, you must find four white skull keys that are scattered all over the map. The following list separates the quests from each other, and you can accomplish them in the order you desire.
- This quest is the only one to consist of a single part. Return to the checkerboard room near the beginning (B) and spot the door in its southern wall. Notice that when you walk past the midpoint of the room, windows will open in the west and east exposing a heavy weapon dude behind both. Enter the mentioned door and beware the shotgun guy that lurks on the bottom of the dark staircase in front of you. Go down the stairs, clear the opposition in the illuminated room and open the wooden door. You will find an ornate hall. (E) Get rid of the imps in the lower level so that you can drop yourself there. Proceed carefully towards the white skull as additional monsters lurk behind the corners. When you take the item, your attention will be drawn sneakily to the descending monster platform behind the key. What you really should notice is the arachnotron that becomes freed behind you. (F) Once you have quelled the attacks, return to the eastern end of the lower level and hit the switch to teleport yourself back up.
- In the proximity of the soul sphere, there is a passageway with silhouetted imps behind unbreakable windows. (G) Move to its end and destroy the group of imps to your left. By going on, you will find an obscure area with four posts in its walls, referred as the mouths of the clowns. (H) The posts have been isolated from the middle section by lower areas. If you fall to either one, you need to jump to get back up. The two northernmost mouths have a hell knight in each. Press the picture of the clown at the end of the passageway, and the wall will descend. A baron of hell and a switch will be uncovered in a room. At the moment, it could be wise to reduce the amount of present monsters as new ones will teleport in once you hit the switch. When you are ready, activate the switch, and both hell knight posts will receive a black skull key. After a delay of three seconds, four cacodemons will appear around the two southern posts. Get rid of the monsters and use jumping to reach the two keys.
The black skulls will unlock a door elsewhere. Return to the western end of the supercharge corridor. (C) When you face towards the north, you can notice a platform with a zombieman on it. Aim at the platform, run for a distance to get speed and jump near the edge without letting go from the run or move keys. You should land onto the route. (In case you fall to the area below (L), please check the next paragraphs to learn how to get back up.) Follow the platform and open the black door. Once you have reached the end of the curvy passageway beyond the door, you will arrive at a high hall with a spiral in the floor. (I) While the white surface of the spiral is on level with you, the black section is actually a deep hole that hides eight lost souls. They will rise from their positions stealthily so watch out. You need to spot a thin platform in the north and lower it as an elevator. (J) It allows you to reach a ledge with imps. Proceed to the other end of the ledge to discover an arrow in the floor. While trying to stay as near to the wall as possible, step onto the pointed thin walkway and go towards the picture of the clown. It is actually a fake wall, and once you go through it, six cacodemons will attack from the post beyond it. (K) When the spiral area is secured, return to the post and take the white skull. If you wish, you can still continue from there onto the southern imp ledge to get three red objects (stimpacks). Just use the similar walkway between the two positions.
For the two remaining quests, you must visit the area below the supercharge corridor. (L) The first threat on the bottom consists of ten zombiemen and four imps at the worst. But since there is a considerable amount of ammunition, you do not need to be especially well equipped when you descend there. If you fell while trying to reach the black door or would like to return up for another reason, go to the north at the fork of three directions and pay attention to the wall to the right.
There is a switch above you. (M) The steps around it suggest that the designer wanted the player to jump his way to the switch. However, this is unnecessary as pressing the wall in front of the switch is enough to get it activated. Once there has been a hit, you will be teleported on a high ledge with a backpack. Run straight to end up back onto the supercharge corridor. (C & D)
- When you are at the teleporter switch (M), approach the hell knight in the distance while bewaring the lurking monsters en route. The end chamber (N) has a toggle on both its western and eastern side. By pressing either one, you will free a revenant next to the opposite switch. Activate the remaining toggle to complete the sequence and uncover the second revenant.
Now that you have pressed the two switches, a barred portal has opened to the west of the fork. (O) Have the armor beyond the portal, watch out for the zombiemen above and enter the bridge outdoors. Proceed towards the annex in the distance (P) while making sure that the lost souls and imps will not drop you to your death. Open the clown door to be greeted by a group of enemies. Once you have beaten it, go upstairs to challenge the mightiest guards -- two more revenants. Grab the white skull in the building when you are ready.
- To the east of the fork, there is a passageway leading out of the area (Q). Before entering further, collect the rocket launcher nearby. Make a right angle turn to the left and another to the right to find a lane that is surrounded by higher grounds (S). Your objective in this division is to find three gray skull keys.
- At first, travel to the eastern end of the lane where a hell knight and a revenant lurk ready. Kill them and take the first key. (R)
- Retrace your steps and activate the unique section in the southern wall to lower it as an elevator. (S) Slay the mancubus on the higher area when you arrive there and cross the bridge in the distance. You can visit the room below the bridge for a box of shotgun shells; it is possible to leave the area by jumping through a window. Dispatch the heavy weapon dudes to the east of the bridge, enter the door there and have the second key. (T)
- Another revenant awaits you in the north. Kill him, go through the door he had guarded and find your way to the similar door in the distance. The door conceals a circular room with powerful blinking lights. (U) As it becomes evident with the zombiemen inside, the lighting makes aiming more difficult. Thus, when you open either one of the two unopened doors and provoke the revenants behind them, you might want to lure the monsters away from the distracting environment by fleeing to the corridors you came from. When the revenants are no longer a threat, return to their station and press the switch there. You will be told that a clown door has been opened. (V) Return to the platform where the mancubus was and visit the room in the south. Clear the area of imps. If you walk near the edge of the shaft there, you will awake a cacodemon near its bottom. You can drop into the shaft for a single red object; the floor is not of a hazardous kind and there is a switch to teleport you back up. Finally, enter one more door and confront the arch-vile beyond it. (W) He guards the third key.
Press the bars in front of the supercharge (D) to gain access to the item and a new area. After quelling the light resistance in the twisting passageway, proceed to a hall with bizarre lighting columns in its center. (X) The wooden door covers a room that connects the two ledges around the columns. Be prepared for an attack by four lost souls before entering there. Destroy the remaining enemies in the room, collect the computer area map if you need it, and go through another wooden door.
Enter a red portal to find yet another outdoor area and a revenant. Note that when you exit the platform, nine imps will appear at the yard. (Y) Clear your way to the southeast corner of it, kill the revenant duo there, and press the switch. Five cacodemons will be released from a chamber nearby. Destroy them or they will follow and disturb you in the next phase where you have to cope with other strong enemies.
Return inside and go to the lower area where the columns stand. (X) Drop yourself at the section that is not protected by railings. The third and last arch-vile is ready to assail you in the room to the west. (Z) Make sure to kill him before taking the key in his room, as collecting will awake two dormant revenants at the other end of the area. Press the switch in the east to get back up when you are done.
Back in the yard (Y), climb the stairs to reach the gray door. With the discovered key, you can enter the room beyond. (AA) Step onto the bed to finish the level and start the ending sequence.
There are no official secrets in this level.
Areas / screenshots
* The vertex count without the effect of node building is 3713.
|Monsters||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Heavy weapon dude||9|
|Baron of hell||1|
|Powerups||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Computer area map||1|
|Weapons||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Ammunition||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Box of bullets||7|
|4 shotgun shells||5|
|Box of shotgun shells||19|
|Keys||ITYTD and HNTR||HMP||UV and NM|
|Black skull key||2|
|Gray skull key||3|
|White skull key||4|
* Over time, nine additional imps (Y) and four additional cacodemons (H) will appear. The original counts for the monsters are 96 and 12 respectively.
Inspiration and development
- According to the text file of the PWAD, the color scheme by Jon Dowland gave Aluqah the idea for the level.
- The twisting passageway behind the supercharge (between D and X in the map) has actually been divided into twelve separate sectors (255-266). However, they all are identical and do not have a tag set. In addition, when the border linedefs do not have any special flags, it can be assumed that a visual effect of some sort was either removed from the passageway or planned but never implemented.