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The Surface is the first level of Descent into Horror. This level takes place in a U.S. Army "Space Command Training Facility" located at the bottom of a deep canyon. It is designed to be an extremely difficult level, unlike most other first levels in an Episode. Gregory A. MacMartin created this level in the excitement of having the freedom to build in "true 3D", resulting in a level requiring a lot of Z-axis navigation through cylindrical tunnels.

The player must search for the Silver Key and Gold Key in order to proceed. This level brings back the Grunt and Enforcer. This level also brings back the Rotfish on Normal and higher Difficulties.

Story

You are dropped off near an entrance at the bottom of a massive "pit" in the surrounding mountains. You find yourself on some type of landing pad with a curious military symbol on it. Immediately you get the impression that this is no "military factory". From what you know of Earth history, that symbol and the one by the entrance door with the three lines indicate that this was some very secret facility. Obviously the vague designation of "Military Factory" was just a cover.

You are more than a little surprised to find out that there are actually PEOPLE in this place. Who they are and why they want to do nothing but fill you with bullets and blast you with laser bolts are questions you will probably never get an answer to.

Quick Level Completion

  • Proceed forward to reach a hole in the platform, straight ahead is the Silver Door.
  • Drop off the platform to reach the Water below, then head to the upper right corner.
  • Swim down the tunnel, then turn left at the bottom.
  • Swim through the corridor.
  • At the end of the corridor, swim upwards to reach the surface of the Water.
  • Turn around to reach a corridor above the Water.
  • Proceed down the corridor, then turn right.
  • Head down the corridor to the opposite end.
  • Shoot the structure straight ahead, then turn around.
  • Collect the Silver Key in the upper left corner.
  • Head down the corridor once more, then hit the Wall on the opposite end.
  • Proceed down the corridor to reach a sewer, then turn right.
  • Proceed down the ledge, then go through the first doorway to the right.
  • Use the ramp to build up your momentum, then leap across to the platform straight ahead.
  • Turn right, then jump to the corridor.
  • Proceed forward to reach a Wall, it will lower to overlook the starting room.
  • Return to the Silver Door and go through it.
  • Proceed down the corridor and follow it as it veers to the right.
  • Turn right at the end of the corridor, then proceed down the next section of corridor as it veers to the left.
  • Turn right at the end of the corridor, then proceed down the next section of corridor to reach a Door while ignoring a doorway to your left.
  • Go through the Door, then proceed down the corridor.
  • Ignore the doorway to the left as it leads to the Gold Door, instead continuing to the end of the corridor.
  • Hit the Wall to your left, then return to the doorway you ignored before you went through the Door and go through it.
  • Turn left and drop through the hole, then follow the ramp to the bottom to return to the sewer.
  • Drop into the Slime, then go through the doorway to the right.
  • Follow the corridor to the end, then drop through the hole to reach the room below.
  • Collect the Gold Key, then turn around and use the Slime waterfall to return to the previous level of Slime.
  • Proceed down the corridor, then jump onto the grating on the far side.
  • Walk onto either ledge from the grating, then return to the Gold Door.
  • Go through the Gold Door, then proceed forward to exit the level.

Walkthrough

E3M1 - The Surface

E3M1 - The Surface

You start on a landing pad. Straight ahead is a ruined platform, jumping across a gap would lead to the Silver Door. Turn left, then walk down the support of the platform to reach the Water below. Use the Elevator straight ahead to reach the platform high above the landing pad; proceed down the narrow platform, then turn to your right and hit the rock Wall to reveal an alcove (#1). In the Water, turn around, then collect the 25 Health and Shells on the structure underneath the landing pad. Go down the tunnel in the Water in the upper left corner of the room. Turn around at the bottom of the tunnel, then go through the doorway. Proceed to the end of the tunnel, then swim upwards to reach the surface of the Water. Turn around to kill the Grunt, then climb out of the Water to reach the corridor. Proceed down the corridor, then turn right at the end and head down the next section. Collect the three 25 Health on the left side of the room, then hit the circuitry Structure in front of you. Turn around to kill the Enforcer that spawned when you hit the Structure. Collect the Silver Key behind the Bars that lowered when you hit the Structure. Return to the opposite side of the corridor, then hit the Wall to reveal a corridor beyond. Head down the corridor to reach a sewer filled with Slime. Jump to the ledge on the opposite side of the Slime. Turn right, then kill the Enforcer in the Slime. Proceed down the ledge to collect 2 Shells and two 25 Health. Turn right to look to the ledge on the opposite side of the Slime. Jump across to the ledge, then go down the corridor to your right while ignoring the corridor to your left. Proceed up the ramp, then kill the Grunt on the ledge across the pit of Slime. Use the ramp to gain enough momentum to leap across the pit of Slime to the platform on the opposite side. Hit the Wall straight ahead to reveal an alcove (#2). Turn right, then jump to the corridor on the opposite side. Proceed forward to reach a Wall that will lower to overlook the landing pad.

Return to the Silver Door and go through it. Proceed down the corridor, then follow it as it veers to your right to kill a Grunt. Proceed down the corridor, then turn right at the end to kill the Grunt. Head down the corridor as it veers slightly to the left, then turn right at the end. Kill the Grunt near the intersection, then go through the doorway to the left while ignoring the passageway straight ahead. Kill the Grunt in the middle of the room. Straight ahead is a set of Bars. A hole to your left leads back to the sewers, it is the doorway you previously ignored. Return to the previous corridor, then go down the corridor to the left. Follow the corridor as it veers to the right, then go through the Door at the end. Kill the 2 Grunts, then head down the corridor. Detailing this corridor are thin lines of Water to the left and right of the main platform. Go through the doorway near the end of the corridor, then kill the 2 Enforcers in front of the Gold Door. Return to the previous corridor, then turn left and head to the end of the corridor. Turn left and shoot the Wall jutting out to lower the Bars in the room with the access to the sewers. As you hit the Wall, you will receive the message that "You hear grating metal...". Return to the room with the Bars. Collect the 25 Health, Shells, and Biosuit from behind the lowered Bars. Turn around, then drop through the hole. Turn right, then descend the ramp to reach the sewers once more. Drop into the Slime and turn right, the Bars have raised by hitting the Wall near the Gold Door. Proceed down the corridor, then drop into the hole at the end. Collect the Gold Key, Biosuit, and three 100 Health at the bottom of the pool of Slime. Turn around, then use the waterfall of Slime to ascend to the previous floor. Reaching the upper level of Slime, proceed down the corridor. As you bump into the grate on the far side, you will jump. Use this jump to stand on the grate, then walk onto either ledge above the Slime. Return to the Gold Door and go through it. Proceed forward through the End Tunnel to exit the level.

Differences from Easy to Normal

Differences from Normal to Hard/Nightmare

Secrets

Secrets
(#1)
S1ASE3M1
Hit the rock Wall that is jutting out from the rest of the wall beside the structure high above the landing pad to reveal an alcove. Collect the Green Armor inside.
(#2)
S2ASE3M1
From the sewers, go up the ramp that ascends to reach the opposite side of a platform suspended over a pit of Slime. Get to the platform by using the momentum of the ramp, then hit the Wall that is straight ahead to reveal an alcove. Collect the Biosuit inside, then turn around and drop to the Slime below. Collect the Double-Barrelled Shotgun on the near side of the room, then collect the Shells and 25 Health on the far side. Use the ramp in the middle of the room to return to the ramp on the opposite side of the Slime from the platform.

Enemies

Type Count Notes
Easy Normal Hard/Nightmare
Rotfish 0 1 (2) 2 (4) The vanilla engine counts each Rotfish as 2 enemies.
Grunt 8 17 28
Enforcer 4 6 6
Total 12 24 (25) 36 (38)

Glitches

  • If the player hugs the wall underneath the starting platform, it is possible to retrieve the Silver Key, thus bypassing the Water tunnel.

Deathmatch

E3M1 - The Surface (Deathmatch)

E3M1 - The Surface (Deathmatch)

Differences

Spawn Locations

Introduction Aftershock Levels E3M2: Ascent