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Magnusblitz
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MAP29 - BARBATOS' FORTRESS

One last big map before the ending, but this one didn't really do it for me. Not as hard as the others (though the last couple rooms can be pretty rough), and not as pretty either. Didn't really enjoy the gameplay here, as a lot of it seemed to be "just throw a bunch of enemies into an area" without much rhyme or reason. And I absolutely hate fighting Pain Elementals and Cacodemons in large areas, but that's more of a personal pet peeve. Switches were sometimes quite separated from doors, but it wasn't too hard to simply go back to areas that hadn't been opened yet. Don't really like having switches on columns all with the same switch texture, though - doesn't really scream "this is is a switch, hit me!" I dunno. Had some fun in the last room trying to get the cyberdemon to kill everything for me, and dodging out of the Spider Mastermind room without killing anything (using the Mancubi as attention). Rest of it was kinda meh though. I ended up leaving a lot of the enemies unkilled (first two Cyberdemons, everything in the Spider room, lots of stuff in the area with the ammo scattered around the lava, etc).

Bug: It's possible to jump into the room with the three Arch-Viles/marine corpses (near the BFG secret), with no escape I can find.

Old Post 02-28-13 02:36 #
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BaronOfStuff
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MAP18:
I was really tired when I started this one, so a lot of what I remember is blurry and not worth mentioning. I managed to somehow get lost shortly after acquiring the Yellow Skullkey, and all because I overlooked the one bastard door that was the way forward. So after 15 minutes of running in circles like some sort of sleepless knobhead who can't see the obvious way ahead for shit, I did the unthinkable and saved my progress.

When I resumed the next day, I wanted to kick myself for being so fucking blind (it's a big door!)... anyway, it must have been a pretty nice map if I bothered to get well over halfway through it when my eyes were about ready to fall out. A bit long-winded in places (the curved tunnelway in the SE, and the tunnelway toward the Yellow Door seemed to go on forever), but that's probably a statement of how lazy/impatient I can be.

The Cyberdemon at the end... hmmm, wasteful to say the least. I was going to be cautious and go with my usual tactic of letting loose bursts of plasma while ducking for cover if it returned fire, but:
a) The Cyberdemon just shot at the stairs instead of me (thanks, elevation!)
b) The Arachnotrons did all the hard work with their own plasma streams while I just watched, occasionally shooting a pistol round at the Cyberdemon's face to keep his attention on me.

Oh well.


MAP19:
Not much to say. Easy on the eye, not too difficult or needlessly complex for its size. Progression is pretty straightforward, so unlike the previous two locations I wasn't wandering around aimlessly looking for items that were right under my fucking nose.

So, erm... yeah. Something of a welcome breather after a pair of fairly sprawling locations. Short & sweet.


MAP20:
Much shorter than the other tower. Much simpler too. Also comes without either a tedious descent or obnoxious bullshit Cyberdemon.

One minor thing that irritated me? This decoration:
http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/6492/solidspace.png
This gutted, legless, empty-headed guy must have some seriously fucking solid case of phantom limb syndrome; even I couldn't get past the space where his legs would have been*.

I was expecting a trap at some point, and I was prepared for it. Or at least I thought I was prepared; what I wasn't expecting was that Demon to appear the millisecond I grabbed the Red Skullkey -- my plan of firing a BFG shot to quickly help in neutralising any sudden arrivals as I backed out of the chamber only half-worked because of this bastard, and to make things worse this resulted in getting several mouthfuls of various super-heated fiery projectiles. Fuck, it was like these assholes knew what I was trying.

Barely escaping alive from that, luckily for me the rest of the map wasn't all that aggressive and there were more than enough recovery items scattered around.

Bang bang bang, exit.

(*What I'm saying is replace this decoration with one that's not solid. It's awkward to suddenly hit an invisible barrier caused by some corpse dangling a clear foot over your head.)


MAP21:
Didn't really like this one, I'm afraid. It was pretty ugly to look at which eventually became a whole problem in itself; way too much mandatory damage going on here. If that wasn't bad enough, it's almost impossible to tell the dangerous sectors from the safe ones because of the dim lighting, and the fact that they're pretty much the same tile at different scales anyway. That's a double-helping of bullshit with an extra sprinkle of cheap on top. Tut tut. The fighting itself is pretty easy to just blast through, which is somewhat expected from an 'episode' opener, but that's not really an excuse to start melting my boots in every other sector.

To make things worse, the Blue Door cannot be opened from the 'exit' side; this appears to be an honest mistake though, as the linedef is set up correctly (checking the Automap in ZDoom shows this) but it's simply facing the wrong way (after investigating in DB2). So after checking this little issue, I cheated a little here and IDCLIP'd my way back through in order to pick up a couple of things I'd saved. Technically I should have been able to go back anyway, so if you don't like that, I don't care.


MAP22:
Better than the previous offering, but not really a memorable trip. Challenge was a bit higher than in MAP21, but this was still a pushover, combat-wise. That Cyberdemon just blasted away harmlessly at the wall while I stood still and microwaved his brain with the Plasma Rifle. The Invulnerability here is almost some sort of joke item; that particular area might as well be completely empty for all the non-damage it delivers.

To the map's credit, it does have some of that IWAD feel to it though; this is never a bad thing, unless the IWAD is shit like... um, well that's all subjective really. Not bad, but by no means is this great.

Old Post 02-28-13 04:08 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 29 -- Barbatos' Fortress - 106% kills / 100% secrets
And now the pattern has been broken--a big sprawling map followed up by a big sprawling map. Visually, while the sense of scale is similar to some of the previous Ep 3 maps, the scenery here is a bit more utilitarian than what was seen in Pottus' and ProcessingControl's maps, although there are a few striking views, like the one you can see if you hold still from your starting position (the sky looks quite good against the jutting marble columns), or the simply-but-effectively torch-lit main hall of the fortress.....and it does do a pretty good job of communicating the idea of some kind of fortress, at that, an ancient marble fortification nestled in a volcanic valley, built into the side of another one of those Interception "fleshy on the inside" mountains. What can be heard of the music track here sounds quite fitting of a map 29, although I got the impression that a lot of it has been edited out, somehow. Must be the abrupt ending.

There's a lot of open space to move around in throughout the majority of this one; even the 'smaller' halls of the fortress tend to be relatively roomy, with only the brief trip though a small blood cistern on the way to the yellow skull representing any really tight space. In fact, given the space, the style of enemy placement, and the marine's considerable speed, quite a lot of the opposition in this map could probably be ignored, if one were so inclined (though that's not my style)--many of the monsters in the ash-caked lava canyon surrounding the fortress, a lot of monsters on ledges or raised platforms at various points in the map, two of the three cyberdemons, essentially the whole of the spiderdemon fight (as some other players attest), etc. Should the player choose to fight it out with the many creatures in the area, however, play at first proceeds in a fashion somewhat similar to maps 24 and 26, in that there's an initial period of struggle with light armament against a considerable horde, where the player eventually needs to work out a good route for gaining a foothold, or rather, a solid buffer of health and ammo for the map's one big bottleneck--that being the group of arch-viles that pour out of the fortress with a meatwall of chaingunners, hell nobles, and others in front of them. I found this fairly challenging from a pistol start, at which point my strongest weapon was the SSG (the rocket launcher, which would have helped immensely, is in the dining hall), so I found myself firing through the fences on either side of the opening trying to get a good angle, trying to keep the mess from spilling out beyond the marble patio. After this point, armament and ammo become a lot more forthcoming, and many of the later battles, while large, are relatively easy to handle....maybe even a little too easy, as I find myself unable to remember some of them very clearly at this point, although finding the BFG secret in the.....larder, maybe?......probably removed a lot of the danger from the final battle for me. Clean-sweeping as far as kill percentage goes does become a little bit of a chore here, though, given the aforementioned prevalence of distant ledge-snipers in some places (I didn't find the secret leading to the imp ledges with the combat armor and soulsphere until after I'd killed the imps from the non-secret portions of the map, unfortunately).

Another effect of the aforementioned expansive style is that it does help an essentially linear affair seem somewhat less so by dint of the sheer size of the play area; at any given point, you can probably move quite a ways and engage in some significant combat in many directions, though the steps to actually progressing towards the exit (e. g. hitting the switch by the lava lake that opens the gate to the fortress proper, working towards each key, etc.) usually need to happen in a specific order. This very mild exploratory element does help the pacing and compensates a bit for some of the less dynamic fights. When all's said and done, I found the map to be enjoyable enough, although I don't think it's quite as interesting in the combat department as some of its predecessors in the episode, and truth be told, I'd probably have swapped its slot with one of Pottus' maps as far as the difficulty curve is concerned. That's a very minor quibble, though.

Edit: Oh, yeah, as Cannonball mentions, the monsters themselves ended up defusing the displacement trap in the spiderdemon room when I played, too. Might not have even realized it was there if I hadn't been reading the comments here.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 02-28-13 at 10:14

Old Post 02-28-13 08:50 #
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BaronOfStuff
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Posts: 1413
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MAP23:
This won't last forever. There's going to be another giant of a map soon... but it's not this one.

What is there to say? It's certainly harder than the previous two efforts, but that's not saying much. The Red Skullkey room was painfully obvious in how it was trapped twice (really, there was no way that I was going to think that the first wave was the only ambush here), but that didn't stop the RNG switch from being flipped to 'Asshole' and cause every fucking Chaingunner to open fire within the space of half a second. Of course that meant they ended up mowing each other down while I swung the Chaingun around firing at anything I saw move in the darkness, but I still didn't like this. There's something shitty about having so many hitscanners appear like this in such a small space.

I was all psyched-up for a sudden influx of shit on grabbing the Blue Skullkey... but nothing materialised. Rather than complain, I just decided to be grateful for this break from "HURRR STUFF" and waltzed off to get the Yellow Skullkey (still nothing happening!), went through the teleporter, and...

...shot a Demon in the face. Then there was something to make me sit around and think. The two Cyberdemons aren't as dangerous as they seem, especially if they somehow get caught up in infighting (the Arachnotrons are great for this sort of thing). Much like MAP18, I used them for my own gain, continually distracting a Cyberdemon one at a time to lure it into firing at me while the Arachnotrons went apeshit with plasma. This worked up until the second Cyberdemon got a bit too trigger-happy, and fired every time I looked around the doorway in order to shoot him in the kneecap, unfortunately killing my pseudo-puppets (which are pretty stupid for beings which are essentially giant brains) and causing me to use my own supply of plasma. He didn't take much of that before exploding though.

The Spider Mastermind is a waste. Sat down there with no way to defend itself if you stay back, you can just shoot it with whatever you want while it fires hundreds of thousands of rounds into the wall in vain. Once he's dead, there's... oh for fu-... can't we just end the map with this laughable brain-monster? What the fuck are these two bastards doing here?

A fine map, but the ending is one hell of an anticlimax. Scrap the last two Revenants (they just seem shoe-horned in behind that door); just make the Mastermind a worthy adversary guarding the exit.


MAP24:
ARRRGH! GIANT MAP!

Ohhh boy, what a fight I have on my hands now. Almost immediately there's a Cyberdemon claiming to be king of this poxy starting area, and thanks to some sudden infighting I have one of the best opportunities so far to make problems just go somewhere else; he's soon put away by a BFG volley. His friends however manage to give me more than a few painful reminders of this initial skirmish, not least because I keep getting caught up in bullshit pseudo-3D space-blocking crap by the big-mouthed floating thingies drifting around.

This is where everything once again turns into a blur of events. Just look at my time here:
http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/8378/intmap24endgx.png
I went scouting for secrets at the end... apparently 2 of them are right next to each other and are 'start only' accesible, which isn't cool...

Yeah. This one took quite a while.

I honestly don't remember the majority of this one though. The following recollections aren't necessarily in any order.

There was the bar/crusher combo -- this one I somehow saw coming; barriers rising, a trap to the side... okay so maybe I simply survived this one through the sheer dumb luck combination of having the BFG ready in anticipation of something horrible, and immediately splattering the contents of whatever hidden chamber suddenly opened (bald Chaingunner bastards) instead of trying to run away. About time things went my way without any effort/thinking or being kicked in the nuts first.

There was the very bizarre Cyberdemon-behind-the-gate encounter. This beast knew I was there, he was stomping around angrily, but he didn't acknowledge the fact that I was at laying waste to his knees/existence with the BFG... probably because he was laughing on the inside at my stupid waste of ammo. An easy kill, but it could have been completely effortless if there was some hint of a crusher. Oh well, what's 80 Cells anyway? Less than half of what he was guarding, that's what.

Then there was this.
http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/4921/lolsavegame.png
"Haha, fuck this imminent swarm and the previous 20 minutes. Where's that Save Game option?"

It wasn't as bad as I thought, although once again I was probably just lucky; the Mancubi really didn't want to be part of this and caused all sorts of crossfire hatred while I just ran around in circles, saving off the Megasphere for as long as possible (fucking Revenant or something made sure that wasn't long though).

The Blue Skullkey fight was... argh. Close. I only remember shouting "get the fuck out of my way" and BFG'ing my way back out after getting the PR and Cell Packs, so I could just let everything else get on with having disagreements and kill whatever followed me before going back in to clean up. Probably not how I was 'supposed' to do this, but it worked. It was still painful, but it worked.

Two things bored me to tears though:
1) The Hellknight Rush. Maybe it's because I was tooled-up to the eyeballs, but this wasn't really all that fun. It's certainly preferable to yet another fucking cliche swarm of Revenants, but this was little more than an exercise in artillery fire. Maybe I should have used the BFG to save time, but with all those Rockets sitting around I figured the RL was the way to do this.
2) The Arch-Vile loop. Good god, what is the point in this? Are they supposed to distract me while I turn Mancubi into mulch? Because they're not very good at it. Just stand to the side of a column so the Arch-Vile can't do anything, and Chaingun it to death. Run to the next one; repeat. Again. And again. And again. And again. And ag-... Jesus Christ.

The final key-grab was cool though. This just felt different to other Key Traps. You're not surrounded in the usual sense (and with it not immediately being pelted with shit), but you are close to being fatally cornered. Fighting through the teleporting horde was a bit of a rush, and seeing a host of projectiles fly after me through the doorway was quite a sight.

Then this area's Cyberdemon (which I had miraculously avoided while fighting stuff in there) got angry with everything and killed the lot for failing to kill me. Or something hit him first, whatever. An exciting end to this map's key-fetching quests, leaving me free to exit this hellish base of things that don't like me. The AV's at the end were easily brushed aside; by this point it was obvious that something was up.

Bug:
Thing 1025 is stuck outside, lost forever in the void of nothing. Deservedly, it's one of those fucking Revenant bastards.
*console*
"KILL MONSTERS"
"Yeah, fuck you and all your kind."


MAP25:
Well, this one is mercifully short, but still reasonably vicious with its sparse population. Without going into detail, just look at this:
http://img819.imageshack.us/img819/1909/thatwastooclose.png
Hmmm, yes, I'd say that was punishment enough for taking this monster count lightly. I was able to go back and heal up though. I'd probably have quit the game if there was nothing for me to salvage at this point.

Bug:
http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/6726/arghy.png
Erm, this really needs addressing.

Old Post 02-28-13 13:51 #
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cannonball
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Posts: 2290
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Map30 - Interception by Matt534Dog
You know the drill, zero monsters to start, icon of sin revealed through a mystical portal. This one has a very slow descending elevator which is kind of annoying especially when the icon of sin is awake, spits out 4 monsters at a time. I didn't enjoy this, I struggled to get rockets to hit the target, this being hassled by 2 or 3 cacodemons each time due to the rate of spawning.
On the other hand I really don't enjoy maps of this type anyway so my opinion is a tad biased :P

The wad overall, it's pretty decent. Lots of good maps, and some pretty average maps. I really liked maps 8, 14, 17, 19, 27, 28, 31 and 32.
There were not many maps I didn't like with a passion, 12 had some awful design ideas, though if fixed would mean a good map. Map15 was a bit dull. Pottus's hell maps were too hard for my tastes but I'm sure others will enjoy them. Music wise, hit and miss, some midis were really cool but some did grate a bit.
Overall score from we, considering likely map improvements due to playtesting - 4 stars. Is it cacoward worthy, too early to tell, it's in with a shout but depends what else is released this year I suppose.

Old Post 02-28-13 15:08 #
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Kristian Ronge
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BaronOfStuff, you have a real knack for comedic writing! I often chuckle when reading your reactions to various annoying bits in the maps. :-)

I didn't notice the broken teleport line at the end of map 29 as I tried to kill all the monsters safely from outside the doorway (much like cannonball and D.o.t.W describes), but I'm not sure it needs to be fixed. Random teleporting is not fun. Magnusblitz' comment about the switch textures was something I was going to comment on as well but forgot. Yes, do change that if at all possible. I thought I'd discovered a secret when I found that first switch by trial-and-error on the pillar by the HKs.

Anyway,

Map 30 -- Interception
I was crossing my fingers for something other than a run-of-the-mill Baphomet set piece but then again I've always been a bit na´ve. Whereas several past projects dutyfully served up the traditional dish but tried to do something original (MM, Requiem, HR2, to name a few), others didn't bother much (HR and AV, to name a few), perhaps on purpose. This falls into the latter category, which is a shame because of the two I much prefer the former. :-) The map looks all right but it's a painfully simple and unoriginal scenario: grab the weapons from the starting platform, run through the dark tunnel, lower the megalift, plant rocket(s) in the Baphomet brain. God help you if you miss, say, twice: the monsters will absolutely swamp you. I did it in two gos: one rocket going up the first time, fluked a rocket hit when jumping down, then got the third rocket in on the second ride up.

I don't understand why so few projects do it like e.g. Scythe: a large, "normal" looking map where you collect keys, push switches, etc. and then at the end maybe you could have a switch like at the end of "Alpha Tower". It would be so much more rewarding. As it is, the WAD ends with a fizzle after the roars of several of the latter maps. No secrets here. --2/5

Overall impressions
As always with projects involving many authors there is a wide variety of designs found here. In this WAD they sort of work because there are breathers placed between the vast maps, there are diffcult and easy maps side by side, which gives a, for me, much welcomed variety in gameplay. Nevertheless, the maps generally clung to certain themes and overall design principles -- with a few very noticeable exceptions -- which meant you always sort of knew what to expect, which is a strength. Many maps mimic ideas and designs of great projects past, oftentimes adding their own twists, and I had a good time playing them through.

My top maps are obviously the ones I gave 5 stars:
Map 13, map 19, map 20, and map 28.

Just behind these four are some honourable mentions:
map 8, map 11, map 18 and map 25.

If I was forced to pick an additional two maps to round out the top ten I'd say... I dunno, map 22 and map 31 maybe, but it's a toss-up between several maps and I might choose e.g. map 12, or map 27 if I was forced to make my pick some other day.

My average grade, with all maps considered, is just above 3.5/5 which is rounded off to 4/5 and I think that's a fair grade summarizing my overall feelings of the WAD in its present state. With only slight touch-up work I would have dished out one more point to several individual maps. I didn't regret playing this one for a second and those who like old-school maps will like it. Well done!

Thank you to all the authors involved in the project for making more maps for me to play around in and thanks also to the fellow players of the MegaWAD Club for sharing their thoughts about the maps. I much liked reading your comments and found it interesting how different your well-founded opinions were on many maps throughout.

Last edited by Kristian Ronge on 03-01-13 at 19:14

Old Post 02-28-13 16:20 #
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BaronOfStuff
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Posts: 1413
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MAP26:
Well, shit... I knew this would happen eventually. Every WAD does this to me at some point. It's ranting time.

This just wasn't fun. I tried to like it. I wanted to like it. But this abomination just kept taking the fucking piss. Acid everywhere combined with constant hassle, a stunning lack of visual clues (a coffin? oh wow, how intuitive; hang on, I'll just avoid that area now because there's a fucking Cyberdemon behind that mid-texture and he won't let me within 15ft of anything), a Red Skullkey hidden in a bloodfall, stuff appearing from nowhere which apparently requires a very specific method to deal with... is this some sort of joke? I thought I was playing Doom, not the world's most dangerous First Person Puzzle.

Simply put, this map's just ridiculous. Okay, so we're on the home stretch and I appreciate that it's supposed to be an incredibly challenging struggle from here on out, full of danger and hardships and universe-breaking skirmishes. Fine, whatever, I like a challenge. That's Doom; the odds are against you and you can soon break like a china plate if you're not careful, but you have a big gun and great potential to lay waste to all with your superior mobility. The thing is, there's a way to get that sort of difficulty across without turning the adventure into a bigger chore than peeling 10,000 potatoes with a spoon. And this sure as fucking Hell ain't that way.

What was I saying about mobility? Oh yeah, fuck you, that's no good now because over half of this fucking place takes 20% health off you for even looking at it. Want to dodge something? You're having a bath. Something in the way? Take another dip. Even with the Radsuits, the fact that it's the most damaging acidfloor means that your suit WILL leak. Frequently. Yeah, have fun with that. Progress was literally a series of trial and error choices. Remember those old adventure games like Dragon's Lair where you had to make a fast decision out of few options, and only one of them would let you continue while all others would kill you? That's what this was like.

DO SOMETHING A CERTAIN WAY OR JUST DROP FUCKING DEAD.

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_maxpieCmjF1qh5u4lo1_500.gif
"AAARRRGH!! Load fucking Game AGAIN!!!"

This sort of thing just becomes infuriating beyond measure. Am I supposed to just know this fucking map inside-out and back-to-front before I try it or something? I can tolerate purely overwhelming situations once or twice in a map whether or not I survive the encounter (MAP24 did this, and did it very well), but when it feels like it's at every fucking turn, after every fucking switch, with every fucking item, and I'm surrounded by damagesectors... for the love of fuck will you just give it a fucking rest?! I think I had more fun when I got hit by a car. At least -- as I was soaring through the air for those few moments -- I felt like Superman. Here I just felt like a cripple being tipped out of his wheelchair, or Stephen Hawking at the top of a staircase during a housefire. Time and time again. For 45 goddamn fucking minutes.

Really, the source of this frustration is the constant acidfloor use. Is this necessary? This just sucks the fun out of exploration and combat for near enough the entirety of the map, and sucks a bag of dicks with it. If you don't know what you're doing, what's coming up or where you're supposed to be going, that's it. You're fucked.


http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/1536/feetoficecream.png
Oh come on! Stop crippling movement for the sake of some more artificial difficulty!

http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/228/dothis.png
With this slight adjustment, we wouldn't be sliding around like assholes with feet made of ball-bearings, constantly getting dissolved in Hell's period flow.

Pros:
It does look nice and foreboding, especially for something that won't make doom2.exe eat itself.
The quest for the Blue Skullkey (both battles) was fun. This is what the map should have been centered around, not getting my 1000m "swimming in raspberry coulis" certificate.
It's... uh... very big.

Cons:
Did you even read what I typed before this?

Old Post 02-28-13 21:02 #
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Magnusblitz
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Posts: 984
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You crack me up, BaronOfStuff. And I'm always glad to know my frustration isn't misplaced.

MAP30 - INTERCEPTION

Underwhelming. I don't know if there's a more generic Map 30/Icon of Sin out there. It's literally a starting room with all the weapons and a megasphere, followed by a hallway to the Icon of Sin, with a giant elevator in a pit. Shoot some rockets and it dies. Yawn. Feels like someone realized "shit, no one made a final level!" and slapped this together in an hour.

OVERALL THOUGHTS

It's easily apparent that this WAD was a collaborative work, as the theme, design, difficulty, etc is all over the place, even from level to level. There's quite a few levels that feel like DTWiD attempts (03, 04, 32, 19, 25), some that feel straight outta 1994 PWADs (05, 15, 21, 22), and some that are definitely current-day design (10, 16, 17, 27). The difficulty starts off at a tough pace (which I liked), then gets easier, then starts spiking up and down throughout the level set somewhat randomly. And although there's supposed to be somewhat of a plot throughout the WAD (abandoned bases, tower, underground demon city, tower, hell), other than hell it doesn't really mesh together.

So, given that, there are definitely some good maps and some not-so-good, but thankfully nothing terrible. Overall, the map set is pretty average - I felt like lots of levels had one or two nice parts with lots of "meh" but few negatives. Apparently the "theme" of the WAD was supposed to be gameplay, but with a few exceptions, I wasn't feeling like there was a lot of "ooh, cool gameplay" moments. Still, nothing too bad to detract from it.

Favorite Maps: 28 and 17 were my top favorites. Honorable mentions (in no order) to 1, 2, 8, 20.

Least Favorite Maps: It feels a bit gauche to say, but phobosdeimos1's maps tended to be the weak point of the WAD, as all of them have bland 1994 visuals without much good gameplay (though the two hell levels, 21 and 22, are better in both gameplay and design respects than 5 and 15). There were a few maps that had some interesting design ideas, but execution was flawed (10, 12, 24, arguably 26 depending on how much you hate the 20% blood damage). And level 30 is a very disappointingly bland finish.

Final Grade: Overall I'm loathe to give each map a score because its difficult to encapsulate a review into a number, and I'm worried about shifting scale across a month of reviews. That said, looking through my comments, I think the overwhelming feeling is "average". There are a few gems here, and a few out-of-place levels, but overall the maps are decently designed. Not a great megawad, but not a bad one. To put it in perspective, it's a MUCH better level set compared to playing Memento Mori last month (which is admittedly a much older WAD, but still).

Old Post 03-01-13 00:42 #
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mouldy
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Posts: 1702
Registered: 02-12


looks like map 26 has another fan

27 - Wrecking Fist by Memfis + purist

After the previous epic arse kicking this map was something more like a pleasant stroll through a demonic hell-base. Some great stress-free blasting with a couple of moments of mild panic - the archvile trap killed me first time, as did the cyberdemon at the end until i realised that switch opened the other door as well. Fairly short and enjoyable romp, much appreciated after map26.

28 - Amongst the Ash by Processingcontrol

Bloody long map, I grew a beard playing this one. It appears to have a choice of 2 directions to explore from the start, although it still feels like a very linear affair with a seemingly endless succession of traps and tricky rooms, each situation leading directly to the next. It was fun to play and the fights were all very precisely orchestrated, and the architecture was suitably grand and intricate in layout. I did start to feel the length though, it seemed to just go on forever. Highlights were the yellow key battle and the archvile zone, there was a lot of other good bits but they all happened so long ago now I forgot what they were. The cyber battle at the end seemed a bit basic but the influx of hordes afterwards gave a nice ending battle (that switch puzzle at the end was tedious though).

Blue key was bugged apparently, shame about that. And the music was a bit mellow and cheesy for a doom map - I think any music would have ended up annoying me after such a long map though.

Old Post 03-01-13 01:15 #
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BlackFish
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MAP29
-The blue key area was a bit confusing.
-Music glitched out early on. I ended up doing idmus 24.
-Lots of room for slaughtering (and bullet hell).
-Fun ending.

MAP30
-Yes, it's a simple MAP30 level, but it's more intriguing than what Doom2's map30 had to offer.

Overall it was a mixed bag, but I'm happy it exists, because somehow or another it's unique in it's own strange way.

And BaronOfStuff should be doing newstuff reviews if he/she isn't already.

Old Post 03-01-13 02:59 #
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MAP27:
Oh good, I can resume breathing. A much-needed moment of relatively relaxing warfare after that abhorrent demo of Redscreen Display 2013 (Professional Edition). Much like MAP25, this one's short but certainly has the potential to make you suffer, should you get too sloppy or carefree. So no being insolent, now.

It looks good, plays well, has reasonably discoverable secrets, and some sort of surprise Cyberdemon -- I don't remember hearing this thing wake up at any point, but there he was, stomping around just before the Mini-Berserkathon. And fuck me sideways, he was pissed off about something because I couldn't get close enough to one-two it properly with the BFG; volley after volley, with less than one full walk cycle between attacks... I resorted to just using the SSG, taking a potshot for the duration of the last firing frame per attack cycle. Some 30 or so shells later (and that was after two BFG blasts... they must have done close to fuck-all), it blows up.

Good.

The last part of this map was thoroughly enjoyable. If there's one thing I like, it's well-orchestrated Berserk moments like this; too often is the Berserk either just thrown in somewhere, or used as a 'full heal' item. This, though, is really what it's for!

Bug:
P1 start in multiplayer modes gets the shitty end of the... erm, four-ended stick?

http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/7499/int27bug.png
"I hope you don't play this in co-op and die, P1, because you'll be staring at the walls when you respawn."

Random:
This Mancubus managed to slide up here, and looked like some sort of giant. I don't know why I'm including these, I guess they just make me laugh.
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/9792/giantmanc01.png

http://img854.imageshack.us/img854/5743/giantmanc02.png


MAP28:
Ohhhh, it's another 500+ endurance test. Get your censors ready, here goes nothing.

...nah, this one isn't one of those maps.

I started to develop a severe sense of dread very early on during this one; I took the path down to Arch-Vile Country, and some 15 or so encounters later I was beginning to think that -- given the map's title -- I was in for some sort of "80% Arch-Viles" horror show. Thank fuck this wasn't the case, as I would probably have lobbed my laptop through the window and at someone's head while screaming obscenities in a language yet to even be developed. Anyway...

I have mixed feelings about this one. While I certainly enjoyed it overall, the frequent cases of being locked-in when passing through doorways started to grate on me and cause my concentration to weaken; moreso when there was a bunch of shit trying to kill me immediately after said door locks. This pair of fuckwads in particular had me throwing the usual selection of expletives around the room in rapid succession, waking the neighbours (only to have them suffocate on the thick blue air):
http://img585.imageshack.us/img585/7468/fuckwadtwins.png

Another thing that (rather typically) started to piss me off was the incessant Revenant use. Am I missing something here? Is there some sort of Revenant Fetish popular with WAD authors that I'm unaware of? Seriously, it seems like I can't do a fucking thing lately without a sudden pack of Revenants screaming at me like I've just kicked a bucket of paint over their nice new carpet.
Go through a door: Revenants.
Find a key: Revenants.
Wonder what's for dinner later: Revenants.
Take a fucking shit: Revenants.

Ugh.

This bit was awkward. Not challenging, but thank's to Doom's utterly craptastic, cacktacular horizontal autoaiming bullshit, I had to put about three times as much thought into what should have just been "aim, fire". Lowering each of these wall segments by 8 and flagging them as impassable would really make this as simple as it should be, without allowing any daring player to leap over the side. The Arachnotrons would also be able to hit their target, so it's all a fair trade:
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/7866/bullshitwalls.png

So, a whole bunch of stuff later, and I'm near what must be the end. I couldn't resist:
http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/5483/akbarsphere.png
"It's a TRAP!!"

Except that it isn't! But it was immediately obvious that these two bozos were not the sole reason for that item.
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/9605/akbararena.png
"Shit, maybe I should have taken that Megasphere, because this stinks of something rotten. Probably more fucking Revenants."

Yes, after some zig-zag flip-flop switch-hitting nonsense, the boneyard spat out another division of famine victims. The BFG made short work of them, but I am sick to fucking death of hearing that piercing scream now.

And this is delightfully cheesy:
http://img560.imageshack.us/img560/2914/cheesef.png

Old Post 03-01-13 03:20 #
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Map 30 -- Interception - 14,300% kills / No actual secrets
....And so our journey through Interception comes to an end with its namesake map. The first thing I am struck by here is that the music track is a vaguely 'symphonic' remix of the mapset's main theme (from the title screen, the story screens, etc.)--a nice touch. It is immediately apparent from a quick check of the BooM HUD (which reads 0/0 monsters and a handful of items) and the starting room (spacious, empty, and with every weapon and a backpack sitting within inches of the player's start point) that the battle with Barbatos himself is going to be along very traditional map 30/IoS lines; and indeed, it is. Now, I know that many players are unfond of IoS battles, sometimes to the point of skipping them entirely, but for my part, I feel that they are an important part of a full 32-map megaWAD. Or, it might be more accurate to say, that I feel it's important that big multilevel WADs avoid anticlimax, or feeling like they've simply ended due to time constraints, and IoS setups, even after all of these years, remain one of the best ways to accomplish this. They provide a certain sense of catharsis and closure to the proceedings, even in cases where they use a very standard design, as "Interception" does--indeed, for most players, the effective difference between this map and the original Icon of Sin is going to be little more than a half-second difference in the timing of the trigger-pull to land a rocket in Barbatos' brainpan, given the slight difference in distance (thus, perspective) between his face and the firing point relative to that of the Icon of Sin. For my part, I have a personal tradition of hanging around for a bit to fight monsters before finishing things in maps of this style (although in some maps the ammo/powerup balance makes this extremely infeasible, of course), which I find tends to make things more interesting/satisfying/challenging. Played this way, this one is quite simplistic, given that most of the action space is a flat plane, which makes waiting for the firing platform to lower after taking a shot at Barbatos largely an exercise in basic crowd control (not that it can't be rather dangerous, depending on which kinds of demons spawn). The size of the firing platform itself does present the one major wrinkle in this scenario: it's so big that it will tend to 'catch' a lot of airborne enemies in the vicinity when it begins ascending, giving them ample opportunity to aggravate you while you try to line up a shot on Barbatos--the antidote for this is a charging BFG salvo to clear the air (literally) every time you mount the platform. All told, there wasn't really anything wrong with this map as an example of its genre, but there's not much that's especially right about it, either--it plays very basically, even by the standards of the genre, and its aesthetics are very simple as well. This latter criticism, I think, holds a little more weight here than it normally would, as an IoS map is one of very few types of map where largely aesthetic concerns--unusual scenery, striking lightning, staged pre-combat traversal, music track seletion, etc.--can be just as important (maybe even moreso in some cases) as the nature of the actual gameplay. This one's a bit underwhelming, both in terms of aesthetics and in terms of play.

**********

Regarding Interception as a whole, my experience has been generally positive. Whether intentionally or not, it does feel like a modern iteration of international team-based megaWADs of yore, with everything that this entails--a wide variety of different mapping styles loosely tied together by an overarching aesthetic 'thread', in this case Matt534Dog's establishment of non-standard environmental themes for each episode (contrast with the 'thread' in something like MM2, which was largely a byproduct of the new textures in that WAD). There are some odd juxtapositions in style and difficulty from map to map as a result, particularly in E3; I myself rather like these wild fluctuations in size/style in WADs like this, yet I reckon others could also reasonably argue this rollercoaster progression style can be jarring and disconcerting in some cases. There are a lot of enjoyable and a few extremely fine maps here, with only 4 or 5 out of the whole 32 that I didn't much care for and a like number that really impressed me--certainly not a bad batting average at all. I also want to give special mention to the music pack, as I found many of these tunes enjoyable. As far as my taste in DooM music goes, I tend to prefer more mellifluous, moody numbers over the aggressive midimetal and evilsymphonia styles, and several nice tracks in this vein were found herein.

In episodic terms, E2 was far and away my favorite part of the set. I was taken by the variety of unusual settings in this episode (and I dig unusual sky textures like the one used here), and for all of the variation in play styles here--the greatest variation of the three episodes, certainly--there was no map in it that I didn't like. Even phobosdeimos1's "Elm Street" worked for me on a level that his other offerings in the other episodes did not.

"Top 5" (no particular order) for me would be:
1. Map 17 - "Antidote"
2. Map 28 - "Amongst the Ash"
3. Map 08 - "Panopticon"
4. Map 12 - "Alpha Tower"
5. Map 14 - "Vertigo Plant"

Honorable mentions to maps 04, 16, 18, 19, 20, and 26, which I am also sure to remember with fondness.

Thanks to everyone in the DW MegaWAD club for posting their thoughts, as reading them has been a pleasure. Thanks also to the Interception team for providing us something to enjoy and talk about; I will be looking forward to Interception's sequel, just as I look forward to the next club WAD.

Edit: Oh, and using the Pal_Plus palette was a nice change, as well. Its relatively softened, 'cool' color aspect gives the game a subtly more nostalgic, dreamlike feel. It makes consistently very bright maps (generally not my preferred lighting style) easier on the eyes, though those who don't have much taste for dim lighting might want to avoid using it in maps characterized by low lighting, as it tends to deepen/accentuate shadows. It's not going to become a permanent fixture for me, but I'd certainly recommend others giving it a whirl with a nice traditionally-styled Doom map at some point, as it's a quality piece of work that's worth a look.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 03-01-13 at 05:25

Old Post 03-01-13 05:00 #
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MAP29:
Oh. Now this sort of monster count was expected... but having this many zombies this deep in Hell? Eeehhhhhh...

So, almost immediately, you're having some 100 or so Hellspawn closing in and/or throwing stuff at you (and the number is gradually increasing due to several fat brown flying bastards). The starting area here though is absolutely huge; you have plenty of room to fully utilise player mobility, meaning it's little more than a test of your ability to prioritise targets while dodging all sorts of incoming nonsense approaching from a wide arc. And there's a Cyberdemon here already; best use him for my own purposes. I don't know how much ammo this map has...
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/3239/youmaylive.png
"Well done, for your services I grant you your freedom to continue stamping your feet on your little column."

http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/6920/nahfuckyou.png
"Haha, just kidding. Fuck you."

From this point on, I can't think of many moments that stood out. There's a Cyberdemon on some sort of oversized throne at a table (is he throwing a dinner party?), and it's almost completely harmless -- if you're not directly in front of the throne, he's not going to hit you. Ever. I attempted to get him to blow up the assortment of dinner guests that arrive from the doors behind the 'throne', but no such luck. Had to do everything myself, then really ruin the party mood by killing the host. Oh well. Onward! I'd have more to say here if anything spectacular happened, but it didn't.

http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/658/notatrap.png
"I swear in the name of Satan's trousers, if some bastard starts singing about Skeleton Warriors I'm going to go fucking ballistic."

Yet again, there was no trap despite this set of goodies looking like the biggest lump of obvious bait since some blind fucker kicked a can of worms into a river. I won't complain, I'm just glad that MOUSE1 is getting a 30-second cooldown.

At some point, I found this dark stairway while shooting a pair of Barons intent on throwing as many fireballs as they could before the MIDI looped. Hearing several Arch-Viles begin their ritual of rushing around and laughing filled me with dread...
http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/5844/idontlikethis.png
"No, you play fair for once and come up here. I'm always walking into ambushes and it's shortening my lifespan."

Well it was certainly a bad number of the bastards, but at least they couldn't go anywhere, instead resorting to karaoke impressions of The Village People.
http://img809.imageshack.us/img809/2311/ymcac.png
"It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!!"

Post-murder, the room had a familiar look to it...
http://img29.imageshack.us/img29/4365/typicalzanserver.png
"Ah, I know where I've seen this sort of thing before. Zandronum co-op servers during school holidays are always littered with player corpses."

Trudging on (and killing several hundred more things -- sorry I can't be more specific but it was all a bit routine), this little secret presented itself. And set upon destroying my sense of immersion. Just what is going on here?
http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/3985/whatthechrist.png

Okay, enough pictures. There have been a few comments on the Spider Mastermind -- this scuffle passed me by without any real incident. First of all it got caught up in a game of popping as many Mancubi as possible, and then it got killed by my own attacks while I was BFG'ing the fuck out of the Pain Elementals and their fleets of Lost Souls. I don't think it even had a chance to aim at me, such was the chaos at this point.

The end of the map was something special, at least regarding the turn of events. My comment about zombies in Hell? Forget it. Momentarily allying myself with a Chaingunner in order to let him kill the last Cyberdemon while I took a couple of Pistol potshots was worth all the hitscan-shit the rest of the WAD put me through (not really, nothing makes up for that fuckery). Although in hindsight I probably should have allied with the Cyberdemon instead, and then deserted the bastard during the real finale for this fortress. Still, nothing the BFG couldn't handle. And that was the end of business here. I didn't bother finding anything to bring my ammo/health to full, because...


MAP30:
Bleh. Pretty much just another standard-fare Icon Of Sin battle. Nothing spectacular. In fact it's just painful to see that platform.

Descend.

So.

...

...

...s...l...o...w...l...y.

Whatever. I lucked out here and killed the IoS on my second trip, with a flukey rocket while running of the edge of the column. Suits me, I'm out of here!

http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/8265/endtimes.png
That's a surprisingly awful time to get through 32 maps. I don't remember taking that long at all.


OVERALL:
Yeah, I'd recommend this one -- although I am definitely in no hurry to go through it again anytime soon. It starts off well with an Evilution-type curve (not pulling too many punches) with E1, lulls you into a false sense of security with E2's relative simplicity, then suddenly goes completely apeshit and attempts to rip your dick off and make you eat it several times during E3. Was the WAD fun? Certainly. In spite of a few weak/frustrating/bullshit moments, it has a lot of charm to it and there's always an urge to go on until the end.

It's certainly not without faults; as tactless as it may seem to say this given the circumstances, phobosdeimos1's contributions are definitely the weaker links. They're not explicitly bad maps, but the basic, almost 1994-ish designs were a jarring change of scenery when placed between maps with engine-pushing detail. They're also pretty forgetful experiences; I've already forgotten how MAP21 and MAP22 flow, and if not for the awful execution of MAP15's 'Radsuit Challenge' and the fact that it leads to MAP31, I'd probably have forgotten that one too.

MAP26 can just go and fuck itself.

What about the stronger maps then? In order of appearance, they'd have to be MAP12 (bullshit Cyberdemon aside), MAP14, MAP17, MAP24 and MAP28. Despite the higher monster counts, they moved at a decent pace and had enough going to ensure that events never dulled for too long (unless you're me and can't see obvious doors/keys for some inexplicable reason). Other favourites include MAP06, MAP07, MAP19, MAP23, MAP25, MAP27 and (for the sheer sense of scale combined with freedom of movement) MAP29.

Well anyway, that's that. I can't be bothered to either work out an average score based on various factors, or even throw some arbitrary whim-based rating down, so I'll just say "it's good, go and play it".

What's next?

EDIT:
Without things wanting to sound like some sort of wanky, insincere Oscar-acceptance speech, I'd like to thank (in no particular order):
The team behind Interception for developing and releasing a decent WAD that wasn't a repetitive spamfest.
This thread for giving me somewhere to rant.
Anyone who enjoyed reading my posts; it makes all the aneurysms, broken objects and random murders worth it.

Last edited by BaronOfStuff on 03-01-13 at 13:42

Old Post 03-01-13 13:35 #
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Demon of the Well
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I quite appreciate the 'pictorial' aspect of your style, BaronOfStuff. Helps break up certain of the grimly looming text-mountains.

Old Post 03-01-13 23:30 #
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Yeah, I'm wary of how dull a wall of text can appear (regardless of how it's set out and/or worded) so I try to break it up with some images every now and then. It's often much easier to share my thoughts on specific moments if I'm able to slap a few pictures in, as it removes the need for dedicating several lines to describing any given scene (and lets me throw in some silly captions with it).

Old Post 03-01-13 23:57 #
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mouldy
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29 - Barbatos' Fortress by General Rainbow Bacon

That was a painful pistol start. I couldn't tell you how many times I died running around trying to find a weapon bigger than a shotgun. Through endless trial and error it became evident that no I was actually meant to take on this army of hell with nothing more than that, because every new room I tried escaping to seemed to have archviles waiting, so there followed some gruelling inch by saved inch progress until I finally got a rocket launcher and a bit of luck. After a bit more dying I managed to clear out the archviles and pain elementals and thereafter things weren't so bad, which does make me wonder why that start was made so harsh - was there a super shotgun somewhere that I missed? Oh... checking in doom builder I see that there was, in the bit that I never looked in because I was always running past at top speed to avoid the archvile. Well that would have made things a bit easier - I guess that makes me the king of this map then.

It was a nice looking hellish place with suitable music for the end of days, I can't really pass judgement on it though because missing that SSG really soured the experience. I expect it will be a lot more enjoyable the next time I play it though.

30 - Interception by Matt534Dog

IOS


So that was interception, a perfectly entertaining collection of maps. Some great and some alright, I think there were more than enough good ones to balance out the not as good. The next time I play it I'll be doing it consecutively rather than pistol starts - a lot of the maps are quite short, particularly the early ones, which makes this a great megawad for having a quick blast through.

Highlights:
06 - Dangerous Curves by valkiriforce
08 - Panopticon by purist
11 - The Ocean Outpost by valkiriforce
14 - Vertigo Plant by franckFRAG
31 - Degravitation by Processingcontrol
32 - The Cataclysm by valkiriforce
17 - Antidote by Processingcontrol
24 - Abysmal Affliction by Pottus
And of course the music throughout.

Definitely my favourite map of the wad was Antidote, and favourite mapper was valkiriforce. The rest of the maps were mostly thoroughly decent as well though. Apart from map 26, that was a bastard. And map 12 had some dodgy moments. Oh and map 30 which was icon of standing on rising platform hoping to fire a perfectly timed rocket sin.

Its been good to see a lot of other people making it all the way through this one, and some really good reviews - I read them all and often find people saying stuff I wish I'd said.

Old Post 03-02-13 00:01 #
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dobu gabu maru
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Thanks to all who contributed, I'll probably post one more time once I finish MAP28-30 later tonight. Next up is 2002: A Doom Odyssey. There will be a few changes this time around, namely that I'm implementing Capellan's one week = one episode idea and that I'll allow the users to choose between the classic edition or the 10th Anniversary version to play through. Really glad to see a lot of exposition this time around, I think many of the Inception guys are grateful to read through your experiences/reviews.

Expect a topic sometime within 24 hours.

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dobugabumaru said:
I think many of the Inception guys are grateful to read through your experiences/reviews.


Well, I don't know about the Inception guys, but the Interception guys are very thankful! :P

Jokes aside, this was a very fun thread to read (special mention goes to BaronOfStuff, whose reviews were some of the funniest I've read, ever)! A lot of the common criticisms will be taken care of the next (and final) Interception update; hopefully, if you liked Interception before (which most of you seem to, more or less), you'll definitely love the next version! I just wish I'd said a bit more about my maps during the playthrough.

I guess the next best place for me to go would be to finish Moon Escape! and get back onto Interception: Part II, which I left to Pottus in the meanwhile.

TL;DR: Great thread, lots of fun to read, and I'll stick around for 2002: ADO (a wad I've always wanted to finish)!

Last edited by Matt534Dog on 03-02-13 at 19:07

Old Post 03-02-13 03:37 #
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dobu gabu maru
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MAP28: A pretty long map spread into two different sections. Both were pretty entertaining; I wasn't expecting ruins filled solely with archviles so that was an entertaining trip. I quite liked the yellow key side and battle, felt it was very balanced and interesting to navigate although Processingcontrol's oddly angled hallways still strike me as strange. Final battle was nice too... really liked the music for this level.

MAP29: Another long map with many wide, open areas for the player to run around and wonder where to go. The start is pretty brutal--despite getting many of the monsters to infight, the player is forced to explore for something tougher than SSG... and won't find anything past a massive barricade of demons backed by three archviles. Felt AV fatigue in this level as they were placed besides hordes of demons with no BFG, forcing me to make some very tricky maneuvers. Layout was mildly interesting (I liked the hallway with all the lights from the outside beaming down) but details were scant. Glad it ended when it did... the finale was far too difficult.

MAP30: A neat change in the arena to a traditional IoS battle that I enjoyed. The lift lowering slowly was a bit painful, but I liked the mood and damaging floor the player had to dance around. Somewhat unfortunate there wasn't a twist to this battle, but I suppose this is a fitting end to an "oldschool" megawad.

Encore

MAP31: My favorite of Processingcontrol's maps. Short, thematic, tough as nails and very mazey. I enjoyed all the little details and switch hunting... not much more to say than that.

MAP32: This was actually a really nice closer to my Interception playthrough. I always enjoy levels that are suspended over cliffs; Flaharty's efforts from Memento Mori were some of my favorites (sans the obtuse level progression). Not much to say here other than it was a satisfying experience.

-------

And that's Inception Interception! Like most community projects, the range of quality is pretty diverse so what players will enjoy most boils down to a lot of subjective playstyles. It is an admirable effort marred by a few bugs/design issues, but still a fun experience overall. I just wish the hell levels weren't so backloaded with so many 40 minute slogfests.

Favorites: MAP10, MAP11, MAP14, MAP24

Least favorites: MAP13, MAP22, MAP29

Old Post 03-02-13 19:00 #
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