Demon of the Well
Map 18 -- City of Burning Sulfur - 101% kills / 100% secrets
Whereas a lot of the maps in episode 2 so far have had a sort of schizoid Ultimate DooM/Shores of Hell vibe to them in the aesthetics department (except for the very thematically unwavering "Hell House"), here's a map that looks a lot more like a very DooM II take on the theme of a corrupted underground city, something like a complex of small temples rendered in the iconic hellcolors of blood red and pale green arranged on a number of rocky crags in a large cavern of tan stone. The cavern itself is constructed in a very minimalist way, although I like the look of that natural rock pillar opposite the tower with the rocket launcher in it. The buildings themselves are generally small and progression-centric rather than elaborately wrought, as well, but I like the usage of candles/torches near small windows or grates with hanging corpses on the other side of them that I noticed as well.
After getting stocked up on the balcony and exiting the initial building, the player is presented with a number of choices of direction to head in. While one can go a fair distance in at least two of these directions at the start, the map is not truly nonlinear, as the three keys must all be gotten in a definite order (red-yellow-blue). I don't think the linearity really hurts the map much at all, though, as it feels like an adventure any way you slice it (albeit with a varying degree of combat-free backtracking depending on your route). My main quibble is that it feels pretty bloodless in the encounter department--a lot of the travel/exploration meets with only very light resistance relative to the amount of space/distance being covered (most pronounced in the long ascending corridor that leads up to the red and then the yellow doors). There's more action to be had in the key traps, ala the teleporting horde at the red key, which is entertaining enough to subdue in and of itself, but none of these put much pressure on the player, leaving one with the persistent feeling that one is getting off too easy a lot of the time. The only time I remember feeling any tension involved the arch-vile in the RL tower, which was a nice startle. Despite this, though, I still enjoyed the map for its setting and for its clever secrets (the second soulsphere secret took me a while); it's definitely one of those outings where the map itself is the attraction, rather than the speedbumps along the way.
Map 19 -- Castle Grounds - 115% kills / 100% secrets
Ah, a Memfis map. I didn't realize he'd participated in Interception, but he has an easily recognizable style, readily seen here--a good head for vibrant colors (he seems to particularly like green bricks and nukage/slime), very simple secrets, and a very understated sense of verticality, like all of his architecture has been scaled to better fit the somewhat askew aspect of humanoid anatomy found in Doom's cast.
Despite its compact size and relatively unassuming starting monster count, this one can be legitimately dangerous if taken lightly, accomplished largely by using arch-viles in inconvenient (but delightful) ways. I particularly like the courtyard section, where the SSG is found. Initially, you get to fight with an arch-vile backed up by a number of imps, a commando, a sergeant, and a revenant while armed only with a shotgun and chaingun. Though all of the beasties can reach you in short order, given the small size of the area, there are a lot of columns to use for cover, making it quite doable if you stay on your toes. Given the light armament, you're challenged to chip away at the vile while constantly killing or avoiding the others, which he will often resurrect, again given the small size of the area. Depending on how many clean shots you can get at him, it may behoove you to coax him into rez-ing the sergeant a few times, to help you resupply on shells. This made a single arch-vile and a handful of others feel like a bonafide miniboss encounter--very neat, and tricky to pull off in Doom at this late date. The topper is the battle that occurs as soon as you get the SSG, which is essentially the same thing again, only with three times as many bodies (still only the single vile, though)--very cheeky, and it made me chuckle. After that the rest is more low-key, and a little harder or easier depending on which direction you explore in first. It occurs to me that as far as combat is concerned, there is very little meaningful height variation in this map (much like in Razen's maps, I suppose), but the proceedings generally don't suffer for it, as mono-level battles are tuned well enough to keep you on your toes. Oh, and bonus points for the chaingun-centric (as opposed to shotgun-centric) start, too.... for a pistol-starter, it's nice to see one of those once in a while, to change things up a bit.