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Demon of the Well
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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.

Old Post 02-17-13 07:56 #
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Kristian Ronge
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Map 19 -- Castle Grounds
Small hellish castle map with lots of good fights. The double Arch-Vile feature at the SSG was devilish and quite difficult to survive from scratch but by playing it like a sissy and running back into the cave whence I came, sniping the first AV, then picking off hitscanners, running back and getting the SSG, then running back into the cave and sniping the second AV I survived. The rest of the map isn't at all difficult, really, but it uses the monsters exceptionally well; a great example is the chaingunner and Hell Knight waiting for you as you come up that lift after having picked up the yellow key. WAD authors everywhere take note. Progression is fine except that after having picked up the yellow key I had to(?) run with the yellow key all the way back through the starting areas of the map without any new monsters to greet me. Felt empty and I was expecting something to pop out, but no. ;-) Same story when I picked up the blue armour... No trap there? For shame! Other than that, perfectly designed. One easy-to-spot secret which really helps. There's a second plasma rifle which you can pick up early on at the exit area, which is also helpful (and perhaps could be marked secret?). Yet another very good map. --5/5

Old Post 02-17-13 10:17 #
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purist
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14 - Vertigo Plant by franckFRAG

From here I'm going to just IDCLEV to each map, playing only as long as the map keeps my attention. This is because Vertigo Plant beat my will power. The fact that you can't save without crashing chocolate Doom paired with constant threat, difficult setpieces and a tough beginning from pistol start wore thin for me.

I actually quite liked the constant pressure at a start. Finding somewhere safe to catch a breather and safely pick off one of your tormentors or discovering a new weapon and health cache felt like mini-victories. I couldn't get past the blue key fight though. There was seemingly no safe cover. I even tried snatch and grab with the blue key to no avail.

The map looked surreal but was still nicely turned out. The second episode seems all over the place in theme though. Feels much more of a compilation than the first episode did. My dodgy mouse and poor Doom skills might keep me from finishing much of the rest of these maps.


15 - Elm Street by phobosdeimos1

Funny one this. Visually it was very plain and unfinished looking and gameplay wise it felt like it was leaning towards a concept but I couldn't figure out what that was. It also does not in anyway live up to it's intriguing title.

Straight off the bat it could do with a rad suit and shotgun to give you a fair opportunity to get to know your surroundings without melting in the damaging blood or having to resort to fists. I do like the way that you feel hunted by monsters you're not always sufficiently resourced to kill and don't suffer the same restrictions in movement around the map as you due to their immunity to damaging floors.

I really don't understand how the AV and cyb fights were supposed to be handled though. I tried to save ammo by getting the AV to infight with those imps but it didn't happen so I used that last of my shells to kill 'em off before hitting the lift switch. I never had enough ammo to kill the cyb so I IDKFA'd to get past him - I'm not sure what the strategy was supposed to be there.

Theme-wise it could might as well be a E1 map as E2. Underwhelming in all respects. I never found the secret level but I will -warp to them to check them out.


31 - Degravitation by Processingcontrol

Could be mistaken for a Valkiriforce map with it's switches classic PWAD touches and exploration. The quirky design felt fitting for a secret map slot and there was some fun moments to enjoy such as being flanked my imps and HKs after picking up the RL, although some more light would have been welcome in this spot.

I never found the secret, in fact I grabbed the megasphere, dodged the AV and pretty much skipped the final fight altogether since I didn't fancy my odds. I wasted a lot of ammo with my jerky wireless mouse but there was still enough scattered around so that I barely had to resort to my bezerk fists.

Not bad, I had some fun with this one.

Last edited by purist on 02-17-13 at 14:18

Old Post 02-17-13 12:19 #
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mouldy
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17 - Antidote by Processingcontrol

This map was such a glorious chaos of style and layout it was like playing through a feverish dream. The opening was so hectic i honestly didn't care how many deaths it took to get past it I was having so much fun. The map itself is absolutely sprawling with unpredictable twists and turns and stylistic quirks, its impossible to get bored with it. Though there is a kind of a circular route I did end up at an eventual dead end from going one way (via the hole in the rear of the rocket launcher room), and had to backtrack back to the start and go the other way instead - not sure if that was intentional or if I just missed something on the way. But it was no big deal, would have just been nice to get all the way in either direction. Loads of extra little rooms and secrets, and plenty of action too. I loved this map.

18 - City of Burning Sulfur by valkiriforce

Quite stylistically different from valkiriforce's other maps in this wad, large thinly populated open spaces and a lot of leg-work - i traversed half the map just to find locked doors, and ended up scooting back through vast empty corridors to find the keys. It felt like a fairly simple map that had been inflated with a bicycle pump. Thats not to say its a bad map, I think it suffered mostly from being played directly after the previous map, which was quite the polar opposite in terms of action and style. I'd agree that the cyber fight was a bit of a peekaboo, but I didn't find anything particularly offensive about this map.

edit: I forgot to mention the excellent music for map 17. To be honest most of the music in this wad is really good and if I forget to praise it in any map reviews then just take it for granted that i really like it.

Last edited by mouldy on 02-17-13 at 15:54

Old Post 02-17-13 15:28 #
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BlackFish
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MAP19
-Short, but effective map. Only uses 1 key which is an interesting touch.
-In hell, nukage does not hurt you, but it will turn into blood!
-Go down the pit to avoid that archvile? Have another one!
-In all seriousness though, I enjoyed the difficulty with the archviles here. It was hard without being overly douchey.

Old Post 02-18-13 02:59 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP20 - BETA TOWER

Well, despite the scenery behind the start point, it didn't feel much like a tower. And compared to MAP12's "Alpha Tower", I can definitely see why it's the Beta Tower - much smaller. However, it's also a better map. Low monster count but a small level, so it's decently packed, and the action flows quickly - I blasted through this one in no time, despite it having three keys. Fun little map - I like it on it's own merits, my only real complaints is that it doesn't quite tickle my fancy as an episode-ender.

Old Post 02-18-13 07:03 #
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Demon of the Well
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purist said:
15 - Elm Street by phobosdeimos1

Straight off the bat it could do with a rad suit and shotgun to give you a fair opportunity to get to know your surroundings without melting in the damaging blood or having to resort to fists. I do like the way that you feel hunted by monsters you're not always sufficiently resourced to kill and don't suffer the same restrictions in movement around the map as you due to their immunity to damaging floors.

I really don't understand how the AV and cyb fights were supposed to be handled though. I tried to save ammo by getting the AV to infight with those imps but it didn't happen so I used that last of my shells to kill 'em off before hitting the lift switch. I never had enough ammo to kill the cyb so I IDKFA'd to get past him - I'm not sure what the strategy was supposed to be there.

There is a rad suit and some ammo a few steps from where you start, hidden in a pushwall secret marked by a blinking bit of light on the wall (probably easy to miss since you're likely to notice the active lost soul through the window to the right before anything else). You still have to run out into the drink to get a shotgun, though. As for the arch-vile, as far as I can tell, there's nothing you can do but plink away at him and the imps with the shotgun from the ground floor. If you can find some of the other secrets in the starting area, there's probably enough ammo to do the same with the cyberdemon, as well, but that would be pretty boring, so a faster strategy is to try to run past him through the door the arch-vile was guarding, and take the SSG from his room. Assuming he doesn't squash you trying to get through the door, he's easy to kill at that point, since the big redrock column gives you ample cover.

Map 20 -- Beta Tower - 100% kills / 100% secrets
The storyline sequel to "Alpha Tower" is its opposite in many ways as far as gameplay is concerned, but similar in that it makes use of scenery of towers and hills outside the play area to set the scene, and more importantly, in that it's a fun map. Whereas Alpha represented a sizeable endeavor with a lot of open spaces and long walks, Beta is a much more compact construction, with only a couple of open yards and a lot of action in narrow corridors and low-ceilinged rooms. And where Alpha starts at a relatively sedate pace and gradually ups the ante as you get closer to the end, Beta wastes no time in plunging you into heavy combat. Indeed, the opening fight was my favorite part of the map, with zombies attacking from the left, cacodemons and a pain elemental emerging from the central opening, imps occupying a firing position beyond a presently unbuilt staircase, and another crowd behind a door to the right. Shells are limited at first, so after dancing around the central opening for a bit, I eventually ended up darting into the room on the right, having a point-blank brawl with all of the enemies in there, and then stocking up to go out and settle things with the gasbags and commandos. It was a good little workout, and the tight space was used well. Most of the other fights are staged effectively as well, like riding a lift to clear the wraparound overlook staffed by revenants in the yard with the cross-shaped water pit, or the tri-lift action just beyond the earlier mentioned staircase. The key battle with the shot-activated lock seemed a bit numb, though--shooting at the specter in that room before first entering it clued me into the mechanism (via the activation sound from my technically activating the linedef by firing into the room), and so when the trap was sprung, I already knew to shoot the barricade to get out, which reduced the encounter to simple chokepoint-management. Additionally, the ending battle with the three cacos and a bit of other stuff in the corridor right before felt a little anticlimactic (especially in comparison to the fast-paced start), but that's not really a big deal, I guess.

A couple of very minor issues, mainly aesthetic: In the darkened corridor with the scrolling tormented faces, a couple of torches at the bends are placed really close to the wall, such that they appear to clip partway through it if you stop to look at them. I also found a lot of cells in secrets, but if there was a plasma rifle or BFG in the map, I never saw it, despite getting all of the secrets. If the author is reading this, I might suggest throwing a rifle into the second secret which is nested behind the first, for the potential benefit of pistol-starters. Far from a major issue, though, as the map can certainly be conquered without any cell weapons.

Old Post 02-18-13 07:20 #
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Kristian Ronge
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Map 20 -- Beta Tower
A delightful map, again deliberately designed to look like a map from a top-notch project in '95 or possibly '96. It looks like a base/installation of some sort, set in the outskirts of a town, with parts built into the surrounding rock. Yet again, things start off violently, but you can duck into a side door, and get some ammo before cleaning out the outdoor area. Difficulty is medium, I'd say, if playing from scratch. The fights throughout are very fun; I was caught completely by surprise by the SSG trap -- well executed! Aaah, and the red key trap. It's the kind of trap where *everyone* knows it's a trap: veteran players know it's a trap, noobs know it's a trap, admiral Ackbar knows it's a trap, hell, the carcasses of all the monsters I just blasted through know it's a trap! You've run through empty corridors overlooking the key for 15-20 seconds, and it's just sitting there, glowing in the dark, taunting you. Yeah, it's a trap, and you know those monsters are gonna come beaming in or bursting out of the walls... but this is Doom! And you *want* that damned key and you *want* to finish this map, and you just prepare yourself, breath in and think "fuck it!" and go for it. What a delightful sequence. :-)

It gets easier towards the end but never easy enough to relax. Small suggestions for improvements: the two last fights (in the rocky outdoor area and by the yellow key) could be made more interesting by not blocking the monsters; it would punish more careful players (like myself) if the awakened monsters hunt you down! :-) Also, the addition of, say, an Arch-Vile in one of those fights would spice things up a bit. Also, there's a hanging torso by the red key which blocks players' movements in vanilla Doom. Those are just about the only flaws in the gameplay department. Lots of plasma ammo, but I couldn't find a plasma rifle (though maybe that would have made things just too easy...). Three nice helpful secrets, which don't ridiculously over-stock you, especially if you don't have any plasma rifle. Great stuff! --5/5

Old Post 02-18-13 09:46 #
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Sp00kyFox
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Not really have to say anything about map 18 and 19, they were decent and there was nothing bad about them.
Map20 (Beta Tower) was a lot of fun. A little nice map to blast through, progression was always clear. The battles were probably a little too easy, except for the red skull trap (which also could be avoided easily) there were no situation where the player was forced to move forward.
Have read the story text after this map and I'm looking forward to see some hell maps.

Old Post 02-18-13 10:49 #
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cannonball
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Map19 - Castle Grounds by Memfis
Good map, some little tricky parts with quite a few troublesome archviles. No real complaints here looks nice and plays well. Perhaps a couple of monster closets could have been added after getting the yellow key as the rout is very quiet until you get back to the ssg area.

Map20 - Beta Tower by Matt534Dog
No complaints here, the gameplay is fine with a few tricky traps, the red key area was by far the hardest part of the map. Fine linear blast to finish the episode.

Old Post 02-18-13 11:08 #
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Phobus
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I replayed MAP15 and MAP31, as my feedback was subpar last time.

MAP15: Still not a lot to say really. It's visually quite unexciting, having only two themes that are largely monotextured, game play is largely taking place on one plane and the only reason to spend any time in the map at all is to work out the secret exit, which doesn't take too long as there's so little in the map!


MAP31: I'm pretty convinced getting the secret exit legitimately is near impossible, but as I got stuck on the rising floors and had to cheat my way out, I didn't get to really test that theory too thoroughly and didn't feel any inclination to go back to it again.

I like the use of the theme, although in the caves it's kind of hard to say the environment is upside down... Also the fact that you have to use a few inexplicable lifts to get out of places wan't too cool, but it beat being completely stuck. Pretty short and simple map, other than the secret exit puzzle. Quite enjoyable and pretty dark too.

Old Post 02-18-13 21:14 #
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Kristian Ronge
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Map 21 -- Wrong Dimension
Hell-themed little gem, as old-school as they come. A breather from some large maps as of late (17,18). The pacing of the map is excellent: it keeps moving along at an appropriate pace (for old-timers like myself ;-D). Gameplay is quite easy throughout but I enjoyed every minute of it. You teleport to different parts, where you can sometimes see where you're going or where you've been. I stumbled into the SSG and soulsphere secrets right at the start and never looked back -- SSG all the way from there, almost. There's a neat little BFG secret as well, which opened a monster closet catching me completely by surprise -- well done, Sir! Like in map 15, much of the action takes places in rooms with damaging floor but here the rad suits are used well, and you're forced to play with much more tactical awareness. The map looks suitably plain, like an E3/E4 replacement in a very good UDoom '95 project. --4/5

Old Post 02-18-13 23:42 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP21 - WRONG DIMENSION

As Kristian says, this one definitely has an old-school feel with it's design, but not in a bad way (like I feel MAP15 suffered from). Part of this may be my love of the "hellish" theme stuff in Doom - I'm a sucker for the red brick, green marble, and spine lifts and eyeball switches and intenstine walls everywhere. But still. A bit easy (I think it might've been improved by having a forced-death at the end of MAP20) but still decent.

Still, some complaints (more nitpicks):
- I think I would've liked the window from the yellow key hallway to be a bit lower to show off more of what was coming. I did like the rest of windows showing off other areas.
- Didn't like placing the blue key at the end of a blind drop. Especially long before the player even sees the blue door. Yes, you can see it from the underground intestine area, but I'd wager the majority of players will find the blue key before that.
- A better damaging floor tile; it looks almost the same as the tile used right next to it (which isn't damaging). Maybe some lava instead? Or just something different.
- Can't go backwards through the blue key door, which is a big no-no (just like the end of MAP04).

Old Post 02-19-13 01:20 #
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BlackFish
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MAP20
-if you look back before going to the red skull, you can trigger the switch coming down and shoot it, allowing you to escape the red skull ambush rather quickly.
-It felt like a classic wad level with the sectoring, yet the gameplay mainly worked.
MAP21

-Sorry, but the inside the flesh monster thing made me think of that.
-Definitely a gameplay over visuals map.

Last edited by BlackFish on 02-19-13 at 04:14

Old Post 02-19-13 03:59 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 21 -- Wrong Dimension - 100% kills / 100% secrets
I have to say, I didn't really like this one any better than the earlier map 05 by the same author. Structurally it seemed like just a bunch of randomly-shaped rooms laid down in no particular sequence and then directly connected by hallways, or by teleporters dropped into the middle of rooms when there was no space for a hallway left. It seemed like it wasn't really planned much at all, like a speedmap session that didn't turn out so well, with the only bit of coherence pertaining to the mini-quest to remove the two sets of metal bars from that wooden gate early on. This haphazardness seemed to extend to the thing placement, as well, with another huge overload of ammo and an excessive amount of soulspheres (although they are hidden behind some false wall secrets, at least, rather than being out in the open), and the blue skull being recovered long, long before the player is likely to have even seen the door it goes to. All of the above could be forgiven if the action were better, but it feels phoned-in, with no traps beyond the one that opens the two pinky chambers to either side early in the map, and a lot of weak monsters stuck out in front of you, sometimes facing away when you first see them. In all, it plays out like a first episode map accidentally textured in Hell-red instead of STARTAN and cement. One thing I will say is that the map really demonstrated how classy the red color spectrum looks with Pal_plus.wad, but when the main impression I take away is some little aesthetic thing like that as opposed to something about the way a map actually played, I know it didn't really work for me. I had hoped for a series of steadily more interesting maps from the author after finding that I liked "Elm Street" noticeably more than "Rail Terminal 38", and I can see that he had a definite style that might have been honed into something quite distinct over time--abstract and internally-partitioned room shapes, liberal use of damage floors, monsters made dangerous by literally acting as moving obstacles, as opposed to by dint of their attacks, etc.--but I don't feel like I'm seeing that progression here. Oh, well, still one more map to come good.

Old Post 02-19-13 07:17 #
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cannonball
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Map21 - Wrong Dimension by phobosdeimos1
Straight and easy run to the finish here, nothing really of any particular bother here. Strange since the difficulty peaked on map17, the levels have been getting easier and easier. Strange in my opinion.
In the end this map is basic but it is fun to blast through without any annoying parts whatsoever.

Old Post 02-19-13 10:51 #
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Kristian Ronge
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cannonball said:
Strange since the difficulty peaked on map17, the levels have been getting easier and easier. Strange in my opinion.

It's about to get ... less easy, believe me. :-)

BTW, just wanted to say that I much enjoy reading everyone else's thoughts about the maps so far, even though I rarely comment on your comments, so to speak. You all have a distinctive style, ranging from minimalist (BlackFish) to essay (Demon of the Well).

Another BTW in case some map authors are reading my reviews: don't take my criticisms too harshly, I consider any map I give a grade of 3 to be good and any map with a grade of 2 to be totally decent. It's just that I sometimes focus more on what I didn't like than including details of what I liked. Also, my personal rating system gravitates slightly less towards 5 than /idgames. ;-) I've enjoyed *all* the maps I've played so far (up to map 29 ATM) to at least some extent. I've had a lot of fun hitherto.. :-)

Old Post 02-19-13 21:56 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP22 - BONE DREAD

Definitely fits like a continuation of the last map, not surprised to see they have the same author. Same old-school design, same textures (red brick, spines, intestines). Same windows - the one with the hell knights at the start is pretty annoying since the lava prevents you from getting up close, but the window edges prevent SSG blasts from hitting them at that range. Lots of being forced into damaging sectors without radsuits to advance. Another possible blue key before seeing the blue door. Secrets are overstocked (one secret is a blue armor right at the start, with a megasphere and BFG in a later secret behind it). Cyberdemon battle is a non-issue with the invuln sphere and tons of rockets there. The room with the Arch-Vile was pretty annoying just because of the design leading up to it - forced into lava, up to a timed switch, jump across to the timed door, Arch-Vile makes you want to retreat, but the door is timed, so you have to trudge through the lava again while the Vile respawns Barons... ugh. (Yes, you can make the jump towards the switch, but it's pretty hard).

I dunno if it was because I had just played MAP21 before this, or what, but for some reason the annoying design bits seemed a bit more annoying this time around.

There's also what seems like a HOM effect by one of the mega-armor secrets, but this might be intentional? (to give a hint to the secret - I wouldn't've noticed it otherwise!)

Old Post 02-19-13 23:33 #
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Demon of the Well
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K. R. is right about the difficulty. It has mostly been a more or less "medium difficulty" (or easier) mapset thus far, but there are some gutwrenchers lurking in the third episode (much to my delight).

I also agree that taking part in the club has been fun so far--it's interesting to see so many variations in opinion on looks, gameplay, flow, and other aspects of the game, even moreso when one considers that Interception is generally a traditionally-styled WAD focused on core DooM II gameplay at a more or less 'classic' pitch and a more or less 'classic' level of flash. Given this richness of opinion, I look forward to seeing what folks will make of other, different mapsets wrought in different styles in the future.

Map 22 -- Bone Dread - 101% kills / 100% secrets
As has been said already by others, this looks and feels like an extension of "Wrong Dimension", both in terms of play and in terms of aesthetic, with a lot of flesh, bone and intestine textures beginning to creep over the red-red-red theme that the previous map was based on (although there is one incongruous metal section). In comparison to 21, it feels a little more advanced structurally, with a bit more meaningful height variation and with windows serving a function more directly relevant to play, and it also appears to have been deliberately planned out a bit more. The style of the secrets is very similar, however, with the simple backtracking to the BFG/megasphere being an idea reused from the previous map, and more use of false walls (incidentally, I assume the slight texture-leakage visual bug that Magnusblitz mentioned was indeed probably actually an intentional clue to that secret). Once again, the combat is very simple and sedate, with a greater danger posed by unavoidable damage floors early in the map, and a large amount of supplies and powerful artifacts to mitigate or even eliminate most of the danger in the later encounters with more deadly foes, like the free invulnerability sphere which renders the cyberdemon completely harmless. Unlike its predecessor, though, this one did have at least a couple of setups I found enjoyable, like the gap-leaping timed door sequence that gets stopped dead the first time by the arch-vile that emerges from behind said door, prompting a retreat to the ledge for cover.
Overall, I still wasn't really able to get into it, as again the actual combat was still rendered much too carefree for my taste by item placement, but it was certainly more entertaining than its predecessor by virtue of layout, at least. I guess phobosdeimos1's (RIP) style, or at least the style of his maps in Interception, isn't really for me....hey, can't win 'em all. Nor should one feel obligated to try.

Old Post 02-20-13 07:44 #
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cannonball
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Map22 - Bone Dread by phobosdeimos1
What to say, pretty similar to the last map, perhaps the layout is a bit better and it is a little more difficult but not by that much. The archvile is probably the toughest fight as the cyber/chaingunner area is nullified by the existence of a invulnerability.

Old Post 02-20-13 10:41 #
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BaronOfStuff
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MAP13:
Short enough, with a few twists and turns to keep you on your toes. There are a few lines with the Block Monster flag though which shouldn't really have it; a couple of occasions allowed me to just shoot away at some Spectres/Demons in particular without any worry of them closing in on me at all. Not bad, but not great by any stretch.


MAP14:
I wanted to enjoy this one a lot more, but the RNG was set to 'cunt' and I was simply becoming frustrated with the accuracy/damage of so many Zombies.

Still, I know when to appreciate things and I really liked the overall style of this map; generally fairly intense without becoming laborious. The first Cyberdemon fight was stupidly easy though (even without tricking him to get into a scuffle with the other nearby Hellspawn), and I just melted everything in sight with the BFG9000. Perhaps if Pistol-Starting the map, this fight would be a challenge... but that's not what I'm here for.

The Spider Mastermind... now I'm not sure what everyone is complaining about here. Standing back far enough and equipping the Plasma Rifle results in an easy kill, turning the beast into brain fluids and molten steel without any retaliation. The Arachnotrons were more of a danger, but only in the sense that they could actually fight back. Not entirely sure what the switch behind the Mastermind did, so I just pressed on toward... another Cyberdemon!

Okay, so I'll admit that I wanted to break something when the bastard started teleporting back and forth... but it turns out that this only works to the player's advantage. Standing still and unleashing a stream of plasma was all that was required of me; the few times that the Cyberdemon did return fire only had me sidestepping and watching the rockets sail by harmlessly. Two down, with no effort. Makes up for that fucking nonsense back on MAP12. One surpise hurdle to go?

Of course. An Arch-Vile. On a narrow path above a slow, painful, inescapable death.

NOPE.AVI

I'm becoming incredibly fortunate for once, rushing back through the gateway to get the BFG out before the Arch-Vile (or the recently released Chaingunners) can do anything. The AV teleports... and gets stuck. Thanks, "Block Monster" flag. The Arch-Vile is quickly and easily disposed of with some long-overdue Chainsaw action. You might want to fix this.

One last thing though. This is the dumbest secret I have seen so far:
http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/4955/shitsecret.png
A SR50 jump? With a high risk of death? Just for some poxy Stimpacks? Really? What the fuck were you thinking?!


MAP15:
Not entirely sure what the hell was going on here. The Cyberdemon at the start certainly got my attention, but when the time came to face the music there was little more needed than a Plasma Rifle and 200 cells.

Excessive and unnecessary use of damagesectors throughout this map; regardless of there being too many Radsuits for the blood to be a danger, the fact that you have to keep breaking away from engagements just to grab another suit leads to what can only be called unwelcome interruptions and a constantly broken pace. I wanted to enjoy this one for its general simplicity, but it drags on with all these faux fetch-quests, resulting in more than one sigh of "oh for fu-..." before running off to keep that green tint active. It's a nice idea in theory (like a 'soft' pressure to keep advancing toward the next Radsuit), but in all honesty it's simply executed no less than horribly here.

Finding the secret exit was also a bit of a bastard; while I didn't assume it would require using the Arch-Vile, it eventually got to a point where I started cursing myself for killing the damn thing before finally working out that convoluted bollocks to reach the exit properly -- so credit where due on that one; I'd take convoluted trigger systems over luck-based AV-jumping fuckery any day of the week.

As for the other secrets, I've never been a fan of plain textures being used as 'switches'. Doors are fine, but switches... eh, largely unintuitive and/or always feels lazy/unfinished, like a series of placeholders. It felt like the latter here - they are pretty obvious because of how out of place it looks, but this only asks the question 'why aren't they switch textures'?

A weak map, really. Nice ideas, but they weren't quite put into practice well enough.

*Yes, it is very simple to access when you look at it in DB2, but when you're just rushing around and occasionally hearing a platform? It might as well be the search for El Dorado.

Old Post 02-20-13 14:16 #
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dobu gabu maru
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MAP14: Really enjoyed this one a lot. From the malicious onset to the curling, coiling hallways of the strange plant, it had a whole bunch of things I liked. Spidermastermind fight was a bit of a letdown but the first cybie fight was excellently done, letting me do a lot of thinking while I kept on my feet. Not much other commentary beyond that I liked the non-linearity and felt it was just a super fun and interesting level overall. Might be my current favorite.

MAP15: Didn't enjoy this one that much due to how underpowered the player is from the start, considering he must shoot down a bunch of HKs, 2 PEs, an AV and squeak past the cybie all with the SG. It was a challenging level with a neat layout for the first area, but it just wasn't clicking with me; Rail Terminal was personally better. Skipping maps 31 and 32 for now in order to close in on where you guys are.

MAP16: Razen floors me again with his amazing architecture, consistent themes and repeating structures. Even the constant use of elevators was fun for me since it fit in with the niche-style of the level. Fights were quite fun and frantic, but I still can't get my mind off of how the level must've been built... sad that there's not another contribution from him this mapset.

Old Post 02-20-13 18:59 #
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mouldy
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19 - Castle Grounds by Memfis

This was a nice looking and nicely put together map, had a great flow between a variety of destinct zones - I especially liked stepping through the blood curtain into the outdoor section. At first it seemed fairly straightforward, but the surprise rev behind the door should have warned me of dangers ahead, and the subsequent archviles gave me a bit of trouble - took me a few deaths to figure out how to survive the SSG ambush, mainly because the ammo was so tight that i had to save every shell for the archvile.

Bit of a visual glitch here?
http://i.cr3ation.co.uk/dl/s1/jpg/847032b8a331def77529b6a0384db1fe_rfs.jpg

20 - Beta Tower by Matt534Dog

Again, nothing to complain about here. The start had me running for my life to find some ammo, but it all worked out and I don't think I died at any point. The red key trap I think i was lucky to be facing the switch that you shoot to escape when i triggered the ambush and it caught a stray bullet immediately, allowing me to leg it out of there - sounded like all kind of shit was going on behind me. Nice and short and action packed.

Old Post 02-20-13 20:49 #
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purist
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32 - The Cataclysm by valkiriforce

I'm glad I bothered with the secret levels as my will to continue was dissipating with being so far behind and not really enjoying MAP13-MAP15. MAP31 was OK though and MAP32 is, for my money, the best map in the set so far.

It just screamed classic Doom for me, like a lost IWAD level. valkiriforce is a mapper I respect but I don't necessarily always enjoy his work due to our polar preferences on map length and puzzle elements. The Cataclysm did not feel this way though. Progression was mainly logical and aided with a computer map. Keys felt like side objectives instead of lengthy quests and, although a little agility was required, failure was not punished by damaging floors or long treks back to where you want to be. The exception to this for me would be the penultimate and final areas. The last fight with the mancs and HK's being a good natural place to have ended the level.

Atmosphere is something I can never really fault valkiriforce on. He just seems to have that classic PWAD aesthetic to pat and this level in particular adds a sense of place to that. A twisted, abstract place maybe but I felt that two thirds in I really knew the area. The openness and mapflow are to thank for this.

It is an occasion where the architecture affects the gameplay to the point that you feel the structure of the map itself has malevolent intentions and not just there to harbour the monsters. Winding catwalks, surrounding ledges and windows to shoot and be shot through work mainly to the oppositions advantage. I don't have any complaints about any of the encounters and some of the monster pairings were fantastic such as the arachnatron/PE and manc/HK fights. Health was a little short leaving me below 50% most of the time, which means it was pitched about right in my book but I would have appreciated a bit more ammo at the start (prior to the PR) as I had to briefly cheat after the first key (red?) door in order to get a foothold. I must admit I was shooting shadows at times.

16 - Hell House by Razen

Another subterranean claustrophobic map by Razen that focuses on atmosphere for the map's strong suite. As a standalone map it is an exercise in consistency, showing a disciplined choice of textures and architectural patterns as well as means of progression. The trick is avoiding blandness and repetition and Razen succeeds in both points by using interesting detail and architecture and moody lighting.

Another victory Razen can claim is once again producing decent gameplay in tight conditions. However, decent is as good as it gets with limited movement space - only the caco and LS swarms over the ledge are likely to remain in my memory. There was a manc fight that I seem to have cheese by killing them all from the safety of the bottom of a lift. Health and ammo felt abundant but I carried over a healthy stock from MAP32, which can't have hurt.


On a side-note it feels as though E2 is very inconsistent compared to E1. It seems the authors have had very different interpretations on the theme of an underground alien city, which I suppose is understandable.

I had every intention of going onto MAP17 since I'm still behind the pack but having seen the start I think I will save that for tomorrow night!

Last edited by purist on 02-20-13 at 22:47

Old Post 02-20-13 21:43 #
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Kristian Ronge
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Map 22 -- Bone Dread
More of the same of what we saw in map 21. I kind of like this "double-feature" to start off episode 3. This map is slightly more intricate than the last, with tons of secrets for such a small area (all super easy to find, you only need to be a little wary of strange-looking textures to find the blue armour secret, and have a decent memory to find the BFG one). Progression is simple, and again you navigate damaging floors and have to use the rad suits wisely. Action is good, with some fun fights, including a great AV trap and two fun chaingunner traps. Difficulty is still very firmly in easy territory, I had lots of health and ammo throughout, it's a blast to play though. Probably the author's best map in this collection. --4/5

Map 23 -- Bloody Castle
Well-designed subterranian map in the wood/E4 theme (don't see anything resembling a castle much though). The penultimate room with the twin Cybers was hectic and a bit of a pain in the arse because of all the additional monsters. I plasma sniped them and found the BFG after everything was dead, go figure. I don't really understand why the map went on after that, that helpless Mastermind was a definite anti-climax. Some pretty tough encounters throughout to keep you on your toes... I played carefully when I could and conserved ammo. Isn't the yellow key teleport placed a bit off (unless of course there would be some trap awaiting the player when running back up to the teleport)? Can't think of much else to say, some good fights here, and an enjoyable experience. --4/5

Old Post 02-21-13 00:32 #
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BlackFish
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MAP22
-Much door chasing here, especially that one baron room.
-Looked like a solid 90s map, that's not a bad thing.
-I'm liking that this is a hell map and there's not too much green marble. Many hell levels love to spray green marble textures everywhere.
-Walked backwards into that first secret.

Old Post 02-21-13 02:20 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP23 - BLOODY CASTLE

Not much to say about this map. A bit harder than the last few maps, but nothing super strenuous (though the room with the two Cyberdemons is set up in a way that doesn't make it easy). Well, and the red key trap can be a quick game over if you hestitate and the chaingunners AI doesn't like you.

Kinda thought it would be bigger at first, but it's basically just four or five areas - opening room, the red key area, the blue key area, Cyberdemon area, and Spider at the end. And yeah, the Spider Mastermind/Revenants at the end was really an anti-climax after the Cyberdemon room. Overall a decent map, but really felt like it should've been longer.

Old Post 02-21-13 07:01 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 23 -- Bloody Castle - 100% kills / 100% secrets
The two major impressions I'm left with regarding this series of stone/wood subterranean arenas pertain to symmetry and set-pieces. If you look at the layout in the automap, you'll notice that, with the exception of the eastern and western wings of the first segment of the map (before the teleporter to the big arena showdown), the overall structure is almost totally bilaterally symmetrical--and even those differing wings are comprised chiefly of rooms that are themselves perfectly symmetrical. Now, this degree of symmetry in a Doom map is often a fairly risky proposition, or at least one liable to meet with a very ambiguous reaction from many players (e. g. "Metastasize" from CC4, for a recent example), but I don't think it hurts this particular map. The reason for this is that 95% of the action in the map takes place in discrete, self-contained set-pieces. There are basically four fights: the opening room (where the aspect of symmetry is made immediately apparent by identical configurations of monsters attacking from both sides), the hilarious teleporting-monsters-on-pillars fight for the red skull in the east, the brawl for the blue skull to the west (again in a symmetrical area), and then the final fight in the symmetrical(!) boss arena to the north. I guess there was one little bit with monster closets on the way back from one of the keys, and there's also the final spiderdemon, but it's so disadvantaged by the symmetrical environment it appears in it barely even counts as a fight....the point is, there is little or no aspect of exploration or environmental traversal in the map--it's just a 1-2-3-4 sequence of straight fights. Would I want to play a whole megaWAD of maps like this? Probably not, but since this is 1 out of 32, it feels more like a viable thematic departure than anything untoward. My favorite part was the aforementioned red skull area, which was pretty goofy, but fun to play, and I sort of expected the second chaingunner wave, so minor harm/no foul. I did have to fiddle with my port's compatibility settings a bit and then replay the cyberdemon crossfire arena a couple of times to feel like I'd beaten it "for real", since the first time I played the BFG just kept knocking the cybers halfway off of the small wedge-shaped ledges they occupy, immobilizing them and rendering them easy pickings, but that's not really the mappers' fault. Overall, it looks fine (although not very castle-ish), and offers a very straightforward series of 'arcade-style' fights without overstaying its welcome.

Old Post 02-21-13 07:02 #
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cannonball
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Map23 - Bloody Castle by C30N9 / valkiriforce
Not sure how the map corresponds to the map name but oh well.
Medium length fairly difficult level with the biggest traps being the red key and the penultimate room with the cybers. Felt a bit quiet collecting the blue and yellow keys though. But overall a good map.

Old Post 02-21-13 10:41 #
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mouldy
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21 - Wrong Dimension by phobosdeimos1

This felt a bit old school with kind of basic looking environments and fights that seemed to favour the player a bit too much. I like the hellish red look though, and the super shotgun secret. Was the exit marked? I didn't see any kind of exit sign, though I wasn't too fussed about leaving at that point.

22 - Bone Dread by phobosdeimos1

This one seemed to have a bit more visual variety and up-and-down going on, though the fights were a bit toothless again perhaps. I didn't fear death for the most part, until finding myself in a small room wih an archvile - i just managed to scrape a bit of cover from a kink in the wall. The cyber I felt a bit sorry for, he couldn't actually hit me with any of his rockets. In the end I felt sorry for him and jumped down into the pit with him, I'd shot him enough by then that the invulnerability lasted long enough to see him and all his mates off. Very generous with health and ammo this map. Great music though.

I saw a visual glitch at the start with some see-through floor
http://i.cr3ation.co.uk/dl/s1/jpg/847032b8a331def77529b6a0384db1fe_glitch.jpg
whats causing that?

23 - Bloody Castle by C30N9 / valkiriforce

This was a bit of a step up from the last 2 maps difficulty-wise. I had a bit of trouble with the start, probably from my habit of running about like a madman and soaking up stray rev missiles. After that there was the room with the rising platforms - thank christ i didn't have to actually use them to get anywhere.. although they weren't much use as cover when all the enemies suddenly appeared. This bit killed me quite a lot since I had very little health at that point, and the chaingunner ambush after getting the key tended to take a chunk of health off no matter what i did. I escaped that room on 6% and tiptoed my way to the nearest health kit. The next key room also gave me a bit of trouble, though i cant blame anyone but myself there, shooting my own face off with rockets. The final battle with the 2 cybers was cool, this also took me a few attempts to survive, and by the time I reached the exit I was limping on 3% health. Good job I'm doing pistol starts.

Old Post 02-21-13 21:08 #
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