E4M5 – Chris Hansen – Kills – 100, Items – 86, Secrets – 33. Time 24:17. End Health 150, Armor 97. Death Count – 1
This short, punchy map is probably the most fun Hansen map I’ve played to date. Not very hard, obviously, but the fights were fun, especially the red key trap, where I took some serious damage but won through on my first try. My only death came when I ran across the platforms that triggered the teleporting Caco trap. I zigged when I should have zagged, got stuck on something, and met my Doom maker.
I found the map very attractive, and enjoyed the way collapsing walls revealed more of the outside area and overall structure. The style was very much like “Thy Flesh Consumed,” and I was impressed by the use of bright light and contrasting shadow in many areas. A very successful map.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. On at least one occasion I can recall, there was -- gack! – a Medikit in front of a switch! Jesus Fucking Christ, why can’t these guys stop that? If there’s ever another anniversary edition, I volunteer to personally move every Medikit from every switch. :D
E4M6 – Joseph Pallai – Kills – 96, Items – 75, Secrets – 28. Time – Sucks. End Health 100, Armor 0. Death Count – 2
This is one of those maps where I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I did enjoy, and even admire, parts of it. Funny thing, this map is closer to my style than any other map in the megawad. It’s a great big splashy mess with large secret areas – most of which I obviously did not find – but the fights are mostly quite boring, and many of the features, even those I liked, seemed gimmicky “look at me” kinda stuff, for example, when you had to run across that series of Metal platforms to reach the Rocket Launcher at Sector 147, which incidentally guards the path to a Soulsphere, one of the few secrets I uncovered. But anyway, I thought that was just goofy, even though it looked good when you first saw the room from outside.
My main complaints about the map are that a lot of it was just bland, narrow GSTONE corridors so that, overall, it was not very attractive even though several large rooms with heavily-worked ceilings looked fabulous. The mapper also could have used much more dramatic lighting to avoid the blah look found almost everywhere. But without question, the most annoying aspect of the map is that it was an interminable switch-hunt. Bars everywhere, doors that won’t open. I was so pissed-off by this I could barely think straight.
My only deaths came from the Cyberdemon I encountered outside near the lava ocean. One rocket in the back as I was climbing upstairs, twice. You definitely have to be quick in that area!
When I say the fights were boring, you have to consider my style. As a walking keyboarder, I play cautiously. When enemies appear en masse in front of me, I don’t rush right at them, I back up, shooting, which is to say, I “advance to the rear.” Therefore, unless the mapper has enemies attacking me from multiple directions, every fight becomes a shooting gallery. The yellow key trap is a perfect example. I grabbed the key, walls opened, enemies appeared, I fired and backed into the corridor. On this occasion I did use crowd control while in the corridor to draw enemies in one direction, and then ran out into the open to kill them all, which was pretty easy despite the Baron and the Cacos. But that made the combat a bit more stimulating.
We then come to the gimmicky end, with more Barons but, weirdest of all, a Cyberdemon inside a teleporter. Amazed and disgruntled by this sight, given that I lacked the firepower to kill him, it took a few moments before I realized that I had to run towards the Cyberdemon and survive long enough to teleport, and before that, I first had to survive long enough to activate a switch (of course). To say that this was, in my eyes, a completely asinine gameplay decision is only to hint at the string of profanity I’d love to unleash on this subject. I took rocket damage while flipping the switch, which took away my entire 100-point Soulsphere bonus. But I survived the run to the teleport, only to reflexively run right back into the arena, meaning I had to do the teleport run again. Good joke on me. Amazingly, I survived again, killed everything at the destination, and exited.
To be honest, this map was not even close to something I’d enjoy, and like many maps in the megawad, it makes me reconsider my own designs. Maybe short to mid-size maps are best. It also reveals my prejudice where Cyberdemons are concerned. If there’s a Cyb in the map, in my view, that Cyb must be allowed to come to battle, and I must be provided with the firepower to kill however many Cybs appear on that map. I just don’t like gimmicky use of Cybs. If the mapper gives me the option of fighting or declining to fight, that is good, because, as a continuous player, I give higher priority to having enough health and ammo to start the next map successfully, than I do to killing everything in the map I’m currently playing. The point is that this option should come with a Cyberdemon that’s a credible threat, that will come after you no matter what. Mappers may also choose to force the player to fight the Cyb, and that’s okay, too, but sticking a Cyb in a tight place where it can’t move effectively, or on a platform it can’t descend, just bugs me and seems terribly wrong.
So in the end, I found parts of this map very attractive, but much of it blah, with poor lighting and little atmosphere. One further annoyance is the large number of Barons in rooms too short for them, so that they walked around with their heads in the ceilings. That just looks stupid. And of course, I remember seeing the occasional power-up in front of a switch. I almost wish I did visual aids like Baron to confirm this. This was also a somehat ammo-starved map where I frequently ran low on shells and bullets, which almost, but not quite, led to some interesting fights. So for me, this map was basically meh.
Last edited by SteveD on 03-31-13 at 21:18