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Capellan
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E2M5
Vines! Finally! :)

This level steps up the hellishness in general, looks-wise, to the point where it could almost be part of E3. We've got a big, red fortress here, with rivers of blood running through it, and pillars of flesh supporting the ceiling. It's a bit jarring, given that two levels ago we had a map that could have passed for E1. It seems like the fusion of hellish and man-made environments wasn't something the various mappers were on the same page about.

The texturing is new (at least for this wad), but the gameplay is the familiar pcorf style: monsters in front of you, and some completely unthreatening demons and spectres (in one case because of a block monster line; in another because of a chainsaw and a chokepoint, and many times simply because you're given far too much time and space to take them out from a distance). In general, the monster load out is ramping up; two barons on this level, plus several cacos; but the difficulty is not. In fact, I’d say this was considerably easier than E2M2, though part of that is probably that I am playing continuously and so had the RL and plasma to work with.

Level progression is also pretty familiar. It's the standard linear sequence of stages, with key doors splitting up the action into the requisite sections. I understand the temptation to do this – it ensures the player sees as much of your work as possible, and it makes it easy to minimise backtracking and people getting lost – but it does tend to create a slightly humdrum feel to the proceedings, like you're just checking off things on a list. Hopefully we'll see a bit more variety in level design later in the wad.

Presumably the exit to the secret level was in here somewhere. I didn't find it. In fact, I found none of the secrets. Fear my observational prowess! Checking the map in Doombuilder shows a secret area where the word "SEX" is spelled out in the floor. Really? That seemed like a good idea?

Old Post 03-12-13 19:47 #
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Demon of the Well
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Heh. I don't know which version you're using, but in the 10th anniversary edition, the letters on the floor in the rocket launcher secret spell "Rex", not "Sex." I guess this has something to do with the room itself being in the shape of a T......still a pretty strange inclusion.

Old Post 03-12-13 20:27 #
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SteveD
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E2M5 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 89, Items – 10, Secrets – 83. Time 40:36. End Health 182, Armor 106. Death Count – 2

Ah, the survivalist map. Not good for me, because I miss a lot of shots. :D

This map is gorgeous. I especially loved the SKINTEK/SKULLWALL corridor with intestine ceilings surrounding the lava pit. Masterful use of textures and color. This map really shows why I’ve been a pcorf fan since I first played Death Tormention.

Fights again are getting better. Nothing super-serious except for the ammo drain. It’s all part of pcorf’s attrition approach. I found the rocket secret, which sure helped with the Barons. I didn’t waste those precious weapons on Cacos, who got shotgunned and chaingunned instead.

My first death occurred in the Lost Soul nest in the lava pit. That lava sucked a lot of health outta me before the fight. Worth noting is the masses of dead bodies in the Lost Soul nest. A real charnel house! There were other chancy encounters in and around lava that kept me alert and unnerved, and once I fell into lava while fighting a Caco at the red door. Ouch!

Along the way, I found the BFG and thought I had found the secret exit, but I had only found one part of the pathway.

My second death was a bit humiliating. I got killed in a pcorf Spectre trap! I made the mistake of staying in the long, narrow corridor to chainsaw them, but for some reason certain environments, like stairs and tight corridors, make Pinkie/Spectre bite attacks more effective, so the second time I ran away and fought them from the yellow key area.

I left a lot of monsters alive because I wanted to conserve ammo, especially when I found the secret exit. I knew from DoTW’s comments that I was going to face a Cyberdemon soon and didn’t want to waste my supplies.

I think E2M5 is little short of a masterpiece. The design is very clever and is oriented to using lava as a constant threat. I lost a lot of health on the lava and was always playing with the psychological effect of its presence, which is to say, dread. It is really part of the whole combat design and that’s why I like it so much. The music track was very good, too.


E2M9 – Paul Corfiatis – Kills – 98, Items – 100, Secret – 75. Time 31:50. End Health 100, Armor 0. Death Count - 4

This is another nice-looking map with a great opening fight that left me quite vulnerable when I first encountered the Caco swarm and got killed. I ran back and grabbed the Soulsphere in front of the Blue Door, and BTW, an annoying thing about many of these maps is the habit of placing important items like Soulspheres, Medikits, boxes of shells, etc., in front of doors and switches you have to use. It can lead to a lot of waste if you’re at, like, 95% health and have no choice but to grab a Medikit. That’s a noob move! Anyway, I grabbed the Soulsphere, killed the Cacos, and next thing you know, I meet Mr. Cyberdemon in a tight space and get killed again!

As a general rule, I consider close combat with a Cyberdemon to be a jagoff move by mappers. I know I’ve read comments about this fight by people with similar feelings. Nonetheless, I persevered in my walking-pace, keyboard-only approach. I did not turn on Always Run or resort to the mouse. The Cyb killed me three times, and the third time it was a fun mutual KO. That wasn’t too bad, actually, because in E1M7 of Cannonball’s CBspeed, I got killed 7 times in a row by the Cyb guarding the red key, including at least one mutual KO. I wasn’t bothered by that, either, and thought it was kinda fun.

After the Cyb fight the map was all downhill in terms of action, and I was never in any real danger. There were, as usual, a veritable army of Spectres, and I decided to soften them up with a shotgun blast and finish them with a chainsaw to conserve ammo. So far I’ve never resorted to punching anything.

On my run, the Cyberdemon/Spider Mastermind fight was an easy win by Spidey, because it took a surprising number of shotgun blasts to kill it after the battle.

I liked the Heretic textures, and can also say that backtracking can be very fruitful in this map. Overall, it was fun, but not as cool as E2M5. The music track was also exceptionally good in this one.

Last edited by SteveD on 03-12-13 at 20:56

Old Post 03-12-13 20:46 #
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Capellan
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Demon of the Well said:
Heh. I don't know which version you're using, but in the 10th anniversary edition, the letters on the floor in the rocket launcher secret spell "Rex", not "Sex."


My version of the wad is date-stamped 30 July 2004. Definitely says "SEX". Definitely stupid.

Old Post 03-12-13 20:57 #
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cannonball
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E2M9 Dungeon of Hate by Paul Corfiatis
A nice change in theme to this heretic detailed level. Looks cool and some of the fights are tough. I died once on the first cyber as I should have gone back to collect the plasma gun "secret". Got killed trying to shotty the cyber to death :P
Nice detail, the action does tail off with an almost Easter egg style battle between a cyber and spider mastermind.
Very good music track to this map.

Old Post 03-12-13 20:59 #
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cannonball
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Capellan said:


My version of the wad is date-stamped 30 July 2004. Definitely says "SEX". Definitely stupid.


It's better than that picture in the previous level :P
I think most speedrunners shoot that picture haha

Old Post 03-12-13 21:02 #
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BaronOfStuff
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Capellan said:
My version of the wad is date-stamped 30 July 2004. Definitely says "SEX". Definitely stupid.


Also in the original 2002 release. Also stupid.


cannonball said:
It's better than that picture in the previous level :P


Fucking thing completely ruined any sense of immersion.

Old Post 03-12-13 21:27 #
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dobu gabu maru
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I am one of the ones that enjoyed the switch challenge at the end of E2M2 just for the fact that it was something different. I always welcome puzzles like that, even if the timing felt too tight.

E2M5: Corfiatis' best level so far IMO. It's big, creative, and tight on ammo, leading to some interesting fights (like trying to optimize barrel explosions). I've been playing consecutively but wound up finishing the level with only 20 shells and 40 plasma, as I foolishly misstepped in the spectre trap at the end and had to take all of them out with my chaingun/PG, leaving me at a bit of a mutions disadvantage. Visually it's pretty interesting, opting to be more of an E3 inspired map with all the red & guts everywhere. I really enjoyed the music too, and found it fitting for this map... I just wish he would give me a tiny bit more RL ammo that's not hidden behind a secret.

E2M6: Habich returns with a linear, baddie infested map; key word being infested. The highlight of the map is the grueling quad-teleporter room, where I foolishly unleashed two hordes at once and had to back my way up the stairs, flinging rockets down the hallway as two barons approached me. Health drops pretty fast in that room as there is little space to move around, since you don't want to risk walking onto one of the teleport panels that line the wall. The bout of damaging floor you have to traverse at the end felt like a bit of a low blow, but overall it was another enjoyable map. I'm wondering what E3 is going to be like since this is how I imagined hell being. Also, I got to witness an imp opening a secret for me. Yay!

Old Post 03-12-13 21:47 #
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cannonball
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BaronOfStuff said:

Fucking thing completely ruined any sense of immersion.


Unfortunately there is no liquid floor colour for vomit.

Old Post 03-12-13 21:50 #
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Capellan
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dobugabumaru said:
The highlight of the map is the grueling quad-teleporter room


We're gonna have to agree to disagree on that, as I think that room is a good illustration of what's wrong with the map. As I'll say when I post my thoughts on it :) (they're written already, but on PC I don't have access to, right now)

Old Post 03-12-13 21:57 #
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dobu gabu maru
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Capellan said:
I think that room is a good illustration of what's wrong with the map.


Perhaps "highlight" was the wrong word to use... it was more like the memorable aspect of the map (I actually enjoyed it, although it did get on my nerves by the fourth wave).

cb, did runners try and activate all four waves at once?

Last edited by dobu gabu maru on 03-13-13 at 00:27

Old Post 03-12-13 23:53 #
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Demon of the Well
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E2M6 -- Between Demons and Insects - 100% kills / 100% secrets
This is certainly a bit more intense in the combat department than Habich's previous offering, but I'm not sure I actually liked it any better. Aesthetically this map is really far more Inferno than Deimos, a series of glowing red burrows with a central marble/stone chamber containing a gate leading to more red burrows, all set in an ashy landscape dotted with blasted trees and laced with blood rivers; I imagined this to be a part of the mundane reality that has been so overcome by Hellish influence that a small rift into Hell proper (the part of the map where the big teleportation massacre occurs) has opened within. In gameplay terms it is as highly linear as the Lost Labs were, although the intensified pace of combat and the inclusion of a few very narrow corridors and a bit more height variation make it feel like a more rounded experience. However, it does feature a fairly large amount of instances of monsters that fire at you from tiny enclosures in the walls--something that's often not to my taste--and a good number of Barons to grind through, which hurts the pacing a bit. In fact, the ammo budget in the map is deceptively tight. I made it out alive with no real problems on my first attempt, but I was unable to achieve 100% kills, as I had to retreat from the big teleporter clusterfuck for want of ammo to quell it with, and that area was closed off and unreachable by the time I had the plasma gun. Being able to take out that whole wave the first time you see it requires some budgeting of ammo and some tactical thinking; on my second attempt, I was able to do it by taking all four teleporters and hitting the four eye switches as quickly as possible, springing the whole ambush at once to maximize infighting and the amount of potential HP damage that each rocket could do (all of which I had saved up until that point, which meant the earlier three-baron chamber was more of a shotgun/chaingun chore). After this the only real obstacles left are some weak mandatory damage floor (sure to warm BaronOfStuff's heart) and a Baron quartet to routinely melt with the plasma rifle given to you for said purpose. Eh...much like Habich's previous map, this one has some good ideas, but also some gameplay issues holding it back.

Old Post 03-13-13 00:06 #
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mouldy
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E2M5 Fortress of Fatalitiea by Paul Corfiatis

This is looking proper hellish now, and only half way through episode 2. The look and atmosphere of this map is superbly ominous, and the difficulty is kept fairly high thanks to not much health and a pitiful amount of ammo - I made the mistake of trying to kill all the monsters and soon found myself down to fists with barons of hell to deal with, so I restarted the map and went through leaving as many monsters alive as I could and that seemed to work a little better. It was pretty hard going though, juggling supplies and dodging missiles - then just as I had a comfortable amount of ammo I came to 2 barons guarding a key, with no way around them and only a shotgun to tediously chip away at them. I find barons a chore with anything other than a rocket launcher. Getting to the end things got a little easier, though I was still glad to get the chainsaw just to help save some bullets. I finished the map with 60% kills and no secrets, which annoyed me enough to go back to my last save and nose around. Good fun getting all the secrets and being rewarded with a secret exit as well. This is probably my favourite map so far, but its bastard stingy on pistol start.

E2M9 Dungeon of Hate by Paul Corfiatis

A nice textural excursion in a medieval hell castle, definitely more of an experience than the previous secret map. Fighting the cacos in the small room was fun, that cyberdemon bloody made me jump though. Other than that there's not much to say, it all looked great and the fighting was mostly dodging caco bullets and mowing down shotgunners, with an entertaining intermission watching a cyberdemon fight a mastermind through a window. The wad definitely seems to be coming alive more now. Hope they have enough hell left over for the remaining episodes..

It was while playing that last one that I suddenly felt a wave of relief pass over me as I realised there would be no archviles in any of these maps.

Old Post 03-13-13 00:17 #
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cannonball
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That's a shame Mouldy, when speedrunning this map is was always a pleasure to nuke the double baron combo with one bfg shot :)
It's certainly tough and one which I didn't enjoy playing at speed but actually casually going through it the map is fun.
E2M6 to play tomorrow, should be fun as I stamped my authority on this map many times. Anyone having trouble just remember this. Use rockets intelligently aka crowd the barons together and don't waste rockets on the small fry. You will know where I mean to use this tactic.

Old Post 03-13-13 00:43 #
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Demon of the Well
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E2M7 -- Puzzles to Solve - 100% kills / 100% secrets
Kristian Aro returns and teams up with Mr. Corfiatis to produce the most involved map in the episode. As E1 did a pretty good job of illustrating, Aro has a knack for aesthetics while Corfiatis tends to produce the more interesting gameplay scenarios, so their combined effort amounts to a rather good-looking map that plays pretty well. Chocolate + peanut butter = Reese's, right? The eclectic derelict/haunted base theme here is as Shores of Hell as they come--indeed, the map is full of nods to scenes and visual ideas from various parts of the original E2, most prominently the good old Command Center, an influence that asserts itself from the moment the map loads. Fortunately, though, the actual gameplay itself is not homage-y in any real way, so you won't be able to predict everything 5 minutes before it happens. And it does play well. Again, the map is quite linear, but it's a tactful and natural sort of linearity that didn't strike me much until I was thinking of this writeup after the fact. It's not a very hard map, really--it doesn't make you run around wounded or with nearly empty bandoliers a lot of the time, like some of the other maps in the episode have--but it does keep you on your toes. Barons of Hell are used more effectively here than in previous maps, often popping out of small enclosures near your position to efficiently flush you into complicated situations, like the one near the red skull who pressured me into dropping down into the lower corridor, which was rapidly becoming crowded with zombies, imps, and cacos, or the one in the small abattoir behind the walls that you're likely to ignore until you unexpectedly get teleported in there with him. There's also another dastardly barrel trap here, this one pretty hard to see coming because it only involves one barrel...it hurt, but it also made me laugh. Good stuff. The one weaker area is probably the end of the map, which just involves shotgunning/chaingunning long lines of sergeants in the winding stone corridors, but it's a small thing, really. Overall it's a satisfying excursion, and I think it was a good choice for the episode's penultimate map. Oh, and again, there's a good music track here, that follows suit with the rest of the map in being kind-of-a-homage-but-not-really.

One thing, though.....why the name? There's not much puzzle-play at work here, although I guess getting started on the path to the blue skull might be slightly unintuitive.

E2M8 --Total Disturbance - 100% kills / No secrets
Hmm.....I don't really have a lot to say about this one. It's a very traditional E2M8 setup, a straightforward fight with a single cyberdemon in an expansive outdoor arena. It does add a little bit of trivial combat against some sergeants before the main event, and replaces the lost souls in the cyberdemon's territory with some cacodemons, I guess...but it also ensures that you're comically overarmed for said event, and in this kind of scenario lost souls would probably have been more of a threat, anyway. The main area looks nice, at least... that big lake has a feeling of finality about it. Still, I can't help but feel that maybe there should have been two cybers, or something, since previous maps in the episode had already thrown the big guy at me on more than one occasion. Regardless, I did find this more satisfying than E1M8. Oh, and speaking of which, BaronOfStuff had earlier commented on the awkward writing in the story screen at the end of that episode....I didn't think it was so bad, myself, but the text at the end here is just....dire. For shame, Paul, for shame.

Nevertheless, I found "Road to Eternity" more engaging than "Deep into the Code", largely by dint of a greater degree of variety, in the gameplay style, in the difficulty curve, in the settings of the maps, etc. I still found some parts anticlimactic, but things are certainly looking up, and E3 and E4 will introduce still more authors to the proceedings, so there's more variety to look forward to.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 03-13-13 at 09:41

Old Post 03-13-13 09:36 #
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cannonball
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E2M6 Between Demons and Insects by Rory Habich
The monster density is a bit high eh :P
Probably a bit too hellish for this episode but hey ho. It's fun to play with enough challenge to excite the player. The 4 teleporter trap is a bit over the top and has it's problems due to missing kills. No problem when playing slowly but a bitch if you are speedrunning. The best thing to do after hitting the 4 switches is the clear the following passageway and collect the yellow key and then return when the monsters have teleported and kill them with the aid of infighting.
I personally like this map and it's why I recorded a lot of demos to grind the time down on this by nearly a minute compared to VDGGs run a few years back.

Old Post 03-13-13 12:37 #
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vdgg
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dobugabumaru said:

cb, did runners try and activate all four waves at once?



Why, of course, it's a matter of memorizing the order of the forward, backward and sideway moves. I did it first in my episode run (the whole 2nd episode in one sitting as fast as I could). Memfis beat me after some time, doing it in less than 20 minutes (a funny demo to watch).

Old Post 03-13-13 13:26 #
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cannonball
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dobugabumaru said:

cb, did runners try and activate all four waves at once?


Yep I do it even in the casual playthrough today, I died first time because I got stuck on an imp. Easiest method to activate everything clear areas further ahead and then return. There's a block line on the door which makes the section hilariously easy after escaping the first time.

Old Post 03-13-13 13:58 #
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SteveD
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E2M6 – Rory Habich – Kills -98, Items – 100, Secrets – 100. Time 29:43. End Health 81, Armor 99. Death Count – 4

This map rules. What a fuckin’ blast! I had barely started when I realized, “Someone named Rory doesn’t like me.” Of course, the fights were mostly just decent, but the pressure was constant, up until the infamous 4-teleport trap. I tried to follow Cannonball’s instructions, but I’m just not a speedrunner-quality player. I got killed three times in a row trying to do it the speedrunner way, the second time just as I reached the yellow key. So I went back and did it the walker-keyboarder way, which was to kill everything from the first two teleporters by backing into the entrance hall and picking them off, and then firing the second two teleporters, going down the hall to the cell charge packs, and picking them off as they chased me. I enjoyed a lot more infighting kills that way, but still died on the first try.

I was very fortunate that as I headed for the yellow key the second time, an Imp opened the secret door that hid the computer map. Ah, Rory forgot the Block Monster linedef there! Many thanks, mate. ;)

I ended up with horrible health and armor numbers after I tried to fight my way through the exit – 29 Health and 44 Armor, so I opened a saved game and charged through. One of the pitfalls of continuous play is that sometimes you exit a level too weak to survive the next. I’m pretty sure I could fight my way back up, but on this occasion, I wimped out.

The map looked really cool. I love the GSTONE/MARBLE textures and all the MARBFACE. The red areas looked sharp, too, and Rory’s custom teleport design was excellent. Lighting was also very good. I do complain that the BLOOD1 floors were non-toxic in every location but one. Overall an outstanding map with very good Baron usage and the clever 4-teleport trap as the absolute highlight.

Old Post 03-13-13 15:12 #
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Capellan
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E2M6
Hell has pretty much entirely moved in at this point, with the textures being almost all marble, fire and flesh. It's a pretty nice-looking level overall.

Gameplay? Well, if you guessed it was a series of key sections that you complete in linear fashion, you've obviously been paying attention :). I think this would be less of an issue if every map in the wad didn't insist on using all three keys. The "there is only one path" nature of the levels become much more obvious when it's the same path, over and over again.

Either it's wearing on me as a theme, or this level was even more linear and 'gated' than most. I think maybe a bit of both. The sequence leading up to the yellow key was where I felt it most. You have the four teleports that you must go through, each of which releases a mob of imps and sergeants, so you're essentially doing the same fight over and over. This is compounded when the subsequent passageway sequence has you gun down 12 imps, in six identical pairs, in six identical locations, before finally getting a chance to fight half a dozen imps at once. Exciting, it's not.

The level even lives up to the 2002:ADO tradition of harmless demons, as the ones behind the blue door seem singularly incapable of actually coming out to attack you. I'm not sure why, as there doesn't seem to be a block monster line there. Maybe just getting caught up on the architecture.

The level also loses points from me for having the blood flat be non-damaging in one section of the map, but damaging in another. But then, I'm the kind of person who thinks that 'does blood hurt or not?' should have the same answer in every level of an episode, at the minimum, and preferably across the whole game.

I skipped the final fight. If you give me a bunch of barons to soak up my ammo, at the same time as you give me a readily-available walk-over line to exit, I'm just going to exit.

Overall, a decent-looking level, but the gameplay was only average.

Old Post 03-13-13 20:03 #
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mouldy
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E2M6 Between Demons and Insects by Rory Habich

More hell dungeons to conquor, this time the ammo wasn't so tight. Proceedings are fairly scripted as usual, but the fights are juicy and pretty close quarters in places. My first death was to the teleporting hordes which seemed to be never ending. On the second attempt I just struggled through them flicking all the switches and left them to it. Then came the baron surprise at the end, which had me caught like a rabbit in the headlights cornered in the corridor, finger on the plasma trigger while they slowly came and munched me to death. So having dispatched those guys on the 2nd try I noticed about 40 monsters were still alive, presumably the teleporting ones I left behind - unfortunately I wasn't allowed to go back and finish them off for some reason. Nice evil looking map with some quirky graphical touches.

E2M7 Puzzles to Solve by Kristian Aro and Paul Corfiatis

The theme of this map seems to belong earlier in the wad, but no matter. Its a harsh start ammo-wise, I found myself down to fists and had to restart with a more conservative approach. Once the ammo started flowing a bit more the going got easier, it was quite fun just exploring this map with its abstract layout and variety. I could have done with finding that plasma rifle before the end, but the rocket launcher helped against the barons. I think they must be my least favourite doom monster just for the amount of bullets they soak up. Think I might have to have a look at the final map of episode 2...

E2M8 Total Disturbance by Paul Corfiatis

Well, that was a bit disappointing... Enough weaponry to take on 3 cybers and they only give you one, in a massive open space - I actually felt sorry for him. Didn't look like they expended a lot of time designing this map. Ah well, the original was pretty basic as well I guess.

So that was episode 2. The design seemed to be a big step up from episode 1, more variety, detail and abstraction. And of course the difficulty, with generally more effective use of monsters and stringent ammo placement. The linear theme is still very much in effect, each map plays like a story rather than an adventure, but the improved looks help you to forget and just enjoy the ride. I'm interested to see how much more hellish it can get in episode 3...

Last edited by mouldy on 03-14-13 at 00:46

Old Post 03-14-13 00:31 #
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cannonball
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I shall give thoughts about E2M7 tomorrow, my one attempt ended because a caco and baron refused to infight and I got cornered. WTF :/

Old Post 03-14-13 01:03 #
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dobu gabu maru
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E2M7: Episode 2’s final “true” level ends with quite a bang. It returns to its techbase-gone-demonic theme and lasts quite a while, going through a lot of different areas with some great architecture, presumably by Aro. Nothing too bad although a couple of sergeants pelted me full of lead at close range. It was a really enjoyable.

Yet I thought there'd be more secrets for a map about puzzles...

E2M8: It was an extremely disappointing fight compared to the more lively E1M8 boss. Big giant arena, filled with ammo and minions to infight with? Yawn. Should’ve thrown in more of them to at least make it interesting, although the size of the arena easily leads the player to corral the monsters.

Overall so far: I enjoyed this much more than E1, most likely due to Hansen and Habich joining the team to offer a touch more variety. I feel like Corfiatis and Aro are at their best when they're designing "set-piece" levels as DotW put it, allowing for more creative layouts than the generally uninspired techbase segments featured in the first episode. That and the maps become more entertaining when the player has to be wary of what's behind him (E2M4) or how much ammo remains in their backpack (E2M5).

Only disappointing aspects were the lack of progressive difficulty (although, again, felt more balanced than E1), how two of the maps were almost directly hell inspired, and a handful of cruel traps that degrade on my opinion of the level after completing it (although nothing was too bad... I just didn't like riding an elevator down to be greeted with three sergeants). I think E2M7 is the apex of megawad so far, offering a fun/interesting Doom 1 experience in terms of layout, design, and difficulty.

Last edited by dobu gabu maru on 03-14-13 at 17:24

Old Post 03-14-13 06:24 #
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Capellan
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E2M7
Finally, a level that hits all the visual motifs I expect when I hear "Shores of Hell": vines, crates, and a blending of hellish and base textures. This level really brings the style well. It also offers lots of areas that look in on each other, creating various different ways to approach encounters.

The combat seems better tuned, as well. There are more genuinely fun encounters, and even a few traps which actually have monsters come from more than one direction! Scary, I know. Of course, pcorf and Aro can't help themselves but include some hapless demons who are nothing but bullet sinks, but we can't have everything. This is definitely a step up, excitement-wise.

Progression is still very much in the four-stage motif we've seen so often, but the ability to look into other areas, and the tuned up gameplay make the level feel less static than the stuff that's come before. You may still be locked into a linear path, but at least it goes to interesting places!

Progression-wise, my one complaint would be the lifts in the blue key room. There's no real incentive to go jumping down into the nukage, and I got stuck here for a few minutes. After a survey of the level showed no other way forward, I jumped in, though my initial reason for doing so was to see if the blue key was on a platform, not because I thought the lifts would open new areas. Add a rad suit alcove up top, and some tempting goodies in the nukage, and this step of the process would happen a lot more smoothly.

That complaint aside, this is a strong level, and together with E2M2, one of my favorites for the episode.


E2M8
A trivially easy and frankly uninteresting conclusion. Pick up lots of goodies, kill a few sergeants, then engage the cyberdemon and a few cacos. I never even shot a caco – the cyber killed them all for me. I just pasted him with the plasma, circle-strafing casually through the wide open space allowed to me, until he died.

A considerable let-down after what I thought was a fun E1M8.


General thoughts
I wonder if the authors are used to Doom 2 and are struggling with the reduced monster selection. Doom has only eight monsters, not counting the bosses, only three basic attack types: hitscan, melee or standard fireball. The tactical challenges are much more limited than those offered by the revenant, manc, AV and arachnotron. Even the oft-maligned HK fills a role in the enemy roster by filling the gap between baron and imp.

Some of these levels would probably be a lot more dynamic with the SSG and Doom 2 monsters. Without them, I think you have to work a bit harder to make the encounters interesting and challenging, and I'm not sure all the level designers got that.

Old Post 03-14-13 07:50 #
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CorSair
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New episode, loading up.

E2M1
Hub system thingama, again. Get that, go there to get that... Level in my eyes looks neat, somehow. As for enemy placement, nothing scathing. Except at start, took good chunk of damage, even with armor secret. Music was... How I should say it? No, can't describe it. But likeable, as is.
100% in kills, items and secrets.

E2M2
For fucks sake. Very rarely former humans give trouble than they really are worth for. Now they just get free potshots of me, even with good distance to them. 1 of the 2 shots always land on me, and even with blursphere (which is worthless)... Jesus, this round is not my lucky round. AND WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE ALWAYS ABUNDANT MEDKITS GODDAMMIT. Hurting all the time in less than 15 hp. Probably gonna start to become more careful in next levels... Anyhoo, level layout feels bit confusing, but not much. Interesting. But one design I hate and it is those timed switch doors with enemies. Not my style. Also, what's with this poppy style of enemies, one, goes down, two, goes down... Where's the th- oh there it comes, third goes down, fourth- oh hey fifth joined to fray! Line up guys, I got plenty of shells for ya!
100% in kills, items and secrets.
DEATHS: 3 (Just because I got low health and sergeants getting free shots.)

E2M3
Linear layout, dull hallways... Wait a second. No, not THAT dull. No. Can't put finger on it, but it appealed. Somehow. As for monsters, standard monster closets, some jerks going around... Normal run-on-the-mill. Tad easier, or just better luck, if not counting that cheap chomp spectre in baron room.
100% in kills, items and secrets.
DEATHS: 1
TOTAL DEATHS IN DWMWC: 11

Old Post 03-14-13 11:22 #
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BaronOfStuff
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E2M5:
Cool, this looks like a good place. By which I mean it looks infested with horrors. Meaning I'm going to have a good time, right?

Right?

Yeah, probably. But lo! Almost immediately there's a laughable encounter:
http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/770/e2m5a.png
Another map, another pointless inclusion of these things.

Once more, a lot of this map is something of a blur, although there were several moments where I couldn't be approached by Hellspawn. At first I thought it could have been some sort of personal hygiene problem that Doomguy possesses, but no, just some very bizarre design choices that should have been picked out and fixed. Ten fucking years ago. The Demons that rush out after you pickup the Blue Skullkey just mill around near the walkway, posing no danger to anyone or anything... and this sort of thing is becoming worryingly common.

Spoiler:
And it happens over and over again.


I know that Demons can be one of the trickiest Hellspawn to utilise effectively in a map (due to their large size and very short range), but this is nothing short of pathetic. Constantly throwing them down behind 'block monster' lines and having them spring from closets only to be defeated by a narrow walkway? Having to repeatedly see this sort of thing is -- for lack of a better word -- shit. They don't even serve as ammo sinks, because there are enough Shells and Bullets in the vicinity to make up for losses.

Sigh.

Moving on, we get to see a very useful item that will be ideal for future use. I can't see my current armour holding out forever, because those deplorable little shits keep scoring hits on me.
http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/3784/e2m5b.png
If you squint, you won't be able to see it properly. Use a zoom instead.

Some more stuff gets in the way and gets killed for causing minor inconveniences. A lot of it seems to be Imps, resulting in largely unremarkable combat and routine situations that appear to be thrown in just to irritate, as opposed to actually provide a challenge of sorts. Oh, and all you completionists will just love what's next. Yes, it's back to humping the shit out of walls. Because it's the only way you're going to uncover this fucking cache!
http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/2470/e2m5c.png
Please, PLEASE, stop fucking doing this. It's not clever, it's not special, it's just fucking lazy and wastes everyone's fucking time. Fuck fuck fuck. FUCK.

Ugh... from crap to... well, this. I wonder if this obvious deathtrap has ever caught anyone out?
http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/8717/e2m5d.png
Oh, because a Chainsaw in Spectre-infested lava is such wonderfully appealing bait.

Okay, so this one isn't as shitty as it seems, but it's still pretty much a threat-free affair. Run around, hit a switch, kill Spectres as the platform slowly makes its way up. Get Chainsaw, leave. Could have been better executed if more Spectres immediately teleported in around you as you grabbed the Chainsaw, but I guess it's a bit late to be making gameplay suggestions now. Whatever, let's go and get that Red Skullkey. Oh look, the Barons guarding it are stuck in that chamber. I guess this does force you to kill them before getting the Skullkey, but they keep getting in each other's way and throw harmless fireballs at one another while you just keep a reasonable distance to lob very harmful explosives at them.

Everything else is a mish-mash of stuff I can't remember. Then bad stuff obviously happened, and I honestly don't remember what that was either; it was enough of a reason to go and grab that Mega-Armour from earlier though. But wait. It's far away, across a lake of lava. And I don't have a Radsuit. I don't even think this map has any Radsuits. Oh well, it's not exactly a required item, but I do score a secret for grabbing it. Okay, let's do something stupid! OH SHIT.
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/6436/e2m5e.png
Cockstuffing bollock-knobbles, I'm quite possibly stranded on this platform in this eye-searingly fugly room. Shit!

Getting out of that alive was extremely painful and incredibly fucking lucky. Some mindless rushing around to find various medicinal drugs and weird blue potions occurs, because when you're almost dead there's every reason to drink suspicious blue stuff... what the hell is that anyway? Why am I going off on this tangent? I haven't finished the map yet. Well I have, but I need to find the rest of those items and get to the secret exit. Oh wait I already have. And here it is!
http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/7732/e2m5f.png
This actually looks promising. More so than E5M1 anyway. Not pictured: Lost Soul infestation.

And there we have it. A good map thematically speaking, with an interesting layout and flow, but it's still plagued with piss-poor use of Demons/Spectres and an unfathomably fucking awful secret that isn't even the secret exit. If I wanted obscure weird trial and error bullshit to find items, I'd play Milon's Secret Castle. Not this.
http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/7056/e2m5g.png
Obligatory "awful time" comment.

Old Post 03-14-13 16:41 #
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cannonball
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Posts: 2228
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E2M7 Puzzles to Solve by Kristian Aro and Paul Corfiatis
Good map, good music.
Keeps the linear theme but the layout feels a lot more complete. Difficulty is tricky especially from pistol start. Theme wise it's definitely the strongest episode 2 theme in this wad. Gameplay is really good with good monster usage and a few traps along the way.
The end seems to have just been tagged on probably the weakest section.
This map is another punching baron fest :P

Old Post 03-14-13 17:02 #
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SteveD
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E2M7 – Paul Corfiatis and Kristian Aro – Kills – 99, Items – 89, Secrets – 33. Time 52:10. End Health 100, Armor 170. Death Count – 4

Whoa. Got some seriously awesome design work here. My expectations were low in the first room, with the too-tall crates (again) and the Soulsphere I never found my way to, but it soon became obvious that this is one seriously gorgeous, moody, and dangerous map. Baron use was painfully brilliant, and on several occasions, I went all wobbly just hearing that elephant roar because it was close.

In fact, I knew I was in for a good time when my first shot brought roars and grunts from all the monsters that, finally, could hear me and start hunting my sorry ass.

The map had several rather nasty traps, and a very intelligent progression from bigger spaces to more claustrophobic areas and back. Barons were frequently encountered at close quarters, which is the only way to make them threatening, almost too threatening for walking keyboarders. One of my deaths was when I teleported into the small room where a Baron guarded a Soulsphere. I also got killed the first time I faced the 4-Caco trap, which was embarrassing and shouldn’t have happened. I never got killed twice by the same trap, at least. I think I saw the outdoor area that Cannonball might have been referring to when he said he couldn’t get the Baron and Caco to fight. In an otherwise gorgeous map, this was an unfortunately bland spot. I didn't get them to fight, either, so I teleported outta there.

Getting killed in four different places is, for me, a great thing. Thumbs-up to the designers. I was in a state of constant dread because Barons and Cacos were always appearing when I didn’t want them to and I was getting drained of health at all times. I even took a couple Spectre bites. Oddly enough, I didn’t get killed at the big, bad red key trap, even though I foolishly jumped into the lower hall. I took a lot of damage but was able to get back up to the rocket launcher room where I had already killed the Baron, and picked off the Cacos from there before going down and mopping up the small fry. I thought that area showed staggeringly good design work from the pcorf/Aro team, aided by the glowing light effects in Risen3D. It seems apparent that pcorf is really into the hellish type map, and perhaps Aro, too. Their work in E2 is much more inspired than their E1 effort, in every way you can name. It’s their thing.

The blue key extravaganza was, I thought, a bit too much of a good thing, as clever as it was. It sort of became a slog at this point, though having a Baron instantly materialize right in front of me was a shocker that kept me on my toes. And once the exit was finally revealed I think we went about four Barons too far – enough, already! -- though I did appreciate the converging tunnels that allowed Sergeants to get some hits on me. Too bad they didn’t do that in the E1 maps!

At this point I just wanted to be done with it and didn’t give two shits about going back to wall-hump for more secrets. For the most part, I believe this is a masterful map suffering only from a couple bland areas and a bit of Baron-overload. But it created the atmosphere of terror and tension more than any other map I’ve played in this megawad, so despite the combat-fatigue I felt at the end, I’d have to say this is the best map yet.

Old Post 03-14-13 19:45 #
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SteveD
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I forgot to mention the music track, nicely reworked from Bobby Prince's E2M6 track. Ominous stuff, really sets the mood.

Old Post 03-14-13 21:57 #
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cannonball
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Posts: 2228
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E2M8 Total Disturbance by Paul Corfiatis
Too easy
At least it made for a good speedrunning competition between me and a few others. The record is 45 seconds for maxing this map. My best is 47 seconds :/
Can't be bothered with playing E5M1 again, it's a poor map end of story. The old version uses the highway minigame theme from Sam and Max hit the road (pointless trivia alert)
Episode 2 is a lot more challenging than episode 1 which is to be expected, good alterations in theme throughout and a lot of fun gameplay. It's a good product though some will find some of the texture themes grating and the continuing linearity a bit boring.

Old Post 03-15-13 00:22 #
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