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Capellan
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Map17
Nice looking brick and marble level. The inset book shelves looked good, as well as the glimpses of a hellish sky. A good level just to look at.

Gameplay was pretty good, too, though not without flaws. It revisits the 1-2-3 key progression of a lot of these maps, with two of them as usual not really being necessary. In this case, it was yellow and blue; put a switch where the yellow key was that causes the post-blue key monster flood to happen, and reveals the switch to open the exit at the same time; include a free roaming AV amongst the horde that gets released (as well as the 'static' one) and watch the fun. You could still have the room which currently houses the blue key - just put plenty of goodies in there so a player had reason to go in if they choose.

Still, despite the overly gated progression and lack of optional areas to explore, this was a fun romp with plenty of action. The use of the first AV was a bit too similar to the last map; I'd have changed that; but there's no denying that this was solid fun.

Old Post 04-11-13 10:24 #
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Obsidian
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Ahh, Book Lords: for some reason I really love that map. It's just got a nice aesthetic to it, I think. MAP19 is pretty groovy as well, although for other reasons.

Old Post 04-11-13 10:41 #
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Capellan
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Map18
This dockside level is set up entirely as a boss fight with the mastermind. That's a tall order, as ol' brainface is kinda boring to fight, most of the time. Either you can stay far enough away to fill it full of rockets/plasma, or you can't, and you probably get shredded. In this level, it's the former.

There are some other monsters in the level, to give you something to do until the face-off with the boss, but they're not much of a challenge, given the way the level is swimming in armor and health.

I'll mostly remember this level for the 'bridge'. The line to lower the invisible sectors is set quite close to them, which means it's easily possible to eat a face full of your own rockets if you spot a monster outside and try to shoot it. Not the best design, that.

Visually, it's OK, but nothing special. The floating secret area is probably the best looking thing.

Would you be surprised to learn that the level features BROWN1? :)

Old Post 04-12-13 22:54 #
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Capellan
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Map19
Another spiderdemon fight, having just done one on the previous level, seems like a suboptimal choice. Outside of that, though, this grey techbase plays pretty well. It feels larger than many of the other levels; and it probably is, though I think some of its apparent length also comes from the fact that we're getting some real monster 'floods' now, like the 60+ imps that flood out when you lower the red key.

I liked the use of mancs and revs in this level, and the arachnotrons also got a chance to mix it up nicely. Cacos, however, were sadly confined to a few close quarter battles where they are helpless SSG fodder. Poor flying tomato monsters.

Visuals are solid enough, but a bit bland. A 95% grey level is going to do that, really. Mixing things up a bit more with the highlight textures would probably have been a good idea.

Old Post 04-13-13 12:02 #
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Capellan
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Map20
I went into this level expecting another forced-death exit, and I got one. And just to be extra-dicky about it, this level gives you a megasphere right before said death. Nice.

The level itself is another grey techbase - a starport, in this case. Visually, it could do with more use of highlight and contrast textures, the same as the last one, but it's solidly put together within its rather limited palette. Flow is good, though the use of keys is once again overdone. The red key simply doesn't need to be used at all, the yellow key is a bit dubious, and the blue key exists solely as a lure to make you cross a walkover-line: there is no blue door.

Gameplay is pretty fun: the opening melee is quite frantic (especially on pistol start, I'd say!), as is the yellow key scrap and the fight with the cyber. Interspersed with other more measured fights, they present a good variety of play, and make this a fun level despite the greyness of the looks, and the unnecessary keys.

Old Post 04-13-13 22:17 #
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Processingcontrol
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You keep mentioning the high amount of keys as a bad thing, but I don't really see what's wrong with it. Using keys instead of switches gives the player an obvious goal to reach for, and when they get the key they immediately know where to use it (the door). On the other hand, when the player hits a switch opening a door or some bars, they have to search the level until they find what exactly was opened. I don't really mind situations like that, but obviously the directness of key grabbing is much better suited to Scythe's quick gameplay.

Anyways, looking forward to hearing what you have to say on the last third.

Old Post 04-13-13 23:58 #
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Capellan
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Using keys instead of switches can be useful when you're putting them a long way from the door they operate. Given the size of these levels, that's never the case, though :)

But it also possible to use them badly.

The keys here are a bad thing because they exist mostly to limit the progression options of the player, and make them go into rooms that would otherwise be optional.

Take the red key in map20. It's only role is to require you to go into the southern room of the level before you head north (and thus to prevent you running directly away from the opening battle, I guess - though if you did, you'd be jumping from the frying pan into the fire).

Similarly, the blue key walkover line. It would have been easy to drop a switch in a place where you could see the wall that lowers to allow access to the cyber demon fight.

And I'll take a switch with an obvious, visible function over a fake key, any day.

Old Post 04-14-13 00:16 #
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Capellan
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Map21
You're dumped straight into the action here, a pattern that's becoming more and more common in the wad (and which looks to be the default assumption in this episode).

Visually, we've got a solidly executed 'blood red caverns' vibe going on. I'm not generally a fan of clean, orthagonal surfaces with 'natural' textures, of which there are quite a few in this level. The author gets away with it here though, mixing in enough irregular shapes to disguise the regularity of other areas.

Gameplay-wise, I am once again unenthused by the use of keys. The yellow key is fine, since you want to 'gate' your exit room, but the red key seems to exist solely to make the player brave the baron (or AV on UV) in that chamber. It's not a major issue, I just think it would be better design philosophy to put a power-up where the key is. Then players have the choice of going for the item at the expense of a fight, or ignoring it. Personally, I'd have put the SSG there, rather than the exit room. Where it currently is, it's very easy to snag it and run through the exit, ignoring the AV that insta-lifts into the room when you enter it.

Insta-lift monsters, by the by, are not something I like. I've probably complained about them at some point earlier in this thread. I'm likely to do so again. Apologies in advance for that :)


Map22
Instant pressure at the start of the level, and a similar palette to the last map. It seems there will be a definite theme to the final episode. We get to move outdoors in this one, though, so there is a little more variety.

Let's start things off with a surprise: I like the use of keys in this level. The 'one key to enter, another to leave' trick isn't a bad one; certainly better than a key just to make you visit an area, or a phantom key with no door associated.

Gameplay is pretty fun on the whole. You're certainly going to be under pressure for most of the map, with even continuous players not likely to have too much in the way of supplies as they enter. You'll be leaving the level a lot better equipped: RL, plasma and BFG are all present in this level. The last is in a secret, but it's a secret that the vast majority of players will find, I think.

I ignored the cyber at the end of the level and just went for the exit. Took a hefty dose of damage in the process, but I figured the ammo saved was worth it :)


Map23
Red rock textures, blood, lots of pressure at the start. Check, check and check.

This is probably the most frantic beginning yet, with a swarm of imps and demons out to get you, several barons thrown into the mix, and an AV on overwatch, so that there are very few safe hiding places. Good stuff: fierce, but fair.

Gameplay remains at a high level throughout the level. The cyber fight is a good one, with enough room but not too much, and the double AV trap at the end is a nice moment of panic, especially since you might release both at once (I did ... oops!).

With the exception of a couple of insta-lift monsters, I really enjoyed this one.

Old Post 04-14-13 05:48 #
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Capellan
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Map24
For my money, this suffers a lot by being directly after the very similar map23. It comes across as a re-tread of that level, but with bigger floods of monsters to compensate for having a less interesting layout and design.

Old Post 04-20-13 11:32 #
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Capellan
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Map25
A change in the visual theme for this level, with ashwall being the dominant texture. The change of pace also extends to the gameplay, which adopts a more strategic approach. The heavy use of arachnotrons, plus a spiderdemon, also gives a thematic thread to the map.

Not sure if it's a deliberate (not max) speedrun option or not, but it's possible to jump from the northern side of the spiderdemon room right onto the exit ramp, circumventing the eastern wing of the level entirely. Given the lack of goodies in that eastern wing, this is exactly what I chose to do.



Map26
Boring BFG spam.

Old Post 04-21-13 00:23 #
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Capellan
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Map27
A larger map than normal for Scythe, this level also largely eschews the red rock motif that's been a common theme of the 20+ levels. Like 25, it features ashwall (the brown rather than the black, this time). But unlike 25, this map also makes use of brick and marble as it lays out a medium-sized underground complex.

Health comes mainly in the form of supercharges, of which there are numerous around the level (to the point that I was disappointed when both secrets contained one, as well ... would have been nice if one of them had more armor, instead.

Wholly arbitrary ending, Batman! You have to attempt a jump for a megasphere (which, admittedly, is something you would normally do). You get teleported when you do, and leaving the sector you're teleported to opens the exit ... which is a nondescript, unmarked door a few rooms away. Obviously I worked it out after a minute or two, but it was more a "well, maybe ..." hunch than because of any logical flow. Sticking an exit sign on that door would go a long way to keeping it in the player's memory banks, I think.

That aside, the gameplay is OK, though a little bit bland. Many of the fights are in largish rooms against fairly small numbers of 'big' monsters, so it's fairly easy to just unload with the RL. Later in the level it becomes monster closet central, but again the RL clears out the small-medium mobs pretty readily.

Map28 is the strafe-running one, based on comments above and the word "RUN!" in the start room. I am trying to keep an open mind about it, but my hopes aren't high.

Old Post 04-21-13 12:18 #
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Demon of the Well
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About 28, well, it is a novel challenge, if nothing else. I can think of other maps that use a timer like this one does, but only one off the top of my head that plays similarly (that being the "Icon" map from 1monster.wad); most other maps I've seen that take this tack require you to find/hit switches within the time limit, or the like. This one is a lot more, shall we say, "metagame-y", and only has very niche appeal as a result; it's more like some kind of bonus mini-game than DooM proper. That being said, it sure does make for some good movement optimization practice. I consider myself to be pretty good at the fundamental game in DooM--that is, move around fluidly, kill lots and lots of stuff in various environments, don't get killed by said stuff in return, etc.--but the amount of trouble this map gave me when I first played it (and, to an extent, still gives me now), coupled with how easy Memfis made it look in that demo he posted is certainly educative in itself as to an area where I could certainly stand to improve. Ultimately, the chance to improve on core skills in some way (which can open up a wider variety of map styles to you in the far view) is often the best thing that odd challenge/gimmick maps of this sort have to offer.

Old Post 04-22-13 04:53 #
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Snakes
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For the record, I'm really enjoying your comments on these wads. Even when I don't agree with them, ha.

Scythe is probably my favorite WAD of all-time, due to its wide varying styles of gameplay and challenges. Very few wads had difficulty that ranged from chainsaw vs. imps all of the way up to... well, Map30. If you haven't, you'll see what I mean.

Keep up the good work!

Old Post 04-22-13 07:19 #
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Capellan
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Map28
Gave it about 8 or 10 tries. Furthest I got was just short of the revenant. Wasn't having fun, so skipped it.


Map29
This is like a bigger, harder, icy conterpart to map11. I enjoyed it a lot. Plenty of action, and some good fights. Post-yellow door area with several similar subsections was a little wearisome, but other than that, little to complain about. A fun romp.


Map30
... yeah, I'm not even going to bother.

Last edited by Capellan on 04-23-13 at 22:13

Old Post 04-23-13 12:03 #
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Processingcontrol
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Why not? It's not only my favorite level in the wad, but one of my favorite doom maps of all time.

Old Post 04-23-13 22:09 #
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Capellan
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It's not a style of map I enjoy. I only slogged through maps 24 and 26 (which I found no fun at all) because there were maps after them that I might enjoy. Map30 lacks that incentive, and trying it for a few minutes, I was quite happy to stop.


Not sure what I'll play next. Suggestions welcome. Won't be starting anything new until next week, though.

Old Post 04-23-13 22:30 #
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Snakes
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The Rebirth, or one of Khrous' fine megawads if you'd like to go down that path again. If you'd rather do an episode, I'd be interested in your thoughts on Mapgame.

Old Post 04-23-13 23:02 #
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Obsidian
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I'm going to recommend this. :)

Old Post 04-23-13 23:36 #
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vdgg
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I guess everyone would love to read about their favourites.
Vile Flesh would be mine then: not only is it good, but also I don't know any level-by-level reviews.
OTOH any megawad will eventually be covered by DW Megawad Club plays... thread, so maybe it is "safer" to play something shorter? Mapgame, Realm of Shades, City of Doom...

Old Post 04-24-13 13:01 #
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Use3D
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This was a fun read, thanks for making the effort. I never managed map29 of CC1 either, despite trying several times. I feel bad about it, since it was Magikal's last map...

Old Post 04-24-13 16:38 #
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dobu gabu maru
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I cast my vote for CC2.

Old Post 04-24-13 17:34 #
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darkreaver
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As I always do, I`m going to recommend Alien Vendetta.

Old Post 04-24-13 19:51 #
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Capellan
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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.


vdgg said:
OTOH any megawad will eventually be covered by DW Megawad Club plays... thread, so maybe it is "safer" to play something shorter?


They're actually willing to do episode-level projects from time to time (we've done Mayhem 2012, and may do Coffee Break + Double Impact + HYMN next month). So shorter wads are not 100% safe :)

However, the DWMC prioritises new megawads, interspersed with the occasional mid-90s 'icon', so if I focus on stuff that isn't in those two groups, I should be OK.



darkreaver said:
As I always do, I`m going to recommend Alien Vendetta.


I'm unlikely to do AV in this thread for three reasons:
1. I've already played it
2. It's enough of an icon that the DWMC is likely to do it eventually
3. I prefer not to do wads to which I contributed, no matter how small my contribution (and in AV, it really was small)

These factors also mean no STRAIN, Requiem or MM2 reviews from me in this thread, though I will talk about them in the DWMC, should the club ever do them. :)

I can say that when I played AV back in 2002, I enjoyed it a lot.

Old Post 04-24-13 20:45 #
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obake
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If I may humbly suggest three (single-level) wads:

http://wadhost.fathax.com/download.php?view.240
(mine.wad)

http://wadhost.fathax.com/download.php?view.218
(quite.wad)

http://wadhost.fathax.com/download.php?view.233
(rev.wad)

Yes, I know they're just single levels, but it would mean everything to me if you were able to find time to try them out. Note the first one is planned to be the starting level of my second megawad project.

Old Post 04-24-13 20:56 #
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Capellan
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I've decided to do mapgame next, though all suggestions have been noted for future attention.

I'm also thinking about Hell 2 Pay and Perdition's Gate. Any (non-spoilery) comments on those?

Old Post 04-26-13 12:07 #
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Capellan
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Mapgame
Managed to squeeze in a level of this earlier than I expected. All I know about the project going in is that it's a one-episode wad for Doom.


e1m1
And as soon as the level fires up, I discover two things: first, that the wad has new graphics (which it specified in the text file, but I didn't notice) and second, that I still get a little thrill when I start a level and feel that KDITD atmosphere. The level designer's done a good job of that with the start, here: the opening vista nails the "I'm home" vibe for me :)

Not all the level feels quite so firmly within the E1 theme; they all have the E1 attention to texturing and tech-textures, but there are enough new textures and different approaches to the design that Mapgame develops its own atmosphere. It's a pretty cool place to visit, on the whole, though from a design perspective I thought there were a few too many 'flick a switch here to open something over there' moments, and the yellow key teleporter seemed rather a self-indulgent moment.

I'm also not generally a fan of using three keys on the first level of an episode. I think this map would have been better served by dropping the yellow key at least (as should be obvious from my comment above :) ). I'd also think about removing the blue key as well. That would give the player a genuine choice of directions to go at the start of the level. Just replace the blue key with a power-up worth having, and the player still has reason to go there. You'd probably also want to throw an extra shotgun into the level; up in the lift area of the room north of the red door makes the most sense.

That said, the gameplay is all solid, with troopers and imps at first, followed by sergeants and demons later. The transition for this is well-placed right now, with sergeants (and the actual shotgun itself) coming into the level before the demons do. Pistol-whippin' pinkies be dull, after all, and this level thoughtfully spares you of it.

Speaking of the shotgun, I'm not a fan of the new sound effect for it. I don't much like the chaingun replacement either, though that's more because of the yellow flashes it throws out than the weapon itself.

I do quite like the colour shift for the blue key; the more muted shade works well in the tech base texture set, I think.

So: good opening level. Not a fan of all the wad's innovations, but looking forward to seeing more of the levels.

Last edited by Capellan on 05-01-13 at 12:01

Old Post 04-26-13 23:02 #
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Capellan
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e1m2
I didn't like this quite as much as e1m1. It's still solid work, and I do like the way that the design offers quick routes back to earlier areas. Progress was however a bit more switch-hunty than I like, with several cases where I was wandering around for a minute or two before I located the switch in question.

I also wasn't a fan of the maze up in the north eastern section. The reference back to the original e1m2 was obvious, but here it is much more linear and dull. A monster pops up, you shoot it, repeat until you get to a key.

I expected the keys to trigger traps, but they didn't. Normally I'd be OK with avoiding such an obvious ploy, but here it seemed like a rapid spawn in of four or five imps might be the closest we'd get to excitement, combat wise.

Visually it's a good level, with nice use of computer textures for details and trim. It's just a pity the action is somewhat tepid.

Old Post 05-01-13 12:01 #
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kmxexii
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Capellan said:
I've decided to do mapgame next, though all suggestions have been noted for future attention.

I'm also thinking about Hell 2 Pay and Perdition's Gate. Any (non-spoilery) comments on those?



Both megaWADs tell a pretty coherent story using the tally screen graphics. Perdition's Gate is full of smaller, hectic levels. There are some neat SFX. I thought it was a little tough when I originally played it but that was a few years ago doing pistol starts on UV. I really love the middle episode.

Hell to Pay has larger levels on average than PERDGATE, not that that's saying anything. The monster replacement graphics are hit and miss; they're mostly (all?) 3D pre-renders by Avatar. Some of the new textures were pretty ugly, too. I found it harder than PERDGATE but the UV pistol starts were fiendish. You should be fine. I did enjoy it a lot, it has some cool effects. Fair warning - they use the archvile ghost bug in a few spots.

Old Post 05-01-13 18:09 #
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Capellan
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kmxexii said:
Stuff about Perdition's Gate and Hell to Pay


Thanks for the info. I'll keep them both in the list of future options.

Old Post 05-01-13 22:18 #
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Capellan
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e1m3
Looking in DB2, this map is bigger than it felt to play it. I guess that's a sign I was enjoying myself. Despite that, I thought this was the weakest of the levels so far. The restriction to KDITD enemies is keeping the combat fairly low key and also makes it feel a bit 'samey'. There are also parts of this map which don't look as good as I've come to expect. The vine-covered area feels very bland, and the variant metals textures with the large skulls are ... ill-advised, to say the least.

It's still a pretty good level, mind you. I did have fun playing it. But it felt a little less polished than the last two, both in appearance and play.

I did find the secret exit, so e1m9 will be next.

Old Post 05-02-13 08:50 #
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