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Capellan
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Back in 95/96, I made Bill McClendon play every Demonfear level on HNTR, HMP and UV, from both continuous and pistol start. So he did at least 6 runs through every level from 1-25, plus 31 & 32. Some levels he had to retest on certain difficulties (maps 08 and 12, definitely), so for those he did more.

I'm not really sure why Bill put up with me :)

Old Post 03-20-13 06:10 #
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dobu gabu maru
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SFoZ911 said:
I consider my skill at pistol starting pretty high as I almost always play wads that way.


To be honest, CC1 was the first megawad I tried pistol starting, so it was a bit more difficult than I was expected which is why I think MAP12 crushed me.

Old Post 03-20-13 07:09 #
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Capellan
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Map14: Substation
Gosh, it's short. Big firefight with imps, cacos and chaingunners. Grab a key and have a big firefight with HKs, barons and revs. Grab a key and have a bunch of monsters spawn in, which you can either kill or just ignore and try a run for the exit. All done.

Using two keys on a map this size seemed unnecessary - the first one could easily have been replaced with a switch.

Looks wise, I didn't get much chance to see while playing. I was too busy running and gunning. Doing a -nomonsters walkthrough afterward, it seems a rather odd collection of textures, but it works OK and everything is competently done from a technical perspective.

Old Post 03-20-13 08:39 #
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Capellan
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Map15: Internal Reaches
This is a large, technically proficient level in a brick and metal theme. It's a little too fond of making you fight hitscanners through bars that obscure your vision - in a couple of cases very badly - but other than that there's nothing really cheap, encounter-wise.

The difficulty definitely ramps up over the course of the level, relying mainly on 'surprises'. I'd have prefered more open plan battles and fewer teleport/closet traps, as the pattern gets a bit repetitive after a while. Makes things feel a bit stop-start.

I'd also have preferred a bit more flash to the one 'big vista' of thre game (the central set of platforms with the key doors leading off at ground level). That could have been a really visually impressive area, but it ends up being a bit of a bland tan haze.

I utterly failed to find the secret level, which is par for the course for me.

Old Post 03-21-13 09:19 #
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Capellan
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Map16: Methods of Fear
This is a fairly bland level, both in textures and gameplay. The mancubus battle is really the only highlight, battle-wise. At least if you shotgun or SSG it. If you've got the rocket launcher, it's very easy.

It's also a pretty short level: start room, central building - which apart from the mancs has only four straightforward encounters with it, then outside for two waves of mostly imps and demons. There's plenty of room to motor between the monsters, and you'll certainly not be short of ammo to kill them all. A few HKs and Revs briefly enliven proceedings, but most of them are stuck behind a low wall, which makes them easy pickings.

Easy and straightforward gameplay, and nothing much memorable in appearance, but an occasional breather map like this is not always a bad thing. I had fun with it, though there was no real challenge with the route I took. If you 'ported directly into the manc fight from a pistol start, I expect you'd have a more interesting time :)

Last edited by Capellan on 03-22-13 at 20:09

Old Post 03-22-13 09:44 #
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Capellan
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Map17: Infliction of Hate
Andy Leaver (who did map16) delivers another short, easy level (at least on continuous play). It looks better than the last one, though, with the lava caves being quite nicely put together.

Gameplay is very straightforward: monsters tend to be in front of you. I recall no teleport traps, and only two monster closets.

The opening of the map is probably pretty hairy on pistol start, as grabbing the only weapon unleashes the first monster closet: three cacos. Combined with HKs, imps and demons, that's probably a pretty frantic few minutes. On continuous play, though, it's easy to camp in the starting area and SSG half the monsters, then emerge and clear up everything else that's there before releasing the cacos ... which come out conga style and are therefore chaingun fodder.

Edit to add: the level also gives you access to a megasphere right before you exit, which is the kind of thing that can really impact the gameplay of a subsequent map in continuous play.

Last edited by Capellan on 03-22-13 at 22:14

Old Post 03-22-13 20:36 #
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Capellan
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Map18: Sudden Death
This map has a big-talking name, but it doesn't really deliver on it - the action is low-key through most of the level, with only two elements that offer any real threat. The first is an AV/arachnotron combo on opening the red door. This could be deadly if two similar traps, albeit with lesser monsters, hadn't warded the blue and yellow doors. The red door follows exactly the same pattern as the other two encounters, and similar tactics prevail. This isn't an entirely bad thing, as it rewards players who recognise the pattern and account for it, but it does cost the trap some of its 'teeth'.

The second dangerous encounter is a pair of revenants in the dark; it has the potential to hurt purely because it's very hard to see the enemies.

Unlike the last level, this one doesn't seem like it would be massively different from a pistol start. It starts with fairly low-key opposition, and ramps up the weapons and monsters as the level goes on. There's plenty of health around, and several armors as well. Not that I needed to pick up either of them for most of the level, as I came in with 200/200 from map17's megasphere.

One thing that not playing from a pistol start did change was that some traps went untriggered because - stocked as I was with continuous play weapons and health - they weren't baited with anything I needed.

After the epic maps 12 and 13, and the challenging maps 14 and 15, the 16-18 block have been a very easy run. I definitely think these should have gone in slots 12-14, with map12 moved to slot 16, map14 to map17, and map 13 to map18 (this would put the tough but short level in between Use3D's two monsters).

Looks-wise, this map starts off a bit cramped and plain, with 64-wise brick corridors, but it opens up into a quite nice base level after the humdrum beginning. I wasn't a fan of some of the very steep staircases, but they were the only real blemish once the opening was done with. The eastern section of the level was particularly good from a visuals perspective.

Old Post 03-22-13 22:08 #
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lupinx-Kassman
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I think it is really cool that you are doing these. Yeah it wasn't really until CC4 that the maps started being reordered based on their difficulty and/or theme. Before you just chose a slot and stuck to that, it could even be a super difficult hell level in episode 1 for what it mattered (as was the case with map 5 in CC3). Still, the variety didn't bother me, and if anything enticed me to keep playing.

I noticed the blurb about shaman's device in the OP, and I don't mean to have you relive past horrors, but would you mind telling me more about what you didn't like in the map, so I don't repeat the same mistakes? (I couldn't really gleam it from the megawad club thread.) I have some things I look back on and would have done differently, for example if I were to start from scratch again, I would have made the layout MUCH less linear than it ended up being, and probably would have made some more interesting battles instead of blockades like it ended up being (probably also a result of my layout).

I'll also add to everyone else's ominous sentiment, that if you didn't like map 6, you certainly won't like map 29. It is the longest, most confusing, and most difficult map in cc1, and arguably the whole series.

Last edited by lupinx-Kassman on 03-23-13 at 02:14

Old Post 03-23-13 01:03 #
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Capellan
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lupinx-Kassman said:
I noticed the blurb about shaman's device in the OP, and I don't mean to have you relive past horrors, but would you mind telling me more about what you didn't like in the map, so I don't repeat the same mistakes? (I couldn't really gleam it from the megawad club thread.)


Well, as I said in the megawad thread, I definitely admire it as a technical achievement. It's probably the most visually ambitious and impressive level I've ever seen.

I did not, however, enjoy the gameplay very much. It seemed to be almost entirely set-piece battles, often with a specific gimmick or architectural focus. Now, I like a good set-piece battle as much as the next guy, but I like them sprinkled across the level, with plenty of organic, exploratory run and gun on the way. Kind of an ebb and flow deal. I like a level to have multiple 'gears', if you will, from quiet to low key to frantic to medium to frantic to a lull, to slowly increasing resistance with a satisfying peak. Shaman's Device seemed to have only two gears: it was either stopped, or flat out. It also didn't feel like a place I was exploring, at leats for me. Instead, it was a sequence of tactical puzzles to solve. And I'm not especially fond of solving puzzles :)

Now, lots of other people did like it, and there are plenty of different ways to play and enjoy Doom, so all of the above isn't a case of you doing something 'wrong'. It's just doing things that aren't to my tastes.

That help? :)

Old Post 03-23-13 03:09 #
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Processingcontrol
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lupinx-Kassman said:
I'll also add to everyone else's ominous sentiment, that if you didn't like map 6, you certainly won't like map 29. It is the longest, most confusing, and most difficult map in cc1, and arguably the whole series.


I disagree. I think map06 is awful, but map29 is a good level IMO despite its flaws. The gameplay is pretty fun and original, and the center castle is one of coolest looking things I've seen in a Doom map.

Old Post 03-23-13 03:48 #
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Capellan
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Map19: Monster Mansion
This is a pretty plain, fairly symmetrical level with pretty plain, fairly symmetrical gameplay.

If I was playing this in 1997, I'd have probably given it a good review. It's competently put together in terms of texturing, and the fights all work OK. By current standards, however, it's not impressive (even in 2002, it was going up against AV). The fights are OK, but no more. There are too many instances of 'open a door, shoot everything in the room from the doorway, flick a switch to open another door, shoot everything in that room from the doorway, etc'. It's also hurt by pretty much every fight occurring on a single vertical plane ... the level itself has lifts and stairs, but there are very few monsters who you engage across a height divide. I can think of only two occasions where that occurs.

Solid enough, but not memorable.

Old Post 03-23-13 06:17 #
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cannonball
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Processingcontrol said:


I disagree. I think map06 is awful, but map29 is a good level IMO despite its flaws. The gameplay is pretty fun and original, and the center castle is one of coolest looking things I've seen in a Doom map.


Agree, map06 is just a terrible map. Map29 though is really something else and the megawad is more complete with this map, whatever people think. Playing the map in tns was really something (ok it sucked for everyone who died in the first 25% of the map as we had to wait over an hour haha)

Old Post 03-23-13 08:32 #
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SFoZ911
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I agree with lupinx about map29's confusing nature, but that map is just EPIC in every form or shape.

Old Post 03-23-13 13:05 #
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Capellan
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Map20: Technodrome
Oh look. A gimmick map. Sigh.

That was my first reaction on starting this level, with its instructions about a bomb. The reason I'm still playing Doom, 19 years after its release, is because I like the game. I like the way it plays. Gimmicks are not necessary for me to enjoy it, and generally make me like a level less.

So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I did not hate this level. It certainly has its share of missteps, but these are not generally related to the 'bomb' gimmick.

Starting with the looks of the level: it's a pretty decent looking tech base. Silver and computer textures dominate in the 'core' area, which features four wings. From each wing, you can access different subsections of the base. Each subsection has its own look and feel. Texture work is fine. Architecture is more problematic. Each of the four core area 'wings' has the exact same layout. It's pretty much copy/paste with a 90-degree rotation. The monsters in each wing are also identical; the only differences are the weapons you can pick up, and the type of key needed to access the related subsection. This ... well, symmetry like this is pretty unimpressive, in my book.

Dotted around the core area, and indeed around the subsections, are voodoo dolls, just like in map01. I wasn't surprised therefore to learn that it was by the same author. The purpose of the dolls in this level is much more clear, though: they're frequently placed in such a way as to complicate combat. "Dodge, and the voodoo doll behind you might get hit", "Miss, and you might splatter a voodoo doll", "use rockets, and suffer area damage via a doll". It's a bit tiresome, frankly, but at least it's a clear reason for them to be there.

So, with four subsections and three keys to get, it should be no surprise that we're in linear level land once the core is cleared; go through the door requiring no key, complete a subsection, get a key. Open that key's subsection, complete it, get another key. Repeat, etc.

Alas, this macro linearity is replicated to some degree in most of the subsections. The southern area is the worst offender: flick switch to open door, go through door, flick switch to open door, go through door, etc.

So why, given all the above complaints, did I not hate this level? Well, mostly because the "activate a bomb, then make it to the exit before 2 minutes is up" gimmick was actually not that annoying. I mean, it's probably a complete pain in the ass if you want to do 100/100, but I don't care about stuff like that. Finishing the level is all that matters.

So while the level was a bit repetitive and linear, and the voodoo dolls did make me roll my eyes, the basic gameplay was almost all standard Doom gameplay. So I got a mediocre level which ended in a brisk run for the exit (in fact, a brisk run, ignoring monsters, was my strategy for the entire last wing). Given my low expectations when the level started, 'mediocre' is a win :)

Old Post 03-23-13 22:02 #
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Demon of the Well
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I've never liked that map. In terms of both its structure and its thing placement, it almost feels like one of those disorganized purpose-built deathmatch WADs (albeit far too large to be a popular success, of course) that somebody later converted to an SP map....you know, like the ones from all of those shovelware PWAD collections. It's littered with all kinds of powerups and just about every combat scenario is based on symmetry....sure, the wings at each of the cardinal points aren't symmetrical vis-a-vis one another, but they are largely (though not perfectly) symmetrical within themselves--even the damned crate room. The end effect is that the whole thing feels....I guess I'd say "sterile" or "synthetic", somehow, almost like it came from an AI map generator. It also uses un-resprited Keens out in plain sight in a very direct and tacky way, which is a little thing that tends to bug me for whatever reason.

I guess the bit with the reactor is kind of a cool idea, but the combat there is still pretty bland.

Old Post 03-23-13 23:51 #
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Capellan
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Map21: Avenger
This sprwaling level earns points for being a less linear affair than most. It gives you four directions to choose from at the start, and while most of them stop at key doors or other barriers after only a few rooms, there is at least some content behind all of them. And they often provide a view into what lies beyond the other doors. Good work on that front.

Which is not to say that the level is without flaws. There's entirely too much time and space given over to a boring set of 128-wide brick corridors, for instance. Mazes are kind of a yawn at the best of times, and especially so in Doom. There's also some fairly unclear steps in progressing through the level. Several times I would flick a switch, then wander around trying to work out what it had changed. I got through it all without cheating, but after finishing I had to open up DB2 to see how I had 'unlocked' the elevator down into the northwestern section.

Looks-wise, it's a pretty plain level. There are plenty of long, single-texture walls around the place. But it works quite well with that simple approach, most of the time (the mazey bit gets pretty dull, as noted).

Gameplay is fine; one glitch is some cacos that are very nearly stuck in their starting position and take a very long time to get free. Best fight is definitely once you grab the red key and go through to the exit area; revs, barons and cacos, with monster teleport lines. Good fun, that.

Old Post 03-24-13 04:09 #
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lupinx-Kassman
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Capellan said:
Well, as I said in the megawad thread, I definitely admire it as a technical achievement. It's probably the most visually ambitious and impressive level I've ever seen.

I did not, however, enjoy the gameplay very much. It seemed to be almost entirely set-piece battles, often with a specific gimmick or architectural focus. Now, I like a good set-piece battle as much as the next guy, but I like them sprinkled across the level, with plenty of organic, exploratory run and gun on the way. Kind of an ebb and flow deal. I like a level to have multiple 'gears', if you will, from quiet to low key to frantic to medium to frantic to a lull, to slowly increasing resistance with a satisfying peak. Shaman's Device seemed to have only two gears: it was either stopped, or flat out. It also didn't feel like a place I was exploring, at leats for me. Instead, it was a sequence of tactical puzzles to solve. And I'm not especially fond of solving puzzles :)

Now, lots of other people did like it, and there are plenty of different ways to play and enjoy Doom, so all of the above isn't a case of you doing something 'wrong'. It's just doing things that aren't to my tastes.

That help? :)


Yep, thanks =). Yeah it certainly was pretty set-piece oriented. I think that may be due to my tendency to make many separate independent areas when I map which I later try to join together in some way like puzzle pieces, instead of creating one coherent whole.

Processingcontrol said:
I disagree. I think map06 is awful, but map29 is a good level IMO despite its flaws. The gameplay is pretty fun and original, and the center castle is one of coolest looking things I've seen in a Doom map.

Don't get me wrong, I like map 29 for its unique and quirky nature and the stunning center-piece of the map. When I first played through cc1 my frustrations stemmed from having to frequently consult a map editor to figure out the next step to make progress (which I likened to my map 6 experience), but as I slogged through it I did grow to appreciate it as a sort of grandiose trial right before the finale of the wad. I assumed its appeal would be pretty niche, but judging by the amount of responses, I guess not! =P

Old Post 03-24-13 06:59 #
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Capellan
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Processingcontrol said:
Highlights to me are Map01, Map02, Map12, Map13, Map20, Map21, Map23, Map26, & Map29. Map21's my favorite of the bunch, but knowing your design preferences, I wouldn't be surprised it you hate it. :)


Let's review, as of map21, shall we? :)

Map01: Meh. Pistol-whipping is dull.
Map02: Really liked it.
Map12: Many very good elements, but the unintuitive progress got in the way.
Map13: Like map12, but less good bits and more unintuitive bits.
Map20: Felt it was too repetitive in design, but it wasn't terrible.
Map21: Found the mazey bit kinda dull, and the progression unintuitive at times, but it was otherwise OK-good. Why is it your favorite, btw?

Old Post 03-24-13 22:29 #
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Processingcontrol
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A great nonlinear layout, a creative theme, cool visuals, fun gameplay, thought demanding "unintuitive" progression... ;)

Old Post 03-25-13 03:28 #
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Capellan
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Yeah, you see, I don't think of "I flicked a switch, and somewhere something has changed" as being thought demanding. I just see it as tedious switch hunting.

And man, I slogged through the whole of Hexen, so I don't need to hunt another switch, ever again :)

Old Post 03-25-13 06:43 #
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Demon of the Well
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So many of the different parts of that map are memorable in their own way, due to the surroundings, the combat style, or the combination of both. I remember feeling pretty lost in it the first time I played it (also the second, even), but, I guess I'd say, I was "lost in an interesting place", and so it was all good.

Of course, I really liked Hexen (and even moreso its commercial expansion), for my part, so I guess you can take that as you will. ;)

Old Post 03-25-13 08:20 #
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Capellan
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Map22: Future Grave
The eschewing of a difficulty curve is demonstrated once more in this level, which features nothing more dangerous than an HK or caco.

This very brown techbase - there are over 1100 BROWN1 sidedefs - is a medium size, low difficulty level. It's got very linear progression, though the level does take steps to disguise that by use of allowing you short distances in multiple directions before closing them off, and by using teleports to 'mix up' the navigation a little.

In terms of gamplay, its mostly a case of corridor fights - where the monsters line up two by two to be slaughtered - mixed with obvious traps of obviousness. On continuous play, the SSG and chaingun easily handle the former encounter, while the plasma gun takes any sting out of the latter. They're not exactly terrifying even with just the SSG, but I had plenty of shells and was feeling lazy :)

I definitely think this level would have been better served back in the early levels, where the difficulty would have felt more appropriate. As it stands, I'll just chalk it up as a relaxation session before the challenge inevitably ramps up once more :)

I found the supercharge secret near the end of the level, which makes me feel pretty proud of myself.


On the lack of a defined difficulty curve, I wonder if this was a result of the greater emphasis in pistol starting levels among modern Doomers? Back in the mid-90s, megawads were designed to steadily increase in difficulty. This stemmed from an assumption that players would be entering later levels with more and better weapons thanks to earlier maps. In more recent years, it seems the default approach is to treat each level as a self-contained challenge, divorced from the other levels in the wad.

Old Post 03-25-13 08:37 #
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Capellan
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Map23: Blood Runners
I liked this a lot. It's by Sphagne, who also did map21. Like that map, it features several different routes to engage the level, and a number of well-designed fights in ok-looking environments. Unlike that map, progress is generally smooth, with fairly obvious consequences to the switches you activate. Both thumbs up for having non-linear but non-frustrating progression.

Sphagne is never going to win a decorating award for the two levels of his I've seen in this megawad: the designs are more functional than anything else, with fairly minimal detail. However, s/he does enough to make every look decent, and everything is technically proficient.

Besides, looks are frankly not the focus here: fun gameplay is, and the level delivers. There's good use of height differentials (though the crate room was a bit annoying without mouselook, and there's no mouselook in Doom!). There's also good setups, like the demons you can use as a meatshield against the barons; and clever use of monsters in combination (hitscanners plus lost souls proves surprisingly good fun).

This level is definitely worth your time.

Old Post 03-26-13 08:50 #
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Capellan
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Map24: Bring Evil Upon Thee
A pretty bland wood and marble level. Square and rectangular rooms, linear path, repetitive gameplay (mob of imps; mob of demons; mob of chaingunners; couple of barons; mob of imps; mob of demons; mob of chaingunners; couple of barons; mob of ... well, you get the idea. It mixes in some archvile later, but not in any really dangerous way).

Honestly, it's a pretty toothless affair on continuous play. I didn't take a single hit until after the yellow door, and never needed any of the health provided by the level (as I started at 200 and never dropped below 100). Almost all the chaingunners and 3 of the 4 archviles are in cages, allowing you to easily snipe them. And in case the last AV was any threat, the level gives you a plasma rifle and some cells right before it (I just BFGed the poor guy).

Architecture and texturing is proficient but not very involved or interesting: almost every fight is on a flat plane, and the rooms are, as noted above, pretty much all rectangles. There are also no secrets, despite what looks like it should be a secret in the 2nd room (6 inset panels, 5 of which are identical and one of which is different).

There's nothing terrible here, but it's all just a bit too basic and elementary to rate more than a 'meh'.

Old Post 03-27-13 09:34 #
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Capellan
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Map25: Blood Demesne

Shit Demesne.




Oh, I suppose you want more than that.

Fine, I'll start with a question: was this piece of crap even playtested?

I will ignore for a second the ridiculous monster count compared to weaponry. After all, I don't care if I get 100% kills, and I wasn't attempting to pistol start this bad joke of a level.

No, what I will bitch about is PUTTING GODDAMN MONSTERS AT THE BOTTOM OF CLIFFS YOU HAVE TO JUMP OFF. I lost count of the number of times I was block in mid-air and shredded by a beastie.

"Was this playtested?" is of course a rhetorical question. Clearly it wasn't. I refuse to believe there are Doomers out there who would say "Great level man, I loved how I got killed by monsters I had no way of seeing! It really saved time in playing the level since I didn't have any ammo to shoot them with, anyway, and that would have dragged!"

Map06 levels of awful.

Old Post 03-28-13 09:01 #
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Capellan
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Map26: Breakout
This large, sprawling level looks great, and for the most part the gameplay lives up to that. The combats are many and varied, involving lots of different architectural setups and monster combinations. Despite having something like a dozen set-piece encounters, it continues to feel fresh and different throughout. It's a good example of creating an 'ebb and flow' of action, where the pace has a number of different settings.

... but there's an implicit criticism in "for the most part", isn't there? And there is one failure here: there's a lot of backtracking required to finish the level. Now sure, I probably took a less than ideal route through things, since it was my first encounter with the map. But even on an efficient run through, it seems like you'd have to do quite the slog back and forth at times. That's unfortunate.

My only other complaint is about the rocket launcher altar: a switch texture there would have been a nice indication of what to do. I lowered it eventually, but I wasted some time looking for switches first.

Still, these are relatively minor criticisms of an otherwise very good level.

Old Post 03-28-13 12:38 #
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SFoZ911
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I really like map 26. it's big, relatively long, nicely textured and much of fun. One of my favourite kaiser maps.

Old Post 03-28-13 13:41 #
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cannonball
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You didn't like map25 eh. You are going to love map27 :P

Old Post 03-28-13 19:46 #
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Capellan
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I liked Shpagne's other two maps, so I was hoping map27 would be another good one. Now I'm worried!

Old Post 03-28-13 20:32 #
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Demon of the Well
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Don't worry. Map 27 has some of the same attributes as 25--low ammo to start, some navigation of damage floors, etc.--but to nowhere near the same degree. It's a lot larger and easier to get stuck in, though.

I mean, it might not suit your fancy, but it's unlikely it'll prove as aggravating as 25, anyway.

Old Post 03-29-13 02:29 #
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