E1M8 Ė DNF
What a bummer Ė because this map has a great concept and is completely, utterly badass. Unfortunately, 2 things went wrong. First, it was very late and I was exhausted after E1M7. Second, the Baron crushers did not work in Risen3Dís Basic Doom Mode. Having been killed a few times already, and being completely, utterly traumatized after getting cornered by all 4 Cybs, I decided there was no way Iíd pistol-start this puppy in GZDoom! ;D Iíll come back to this someday when Iím closer to Doom God status. Iím not even a Doom Angel yet. ;D
Overall thoughts on Double Impact: This is one helluva mapset. Until someone either makes a better E1 replacement, or someone can point me to a better one that already exists, I stand by my assertion that Double Impact is the best E1 replacement to have seen the light of day. Of course, itís not strictly E1, because it has the full Ultimate Doom bestiary, and it uses some textures from E2 and E3. So itís really more E1ish than truly E1. And thatís fine with me! :)
Double Impact actually has a more hi-tech feel than Knee Deep or Fava Beans, in no small measure because itís so much more detailed. This shows up in all kinds of ways, from the massive number of computer panels, the high-ceilinged rooms with terraced textures above, to the incredible and often very intricate lighting and shadowcasting. In every way, shape and form, right down to the fight design, Double Impact is a master class on Doom design.
However . . .
On this playthrough, I noted some issues. The biggest one is that the mapset is not quite optimized well enough for continuous players. On the first 3 maps plus the secret map, I was rarely above 50% health. From E1M4 onward, I was usually above 80%. I also had plenty of ammo in these later maps, because there are so many Sergeants on UV. True, hi-test ammo was scarce, but by conserving rockets a bit, I always had plenty when needed. The issue with rockets was more one of, ďAll these damned critters are too close for me to use the rocket launcherĒ than it was of ammo. Plasma was the big problem. I wanted lots more of that!
The easiest solution for continuous-play balance, if thereís ever an update, is to ratchet up the Caco and Baron numbers. The later maps were crying out for Caco swarms. Just imagine how happy that would make Capellan. ;D More Barons as ammo sponges, and as threats in squinchier areas, would also be welcome. There was literally never a time from E1M4 onward where I said to myself, ďHoly shit, Iím down to 3 shells! What the fuck am I gonna do?Ē I think we need to have such times. Of course, thereís always a tipping point with Barons, where too many of them make a map sloggy and boring, but Iím confident that R&R can handle it.
Another issue was the tendency for confusion about where to go next. Also, in many cases the keys were not staged well, kinda like E1M5 of Fava Beans. Keys ended up tossed haphazardly on computer consoles, in corners, and so on.
Given that I played continuously, these are my favorite maps, in the order I encountered them;
E1M2 Ė a fast and frantic, highly interconnected romp where I spent most of the map at low health, and of course, the blinky computer maze was the highlight.
E1M9 Ė corridor-shooting dungeon-crawl action at its best; amazing interconnectivity and flow, pitch-perfect set-pieces and traps, a complete masterpiece.
E1M6 Ė who can forget the blinky maze of death? Call me crazy, but I loved it. Fantastic-looking map all around, with the single funniest trap battle for a Stimpack that Iíve ever seen. Talk about an underpowered prize! And the entry to this area was hilarious in Alfonzoís playthrough when he achieved the classic rocket-gib on the Sergeant. I fuckiní howled!
E1M7 Ė big, brawny, brutal, yet also amazingly sophisticated, clever, devious and evil in so many good ways.
So there you have it, Double Impact is a classic modern take on the original Doom themes. All I can say to R&R is, when will you do the rest of the episodes? Iím waiting, and not at all patiently! ;D