Demon of the Well
Map 08 -- Archives - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
There have already been a number of comments about the tendency of Coffee Break's maps thus far to have their toughest moments early in the proceedings. Looking back, I think this is a mostly accurate observation, but it's here, eight maps in, that I felt this on a visceral level for myself for the first time (in this playthrough). The first 60 seconds or so are probably the most dangerous in the map (though some might make a case for the last 60 seconds as well)--I was badly wounded by all manner of bullets and buckshot in the short space of time it took me to grab the shotgun and dash indoors to secure the first room of the Archives...and this was with me not trying to do any fighting outdoors to speak of! And yet, after this initial scrape, I took no more damage until the final outdoor area, where one of the chaingunners nicked me for minor damage. One of the dangers of starting out a map like this is that doing so might make the later parts of the map feel uneventful or anticlimactic in comparison to the opening act, but I think Tropiano has avoided that here, as there's enough action throughout to sustain interest. I think what struck me most about this is how casual yet cohesive progression feels--it's a very door-laden affair, and some of those doors are inevitably keylocked, so your task is to get the keys, all of which are located in the main archive. Sounds totally ordinary, right? Well, that's kind of my point....after the endless procession of keydoor hubs in 2002:ADO and the very story/switch/linedef-driven character of Hadephobia, it's been a while since I've played a basic key-driven building-based map like this one, and it felt pretty good, which I attribute mostly to the way you're almost always given something new to fight during your backtracking trips. Following up on what I said earlier, there's no issue of anticlimax here, as the last outdoor battleground is ripe with opposition, including some well-placed caco groups that float up from behind the outer wall, and a big angry mass of HP in the exit room. Despite the numbers, though, it is still considerably easier than the opening moments of the map, considering you are much more well-armed by this point. The secrets here are also a step up from the simple cubbyholes of previous maps; my favorite is the two-part combat armor secret. On the aesthetic side, libraries are actually one of my favorite themes in Doom, so this one didn't have to try very hard to endear itself to me. Others have pointed out the hanging vine details; for my part, I particularly liked the way soft floodlighting has been subtly simulated in each individual bookcase. Funny Memfis should mention not liking the choice of music in map 09--I have a similar complaint here, as I don't think the escalating character of this song (map 09/intermission track from Requiem, right?) suits the relatively subdued atmosphere very well. Nevertheless, an enjoyable, well-rounded map overall.
Map 09 -- Channel - 107% Kills / 100% Secrets
Another fairly tight start to this map, although his one has a more steady stream of major battles throughout than the previous map did. I fought a lot of things from the doorway of the start room with the pistol (even after all of these years it still tickles me the way monsters occasionally hurl themselves forward over ledges as they die) and took some hitscan damage in return, but fortunately, there's a berserk pack right there to heal up with, which is something of a theme in this map. I'd say I played fairly sloppily over the course of this one--took a lot of damage, had a lot of poor shotgunning and inefficient rocket use, to the point where I was under 8 shells on a couple of occasions, etc.--but there are actually quite a lot of healing items available, and ammo is pretty finely balanced until near the end, when it swings to being a little excessive. Two of the three secrets are rather potent, as well--incidentally, to those who've asked, it is indeed quite possible to straferun over to the combat armor. The upshot of all this is that I would say it's a fairly easy map, despite the mounting presence of more powerful monsters, but it's never boring. There are more group monster reveals here than in any previous map in the set, and this is handled in a variety of ways--closets, teleports, in-floor lifts, etc--to keep things fresh. About the monsters rising from the ground here, insofar as I'm not particularly troubled by this general device to begin with, I'll disagree with some of the previous comments and say that I think this map has particularly inoffensive examples of it, in that there is a definite theme apparent in where it will happen--monsters always rise either from water or from distinct patches of soft dirt, the latter essentially being that flat's only use in the map. That aside, despite the BFG/rocket-based finale, my favorite encounter was actually one of the earlier ones--the arch-vile & co trap near the blue skull turned into quite a clusterfuck, as he must've raised each chaingunner and one of the revenants twice while I kept dancing around the hallway supports, trying in vain to get a clean shot at him (demons and revenants kept heroically leaping in front of rockets on his behalf); at the end, I actually punched his lights out, because all of my rockets and most of my shells were gone. Fun stuff! Aesthetically, the modest Plutonic ruin theme continues to be handled well enough, this one naturally with the addition of the channel and a bit of nature scenery to add depth. I reckon it's not as good-looking as the previous map, though, which I'd attribute to flatter lighting throughout, although there's nothing actively offensive in any way about the way it looks. Another modest yet legitimately enjoyable little map.
No deaths yet, although I was close at the start of map 08.
Last edited by Demon of the Well on 05-09-13 at 08:58