Okay, time to finish this up, even though it's late.
Very similar to MAP09, so not much to say here I couldn't say here. I liked the central objective of the (radio?) tower, but the map never really progressed to any interesting gameplay - just a lot of shotgunners/imps throughout, with only a couple token hell knights and arachnatrons at the end. All shotgun/chaingun play, which gets a bit boring after awhile. So, like MAP09, could make a good map with better monsters/items and normal texturing, but nothing to exciting on it's own merits. 3/5
Another map that could go in the "might be a decent map with normal texturing" category. Very old-school layout, albeit with larger rooms and "sharper" angles/design. For example, you can beat the level without investigating the northern area, which is nice. Not always perfect (the doors are hard to distinguish sometimes), and ammo shortage can be very difficult if you don't find the secret beserk or secret chainsaw. Also didn't like how many of the monster closets had monsters and no items to pick up, just a personal pet peeve. 3/5
MAP16: Town Hall
Definitely my favorite of Jaws in Space's maps so far. The open courtyard at the start provides plenty of enemies for blasting away in a fun fashion, before eventually devolving into the Narrow Corridor Hell that is so unfortunately pervasive in his maps. Others commented on the strangeness of the invulnerabilities here, but I actually like them, as they make the fights a lot more fun rather than forcing the player into the much more tepid hide-and-seek. Other parts of the level are somewhat weird (such as the giant imp horde box room) but nothing egregiously bad. The chosen texture here is also easy on the eyes, which helps. Too easy to run past all the stuff at the end. 3/5
Hmm, what to say about this? I've never played a mork map before so wasn't sure what to expect. The central area is certainly interesting and impressive in the technical sense, but gameplay-wise doesn't do much. The rest of the level has some decent fights but nothing great, and the end is a sort of weird jokemap bit that is hit-or-miss (I actually enjoyed collecting the bouncing keys, though I wish the keys didn't respawn, I spent way too much time in that room waiting for something to happen). I'll give it a 4/5 just for originality.
MAP18: Monochromatic Nightmare
Like MAP05, this one tries to actually use the monochromatic look to create a sharper, non-Doom look. It doesn't look quite as nice - the outlines on the ceilings/floors are good, but it really needed some outlines on the walls too. Also, do you really need to write DOOR on all the doors when using a custom texture? Sure something else could've been used.
Gameplay is pretty boring, lots of small monsters in small groups, and even the larger ambushes are fairly plodding since there's nothing better than a shotgun/chaingun (and maybe a RL you can find late). The constantly spawning monsters is a pet peeve, too. The finale finally provides some decent teeth, and the rooms do seem to have some variation (blue room had all hitscanner zombies, red room had imps/demons/cacos, etc.) 3/5
MAP19: Up Town
Like JIS's other maps, this one adhered to the "one flat, one wall texture" rule, and it shows. He actually tried for a decently impressive outdoor "Downtown" sort of level, which are confusing under normal circumstances and EXTREMELY confusing with the one texture here. Even the doors have nothing to differentiate them, so I just started hitting stuff at random. Easy to skip the level by grabbing the yellow key and running through the Caco maze, and I didn't really feel like exploring the level that much. I also had the monster sight issues as well, for whatever reason. 2/5
MAP20: Monochromatic Affinity
Lots of large hallways and some very nice design cues (such as the huge staircase facing into the horizon), but that's about as many nice things as I can say. Oh, and I suppose the button that swaps the colors of the map was cool.
So, like others, I wanted to like this map, but the gameplay is dreadful. Lots of empty hallways with the monsters spread in clumps. Then there's the designed arenas, which are functionally impossible. The SSG ambush happily unleashes Arch-Viles without providing cover, as if Pain Elementals and Chaingunners and Revenants weren't bad enough. There's also almost no health and no ammo - I managed to finally beat it with 5 hp and zero ammo. But hey, at least I have a super shotgun! The plasma gun arena was similarly unfair - very little cover, except this time with sludge that's easy to fall into and hard to get out of. I also wasn't a fan of the teleporting staircases - in the right setting, they can be fun, but here they don't really provide anything except confusion. [/b]1/5[/b]
(I can see from reading the thread that Cacowad made some much-needed changes after the feedback, I'm just grading the map as I played it.)
MAP21: Paint the Town Red
Like MAP05, this map goes above and beyond and turns the monochrome "limitation" into it's own special style. It felt like being in a Gameboy game! Really impressive stuff.
Gameplay is kinda meh, but nothing too frustrating, thankfully. The only bad point was not realizing I needed to kill the Cyberdemon, as I walked back and forth through the map trying to find the blue key. Finally I decided to kill him, and sure enough, it opened up the exit. I'll be generous and give it a 5/5 just for the novelty of the design.
MAP22: Ultramarine Kingdom
Really nice color scheme and design, and I really was expecting to see more of this throughout the project (maps of all one color, instead of just one texture or black/white). The layout feels like a Hexen or even Hexen 2 level, being in some sort of castle with lots of little rooms, a throne room, a market, etc.
But poor gameplay rears its head again, as it has all too often in this megawad. Item placement is poor, as all of the ammo is in the western "market" area, and almost none anywhere else. This creates the problem of going door to door, trying in vain to find weapons/ammo and often being put in situations like "kill these 5 hell knights with 90 bullets and 6 shells". Not fun. Even after I found ammo, I never found an SSG, making a lot of the fights somewhat tedious. Not a fan of the switchhunt, either. The cyber/AV fight was tough - I basically had to plan my escape to a column (which is impossible to see once the AVs start aiming at you) and hope Mr. Cyber would be nice enough to draw aggro.
So, good job visuals-wise, but really needs help on the gameplay aspect. 3/5 just because I like blue.
MAP23: Good and Evil, Black and White
Follows the tradition of MAP05 and MAP18 of having the clean, one-pixel look, which is nice and appreciated. A bunch of small but fun battles into a literally impossible Icon of Sin fight. Took me awhile to figure out why I was constantly being telefragged, and never did figure out where I was supposed to shoot. The skull looks nice though.
Very...eclectic. As dobu points out, we were basically beta-testing this, so shouldn't be surprised at the quality and wildness of it. I think overall, the set really did suffer from a lack of vision and a strong central idea. From reading the thread, it seemed originally that the concept was "use one (or two) flats, and one (or two) wall textures, forcing the player to create interesting maps by focusing on gameplay, lighting, height variation, item placement, etc."
Very few of the maps tried to do that. Some of the maps feel like normal maps with no textures (somewhat like the custom "orange/grey" maps in Counter-Strike). Some are literally just bad maps with no texturing (such as JIS taking a Doom beta map and recreating its layout perfectly... why? What does that have to do with the challenge??) Others actually tried to take the monochrome theme and making something visually striking, such as MAP05, MAP21 and MAP23. I liked those the best since they provided something novel and interesting, but this was mainly due to the extreme dearth of interesting gameplay across the WAD. Even the best maps had tepid gameplay at best, so in a way, I have to say the experiment was a failure.
Still, there's some nice gems here and there, and while I know a lot of the authors took it on the chin, I think there's promise here. Hopefully it can be useful as a learning opportunity for everyone.
These two points are why I personally didn't map for the project; felt like it, and lord knows I love to map with limitations, but in the end I don't want to have to aim at a moving and/or indistinct target. This is also why I have not, and will not play Monochrome Mapping Project despite it looking very far up my alley.
I would recommend for the team to prepare a set texture pack and go for Boom/Limit-removing for the sequel. And Dobu's other points, they're good too. :)
I think this really hits the nail on the head. If there's a sequel, it definitely needs a stronger target/idea, and I would recommend sticking with a set texture set and sticking with Boom for the sequel.