Demon of the Well
Map 07 -- Colosseum - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Ye Olde Dead Simple Replacement: Kama Sutra Edition. With a name like 'Colosseum', you'd think that this would advertise what it's all about up front, but it's not really the case. At heart it's another simple take on the manc/arach-arena concept, but with some qualifiers.
For one, there isn't really any structure in the map that really resembles a coliseum (or the Colosseum), even taking into account the Doom engine's limits. The closest it comes is of course the tiered mancubus arena with the marble box that eventually reveals a cyberdemon; the unusual thing (and the thing which makes it not really resemble a coliseum) about this is that play space here is nearly all 'stands' with very little actual 'arena', making firing angle the number one concern in the battle against the mancs (because most players will tend to use the rocket launcher here). It's not so much that I'm faulting a Doom map for not 'realistically' resembling its namesake, hell no--I just bring it up to make the point that, once again, available movement space, or rather a relative lack thereof, is one of the chief defining characteristics of these earlier KS maps.
For two, it's not a pure arena fight, anyway. First, there's a little bit of preamble involving some light pinkie-pounding, a touch of vile action, and an incredibly easy megasphere secret (as well as a baffling 'free' secret sector in the room with the pinkies). Second, the progression (such as it were) stops resembling Dead Simple once the mancs are dead, as there's an interstitial fight with a cyberdemon and a large caco swarm, with the arachs tending to be a bit late to the party. This is a pretty clumsy setup, I feel....the cacos are trapped behind the red door threshold by a crass monster-blocking line and can't enter, with a few arachs behind them; naturally it's easy to grab the red skull from under the cyb and bait him into fighting with the wall of cacomeat (although you occasionally have to open the door again for them), assuming you don't want to just blast everything yourself with the BFG and big pile of cells sitting next to the key. Crossing the red threshold apparently causes a few more arachs and cacos to be able to teleport into the stands of the manc arena; cleaning up the arachs lets you throw a switch in the yard to access a two-cyb finale (simple to handle given all the space), and then you exit. I dunno.....everything involving the red door and afterwards seems pretty haphazard/rather clumsily choreographed to me, like this map's rough draft ended up being its final draft.
Visually it's a bit shoddy, as well, and this time not even really in that quirky KS way--it's just plain sloppy. Given the mostly outdoor setting and the stock beige-hued cloudy sky I suppose it's not unreasonable that light levels are flat/uniform, but there are quite a few glaring misalignments (on various masonry structures, on the 'rocket' containing the exit switch, etc.), and the sides of the 'secret' lift down to the megasphere yard aren't fixed in place and thus bizarrely scroll up and down with the lift platform itself. Most subtly, but also most oddly, if you look out the northern windows of the little side rooms with the rocket launcher and the plasma rifle (the latter of which I never used, incidentally), it looks like the whole building ends a few feet further on, but going through the connecting passageway into the arch-vile room obviously involves traveling much farther than this. Just one of those surreal engine-isms, I suppose. On the other hand, I do like the burning beacon towers that appear all around the outer perimeter of the playable areas.
Yeah, I've seen much worse, but this still certainly isn't a map to cure me of my general lack of enthusiasm for maps formatted after Dead Simple's example.