Demon of the Well
Time to catch up a bit after some of my usual mid-month slump.
Map 13 -- The Holocaust II - 109% Kills / 100% Secrets
This map's bark is quite a bit worse than its bite. I'd even go so far as to say that it's easier than Holocaust I, at least when one compares the marquee fights. They're very similar in a lot of ways, using big blocks of dangerous monsters in formation that can quickly converge on the player, but in this case there are a lot more options for dealing with the fight than either 'manning up' or 'skipping it entirely'--you can trigger it and turtle from a few different places, stir up some prime infighting more easily, etc.
There are a number of other callbacks to Holocaust I as well, from ending with a cyberdemon encounter to the little 'monsters hiding at the top of some stairs' bit just off the big intersection fight, and a number of others. There's some new stuff too, of course, ala the big silly imp clusterfuck on the roof (probably my favorite part, actually). Really, I'd say that's what characterizes the map's gameplay more than anything--it's full of big slavering hordes of monsters and a lot of setups that can appear rather intimidating at a glance, but in practice the way they are placed relative to architecture and the locations of useful items means that, most of the time, the player is more than equipped to slaughter the hellspawn wholesale, either in relative safety or in direct, chivalrous combat. In this sense the KS maps are starting to show a little more flexibility in how they can be played (though this is still quite linear in terms of progression), which I'm sure many folks can/will appreciate.
Anyway, I enjoyed it. The only thing I really didn't like much was the first cyberdemon's placement--he was just a timesink where he was, stuck up in that little box, and his appearance is timed such that you really have to go out of your way to use as an infight-turret or something like that.
Map 14 -- Dog Eat Dog - 102% Kills / No actual secrets
This one's a lot of fun. In contrast to many of Gusta's previous maps (and his next one), it's big (although not 'long'), open, and non-linear, a mostly-abstract fresh-air playground that invites the player to haul ass around the place at top speed, engaged in constant battle with the scads and scads of hellspawn populating the place.
I think it's a fine-looking playground, for what it is. The plutonic bricks go fairly well with that vaguely Wolfenstein-esque tan rock texture from DooM II, and the gallons and gallons of green ooze (which can be run about it in freely, given that it is non-damaging) provide a welcome splash of color. It's not very architecturally sophisticated--lots of simple, cuboid shapes apart from the sharp angles of the rocky perimeter--but its consistently large scale is a pleasing contrast with the relatively cramped corridors of previous maps, and it has a number of engaging vistas, the best of all being the view of the underside of some supersized cement overpass near its end.
Despite the heavy and constant opposition, it's really not a very stressful or oppressive play at all--apart from its aforementioned openness (read: which facilitates use of Doomguy's amazing speed), there are simply just so many megaspheres and so many rocket boxes (and a few marginally-useful blur spheres) lying around that you can go almost anywhere at almost any time and find some supplies to enable you to win whatever running battle you happen to be engaged in at any given moment. The best part is clearly the big caco swarm that guards the red key, as their flight ability lets them chase you into whatever part of the map you run to, making for a satisfying ongoing fight (and besides, everybody loves rocketing groups of cacos, right?). Unlike in the previous map, there is no particular encounter here I dislike, although I guess I do wish Gusta hadn't used another stupid monster-blocking line to delineate the last surprise cyberdemon's territory.
Good map, really feels a lot like something from Hell Revealed, and sort of looks the part, too.