Demon of the Well
Map 16 -- Leeds Castle - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Hmm, had a little more trouble here than I expected to. I died 3 times, always in the same place--trying to gain control of the courtyard that has the 'generator' or whatever it is that requires the blue and yellow keycards in order to be operated. The first time I approached through the bloody pitfall tunnel right into the genny shed itself--I hadn't used rockets nearly enough in the first courtyard battle, and so was pretty much out of shells, and had to punch my way through the revs and the Baron to get in--went well until the cyberdemon showed up, and then I got toasted by the arch-vile while he drew my attention. The next two times I was killed just by trying to come in through the main door into that yard....unholy shit, that arachnatron perched up high and the aforesaid arch-vile make a great team, damn. Got through it with nary a scratch the fourth time, when I wised up and slipped past the mancubus in order to make it up to the vile's perch, post-haste. Payback time...
These initial struggles gave way to my quickly becoming an unstoppable force of destruction for the rest of the map. Rockets and cells are plentiful--in fact, I think they outnumber shells and bullets by a fair margin--and blue armor is apparently just raining down from the sky around these parts. While there was still a lot of killing to be done before the mission's end (e.g. the caco/PE ambush along the western walkway), with so much powerful equipment at my disposal, none of it posed any real threat. Despite being decidedly overpowered, I still enjoyed the map, mainly for its layout--I think it's neat that the castle's outer grounds essentially form a circuit around the middle that can be freely traveled in either direction, giving the player a choice of when/how to tackle things once the yard with the genny shed has been secured--in my indecisiveness I went back and forth, doing each side a bit at a time, which was just as viable.
It occurs to me that this is one of the most 'normal' KS maps in terms of appearance, a lot of its visuals and architecture being fairly par for the course for depictions of 'castle' stuff in Doom. This isn't to say it's bland-looking, though--I like the various 'House of Pain-esque' gore/torture scenes, for example. It does have some of that characteristic KS weirdness in terms of progression, like a spiderdemon that teleports into the starting courtyard far too late to be able to make any contribution, or the baffling combination of a free start-sector secret with a couple of real secrets. One of these, the imp-ledge that Veinen mentioned, is very well-hidden, and I only found it because there's a small clue to its nature visible on the automap.
Enjoyable map, if a bit front-loaded with challenge/back-loaded with supplies.
Map 17 -- Cyber Machine - 100% Kills / No actual secrets
Indeed, folks, it's THIS map. It's nothing but three short set-pieces, each more violent than the last, each basically a sort of action-puzzle like map 32 was. It didn't really bug me much, since I've played before and thus already know the solutions, but it wasn't particularly entertaining, either, particularly the tedious middle section.
The first section is a clunky platforming affair that must be completed correctly in one attempt, or else it's time to drown in the pernicious blood and restart. The key is simply not to become too preoccupied with the cacos that one of the lowering backpack platforms slips by and strands you. The amount of damage one takes here is kind of unpredictable, but most of the time most of the cacos will tend to hit the sides of the platforms rather than the marine--they usually seem loath to increase elevation to get a better angle on him. I think this is the least interesting setup in the map in theory, although in practice it's probably less tedious than the next section, simply by virtue of being so short.
The second section, presumably the one from which the map takes its name, might seem ridiculously unreasonable at first, but there's method to the madness--once you figure out that the four cyberboxes open and close in a very regular clockwise sequence, it's simply a matter of rhythmically dumping buckshot into them as time allows, with very little threat to the player. It's tedious, and there's something subtly irritating about essentially having to pick up all the shells around the torches way before they're needed in order to stay out of the line of fire (even though there are so damned many shells around the central teleporter that this waste is totally irrelevant in gameplay terms), but there is some satisfaction in seeing the four cybers crumble moments after one another in a neat clockwise sequence, I suppose. Also, I was irrationally pleased to realize that this setup is actually the inner section of the yard that comprises the last section, something I just plain failed to realize last time I played.
The last section is the most straightforward and the most entertaining, a perfectly symmetrical and again very HR-esque 'monster-pocket' setup, where again the best approach seems to be traveling around the yard in a circuit (direction doesn't really matter this time) steadily wearing down the clusters of immobile viles and revenants. Do it smoothly enough and there's plenty of time to exterminate all of the cacos that show up before the final four cyberdemons are unleashed. This last bit feels a little more organic, at least, mostly because the cacodemons are able to break the circuit by flying over the 'machine' in the middle, I suspect.
The last bit's alright, and the first two are interesting ideas on paper, but in practice this really isn't my kind of thing. Too "minigamey."
Fortunately, Cannonball's quite right, the next map is quite cool.