Demon of the Well
UR Map 04 -- UAC Courtyard - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Ah, that first imp to the left. I was wondering when the serene starts would come to an end, given Snakes' avowed Alm influence. Other than that, the first thing that struck me about this was actually the music track....is it my imagination, or is it some kind of reworking of one of the tracks from Evilution (damned if I remember the name of the one I'm thinking of, though)? I was a bit surprised that it never sounded like it actually hit full swing, but the stark tone suits the mood of the map fairly well, I suppose, as this is the first map that seemed like it possessed any real danger to me. I didn't die, but I was banged up a bit during the initial fighting in the titular courtyard--the imps are nothing to worry about; it's the combination of distant chaingun zombies, the narrow railed walkways, and a few pinkies who are more than proficient at choking up said walkways that holds the potential for an undue amount of bodily harm. After all of the restriction on monster movement in much of Kama Sutra, it's also good to see cacodemons in their natural element again--they're slow, but their ability to fly of course allows them to ignore the whole inconvenient walkway/pit setup, making their contribution to battles a very real one.
The battles in the side areas are generally smallscale, straightforward, and not very memorable, but this isn't much of an issue in this case--all of the action highlights take place in the courtyard (or courtyardS, if you prefer), at various different points along the progression path. I like to see big centerpiece areas reused in this way--adds a sense of depth and location almost wholly removed from the consideration of aesthetics--and this also helps to establish that the 'UAC Courtyard' is indeed the real focus of the map. Good work on this, Snakes.
The beamwork overhead in the main courtyard is fairly interesting, I suppose, but in truth I wasn't particularly taken by the map's appearance. I can't think of anything that was really ugly about it (barring a few small bugs, discussed later), but it was strikingly orthogonal in shape, and something about the elementary shadows cast by the aforesaid beamwork looked a bit off to me. There are also some insta-pop monsters that are very suspect from a purely aesthetic standpoint (e.g. most of the zombies in the yard fight before the blue key), although this is a small thing, I suppose. My favorite visual touch here is actually just a little thing, that being that you can see the blue key from your start point, assuming you think to look at the other door seen at the end of the previous map.
I also found what I assume was one of the speedrunner tricks for this map, that being the possibility of using the setting around the main metal post on the central walkway as a small jump that allows you to clear the railings and get into the two lower yards early....if you're light on your toes, you can even run along the top of the railing and use it to reach that blur sphere. This is neat, but I think it's half-broken at current: there doesn't seem to be any way to escape from the slime-pool yard with the red key if you use this trick to get down there at the start of the map, since the door in/out seems to only open on a trigger on its other side, even in PrBooM+ on complevel 2 (as usual, feel free to taunt me mercilessly if I've just missed something obvious). Other small issues I notice are various small texture alignments along the walls of the red key yard--there's one right behind the key itself for reference, but there's another farther east, and similar ones pretty much everywhere the shadow from the beamwork is simulated (the other yard doesn't seem to have this issue). It also seemed odd (though quite harmless) that one section of wall along the walkways used a slightly different brick texture than anywhere else for no apparent reason (e.g. it's not a secret tell or a closet wall or anything)--it's the one just to the right at the end of the central walkway. Finally, up in the sky directly over the squat red bars blocking off the second yard, there are a couple of phantom metal squares matching up with two of the bars.
Z300 Map 04 --Canyon Hub - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Rather bland....I think I spent more time paying attention to the music track than the actual action (mainly because at the start it sounds a lot like that strange manic track from Rise of the Triad, and I was trying unsuccessfully to remember that track's name). The soulsphere secret is somewhat clever, I suppose (although people that have seen a number of PCorf maps before can probably surmise how it's done pretty easily), but the combat's really phoned-in, particularly in the outdoor area, which is simply too large for any of the monsters used in it, maybe beyond a few zombies, to make any impact. At least it's over quickly, even by the standards of Zone 300.