Demon of the Well
UR Map 06 -- Sewage Entrypoint - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
Hmm, bit of an unusual level here, I suspect it's the sort of thing that will prove fairly memorable, regardless of whether one likes it or not. Thematically, it's like some kind of cover-album of the 5 maps that preceded it--there's an open-air courtyard with another ornately-framed skylight, Plutonia bricks, green bricks, basic tech composite, computer stuff, ooze-tunnels, and even a gritty rocks 'n iron bit to the north. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but the sum effect is more than a mite disjointed, although it's not so pronounced as to really drag the map way down. Similarly, if map 05 was very evidently a corridor-fest, this one is quite evidently little more than a small group of boxes where fights take place, so suffice to say it's not the most interesting affair in terms of aesthetics or layout....
....but what fights! They're this map's saving grace. Apart from some light incidental stuff on the raised walkway around the perimeter of the central yard (itself somewhat redolent of the recurring action on the walkways in the UAC Courtyard), it's essentially a collection of setpiece battles, evident as soon as one takes a few steps--I really dig the opening teleporting imp fight, an interesting setup and a good way to get the blood flowing (literally and figuratively) from the outset. The blue key fight in the slime-settling area involves a fairly standard trap-box setup, although the tail end of that quest involves a surprise point-blank arch-vile (easily handled if you don't panic, but a bit startling nonetheless) and a very sneaky teleporting imp to keep it from being too rote. The usage of the arch-vile/crusher setup in the yellow key room is great, though...the pair of demons distracted me for just long enough for him to raise some ghostly sergeants, which I assume was exactly the intent--good show, but I'm sure lucky I didn't end up with any ghostly revenants. The 'phase' gimmick in the central courtyard battle is the kind of thing that drives some folks bugshit, but it was fine with me....over time the nobles gravitated more and more towards the center of the yard, and thus began phasing about less and less, hardly an unreasonable nuisance. I even kind of like the way the spider mastermind is used at the end. This is one of the most difficult monsters to implement in all of Doom's bestiary, but Snakes makes it work decently well, largely by virtue of not 'overthinking' the matter--there's no gimmick to the fight, and the final area isn't particularly conducive to the spider's movement; but by the same token the loosely barred facade and only slightly greater height of the central yard relative to the spider's yard affords it ample opportunity to fire on the marine in most positions he is likely to adopt. The limited amount of heavy ammo in the map also precludes a quick kill of the spider for the marine, so the two are on surprisingly even ground.
A bit disheveled/simplistic in terms of construction, but the variety of fun/interesting fights more than make up for it here. Oh yes, I did see some sort of medusa effect at one point in the eastern rocky outcroppings in the final yard where the spider is fought. There's also at least one medikit in this area sort of rendered 'through' the patio around the large double doors the spider bursts through. Finally, in the intermission text, the words 'after', 'stench', 'ever' and 'ahead' are partially cut off in Eternity, but not in PrBoom+, for whatever that's worth.
Z300 Map 06 -- Whispering Corridor - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Again, not a whole lot of substance here, but it's certainly better than the last couple of maps. It feels quite a bit smaller/shorter than Skybase 300, and quite a lot more visually polished, as well. Of course, these two things essentially go hand-in-hand in this case; the reason it's so much smaller is that so many more of its 300 lines are tied up in purely aesthetic pursuits, like the lighting effects around the torches lining both sides of the titular corridor. Indeed, apart from the somewhat suspect choice of material for the pedestal/altar in the confluence of the two outdoor streams, it's a pretty decent-looking level overall, with a reasonable vine/ruins theme and some simple but effective lighting choices. Didn't really feel the music track suited the mood, but whatever.
None of the battles are anything to write home about it in and of themselves--it's all a lot of basic corridor (heh) and closet stuff--but a very noticeable lack of healing items and the total absence of armor (actually, there might have been a few helmets, but that's it) requires that you take the small number of enemies at least somewhat seriously. Ammo might also be fairly tight, depending largely on the whims of the RNG, since the major secret is placed in such a way that getting optimum use out of it is a bit inconvenient.
Edit: Oh yeah, that intermission text. PCorf should probably just outsource these, to be frank.
Edit II: Boy, I sure did fuck the formatting up there for a minute...
Last edited by Demon of the Well on Oct 6 2013 at 07:37