E1M5 – Phobos Lab – UV -fast. Kills – 100, Items – 89, Secrets – 88. Time – 17:07. End Health – 100, Armor – 53. Death Count – 14
This one’s a hummer at the start. Many deaths were suffered just trying to survive the opening, because I had to get past the ultimate nightmare – Hemi-powered Spectres – starting with just a pistol, and if I ran past them, I got buckshot for breakfast from the Sergeants. The key was learning that if I went for the Green Armor, the Spectre would close so rapidly that it would get in the way of the first Sergeant’s blast, so I’d be saved – momentarily, at least – by infighting. I pat myself on the back, because this is a rare example of strategic play on my part. ;D
Once I finally got past this section, I was so tore-up that I had a hard time getting the yellow key and then getting to the yellow door – yep, I was once again at 12% health. Many more deaths. And then one of the most exciting sequences, The Curving Double-Stairway of Death, saw me eating more buckshot and fireballs while I fled screaming in terror from still more Top Fuel Spectres. Damn, I’m getting tired of these things! Where’s my Chainsaw? Where’s my Zerk? These id fuckers are merciless! ;D And to top it all off, the one secret I missed was The Almighty Chaingun.
The Curving Double Stairway of Death is one of the coolest sequences in Doom, especially with those descending columns in the nukage pool that take you up for some goodies on the ledges. I watched some guy playing this on YouTube who couldn’t figure it out. Much laughter ensued. :D The Soulsphere was extremely welcome at this point.
Once I finally beat this area I went up, saw more Hemi-Pinkies heading my way from the now-revealed computer room, and said, “Eat some rockets, you ugly pink jagoffs!” I fired more rockets at imps in the dark Brown1 hallway just because I could.
I had relatively little trouble at this point, being well-armed and high on health – at least intermittently. I still died 3 times in the blinky stone maze, but I didn’t need the light-amp goggles because I had switched to Risen3D. Why? Because GZDoom doesn’t play “Suspense” correctly, and it’s also much harder to hit barrels than in Risen3D. I’m taking a wild guess that it’s because infinitely-tall actors are turned off, and since barrels are short, my bullets and buckshot tend to fly over them. If so, I’ve suffered many deaths for simply being unable to hit a barrel unless a monster stood very close to it. Not so with Risen3D and its ultra-aggressive auto-aim. It’s like shooting them in vanilla Doom, even with infinitely-tall actors turned off. And on top of that, Risen3D can see better in the dark than GZDoom. So I grabbed the light-amp goggles after I killed everything, and then I found my way to the secret entrance I missed – you know, the one with the useless pentagram teleporter.
As others have said, this is one of the best maps in E1, though I still prefer Toxin Refinery for the bravura secret-chains which are just a little cooler than the ones here, though I homage both maps in this regard in the same-numbered maps of Shotgun Symphony. Phobos Lab is a little creepier than Toxin Refinery thanks to its lighting, and it’s more dangerous thanks to hitscanners blasting you through all those windows which, I’ll agree with DoTW, gives this map a better sense of place. I do think the detailing is better in Toxin Refinery, though. One thing each map shares is a surprising level of linearity, since the path is pretty much set, the only real deviation being if you find that tricky entrance to the exit in the pentagram teleporter room, assuming you have the blue key. There’s really no problem with roamers here, either.
I have to mention the music track, “Suspense,” which is my favorite in all of Doom, and I think tends to show that Doom really loves creepy, suspenseful, ambient tracks, at least of this quality. Oddly, the volume is lower on “Suspense” than the other tracks, so I always have to turn it up, which means I blow my ears out every time I forget to turn the music down before E1M6 (I play with headphones on) since that one is unusually loud.
All in all, a great map.
Thanks for the plug. :P
They're not there on HMP, you know? Mind, I know how you love it when a map kicks your butt -- I think UV should be this setting, it's for people who want to battle unfair odds, right? ;)
That's true, Jay. And I've talked enough trash about that so I have to suck it up every now and then and just swallow my blood. Even so, you had me crying there, Jay. You had me crying. I really wanted that Chaingun, but you were merciless, and I admire that. ;)
Last edited by SteveD on 12-06-13 at 15:02