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Memfis
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There is a Doom level, which is based on the actual photos of Karnak that the author found in some history book, I recommend checking it out: http://doomedsda.us/wad2033.html

Old Post 03-09-14 03:48 #
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Getsu Fune
formerly Hurricyclone


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MAP09: Mystery My Time: 16:13

This song is a mystery to me. Geddit?

This is the first real big map. A little silent surprise was behind me. There's a nice lil' hub that has the three keys, but how to get them exactly? Go through each area as indicated by color door, duh. It's actually quite linear though, except for one aside where the rocket launcher is located, with a nifty trap outlined by chaingunners if you try to escape after shooting the switch. More Powerslave stuff present here, such as that bright red lava. Some very clever secret usage, and also some clever use of closets--in areas I have been in, I can find another monster ambush as I backtrack which is cool for a vanilla mapset. Also cool for vanilla is how I get one key at a time once I teleport back to the hub. Going towards the exit there's one shrine where I fight a few imps, then fight some mancubi and an archvile; actually managing to make the archie kill one of those fat guys there. After running over one switch into a room with the next, two barons with the next passageway will shortly appear, and lots of teleporting chaingunners. I find it best to hide behind the archvile's chair and shoot from there. The finale isn't really much unfortunately, descending while three archviles try to dropkick me plus a few extra cohorts. And then there are extra bars that take a while to lower, while one more surprise tries to do me in, and fails miserably.

http://i.imgur.com/ic0x7cn.png
Spotted this error at the hub. This is the blue key door.

Old Post 03-09-14 04:30 #
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Cynical
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Epic 2, eh?

I've been curious about this one for a while. Eternal is very hit-or-miss for me; he's done some wads that I really like (Hell Ground, Frozen Time, Horror Collection), but for every hit, there's at least one real stinker (32 in. Nails, Cybersky, Gravity, Voodoo Guns).

The question is, which Eternal shows up here?

...

Ok, four beaten maps later, that sure was boring. About the only things that stuck out were negative; namely, the second map being Tyson oriented but having the Tysonbox in a secret. As for the rest... yawn. Inconsequential combat with small weapons and the occasional phoned-in secret rocket launcher.

That Vile at the end of map 04 tells the whole story. He's free to kill from behind that bar, so you just take him out without letting him do a damn thing. Perfectly representative of the combat so far; sure, there's combat in theory, but it's really just makework while you walk around long, orthogonal tunnels.

Yeah, this was pretty bad.

Oh, and the changed sprites suck, too.

EDIT:
Map 05:
Hey, it looks like Eternal finally woke up! Well, at least a little bit

I like the start a lot. Blur sphere to deal with the hitscanners, but then make a mess out of the projectile throwers? Always a cool fight paradigm. The rest is kinda "eh", and the music is over-loud, but hey, it's better than the first four.

Last edited by Cynical on 03-09-14 at 05:55

Old Post 03-09-14 05:06 #
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Demonologist
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SteveD said:
Something tells me I'll never manage the whole megawad on UV . . .

Hmm... Well, you will run into trouble towards the end (why keyboard-only, anyway?), especially on map29 that clearly points at Deus Vult and its dances with invulnerability spheres among insanely dense crowds. So, save-spam, keyboard+mouse or stepping down in difficulty (or everything at once) are your options here.

Phobus said:
And of course he did XXXI Cybersky! Although these days I tend to associate him more with Eternal Doom-style switch hunts in expansive, gorgeous locations that use some of the rarer themes, as well as high-concept stuff like Gravity.

Cybersky isn't very hard actually, though it's pretty long for a slaughtermap. But yes, meatgrinding isn't a rare activity while playing Eternal's maps.
Regarding ED - he clearly seems to be a fan of it, some mapsets (like Baker's Dozen) clearly resemble its style in many aspects.

Cynical said:
Voodoo Guns

Heh, probably my favorite among his works. Replayed it shortly after Epic 2 and still had to bow down before its jaw-dropping might.

Map09 - “Mystery”
The map that sanctifies the more deluberate usage of lava reservoirs (one of them holds all the keys perched), throws in even more corridors (oh, come on...) and offers some, shall I say, bizarre design solutions. The most notable areas are big hall filled with lava (some sort of expansion upon such concept awaits us much further, in map24), penultimate hall with pretty big, but not really challenging mess (thanks to plenty of cover provided), and the final elevator down to the exit with potentially more threatening opposition, though if you're fast enough - those viles aren't that much of a problem.
Oh yes, this map is somewhat mysterious indeed, but it's more like "what the hell have I just played?" rather than anything else. Mixed feelings about this one.

Old Post 03-09-14 13:11 #
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Rook
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Map 09

For me Epic 2 is a very mixed WAD but Map 09 is one of those where I think Eternal is on form. It's a very attractive map which makes great use of its textures (I especially like the main hub room with the keys elevated above the lava) and the gameplay and level of challenge are just right. It can be a little too corridor-based in places, but other areas are very nicely designed and the elevator climax - while quite simple - is a really good finish.

Old Post 03-09-14 13:27 #
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Veinen
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Map05: Abu Gurab

Like the open design and how the map loops back to the central area multiple times. Combat is pretty fun although not super challenging, the treasure chamber being the most memorable spot. Fun map. The music is indeed way too loud though.

Map06: Revived Bones

This is a decent one as well, althought way more corridorific than the previous level. Layout is rather complex actually and if you take the wrong turn at the start you may end up in some trouble. I just recently did a random maxrun for this map so I know the map like the back of my hand and thus had no problems at any point. But there are a few surprise ambushes that could do some damage if you're caught unawares, the final trap with an AV duo for one.

Map07: Hell Guard

A fairly straightforward standard Map07 is what this is. Kill some non-threatening Mancs while getting harassed by very annoying Chainers, followed by a circlestrafing exercise with a bunch of Arachs. The finale with Arch-Viles is the most interesting part of the map since the cover provided is kind of awkward. Not exactly the highlight of the set.

Old Post 03-09-14 14:00 #
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scifista42
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MAP08 - Karnak Temple

Really liked the structure of this level, the texture usage (I adore the Egyptian theme here) and the secrets - some are atmospheric, some are interestingly hidden. I liked the one where I needed to shoot a dark hole which seemed to be purely decorative.

Then, gameplay was totally fine with me too. I've accepted Eternal's tendency for low-scale "non-dynamic" ambushes and zombies in corners, and that more I've enjoyed every single moment when he went somewhere else. Cannot complain. The maps play great already, and better and better still. The ending of this map fitted perfectly.

It's awesome how this megawad has a unifying concept and context (Egypt), and author's mapping qualities intensify the feel. I'm glad I'm playing the megawad.

Old Post 03-09-14 15:05 #
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Crusader No Regret
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MAP09: Mystery skipped

I felt no compulsion to bother with this map. For me, the mystery seems to be what is so special about this place? There's got to be more than the first appearance of lava. It comes off as a generic Doom map with new visuals that don't seem so new after eight other maps. The bum biting lost soul at the start would be more memorable if it hadn't already been done in map 6.
Thing is, the map doesn't seem bad; it's in the context of the set which gives me a "meh" impression. If this had been map 4, I'd probably have a more favorable impression of it. There's also a lack of continuity such that it doesn't have a place in a narrative and comes off a filler. Decent on it's own, just still filler.

Some notes from my old continuous playthrough:
- Of course the rocket launcher is booby trapped. Experienced players can likely predict what will happen too. Dumb, brilliant, or showing a little restraint?
- I saved the megaarmor and soulsphere for maxing out at 200/200 for the next map.

Old Post 03-09-14 21:18 #
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Demon of the Well
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Regarding the asides about other WADs Eternal has made, I was not particularly impressed by either Frozen Time or Voodoo Guns. Don't get me wrong, they are both very striking visually, but like Gravity before them, the combat in them simply isn't very engaging, and barely even seems relevant in Voodoo Guns, where finding secrets in the first map is probably the main attraction (although I guess it's still stronger than Gravity in that regard, as those maps might as well not have had any monsters at all for all the impression they make). I loved 32 Inch Nails, though. The mood in that one is really engrossing, and once it gets going that action is pretty decent, with a random stop in slaughtertown and a new boss to break things up. It's a lot like Epic 2 in that it takes it some time to gather steam but is very engaging once it hits its stride.

Map 09 -- Mystery - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
It occurs to me that 'Mystery' is to 'Karnak Temple' as 'Black Magic' was to 'Voodoo.' It's very similar to map 08 in that it, too, is basically a tiny hub connecting three largely unrelated and self-contained concept-driven areas, and it too ends on a classic end-of-map PWAD fight trope (one of Eternal's favorites, incidentally, as he's used it in other maps elsewhere). As was also the case with maps 02 and 03, The strange, slyly threatening music track and more consistently dank indoor setting as well as the early arch-vile teaser sort of imply that it will be more formidable than its predecessor, although in practice it's really not any more dangerous.

Personally, while I'm not a big fan of either map, I think I do prefer Mystery to Karnak Temple, mainly because I find the vaguely ominous torch-lit subterranean temple theme more compelling than the surface-world temple setting of the latter, and because I think what combat the setpieces contain tends to function a bit more smoothly than that of map 08. For example, in the switch-shooting/bridge-raising segment of map 08 there are monsters, but they're more like vague nuisances (esp. the revenants at the end of the run) than important parts of the setup, whereas the enemies in the tri-lift lava room in map 09, while small, tend to pressure the player into moving more given the limited space available, especially with the chaingunners in the high windows making the eastern half of the room rather inhospitable. I've still got a number of complaints, though...for example, given that this complex is supposed to be 'mysterious', I think it was a terrible decision to just give the player a free map scroll early in the proceedings (especially since it spoils the secrets, all three of which are powerful). I also resent the outdoor segment beyond the red door. Apart from the three-knight closet the play's not very dynamic, here, sure, but what really gets my silkens in a bunch is that you can see the blue sky out here....totally ruins the mood. As far as a sense of place goes, this map would be much more effective if it were consistently made to feel like it's one big underground booby-trap.

Old Post 03-10-14 04:30 #
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Getsu Fune
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MAP10: Goldmine My Time: 15:52

Another long affair, but there's some shortcuts. Also more hitscanners than usual. Like right on that bridge for example. You can find a secret on one side of the water if you jump the bridge and then an actual shortcut skipping parts of the map on the other. If you don't get the shortcut then you'll reach yet another hub, but this time you'll have to explore to get the keys, the doors are there but there's not a key in sight. The keys are all in interesting scenarios, the hardest for me was the lava one since there's no way out if you fall in the deep lava. Plus those "fill-in" chaingunners are quite distracting. There's a secret teleporter there that leads to another key chamber, but I don't see much use of it since I already got the other key first. After passing through the hub I wind up in another outside place with lots of monsters. Again, plenty of hitscanners, so I found the invisibility actually useful. Bit of a switchhunt in this outdoorsy area, then we exit the goldmine via some railroad cart or something. Pretty much similar to the last level in terms of gameplay.

Old Post 03-10-14 04:52 #
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Demonologist
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Map10 - “Goldmine”
And here we have something resembling non-linearity of sorts, though a strange one: drop down into the water to the right of the bridge (to the left is the secret armor and a dead end) and you will be able to change the order of things, but be prepared to face severe ammo starvation perfectly capable to make you regret your decision. Why is this way included is beyond me, you will need all 3 keys to exit level anyway, and conventional path is much more friendly.
Not much gold in here, really, I can only name one secret area filled with it. And regarding secret areas - you'd better search for a way to get that rocket launcher. Also worth mentioning that ssg is pretty far from the start, so much shotgunning is required. Not very fun, but eh, this mapset often seems to sacrifice fun for the sake of [often questionable] concept.
Yellow key area is a spacey hall filled with lava (pretty interesting location on its own I suppose, but combat scenario in there is quite annoying to be honest), red key offers something like 'blue key lite' from map08, and red key is situated in a nice-looking courtyard with a basin. And when we get all three and pass through colored bars - we arrive at some picturesque settlement with a welcoming committee greeting us happily from various height levels, some parkour is needed in order to get through that area and enter an undergroung tunnel with a railroad cart guarded by our fiery friend, the machinist. Quite a journey.
Gameplay is generic for the most part and there's really nothing different from past encounters, architecture varies between good old corridors (though at least this time they're a bit wider) and more open areas, including outdoor ones. I don't know exactly what should I say to summarize... just an Epic 2 map.

Old Post 03-10-14 08:23 #
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Capellan
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map09
A dull hub-spoke affair with few interesting encounters and some eye-rolling moments (a blind jump into lava while under the arc of fire of two chaingunners for instance). Not a fan.

Old Post 03-10-14 11:39 #
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SteveD
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Map06 - Revived Bones - Kills - 102%, Secrets - 85% - Death Count - Zero

I had a lot going against me in this map. Been sick as hell the last couple weeks, and I'm having trouble scheduling play sessions for times when I'm actually alert and reasonably lucid. So starting this map at 3 AM, or 0300 in real time, was probably not a good idea. And I must admit, I had serious problems on my first run, which I'm not counting as a real run, but suffice to say I got killed 12 times at that first ridiculous Archie trap. And the whole time I was saying, "This is really an easyass fight, except for one thing, I've got no fucking ammo!"

I'm quite fed up with this mapset. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- and again and again, if I continue with this megawad -- I don't like survivalist gameplay. I think it's a bullshit design tactic. I bailed early on Base Ganymede for that very reason. I was outta there after E1M3. I'll continue this mapset a wee bit longer, but I doubt it's going to get better. Sarcophagus was really the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I just about packed it in there.

I think this map is ugly. Corridors upon corridors, and even the bigger rooms are kinda squinchy. There's a lot of switch-hunting, and sometimes the switches are torches or even vases. Ugh. The music is obnoxiously dull, too, and is probably the reason I didn't immediately find the ammo dump Hurricylcone spoke of.

The Archie fight, in between what seemed like miles-long hallways -- an amazingly dull-looking area -- was well-designed to kill players who have no ammo. When I finally survived it and found the ammo dump secret, I decided to test my theory that these fights are easy . . . if you have some fucking ammo. So I opened a saved game from just before the Archie fight, when I hadn't suffered any deaths, went to the ammo stash, and from there the map was easy as hell, and rather dull, IMO. As you can see, the Archies didn't live long enough on my second run to revive many bones.

This reminds me of an email exchange I had back in '96 with, ironically, Matt Williams, author of Epic2A. ;D He said, "With enough ammo, an experienced Doomer can get through just about anything." True dat, though not all experienced Doomers are created equal. I am less equal than many of you, for example.

So far, I definitely prefer Osiris to Epic 2. I am hoping to soon see an end to all these corridors. I guess I'm not cut out for exploring tombs in one map after another.

Bottom line, this map is nasty if you don't find the ammo, and if you do, it's boringly easy. IMO, that means gameplay is not properly balanced, and therefore, the map is not properly designed. As Adam would say, "Not a fan."

Old Post 03-10-14 12:58 #
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scifista42
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MAP09 - Mystery

Highlights:
  • The hub area with stairways, lava pool and keys on pillars looks really impressive when you first enter it.
  • I strongly disapprove the RL trap, after a couple failed attempts I decided to better let it be. Later I've returned there anyway and found the right strategy, which was to quickly shoot the switch to lower bars around me. But that pretty much requires foreknowledge, otherwise pretty much everyone would die.
  • I enjoyed the penultimate big room before an exit, where I had to fight barons while chaingunners kept teleporting in, and the only cover provided were relatively thin pillars.
  • I appreciate the more ways how to hide secrets. Including the ones that require use of automap and jumping into lava pits.

I'm already well used to the style and also new sounds that I no longer even notice them as unnatural (compared to default Doom's). Gameplay still entertains me well. This is an OK map, comparable in quality to the previous one, maybe with less number of "outstanding" moments, but definitely manages to serve its purpose and be a pleasing adventurous experience.

Old Post 03-10-14 15:50 #
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Rook
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Map 10

I enjoyed this map significantly more this time around than the previous time I played it - before, I got very lost, whereas this time it still seems somewhat obtuse, but to nowhere near the same extent. I think the issue is that ultimately, this is a kind of hub map, but the entrances aren't as distinct as they ought to be (or as they were, in the previous map).

That said, there are some very pretty areas including all of the outside ones. I particularly like the yard fight under the big arch, featuring a mancubus designed to make it appear that the big stone face is breathing fire. It's not convincing, but Eternal gets points for trying. The ending is slightly anticlimactic, but we do get to board a train of sorts which reminds me of Blood - although unsurprisingly, Map 11 will not be a moving train level!

Old Post 03-10-14 20:33 #
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Veinen
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Map08: Karnak Temple

This is alright. Doesn't really have any highlight moments but it's consistently decent and enjoyable throughout. The lowering pillars room is pretty funky in a good way, it's very standard combat but something makes it quite appealing to me. The secrets in the bridge-wing are nicely designed and I remember having problems finding the way to the soulsphere in the past but not this time. Finale is pretty good but those respawining Chainers are kind of stupid and sadly we'll see more of that later too.

Map09: Mystery

Ehh, it's decent I guess. Again nothing overly memorable but nothing really bad either. The RL trap is what it is and I did die once due to not remembering where to shoot. I don't really dislike it but I can see why most would since it's admittedly pretty dickish. The penultimate room is indeed pretty fun although not that threatening when all is said and done.

Map10: Goldmine

This is a fine one! Layout mostly consists of corridors, like a mine logically would (though it's not really even a mine...), but it's non-linear and offers multiple ways to advance. Of course you eventually visit every location but freedom or the illusion of it never hurts. I guess the route and the ability to locate secrets means a lot here since you can easily end up in wrong places pretty underequipped if you don't visit the RK area as soon as possible and/or get the RL. But yeah, when I got a good grasp of where to go and what to do it became pretty damn fun. The last AV is quite the asshole from an UV-maxers point of view though since you have pretty much no choice but to run at him, cross your fingers and hope he doesn't take you out heh.

Old Post 03-10-14 21:20 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP08: Karnak Temple
88% kills, 2/6 secrets

I really like the opening image of this one, nice clean lines with a clear blue sky above. Just looks really nice.

This level is pretty dang easy, at least until the final area (and even that isn't too bad thanks to the blur spheres and ability to just run from everything). Not really sold on the music here, it sounds a bit more Asian or Chinese to me than Egyptian. I do like the bridge-building segment.

MAP09: Mystery
99% kills, 2/3 secrets

Hub map! Meh, nothing really special about it. There's a bit inbetween getting the blue key and red key that's a little confusing (no idea why going through the window in the lava room would raise the pillar with the scrollmap on it) but it's not as if there's many other places to go.

I dislike that the secret soulsphere at the end is given to the player in another secret after the end battle in the elevator... in a way, it's punishing the player who discovers the soulsphere from the first secret (since he'll use it before the battle, rather than after, when he can get to 200)

Old Post 03-10-14 22:10 #
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Phobus
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MAP09: Mystery
Good music, although the climax part of it seemed a bit out of place when I was just milling around in areas checking for secrets or backtracking because I wanted to top up my ammo. Aside from the Lost Soul at the start, which felt like a pretty cheap dick move, I rather enjoyed this map. A nice central room with great lava/brick textures and plenty to explore and fights I enjoyed, although no real major events.

MAP10: Goldmine
A very adventurous, ponderous kind of level that has you roaming around the, by now very familiar, ruins of Egypt. It starts out on such a slow boil that it feels like a Knee Deep in the Dead map, but with Egyptian textures. Strong theming, engaging secrets and a barely perceptible creep up in difficulty made for an enjoyable ride. I believe I remember the next map as being one of the sets strongest, so I look forwards to this!

Old Post 03-10-14 22:37 #
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Demon of the Well
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SteveD: You might consider dropping out for a bit and then joining back up in a later map. The 11/12/13 transition probably represents the biggest stylistic 'left turn' in the mapset, but something like 16 or maybe 22 seem like good jumping-off points to me, as well (stay far, far away from 31, heh). I would hate for you to miss the later parts of the WAD on account of the early maps not appealing to you.

Map 10 -- Goldmine - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets
Now, this really is a lot more like a return to the pattern of the maps preceding the first intermission placard, although once again it expands on the style, more in purely quantitative terms than anything. It is a warren of smallish sandstone corridors (and a few geometrically analogous water canals) that stretches from a central focal point out into various key-wings. Interconnectivity of a sort is a prominent feature of the layout, and as such there are several markedly different paths possible through the map, although only a few of the antechambers to the canal are really optional. I think that Phobus' observation that the map feels sort of Knee Deep-ish (particularly in the early going) is rather apt; people often think of interconnectivity as one of KDiTD's defining aspects, but as we saw when the Club played Ultimate DooM a couple of months ago, most of that interconnectivity is only really apparent if the player discovers secrets, with mapflow generally being very linear and straightforward otherwise. It's the same situation in 'Goldmine'--there is a 'standard route', and pretty much all of the major deviations from it involve secret paths, particularly those that teleport the player from one part of the map into the middle of another. As Demonologist observed of the alternate route that sees the player jumping into the canal early on, some of these paths are really only practical for a player coming into the map with some armament besides the standard pistol and 50 bullets, but for the most part most scenarios I can envision should be completable by the average player, whatever their route. In hindsight, I suspect that the interconnectivity we see here is intended more to have a bewildering/disorienting effect than it is to provide a sort of 'choose your own itinerary' flow, which is not a design decision I personally find untoward per se, though I think the effect probably would have come off better if the map were more generally frantic in combat terms.

The combat itself, indeed, is generally pretty subdued, featuring a noticeable skew towards zombies in most of the simplistic incidental combat, for one reason or another. Naturally, most of the biggest battles occur in the setpieces where the keys are found, but none of these is particularly pressing due to some straightforward concession provided to the player, e.g. the yellow skull room is only lightly-staffed, the blue skull courtyard has a high concentration of enemy HP that beams in but is also very large and allows for easy maneuvering, etc. My favorite of these is probably the jumble of scrappy little ruins near the exit; it's fun to grab the blur sphere and tear ass around the area like some quasi-ethereal headless chicken, inciting all sorts of chaos and confusion. The one odd deviation from this general scheme is the surprisingly brutal trap that awaits the player upon teleporting away from the red key room, the collection of point-blank chaingunners and other assorted malcontents representing what is probably the most potentially lethal encounter up to this point in the WAD, probably responsible for its share of ragequits since the WAD's release. That aside, for the most part I think this map is more about presentation or concept--e.g. the reveal of the spacious lava cistern housing the yellow skull, which the player tumbles into out of a dank maze of corridors--than about actually delivering intense encounters, as has been observed by others.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 03-11-14 at 00:46

Old Post 03-11-14 00:39 #
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Getsu Fune
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MAP11: The Tower My Time: 16:17

So you remember the Citadel? No, not that one. I mean MAP05, the final map of the first Epic. Well this is pretty much its younger brother. It's obviously not as expansive but proves tasteful in ways. Heck, the music is the exact same, although rather loud for my taste. That structure you probably saw at the title screen makes a cute appearance here, and inside it is the second part of the map. But to access you got to find a switch somewhere else first. Pray tell, the second part of the map is highly interior and linear, and there's this big area with lots of columns. Reminds me of the Tomb of Ramses level in Serious Sam: The First Encounter (pretend the spiderdemon is an adult arachnoid :D). However, there's quite a few puzzles to be had, like backtracking a bit, shooting a switch, then going back forward to find another one just to progress forward. The combat here is kinda groggy too, as it's corridor shooting until in the big column room, where it becomes hide n' shoot mostly, especially for the spider. A few cool combat ambushes, like the revenant greeting, and the teleporting hitscanners, but I find nothing much. At the top of the stairs, there's a solution in a protrusion to get back outside.

Getting the yellow key and then hitting the switch behind the yellow door behind the building causes hellknights and barons to appear in large numbers. You can ignore them to fight later if you wish because they are an ammo drain mostly. Getting two keys requires some knowledge of surroundings, and then there's the cybie fight. I'm a little uncomfortable about it, but it's really nothing too reckless. Another small puzzle in his room, shoot a hidden switch to get out. And then we're pretty much done with the map. Overall, very cool and nice spiritual successor to the Citadel. I believe there's a BFG9000 here too, but I missed out on it.

Old Post 03-11-14 04:00 #
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Cynical
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Demon of the Well said:
Regarding the asides about other WADs Eternal has made, I was not particularly impressed by either Frozen Time or Voodoo Guns. Don't get me wrong, they are both very striking visually, but like Gravity before them, the combat in them simply isn't very engaging

Surprised you feel that way about Frozen Time. I actually felt like once it gets going (that is, once you make it to that central "open air" castle thing), its combat was a lot more pitched than almost anything in Hell Ground.

32 Inch Nails, admittedly, I didn't give much of a chance. The first map was really ugly and bored me to tears, and I didn't bother playing beyond that.

Anyways, the reason I'm discussing that instead of Epic 2 is because I tried playing map 06, but whenever I try loading it, I get an Egyptian-themed Wolf3D mod with Doom monsters.

But seriously, I think I should probably take DotW's advice and jump onboard at 16. Aside from map 05, what I've seen of this has been bland at best, and really dire a lot of the time.

Old Post 03-11-14 04:44 #
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Demonologist
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Cynical said:
32 Inch Nails, admittedly, I didn't give much of a chance. The first map was really ugly and bored me to tears, and I didn't bother playing beyond that.

I can say that it's pretty much worthless for me, too, but it holds the (in)famous beast of 32nd Dimension (map05), the only one I care about in 32innail. I really think it should've been released separately because it's a major theme breaker even despite staying true to grid limitations, but since it's there - I can't dismiss it.

Cynical said:
But seriously, I think I should probably take DotW's advice and jump onboard at 16.

I'd advise you to hop on a bit earlier, namely on map12. Space theme tends to be much more interesting.

Map11 - “The Tower”
Map05 of original Epic remade under vanilla restrictions. Its presence demonstrates that the general idea of Epic wasn't forgotten by its author completely, so in the end he utilised different tools and used different setting to expand on it. And that's a nice thing, even though it's not exactly what I, personally, would like to see. Just imagine how glorious full 32-level Epic with its Boom features, varied themes and strong aesthetics would be... Eh, dreams, sweet dreams.
Of course this map's scale had to be sacrificed for Vanilla compatibility, so the tower itself is smaller and simplier, number of buildings to visit on surface is drastically decreased and significant portion of a map is taken underground. In all honesty - most encounters in here aren't really memorable. Yes, I can name that spiderdemon which is mostly harmless thanks to columns everywhere (unless you're a maxer/bloodthirsty maniac willing to evaporize everything that lives), several close encounters in traditional tight environmets we all got used to by now; there is also a number of high monster count battles in the open after key grabs, but they're nothing but time and ammo waste (because it's hard to expect something different from battling with homogeneous masses of demons in such a big area where they don't pose any threat unless you're standing still). The tower itself holds more or less memorable confrontation with cyber, his position is moderately threatening. Still - nothing truly difficult.
...And then we finally enter a space shuttle and reach out for the cold stars. Only to return later, still, this is gonna be a long way back.

Old Post 03-11-14 08:46 #
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Crusader No Regret
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MAP10: Goldmine 100% kills, 5/5 secrets, 6 resurrects

Still using ZDoom here. I hold this in higher regard than the previous map. There is a sense of continuity with this map and the next one (10-14 comprise a mini story arc of sorts) which creates bias though. Progression is somewhat more open ended. Doing this from scratch, I gathered some ammo along with chaingun and rocket launcher before making the waterway trek to the red key so I could have backpack SSG earlier. Had forgotten about the ambush upon leaving the room and my first death occurred from it. Most monsters still wait around corners rather than teleport traps though there are a few of those around too in areas that appear empty. There's some hidden goodies in places not tagged as secret which serve as a bit of extra reward for those who search.

Two more deaths in the yellow key lava room. Just sloppy playing here. I get a bit nervous hopping the platforms across and that was without realizing the deep lava is a deathtrap. Oh, and that room demonstrates the issues of cacodemons in large open spaces. There's also an area that shows up there on the computer map that I forgot how to access. Guessing the cacos start there.

The outdoor area impresses with its scope. Three more deaths due to going about things recklessly; it's not that deadly when handled conservatively. There's a strafejump from the entry to an adjacent platform that saves a few seconds for the speedrunner in us. Ammo is plentiful here. I left with a full stock of bullets and shells though my infighting tendencies probably inflate the numbers.

MAP11: The Tower 100% kills, 2/2 secrets, 1 death
There's some benefits for continuous players. The start is easier to survive, bigger weapons are handy to deal with tougher monsters faster, and then there's one teleport trap where about 20 or so weak monsters pour out of a single spot. Perfect for slinging some rockets into.

Surprisingly, I got an exit. The map makes a negative impression early on and it is rough from scratch with chaingunners in strategic locations and the shotgun is guarded with well placed monsters that will punish someone rushing in for it. There's also a long while with only shotgun and chaingun with some high HP monsters on the direct path which aren't easily skipped.

There's some neat ideas present and the gameplay becomes more fun too. The explorer sees a shiny and the ground collapses on the approach. Powering up the rocket also creates a sense of progression. The columns room looks good and adds to the gameplay since it's easy for monsters to flank the player. The spider mastermind also works here for subtle reasons. It's easy enough to not bother with it at all but it guards a megasphere. Newly realized is that it also sits on a teleport destination and leaving it alive completely disables a trap. Some of the zombiemen end up as a threat as they're placed where it's easy to miss their location and they took multiple shots before I found where they were shooting from. The cyber manages to be a threat despite not being very mobile. It's quite easy to catch some splash damage from it.

As for tacking the map from scratch, I relied on infights for clearing the way to the shotgun and armor. The chaingunner perch is a high priority target though on the successful exit, a imp killed one. Used the hellknights instead of my own ammo to wipe out the caco and other nearby monsters before making my way to the other end. Left the hellknights for when I had better weapons when diving underground. There may be a hint for the backpack secret but I spotted an irregularity on the automap first so haven't really looked. Back to the surface, even around 20 hellknights and barons aren't really an issue in an open area with enough ammo. Taking splash damage from my own rocket looks even sillier by comparison. The cyber did some damage but it was the revenants upon exiting the power room that nearly ended the attempt: survived with 8% health. Hey, that megasphere was left behind on purpose for exiting with 200/200. I don't suck so bad as to take over 300 damage on two revenants. The single death? A lone baron. Was at low health in the underground section, got caught on wall trying to dodge, and splat.

Old blooper story: First time I got to the damaging room at the end, I was playing on skill 2. The mercy invulnerability had me thinking there was a 30 second door involved which is not the case.

Last edited by Crusader No Regret on 03-12-14 at 06:01

Old Post 03-11-14 08:53 #
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Capellan
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map10
I thought this was pretty boring until the final courtyard, and the author remains far too fond of cheap tricks like distant chaingunners who challenge auto-aim.

The final courtyard, however, was great fun, especially duking it out at short range with a revvie while on 11 health. The final couple of monsters felt a little unnecessary and weakened the frenetic climax, but this level did at least have one stand out section.

Old Post 03-11-14 10:29 #
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scifista42
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MAP10 - Goldmine

I found this to be a level full of contrasts. Many encounters were overly mild, "campy" and easy-ish like in MAP01 of this megawad, and the corridor-heavy, simple style reminded of that map too. On the other hand, some areas looked pretty good and inspirative and some gameplay situations turned into fun battles keeping me on toes. Obviously the map focuses on nonlinearity and exploration factor, which I really enjoyed. Although not all areas show the same level of "interestingness", the map feels and makes sense as a coherent place. I liked the couple open / outdoor areas. The last one reminded me of a 2D Alladin game from DOS era (no, I don't mean Prince of Persia, I mean another similar game, featuring Alladin) - the environment with sandy floor, tall stone buildings and variously placed enemies looked similar to my memories about that game.

So thanks to the exploration in an interesting environment, I give the map my thumbs up. Good level.

Old Post 03-11-14 21:20 #
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Phobus
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MAP11: The Tower
Epic (and loud) music, fairly large scope both in terms of overall scale and concept and a real furthering of the story. I enjoyed this through and through... Although the floor of the Cyberdemon room being damaging felt decidedly cheap. Now that we're leaving on the Arch Vile's spaceship(! Spaceship!! Spaceship!!! SPACESHIP!!!) we leave the blue skies and baking sand of the ruins of ancient Egypt behind for a while.

Old Post 03-11-14 23:00 #
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Getsu Fune
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MAP12: Alien Ship My Time: 13:09

So we are not in Egypt anymore. Going onboard the capsule where the archie in MAP11 was leads us to an alien ship apparently. A bit of puzzle-solving where a radiation suit is handy to get the power back on before apparently being "scanned" by the ship. The sentries don't approve, but you can easily pass them by once it lowers, and they'll be crushed. Speaking of sentries, here's a custom monster introduced, replacing the SS. A trooper with some partial invisibility, his low health and low power hitscan attack are still nothing because his behaviour remains the same as the regular SS. Though he does showcase some new sounds though, his wake-up sound is "he's over there, I see him" in a rather low alien-like tone. This monster is the mainstay for this map, but doesn't appear much later on in other ones.

Going through the map, I fight these guys without difficulty. The other monsters we all know and love are still present here to offend the player when necessary, particularly through the use of nasty teleport traps. This is probably the first level where something can really sneak up on you for that matter. Watch out for the teleporting troopers when evading the barons at the blue key, for example. Red key is nothing too overly special though. YK is a pretty interesting labyrinth with some teleporter ambushes in front of the player while slowly chipping through those invisible troopers. Overall, the whole part past the beginning through the keys will have some extra areas open where some more monsters can attack. When approaching the YK door, be prepared for another ambush again. Ending has a spiderdemon with these troopers again guarding the exit, but the blue barrier proves a useful shield when fighting the spider.

The exit utilizes an interesting voodoo doll gimmick, the first level in Epic 2 to use one. Basically, when lowering the blue barriers to the exit pad, then touching it, it closes and rises the player up. At the same time, a barrel in a dummy sector is crushed, "pushing" a voodoo doll over an W1 exit level line. Cool way of exiting, but in turn damages our hero, so it's not really the most effective gimmick out there. But I guess it works. Keep in mind many of the later levels in this episode also utilize voodoo gimmicks, not just this one.

Old Post 03-12-14 03:33 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP10: Goldmine
99% kills, 5/5 secrets

Was hoping to get a bit of change of scenery based off the name, but aside from one (secret) area having what appears to be gold coins on the ground, nothing gold mine-ish about this one. Three keys guard the last area, but grabbing them seems to still be a somewhat linear path (though I might be wrong on this, but several areas were closed off at first). I do really like being able to access the level from a couple different directions at the start. Took a surprisingly high amount of damage in the final outdoor area, just not playing careful enough I suppose.

Old Post 03-12-14 04:08 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 11 -- The Tower - 104% Kills / 100% Secrets
A callback to the finale of the original Epic (and also to the final map of Baker's Dozen), this is one of those deceptive maps that seems huge but is actually relatively compact. The flow seems as 'epic' as it does because it reuses space efficiently; there are really only two main areas--the flat, open sandbar containing the Tower itself, and the strange many-pillared subterranean temple hall, fronticed by a miniaturized depiction of the four seated kings of Abu Simbel (which I suppose might theoretically mean the nearby body of water is Lake Nasser, but of course it's generally not meet to read too much into this stuff while playing Doom). The goal in the underground temple is to open up the small shrine containing the key that ultimately lets us into the tower, the 'keep' of which is our ultimate goal. Though it turns out not to be a keep at all....

Combat in this map is generally low-stress while nevertheless featuring a fairly high bodycount and a lot of bloodshed, and so it does feel like a good conclusion to the episode and this first arc of the Epic II narrative. My favorite part is the underground temple that comprises the first half of the map. After a bit more roundabout corridor crawling, this sojourn underground eventually sees us playing a volant game of cat/mouse with packs of smallfry in a spacious, dimly-lit Moria-esque pillared hall. The spiderdemon at the center of the forest of pillars is really not very effective, but it's sort of a boobytrap in disguise--if you kill it (which you need to do if you want that megasphere), a large horde of zombies and other miscreants eventually begin to teleport in on the spot where it stood, which doesn't seem so bad until the arch-vile shows up right in the middle of the mountain of corpses. Assuming you don't panic it's still not much of a problem, but a satisfying encounter nonetheless.

Returning to the surface and beginning to fiddle with the tower sees two large regiments of infernal gentry teleporting in at different spots on the sandbar. There's ample rocket/cell ammo and a BFG to use to decimate these with ease, but it's just as easy to leave them behind and enter the tower. If you're playing under classic settings I recommend thinning out the more northerly group, though, lest they happen to infinitely-tall you into a stalemate when you have to leap for the red skull. Actually fighting/navigating in the tower is quite simple, though Eternal has the courtesy to beam in a few lightweights now and again to keep things from getting too dry. The one real flaw I'd point out about the entire map is the incredibly strange design decision that has the floor of the cyberdemon's room--which just looks like an ordinary floor, mind you--set to damaging...I'm not sure if this was some ploy to prompt the player to climb up on the blue pylons in order to see the tiny switch that opens the door back up, but if so, there must've been about a million more elegant ways that could've been handled....like, not closing the door in the first place, since it's the mural-switch that's really important. Anyway, despite that bit of nonsense, it's still a fun episode-ending map.

Map 12 -- Alien Ship - 100% Kills / 80% Secrets
...and now for something completely different. No more sand, no more sun, no more tombs....still a fair bit of gloom, though, at least early on. To add to the general bewilderment engendered by the WAD's stark 180 in theme, map 12 opens up with an essentially monster-free puzzle segment, where we have the duration of a single radsuit in order to figure out a way to get out of the docking bay and onto the main ship before being parboiled on a molecular level by the harmful exhaust from the pod that brought us here. The last bit of this introductory segment involves a fairly convincing 'security scan' that presents a puzzle of its own. Not unlike getting stuck in the cyberdemon room from the previous map for no apparent reason, this second puzzle is perhaps a bit too nonsensical for its own good--the way out is to fire into one of the opaque midtex openings on the sides of the scan-pad, killing the hitscanner there and eventually hitting an impact switch that lets you out (the other unseen enemies get crushed to death soon afterwards).

After that bit of dubiously obtuse tomfoolery, the map becomes a simple corridor-crawl not unlike those that characterized the earliest maps in the WAD. Cynical quipped earlier that he thought map 06 seemed like Wolf3D; he spoke too soon, as the meat of this map really does seem like something straight out of Laz Rojas' WolfenDooM playbook, or rather his AstroStein playbook, I should say--lots of neat, orderly corridors (sometimes veined with air ducts) that empty into discrete cubicle-style rooms. Of course, the new enemy--some kind of diminutive alien footsoldier with a stealth camo module--is greatly responsible for this overall impression: despite the reskin and new sounds, it is still very much the SS Nazi. It takes a while to get weapons in this map (and some of them are either secret or easy to miss), and so you're liable to find yourself doing a lot of wetwork with just the handgun--it's not a problem seeing as how these aliens are pushovers, but it's not fun, either. Eventually the standard bestiary is gradually reintroduced, and the map even ends with another spiderdemon, although it is once again largely ineffective--though there's not much good cover, the thing starts so far away from you that it's easy to use the plasma rifle to roast it alive before it can do any real harm (although it's probably much more problematic if you didn't explore thoroughly enough to find the rifle, granted). For the most part, though, combat in this map is quite underwhelming, to say the least--more of an issue now that we're on map 12, rather than map 01 or 02 or the like.

I suppose the new theme compensates for this very dry gameplay somewhat, and it's true that there's a couple of more interesting rooms/encounters once the standard Doom II monsters start reappearing (e.g. the platforming in the yellow key area or the close-quarters battle with successive waves of demons behind the blue door), but overall this is easily one of the weakest maps in the set, and it was for that reason that I sort of suggested players not feeling engaged by the earlier maps try to jump in around the middle of episode 2, rather than here at the start. Incidentally, the next map is positively bizarre and very interesting as a result, but in gameplay terms I suspect it's going to leave a few players feeling baffled....

Old Post 03-12-14 06:09 #
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Demonologist
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Map12 - “Alien Ship”
So, a major break in theme department giving us a loud sigh of relief. 32 Egypt-themed maps would be too much.
And now we're in deep space. This level is clearly inspired by Daedalus: Alien Defense and uses many resources from it (including the music track). It also introduces stealth troopers from Obituary as a more authentic replacement for SS Nazis. Not like they act differently, but at least now they don't look ridiculous and can even catch you by surprise in darker environments thanks to their partial invisibility. This map is fairly large, with lots of exploration and backtracking, also showing some interesting gimmicks like biological scan. The gameplay may be far from great indeed, but I think this can be excused by the overall novelty of this setting, and the atmosphere is pretty deep. So overall - not a great map in itself, but good episode opener nevertheless. And the ending guarded by another brainiac promises something unusual in the map to come...


Hurricyclone said:
"he's over there, I see him"

Taken from Eternal Doom, heh.

Old Post 03-12-14 07:16 #
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