Totally playable and good looking even today. Be wary that there are time-based switch puzzles here that must be solved in order to progress. MAP28 is also a nightmarish switch hunt in an open, Doom 2 Downtown-like area.
EDIT: It appears Tag 666 doesn't execute properly in some source ports or if complevel is below 3.
Let me get E1M8 out of the way first because it's the most confusing thing I've witnessed in a Doom wad.
So, you got four switches that kill four barons outside of the map, to make two walls & four marble cubes lower. Basically, a special tag 666 situation.
I press all four switches & nothing happens after I wait for awhile. I tried with PrBoom 220.127.116.11., PrBoom 18.104.22.168., GzDoom 2.4.0 & on the latter, only worked once.
I looked up the walkthrough of it & there is nothing I did different from the people playing it but they got it to work somehow. It's very strange. If anyone knows what's up, I'd like to know.
The rest of the wad is alright. Maps are way too lengthy and forgettable & just cluttered with too many enemies.
Traps are fairly challenging & were the best part of the wad.
But all that wasn't worth it for the last map of the wad to crap on me.
Totally not worth a Cacoward 2011.
And thus, Stardate 20x6 is finished.
Stardate 20x6 is a 8-level wad consisting of challenging levels with enemy placements and encounters in the vein of slaughter, with an actual slaughter level featuring 1000 enemies at the end.
The wad is centered around the color purple. This means that a number of textures and effects have been replaced and purple plays a major role in creating the mood and atmosphere of the levels, but isn't overused so that it becomes an annoyance. Besides a new set of textures it also features a new soundtrack similar to the one heard in Sunlust, but with a slightly more emphasis on the atmosphere rather than epicness while still very much keeping you and the action going (Sunlust did include a few "battle" songs which were used in a few levels, and in another megawad as well, I think), a new menu background, and intermission screen. It does not feature new enemies, weapons, or sounds.
Considering these levels have been created by Ribbiks, there are many similarities in terms of gameplay and design with Sunlust. One of the easiest similarities that is immediately noticed is the enemies who are in plain sight in a couple of levels are in a sleeping/unalerted state with their backs to the player. As I assumed in the case of Sunlust, it was likely done in order to allow the player to observe his environment and create a strategy of sorts before jumping into the action. The difficulty is also designed the same way, with UV being reserved for veterans and highly skilled players, while everything else is for less than stellar players. I have completed Stardate on HMP.
The maps are solid, combining challenging gameplay with good architecture and atmosphere, and also include a few ingenious traps which are less cruel than what could be seen in MAP29 of Sunlust (or should I say the Arch-Vile room instead?). The action takes place mostly on various space bases and every now and then a breathtaking sight might catch your attention when you find yourself outside. My favorite level is going to be MAP03, and the trap with a Cyberdemon on one end and Revenants on the opposite was damn fun. It might look threatening at first, but really, all that needs to be done is avoiding potential damage caused by their infighting and taking care of the incoming waves of Imps and Hell Knights until they're done slaughtering each other. As about design flaws, there are some dark rooms in certain levels where it's pretty difficult to navigate. The enemies are always visible so the problem is not that you don't know where you're taking damage from, but rather the room itself because it's so dark it's difficult to see what's in front of you sometimes. I did manage to hurt myself with the RL as well as get killed by a Cyberdemon because I accidentally ran into a wall. I would not advise using that weapon in these rooms. Use the Chaingun, SSG, or Plasma Gun instead, and always be aware of your environment. It's always good to rely on the environment as much as possible to make things more interesting and challenging, after all, many of the later levels also include some really tricky platforming sections, but the use of lighting could be more efficient. For this reason I would definitely not advise using the Software of your port of choice either.
The final level, as previously mentioned, is once again a slaughter map with a couple of nasty but highly creative enemy placements. Ever seen pyramid-like structures with Chaingunners on them? Me neither, until now. No Icon of Sin boss, and once everyone's dead you have to destroy a reactor (or, I think it's a reactor anyway) which ends the journey. A great level, but the existence of the said reactor is a bit questionable considering the location. I think it was just fine without it.
And I think that covers everything. It's short and sweet, go check it out, it's worth your time.