Sunlust is one of those WADs that aims to be ultra-challenging and hardcore. And like most of those WADs, Sunlust relies entirely on a handful of cheap tricks and gimmicks that very quickly grow old. Many of these maps are spent simply taking out your BFG and holding down the fire button, as the maps often eschew complex encounters based around level design in favour of simply throwing massive hordes of enemies at you. (Naturally, a large number of these hordes consist entirely of revenants.) When Sunlust isn't doing this, it's fond of warping in or opening monster closets directly behind you, trapping you in cramped arenas, and placing hitscanners in cheap locations and overabundance. The problem isn't simply the cheapness of these "challenges" but also their predictability—coupled with unpredictability, ironically enough. You know when the game is going to do something stupid, but you never know exactly what, necessitating trial-and-error to find out where you should be standing at any given time/area, whether or not you need to quickly clear out an encounter or if you can take your time.
Incidentally: Though the map recommends UV only for "ubermensch doom-gods", lower difficulties change almost nothing about how the maps play. You're still having massive hordes throw themselves at you(r BFG), with the only differences being that the hordes are a bit smaller and some of them are replaced with weaker enemies. It's nothing but a difference of "I have to dodge 30 revenant rockets" vs. "I have to dodge 40 revenant rockets".
While it didn't start terribly, Sunlust quickly devolved into a joyless experience, where almost every major fight turns into the same repetitive chore and victory felt less like a result of skill and strategy than "okay, now I know what BS happens here". It's a perfect example of how trying to design a WAD around "challenge!" often overlooks making encounters and levels interesting, unique, or just plain fun.
Conceptually this differs little if at all from Favillesco Episode 1: Genuflected on Io, very Romeroesque techbases, but the maps are longer and more intricate, while the enemy count is higher, including more high-tiers, resulting in what i felt to be a more immersive experience.
This is classic dooming at its finest and purest, and for that reason alone some will dislike it from the start, as the set does not adhere to trends or what are considered to be modern standards. But for people who appreciate such a thing, this is among the best Episode-replacements that i have played. The levels are long, routinely it took me over 35 minutes to max them on blind run with all the secrets (and a few eluded me), and highly non-linear. There will be lots of backtracking, and using the automap is often the key in finding a route to where you need to go next, as it's not as simple as going to the general direxion.
Despite this, i had no problems with progression, and only time i was at all irritated by this was the level E2M5, as i had to run through nukage without a suit a few times to solve the last secrets and find the secret exit, before which i had had to run around the level a couple of times trying to figure things out. But generally it won't take more than a minute to get where you want to go, despite the length of the maps.
Also, the layouts are ingenious, what little inconvenience they engender, is a small price to pay for the experience.
My first death (of two) came in E2M4, in a darkened room as Cacodemons rose from below while i was platforming on top of pillars, with nukage below - an effective moment of exceptionally gloomy ambience. The same map had another similar room, where Barons and Cacodemons attacked me in darkness while i was platforming on a narrow walkaway across nukage. Thus, E2M4 is my favourite map of this WAD.
i disagree with those who say the secrets are 'easy' - in a sense they are, but that's only because of experience, as they are wholly traditional in style. And there are a few more cryptic ones, also.
The last level, as in Fav Ep 1, was annoying (though perhaps a bit less so this time), and i admit i did not finish it. It would've taken a few more tries and some luck, as far as i could ascertain, and to me it wasn't worth it. Nothing classical about it, as far as i can tell.
Very sophisticated Episode 2 replacement, and i would highly recommended this apparently under-appreciated WAD to anyone who likes original Doom. (Played through on HMP.)
Woah! Look at that, an ASS that's quite good! 12 maps made quickly and with a free design, but that apparently fell into a general design inspired by my favorite episode: Thy Flesh Consumed. With a demonically gothic aesthetic, full of green marble and lots of lava, these maps prove that speed is not detrimental to good visual design. Fast and tight, the combat is intense and requires good attention, with a few bullshit maps that make us suffer a few ''jokes.'' On the upside, this is probably the most solid ASS there is in terms of consistency and quality among the first 13. Jimmy, Matt Tropiano and AD_79 are mapping wizards; their maps are fantastic, fun, flow brillantly and are just goddamn fun to play. I'd give this set a 4 if it weren't for the crappy ending, but the rest: chefs kiss. Especially recommended if you're a fan of the style and aesthetic of Thy Flesh Consumed. The Romero and McGee ink is felt quite greatly in some of these maps.
A nice ASS. Would play it again.
ASS so good, I had to put 4 pics of my favorite areas.