Are you up for a brutal, non stop challenge through detailed, but bland environments? The Secret Energy doesn't let up, so it's either a low health slaughter map or a speed runner's dream to get from switch to switch, all while enemies constantly spawn in with each button press. There's little health for such meaty enemies and even on the easiest difficulty, it's a slog to kill them all. The place is so big and centralized, you might miss where you need to go next. No arrows, the switches are around corners and walls inside of rooms that may or may not have opened.
It feels like a punishing experience from the first room. It fills with imps, then pinkies, then flying enemies, then revenants and a cyber demon. The entire map is like that. Enter a room and it will flood in via waves. Each wave opens up something new and you need to find where that new thing is. Is it a switch on a wall? Is it a switch inside of a pillar? Did a door just open up? Are you supposed to go back into the main corridors of the complex? At least on my first play through, I felt there was a poor flow to the level.
The game has its detail, but detail with greens, browns, a few blue wires across the floors, perhaps to guide you to the next area. It was all lost on me and blurred together into a jumble. While the structures of each new room was different, it's the color scheme and darkness that stayed the same.
Give it a try. There is something redeemable in here for those hardcore enough to endure the first room, let alone the entire map.
Believe the hype, Sand Chain is indeed a terrible map. Not terrible like oh this must be someone's first map or designed by a team of kinder gardeners and their friend in second grade who can use DoomBuilder, I'm talking hall of mirror walls, coupled with the fact you can go through the game's exit switches. The map is short and sweet, which only adds to how terrible it is. The level is a single hallway with... get this... a bend! Oh stay with me here... and then after that bend, there is a bank of switches! Yeah, that's it. The level isn't meant for Nightmare, but it should become everyone's first accomplishment of, "I can beat this level on nightmare."
I suppose in an artistic way, the hall of mirror affect on all walls is to disorient the player, so they miss the big twist at the end. Thus costing speed runners valuable seconds on their first play through. The big twist being the bend. Other than that, there are plenty of shotgun shells, shotgun troopers and health to ensure you make it to the end of this brutal and rigorous test of endurance over the course of 5 - 30 seconds.
This is the level that has become famous, because everyone needs to play it themselves to add their two cents of "it's crap" to the pile of reviews that will no doubt entice more people to play this game. It's a gorgeous display of everything wrong without the annoyance of having to play it for longer than a full minute. Complete with someone from an aol email to spice up it's true 1995 feel... despite being made in 2009.
* slow clap * You've done it. You've found a new twist on terrible.
I guess this was meant to be a serious wad, just using a trick to make the C-Demon hard to see. I don't think it was a deliberate troll of the style that caught on later, eg Sand Chain and the Terry wads. IMHO it nowhere near holds the record for "worst wad ever" (even if it did once) so it is now "over-rated" in that respect. There are wads where you die quicker (eg "Stupid Benchmark #1"), and wads with worse graphics( eg "Sand Chain"). TBH, after all the hype I was a bit disappointed, I was expecting worse LoL.
Doomers these days have varying levels of patience. I know I have some of the worst when it comes to quickly finishing areas and moving on, which is why I prefer shorter levels most of the time. this particular map, a Maximum Doom map by the way, is one that completely tested my patience.
this is 8 levels long, from E1M1 to E1M8, and is sort of a proto-slaughtermap episode replacement. every map here has at least 200 monsters, and the layouts of each say that they are compact in size. so the action would be pretty good and fun right?
while it's fun to kill all these enemies, this is honestly horribly balanced. on the first level, you only really get a shotgun and a chaingun, and it took me a while to get just one armor too. is that the worst part? I can actually enjoy the challenge of such a gameplay scenario so no. what's problematic about each and every level in this wad is that when you're not killing enemies, you're just sort of fucking around. in other words, you're switch hunting. but this is the worst kind due to lifts that have zero indications that they are lifts, as well as switches that have zero indication of what they did. not to mention some walls are triggers, when they really don't have any indication that they really do anything. oh yes, and mandatory secrets and backtracking. I would like the combat more if it gave more weapons too, not one plasma gun or BFG in sight, and all that backtracking just...fucking...headdesk. there's no reliable way to even speedrun this, to the point where I wonder if the author ever realized that other's would tire the fuck out over it. "these are the easy ones" this has all the hallmarks of a bad Maximum Doom map.
it's amazing how varied my Maximum Doom experience is so far. there are some really fun maps, mediocre but quick maps, and some long and nasty ones. I'm honestly trying to avoid reviewing any maps from there but i'll make an exception for this particular one since it's just unbelievably bad.