Despite the browns and grays that are prominent in this megaWAD, I found it to be fun. I also found it to be quite the challenge. The first map gives you a taste of what to expect in terms of enemy encounters. The author makes good use of mid-tier enemies to apply pressure on the player. Monster count for most of the maps barely breaks the 150 mark but, as said before, the use of mostly mid-tier enemies puts pressure on the player. I also like how the megaWAD handles level progression. Most of the levels you go through consist of caves, cities, islands, and tech bases in space. In fact, there's only one real Hell-like level and even it's within the confines of the moon base you fight through in maps 21 - 30.
About the only gripes I have with this megaWAD are with regards to maps 32, 29, and 30. I know the text file and map 31 give warnings about map 32 but there really should be some kind of alternate exit in map 32 instead of trapping you in place if you don't pass one of the puzzles. I wasn't a fan of how close quarters the IoS fight was in map 29, especially since it can get cramped quickly with monster spawns. Finally, the randomization of what keys spawn during your escape in map 30 isn't fun either. 10 minutes seems like plenty of time but between navigating the vent system (again) without light goggles and dealing with mid-tier enemies, that 10 minutes can get eaten up really quick.
Overall, it's still a fun megaWAD. I'd recommend at least giving it a shot.
Played on UV, GLBoom+
This is a very decent map for its era, but is not without its flaws. Plenty of enemies and traps, but more than enough health, armour and ammo to deal with them. The trickiest bits are the section near the beginning, where a couple of the chaingunners appeared to be able to shoot through solid barriers, and an 'infinitely tall' imp can cause problems, and the encounter with a couple of archviles later on, which needs to be dealt with promptly and effectively.
The lyrically-related puzzles are an interesting element and work pretty well. The elevator device near the end is clumsy though - it takes an eternity to go up and down, and the situations it engenders are predictable and tame.
If you want to experience a more challenging and polished map by this author, try his later Hidden Mountain Factory wad.
Around 65/100 for this level though.
I can't in all conscience not give Sunlust 5 stars.
This was my first run through, I'm late to the party but don't have as much time for Doom nowadays. But if something like this were released every week, I'd probably never play any other game again.
I've gotten so used to playing such great maps and megawads created by this community that I can honestly say commercial games routinely feel lacklustre in comparison. And these are free - the best things in life truly are.
Sunlust isn't perfect. I dislike the glut of killed-to-end maps in the late teens and twenties - I think once an episode is enough to rebuild from a pistol start, especially when most of the weapons are given to you anew quite quickly due to the difficulty. I do get it though - the mappers want that BFG back at times, to force you to do it the hard way. I personally don't like too many maps that prevent you backtracking for health or armor that you save for later. Some of the later maps are, in my opinion, a bit too hard, and a bit too hit-switch-for-slaughter, too soon. Some of them are only average for design and visual appeal and I dropped below 60fps in places with a relatively fast CPU.
These, though, are minor niggles in context. This is a great mapset, and in particular one of, if not the best map 30s I've ever played. Map 30s are usually so constrained by the need to have a demon spitter - it's just not a very good final boss and we've seen every variation on a demon spitter map under the sun now. Far better to do a grand set piece finale with a four figure monster count - and that's what we get here. The final arena when the lost souls spawn above the main battle is visually one of the most impressive experiences I can remember in years of playing thousands of wads. It's not just the final arena - the entire map has a deeply impressive and imposing ambience and deceptively simple yet awesome architecture. It was a fitting end to a great set.
Too many good maps to state them all. I guess a special mention to map 13 - I love the flow and feel of this one, and it has a banging track. The music is very good throughout, and feels tailored to a lot of the maps. They modified one of the PSX Doom tracks for map30 and it is just perfect.
4.9/5 then - I wish they'd do it all over again...