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Scythe 2. Version 2

   (417 reviews)
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This is the sequel to my old megawad "Scythe". Expect better looking and bigger levels. unfortunately, the last 3 levels are missing, because I am so lazy and I haven't been satisfied with my attempts at making map28. I _might_ release the last 3 maps some time in the future, but do not count on it. (Update: the last 3 maps are now completed!)


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Hypпotiк

  

Love the atmosphere immensly.

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Rathori

  

The same formula as the first Scythe, with slaughter in later maps. The jungle episode (maps 21-25) is worth suffering through, because the final 5 levels are pretty cool and are worth playing. Save often, because a lot of traps are impossible to survive without foreknowledge.

 

Honorable mention: map 21. Berserk-centered and tight on resources, quite well-balanced as well. Map 26 is fun too, another, harder, berserk-oriented map.

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TheNoob_Gamer

·

  

Again, nice theme selection. Nice level design. Nice gameplay flow, but somehow turn into a slaughterfest in the end. Nice music selection. Even shittier hidden secrets, so again, 4/5.

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seed

· Edited by Agent6

  

And thus Scythe 2 endeth, played through PrBoom+ 2.5.1.5 on HMP difficulty. Been a while since the last time I finished a megawad and especially wrote a review, but here it is at last. And what better way is there to start 2019?

 

What a journey it was, it's almost sad when you remember it's over. So, what can I say about it? Well as I do with all my reviews we'll first take a look at what it is and what it introduces. Scythe 2 is a 32-level megawad and the sequel of the popular megawad made by Erik Alm centered around fun, skillful, and engaging combat. It comes with a new background menu, new textures, new music, and new enemies, namely a tougher, pink, flying Baron of Hell who fires Mancubi fireballs and Revenant rockets, and a very fast, deadly, but weak marine equipped with a Plasma Rifle, a difference from the original which did not introduce new enemies.

 

Scythe 2 follows the philosophy of the original Scythe, that of skillful but fun and engaging combat without descending into the pits of frustration. The levels have a more modern look, are larger, more detailed, and also explore more styles and themes than the original did. It starts with a few medieval-looking levels and gradually progresses to Egyptian ones a la Epic, techbases, cavernous as well as natural ones in the vein of Plutonia, and eventually culminates into hellish levels with a tough MAP30 consisting of over 700 enemies, no traditional Icon of Sin boss battle or new enemies reserved specifically for it. The slow exploration of various themes and styles contributes to the immersion and narrative, giving the player a sense of purpose and logic to the progression as opposed to merely visiting a bunch of locations which do not connect with each other in any way, apart from being designed by the same author and bundled into the same package. The overall atmosphere and experience is also greatly enhanced by the new, very creative soundtrack, there are also much more new tracks in Scythe 2 than there were in the original. The quiet and mysterious maps are even more mysterious and the more combat intense ones more epic thanks to it. The difficulty increases nicely in steps, with a few notable exceptions where it spikes a bit in order to build anticipation or lay the the groundwork for the upcoming episode or map, ranging from fairly easy to difficult, slaughter-esque in the final episodes.

 

When it comes to the design of the levels, they's not only more variety, but also less experimentation and risk compared to the original. For instance, there are no timed levels in it as opposed to the original which had MAP28 "Run from It" where the player was tasked with escaping and unseen enemy he could not fight. However, it does include suicide exits after a certain number of maps when the theme also changes. Some of them are pretty creative, such as the one seen at the end of MAP25 "Forgotten City" where the player has to kill himself with the Rocket Launcher and let his body slide into the exit, which cannot be reached by normal means as the entrance to it is smaller than the player. Fascinating.

 

The difficulty and balancing. Scythe 2 is definitely harder than its predecessor which is only made more obvious by the limited usage of its new enemies. Easily justifiable as the new Baron and Marine are very deadly. Which one is more dangerous is difficult to say as they both work very different in different surroundings. The Marine might be more easy to kill in open environments since a simple circle-strafing is typically enough to dodge his Plasma, but you might find yourself in trouble in tighter rooms where you may not be able to react quickly enough since he's very fast. He has low health however and usually a good SSG blast kills him. The Baron is especially deadly in tight rooms but depending on their design it's possible to use the environment against him, but he can prove just as problematic in open areas if he's covered by other demons, preventing the player from reaching him or even seeing his projectiles. Keep in mind that he does not appear to have any weaknesses and is tougher than a regular Baron.

 

Despite this, Scythe 2 appears to be more forgiving with its enemy usage and placement than the original. Some traps from the original Scythe were a bit cruel, such as some Revenant ones seen on MAP24 in an area with barely any cover to take from their rockets. It should, however, be noted that I had chosen to play each on different difficulties by taking the author's advice, since he warns people that the levels after MAP20 can be pretty rough. And it's certainly true that some traps can be very deadly if you're not careful and don't expect them, so in these cases trial-and-error is usually the best course of action until and optimal, consistent tactic is found. So, it could perhaps be argued that Scythe 2 is less cruel with its traps despite having some rather difficult ones, but necessarily be easier overall. Also, did you just enter a room with some rather seducing resources and expect something to go down? Then you're right, certain traps are quite predictable. You might not know how exactly you're going to be ambushed, but you most certainly will be. I would say you should trust your instincts. There's also enough ammo so you should never run out of something you need if you pay attention to the game and don't pointlessly waste Plasma for example when something else might've been just as useful and easier to come by.

 

There are some instances where the game seems to troll the player. The best example I can think of is a tunnel in which you find the yellow skull on MAP29 "Dust to Dust". If you decide to go further into the tunnel after picking it up you'll come across a few enemies and a Soulsphere, but the floor is very damaging. Even if you manage to reach it you'll probably waste much of your health on your way back so you're basically gaining nothing from the trip. What you need to do is to rely on an Arch-Vile to make you jump into a fountain seen on the surface (don't worry, there's only one in the whole level, you'll know it when you see it) to pick up a secret Radiation Suit. If you kill the AV before doing so it's best to just come back after picking up the yellow skull when you descend into the tunnels and forget about it, it will most probably not be worth it otherwise.

 

My favorite levels are going to be those which comprise the first Episode, the Fourth, Fifth, MAP16, MAP19, MAP26, MAP27, MAP29, and MAP30. MAP16 "Mr. X" is a pretty interesting concept. It's the first map to feature the Plasma Marines and it acts as a boss. Technically, there are 12 more enemies in the level but they all die mysteriously, and you have to battle only the Marine, having started fresh after a suicide exit from MAP15. It works quite well as an introduction to the new enemy while being a boss level at the same time, and reveals the deadly nature of the Marine. MAP29 on the other hand is a relatively quiet level which sets the mood for the final battle that is to take place on the upcoming map.

 

Just like with the original all maps play well and since its design is more modern it has aged wonderfully. It's fun, it's tough, it's fair, it's atmospheric, it's Erik, you have everything you need. My only problem would be the recurring afterlife motif. It makes a lot of sense for the later part but doesn't quite tie with the earlier one since you also explore some techbase levels, and you die in order to access them. Afterlife in techbases? I don't know how I feel about that, and yet, it might make sense if you look at it as a struggle in a seemingly never-ending nightmare where demons follow you wherever you go, the living shall not rest but neither shall the dead, doomed to haunt all sorts of places, many of which familiar, only to see them twisted into something different from what you remember by the same forces you keep fighting. Fight for eternity to finally be free.

 

And thus the review endeth. A classic worthy of the title which everyone should play. It's the same Scythe formula but better, expanded, and more modern, an improvement in all aspects without making the original look outdated or irrelevant. It's easy to see how Scythe became the foundation for many modern wads with its formula and acted as a source of inspiration for many modders. They offer much but not at the expense of the overall experience, as in, making navigation difficult, progression cryptic or very confusing with no real sense of direction, or be unnecessarily difficult, which are all problems I have with both past and present stuff. Totally recommended.

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RonLivingston

  

Me when I was 13 is when I first played the wad, I remember playing this wad on skulltag/zandronum on cooperative mode with some players 13 years ago

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Gaia74

  

i enjoy this wad as a child, which in years has not happened to me with other good videogames

 

I loved it, excellent maps, excellent music, high difficulty but nice for me, I enjoyed it

 

the only thing that I do not like is that they killed you every time a new episode begins, because it ruins the progression, but even so, it managed to be excellent

 

beautiful megawad recommended

 

Gaia74

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Figgy McSquiggins

  

I was loving it, had a fair bit of challenge. Every fight really put you to the test. Excellent map design, too. You clearly worked hard on it, and that is not lost on me. That being said, as soon as it hit whispering winds, I instantly hated it. It just devolved into finding one of 20 invincibility power ups, and spamming the bfg. Took all the fun out of it when you're backed into a corner against 100 barons, 100 revenants, 100 cacos, 5 cyberdemons, 600 imps, 250 zombie gunners, a spider mastermind, and 20 arch-viles that revive the fuckers, and all you can do is spray the bfg and hope invincibilty doesn't run out.

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Nems

  

Scythe 2 is already a vast improvement over the first Scythe in that it doesn't have a bullshit timed level like Scythe's map 28. However, the over-reliance on death exits to make the start of each "episode" artificially harder really ruins the progression for me. It doesn't feel fair. As such, I can only give this three stars. It's still better than the first Scythe though but not by much.

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Squiddington

  

Was the end of map15 even playtested? Couldn't hide in a single area to take any of the revenants and mancubi out easily without either one of them fucking me over almost instantly. The BFG didn't even help. Had to cheat it to win. It's a shame because this wad was pretty good up until then.

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Killer5

  

The following 'review' is mostly me describing my experience when playing through this wad initially. So lots of it is simply a rambling description of my experience on maps I find notable to discuss. Generally if I enjoyed a map I don't really have much to say about it.

 

Played through uv/pistol starts/no saves. I was debating on whether or not to take when Scythe 2 was made into account but I decided to put it in the same bin as the newer wads I have played so take that into consideration when reading.

 

Very overrated wad imo. Some of the episodes are quite dull and possess very annoying design decisions. My focus will be primarily on episodes 2, 4, and 5 (the other episodes really didn't bother me and I consider them the high points of the wad).

 

 

Episode 2:

Many of these maps are incredibly simple with no real threat what-so-ever. They look cool.. but a map's looks/atmosphere mean nothing if the map plays super straight forward and has no chance of killing the player. Some maps that come to mind are:

- Map07: Dead simple clone. Forgettable map. I think there is a reason why Experiencing Nirvana's Map07 is also Dead Simple.

 

- Map08: Normal incidental combat map which possesses 2 areas (really only 1 fight) which can possibly kill the player: 1.) There is a switch which simply spawns revs in close proximity around the player. So if the player doesn't react the player dies. I am always at odds which whether or not I like traps like this. I came to the conclusion that if I can simply beat the trap without issue if I know it is there then all the trap is is an attempt at a quick kill of the player. This trap falls into the absolutely no threat category if you know it is coming category so this trap is bad imo (I am simply tested on whether or not I can kill a few revs). 2.) There is a cyb that appears at the end with some manc snipers. This is without a doubt the most interesting part of the map.. and it occurs at the very end. Which means the player needs to just run around the map for a few minutes and get rewarded with a sort-of-threatening encounter. Overall a pretty uneventful map. Looks nice though.

 

- Map09: Incredibly dull map. Run into a temple -> hit switch -> literally sit in one spot spamming rockets -> go into exit. No player should ever die on this map. Again.. map looks nice.. but this map has very forgettable gameplay.

 

- Map10: This map is interesting because the final room has a lethal trap (thank god something engaging), but unfortunately everything prior to this trap is again incredibly dull. Hey some hitscan and a rev? Oh a manc on its own? Playing saveless means that if I die at the end I judge a map based on whether or not I would play through the map a second time. The final encounter is definitely not rewarding enough what-so-ever to wade through the first 90% of the map again. So this entire map is basically the final bit as far as engaging gameplay. Very unfortunate because once again the map looks great and has a great atmosphere.

 

 

Episode 4:

This episode starts out great but ends up ending on a very low note. Primarily, because once again, the maps aren't engaging what-so-ever.

Map16: One of the high points of the set. Very cool introduction of the plasma marine. Not much to say except that this map made a single monster incredibly threatening. Which is cool.

 

Map17: An incredibly sloggy map void of any threat. Once the player gets past the initial teletrap of hitscan/revs/pinkys/imps

the map is pretty much over. The player is forced to fight groups of monsters such as: a few PEs, lone baron, a small group of mancs, a giant group of monsters trapped on the other side of a 3d bridge (target practice since they cannot get close to the player), and.. a lone cyb (out in the open even). There is one interesting bit where there is a rev horde the player needs to rocket down. Avoiding lots of rev rockets is great because the player can die incredibly quick if the player can't dodge rev rockets.. which is a skill one can learn through practice. Because practice takes all rng out this makes fighting this large group of revs without taking damage a high skill fight which means it is fun in my book. The map looks interesting though.. textures are mostly brown ash but the map is quite wide open so the scale of the map looks great.. but this cannot save the map because the gameplay is non-threatening for almost all of the map.

 

Map20: Great looking map yet again.. but the gameplay is incredibly lack-luster. The player starts out having to kill a rev and some imps.. then the player can simply run by some mancs -> kill pinkys -> escape. Once the player escapes the start of the map the slog begins. The entire start of this map is nothing but turret monsters and an incredibly ineffective cacoswarm (honestly with all the room the player has to move these cacos must have been a joke group of monsters). So.. the player can simply run by everything and yeah.. shoot rockets -> kill cacos and revs out in the open -> ..that's it. Getting the bfg is kind of interesting? The player needs to kill a large group of revs in a sort of tight space with rockets.. so that is interesting I guess.. but otherwise gameplay consists of a few small groups of revs and 2 viles where the map provides all the cover in the world. Nothing very interesting yet... The high point of the map comes after getting the bfg. After the bfg a group of 4 cybs spawn which are interesting to kill because of the way the ground is constructed in this map (has a lot of uneven/bumpy sections). I had some trouble finding good angles to 2-shot the cybs so I needed to use my head and wait for good positioning. Good stuff. Too bad the good stuff ends as quickly as it began.. the player then needs to shoot 4 groups of monsters which are trapped in 4 separate rooms. So no threat what-so-ever. Worse after pressing each switch guarded by each group of monsters the player is greeted with a group of chaingunners and revs each time (each group of chaingunners/revs is as nonthreatening as the last). I enjoyed the bfg bit at the very end though. Killing a large group of plasma marines followed by a pair of cybs is fun.

 

 

Episode 5:

Maps 21/22:

Both of these maps I found interesting simply because I got to punch a lot of stuff. Playing without saves however.. they take so long to get to anything threatening that if I was to die (died at the end of map22 due to plasma marines) I have absolutely no interest in playing them again. So these maps are basically a test of.. can you kill small groups of monsters without taking damage with your fists (at least how I played them to make them more interesting to myself). I passed the test on both maps until I finally got to a threatening group of plasma marines. I can't justify playing a non-engaging map for another 10 minutes just to get to the plasma marines yet again so I skipped the end of map22. Map22 reminds me a lot of map10. I liked one part.. but found the entire beginning section kind of meh thanks to nonthreatening gameplay.

 

Map23:

I have played this map previously.. however with saves (I got to have fun slamming into groups of monsters with bfg at all times). My opinion changed playing without saves. You can camp outside the area of pretty much every group of monsters and shoot shit at them from safety. Incredibly disappointed in this map after playing without saves. I found myself becoming annoyed when getting to the bk area and decided to push through the groups of revs and hks with bfg.. so that was fun. Pretty much the rest of the map is.. snipe monsters and one instance of: can you bfg viles. Very lame map overall. Probably fun to speedrun but I have decided that I can't judge maps based on if I think they are fun to run. No deaths on this one.. as previously stated.. very disappointed.

 

Map24:

Much better than map23 but.. there are some fights which are complete filler. When moving up to the ysk area it was fun shooting all the revs with rockets.. but then you are rewarded with 2 absolutely pointless fights: 1.) after killing a cyb there is a group of revs just trapped in a cage.. no threat 2.) in the area where the switch to lower the ysk is located you just need to spam bfg at a wall of crap (which you are given cover from immediately). I assume the barons which spawned on the floor are supposed to make the player move.. but if the player can use the bfg then there is literally no threat here. This map finally begins when going for the rsk. Spawning the group of viles in that larger arena was cool.. and bfg'ing through revs and chaingunners later was interesting.. cool section of the map. Spawning all of the shit at once (hitting all of the key switches) was also interesting. So at least the map ended on a high note. This is definitely my favorite map of the episode.

 

 

Imo Scythe 2 is at its best when you are playing through episodes 1 and 3. These maps all felt like everything belonged where it was placed.. and there weren't any difficulty spikes which I can remember (each map lead up to areas present later each map just fine and the maps weren't dull like episode 2). Episode 6 (primarily maps 26, 28, and 30) saved Scythe 2 for me. I don't really have much to say about them except that I had fun and had to worry about dying more than a few times. So Scythe 2 gets 3 stars from me.

 

I am happy to hear that this wad inspired a lot of the authors whose maps I really enjoy playing today (same with Sunder because my review of that would probably be similar to this review). But I am very happy that well known authors now-a-days have improved on basically everything that Scythe 2 is doing. I have Bloody Rust to play when I want threatening.. more incidental maps.. and I have stuff like *some* d-d maps, most Danne maps, most Ribbiks maps, etc when I want harder maps to play. So for that I thank Scythe 2.. but I probably won't ever be playing Scythe 2 again. So.. Scythe 2 gets 3 stars from me.

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The_SloVinator

  

Played on UV.

 

The Good

Gorgeous map design & details. Challenging as hell & most importantly, fun.

No Icon of Sin, which is a huge pain relief.

My favorite part of this megawad is traveling through dimensions which made it even better.

 

The Bad

Accessing Map 32 requires you to grab all three keys on Map 31 in 15 seconds, I believe, while getting blasted by Evil Marines. As far as I'm concerned, I've not seen a single recorded demo or video on the net of someone actually doing it.

Problem is RNG. You have to luck out on this one.

It's an interesting design on paper but in practice, it's impossible. I've tried many times & failed.

 

Solution

Either NOCLIP or start Map 32 with pistol only. Or try legit & pull your hair out out of frustration.

 

In summation

Absolutely recommended but if you're going for a legit run for 100 % everything, including the secret levels & playing continuously then I'm afraid you'll struggle at Map 31.

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Gallic00

  

Very nice maps with lots of fun fights.  New monsters are brutal and add a nice touch.  The levels are also quite larger than the original scythe.

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Anidrex_1009

  

Scythe is one of my fav Megawads of all time.

 

Scythe 2 did not dissapoint me.

 

Nice map desing, well monster and item placement. REALLY cool wad overrall. I still love it, doesnt matter how old these wads will get, they are fantastic.

 

Just like the first one, the are some trully challenging maps. But quite fun.

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tempdecal.wad

· Edited by tempdecal.wad

  

I love it.

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valkiriforce

  

Fun megawad for the most part, but I hated 24 to the end. I played on HNTR and was still plagued by a number of unfair scenarios. Didn't seem at all like there was much difference in difficulty at that point.

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galileo31dos01

· Edited by galileo31dos01

  

Done on HMP/continuous/saves

 

Very good megawad. Very cool textures, music and atmosphere. I liked the concept of dividing the pwad into 6 episodes, with each episode in a different ambient. Also starting every episode with only the pistol and the weak fist really made me improve my skills, such as using the berserk for revenants and others.

 

Gameplay is more or less like its prequel, the 1-9 maps are rather easy, the 10-20 increase difficulty, and 21-30 varies in massacre and slaughter. I started to die repeatedly from map 23, and a few maps became really tedious and exhausting, mainly because of monster placement (specifically map 27, ugh...). The new enemies are the afrit, which is a cool flying baron but really dangerous, a boss-tier killer, maybe too much health. And the evil marine, I hated these ones, too speedy, annoying as f... 

 

In general, secrets were nice. I couldn't for the life of me figure the 12-second secret exit to map 32, no matter what I did I was always late by one or two seconds, definitely something I disliked. 

 

So overall I'll give this a 8/10 

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MARVELLER

  

This and the first Scythe have always been my go to when trying out gameplay mods. An absolute classic without a doubt.

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DAZZER

  

It's the Best MegaWAD ever created ! Scythe 2 had such an Influence into Design, Monster and Item Placement that alot of Mappers still try to reach the Level Erik Alm had set over ten years ago ! If you haven't already... play this Masterpiece ! Erik Alm/5

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42PercentHealth

  

My all-time favorite WAD I've ever played. :-) I like the variation in theme every 5 maps. Architecture and map layout is mostly brilliant, but some are just good. The last 2 episodes are brutally difficult, but that's okay... I won't give a bad rating to a WAD just because it is intended for players more skilled than myself.

 

The only maps I actually have a complaint about are maps 23 and 31. 23 is too linear, and contains a "point of no return," after which you cannot go back to re-stock on ammo (there's no point going back for health -- I promise you it will be gone!). I do not like points of no return in Doom maps. Map 31 kinda spoils the atmosphere of map 16 if you play it first. Besides, it's just not that clever... it doesn't really bring anything new to the table.

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sandmanbrasil

  
Erik Alm is a genius. rs

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Northern_fluff_bunny

  
Up until the green jungle levels this was awesome as shit and really enjoyable. It was difficult but didn't feel uninspired or tedious. Saddly, things change. Latter levels are full of revenants and 'slaughter' gameplay. Tons of revenants, running around in circles and in general just tedious as fuck. Some call this wad legendary. I call it okay, mainly because I think consistency is part of good design with any level set and this certainly isnt consistent.

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Combinebobnt

  
Powerful gameplay similar to the first, now with great detail and consistent themes!

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NuMetalManiak

· Edited by NuMetalManiak

  

it should be pretty obvious why Scythe 2 is everything a sequel wad should be: bigger, better, more fun, and more themed. Scythe 2 is the shining example of a multi-themed mapset, showcasing six themes across six "episodes" and the gameplay that is done in each episode increases, perhaps dramatically at times. even the music is perfectly placed in each respective level, with gothic music in the first episode, followed by more atmospheric tunes in later ones.

 

of course, back then, we were all eager to see MAP28 and beyond, as the early version of this wad ended at MAP27, which Alm eventually got off to releasing, pulling off a fantastic setting of hell dealing with hordes of minions in MAP28, a much more starved map in MAP29, and the culmination of the entire set in MAP30. that's not leaving out many memorable maps like MAP26 and MAP27 as well, the start of the slaughter in MAP23, the annoying secret level in MAP31 and the Warrens'ified Scythe MAP01 in MAP32. you can't deny Scythe 2 its greatness when it comes to its many maps, and there's something fun to be had in each of them.

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dantos

  
legit

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