I struggle to replay this one for a long time. I didn't remember much of this so its was like a first time.
Strain is a different beast to anything from the same time. It uses dehacked to great extents adding new enemies and changing the behaviour of some of the weapons.
Well, first episode is pretty solid, with neat maps and really awesome ideas as the authors of the wad start to unfold their dehacked trickery all around.
Second episode its not that good, with some cryptic maps with not so clear progression, but well overall.
Third episode has some maps like the second, but they are a little more fleshed out and with a lot better visuals also.
The end map was somewhat anticlimatic, but anyway, a really great experience through and through.
Now what i don't liked much is that most ports have to use the Strain Fix to properly been able to play this mapset, and the authors of that fix, don't know why, changed the sky textures of the different episodes.
Its nothing really bad, but well, it strange that they didn't respected the authors original choice.
Dystopya 3 maps really stands out from the mapset, or maybe i remember them more as i have fresh memories from a recent replay.
The mood of the megawad is greatly achieved through the use of neat textures and map tricks. I really miss that there are no fake 3D bridges anywhere in the megawad, and i really love them when they are given good use.
The story of is somewhat mixed bag: theres a new invasion, you are the only marine that survived to the Invasion of earth, and they government made some experiments with you. Now you are a bloodthirsty machine that only wants the destruction of the invaders.
The text screens during game are strange, with a snarky humor and poking fun of some common tropes. Not bad, but i would prefer something more serious as the megawad has really cool details everywhere, like revisiting zones and fully developed reactor areas, etc. making the storytelling side of the maps really awesome to follow. But again, some maps has poor progression hindering the experience a little.
Anyway, this is something that needs to be played and replayed, just to see those dehacked tricks and for theose awesome good maps. I had better memories of this than what i actually play, so i was expecting something more and better, but thats my problem, the megawad is amazing as it is.
This mapper did create good stuff, pazuzu, diabolos and odyssey. This is way, way below these WADs. I am the first reviewer to mention massive (but massive) HOMs on MAP10! 2 stars for:
- awesome grey blocks area in motion in the middle of MAP08
- some occasional decent moments, I guess MAP03 is fine, MAP04 is okayish.
- visually it is not bad for 1996.
But come on. One motif is: "press switch A to lower a lift, press switch B that opens a door somewhere far, but press it a bit later, just to get in time to the lift, not too early as the door will shut". After that door you often have a wall of monsters, so sometimes you retreat and repeat. This motif is used over and over and over again. You also experience cramped mazy hallways quite a lot and lots of damaging floors. Some of these damaging floors are used for extra spice during combat, but most of them are there to make you think faster about the puzzle solution :) It is not easy for me to pick the worst map, MAP05, 07 and 09 set the bar quite high. And it is me who is writing this, I enjoy cleim20, odessas, some cryptic stuff, but I just can't stand >80% of this creation.
Another day, another stolen map.
E2M1 of IMMLEV is a ripoff of ARENA, a tutorial WAD David Bruni designed and wrote detailed tutorials for in the 3D Alchemy book. Walbert's edit of it was so incompetent that four times out of five it will crash vanilla seconds into the level with a "P_CrossSubsector" error. Crispy and prboom-plus crash every time.
Oddly enough, Choco loads the map without complaints but you get stuck early on due to the "author" apparently using a paper bag over the head as a map-editing tool.
The second map is largely a barebones crate maze. A secret door next to the first key leads to an unmarked exit that dumps you on the stock secret level. Too bad, as the third level finally shows a glimpse of promise, albeit somewhat marred by HOM and mislabeled key doors. This, too, is apt to an abrupt end with another unmarked exit switch.