Done on HMP/continuous/saves.
This is a very nice megawad dating from last 90s. It consists of moderately short maps, starting with simple compact tech/rocky layouts, extending to bigger open areas, from a forest to hellish environments as far as progression goes. In combination with standard Doom aesthetics there's a set of new good-looking and odd textures, some of them stood out to me like the suffering baron of hell, grey skulls in the icy map, the rotating spawn cube, the vines in the forest map, and the sleeping babies, that one was creepy. I must add, that lava texture is gorgeous, and the way it was used not only on the floor but behind enemies in darkness, very neat imo. There are some special effects, in earlier maps you can hear former humans dying behind walls, I guess that simulates other marines dying in combat, it basically tells the story while you're playing, really cool. And, custom sounds, for your marine and monsters, the imp's new sound was obnoxious, I liked the zombies new low voices though. Honestly, visuals and also music are the standouts, not that combat is bad but that depends on your expectations if you have never heard of this wad before.
And well, this is a megawad for relaxing combat, consistent difficulty and moderate progression. I'd say it's on par with Icarus and Evilution, probably similar to other wads of the same style, in terms of monster placement. Sounds easy? Well it is, technically, maybe much easier, but it all depends on your skills. There's not a lack of challenge, but there aren't any gotcha! moments if you exclude a few surprise archviles or some sneaky shotgunners. You usually get your weapons and ammo early, health and armor supplies aplenty, it really isn't tricky to maintain yourself far from death. Plus, monster count rarely exceeds 100, with them being mostly low-tiers. Don't be surprised if you find a BFG and don't have anything worth to use it lol.
When it comes to secrets, usually they are behind walls with a different or misaligned texture. They are generally very easy to spot and the rewards can be too very high.
Not sure which are my favourite maps, but the ones from map 10 are what I liked the most. Well map 10 is a case of nice spooky atmosphere but a feel of loneliness, because it's dark and big yet almost no monsters. The IoS map, with the boss called TCHERNOBOG, was surprisingly entertaining somehow, even if it was a bit anticlimatic before I got to his heart.
So, as an easy set, I like how it played. Probably not appealing to skilled players looking for extreme carnage or multiple traps, but if you are new to Doom and/or love vanilla gameplay, this is a candidate not to ignore. For what it provides, I consider it a success, personally talking, and so my rate is 9/10.
For a first map this is pretty impressive. I could definitely identify the influence of No Rest for the Living, a mapset I really enjoy and would love to see more maps in the vein of. My main complaint for the map is that - until near the ending - pretty much all of the monsters are placed in front of the player and the gameplay consists of simply moving forwards and clearing out what's in front of you. The combat picks up slightly near the end, with the fight just after the blue key door (of the Hell Knight, along with a Revenant that teleports in just as you're getting started) is the highlight.
The layout is fine, with progression naturally looping from key pick-ups to their corresponding doors. The most exciting part of the progression is dropping down into a nukage pit near the end of the map to make your way to the blue key, although - and again I have to mention the limited gameplay here - it feels like the mapper doesn't take advantage of the player's vulnerable position when they're down in the nukage as there isn't enough exciting gameplay to raise the tension.
Aside from those complaints, I think it's pretty good! The map is quite well-made from a technical standpoint and I found the visuals to be decent enough. Wasn't a fan of the music though, unfortunately. I'd love to see the mapper play around with the visual style of No Rest for the Living and give us some more maps, with spicier gameplay and perhaps a little more space in which to play around in and explore - I definitely think this wad shows a lot of promise!
we need more good Ultimate Doom wads. this was nice, plasma gun combat at first, when it opens up, it's chaotically good. the three keys weren't that hard to figure out, although the puzzle for the red key stands out the most. some nice and sharp (yes) ideas overall.