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Escape from the Catacombs

   (2 reviews)

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About This File

Here it is: my debut in the art of creating levels for FPS video games. Or rather, my first real attempt at doing so, where I genuinely try to make a playable level rather than to mess around with the editor. So, this is the time where I have to provide a story for the WAD or something, right? Well, if that's so...

You used to be a cunning mercenary who never resisted the urge to protect his homeworld from demons or whatever sorcery. However, citizens if the land thought you were a dangerous criminal, and so they decided to incarcerate you in a dark dungeon. They decided to lock you up in a chamber in an underground catacomb, beneath an old military base. You had spent a few months in solitary confinement, being fed a meal made of a chicken three times a day by the guard. But one day, the guard didn't open the cell door to deliver your lunch for whatever reason. This felt rather strange, so you wondered what's happening. Suddenly, a ghastly figure entered your room with murderous intent. You dodged his attacks and karate chopped his head off. Then you had realised that the compound has been overrun by evil, and it's your duty to escape and save the day once again. You picked the sorcerer's staff and decided to set out.

....That works. While it's true that it's my first map, I did my best to make it appear decent and iron out any flaws. I had to use some magic tricks to do what I want, which might make you see a void sometimes, but there's not much I can do when mapping in the vanilla map format. Besides, there aren't many Heretic maps being made these days, so I don't have a lot of competition. Nonetheless, I hope you will have fun! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Who knows, maybe I will create more maps for other games in the future.


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baja blast rd.

· Edited by rdwpa

  

Escape from the Catacombs, KUBA18i's debut, is an e1m1 replacement for Heretic using stock assets.


The visuals are rough and primitive, but the author's handling of concept and contrast places it above the usual beginner "everything is STARTAN" exercise. Like an oldschool adventure game, each area has its own look and identity: among others, there is a vast dungeon chamber, a sawtooth network of caves, and an outdoor mini-town. It's hard to call much of this elegant or compelling, but it holds clear hints of promise for future work.  

 

The combat swings all over the place. A ruthless saberclaw trap early had me geared for a rare Heretic combat-puzzle map, but from that apex the action settles into a sustained lower pitch. While this works when exploration is the focus, it falters when the monsters get buff. The finale tosses out three maulotaurs that pose little threat in their spacious environment, and even with two tomes of power, the battle is protracted and toothless. A single maulotaur might have provided the same climax.

 

A bright spot in the balancing is how the ample items, found both freely and in a sloppy bunch of secrets, are crucial to making efficient headway. I chucked one of those magical eggs through a small doorway to morph a few ophidians into chickens, avoiding dull clearance of one of Heretic's tankiest monsters. The core gameplay isn't without delights either. In the underground caves, a savvy player can dismantle another saberclaw ambush with a cluster of explosive pods. And at one point, I had a laugh watching iron liches -- which I saved for the end because of tight ammo -- hurl ophidians shockingly high with their tornadoes. 

 

Overall, Escape from the Catacombs is a respectable debut that Heretic fiends might enjoy.  

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D'Craven.0ne

  

Pretty basic, but fun. Ammo might be on the low side at the start - more specifically after the switch behind the yellow door. Once you manage to get a foothold in the underground section it gets better. The surface section is decent, although you can cheese most of the action by standing infront doors and continuously opening and closing them (causing monsters to infight).

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  • File Reviews

    • By Obsidian · Posted
      This is a bit of an interesting one to revisit for me: Whispers of Satan was a mapset I played fairly early in my mapping career and it's influenced my approach to level construction and visual design more than I initially realized. At the time I ran out of steam around MAP22, but recently I decided to take another stab at it and finish all the levels. Which I did! Having done so, these are my thoughts.   Gotta start with the big one: Whispers of Satan is a damn good-looking mapset. Excellent texture usage and attention to detail were big draws for me when I first played this years ago and I ended up mimicking it a lot in my own work: to some degree I still do, honestly. Maps like MAP10, MAP16 and MAP28 stand out as particularly good examples of this school of design, with all the detailing work coming together to craft an excellent sense of place. This is bolstered by the custom soundtrack, which has some absolute bangers in it (in my decidedly unmusical opinion :P).   I also gotta shout out the fact that Paul and Kristian undeniably had fun putting this together, as can be evidenced by the silly little easter eggs and gags that are present throughout. There's the secret and super secret maps of course, but you can also spot a little bit of silliness in the main lineup and it's a touch I appreciate in the way that it gives a mapset life and charm. Again, it's something I was inspired by in my early mapping career and you can thank WoS for any gaff or joke you find in my own maps.   There is however an elephant in the room that I have to address and that is the map design itself. Other reviewers have pointed out the excessive symmetry that plagues a lot of the map architecture, but there is also a general sense of formula that can wear on you as you progress through the megawad: by the time you're in the final third of the main block of maps, you can distinctly see them falling into the same gameplay pattern and it starts chafing in a big way. MAP25 and MAP29 are two big culprits in my eyes, but there are plenty of early maps that follow the same formula and get a pass simply because of their placement in the megawad and (relatedly) the length of those experiences. This formulaic approach also creeps into the gameplay and monster usage and serves to make the latter half of the megawad something of a slog to get through, which explains why I didn't progress past MAP22 all those years ago.   I ain't gonna say that it doesn't deserve its Cacoward or anything though: I can appreciate the work that went into creating Whispers of Satan and the influence it had on what came after. It definitely has its flaws and as a gameplay experience it doesn't really hold up, but I can still admire it as a piece of Dooming history and I wouldn't be the mapper I am today if it didn't exist.
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      Take a shot at this editor on dosbox and it's pretty impressive for such a old editor! Pretty easy and competent program, looks like a ancient version of the most popular Doom Builder editor.
    • By Maribo · Posted
      Heaven, with a blue coat of paint.
    • By JudgeDeadd · Posted
      A 10-minute long map with fairly unremarkable gameplay. As is the case with many old maps, its main strength is the visual variety of the different locations. Still, there's not that much in terms of exploration or branching paths; a good part of the map is just going from room to room and shooting at the anemic groups of monsters. Not terrible, but not a classic. 
    • By Dexiaz · Posted
      A surprisingly good map (especially for the date of release), which is actually a regular Doom 1 map with spicy content in kind of "secret" areas. The funny thing is the difficulty due to the readme info. Play it on UV, today it's a pretty easy map for Doom players.
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