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Escape from the Catacombs

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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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rdwpa

· 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 Denim Destroyer · Posted
      Back To Hell Episode 1 is a great example of bad first impressions. The first few four levels consist of odd progression choices that only make sense if you are familiar with playing Doom levels. For example map01 has you enter a room to press a switch that raises bars in the previous room granting access to a switch that raises bars in the first room. I will admit that I almost dropped the wad but I figured I could get through the levels fast, plus the early ones aren't bad just alright. After map04 the level quality increases immensely and I eventually found myself enjoying what I almost discarded. With that said the levels themselves are neither good or bad and if a the mapmakers ever decide to come back to this I recommend touching up the early levels.
    • By spd7693 · Posted
      The wad left me with mixed feelings after playing it. Some maps were outstanding. Some maps not so. Overall, I expected a lot more from this pack. Particularly the middle maps.    I'm delighted with the challenge and delighted even is too small of a word to explain it. I simply loved it. It was a great test for my skill and an awesome adventure. I wouldn't need to try to drop from UV at all since I managed to complete this one on this level. The combat was decent and in all maps the player is given a fair fight, just with a few miniscule exceptions. So, what's the problem of me not giving 5? Well, here it is.    Yes, I said the fights are fair and decent. But there is a difference with let's say Hell Revealed. In Alien Vendetta the combat goes: "Here are your monsters, find your way to defeat them and go on." In Hell Revealed it goes: "Here are your monsters, choose your way to defeat them and go on." The difference is much noticeable. True, the fights were fair, but there is a little quirk - in over half of the battles with high-tier monsters you were forced to strictly fight them with the BFG. I do not swing this way, sorry. I prefer duelling those monsters, not BFG-bashing them. Especially cyberdemons. I was denied at least 12 duels with cyberdemons due to their placement or the general way the set piece worked, which made the cyberdemon a priority kill. I simply was denied the opportunity to enjoy the fighting to its fullest. In Hell Revealed I could amuse myself with the maps however I wanted. There is one exception though. In HR in map 30 the 4 monsters in one volley way of the Icon Of Sin got the better of me. In AV the map is much bigger and I didn't feel it at all, so I could esily beat the map normally. In fact, I wouldn't have known the monsters were spawned in fours if I hadn't read it. 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I often am criticised of my rooms being bland and being just a straight shape. Well, at least I mark my locked doors and locked switches, as well as my exits. Also, the visuals on a few maps didn't impress me at all. Well, why does it impress you then while I get brought down? Seems like most of the criticizm towards me results in me not creating maps for years past or that I'm not a speedrunner of the early 2000s. If this is the quality you want, well, I'd prefer a good fight in a blase room than a bad fight in a well decorated room. And as for the problem "you don't see the exit until you're at the exit", well, how can I see the exit if there is no indication for an exit until you flip the switch or pass a seemingly normal teleporter? Subjectivism in action.    But there is a flip side. All in all, I played this wad for multiple reasons. To analyze the difficulty curve, to see if I can beat it on UV, to take inspirations and to take some map making models. The best for the latter were the maps by @Andy Johnsen (if it really is the Danish speedrunner behind this name.) I kinda like the majority of the maps created by Norse people, particularly the other big Dane Jens Nielsen. Johnsen definitely did the best job of all people who created maps and my comments from above of course address neither of his works. Definitely a player and a mapper I can learn a lot from. All in all, if we exclude the cases where some things made me scream "I can do better than that", I do have a lot to take under consideration. Especially Andy's maps. And especially... my favorite map.    You guessed it. My favorite map turned out to be map 29 Firewalk With Me. No other level ever feels more Hell than this! Visuals, combat, monster placement to the end! Best map I have ever played, most enjoyable too. Even the horde of revenants - my least favorite monster - didn't bother me at all. In fact my comment on the map was "In order to like this map you have to be a nerd. And be proud of it." Well, I consider myself a nerd in some ways. Especially while dancing around cyberdemon rockets. This map gave me so many opportunities for that as well. Other maps I want to highlight - 23, 13 (I believe this was the one with the cyberdemon in the crate room), 18, 26, 27 and 11. I have no words to describe them all. Definitely these are just another reason to play AV. I want to add in map 32 as well which also gives the player a fair fight all in all despite the rough start.    Wow... That's some essay of a review. But something that makes me wonder - should I keep on making new maps or not? After all, if the quality I should aim for is the quality of the greatest AV maps, then is this for me at all?    I was considering 5 stars, but a few disappointments can't allow me to. If there were more cyberdemons available for taking down with the SSG, I could have given 5. So much potential, but not what I expected. But does this deserve a sequel? Definitely! 
    • By DoomShark · Posted
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    • By Denim Destroyer · Posted
      Doom 2 has left the community with an impression of what city maps are like. Unconnected boxy rooms that do not flow into each other and lack any coherent artistic themes due to the games limited texture set. City of Doom continues this idea and drags it out over the course of eleven maps. In this level set you will find all of the aforementioned ideas of what a city level could be in addition to large open rooms that tend to plague amateur maps. City of Doom has not one single redeeming factor this making it impossible for me to recommend this wad. Had I played this level set when it was new I imagine my opinion would be better, but better city maps have come out in the last twenty years I recommend you check those out instead.
    • By Spie812 · Posted
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