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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 elend · Posted
      Awesome small map set focusing on tiny corridors and exploring huge interconnected maps. I really, really enjoyed traversing the different maps and although they are very, very crammed and chock full of nooks and crannies, I rarely got really lost. Sure, once I got a key, I had to find that specific red / blue / yellow door again, but as with any exploration focused games, it is best to remember where important locations are in a map.   What really amazed me was the look of the maps. This is the perfect amount of vanilla detail, imho. Every room looks detailed without being too crammy or confusing. All maps have a very concise look and clear sight lines, which makes navigation really easy and overally just fun. Monster placement also makes good use of all the crammed corridors, the windows, the corners, etc. by placing monsters in a way, that they more often than not surprise you from behind a corner. It's best to slowly and methodically proceed through those bases and take your time. This is not run and gun Doom.   Absolutely gorgeous in all aspects, amazing works.
    • By P41R47 · Posted
      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.
    • By vdgg · Posted
      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.
    • By chlef · Posted
      Not the prettiest maps, but very nice to play. Old school goodness.  
    • By chlef · Posted
      Yeah, this is what Doom is supposed to be. Basic and enjoyable, no gimmicks or stupid sound/graphic mods. Just pure Doom. This is a keeper.
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