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The Artifact for DOOM II

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You've been to hell and back, now it's MILLER time! Unfortunately the officer you pounded earlier is now your new CO. Guess who gets the next S**T detail? While boarding the drop ship, you find out some strange goings-on are happening at a UAC facility in the Andes mountains. It appears that what recently happened on Mars is happening here. People rising from the dead, demons and monsters gnawing the living. Not good!

You are to meet some undercover operatives at the facility who will lead you to a secret base nearby (something about having to climb a waterfall and navigate an underground river and some sewers). You hear a rumor about the discovery of an alien artifact that supposedly started this whole mess. You also hear a story about a UAC backed raid by a company of space marines that failed miserably. The one lone survivor kept babbling about "blowing up a mountain, though not the way we intended." He died before he could explain what he meant.

The drop ship doors open, and you hit the ground running. Great! An entire company of veteran spacers gets wiped out, and they send you in alone with a pistol, just because you did it before.

A reception party is waiting for you. Unfortunately, THIS reception party is not the undercover operatives you were to meet! AMBUSH!


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NuMetalManiak

  

there is a lot to this map, but not a lot of good to see. the layouts are bland and make players go just about everywhere. on MAP01 you can actually lock yourself from some secrets, as well as some items. combat is fine enough though. MAP02 has damaging water and some invisible walls to pass through, and can actually be done quickly enough. MAP03 tries to use the self-referencing sector trick as well as a few other ones to make it interesting, but it actually isn't well done in execution. also the Icon of Sin really sucks for this map. yep, for a 90's wad, it's big, but not really great.

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YouAreTheDemons

  
Megamur is right, this thing has aged poorly.

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Megamur

  
The way the levels are interconnected is pretty cool, where you can see parts of the other maps from windows and such, and can even revisit part of levels you completed. The massive scale and complexity (for the time) is something to behold, too, and limited supplies make combat tough. However, it starts confusing and gets worse, culminating in the awful Map03, which is a headache-inducing teleporter maze/invisible bridge combo. Artifact has aged poorly. 2/5

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Martin

  
Utter crap, most unfair Icon of Sin battle ever made

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Guest

  
Totally damaged wad (It looks damged, because of the graphics)! Nothing fits together! 2/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Really enjoyed this:)

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Certainly has some difficult sequences including tons of hitscanners time and again. But if you can overlook some of the more frustrating parts like this, you may enjoy this early gigantic, three-part level. This was also one of the first WADs I'd ever played, so it holds memories first getting into this WAD making community. ~vf

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Guest

Unknown date

  
pretty cool map, a classic 3.5/5 - PerOxyd

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Unknown date

  
Just might be the best thing to come out of '94. The levels are huge and filled with puzzles and secrets. Map01 even has multiple paths to the exit. The connected areas between levels add a lot of personality and the fights are really challenging for the era. Map03 was kind of disappointing, but still atmospheric. Make sure you read the text file before playing. 4.5/5

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Unknown date

  
Awesome. Kept me busy for a while. :) 5/5

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Guest

Unknown date

  
Don't forget to read the designer's notes before playing this one. God damn what a fight.

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Unknown date

  
a little too hrd for me on UV put it's a good one for sure. 4/5

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Unknown date

  
i cant beat it i keep going back to the thrurd level and its starting to suck.

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Unknown date

  
I liek how doom 3/3.5 used this same storyline.Essentiall y.

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Unknown date

  
I'd say for 1995 is quite complex and has some good ideas but also a lot of confusion and stuff that I hate. Secret walls upon secret walls where sometimes they have the same texture, too many buttons/panels that do something which sometimes can be fun but sometimes when it's needed to progress not. 3.5/5 - Optimus

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  • File Reviews

    • By NuMetalManiak · Posted
      an excellent continuation of Shadows of Destiny, felt very much like a WSJ set in how it played, very difficult but fun.
    • By galileo31dos01 · Posted
      Done on UV/continuous/saves.   This is a fine story-telling megawad. Aesthetically, I don't have much to complain, the new textures, while not being the best looking, succeed in their context, and I was more fond of the second episode (newer maps) where I noticed an advance in terms of visuals. Tons of eye candies, such as frozen or burning marines, waving flags, boxes on false conveyors, portraits of monsters, and much more. All these little details are rarely seen in other wads, one just doesn't see a machine that produces cacodemons every day, that's one the funniest things I've ever seen in a Doom wad. About light variation, the author played a lot with darkness, most if not all the maps have various sections where it's quite dark to see what's going on. This can be a disadvantage against enemies, particularly hitscanners, caution is suggested in these cases, or gamma correction. However, darkness in caves was visually pleasing, personally speaking, and you'll probably deal with it better than the poor marines that hold the candles. The music selection is generally cool, but some midis are way too loud.    On a gameplay side, unless you check the release date, this could totally pass as a wad from the 90s. What I mean is, there's clearly a focus on adventure+action, and while I'm not very familiar with old FPS games, this felt at times like playing a total conversion. Your objective is to punish the scientist for bringing hell into earth, so this guy is the new enemy, which you'll meet at many points and will teleport out of the place upon killing him. The combat is mostly incidental, a great portion are hitscanners of all sizes, plus a few traps here and there, either with monsters or things. The thing is the pistol starts, more often you'll start with shotgunners or chaingunners in front of you, which you'll have to trade guns with first, something very common in old wads. It's not always easy to find important resources, like armor or blur spheres, and ranged weapons usage is limited overall. I had no issues with grinding through tanky monsters with only hitscan weapons, but that may not be suitable for other people. About the weapons, I mostly liked the flamethrower and crossbow (plasma rifle and rocket launcher respectively), the AK47 was cool too, but the sound was kinda annoying at times. Double shotguns were awkward to use, due to the sprite frames being mirrored shotguns. Last but not least, the flamegrenades, these weren't as bad as others implied, I found them powerful, much like rockets but faster and effective at close range, perhaps they should have been way more potent, to one-shot barons or archviles for example, given they occupy the seventh slot... Anyway, the maps are built so progression goes on par with the story, there's linearity above all, but an interesting side of it is how the layouts lead the player to previously explored territories, nothing about going from one extreme to the other, except one or two maps. The rest is to recognize the switches and doors, which aren't always so obvious.   The secrets are very important, like I said before, when there are tons of hitscanners, the best shield is a blur sphere. Unfortunately, it's hard to spot a single secret in this mapset. Some are hidden behind random non-hinted walls, others via crossing certain linedefs, which then have you backtracking all the way to the start. A few maps have unreachable sectors marked as secrets for whatever reason. Whatever, no favourite maps this time, since I liked and disliked them all pretty much the same way.    Overall, not too exciting, or recommended to everyone. I had fun probably because of playing on continuous, which made the starts more bearable against hitscan attrition. So, if anything I said above sounds good for you then try it. My rate is 6/10. 
    • By Meril · Posted
      Design and archiecture - wow! But gameplay is a bit worse. Map is large and confusing. Cyberdemon in dungeon part is in my opinion imposible, becouse you need to go back there, and then he waits in front of elevator... Minor issue in room next to exit door, if you get in there and don't have key, you are stucked. Difficulty is HARD. I had problem to finish it in HMP. Overall: Good visuals, gameplay ok, but with minor issues, good 1995 wad!
    • By Walter confetti · Posted
      A really extremely useful little wad patcher from the 90s, still using it for compiling many wads in one single file, works great for dosbox, it not works on more modern "dos" versions, like windows prompt command. A must in for everyone!
    • By Agent6 · Posted
      Another classic megawad has been finished.   Since it's obviously going to be compared with Alien Vendetta, one of the first things I noticed during the progression is that it's pretty well balanced, there's no surprise levels where the difficulty spikes, it's consistent from start to finish. It has aged well, perhaps even a tad better than AV, but there isn't really anything remarkable about the layout or the texturing of the levels, and as expected the gameplay is the focus which, for the majority of Hell Revealed, is solid. However, there are a map or two which have mediocre gameplay, most notably MAP18 Hard Attack. The problem of this map are the ill designed enemy encounters, which take place in a few cramped spaces at the beginning, and the focal point of the map relies on an extremely poor kind of infighting. You have to climb a wall using an elevator, and the said wall is full of Revenants, Hell Knights, and Barons. The most efficient and economical method of passing this area seems to be allowing the Cyberdemon to take care of the enemies who come down when you activate the elevator, but takes a lot of time, not to mention that there are a few waves of enemies, at least one when you need to reach a room, and another one after you return from it. There are also 4 Cyberdemons in a room with a switch who keep teleporting and occasionally fire a rocket at you. At least it's a rather short level which looks decent at the very least, but these are the only qualities of the level...   Either way, with the exception of MAP18 there aren't any other poorly designed levels, all the others are fine and fun enough, save for, perhaps, a few rooms here and there that are almost completely dark in MAP26 and MAP29. MAP26 also features ghost Imps and an intriguing design, seemingly taking place somewhere in space, but extra care is advised here since loads of enemies are present and the encounters themselves are rather brutal. However, the usage of the previously mentioned ghost Imps is not very good. In fact, Icarus did a better job with them in a map which used ghost enemies for almost its entirety. Here, they're little more than an annoyance. They don't add much to the experience and also feel out of place, an attempt at adding something more unique and unexpected that ultimately doesn't pay off.   The levels are more or less created in slaughter style, therefore they all share a couple hundreds of enemies but the numbers don't go into the thousands from what I remember. Some of the encounters are rather merciless, and the authors surely loved using Hell Knights, Barons and especially Arch-Viles, this combination being one of the toughest in Hell Revealed. And towards the end the Cyberdemons make a significant amount of appearances, but shotgunning them was quite fun, and more exciting than Barons. You could also rely on the Rocket Launcher and the BFG to take them out, but the maps don't seem to offer enough ammo so that you can keep using them for almost their entirety, and that's actually a good thing, it wouldn't be fun otherwise. On the other hand, they most certainly offer copious amounts of shotgun shells.   My favorite level is probably going to be MAP28. It's a rather short and straightforward level despite its size, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of the map and the textures used, and it was neither very difficult or easy. This level is followed closely by MAP16 which features lots of browns and red, but not particularly exciting encounters so it doesn't stand out in this respect. Still, I loved its look and overall gameplay nonetheless, there's some really beautiful bloodfalls, although technically there are better maps in the megawad. MAP30 of Hell Revealed is a typical Icon of Sin level, but it's a fitting conclusion to the journey.   While the encounters are generally good, certain enemies are underused, while others are overused. Hell Revealed seems to mostly rely on boss tier or just generally tough enemies. This means that enemies such as the Arachnotrons, Chaingunners, Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys, Spectres, Pinkies, and Imps are encountered much less frequent than Hell Knights, Barons, Revenants, Arch-Viles, Mancubi, and Cyberdemons, with the Pain Elementals and thus Lost Souls on the middle ground. If you hate hitscanners or otherwise just these enemies in general you're probably going to like this, however due to overusing the strongest demons the encounters do become predictable, and on a few occasions boring. Luckily, their placement and usage is still good most of the time so the encounters themselves are still exciting, preventing them from falling into boredom, keeping you focused and careful, yet they could've used more variety. This is something that AV avoided and in consequence, the enemy usage there is slightly superior.   The megawad also introduces a few new music tracks which are combined with the vanilla Doom soundtrack, so it's not a complete replacement. It also features a new red status bar, intermission screen, menu background, ENDOOM screen, and a couple new sky textures which are just gorgeous. However, there are no new sounds or enemies introduced.   As about the difficulty, having played Alien Vendetta as well as Ancient Aliens before (and I must mention that AA tops both AV and Hell Revealed) it wasn't very difficult for me, except for the occasional unforgiving encounters. Despite this, it's certainly not targeted at average players but most certainly can be completed by them, even on UV since it's not nuts, regardless of whether you're going for it blind or not. It also doesn't involve a lot of trial and error, especially compared to the other 2 megawads I've already mentioned, save for MAP24 perhaps, which takes a while to understand the first time you're playing it, but after that it's fine. It's perfect for experienced players but in no way impossible or ridiculously hard for everyone else.   All things considered, it's a solid classic that's definitely worthy of its status. It's fun, challenging, beautiful, but most of all fair, and it has aged pretty well, some of the levels doing this even better than AV, although I consider the latter superior overall, which is why I'm giving Hell Revealed 4/5 stars, while Alien Vendetta got 5/5. And despite my comparisons between the two, I'd very much let them stand on their own and speak for themselves.
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