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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

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MAP19: Nice jumpscare at the end, I took me some minutes to find the last switches and then out of nowhere the IoS gets crushed somewhere with the ensuing ear rape. Other than than and for the annoying sniping chaingunners it was a fun map. I liked the hibernated monsters that were used only for decoration.

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Map33: Sacred Dreams

 

I guess this fills the slot because it does't fit in any episode. It's kind of a fine map as long as you know what you're doing. The only bits I didn't like where the cramped maze and, perhaps the obtuse sequence to reach the yellow door. Some barons placements are questionable, particularly to the side where it's all red bricks, getting there first will only absorb your ammo but otherwise the cramped fights serve for a little tension, like the archvile release which can keep on building walls if it's not dispatched asap. The puzzle for the PR was nice, the ending infightings too. 

 

Map16: Dark Cave

 

Let me start by saying, excellent music choice 👍. This is probably the most TNT-ish map so far, in a good way: the caves with curvy corridors, specially the extremely tall canyon section reminds me a lot to Deepest Reaches, and the neat ending with a formula similar to Wormhole. The combat is, in contradiction to TNT, very congested, with a high number of pinkies to SSG and imps on the other side (too many pinkies for my taste), and super tight trap that can be dealt with a well placed BFG shot, still rough without armor. The lift that takes you to the top with the imps can only be used twice, I found that out since the pinkies and cacos quickly flooded the space. Good map overall.

 

Map17: Holes of Evil

 

This looks like a recipe for a fun Memfis map, but hugely depends on the secret armor at the beginning, casually placed behind the start point just like the one in TNT's map 17, coincidence? *thonking*... The hitscan placement and inevitable lava combo can prove too much for a player that enters without armor, and I'm not sure if you can come out of the BK setup without taking a bit of splash. I did like that setup though. Also the cavern looks cute imo, I really dig the brown texture if mixed with lava like that. On the other side, is this map maxable? It looks like you either take the middle or right way but it's not possible to have both sides explored. Beautiful midi btw.

 

Map18: TNT Base

 

Umm, this one kinda bored me. Plinking at high-HP monsters behind block lines isn't my thing, worse if they nullify their threat completely. The rest is ok, keeping up with the Kardashians tight quarters and TNTisms, like the coloured room with the imp taking a shower in toxic. The harmless trapped lost souls are funny to watch them being crushed. 

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Stream's done, here's my video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/312182807

 

I got through the first 6 maps, with a partial playthrough of 7 at the end. Overall I'd say I like the first episode of Heroes' Tales quite a bit (with the possible exception of Survival, but at least that map was pretty short, so it couldn't grate too much). The highlights to me were Waterpark and Canyon, due to their open and non-linear nature that I love so much. Colliseum looks like it's going to be rough as hell, though, with the damaging floors and the mass rush of enemies at the end. I'll probably pick up where I left off in a day or two; I'll make sure to link here when I do.

 

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7 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

On the other side, is this [MAP17] maxable? It looks like you either take the middle or right way but it's not possible to have both sides explored.

Yeah, easily. I got everything except the armor secret (since you can't backtrack to the starting room.) All 3 sections of the map are accessible from the main cave area (tunnel to the western room, lifts to the northern room, and a teleporter up to the eastern room.)

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MAP16 - “Dark Cave” by Archi

compared to Map15 which i did not like at all, i liked this one quite a bit. it's bare-bones ashwall mostly, but the huge height variation and some of the more twisty/turny layout choices made it feel kinda unique and non-standard. there was some interesting traversal through the spaces too. it may not been all-there in other ways, but like this map definitely doesn't feel quite like anything else i've played, which i tend to value more than anything else in Doom maps. unfortunately it's kinda all downhill from here for me for the next several maps though...

 

MAP17 - “Holes of Evil” by Memfis

i laughed at the name, because i'm very mature. pretty standard speedmap with a setup that feels inspired by Map04 of Memento Mori 2. wasn't too keen on the Cyberdemon on the platform, or most of the obligatory Cyberdemon use in this wad in general. but otherwise not bad, though it didn't really stand out to me in any particular way either.

 

MAP18 - “TNT Base” by Dragon

i know this is obviously supposed to be inspired by TNT, but it felt more unmistakably like a weird Russian map than anything else. most of TNT's maps have like bigger and more wide-open settings, to my memory, whereas this is a pretty narrow map. pretty standard hub-spoke and hallway type layout but all of the weird details done to the setting make this more interesting and unique to me. this is the type of map i basically like in spite of its flaws but most other people seem to not particularly like. to each their own though. it's certainly not amazing, but it has some good points.

 

MAP19 - “Spawning Vats” by Shadowman

there are a lot of unique things about the setting of this map (including the very obscure traversal via slime portal switches) that are interesting, and it's impressive for a speedmap in a lot of ways. but i feel like there's also a lot of copy+paste symmetry going on here which took away from the impact of the unique setting, and i really wasn't as much of a fan of a lot of the monster encounters as other people here. trying to run around in the slime pits while you're using a rocket launcher or something similar is frustrating - you either don't hit enemies or you hurt yourself. and repeating encounters in symmetrical wings of a map tends to just feel tedious and pointless to me. all those chaingunner snipers were stupid too. this is the sort of map that looks accomplished on the surface but the more i look at it, the more issues i have with it. i have a feeling i'm going to start to dislike more of Shadowman's maps here for the copy+paste and more questionable gratuitous combat for this reason.

 

MAP20 - “Guard Tower” by Wraith

easily the worst Wraith map so far. it starts off okay, but the end with the Cyberdemons was just stupid. i don't particularly enjoy casually fighting cyberdemons in general because they just take too damn long to kill unless you're a BFG wizard, and like having to kill 8 of them or whatever is just 8 times more annoying to me. it's like that trope of n00b mappers to just throw a billion boss enemies in one big space and have you sort it out. one of the worst maps so far i'd say.

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MAP20: I liked the map visually, and the rising floor in the tower so you can get to the final confrontation at the top was cool. It's easy to skip all the fights with the wide space you have, and the monsters are put in a way that killing them isn't appealing (imps at border of the map and the turrets, the cacodemons in the big stairway). At least you only need to kill 1 cyberdemon so you can shoot a switch that reveals the exit. Shame that the gameplay wasn't developed well, otherwise this could have been a pretty cool boss map.

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MAP09

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.5, pistol start, UV, complevel 17

An interesting map, this must be an earlier work by Arche, as it doesn't behave like his later ones.

It "feels" city-ish, but avoids falling into the same trap that most do.

It's linear, but that works in its favor by avoiding many tropes of city maps that make them unenjoyable.

 

MAP10

Very boring, not difficult, but not exciting, either.

Essentially a corridor shoot with some rooms that are difficult or annoying to move around.

 

MAP11

It's a large map with strange progression.

The only thing of note is the end fight, which, with the proper knowledge and port, is rather interesting to fight.

Not as bad as I thought it might be after seeing DyingCamel play this wad.

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MAP20 - It's oddly underwhelming, although it rewards a continuous start quite nicely. I lucked out and decided to take on the caged Cyberdemon with the switch to open the exit behind him, after I'd beaten the free-roaming ones. I guess it serves as a reasonable boss level, but it didn't quite have the sense of occasion. I feel like there's potential, like gaspe said, but I didn't like it anyway, like ella guro.

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MAP19: Spawning Vats

100% kills, 2/2 secrets

 

Ah, a DINO map :P I think @ella guro really summed it up well, this map looks pretty well made and certainly stands out thanks to a strong theme and some interesting bits, but there's a lot of copy-paste and actually playing it I found it quite frustrating to play due to the encounter setups - fight in the sludge, needing to take up unsafe lifts to fight the revenants, all the chaingunner snipers, etc. I think the level could've comfortably ended after the blue key, as the final fight outside with the PEs and lost souls felt like busy work, and then needing to figure out I could climb up the rocks so I could have my ears blown out by the Icon dying. Anyone know what the secret message says?

 

MAP20: Guard Tower

51% kills, no map secrets

 

The central idea of climbing up a tower and raising the central chamber isn't bad, but the final fight with all the cyberdemons really put me off. I kept running around in circles not sure what I was supposed to do until the exit finally opened up, so I just took off. I guess there's a shootable switch in one of the cages and maybe one of the cyberdemons in there was nice enough to push it for me? I missed the plasma gun near the start too and was unable to go back for it which sucked.

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Map19: Spawning Vats

 

The secret message is explained here, probably the highlight of the map. It's one I'm not sure I ended up hating or loving it. Part of it came surprisingly challenging, like all the combat on toxic, if only there weren't any sniper chaingunners hard to aim at. The opening area has a cool vista of the rocky texture, but what happens there is both obtuse or janitorial work #rdwpaphrases, ergo figuring out what the heck you must do, and blocking pain elementals in the open zedzedzeddotdotdot... The fights at the corridors were uninteresting, besides revs ambushes on both sides with barely no space to move is just whatever. The archvile usage in the BK setup seems like a preview to his following maps, barely giving us time to react and solids to hide: if you can cleaned the two perched viles in time, and had the roaming ones stay on the toxic (not on the bridges), consider yourself lucky. Overall, heh. 

 

Map20: Guard Tower

 

It came as a shock to know this was made by Wraith, because I always like his maps, except this one. For instance, being forced to leave enemies behind that can't be killed later is silly imo, and I know you can snipe them early but that would be tedious. Apparently missing the plasma rifle is easy, which can make the final circle tiresome without it. Teleporting cyberdemons is fine in this sort of "boss" arena, the caged ones not so much. Thankfully you only need to kill one, but I'm not sure if there's enough ammo to max the map. Crushers in the cages would have been a cool idea, after you shoot the switch of course. 

 

 

Uh oh, it's 21st. :0

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MAP21 - It's a slaughter map, I think. It doesn't start out like one, though, with a small, atmospheric switch sequence before you gear up and get out into the map proper. The initial imp slaughter is pretty fun, then you end up in a pincer attack where the damage is near enough unavoidable, I think. Not lethal amounts, but I certainly felt the pain. Then the massive, impressive, symmetrical structure that the main building is hosts a couple of similar routes to a key, although the red skull tower is probably the longer climb. I didn't think much of either ramparts fight, as you've got a lot of room and a lot of firepower, so it's more just picking off the imps to get nearer 100% that slows you down, rather than the threat of each pincer. I'm glad I carried a BFG in, though, as there's a lot of Arch-Viles in this map and quite a few of them need dealing with quickly. I suspect the blue skull tower is an arse without mouselook, as it's very tall and quite narrow a space.

 

I skipped the three cyberdemons, hoping to lure them into the final segment. Probably glad that they didn't follow me through before being shut out, as I needed those invulnerabilities to deal with what was in there. When everything opened back up again, I just legged it to the exit. Three cybers on a staircase is probably a hopeless fight and I don't think I had the supplies. I did find the secrets for the BFG and megasphere, which totally up to three secret sectors. No idea where the other four were. Hopefully there's not too many more maps like this one... Although I did broadly enjoy it, I'd get tired of doing this over and over.

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MAP21: Oh this map, I forgot it was in this wad. I didn't recognized it in the first part, I realized what this is when I reached the area with the central castle and the towers. This time I hadn't a bad experience as the first time, maybe it's because I knew some of the things that were awaiting for me. The worst parts aren't even the slaughter encounters like the imp invasion and the ending mess (and you'd better to get the secret bfg if you are pistol starting). The towers are the most annoying parts of the map. At every "floor" you climb there will be the same hell knight on the elevator, closet of imps, some cacos that get released in the tower. There's a repetition of encounters, combined with the awkward place you are with steep and tiny stairs. In the red key tower the caged on the highest pillars can target you but you can't see nor shoot at them.

This is also one of the non-speedmaps of the wad, and the text file says it was originally made for another project, perhaps for Cheogsh?

To me it seems that Shadowman here wanted to make something with the epic feel of Deus Vult, the imp slaughter with the imposing scenery of the towers is rather sucessful in that, and the map also alternates between big battles and tamer parts that require a more "precise" style of playing but the level isn't wholly impressive. In some parts it has its reason and it's well made. It's the level that I liked the least for its tedious gameplay.

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MAP22 - Sort of like a hard, hellish, very tall take on the concept that drove MAP03. It's not pretty and it's very easy to have no idea what's going on... But the twin clouds of cacodemons at the start has the effect of ensuring you can't camp the starting building and for very long and the various Revenant turrets guarantee that you won't stand still for long out in the open. Most of the Arch-Viles were in large open areas or confined to platforms, so with the various buildings offering cover they weren't too bad. You're very well supplied in this map, even without the secret (which isn't too hard to work out once you've finally got the lay of the land), although you probably won't realise where the plasma gun or rocket launcher are until well after you'd have wanted to equip them already... Luckily I'm still carrying on continuous, so I was free to run around and engage with the plentiful rockets and shells. Once again, when confronted with 3 cyberdemons and an open exit, I just ran for the exit. I'd have probably come through with a whole Megasphere, but to clear the Hell Knights down in their basement I tried to use the rocket launcher and kept catching the edges of the hit box on the hole you're meant to pop down. Mouselook isn't quite the perfect benefit in a game with these sorts of hitboxes.

 

Incidentally, I jumped into the box full of Demons and ran around on their heads whilst waiting for the walls to lower after I'd pressed the switch. With infinite height on you'd stay on the edge and presumably be bitten from about 384 map units below you, so I continue to be glad for ZDoom.

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MAP12

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.5, UV, pistol start, complevel 17

 

Tech base time. This one pits you in the center of some action while you try to survive until you can get outside to the heavier weaponry.

There's an SSG available in the first room that's an absolute necessity from pistol start, and a green armor in the water.

Outside, you can find a plasma rifle and rocket launcher, exactly where they're all but useless, as the chaingun and SSG are more than sufficient to deal with the resistance there.

A knight guards the exit, and it was an elusive two-rocket knight for me.

Nothing of particular note here.

 

MAP13

A glorified key hunt that doesn't lend itself to fun, this one asks you to search a building for three keys just to get outside.

I bumped the yellow card and found the other two legitimately, only to be mulched outside by the mastermind and its archvile friend.

Annoying map.

 

MAP14

Quick map, it's too easy to just run past all the encounters.

Most fighting happened in the tiny key-hunt bit in the center, then a lone vile was killed by me before I figured out the exit.

The beginning is far too easy to rush past, as the platforms blocking the stairs don't block the right sides, so you can just skim up the side.

The exit switch is in the open guarded by two viles, but it's easy enough to reach.

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MAP23 - I didn't like it at the start. Feeling isolated to the limited safe land available and surrounded by Revenants and Arch-Viles with minimal cover wasn't a fun experience. Then I jumped over the edge and found life a bit easier. After a couple of poor attempts, I got the start cleared and got into the level proper. It's actually a pretty good adventure through Hell, albeit fraught with Arch-Viles and Revenants. There's a fair bit of platforming of the SR40 variety and the ending is so abrupt that my BFG rush on the final AV was interrupted by the map ending. Speaking of the BFG, the map does give it to you, but I'm really glad I started with it.

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MAP22: This one is okay. It's a light slaughtermap, the combination of the cacodemons and the revenants that creates the chaos was nice. Then the map ends with another dull cyberdemon battle, at least you can skip it and exit the level.

 

MAP23: Didn't liked this one so much, it's a hell level with the usual setting of generic caves. I liked the carved skulls in the starting area and the red key temple. The start is rather thrilling actually while the rest wasn't so fun, and the arch-viles on the yellow key platform were annoying. The author was able to do quite some stuff in this speedmap at least.

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MAP15

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.5, UV, pistol start, complevel 17

 

Imp slaughter is good, but it's not as fun without the rocket launcher or plasma.

It's as boxy as the crates the populate this map, and the layout is rather boring in some of the map.

The fights tend to be interesting, but only just held my attention.

One of the better maps so far, surely, but it could've been much better.

 

MAP16

A kind of generic Hell-esque map with a bit of a twist, this one isn't very difficult, either.

The most difficult encounter consists of a group of skeletons and imps in a tight room, but the rest are rather lacklustre.

Not much to say for it, it's one of the better ones.

 

MAP17

It's a Memfis map, which means it's going to be a little quirky.

It's an interesting premise, giving the player three ways to go at the start, then needing them to visit them all to finish the map.

The combat here is a littler rougher, with armor being non-existent, from what I found, and health being in rather short supply.

Ultimately, it's a non-linear 3-key map.

 

MAP18

Oh, I didn't enjoy this one.

It's a big back-and-forth, going to one side of the map to grab a key, then to the other to hit a switch.

The author used archviles to artificially extend the map's length, and not to any fun effect. It came across as grindy to me.

Progression is annoying, but combat is mercifully easy, so this map, even lengthened, doesn't take too long to finish.

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aaaa I'm too lazy...

 

Map21: Hell's Maw

 

Ok, first of all, gorgeous setting, the sky blends absolutely great with the towers, and very cool umm Heretic(?) midi. So this is one of the most distinctive maps in the set, because we casual players get to know Shadowman's most devilish side. If I exclude the hyper-symmetrical switch hunt in the shadows at the start, it's theoretically a slaughtermap. It's based around classic encounters of the genre: the imps parade featuring cacos to employ the SSG, the teleporting hordes on each bridge plus RL as the primary weapon, and the (secret) BFG for the double invul harassing finale. The towers were horrendous, in particular the one holding the red skull. The perched archviles had full view of the surface but they were out of my FOV most of the time (even with Crispy's freelook), so it was impossible to tell which one was attacking or where to hide, the only cover I found was on the lifts where the hell knights saluted me with a scratch. The fact they also forced to retreat and fall into the pit only added more annoyance. I managed to survive with a super careful approach and a bit savescum, meaning its doable but it sucked completely. The other tower wasn't as awful but it also spammed archviles in the open, which I either had to RNG them or RNG them. Suppose you take out the archviles and barons, I'm still not a fan of thin tall stairs that I can't see where to step when going down (automap helps though). At that point I just wanted to leave the map. It didn't help to find a secret invul in the wrong tower, that would have helped with the last vile/HKs release below the stairs exempt of cover, right after cleaning up the OTHER tower...

 

Thankfully the next couple Shadowman maps are less, frustrating, to call it some way. In fact the last one was pretty fun. Had this been in a GZDoom project, I probably would have enjoyed it, should be a great level. A pity, but the tower setups don't seem to be well balanced without freelook and vertical aim. 

 

Map22: Citadel

 

Much better, archviles in my FOV wee!!. It's kind of an old-school slaughter in a sandbox, like Phobos said a hellish version of map 03. Most of the time is spent running around cleaning up cacos and viles, both very active and well used imo. The RL placement is extremely easy to miss, I had to look it up in doombuilder, just to make sure there was one somewhere (obviously, Archi wouldn't go TNT and put useless ammo types for nonexistent weapons). At some point I released a herd of cows and the exit, still missing many secrets and kills, so I guess you can leave anytime you want, not that I did that because #100%everything

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MAP24 - With the monster count, I had hopes of something a little more traditional, which I'd say I largely got. Hearing a Cyberdemon and SMM on the first shot fired is a bit of a give away as to how the map is likely to go, but you don't see either until after you've been given a BFG. The three-key set up is a bit of a misdirection, though, as the blue skull is only for a secret (that the enemies are likely to reveal for you). The central room feels reasonably classic, although as the AV and horde of pinkies comes and blocks the door from the start area pretty quickly, I found continuous was welcome once more. It felt a bit like a '95 map, to be honest, with the rough design and raw concepts, but it was quick and playable.

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+++ DOOM 404

 

I don't normally vote for stuff I worked on, but I don't normally have a one-man megawad out in a month!

 

If it's chosen, I suggest doing maps 1 & 2 on the 1st, and then a map a day, with the secret maps each getting a day of their own.

 

Masochists may want to play Demonfear in parallel, on the same schedule. :)

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Yeah I'll hop on too.

 

+++DOOM 404

 

(My vote would originally have been Whispers of Satan BTW - simply an idea that had occurred to me because it was released less than one week after Heroes' Tales.)

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So I'm a few maps behind, and figured I'd blast through a few levels tonight and catch up. Ha. Ha. Instead, I'm pausing midway on MAP21 out of sheer exhaustion/rage, having completed that absolute bull@#$% red key tower and dreading the blue key one...

 

MAP20: Guard Tower

6:44 | 89% Kills | 100% Items | 100% Secrets

This one doesn't start out too bad. Would have been absolute bitch on pistol-start, but homie don't play that. The "tower" itself was kind of a neat idea, as it raises itself up. But the cyber fight on top was a bunch of BS. I have to assume there's no difference on UV and HMP, because HMP had, what 8 cyberdemons? 4 marching around teleporting when you least want them to, and 4 penned up for some bizarre reasonm and when you try to blast a fenced-in one, one of the freerange dudes 'ports in behind your back and obliterates you. I tried to kill them for probably 30 minutes before realizing I could just waltz out the exit, and then foolishly wasted another 15 minutes trying to max it anyway, before finally just saying screw that noise and leaving. That put me in a very sour mood, so I was not happy with what came next...

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Also skipping 21 for the moment...

 

MAP22: Citadel

89% kills, 0/1 secrets

 

A medium-sized outdoor map, that consists of a lot of fireball-tossing snipers with a few AVs scattered both up top as snipers and on the ground floor as well. For me this turned it into a game of 'find the rocket launcher' and after some searching and finding it, cleared out the AVs (and the following demon horde) and then proceeded with the rest of the map... which actually isn't that much, as the map comes in at only around 200 enemies. Kill the hell knights, grab the red key from their marble burrow, hit the switch and wait for the exit to unlock. I suppose you could fight the cybers and other assorted remnants but I just ran in circles until the exit opened up. It's actually not a bad playground to run around in, but I did think I was going to get to explore some of the towers but most of the stuff is closed off and just a place to put sniper enemies.

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MAP25 - this feels quite a bit like an E4 sort of map, what with the blood, marble, high damage potential and relatively tight ammo balance. The starting position is a tough breach, then things are a bit more casual. The hidden AVs in the fiery crosses at the end were a dick move that claimed a couple of undeserved kills in an otherwise perfectly beatable map, but I worked it out and used mouselook to my advantage.

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I'm going to continue my mad rush to actually finish Heroes' Tales before the end of the month tomorrow, around 11 a.m.-noon central time, for any interested. Archive will be posted after the stream here as well. As far as sets for next month, I'm going to vote a bit against the grain here and choose something a bit more seasonally appropriate:

 

+++Doom 64 for Doom II

 

(That said, I won't be too chuffed if DOOM 404 wins out. Should be pretty fun to give it a romp and put it through its paces).

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+++ Doom 404

 

Because it took me by surprise and I have always liked Capellan's maps

 

I'll post my reviews of the first 10 maps of heroes tales later, this has been a terrible month gaming-wise for me. 

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