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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

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What is the DWmegawad Club?

This is a place where we settle down, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice) and take a month to play through a megawad on our own, together! Any keen observations, criticisms, or frustrated ranting about it goes here in the discussion. As long as you want to say something about what you've played, feel free to speak your mind.


Can I join?

Sure. The only rule is that you have to play at least some of the levels in our monthly megawad to contribute, but you're generally encouraged to finish the whole thing, even if you've played it before.


What levels am I allowed to post about?

Whatever day of the month it is, is the upper limit for the map you can post on. So if it’s the 6th, you may discuss up to MAP06.


Do I have to post an entry every day?

Nope, not at all. This is only for our more enthusiastic members. As long as you play through it with us you’re part of the club.


When do we vote on the next month’s megawad?

Voting begins on the 25th of the current month. Remember to add one “+++” before your vote to make it easier to count. For example:


+++ Ultimate Doom


Note that you can only nominate up to three separate wads for a single month, and the wads must contain at least three maps each. These are hard limits instituted for my own sanity.




Hey! Here’s some limit-removing Russian maps from 2009! Nineteen maps are from four different four-hour speedmapping contests, so expect some of these maps to be short and punchy!


Important! This mapset uses TNT.WAD as its IWAD base!


Author & Maplist:

MAP01 - “Ancient Valley” by Lainos

MAP02 - “Ruins” by Shadowman

MAP03 - “Aquapark” by Wraith

MAP04 - “Survival” by Lainos

MAP05 - “Canyon” by 3EPHOEd

MAP06 - “Nemesis” by Archi

MAP07 - “Colliseum” by Shadowman

MAP08 - “Upper Town” by Azamael

MAP09 - “Exploded City” by Archi

MAP10 - “Mudrun” by Nil

MAP11 - “The Source” by Shadowman

MAP12 - “Boiler” by Wraith

MAP13 - “Trapped” by Dragon Hunter

MAP14 - “Starport” by Azamael

MAP15 - “Impocalypse” by Archi


MAP31 - “Secret of the Pharaoh” by Shadowman

MAP32 - “UFO Crash” by Cherepoc

MAP33 -  “Scary Dreams” by VACion, Archi


MAP16 - “Dark Cave” by Archi

MAP17 - “Holes of Evil” by Memfis

MAP18 - “TNT Base” by Dragon

MAP19 - “Spawning Vats” by Shadowman

MAP20 - “Guard Tower” by Wraith

MAP21 - “Hell’s Maw” by Shadowman

MAP22 - “Citadel” by Archi

MAP23 - “Deuce Take It!” by 3EPHOEd

MAP24 - “Blood Lake” by Dragon Hunter

MAP25 - “Hell’s Atrium” by Shadowman

MAP26 - “Hellsky” by Dragon

MAP27 - “Onslaught” by Shadowman

MAP28 - “Mount Doom” by Dragon Hunter

MAP29 - “Evil Inside” by Azamael

MAP30 - “Call of Cthulhu” by Watchmaker





Lingyan203's playthrough

kmxexii's review





The DWmegawad Club Metathread










Edited by dobu gabu maru

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01 - OK, maybe it wasn't such a bright idea to start the megawad with that crusher room. If you don't know which door is the right one, it can be rather aggravating. That aside, it's definitely a stylish level and a classic TNT midi is very fitting here. I see the blue key room as the highlight since it really stands out thematically. The elaborate exit sequence is also pretty neat and it is likely to surprise you ("what, no monsters?"). And of course it's cute to see Lainos' old mapping style. An interesting remake of this map made by Shadowman will appear in one of Bloodspeed's secret slots.

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Hmm, I still have fond memories of this one, feels like yesterday when I played this (it was a couple months ago, to be frank). Heroes' Tales is a box of surprises, the authors involved have their particular style but even the most prolific ones kept impressing me as I was getting deeper in the wad, for the good or the bad. Unfortunately for me, the bad is the number one barrier to retry and record some demos patiently, since those are not just your typical "natural hard stuff", so to speak, and I wouldn't like to have an incomplete playlist. Meh. I'll share my thoughts anyways, sorry if that goes against the rules, but I won't have another opportunity. Last playthrough was on Ultra-Violence, Continuous the way galileo31dos01 did ™, and saves, using Crispy Doom 4.2.


MAP01: Ancient Valley


Echoing Memfis, this has an atypical start, the crusher and many identical walls where one functions as a door. Sure, that could take most players by surprise, and maybe not leave a good impression for a starter, but I'm on that kind of first maps! There's some simplistic visual design overall, more crushers, generally low-tier combat, and a bit of weirdness in the exit lift-chain. I recall standing on one of them which took me right in front of the exit switch, mostly because I wasn't sure of what was happening there. Lainos' style is still not recognizable for me, I had barely touched his maps in Da Will and, recently, Sacrament, and that's only his oldest stuff I guess. If anything, I think he used to go for a more squarish design indoors while different geometry outdoors, but nothing curvy. Well, that's about everything I can say. Anyway, a fine introduction. If you thought the crusher was a dick move, you have no idea of what's coming later (;


Oh and, since there's no custom status bar for it, I'll share the one I used. Looks like this.

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MAP01: The gameplay is simple and this could be like your average opening map but it has many unusual things that make this level interesting. Starting from the first crusher room (which can be easily solved with the automap), to the change of theme in the blue key area and the nice sequence to reach the exit.

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02 - Shadowman is probably the fastest Russian speedmapper excluding Eternal, although his speed is somewhat "compensated" by frequent reuse of same designs (you will encounter the brown brick maze again in the future). This map has a pleasant nature theme and the music is rather cute, but obviously gameplay wasn't a high priority and so you've got a lot of hell knights and barons to waste shells on. The final fight could be considered lame too, but there is something memorable about the cyberdemon following you down the stairs.

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Map 1

That crusher at the start can burn in hell. I know the automap shows the correct door, but still, not the best way to engage people into playing the wad. At the very least make the correct door obvious without having to resort to automap. That intro stands firmly in the Dick Move category. This map is brown, very brown and rather plain to look at, but does offer a variation in themes. The toughest part is probably the red key courtyard with those bastard chaingunners on the ledge chipping at you while you dodge Imp fireballs. That mob of monsters just before the blue key was fun to hose down with the chaingun, and the blue key area itself presents more crushers but this time it's far more palatable thankfully. Don't know what to think of the exit, for a split second had no idea why those pillars were raising. Alright map this one, except that dick cheese start. 


Map 2

Starts off in a dark, really dark cave. Those shotgunners got a few shots in coz you can't see the bastards! Gameplay felt somewhat lackluster compared to the previous map. Luckily there's a decent number of rockets (both from the previous map and in this map) to take care of all those rather harmless Barons, Hellknights and Mancubi, so atleast it didn't feel like a slog. Discovered an invulnerability behind the big building and decided to head up the stairs before getting it to see what horrors await. Ah yes, good move, because it was decidedly handy. Those 2 Archies wasted no time reviving those bloody Hell Nobles along those stairs, while I rocketed myself out the window. Shit! It's all good though, I managed to sort them all out before the invuln ran out. That Cyber gave me quite a start, I got him to follow me down the stairs into the open area where I proceeded to hose his ass down with plasma. Gameplay was quite lackluster despite the enemy roster, with the big open areas and the invuln nullifying the standout fights.


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I'll bite for this one, as it seems delightfully old-school. Naturally I'll be playing UV continuous in GZDoom, with saves (not quite the latest version, I'm still slogging through Avactor as well and don't want to lose my saved game in the update). Nice to see an Evilution megaWAD - I hope the sector vehicle textures are made use of.


MAP01 - I like it. It's nothing like the Lainos maps I'm used to and seems determined to make full use of the Doom II level functionality feature set. Crushers, moving platforms, building stairs and more all show up. I regret having the crusher puzzle near the start spoiled for me, but I wasted precious time zooming in anyway before getting away, so I did get squished once. I think more time would've been nicer for the player. Maybe it could have started higher, but with visibly moving tracks to give the game away for the player still. Or it could've used the much more lethal slow crusher, but then a player who didn't get it would've been dead on the first squish.


MAP02 - Really enjoyable adventure map that ends on a big climb of escalating monster threat, culminating in being chased back down the stairs by a Cyberdemon. The caves and relatively simple architecture in this map and the last really benefit from GZDoom and dynamic lights, I think, as you get striking coloured rooms and highlights to break up the brown. I quite liked the maze and how it hid a secret and progression. This was an SSG map for the most part - doubly so as I came in with one. The invulnerability that I found I sort of squandered, but I finished the map with 200 health and armour anyway, so I'm hardly upset that I didn't get to use melee rockets or anything.


Happy with this so far and looking forward to playing more over the next month.

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MAP02: Nice pleasant mood and theme, despite a very simple execution, but that makes the map more cute somehow. The ammo was surprisingly generous for being a Shadowman level, though you'd better find the secret chaingun. Gameplay is fine, only becoming a bit boring when the more tougher monsters appear, the final cyberdemon was a nice surprise though. The hidden red key in the maze is the highlight of the map.

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03 - first really good level in the wad. Wraith has a very solid grasp of classic style mapping, I even tried to imitate this "water city" concept in Together, perhaps not as successfully. Exploring the outskirts of Aquapark before proceeding through the buildings is essential, as it allows you to find the soulsphere and the BFG with much needed cells. The maze with revenants shooting from above can be frustrating as hell, but I enjoy everything else. Great music choice once again.

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MAP02: Ruins


Perhaps the "gentlest" map by Shadowman you can find in this megawad. It's a slight romp in visual design, starting in a brown cave and featuring multiple brown mini-castles and mazes in the open, the kind I feel I've seen particularly more often in Russian maps, though I'd have to try other stuff to confirm that. The little action available is just to give the shotgun/chaingun some use, assuming one found the earliest secret in the cave, which isn't hinted IIRC but necessary, since the barons/HKs will soak up everything. I liked the exploration part involving some jumping over the mazes, and the building at the end where you acquire other weaponry to use on the later dudes. In my playthrough, I grabbed the invulnerability to rush towards the archviles so they wouldn't be able to resurrect any hell knight. And the dude on steroids at the end who has issues to leave his room, kinda expected that given all the "free" cells. Anyway, fairly fun map, better in design layout than in combat though. At least in Heroes' Tales, this probably isn't the most leading map to get a first idea of what Shadowman was capable to do. He liked the brown brick texture for sure, and tightrope walking, as will be seen later, but the gameplay is going to take a different path. I'm very curious to read others opinions on his next maps, specially how everyone handle them.

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Map 3

Pretty hectic initially, with tons of projectiles to avoid from every direction as well as hitscan attrition and lost souls as you work your way around picking up supplies. This definitely looks and feels like a classic Doom 2 map. It wasn't so much the projectile throwers that caused me the most grief, but those chaingunners sniping from the windows and platforms. Almost blew myself up on one on the blur sphere platform as I thought they were all dead but nah as the lift reached the top, the mofo was right in my face while I was wielding the rocket launcher. I got rid of most of the open air opposition before hitting the maze but still there was the odd nuisance imp fireball and pot shot.


After the main action it was basically switch hunting and figuring where to go next, admittedly took me a lil while, never been good with this sort of thing. The cyber at the end was basically harmless, not even able to leave his platform. Perhaps the idea was the risk of getting hit by a rocket while in the blue door enclosure, I could see that happening as initially wasn't aware where the cyber actually was. I did infact suffer a little bit of splash damage while working my way out of there.


Highlights included a lost soul finishing off a Revenant and a chaingunner corpse falling off a platform ontop of me after being killed by his mate :D 

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MAP01: Ancient Valley

100% kills, 1/1 secret


I actually don't hate the opening crusher, mainly because it's placed at the very start (so you won't lose progress when you inevitably die on the first encounter) and also because the automap showed which door is the right one, which may be cheating. The rest is pretty unnoteworthy, with too much brown and enemies feeling artificially plopped here and there. The ending not-quite-a-puzzle is strange and doesn't really work for me.


MAP02: Ruins

100% kills, 1/2 secrets


Kinda wish I played continuous here just to keep the SSG, as the first half of this map feels a bit sloggy without it and until you get the RL. The cavern area works well enough, and the first castle bit is interesting in that what initially seems like a secret (riding up the 'door' lift to jump into the blue armor) is actually required progression to get the red key. (I remember this from another map, possibly Russian... guess I'll need to look back) The second one is basically 'create your own fun' as it's just a curling hallway with progressively strong monsters. Like @galileo31dos01 I used the invuln to bumrush everything at the top and take out the viles, but might be better off saving it for the cyber (or lure him down to the mancs).

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MAP03: A level that you can approach in different ways. There's a nice classic vibe here, coupled also with a midi of the original soundtrack. There's nothing really elaborated but the theme is very nice with all those different structures, the brick castle was quite cool and I liked the use of the green textures.

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I'm now embarking on a policy of not reading this thread until after playing the maps. It's gone well.


MAP03 - A big open map in the classic vein, whereby the best course of action is to pick everything off from the outside and then start working out what the intended progression is. This led to a few interesting encounters for me, like chaingun sniping a chaingunner who caught my attention by shooting half of the enemies around me from such a distance that, without mouselook and a 4k resolution in GZDoom, I simply would've have been able to see where he was or shoot back. I found the map started threatening, then petered out, which is acceptable to me. The Cyberdemon blocking the stairs to the exit was a good excuse to try a BFG 2-shot, but had the weakness that he couldn't be pushed back, so when I didn't hide to build up my second shot, he rocketed me first... As a result, I'm going into the next map with 132 health and armour, plus a near full-stack of weapons and ammo. Continuous should make this pretty easy from here on out, I imagine.

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04 - not feeling this one. The gameplay is mostly slow and uneventful (gets a bit better when you obtain SSG+RL), the design is simple, and the lack of brightness variation makes the whole map look unfinished. There are some neat effects though, such as skin walls being revealed near the end. The 20% damage lava is harsh but it did not kill me so whatever.

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MAP04: I liked the first area, it's all brown in different shades but it looks nice somehow, surely better than the second part which seem a bit more generic and the lack of lighting work never looks good. I wasn't expecting the 20% damage lava after the drop. There's an arachnotron in a very odd place where it can barely move. The trasformation of the room before the exit was nice.


On 9/1/2018 at 9:13 AM, galileo31dos01 said:

Lainos' style is still not recognizable for me, I had barely touched his maps in Da Will and, recently, Sacrament, and that's only his oldest stuff I guess. If anything, I think he used to go for a more squarish design indoors while different geometry outdoors, but nothing curvy.

Yeah, it looks like these maps were made by another person, though these are short speedmaps and a better comparison can be made with his oldest and more ambitious works like Object 32 and Object 33. I think that the change happened on Sacrament, and from there we had the "new" Lainos which is more known (5L1C, Deneb colony...).



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oh, cool. i'm a fan of what came after HT, and it'd be nice to see the first Azamael maps since i'm such a big fan of the maps that came after. so i might give this one a shot!

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MAP03: Aquapark


Funnily enough, I did not realize this was a Wraith map until revisiting this thread. Makes sense now, though it's a side style maybe that differs from what I'm more or less accustomed from him. I officially met his style in Alpha Accident, Sacrament later, maybe something else in between, and recently Wonderful Doom. I hope he's still working on his current project "Gods & Guardians", because he's a great developer on the "classic iwadish" genre.


But back to the map, this one was fun enough, has a miniaturized complexity a la The Living End-ish, except you can see the sky, and it's not in hell thematically speaking. The thing I like about this map is the freedom to approach each part however you want, that when you're properly prepared, and, while there's no such distance between surface and the pit like in a typical Living End-ish, it's a big plus when you have things to do on the liquids. So is to find a secret not-so-hidden BFG and lots of goodies, even though there's an abundance of shell ammo and cells but that's positive for speedrunning. I guess the building in the centre looks kinda inspired by "Circle of Death", and I liked the use of the TNT wire fences. Combat remains on the easy side, as long as the pesky revenants and pain elementals stop existing. There's not much to say, it's basically incidental sniping and classic Wraith soft monster count per encounter. 


A thing I discovered is that, in the building with the berserk, if you happen to slip off the lift there's no way back to it from outside, since the metal barrier only lowers after you teleport next to the SSG. Not sure if that's intended or not, but it isn't that serious considering you can get in there from the beginning.  

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Okay, I'll bite. I'm a huge fan of the Russian WADs, so I know I've got to play this. GZDoom/HMP/continuous/saves/keyboard-only.


MAP01: Ancient Valley

8:35 | 100% Everything

That opening, man. First the pinkie caught me by surprise and killed me. Then the crusher killed me. Then the crusher wounded me and the pinkie finished me off. Maybe I'll check the automap to find the door? Moving on, then... The little hunt for the yellow key felt enough like a secret that when it was done I was surprised to see that the door I checked on was actually yellow. I got killed in the crusher maze, too: missed the blue key jump, and then panicked trying to find a safe spot to stand. Overall, not a terrible level, but also a little awkward in places. The slow lifts to the exit were a bizarre choice. (The red warp tunnels looked cool, though.)


MAP02: Ruins

12:17 | 100% Everything

This one was pretty neat, but not terribly engaging. Not a fan of having to backtrack the entire opening segment. The initial "castle" was pretty cool, if vastly underpopulated (at least on HMP.) Glad I saved that invul for the cyberdemon at the end.


MAP03: Aquapark

17:09 | 100% Everything

Now this is what I'm here for! This is a darn cool level. I spent most of my time in the water picking off the opposition before finally finding a teleporter and venturing back topside. Not a lot to really say here, but it was fun fun fun. (I did recognize the vine maze, I think from Da Will, or maybe Sacrament?)


MAP04: Survival

8:19 | 100% Everything

A fitting title, as this map is pretty nasty. Though thinking back on it, though, it mostly wasn't that bad. But that blind drop into the ultra-damaging lava sticks in my mind and makes me remember this one as being meaner than it was. A very short little lap around the second half of the level, with only a couple of minor surprises upon completing the loop, and a highly unassuming exit. If not sweet, at least it was short.

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Not really a review of anything but incidentally when I looked at the dates - this wad was released on 9-9-09 (BTW less than a week after last month's Scythe X) and this month we play it is its 9th anniversary. Someone loves those 9s! Caught that sooner, I might have even officially joined the nomination bandwagon.


But I did also find something released less than a week after HT itself...that maybe I'll nominate for October though Exomoon continues to compete as well.

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MAP04 - An absolutely adequate map. It's obviously a speed map, being rough, unrefined and mostly blocky. The 20% damage lava was unwelcome and I took a few unnecessary hits on my play through, so the low armour availability in the map left me finishing with 70hp and 0 armour from my strong starting position. I believe the Russian preference is for 4-hour speed maps? I was wondering how much could be done in that time and I think this map has given me an idea of a weaker showing. If I saw this in an ASS I would've probably been impressed, to be honest, as it does do a fair bit.

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Ha, according to the reviews I already have and was suitably impressed! Maybe I'll give myself a refresher at some point!

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05 - 3EPHOEd (the name looks like "grain eater" in cyrillic) is not active in the Doom community anymore, but at some point he was surely one of its most charismatic members. He had a great sense of humor, deep technical knowledge of the game, and lots of unique ideas. I feel like his imagination was always way ahead of his mapping skills (or, perhaps, patience to just sit down and map), and so he never managed to create a really epic wad but man, he tried. There was even a ridiculously ambitious megawad project (works with doom.wad) by him with lots of custom objects and stuff.


This map has a similar problem to the previous one: way too little brightness variation! It still looks nice sometimes due to the intricate detailing though. The gameplay is sort of filler-ish: looks like 3EPHOEd didn't know what to do with these large areas so he just spammed monsters everywhere, which didn't work so well (but at least he used some monster blocking lines to avoid creating a complete mess). I think his other level in the wad is much better, so hopefully people will stick around long enough to see it.

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GLBoom+, pistol starts, complevel 4


It's an opener map. Not much to be said condoning it or condemning it.

The crusher trap wasn't as difficult to figure out as the others seemed to suggest. A quick look at the automap quickly revealed the correct path to take.

After that is just combat, which is also very easy.

The progression can be a little confusing on a first time through, but it's rather linear, regardless.

The exit requires a real slow approach, and its easy to miss on the first time through.



Brown is the aesthetic here. You move out of a cave system to some brick structures.

It's an easy key hunt, yellow skull, then red.

Pistol start has a rough beginning here, with nearly all your ammo behind your opponents.

The combat doesn't have much to recommend it, and near the end there's a completely unnecessary invul and megasphere.

The viles and cyber at the top of the tower don't pose enough threat to warrant the supplies provided to destroy them, but they were at least rather fun to fight.



A break in brown, this map adds blue, grey, and a little green to the mix, very appreciated.

This one enforces a kinetic playstyle, but asks you to take care in the early game when the hitscanners are still alive.

It's a sandbox-ish map, with many ways to go possible from the start.

There's a secret BFG that doesn't do very well in trying to hide that's almost necessary for a pistol start, and a rocket launcher squirreled away that's ideal for dealing with the skeletons early in.

Not much more to say other than another cyberdemon ultimately guards the exit, but a skilled player will have no trouble against him.



A short one, this one starts you in a fight against a bunch of brown imps in a brown room.

This fight would've made a good rockets only map, but that's not the route gone here.

Many crunchy fights ahead to be fought with a shotgun and chaingun for pistol starters, an SSG and rocket launcher later, in time for the bigger monsters.

The only room I took any real issue with was the spine room with the fake walls.

It's short, which works in its favor.

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MAP04 is definitely my favorite so far. It has some fun arenas in close quarters with a good flow and pacing, and it doesn't overstay its welcome. My favorite part was the long drop down into the hall of mirrors to get the red key. 



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