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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Deathless

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E1M9: I actually didn't realize this was a remake of a Doom II map until later.  I recognized the SMM/Cyber platforms as being part of the original map, but the rest of the map seemed new until I played the E2 secret map (which I won't spoil yet) it wasn't until I finished both of them that I realized they were nearly exact remakes of other D2 maps, lol.  Maybe it's just been too long since I played vanilla D2.

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E1M5: Outage

100% kills, 3/5 secrets

 

I'm always a fan of darkness as an obstacle, something that doesn't get used often enough I feel (it definitely seems to be more of a Doom I than II thing, which might be why). Monster count is pretty low, but some of these areas are really dark so they can take catch you by surprise. I ended up doing the western wing last, using the compmap to make my way around, relying somewhat on sound to tell me where to attack, which led to me getting taken unawares from those silent lost souls, so clever use there.

 

Looks like the final version is already up, which is a shame, because this one had some pretty obvious texture misalignments - there's a bad one by the blue key, and some I'd change by the western wing door (the SLADWALL sides).

 

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E1M9

A take on Doom 2's MAP20. Doing things in a certain order will minimise damage suffered, otherwise you'll have to time your ride up the lift perfectly to avoid being splattered. A pretty nice idea for a secret level, referencing the IWAD while being something that's actually different to the main mapset. Those 2 barons are worthless - well they were useful to take a few HP off the cyber. It was the pair of shotgunners at the end that caught me off guard. 

 

E1M4

A short E1 techbase which appears to be in some type of underground waste facility. Pretty simple gameplay again, but did get surprised by demons on a couple occasions. Best part was the barrel/demon combo after flipping the switch in the underground area, just strolled past with the plasma rifle and watched the gibs fly! There is also some use of darkness to make the spectres more menacing. Liked the architecture, but the wood did look out of place. Starting to wish for a bit more meat...

 

E1M5

This map uses the darkness and environment to make the low body count more threatening. The nukage tunnels gave me a bit of trouble, not so much the monsters as I had the plasma, but finding the route of progression. Found one switch which released a secret, but it was clear I was not done here. With the rad suits running out, I did eventually release the red key, don't know how, all I remember is humping a lamp... 

 

I liked the usage of brown in the 3rd wing, helping to camouflage the imps in the darkness. What I did not like though was the "hidden" switches required to exit each area. Wasn't really engaged with this one, not really my kind of setup. 

 

 

 

 

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E1M5: Outage

 

After the fast-paced action of the preceding map, this one is gloomy and atmospheric, not quite puzzle-centric but relying on nigh-omnipresent darkness to give its demons some bite as the player carefully makes their way to each of the three keys necessary to open the path to the exit.  I probably spent more time on my last-minute sweep of the map for secrets (they hide well in the dark!) than on the main gameplay, though I probably did myself no favours by assuming "one in the middle, one in each of the nodes," when the actual arrangement of them was somewhat different.

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E1M6

Putting two maps with lighting-challenged mazes back to back was a misstep, to my mind. Other than that, this is a map that has all the virtues of M5 with none of the drawbacks. You're free to roam widely from the start, with many options about what to do first, and the choices all seem a lot more even in their practicality, to me. Good use of windows and ledges, too.

 

 

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E1M5

Really enjoyed this wad up til this point. Not a bad level but man I hate navigating thru hurt floors in the dark with enemies around you. At least he didn't punish us with too many monsters around that area, could've been much worse.

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E1M6: Burial Ground

98% kills, 2/5 secrets

 

11 hours ago, Capellan said:

Putting two maps with lighting-challenged mazes back to back was a misstep, to my mind.

 

Ah c'mon, one was all-dark and this has a strobe, tooootally different!

 

The main thing that stood out to me about this one was the cacodemons, though they way they're placed here isn't very interesting and they're basically just big imps. There's rocket launchers scattered around which makes them pretty easy to take care of, even ignoring the big arsenal of rockets I'm carrying in from E1M9. Interesting that one door at the start leads to the rest of the map when the same-appearance other door is a green vest that I didn't return to until the end. Plenty of armor throughout, though. Maybe too much.

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E1M6: Burial Ground

 

This one feels kind of uneven; there's the windy, strobe-lit maze of flooded tunnels that, between the secret light-amp visor and non-secret computer map, the level feels somewhat unwilling to commit to, and then there's the thing @Magnusblitz noted with the set of highly similar doors at the start leading to different and oddly-weighted quarters of the map.  If not for the cacodemons (which definitely mark an escalation in the level of demonic opposition) I'd almost be inclined to say that this map and E1M5 could trade places.  Techbases give way here to a more mingled selection of themes, with technological, cavern, and catacomb sections all rubbing shoulders and jostling for position in a way that perhaps doesn't do any of them any favours; I'm not clear on whether there's supposed to be an implied story at work here with the transition between themes, or if so, what it is.

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E1M7

The teleport trap on the western blue door is quite fun, but the final, exterior section of this map is definitely the main highlight, with a great deal of scope for sniping across windows and walkways if you want to take the cautious approach, or a chaotic free for all if you want to rush in and target fast completion. It's particularly impressive in light of how fast the WAD was made. Could have done with a few more cacodemons though!

 

 

E1M8

Well, at least it's not just two barons :) It's definitely hard to make a suitable E1 ending these days, given how used we are to dealing with Doom 2's much more challenging menagerie, but the combo of barons and cacos in a reasonably confined arena is actually quite fun, albeit not really difficult.

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E1M7: Mainstay

 

And we're back on track here with a level that's solidly fun, neatly divided by its blue doors into northern interior and southern exterior sections.  The centrepiece of the latter is a squat concrete tower that's equal parts bunker and control room, though it's lacking a high-tier occupant to lord it over the minions scurrying about the place; then again, we're rather early in the WAD for that sort of setup even as we draw toward the conclusion of the first episode.  I do like the rapid and noticeable variation in textures and theme from room to room, giving a sense of "the blue room, the grey room, the green room, the TEKWALL room," for ease of identification and navigation - not that the latter is especially challenging in a map of this scale, but it's a nice straightforward bit of design even so.

 

E1M8: Embolon

 

I wasn't familiar with the term that gives this map its title so I looked it up on Wiktionary: "a blood clot or swelling, particularly one that blocks an artery; a battering ram on a warship."  Well that's not ominous at all, is it?

 

So, we've reached E1M8 and that means the familiar, mournful tones of Sign of Evil are playing as we gird ourselves for battle with a brace of Barons of Hell, right?  Not quite, the author is happy to break with that particular tradition by beefing up the encounter in a couple of different ways, and I don't feel the level suffers for it; on the contrary, interest is maintained and things are kept exciting by the various additions to the formula.  The episode as a whole has felt as though it's been altnerating between techbase and subterranean elements, with the occasional nugget of The Shores of Hell finding its way into the mix; here, all of that builds to an appropriate crescendo, the implied story bringing us to the corrupted heart of the installation we've been working our way through to confront its masters.

 

Minor bug that I encountered on I mourn for no one. difficulty: a cacodemon in the northern cubby was "shy" and didn't want to come out and play, I think it got hung up in the south-east corner of the room and the pathfinding AI wouldn't let it move west far enough to reach the door into the main cavern?  It could be that I'm playing an outdated version of the WAD and this has already been looked at, I'll make sure I'm using the most up-to-date download from the next episode onward.

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E2M1

A nod to E3M1 with the pistol on caco action to start.

 

This is very much a map about getting just enough firepower to deal with what's coming, and it is nicely judged, as I was often picking up new shells just as the shottie was running dry on me. A fun opener.

 

 

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E1M7:

Larger and somewhat non-linear.  I enjoyed the blue circuitry starting room and how I had to loop back to it a couple of times throughout the map.  Revisiting previous areas is always a plus.  Especially if it's a nice looking area that stands out from other parts of the map.

 

E1M8:

My first death(s) of the wad came in the boss encounter here.  I would almost call it vanilla mini-slaughter.  An enjoyable encounter, but might have been more enjoyable if I disabled infinite height.  Those cacos really pinned me down a few times.

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E1M6

We have our first cacos of the wad here, but they are not really threatening, rather more of an offsider for the imps. Basically it's an installation built into the side of a cavern or crater, or whatever you want to call it. Gameplay still not that threatening with most of the combat consisting of imps and demons infront of you. Like E1M5 this didn't quite jive with me. 

 

E1M7

Now this is more like it, both in gameplay and architecturally. Visually its a nice mix of E1 and E2. This map is so much more varied and dynamic than E1M5 and E1M6. Highest monster count so far and it feels like it, with better monster placement. There's what appears to be a big mandatory damage sector, but thinking there must be a radsuit somewhere I went exploring. Good decision, found one in the blue key area, with some imp reinforcements to hold you back. I liked that bit of interconnectivity in the whole blue key section. Upon reaching the outdoor area we are greeted with pretty much the biggest assault of the wad thus far. We have imps, souls and zombies at all angles, windows and height variation all containing snipers. Good opportunity for rockets with splenderous gibbage to be had out there. The blue armour secret is not really a secret, considering it is in plain view and you can just run straight to it. Probably my favourite of the wad thus far. 

 

E1M8

We reach the lair of the big badasses, and we have the marble temple and demonic architecture to match. The gloomy E1M8 music, the underground marble temple, demonic textures, the browns, and the ambient lighting all work to create a heavy, hellish atmosphere. The finale itself was, IMO, better than many E1M8's I've played. It starts of just like the original E1M8, only to have more barons teleport in and cacos sneak in form behind the wall behind you after a little delay, which is a nice touch IMO - creating a moment of "oh shit". The caco reinforcements work to create an actual sense of urgency, and in the enclosed area it is not hard to get cornered. I ran out of rockets and plasma even though I came in well stocked.  So yeah, this is a very good effort at for the final map. 

 

 

All in all a fun, if fairly easy, E1 replacement. Favourite map was E1M7. Least favourites were E1M5 and E1M6, they just lacked the gameplay and architecture of the other maps. E1M5 had a couple of good ideas and made good use of lighting, but the layout and architecture were lacking (and I still don't know how I released the red key), while E1M6 was better in layout and visually but monster placement/gameplay was anemic. And respect is due for the author for a finale that is something more than 2-4 barons in a giant monotone outdoor area :)

 

Edited by Hells Kitchen

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E2M1: Hydroelectrics

 

This is a neat little map, rendered in deep blues and the vibrant reds of repeated columnar details that's a pleasant aversion of the familiar gray walls of Deimos Anomaly that might otherwise occupy this slot.  Speaking of things that are vibrant and red, the cacodemon that you're faced with at the start of the map can be handled using your pistol if you're of a mind to, but I personally went wandering 'til I found some heavier harder before tangling with it, turning left at the T-junction before the exit and swiping the shotgun.  Ammunition balance on I mourn for no one. isn't quite as stringent as @Capellan describes (especially if you gather up the extra shotguns dropped by the sergeants on the ledge in the red key room) but it's still a pretty frugal map, with only a handful of helmets available for armour unless you find the secret closet.

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E2M2

This is the first map on which I really noticed the dehacked change to the lost soul. I have to say it feels pretty satisfying to splat the little bastards with only one shotgun blast, as happens from time to time now.

 

The map itself is very much a corridor-based one (albeit outdoor canyon-style corridors). I feel like this is another case where more dynamic use of cacodemons would help. They could come sailing over the walls like majestic airborne tomatoes of joy.

 

 

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E2M2: Snake Alley

 

This map offers up a fun outdoors-y romp through snaking canyons that connect a trio of small outposts; it's not a maze, but the constantly windings pathways provide glimpses of your destination without permitting immediate access, and while it may be a pretty basic presentation of theme, it's certainly more engaging than if the whole thing had taken place indoors.  The pacing here felt very steady, with enemies generally clumping up as obstacles to be confronted one at a time before proceding to the next hurdle; there isn't really a Gordian knot to be found anywhere.

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E2M3

The invuln set-piece is obviously the highlight here, allowing you to unlimber the rocket launcher and just splatter guys in point blank monochromatic glory.

 

I like the indoor-outdoor design here, and you move in and out of the main building, and loop back into the exterior of your starting point. It conveys a nice sense of connectedness.

 

I do feel this map is probably rather too generous with its goodies: that soul sphere in particular doesn't feel earned at all.

 

 

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E2M1

We start off with a short, but sharp outing. Right off the bat we are presented with a caco's ass with only a pistol on hand. Shall I fight, or run? I chose to run into the red key room and wrestle a shotgun from a sergeant and quickly grab some shells, while the imps and demons got into a hustle. Successfully goaded the caco into a squirmish with some of those imps while I made my way to the chaingun, where another gang of imps got into it with the souls, saving me some precious ammo. Despite the low body count of 32, the small footprint works to create that is more hectic than most of the maps in E1. The secret eluded me. An agreeable starter. 

 

E2M2

Now this was pretty fun. Full on hitscanner assault at the crate repository at the start. Thank god for that berserk! The map mostly consists of wide curvy outdoor corridors, but this is done in a good way, with a decent outdoor setting and glimpses into other parts of the map. The outdoors allows souls and cacos to sneak up from above, which has happened here. Gameplay is good fun with plenty of barrels placed...shall I say... very conveniently :D Plus we have rockets and a rocket launcher to go to town on the clumps of demons, imps and supporting cacos with. I take the yellow key room is a reference to Doom 2's MAP13 yellow key room with a similar lift and items placed on adjacent platforms. The green armour and medikit platforms are a pain in the ass to get to as the jump off that fast lift pretty much has to be timed perfectly. Curiously enough, the green armour is a secret but the medikit is not. All in all, good fun. 

 

E2M3

Nice little indoor outdoor setting here. Loved the start with that platoon of imps in the fenced-off exit area. Copped a few hits from them while I cleared out the surrounds, after which I proceeded to unload some rockets on the brown bastards. Highlight was the yellow key fight with the invuln, truly satisfying unloading the rocket launcher. Was left with 3 cacos, a few imps and a baron after all was said and done. Two cacos went down simultaneously with one shell :D I agree that there is probably too much health, there's plenty of packs lying around so maybe the soulsphere was overkill. I left with 196%. Again a solid piece of Doom fun and the gameplay is definitely ramping up from E1. 

 

 

 

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finished mm2 and then played through these in one go, as they're rather small and about the difficulty of the original doom, so i'm pistol-starting them now to get a proper impression.


Episode 1: Lifeless


E1M1: “Contagion

 

small e1-like base with hurting brown stuff like from doom2? outdoors area reference to udoom's e1m2, a soulsphere and some shotgunners. nice graphics replacement (although it's less intriguing than when i saw the soulsphere for the first time).

 

 

E1M2: “Laid to Rust”

 

a techbase with some odd angles, loops around itself. the red key required for the exit is somewhat easy to overlook, tucked in a brown corner. we get some pinkies plus a berserk pack for fun, and more enemies thinking that barrels make good cover. plus there's a chaingun.

 

 

E1M3: “Sluice Gate”

 

bigger than before, more height variation, also using the bolognese mod and the updated smooth doom for more gratuituous violence. the outdoor area is a exercise in making hellspawn run into the barrels scattered around. plenty of health and ammo. i even for got that e1m3 leads to m9 in udoom, have to go back for the sake of completion, but i'm terrible at finding secrets.

 

 

E1M9: “Gods”

 

your false gods from gotcha. that was pretty obvious from the architecture alone. lower the wall between the two and have fun. although that silly spider starting shooting at me right away instead of moving forward into the teleport line and left me in a lousy state. the exit is also inspired by m20, a bit anti-climactic though.

 

 

E1M4: “Underflow”

 

this is more underground, like an area dug out under the base, and filled with poisonous fluid. plenty of barrels again to dispose of pinkies, even a chainsaw and a backpack. going deeper, we get to the first signs of corrupted reality, marble panels, eyes and pillars, or is it just an old temple the base was built on? seems mysterious. 

 

 

E1M5: “Outage”

 

makes good use of darkness, especially if you play from pistol start you get a doom 3 feel here, especially the room with the imps. good music choice. not a fan of maze, where you have to make your way through before your suit runs out, but this one is short and doesn't have strobes. there's also an armor hidden here. i did the rest with the saw only. so when you're in the room with the pillars and the zombies... they're here with a serial murderer with a chainsaw  ;)

 

 

E1M6: “Burial Ground”

 

well, i'm with those saying that two dark maps shouldn't have been back to back... especially as this is different, because the maze is larger and has strobes. they're irritating. also, why do mazes always have right angles? e1m2 was a nice example of non-orthogonal architecture. everything else was fun though. i ran low on ammo from pistol start and had to use the rocket launcher in the maze and against the cacos who don't wait until e2 here.

 

 

E1M7: “Mainstay”

 

that's a nice, action-filled map after the more suspenseful maps before! interconnected, you can see the next door or room through windows everywhere, rooms have varied texturing, which makes the map easy to understand at the first glance, and it offers alternate routes and secrets to check out. thumbs up.

 

 

E1M8: “Embolon”

 

two barons don't cut it today, so there's about a dozen of them, and another one of cacos (plus imps at the gallery). they're easy to make friends. rockets are enough for the barons that remain. when i finished them, a single caco came out of the wooden gate to hell. i fired a pistol shot at it, and it went literally back into one of the glowing alcoves, lol. and there's the ominous pentagram.

 

 

beautiful classic episode, Jimmy, thanks for making it possible that i play this exactly on this day.

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E2M3: Greenhouse

 

This one feels rather more compact and conventional, with a pleasant start area that shows you the exit and makes your objective clear, then sends you scurrying through a succession of rooms and courtyards to achieve it.  Things are generally low-key for most of the running time, with the bottom half of the bestiary (zombie men through spectres) giving you a warm-up right up until you find the yellow key room, invulnerability sphere, and a small army of barons, imps, and cacodemons to deal with - which you can of course do with absolute impunity, pulverising them all at point-blank range and bouncing yourself around like a pinball with your own rocket blasts.  What fun!  Short, sweet, neatly designed, but as maps go not especially memorable, though I find it interesting that the map author has swapped out the expected Intermission From Doom track for the normally-comes-one-level-later They're Going To Get You, engendering a creepy atmosphere rather than the perhaps-expected tone of grinding bloodshed.

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E2M4

Another IWAD homage here with the red key. Honestly, not much a fan of that whole scenario, really. As a one-off bit of problem-solving in the original E2M2 it was fine, but it's very much a one-use gimmick I feel. Once you know the trick, it's just a tedious case of walking slowly in an S shape. Not the fast-paced action I'm really looking for from Doom.

 

Other than that, this is a good map that embraces the wild Petersen texturing scheme from the original game. Interesting to see the blue armour secret too, which is very much only of use to continuous players like me.

 

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E2M4

This map feels more like the original E2 with the textures and IWAD references. The yellow key area reminded me of "Spawning Vats" and we have a sequence from "The Factory" for the red key. The map's centrepiece is the outdoors area, very tempting to use the rocket launcher but the souls make it risky. Fun bit of run n gun, with a variety of opposition surrounding the area, and demons/spectres ready to block your escape to the exit platform. The blue armour secret is great for us continuous players, but completely worthless if you're pistol starting. Those blue dots with their compulsory 15% damage can get fucked royally up the ass, I kid you not went from 124% health down to the 50's. There doesn't appear to be a rad suit anywhere. Health again is plentiful plus the blue armour so recovery was effortless, so it's not as bad as it seems. Fun map all in all. 

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E2M4: Virulent

 

This was is pretty transparent in its homages to The Shores of Hell between the E2M2 elevating-platform snake, the E2M7 radioactive/electric floor panels, the E2M3-esque intermingling of grungy technology and medieval architecture... I don't know if the floating computer bricks in the smaller of the two outdoor areas are a reference to anything specific, but they nicely encapsulate the feel of the corrupted Deimos base, the familiar corrupted and made strange and wrong.  Other than that the level felt somewhat undercooked, with laid-back gameplay and low-tier opposition and not so many of its own ideas prominently on display compared to the E2 references.  Others have noted that the secret blue armour is useful only to continuous players; I think this is also true of the abundant bullets provided throughout the level, which you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of unless you come packing a chaingun from earlier in the episode.

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E2M5

Pretty simple to find the secret exit again. It was in fact the only secret I did find.

 

I'm a bit of a sucker for vine textures, so you can be sure I found my surroundings quite pleasant from a visual perspective, here. A bit less friendly in terms of the occupants, but the difficulty definitely cants toward the easy end of the spectrum in this wad.

 

 

E2M9

Oh hi MarkCircle of Death.

 

I largely raced past this map, not bothering to engage with monsters except to clear them out of the path (well, that and sergeants. I didn't need to be hitscanned to death). Old cybie probably killed more health points of bad guys than I did. This proved a pretty fun way to engage with the map, actually!

 

 

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e2m4

pretty fun to just run through and cause havoc. wouldve liked a cg here a bit earlier. the blue armour is seemingly just to help continuous play which seems a bit unnecessary as theres 2 berserks and a green armor...

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Back after being out of town for the weekend, I know you all missed me immensely and were wondering every waking moment "where's Magnus?"

 

E1M7: Mainstay

100% kills, 2/2 secrets

 

Fun mini-sized E1 map, I really liked the architecture of the outdoor area. Just wish there were maybe a few more monsters as the end sorta sputters a little when you finally unlock the bunker and all that was left were a few zombies and one spectre. Good use of some of the E2 textures too to start showing the hell influence creeping in.

 

E1M8: Embolon

100% kills, no map secrets

 

E1M8 analogues tend to be underwhelming since 'fight two barons' has aged so poorly over the years, but this one is actually a pretty good one, I think... the teleporting is a decent surprise, and there's some cacos that'll fly in too. But the real surprise is the other barons teleporting in on a delay, which can actually be quite dangerous if you aren't expecting it (I had lured the barons to the other side of the room and then good-at-Doom'd myself when another teleported right in front of my face). It's still not hard but did give a better challenge than some of the other E1 maps which I felt were slow-playing things a little too much.

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E2M1: Hydroelectrics

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

Goodbye, vast arsenal; hello running past enemies and scrounging for supplies. Not a tough map, but easy to back yourself in a corner and get overwhelmed if you run out of shells. I admittedly ran left (blue key) both times I tried the map, though I think maybe it's better to go right (and get the secret vest and chaingun), but at least I'll have 'em for the next map.

 

E2M2: Snake Alley

100% kills, 2/2 secrets

 

Hey, where's my crate maze? There's a few crates early on but the rest is an outdoor maze that reminded me of Slough of Despair. After last map had me looking for ammo after every fight, this one is far more generous, with both melee weapons provided (especially useful for all the demons/spectres) and the RL is basically given for free. I do dislike how the red key was revealed, as it's basically "hit this switch, have no idea what it does, then go wander around to find what it opened." In a map this size it's not hard to find, but moreso just that it feels unrewarding to hit the switch without knowing what it does at first.

 

On 12/8/2018 at 1:25 PM, Capellan said:

This is the first map on which I really noticed the dehacked change to the lost soul. I have to say it feels pretty satisfying to splat the little bastards with only one shotgun blast, as happens from time to time now.

 

 

I hadn't noticed it until you said it, but thinking about it, yeah I think there have been times they go down with one shot, which is definitely nice (I've always felt they had a bit too much health for their threat level/usage).

On 12/9/2018 at 4:45 PM, Hells Kitchen said:

 Curiously enough, the green armour is a secret but the medikit is not. All in all, good fun.

 

They're both secret but it's a linked sector so it'll only trigger once.

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E2M5: Repugnant Gardens

 

Now this one really is a lovely bit of design, an atmospheric and visually appealing exploration of a vine-draped part-ruin part-techbase environment, bringing with it a sense that, hey, if this kind of lush landscape is what the previous environment has been subverted and transformed into, then maybe Hell's presence isn't so bad.  As with E1M3 the opportunity to find and activate the secret exit comes relatively early in the map's running time, allowing you not just to access that additional, secret content but to shortcut the progression of events here should you so desire.  But in a place as pleasant as this, why would you want to?  It's nice to have finally found a backpack tucked away in one of the map's secrets, too; the cacodemons within call the player's attention to their presence early in the map, but don't make it immediately apparent how to get in there (and it's entirely possible for the bulky cacodemons corpses to partially obscure the resources or layout within anyway).

 

E2M9: Slain

 

So I guess this is going to be a theme, going forward, with the secret levels drawing inspiration from Doom II's maps, possibly just the end-of-episode maps there?  On the one hand it's a little jarring to fight the Cyberdemon at the midpoint of the episode rather than right at the end, but on the other hand we've already encountered both the Cyberdemon and the Spider Mastermind in the secret level of the first episode, so... yeah.  Changing things up, keeping them fresh while at the same time invoking the familiar.  Ultimately there's not a lot to be said about Slain that couldn't also be said, and hasn't already been said, about Doom II's MAP11.  Onward and upward!

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