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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

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MAP07 - “Pirates” by Nomad

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Pirates? More like Pinkies, right? Har har har!

Certainly a step down for Nomad after map06, this level is a bit silly overall. The excessive number of Pinkies at the start feels like a noob-trap for that one guy who pistol started and missed the Berserk. Even then, it still takes a while to punch them all out. If you're wicked-sick at Doom, you can probably kill the Trons and run back fast enough to grab the BFG without getting stuck on Pinkies. Otherwise, the BFG isn't particularly useful here as the one Mastermind is really far away, and the buddy Manc pirates can be killed with rockets or plasma. I do like the interior decorating with the strong lighting and pictures on the walls. Also, the beach near the exit provides for a nice vista. But overall, this won't be in my top maps list.

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fun fact about map 10: i got a beta version of the project from BeeWen/Lestat when i was writing my article and it seems that the starry sky ceiling in the map was added later by him. TGA also apparently made at least a couple other maps that weren't included in the project. i played them and i didn't think they were anything particularly special, so it's probably for the best that they weren't included. as far as Map 10, i think it's not too bad at all for a more conventional map in a set like ALT - it doesn't ruin the vibe or outstay its welcome. but i'm not really a fan of the other two TGA maps (one of which is map 12).

 

i also wanted to say i appreciate how Map 08 goes in and out from being a relatively conventional techbase map to having weird and abstract sections. i also like the part with the bright blue floor tracks towards the end a lot, and how you just unexpectedly drop into it (and it's not on the automap). the puzzle there may be a little silly, but i don't mind it. one of the things i like about ALT is that different mappers have different interpretations of how to approach this kind of style but all pull it off in their own way that doesn't feel at odds with the mood of the rest of the set. getting a bunch of mappers with different styles on the same wavelength is no doubt one of the hardest things to do in community projects, and it shows how much Clan [B0S] was trying to make something cohesive here. i think the longer/more unpredictable Map 08 especially works well in pairing with the shorter and more narrative-focused Map 09, and they've definitely grown on me over time. i think i probably prefer Archi's Map 06 of Sacrament to either of these though.

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MAP11

A huge, beautiful level (albeit very very linear) with a regrettably weak ending. I don't even like Icons of Sewing that much to begin with, so threading the needle here was not something I was exactly pumped for. Luckily, once you work out what to do, it's actually pretty simple: easier than the IWAD Icon I would say, despite all the meat running around the place.

 

Those caves and ruins in the first half of the map, though – gorgeous stuff.

 

 

 

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MAP11: Recall

 

Okay, right from the start it's apparent that this is an incredibly ambitious and sophisticated piece of design, opening with a sprawling maze of caverns and subterranean ruins to explore that's full of distinctive but thematically fitting vignettes and clever little touches.  You've got some freedom to wander and it may be that you can spend some time working your way through the shrine with its sequential teleporters - leading you through a castle wall, a gleaming techbase, a demonic nightclub, a bachelor pad clinging to the edge of nowhere, and ultimately to a twisted version of the shrine itself, the formerly lava-spewing lion heads now vomiting fort a stagnant mass of entrails - before you so much as discover the Bride Where Mistakes Were Made, and beyond it, the locked door whose red skull key is the final objective of your dimension-hopping quest in the shrine.  Tonally it's a bit peculiar, with the brightly-lit MYHOUSE.WAD environment beyond the fourth teleporter clashing with the largely serious preceding worlds - the austere castle wall that reminded me of nothing so much as the site of the Taurus Demon boss battle in Dark Souls; the metal-plated walls, harsh lighting, and gruesome medical experiments that suggest some sealed and isolated research facility; even the commingling of warm-toned intimacy, raw brick, and encroaching dilapidation that characterise the nightclub setting - especially in its jokey presentation of two arch-viles enraged at being interrupted in the shower, another pair of them literally in your closet.

 

And beyond the red door, good grief, the chamber of many steps and columns, stretching endlessly, vertiginously upwards, until you near its apex and the whole ceiling starts to come crashing down about your ears, that was a sight to behold.  Especially with every part of it in constant motion as you wind your way across a catwalk that has arises from the depths you've just climbed, unsure of whether the ceiling is moving or the floor is bucking beneath your feet, lines of sight opening and closing as cover gives way to vulnerability and an opportunity becomes a disaster as a block of glowing red stone drops into place in front of you just as your finger closes on the trigger of your rocket launcher.  The shadowy pseudolabyrinth that follows is breathtaking, a space of columns and darkness with gently glowing pedestals indicating This Way with an undercurrent of Or Else that I didn't dare countermand until I reached the point with the optional fork to the megasphere; that was the point at which I realised what was in store for those who strayed from the path.

 

I'm inclined to agree with @Capellan that the end of the level, its supposed climax, is in many ways one of its weaker parts; after all the grandeur and strangeness you've experienced just getting to that point, the presentation of a rather run-of-the-mill Icon of Sin battle and its attendant horde of minions was something of a let-down.  "That's it?" was rather my reaction.  It doesn't significantly detract from a level that is otherwise a stunning experience.  The automap is a little bit on the funky side; in as large and complex a level as this, with its share of unusual encounters where a functional automap would be far too useful, it's to be expected that the automap will be trimmed somewhat, various lines rendered invisible for clarity's sake or to preserve the complexity and challenge of encounters like the labyrinth or the chamber of steps and columns.  Elsewhere, though, it seemed as though quite a lot of linedefs were missing from the map with no particular pattern and for no apparent reason.  That's another minor gripe, though, when the map itself is so damn fulfilling.

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Map 5: 100% kills, 8/8 secrets

 

  After being knocked out by the explosion in the previous map, our marine wakes up in a different place.  Did someone transport the marine here?  Is this a nightmare?  There's signs of life at the nearby train stoop such as the kiosk with a grumpy proprietor.  Map goes on a wild journey.  Sure it starts of real enough at a base with sleeping quarters, a storage area, command center, and cafeteria.  Someone blew out part of the wall though; don't remember those being part of the original building plans.  Then it gets more abstract.  Bit of a '90s vibe to the gameplay with all the unmarked walkover triggers.  Looks more modern though, especially the railyard which the payer travels all around before being granted access.  Secrets are fun to locate.  The segment where 2 or 3 keep going deeper really jumped out with an invulnerabiity fueled rocket rampage at close range targets.  Map also marks the first appearance of an archvile which one can fight, if you find it.  The flood of zombies that comes pouring out near the blue key is quite comical to fight: either by mowing them down yourself or going infight-happy with opening and closing a key door repeatedly.

 

Map 6: N/A (cheats used to 100%)

 

  Permastuck warning: Do not go into the teleport at the end of a series of pillars a second time.  There will eventually be a raised walkway blocking the path forward that cannot be lowered from that position.  This is what Salt Man Z mentioned in an earlier post.  For completionists, make sure to clear out the starting room before dropping down; there is no return.  Same with the series of areas after the pillar teleport.

 

  I can see why some would believe this map has an identity crisis.  Starts off as a city type and transitions to outdoor and hellish and more.  Some of the individual areas are striking like the long abandoned techbase that concludes with a leap into a starry void.  Others are a bit more hit and miss depending on personal taste.  There are puzzle elements like parts are trying to be a puzzle map yet is unwilling to commit to the idea.  I'll admit that finding the one working switch among the others is clever once one realizes the clue provided.  A decent-sized chunk of the latter half consists on areas you can only pass through once.  It's not that jarring, only when spending effort thinking about it does there appear to be a shortage of cohesion between the different areas.

 

  Action is mostly straightforward taking out monsters that appear in front of the player.  There are sniping hitscanners around to chip away at long range to mix things up.  The hellish section (doesn't feel very hellish to me with the sky) can get some sweet infighting action going if that's your jam.

Edited by Crusader No Regret

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MAP11: A very impressive and beautifully detailed map, and one of my favourites works from this wad. It seems that this is the only map from Maddzi, at least I wasn't able to find somthing else on the net. The startig location is a big cave with rivers of lava, our biggest points of interest are a bridge that leads to the red door and what's more important now an underground temple where there it will start a sequence of getting teleported into different areas. Overall the level isn't difficult, there are many secrets that aren't hard to find, maybe on a blind run and pistol start you may miss an early secret backpack, some optional ammo and get the SSG later, plus the lava give 20% damage so you don't want to go back and forth so much. The teleporting sequence will make you explore 5 different places. The first is a castle wall with battlements and two towers, this place seems to be mostly tied to the underground ruins we came from but it's from the next area that the real trip starts. The second place looks like a military base with a hospital room; very good effort to make those sliding doors with vanilla actions. Next follows an underground nightclub that looks very believable (I wonder if it was based on a real life place) plus it got all sort of twisted demonic stuff. The visit of realistic places doesn't end here and next there's a house where two couples of arch-viles play hide and seek in the shower and inside a wardrobe. Maybe these last three places we have visited were supposed to be our memories? To end the sequence an alternate version of the temple tell us where the RK has appeared.

After the red door the journey continues and it keep to deliver. After an unknown metal machine that spits out lava there the giant hall with stairs and pillars, when you finally reach the top the whole ceiling will start to fall leaving only a frail path that you can follow while all around the wall keep going up and down and you can't be sure if also the floor started to move. Then the matter fades into the darkness as you enter the "maze" in the shadows. There's also a brief visit outside, from a small path carved on the mountain you can have a view of the wasteland below.

I like the final part, a death exit at the end of en episode is quite a clichè but it sits well in this map. The red structure with the black looks good. The killing of the IoS happens quickly and I gues it's intended in that way, at least on UV there are like 10 monster spawners.

 

14 hours ago, TheOrganGrinder said:

Elsewhere, though, it seemed as though quite a lot of linedefs were missing from the map with no particular pattern and for no apparent reason.

This is a thing that I saw on maps of other wads too sometimes, I can only think that the mapper selected some unintended lines while hiding them.

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F

4 hours ago, gaspe said:

 It seems that this is the only map from Maddzi, at least I wasn't able to find somthing else on the net.

From Maddzi was one his solo project "Dreamish" until his work in clan BOS. 11 level was a serious revision, to participate in A.L.T.

 

Download "Dreamish" https://yadi.sk/d/IYvXX8U2aHCFRw

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5 hours ago, gaspe said:

I like the final part, a death exit at the end of en episode is quite a clichè but it sits well in this map.

 

I didn't encounter a death exit?

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Map 11:

 

from the beta version of this map i have, it appears that the core of the map is basically the same but a lot of things, especially the opening cavern area, had a lot of detailing and polishing work done to them (i assume by someone other than Maddzi... probably BeeWen). also the void maze appears to have had directional signposts added to it later, which was... a very good decision.

 

i actually have some mixed feelings about this map. it is certainly impressive in scope - it pushes the set forward narratively, and i really can't imagine ALT without it. but it also suffers from "Community Chest syndrome" and outstays its welcome a little bit. i also am not clear exactly why this comes so early in this set (i'm assuming it's for story reasons), because both it and Map 13 being so massive in size tip the scales towards the early middle of the set. some of the sections in the teleporter room/memory recall sections feel like they drag on a bit, especially the one that in is a warehouse area and the one that appears to be set in some sort of bar/restaurant. i'm also not a huge fan of the cavern that connects up to everything, nor the instadeath in the (otherwise very cool) descending void room with the lost souls. also not a fan of the sexy duke nukem, but that's a whole other thing... lol. the Icon of Sin exit is okay given that ALT doesn't have a proper Icon of Sin fight at the end... but others are right here in that it's almost gratuitous and not needed in the context of this map.

 

still, it's hard to deny all the cool stuff about this map. it is one that i've come to like a little bit less over time, because of it just trying to do too much at once in a set that is already very dense with ideas. but like i said, it's hard to imagine ALT without this map.

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1 hour ago, Capellan said:

I didn't encounter a death exit?

No, you are right there isn't a death exit, I was confusing it with the maps that blow you and the IoS at the same time, thanks for pointing it :P

 

1 hour ago, BeeWen said:

From Maddzi was one his solo project "Dreamish" until his work in clan BOS. 11 level was a serious revision, to participate in A.L.T.

 

Download "Dreamish" https://yadi.sk/d/IYvXX8U2aHCFRw

Thanks for sharing this.

 

MAP12: A more conventional level, it's short and it's due after the long trip that is MAP11 and the next level is another huge beast to tackle. The map feels like a bunker with techbase rooms built on the sides of an underground canyon. It has a rather nice abstract vibe with rock, zimmer, lights and metal used together. The other half of the base will have more variety with brown bricks and marble added to the visuals. Combat is claustrophobic, all the action is set inside tight rooms of corridors. There are 2 spiderdemons, not hard encounters but the second is probably more interesting since you might want to use it to kill the barons behind it. It's a good level and I like the reassuring mood of the music, I wouldn't call it a filler but it gets forgotten easily among the other more interesting experiments of the wad.

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MAP12

This is a solid-looking techbase map, with equally solid (if slightly set-piece heavy) Dooming action. Which makes it feel decidedly odd in ALT. It's like it wandered in from some other megaWAD entirely and just camped out here, threatening to punch any of these esoteric concept maps right in the kisser if they tried to take the slot back.

 

I'm okay with that!

 

 

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MAP13

Well, that was exhausting.

 

I guess I can admire this in terms of its scope, but I certainly can't say that I much enjoyed playing it. It's a switch hunt through and through, and that will never be my preferred play experience.

 

 

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MAP12: Pre-Paterna

 

As with TGA's earlier offering of MAP10 this is a somewhat intimate experience, a techbase of quite enclosed dimensions and proportions wrapped around a yawning chasm that cleaves through the surrounding bedrock like a knife-wound.  With the floor and ceiling of the chasm sectors both well out of sight (with the exception of the yellow key area), lost in the gloom, it's left to the player's imagination to determine just how far beneath the ground the complex might be, whether an escape into the cavern and a climb up the rock face would lead ultimately to the surface and to escape or merely to the frustration of a stone cavern roof and a subsequent climb back down, whether the depths of the cavern might hide the flowing waters of an underground river, or dry and unyielding stone, or whether there's even a bottom to be found at all, or if it simply descends endlessly into the dark - stranger things have happened already in this WAD.  The walls are undulating, many of the sharp corners lopped off in nibbly diagonals, and the transitions from one material to another are smooth, giving the sense that the base has not been constructed so much as extruded, laid down in glistening organic layers by some slithering beast that knows the parts of a man-made industrial facility, the materials of its walls, the function of its doors, the surface-level details, but doesn't understand its purpose or function; it's as unsettling as descending into an insect's burrow and finding the walls decorated with Regency wallpaper patterns.  Combat tends toward the "chewy," with encounters that pile in layers of resilient meat in a way that feels like an obstacle or a time sink more than an engaging challenge; I'm thinking in particular of the wall of Barons of Hell beyond a waist-high barrier at the start of the map's third and largest node (which I see are replaced by a gang of revenants on lower difficulties and a Spider Mastermind on higher difficulties!), the Spider-Barons-demons layer cake that seems engineered to prevent vertical auto-aim from doing anything useful, and the green slime pit with its arch-vile and quartet of Barons where I quite shamelessly whipped out the BFG from a preceding map, not having the patience to otherwise deal with an arch-vile who stubbornly refused to make his way to the front of the line-up in an encounter that feels like an ammo sink all out of proportion to its actual threat, and one that's not easily skipped given the presence of the red key and the ease with which the bulky Barons can bodily block both your entrance and your escape.  I'm left with a sense of a map author who doesn't want to let the player go.  Given @Capellan's reaction to the next map, maybe TGA was doing me a kindness there?

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Map 7: pistol start with Pirate Doom weaponset  100% kills, 3/3 secrets, no saves

 

  Yo, ho, ho.  With a map name like Pirates, had the silly thought of playing through the map with Pirate Doom weapons.  There's not much to say about my continuous game.  First BFG here, let one arachnotron blast away at the demon pack, savescummed my way through the map without damage.  The spiderdemon I thought would land a lucky shot but invisibility, hold down fire with plasma, it died without leaving a scratch.

 

  I guess the pirates are more like modern 21st century pirates rather than than the one commonly depicted in fiction.  The start is a bit trickier from scratch.  Less ammo is a given but with no autoaim on the projectile weapons, hitting the caged peglegatrons with them takes more effort.  It's also harder to spot their cannonballs (which are not affected by gravity; life isn't always fair).  Died a few times before I found a survivable approach to start.  Thanks to jumping working, didn't even need to fight but chose to anyways.  Interior of ship is easy enough with boosted melee and getting the jump on the various hitscanners in the cabins.  Interesting factoid: there are no imps to be found anywhere on this map (on HMP at least).  It's something I missed since they're so fun to fight in Pirate Doom.  Really sloppy taking so many hits for the various enemies on the boat exterior.  Thought the spiderdemon would finish me but invisibility and emptying most of my bullets with the gatling gun took it out.  The archvile and hellknights were safely handled with a helping of dynamite via dynamite gun.  Took out last enemy with 9% health left.

 

  Playing it this way, it's more noticeable how unengaging the gameplay is.  The end of the map where one goes onto shore is cool at least.  This map is also the first time a skull key appears in the mapset.  By itself, the unreachable yellow skull is insignificant; it's during the next map or two where it will make a bit more sense.

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MAP13: Knee-Deep in Waste

 

I tend to think of myself as a player with a fairly high tolerance for the style of map that sits toward the far end or the outer echelons of the "adventure map" bracket, with significant areas to explore, obstacles to be analysed, and puzzles to be solved.  I did after all rather enjoy Eternal Doom when the Club picked that up about... good grief was that nearly three years ago now?  Anyway, back on point.  I'm also of somewhat mixed feelings when it comes to the term "switch hunt," which feels like a perfectly useful description of a lot of Doom gameplay (of course there will be switches that do things in the level that are necessary for progression; and of course you'll have to go and find them, fighting monsters along the way) repurposed to describe the sort of map that disconnects cause from clear effect and leaves the player essentially groping in the dark to progress rather than problem-solving.

 

That's a lengthy preamble to a fairly predictable complaint, which is that this map feels deliberately obtuse in its presentation, chock-full of similar-looking switches with minimal apparent purpose and sprawling sequences of rooms that you're invited to stumble through with no clear direction.  Looking at this in Doom Builder after the fact, I can see that a lot of these curious switches lowered barriers that I didn't realise were barriers because I didn't even gain access to the area containing them until after I'd finished exploring the map and lowered them all in complete ignorance of the fact that I was even doing so; there's a forking teleporter that's absolutely not marked as such, dropping you in one place if you hug the left-hand wall of the corridor leading up to it and another place if you instead hug the right-hand wall, with the teleporter itself situated at the end of a vast and confounding loop of tunnels and nukage runs that the player has absolutely no reason to revisit; there's half-a-dozen teleporters sitting in the eastern reservoir that look like nothing more than your standard "Oh no, you've fallen in the slime, here's a way out!" escape mechanisms but actually can take you to three different places, including a chance to pick up a red key early... this might perhaps be a terrifically engaging map to play on its own, but inserted into the middle of the WAD like this it's just confounding and exhausting.

 

In some ways this feels like a spiritual cousin to 5till L1 Complex by A.L.T. project director Lainos, but the environment is less engaging and the sense of mystery so much weaker here.

 

(Also I'm of the opinion that dropping a health-depleting-but-not-death exit in the middle of progression like this is some kind of artificial-difficulty bullshit, but that's neither here nor there, and that's what I get for playing on continuous rather than pistol starting each map I suppose.)

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MAP13: This is another long journey in a very huge map, it's cool but it's also exhausting even if you know what you have to do. There's a quest of looking for 6 black pillars with a switch that will open the way on the final building, and if you go to said building at last after you picked a RK you may not even noticed what those switches did. A lot of the map is optional and it's there only to be explored and to collect the secrets, there's a RK (on the crates at south-east in the first pool) that can be picked up relatively early and you can skip to do all the trip that goes around the final cistern-building. This level likes to mess with the player, it isn't easy to navigate it and tries to push you to get lost in its depths with its one-way passages from where you can't go back and various teleporters (like those in the second pool that take you to different places), there are switches that it isn't clear what they do and my favourites are the couple of red door that lead to nowhere. Remarkable is the near-death trap in the southern area, where you are suddenly stuck under a crusher. It's plenty of cool structures and deatil, the circular corridor that links the final building, the final building with its pipes, the underground giant hall with pillars and the floating devices over the teleports.

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MAP14

I'm not sure if the ending of map13 is supposed to push you to pistol start this map, but if so, an actual death exit would have been a better choice. I yoinked the secret supercharge near the start instead, and headed out fully tooled up.

 

... into another rather exhausting slog. I'm starting to wonder if it'll be the sheer size of the maps that finally wears me down in this megawad!

 

Most of the action is in fairly constrained areas, with only the starting area and the fight after the blue doors offering much run and gun opportunity. I think the latter area is probably the highlight of the map, with the seemingly infinite stream of imps entering the fray. It's a welcome change of pace from the many 'bitsy' set pieces that populate much of the rest of the level.

 

Map15 next. Given how arduous merely finding the exit generally is in this mapset, I doubt I will have much shot at discovering the secret levels!

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The view in MAP13 is magnificent, but I don't remember too much about the gameplay other than (1) I had split it up across a couple of sessions/days, and (2) I managed to find another way to get locked in while revisiting an area. (But without being able to pull the map up on Doomwiki, I can't say right offhand where that was.) Overall I really liked it, though.

 

And since Adam's doing MAP14 already, here's where I'll join in! I believe I'm doing this on HMP, and GZDoom/continuous/saves/keyboard-only. And since I last played this, I've started using the bloom and occlusion effects in GZDoom, which look really cool. (And also, apparently I've upgraded GZDoom a number of times since starting this WAD last year: I'm playing this in 3.1.0, when with everything else I'm either using 3.3.1 or 3.7.1...)

 

MAP14: Legacy

51:45 | 100% Everything

I started this at 9% health, thanks to the previous exit, gah. That made things slow in the early goings, as I moved slowly and meticulously using my chaingun to take out threats. I eventually found health in the room behind the four start-doors (though the archi that pops up on the other side of the bars gave me fits—until I remembered that I had a BFG.) The sewers area was kind of obnoxious, particularly the two rooms with the eight lifts, especially once the chaingunners appeared in the alcoves, and me (being me) had to retrieve every dropped chaingun for ammo, which necessitated riding those lifts well over a dozen times. Lots of obscure progression in this section, with switches doing something, but my getting stumped was partially my fault for completely overlooking the door out of the eight-lift area. Once you get the yellow key, things get really puzzle-y; you can't open the door behind the yellow one, so you go outside and have to platform over and open it from the other side. The outdoor area also leads to an invisible bridge to the blue key, though the first time through I didn't realize I could snag the key from the bridge. The actual final arena was fairly underwhelming; I just camped behind the blue doors and rocketed everything I could. It was silly how approaching the "exit" teleporter there revealed spiders behind you that you could just ignore should you choose. Overall though, I liked this one. I certainly don't mind when some of the progression feels like mandatory secrets (as it did here) as long as it's within reason (which I thought this was.) The next map looks really cool...

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Map 12 i don't like so much. the look of the map/setting of the map is cool, but the combat is very tedious for me. especially gunning heavy enemies in narrow hallways.

 

Map 13 is absolutely my favorite map in ALT. it is fabulous and beautiful and unique. you all are very wrong to dislike it and you will be shown the error of your ways in due time. lol. tl;dr it does a lot of different things in one map that it's hard to summarize here.

 

i made a whole video about this map a few years back, so i guess you can just watch it here if you want: 

 

Edited by ella guro

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MAP14: Legacy

 

So thanks to the quirky exit to the previous map, I'm kicking this one off at 10% health, 15% armour.  Yay for me.  Even setting that aside, though, this was... not a fun level for me to play through.  I found the combat to be uncomfortable, with bits like the winding sewer tunnels, the clusters of chaingunner alcoves, and the appearance of a Cyberdemon in the too-constraining quarters of the warehouse area providing plentiful opportunities for cheap health loss or pushing the player to make progress only by camping and creeping; the "highlight" of this has to be the final arena beyond the blue doors, where an arch-vile is teleported into a space with (almost) no opportunity to break line-of-sight other than camping at the entrance to the room, so you can camp, or trust to luck, or tuck yourself away on the threshold on an unmarked teleporter, or you can get blasted by an opponent that seems like the least-fitting monster that could possibly be dropped into that particular combat situation.  Progression tends toward the obtuse; there's one point in the north-western node of the map, the tunnel area, where you've flipped a switch but found your progress barred and the intended way forward is to blindly backtrack up lifts and through claustrophobic tunnels, hoping that the switch might have been what lowered a particular barrier.  "Fumble blindly to find out what that switch did," or "revisit every known barrier or obstacle to figure out what it did via the process of elimination," are not fun problem-solving techniques in my estimation; I think I'd be more forgiving of the latter if the map wasn't so convoluted in shape while also being quite firmly linear, two or three spokes radiating out from the central hub twisted into awkward shapes that compel a lot of walking for relatively little displacement.

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MAP14: Can't tell if it's worse to begin this level on pistol start, or on continuous. If you are doing the latter you'll start will very low health (thanks to MAP13 exit), and nearby you have only few stimpacks to regain your health. On pistol start you have to build your arsenal. From the starting point you can jump on the crate with the armor and then on the crate with SG, not so easy since the slimefall will obstruct your view. It's better to go up at the RL elevator so you can get the weapon from a chaingunner, and maybe pick the backpack outside. At the left the 4 doors lead to 4 identical cages, cleaning this place is important before you go to the exit, from there you can kill the AV from a better position. You can also pick the BK first, a bunch of revs will appear but they can't chase you so you can ignore them. Same for the cyberdemon that will be there later. Going north the area with secret plasmagun looks a lot like a homage to underhalls (it has a very similar structure and the same texture scheme). At the north-west there's the most important section of map where you can pick the YK. In the sewers collect all the chainguns from the closets is boring. I prefer more the part with long corridors filled with computers and lights, it's almost empty and it gives a good feel. There you can see also the YK but you don't know how to enter the room, the 2 switches nearby don't seem to do anything, until you go back to the underhalls room to see that a new passage opened so you teleport to the YK room and go back again but at least this time some monster repopulate the area. The yellow door has a nice monent of messing with player, the big one isn't the right door, to continue you have to take a side way. I love the brief moment you have outside, it has a nice contrast to the underground setting of the base and adds a nice touch of sense of place. The encounter after the blue door is my favourite here, it isn't something very special (just some imps and few different monsters) but it's a nice different setup from the usual stuff.

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MAP15: Memoris Spiritus

20:23 | 83% Kills | 100% Items | 100% Secrets

Well, this sure was a level! That first bit is just absolutely gorgeous, but dominated by a teleporter puzzle that I only half (2/3?) understood; I noticed that most of the viable paths were visible on the ceiling, but that didn't always seem consistent. It was cool how the floor lit up to show you the corrects paths once you'd traversed them. And at least it was quick/easy enough to brute-force the paths that weren't immediately clear. Grab the red key, parkour out to the red switch, and you're back at the start where a surprise archvile tries to nuke your face. Then a long run atop a crevasse (which I almost immediately fell into) and then suddenly, wait, what? Deja vu, but going backwards, and then whoa, deja vu all over again. Very disconcerting going through E1M8 and MAP01 backwards. And then blam more archies. I guess the left teleporter takes you to MAP16 while the right one takes you to MAP31? (I tried the righthand one first; I guess the "B0S" marking was the clue.) Not a bad map, both the combat and puzzles left a little to be desired, but the visuals and all-around atmosphere were both fantastic.

 

MAP16: [B0S]

56:46 | 94% Kills | 97% Items | 80% Secrets

Holy crud. This is a very cool map, despite its questionable progression and one game-breaking bug. The bug is in the "O" bit: there's a switch on the northern side that raises the western walkway, but if you don't hit it (I didn't) there's no way back out of the northwestern quadrant. As much as I love RDC WADs, they sure do have a problem finding and catching those. Crazy obtuse, this map. The "B" area? Not so bad, mostly just a weird ABCD switch puzzle. But the aforementioned "O" area had that bizarre (completely unmarked!) bi-directional teleporter that either sends you back to the start or to the other half of the level. (Guess which one I did first, that left me stumped for a good 5 minutes?) I do love the rest of that "O" section, though, particularly opening the whole thing up to get the yellow key; very cool. The "S" is where most of the action is, and is a joy to (eventually) platform around upon. I actually thought I broke something by hugging the northern outside ledge and getting to the exit area, instead of doing it like I was supposed to by crossing the pillars. I thought I had found the secret exit, but no, it just turned out to be the regular one; seemed like an awful lot of work for the regular exit. The "[" and "]" areas were bizarre, too: the left one I handled fine, grindy as it was. The right one...??? You grab the invul and cell packs, and it just sends you back to the "O" 'porter? I assume the invul was meant to be used to fight the cyber and those million PEs, but I couldn't figure out a way to get back there before the invincibility wore off. On a second attempt (after reloading when I discovered I had entered the regular exit, not the secret one) I just avoided that entire area all together; my first attempt had PEs spitting out lost souls until the monster count was well into the 500s, and there was no way I was going to (or likely had the ammo to) mop that mess up. (On second thought, I supposed one could use the invul and those quick teleports to face the archie at the secret exit. Not that he's particularly difficult to handle in that confined space.) Fun level all around, and maybe I'm just saying that because I managed to figure (most of) it out, but there you go.

Edited by Salt-Man Z

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Map 31 is very easy to get permastuck early on.  Mess up a switch puzzle to raise a bridge and the only way forward is IDCLIP.  I think this is another one that wasn't tested enough.

 

Map 8: 100% kills, 6/6 secrets

 

  In my previous playthrough, this was one of the maps I was unable to get 100% kills on.  Found all the secrets this time around, which felt accomplished.  There's still a survivor (100% comes from a resurrected monster) this go-around due to a janky teleporter which left someone behind.  One hellknight lives to tell the tale of an invader who swept through the complex.  And what a complex it is.  Starts off rather normal metal base stuff but drops the player into A.L.T.ernate dimensions now and then.  First it's off to the ring of teleporters as one tries to stay ahead of revenant missiles.  The lift ride down into the uncharted sections is when it appears that the alternate dimension is bleeding into the current one.  There's the segment after grabbing the red key where a teleporter actually deposits the player in the alternate dimension before it spits the marine out into the "real" one.  The room shape being alike is a detail that I didn't catch before.  When one shifts into alternate land again, the yellow skulls appear again.  Could this dimension be the origin of these mcguffins?

  Gameplay has spiked up in difficulty.  There's the part where hitscanners pour out of darkness with a hellknight approaching from a different direction.  There's the alternate dimension hop with the revenants which is quite scary trying to shake off homing missiles hopping from island to island.  The red key area is used for multiple fights against crowds.  I took the invisibility too early for one mob and paid for it when a different mob with chaingunners warped in.  Got stuck there for a bit because of a 'effing tiny switch that took a while to spot.  Not quite sure how to open up the secret with the megasphere and the only signs of outdoors in the map though I suspect it involves the alternate dimension where the yellow skulls are so likely a missable secret.

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MAP15: Memoris Spiritus

 

This is a WAD that has consistently been about dropping the player into the midst of the creepy, the unsettling, the out-of-place; but the opening vista here, I think, marks a shift away from that to the domain of the abstract and the nakedly unreal.  Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more.

 

Unlike @Salt-Man Z I didn't notice anything on the ceiling in the puzzle room so for me it pretty much came down to a brute force approach; it's a nifty little puzzle that suffers a bit for not being well contextualised, there are clearing floor-button switches throughout the room that you're supposed to hit but from within the puzzle itself there doesn't seem to be any indication as to what they do (other than dropping monsters on you) so I felt I was solving the puzzle for the sake of solving it and then going elsewhere to see if there had actually been a point to it all.  The rest of the level is more about setting and atmosphere than gameplay, with the familiar sights of Phobos Anomaly and Entryway greeting the player, albeit in an already devastated condition and tackled backwards as far as the usual progression goes; also, it was downright weird to see an arch-vile running Phobos Anomaly of all places.  I guess if the player's normal perspective is to start at one end of the level and march through killing monsters, here you're starting at the other end of the level watching already-dead monsters brought back to life at the claws of Hell's field medics?  And then it's over, with a nifty exit that establishes MAP31 as not so much secret as merely optional.

 

MAP31: [B0S]

 

I feel that larger levels that are expected to take longer to play often benefit from a strong sense of place, an appealing, consistent environment, and/or a high degree of interconnectedness between areas and encounters, a sense of a narrative unfolding or a puzzle being solved step-by-step or otherwise something that binds the level together as more than just a series of action scenes taking place between arbitrarily-defined start and end points within the boundaries of a playing field drawn wherever the map author chose to draw them.  In that respect, I don't feel this map is a particular success; to the extent that it has a "framing device," it's the fact that the layout embodies the logo of clan [B0S], and I don't feel that's a sturdy enough foundation upon which to build a map of this length.  I found myself wanting the map to be over rather before it was, probably at about the one-third point of my transit through the final S-shaped zone of the level, which felt like it was borrowing the obstinance and occasionally contrived obtuseness of the city levels earlier in the WAD without any of the deliciously melancholy atmosphere and sense of mystery that infused those maps.  And on the one hand, "I'm glad this is optional, it deserves to be," comes across as an overly strong condemnation of the level, it's not as though it's poorly-executed, but on the other hand I did find myself wishing (again, at roughly that two-thirds-through-the-S point in the progression) that I'd taken the other exit at the end of MAP15 and left this level and the next for another time.

 

And on the third hand, I did spend enough time on this level that I found the secret exit to MAP32, so there is something engaging to be found here despite all the words I've spent complaining.

 

That's it for now, I'll tackle MAP32 along with MAP16 tomorrow.

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MAP15: It's a pretty unique map, made with blue and white tiles suspended in a black void. Usually you would encounter a level like this on the secret slots. It features a teleport puzzle where by picking the right way on a tile you'll lit a compass that shows where you can go without being teleported back to the start. Some "turret" cacodemon will teleport each time you step onto one of the 3 tan buttons, which will open the way to the RK. The cacos can be a big nuisance on pistol start, your ammo is very low and you'll need to spare some for the arch-viles that will block our way back to the red switch. It's better if you reveal all the path first so you don't have to wander in the maze while being targeted by the cacos. The crumbling long highway at north is cool, there's a bunch of pain elementals that are annoying to fight in there but you can ignore them easily. Then you will be taken to the star shaped area of E1M8, more precisely you start at the exit teleport where you end the episode with a death experience. Though the teleport this time leads back to the arena where the barons are dead, and a surprise arch-vile can resurrect them. The next place you will revisit is Entryway, you are free to roam everywhere and you can find only the corpses of the monsters and all the doors and secrets are opened. This is a cool and interesting moment, going back to these iconic places of the iwads builds a tie to the original experience and perhaps it's another allusion of doomguy reliving his memories. And specifically going back to the end of E1M8 seems important, it connects to one of the motifs of the wad.

 

6 hours ago, Crusader No Regret said:

Map 31 is very easy to get permastuck early on.  Mess up a switch puzzle to raise a bridge and the only way forward is IDCLIP.  I think this is another one that wasn't tested enough.

Are you talking about the "B" area? I don't think it's possible to get stuck there.

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1 hour ago, gaspe said:

Are you talking about the "B" area? I don't think it's possible to get stuck there.

No, it's in the "0". I mentioned it as well.

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3 hours ago, Salt-Man Z said:

No, it's in the "0". I mentioned it as well.

Ah that, the north-west quarter of the central circle has a tiny raised catwalk on the wall you can use to go back to the switch.

 

MAP31: The first secret level pays homage to Clan [B0S] with different areas for each character of the name, including the brackets. "B" is a dark brick basement with switch puzzle, the solution is simple actually but it can be very confusing since you don't have feedback of what those repeatable switches do. "0" makes you loop around until when you complete the circle the centre of the area will open revealing a big hellish pit with a mastermind. "S" is the most interesting part, a city setting that recalls the earlier parts of the wad, the daylight shadows are also back here. "[" is optional, it has a sort of monsters zoo with a linear sequence of rooms where each one has a different kind of monsters put in a fitting environment for it. The other bracket can also be confusing with its teleports, the invuln. it's there for the cyberdemon + swarm of PEs at the BFG but this encounter is also optional.

 

MAP32: Very short but it's rather charming in its own way. It starts with a 3 keys hunt in few different monochromatic rooms linked with tiny corridors, it doesn't sound so exciting on paper but the level has it's weird moments to raise your interest like the little trasformation of the central blue room. Though the thing that will require to put some thoughts on the level are the death traps. The room with the frozen AVs and the cyberdemon is pretty cool and you can awaken them if by accident you shoot at the door at the pit with the zombies and the trees.

Edited by gaspe

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MAP15

The "Void" section looks great but is utter tedium to play.  Then it's a nostalgia trip with surprise archvile ... and then the same again.  Meh.

 

I went through one of the two teleport pads at the end. but didn't actually check what map it led to. From the sounds of comments above maybe the map16 is on one side and map31 on the other?

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MAP32: Bonus Track

14:56 | 75% Kills | 11% Items | 0% Secrets

This map, man, I dunno. It started off fine enough, but the pitch-black blue-platform room was almost ragequit material. Never mind that I had to traverse it twice. (Why couldn't the bridge have stayed up?) Then you had the murder hallways: the left side had the crusher ceiling that hurt me but not too badly. But the right-hand exploding hallway did me a number of times before I even realized what was happening. I guess the only solution is to shoot the barrels through the walls? (And the only way to figure that out is trial and error.) Then you get all the keys, grab an invul, and... come face to face with a cyber and like a dozen archviles, but they're asleep or something. My invul ran out before I could figure out how to wake them, and then I hit the switch and it was over. Hunh. Didn't bother going back to figure the rest out.

 

MAP16: Dead Calm

38:28 | 100% Kills | 100% Items | 87% Secrets

This map is gorgeous. Especially the central hub, and the toxic arches to the north. The map itself is nicely exploratory, with various switch-y (but not too obtuse) puzzle wings to make your way through. Unfortunately there can be a lot of backtracking, especially once you get to the end and want to search for secrets. I missed one; was there maybe a green armor atop the crate maze that I didn't go back for? It amused me that once I had all my kills, I went and picked up the berserk, and the green armor, then the two soulspheres, the blue armor, and finally the megasphere, lol. Oh, and the music was absolutely fantastic.

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