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Magnusblitz

The DWMegawadClub Plays: Dawn of the Dead & Earth & Classic Episode

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EARTH MAP05

This map exhibits a little more finesse in its monster population, in that it actually holds back some of the teleporting hordes for later, rather than just dumping them all across the map at the start. This is an improvement since there's less wandering around empty areas, and more control over what monsters end up where.

 

EARTH is definitely not about to desert its beloved overly dark corridors and caves, though. They're back in plentiful style here, along with the occasional big boxy room with a few other boxes in it.

 

Progress-wise, this is an interesting one. If you leap off the elevator when you first see an opportunity – which the map certainly gives you plenty of time to do – then you'll be tangling with multiple barons and other baddies. A brief aside: the use of the small lites dotted around this area looks great as you're taking the lift down – nice visual touch!

 

Where was I? Oh yeah, so you have to tangle with some nasty opposition if you jump early, but if you just stay put, the elevtaor drops you off with some armour, and a pretty obvious unofficial secret that leads to a detour around the edge of the map. This offers a much easier way to accumulate ammo and weapons and get a foothold on the map.

 

Now in UV you will eventually need to deal with the baron cavern, as the yellow key is there, but in HMP and HNTR the YK is just south of the red door room, meaning that if you find this alternate route, you can skip most of the caverns completely. Which I did :)

 

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MAP05 Strategic Defense Command (109% K/ 66% I/ 50% S):

I can't take any map seriously when you place Nazis at the start. Sorry.

The map teases you with a techbase, and instead of having an ashwall labyrinth, this time you have a Computer labyrinth. I had to savespam and IDDT in this one aswell, since difficulty here makes me nervous and I already have no patience at the moment with this mapset.
The techbase part is really short, the rest of the map is more of the same, 0 brightness caverns to explore with some random encounters in chasms. There is a marble room at the center. And getting the already hidden keys, will leave you progress into the marble zone. From the red door, you find a pretty weird stone room with a Spider Demon encounter, which isn't that bad to deal with.
From this point, the map just turns into a really bad slaughter map, since the monster randomizer goes crazy freeing all the remaining monsters at different spots, just as in the other levels.
when you manage to grab the BK, you have to do a full-map-backtrack to the start room in which you can exit. Even the exit room feels weird in this one, you walk into a random trigger line and end the level.

Death Counter : 27

Maps in order of preference at this moment:

MAP04 (Ok)
MAP02 (Mediocre)
MAP01

MAP05
MAP03 (Awful)

Not sure how to rate this level, it feels the same as MAP02 and MAP01, but this one I think rates worse since there is nothing to remember here, apart from those infamous nazis at the start.

Edited by DJVCardMaster

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MAP05: Strategic Defense Command

100% kills, 3/6 secrets

 

This one combines a bit of the last two maps, lots of dark caverns and spelunking around for multiple keys before returning back to the exit near the start and dealing with new hordes repopulating the way back. Most of the monsters are still teleported in, and don't combine well with the caverns since a lot of them will just end up bunching up at a couple points. The red key door also creates a big roadblock for the monsters, as I had a large group when 1) first entering the marble room with the red door, then 2) on the far side of the red door, and then 3) on the other side of the red door when returning with the blue key. At least the ones at the very end spread out a bit more and I did end up encountering everything on the way back. Speaking of which, I sure am glad my port colors the doors on the automap because I definitely did not remember where the blue key door was. The end is pretty abrupt, not even a switch to flip. The descent into the cavern with the big tear in the elevator shaft is cool, but the rest of the map is lacking, as SSGing barons in dark tight corridors gets old fast.

 

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map05: Strategic Defense Command

The map is a techbase facade to another dark tunnel system. This time, after clearing out all the enemies up to the blue key, another wave of enemies teleport throughout the map to impede your trip back to the star where the exit is located. The good news is that there is plenty of ammo provided, especially if you pick up all the secrets.

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MAP04: The Chasm

14:34 | 97% Kills | 100% Items | 50% Secrets

So the fake bridge situation is pretty neat and subtle, but oh man the gameplay. Fight a mob, get the blue key, crawl through a tunnel, cross a bridge, fight another mob, get the red key, go back to where you fought the first mob and fight another, and oh hey the yellow key is there now, go back and exit. Dullsville. I took a ton of damage to the archie at the very start, but thankfully there was ample health all over the place. Also it took me way too long to figure out where I could scale the walls. Nifty setting, at least.

 

MAP05: Strategic Defense Command

23:11 | 100% Kills | 66% Items | 66% Secrets

Now this one was very cool! At first I thought it would be The Nazi Level, but then the elevator dropped and revealed the infernal caverns, holy cow that was cool. Some of the best-constructed cave tunnels I've seen in a long while! Everything culminates in a big boxy room where you fight like a million baddies but it's easy, and then you leave with the blue key. But man, those caves were fantastic. There was one secret I actually found, but couldn't get; a secret wall dropped as I approached, but raised again before I could get there. Was it a one-time walkover trigger? Lame if so. Still a great level, though.

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MAP05: What a weird start, a bright outdoor area with a couple of SS nazis at the entrance of a techbase. But the level takes mostly place in dark tunnel where you can't see shit, and those are also hidden on the automap. When you ride the first elevator the view of the dark cave with all those scattered small lights is pretty cool, and this is the only good thing of the map. Though it seems that the gameplay has more thought put into it. On a pistol start those barons are a deterrent to jump into the cave at first and the computer maze at the bottom of the lift will take you to the longest road but you can find all the ammo on the way. Rare thing to see, the key placement changes on the difficulty levels. I like these silver exit rooms. This was tedious to play.

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MAP05: Strategic Defense Command

 

Following on from MAP03's "keys as puzzle items" approach and MAP04's I've-got-nothing-better-to-do backtrack for its yellow key, this is a map that shows its cards right from the start: you've got a blue-trimmed and properly signposted exit door right in the very first room of the complex, so you know what your job is.  From that point onwards, it quickly becomes apparent that the setting is some sort of bunker complex, with cavern (if you get off halfway down) and computer maze (if you ride the lift all the way to the bottom) branches that provide some variety of gameplay and replayability; I ended up going all the way down, creeping through the E1M2 tribute area with a shotgun.  It looks like whichever branch you pick, you need to dip back into the other a short ways?  But I left the map with only about half the secrets found and a quarter of the monster population still milling about in the caverns.  And that's okay, it seems like the map's sensibilities run to "Don't feel you have to max it if you just want to get on your way, a lot of this is optional."

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EARTH MAP06

Like the last map, there are staged releases of teleporting monsters here, as you tick off the list of things you have to do to exit, though they're generally dropped fairly unimaginatively in front of you and don't exert much pressure.

 

The WAD's penchant for stringy, very dark tunnels continues, and boy oh boy it still loves it some ashwall. The very uneven visuals of the maps are quite interesting. The interiors are generally very plain, often too dark to see much or just big empty boxes with uniform lighting. The exteriors meanwhile sometimes – but only sometimes – seem to have had a lot more care and attention and just any kind of basic consideration given to them. Like the eastern outdoor area isn't anything astonishing, but it's at least been thought about. Compare it to say something like the arachnotron room here, which is just a boxy box of boxness.

 

 

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MAP05

ZDoom 2.9 pre-2175, HNTR, pistol start, saveless

This map adds something to an old formula. In addition to a pitch dark ashwall maze, you get a pitch dark blinky tech maze.

There's a strange meshing of different themes here that feels very sudden, and again, the random teleports define the gameplay.

Nothing much interesting happening here, really, just go find two skulls to get the blue card and exit.

There's secrets to be found in the mostly hidden-on-the-automap ashwall maze, and it looks like only the areas immediately around the tiny blinky lights are shown on the map, which helps only marginally.

Also that really long lift annoys me.

 

MAP06

This is a weird one.

I have to bring up the fact that there's a BossBrain used to exit the map (as best as I can tell, there's no exit switch), which is probably the most alien decision made for this map.

It's clear that more thought was put into the natural regions than the actual structures themselves, which makes a bit of a clash of visuals.

The gameplay is still rather uninteresting (though I believe on UV there's a cyberdemon, so at least HNTR isn't hard for the sake of being hard).

More secrets to be found, one which allows you a way around to the blue card from another direction, which is nice enough, but it's another pitch dark ashwall tunnel.

This one's fine, but it's not anything particularly good.

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MAP05: A pretty cool map that finally makes a good use of dark caves and rooms in this atmospheric tech base revolted by demonic presences, loved that lift that opens to the dark hell cave and general mood of the map, even health / monsters are kind of decent this time, pretty enjoyed this map! Only thing i didn't fully enjoyed is that the monster are all undeaf and ready to crush you like ants in matter of minutes...

 

MAP06: Another tech base surrounded by charming outdoor views, some neat deep water effects and some nice little touches like building shadows and a destroyed ceiling part that leads to a shotgun. You have to take lifts, go up until you find a exploitable romero head exit if you use freelook (i didn't try to see if that worked) on yellow key pillar room, after walking around tech rooms, dark tunnels (and a secret rectangular shaped dark cave tunnels lol) and other places, gameplay is good here too, even that backtrack section after you get the yellow key it was handled well, expect fighting damn revenants on a cliffside that leads to your death in the chasm near you, yeah that's nice from you Roger. Also adding a little few more health wasn't a bad idea. Just a extra medikit, nothing much.

Also i found this funny bug of... deep water floor in that annoying computer tunnels with rave lights, not a huge fan of that part.

jY3DAT4.png

 

Anyway both of these have a pretty linear progression (find a key near you, open the locked door, repeat) but again, it was put in a interesting way, at least for me. Enjoyed both of them!

Edited by Walter confetti

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MAP06 Observation Station (100% K/ 68% I/ 77% S):

I started humping walls to find secrets, and I noticed that's the way most of them are hidden throughout the maps, in a pretty cheap and uninspired way.
This map wasn't as annoying as the others, but still had weird progression. Also, I was wandering for 20 minutes trying to search a way of lowering the yellow key platform, without results. So I had to noclip the exit door.
The exit consists on shooting a naked Romero Head to win. Ok, this is actually weird without a story, and even with it, I'm sure I won't get this anyway.

The map in general is similar to the others, linear progression, dark caves, some nice lighting effects here and there, undetailed big rooms...
There are some nice strips in the map, like the cliff with the broken hallways.
The gameplay is less annoying in this one, still, there is random encounters with slaughtery backtracking.
Nothing much more to say about this, other than it is a pain in the ass to pistol-start it, so indeed, I save spammed.

Death Counter : 30

Maps in order of preference at this moment:

MAP04 (Ok)

MAP06
MAP02 (Mediocre)
MAP01

MAP05
MAP03 (Awful)

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MAP06: Observation Station

 

This map offers a fairly varied environment, as you traverse natural settings, techbase areas, tunnels bored straight through the heart of the rocky spire atop which the installation is perched, and some wonderfully windswept, vertiginous moments as you creep out across an exposed rooftop or pick your way across a cliff face connecting one shattered hallway to another.  The gameplay is... well, the WAD is not offering a tremendous variety in that respect; fights do tend to alternate between cramped and spacious environments, between light and dark settings, but the most notable deviation from what has come before here is a regime of monster teleports that's actually quite conventionally choreographed, with specific waves of monsters dropping into particular areas of the map according to certain steps in the progression toward the end of the level.  It keeps things more lively than might otherwise be the case with the extensive backtracking that's called for here, although the terrain isn't exactly friendly to monster navigation in most places.  I do like the contrast between the preceding level's subterranean bunker and the heights to which this map very quickly leads the player.

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1 hour ago, DJVCardMaster said:

I was wandering for 20 minutes trying to search a way of lowering the yellow key platform, without results.

 

There's a switch nearby, but it's not easy to find.  Took me ages.

 

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map06: Observation Station

A facility built into the rugged terrain near the coast with plenty of fighting taking place outside with scenic views as you bitch slap the enemy. What's even better is that there are hardly any caves at all. This is my favorite map in the set.

This "seaside resort" is not full of sunshine, bathing beauties and recreation. Entering the facility our marine is greeted with the sight of 3 demons chomping on a hanging cadaver in the corner - ew! Things go downhill from there with scuffles and fights breaking where ever our marine goes. Even cybie seems to have waken up in a foul mood today and refuses to shake hands and bury the hatchet and instead, with a mighty roar, stomps around firing rockets like a loose cannon at everything that moves. Quick, someone get cybie a pina colada, bahama mama, margarita, anything to calm him down!

There are plenty of fun secrets to find with great rewards like a plasma rifle, rocket launcher, ammo and health. One of the secrets even gives you the drop on cybie. There's even some non official secrets to pick up more items and a chainsaw.

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4 hours ago, Capellan said:

 

There's a switch nearby, but it's not easy to find.  Took me ages.

 

Yes, I found it when messing around with DB. Is at the same fashion as that switch in MAP04. 

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MAP06: Much more pleasant than the previous dark caves, this is the best level to me so far. Somehow it has also a better sense of place and the use of wide open vistas was cool, especially at the BK and the RK, and where the long corridor is collapsed on the mountain. Also there you have a perilous moment since you can fall down from the cliff and die. This is done also elsewhere, and in previous levels too, where a deadly fall is simulated with a damaging sector and switches (on MAP04) and the keys here are placed on the edges and since there aren't visible or invisible barrier you aren't sure where you can fall. Where he can afford it the author uses some shadows in the outdoors which gives a nice touch to the visuals. The action is the same as usual, though less monster come with the randomized teleporting system and more are already placed in the playable areas, most notable are the RK trap and the YK with a cyberdemon. Then you have the same alternation of corridors, and extensive areas or rooms where you will encounter big groups of monsters. Some secrets are important for a pistol start, the SSg and a green armor you can find early, I was able to find the plasmarifle that made thing easier against the cyberdemon but you are plenty of rockets in the case you missed it. It seems that every courtyard with some effort on being decorated is explorable and you can find some secrets there, like the areas at north that can be accessed with random wall humping. Weird exit with a Romero's head to kill, and it's defenseless against freelook.

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MAP05: Strategic Defense Command

 

If I had to explicitly state my thoughts the day I played the map, it would be "Fuck this". There was one point at the marble room where I had to decide whether to enter the cave through the a hole right there or backtrack to the other side. Either way was obstructed by monsters, infinite tall pinkies on one side and awake barons on the other. I felt that I couldn't do anything because everytime I restarted the map, it ended the same way. I tried to skip the underground base but it was so freaking dark to see anything, plus no visible ammo that barons and cacos wrecked me in a corner. The only winning approach was to wait for the pinkies to make a bit of space for me to jump in and even that took a good minute. From there, things went somewhat smoother, that is, still salty about the design and more pitch darkness but whatever, all I needed was a key to leave. Some of the secrets eluded me like usually in this mapset, but at least one good random linedef lowered a teleport and something else used it first. More positive things to say: the vista you get when going down the elevator is great. Uh yea...

 

MAP06: Observation Station

 

I legit forgot most of this map, and that's maybe for the better.

 

*replays the map*

 

Yeah not much, definitely more palatable. It's a mishmash of places, a hidden compact computer section here, some alternation between dark tunnels and open spaces there, a nice collapsed ceiling at the start, bunch of trees as "don't fall here" hints. There's more room to maneuver in general and bits of decent scripted combat included if you are able to get in there, my favourite being a pigs horde coming from the back in one of the tunnels. I didn't go secret-hunting so no more than a backpack+SSG+extras was needed, plus a chainsaw hidden in the techbase for us weirdos. I had a moment of laughter when I saw Romero's head from the YK area.

 

That's it.

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MAP07

ZDoom 2.9 pre-2175, HNTR, pistol start, saveless

There isn't much to this one.

Stumble your way through another pitch dark ashwall cave and enter the first fight.

It's a swarm of pinkies and you get a 'zerk. Nothing particularly difficult or interesting, it's just a whole lot of leading them in a big circle, punching as you go, moving just so to avoid being surrounded.

After that it's a bunch of fatsos defending the tower, and the exit's immediately after.

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EARTH MAP07

Well, that was a nothing of a map.

 

That was my initial reaction to this level, and on reflection ... I still think that. But I guess I can acknowledge that it's at least a variation on EARTH's normal themes. Sure, there's a dark and narrow ASHWALL tunnel, but it's not a material part of the gameplay, and for once the monsters are actually placed in the map rather than teleporting in from wherever. They're placed very badly. Very, very badly. But they are at least there, which is something different for this set.

 

 

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MAP06: Observation Station

98% kills, 3/9 secrets

 

Yeah, this was a weird one. Pistol start is really frustrating being pinned between two demons on a thin walkway with no weapons, and then when you reach the interior it's chock full of more 'throw a bunch of monsters in randomly' fights that usually seem to end with everything grouped up behind a door. Weird (assuming unintended) 'deep water' trick in the computer area as Walter mentioned, and the interior design is generally extremely amateurish. The hexagonal stone room in particular reminds me of one of the first rooms you'd make in the WAD making tutorial in one of those old books from back in the day... I think it was the dictionary-sized on with the blue Baron on the front... wish I still had that book. Anyways it certainly comes as a bit of a shock when you emerge from the interior to the much more highly detailed outside areas. The ashwall rock area with the yellow key isn't anything special but the white rock cliffs on the far east side certainly feel above and beyond anything else in the rest of the map. And of course to top it all off there's a Romero head sitting in the open to finish the level.

 

MAP07: The Emerald Tower

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

Well you do get to see the tower right away from the start, which is decently cool... other than that it's just a lot of punching a big horde of demons. Or shooting them, if you find the secret and realize halfway through there's nothing else worth saving the ammo for.

 

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MAP07: A short filler map that leads you a emerald tower (like the one from... wizard of oz? I remember that right? Or is it LOTR again, like for "mines of moria"?), your mission is to reach said tower, defeat a arena filled of pinkies and then a last stand of mancubi, reach the upper section of the tower with the lift and exit. It's another ok map, only memorable thing is the tower, that you can seen always from every sides of the map, in a way similar to the first draft of hadephobia MAP16 i did (that actually shows a green tech tower in the level before you reach it)...

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It's the Emerald City in Oz (though spoiler, the city isn't actually Emerald, it's just that all the citizens wear green glasses 24/7).

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MAP07: The Emerald Tower

 

At least it's not Yet Another Dead Simple Remake?  Sure, the tag 666 special action is used to lower a barrier at the far end of the map, but the usual arena full of mancubi and arachnotrons is replaced by a brawl against a huge pack of demons.  You can punch them out, you can shotgun them if you found the map's solitary secret, I guess the chaingun is also an option?  But it's a bit of a turkey shoot, really.  There's a nice bit of illusionism going on with the cave-that-is-actually-a-canyon, permitting an early glance at the titular tower in the far distance, though mouselook spoils the magic.  But it's a short map that honestly doesn't leave the player with a whole lot to write home about.

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MAP06: Observation Station

20:08 | 100% Kills | 40% Items | 44% Secrets

This one wasn't...too bad? I couple of highly-pitched battles that were pretty fun. But man that hike out to the yellow key was loooooong and mostly pointless. And hiding the switch to lower the yellow key like that was just annoying. (Not at all a fan of those slow-death cliffs.) I was very surprised to see Romero's head up in the cliffs in the yellow key area, turns out that was the only thing behind the yellow door. (Meanwhile, within those tunnels I heard a bunch of crushers; what was that all about?) Also I think this map needed like five more green armors.

 

MAP07: The Emerald Tower

3:22 | 100% Kills | 50% Items | 0% Secrets

Yeah, I like that you can see the titular tower from afar. I first thought that the tunnel opened out into said tower, but turns out it was just adjacent to it; ah, well. The tower looks kinda cool, anyway, but I was expecting a giant battle up through the levels of The Emerald Tower ("Going Up"?) and instead I got...this. The pinkie mob killed me the first time, when I tried switching to my BFG only to realize I had exhausted my cells last map. The second time, I saw the berserk, but didn't want to waste my time and instead thinned the mob out with rockets before cleaning up with my SSG. I intentionally avoided the second zerk and as a result missed half the items, because upon killing the mancs apparently the two little wings closed off. It wasn't until that point that I realized this was MAP07. Mere seconds later I discovered that was the end. Pretty disappointing considering the potential there.

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map07: The Emerald Tower

 

A short map with not a lot to it. The fights blocking your way to the emerald tower you see at the beginning isn't all that imposing. Just go berserk and punch out the 52 demons that inhabit the area. It's quite therapeutic and think of the ammo you save. The 4 mancubi guarding the exit are not nearly enough to stop our intrepid marine.

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MAP07: You can see the titular tower in the distance from the starting point, it's a pretty cool view. And after going through the dark cramped tunnel and beating the horde of pinkies you finally reach the tower. There are 52 pinkies to kill on a big flat arena, you can find a berserk if you want to bore yourself but thankfully there's a 1-time secret SSG and lots of shells before getting locked in the arena. The only door in the arena can be closed from the other side, if you are good enough you can lock all the demons on the other side and proceed to the next area without fighting. You can also get stuck, you can open the door with a non-repeatable action and if you use the door from the other side you can't open it again if you get back to the arena and the door closes. I were unsure how much ammo save for the upcoming encounter but the author gives you plenty of bullets for 4 mancubi that guard the tower.

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EARTH MAP08

For a change of pace, this map features a lot of dark, ashwall tunnels that you can actually see on the automap. A bold innovation!

 

The titular ammo pit is the most noteworthy feature of the map, I think. It's an amusing one-off gimmick, and I made several visits to restock my chaingun and SSG ammo over the course of the map. Of course, the reliance on just those two weapons does make the map a bit of a slog, at times.

 

There's also an AV jump secret – and this is one of the few times I have ever actually got one of those, since it was so obviously signposted :)

 

Other than that, it's very much par for the course for this wad: lots of wandering around twisty, narrow earthen corridors, killing the monsters that have been randomly teleported throughout them, while looking for the keys that have been dotted around the place. The location of these again varies by difficulty setting, being theoretically more difficult to find on HMP than HNTR, and on UV than HMP. I'm not sure this is executed that consistently: the blue is maybe easier on UV than HMP, for instance, and the difference in the yellow on those two settings is negligible. Still, it's a distinctive quirk as such variations aren't commonly employed.

 

 

 

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MAP08: The Ammo Pit

 

So as soon as we make our way to the Emerald Tower that was introduced as such a big deal in the last map, visible from a great distance and the destination of a perilous journey, it immediately disappears from view and from the story as though it wasn't important at all?  That's a bit underwhelming, and this map's titular well of munitions is very much a Doom construct that lacks the thematic resonance of what's come before, though it's charming enough in its execution, and its fun to dart forward to the edge just close enough (and for just long enough) to trigger another round of gunfire, screams, and crackling flames emanating from within.  The rest of the map is a pleasant cave-crawl which relies on over-and-under trickery to confound the player's sense of direction.  I don't know if the fact that the automap does work here is a concession due to a layout that even the map author felt would be impossible to navigate without it, or if the impossible-to-map mazes of prior levels were in fact just as complex as this one and the author is in fact going easy on the player where he really wasn't before.  It makes the exploration gameplay a bit more engaging, the fact that you can slowly build up a picture of the major caverns and their interconnections, even if the aforementioned over-and-under construction means that precisely which tunnel leads toward progress is often deliberately unintuitive.

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MAP08

ZDoom 2.9 pre-2175, HNTR, pistol start, saveless

As noted before, this map is a lot like map 3 with one major difference: you can see the automap.

This makes the map much easier to navigate than the earlier ones, which is good.

Like map 3, three keys are scattered through the map. Unlike it, your automap works. The tradeoff for this is you can't get by with only two keys.

The gimmick is all the ammo is contained at the beginning in a pit of hitscanners and arch viles, and that's the only source you have for the whole map.

It's not a bad map, and it definitely benefits from the caves not being hidden on the map, but it does still suffer from them being so dark.

Of course, the logical route is to tackle the caves the same way as a maze, follow a wall until you reach the outside, then go back and find what you missed the first time around.

I like this map the most of what we've played as of yet.

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map08: Ammo Pit

There is indeed an ammo pit at the start and you need it since a lion share of the ammo you require to take out the baddies in the cave network comes from the pit enemies that have been immolated by archviles or trisected by their infighting hit scan buddies. You want to encourage the infighting to maximise ammo, so don't be in too much of a hurry to wipe them all out. You'll probably have to backtrack to this ammo store 2 or 3 times before you clean out the caves.

The cave system is not all that fun with the automap only helping to a certain extent. The problem is that the cave paths wind up and down in the 3rd dimension that the automap does not provide any information about so you end up following a narrow tunnel to get to another path that you find is elevated above you, forcing you to backtrack.

The secrets are a health bonanza and worth picking up, the megasphere secret is a real blast!
 

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