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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Whispers of Satan

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Posted (edited)

MAP06: Oh it's that map. I recognized it at the RK corridor with the numbered doors and clipped to have the confirmation of the totally symmetrical layout, with copy-pasted rooms and enemy placements. I guess this has already been criticized to death and it seems that Paul knows that, so I don't think there's the need to write an essay here and I'll just say that this level is inexcusable. Idclev07 after 30 seconds.

 

MAP07: Aro keeps going with the flatness that was also prevalent in some of his previous maps, but here it looks more fitting for the theme and street-like setting. The place doesn't look exactly like a city, the buildings give more the idea of being part of the tech-base, with the good old locations of crate storages and pipes machineries. For a change we'll spent lots of time outside, where the detailed scenery really shines. For a MAP07 it still has the arena concept we are used to for this slot, it's played a bit differently though. The mancubi encouter was tricky on a pistol start for the low ammo you have initially, instigate them against the revs is a good idea, plus you come from the courtyard where some dickish chaingunners can chop your health. Then later follow the spiders, with a spiderdemon too, but it doesn't seem that their special tag was used. From this point the map gets easier as the big fights are over and, it feels a bit weird too.

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Some of WoS puzzles me...Death Tormention III is my favorite wad they did together & it is almost four years older. Selfish is also a cool set from pcorf also older than WoS & Kristian did Brotherhood of Ruin plus several solid individual maps (Iron Fist, Hollow Minds, Lost Temple, Plutonium Sandpit, Darkened Outpost - first two are older).

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MAP07: Death Alley

 

This is the first level that feels primarily like an out-of-doors map, an expanse of brick, dirt, and straggly grass penned in by warehouses, factories, and toxic waste reclamation facilities; hardly a breath of fresh air even after the player's escape from toxic sewers and claustrophobic bunkers.  It's got the feeling of a pitched battle about it, with imps and chaingunners serving as turrets and snipers, mancubi and arachnotrons filling in for tanks, and demons playing the role of cavalry, attack dogs, or a bayonet charge of infantry; all that's missing is the air support, though the generally flat proportions of the level probably wouldn't give lost souls and cacodemons the opportunity so soar as they might wish to.  Tag 666 sees use here, but tag 667 does not; the special effects particular to this map slot put to what use they can be while sidestepping claims that this is just a "Dead Simple clone."

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MAP07: Death Alley

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

Another exceptionally straightforward map, and brief at that. I liked the first big 'fight' with the mancs lurking behind the revenants for a bit of a two-wave assault, the fights after that were pretty ho-hum though. After the SMM you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, and aside from the somewhat dickish 'hope you had the right weapon out' AV encounter at the end it never comes.

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MAP08: Basement Jazz

 

As the name and the long downward elevator at the end of the preceding map both suggest, this is the WAD's first entirely subterranean excursion, plunging the player into a complex of underground industrial spaces which much be traversed in pursuit of their next goal; there's been a somewhat pronounced sense of travel in these first two maps of what the Doom Wiki identifies as the "Brick" episode, a sense that neither level is an objective in and of itself, but that they are instead areas through which the player is simply passing (not without difficulty) en route to some other destination.  That isn't to say that this particular snarl of gloomy basements, sub-stations, and utility tunnels is unengaging; the map communicates its objectives well to the player, and the rooms-and-corridors layout deftly suggests the presence and layout of structures overhead, above ground level, that we're appreciating only from the perspective of some intrusive burrower, working out way through their lowermost parts, and it's nicely concluded with an elevator bringing us back up out of the depths to indicate that our underground excursion is completed and we've bypassed whatever surface feature or obstacle barred our path.

 

Aside from the lack of any outdoor areas or so much as a glimpse of the sky, the aesthetic at work here is very much the same as MAP04 and MAP05, and perhaps that's not intentional, since the player stepped through a portal at the end of MAP06 and is supposedly in quite another location now, rather than a further extension of the same overall complex.  With the transition from MAP07's exterior battlefields to this level's wholly interior environments, there comes a change from pitched battle to gameplay that focused more on bug hunts and ambushes, particularly around the "vault" substructures in the east and west of the map that house the red and yellow keys.  It's good and varied, if perhaps a little curiously paced, with gameplay that reaches its highest pitch of danger and difficulty around the middle of the map and then slowly tails off rather than building to a perceptible climax.

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On 7/7/2019 at 11:38 PM, TheOrganGrinder said:

MAP07: Death Alley

 

This is the first level that feels primarily like an out-of-doors map, an expanse of brick, dirt, and straggly grass penned in by warehouses, factories, and toxic waste reclamation facilities; hardly a breath of fresh air even after the player's escape from toxic sewers and claustrophobic bunkers.  It's got the feeling of a pitched battle about it, with imps and chaingunners serving as turrets and snipers, mancubi and arachnotrons filling in for tanks, and demons playing the role of cavalry, attack dogs, or a bayonet charge of infantry; all that's missing is the air support, though the generally flat proportions of the level probably wouldn't give lost souls and cacodemons the opportunity so soar as they might wish to.  Tag 666 sees use here, but tag 667 does not; the special effects particular to this map slot put to what use they can be while sidestepping claims that this is just a "Dead Simple clone."

 

No tag 667 as it is inconsistent, does not work as intended. You can also skip the Mancubus part by pressing the switch from the outside.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/7/2019 at 7:13 PM, gaspe said:

MAP07: Aro keeps going with the flatness that was also prevalent in some of his previous maps.

 

And expect it to continue as the height variation is not that vast until you reach the later levels in the megawad. I'm also warning you that MAP09, MAP10, MAP18, MAP23 and MAP26 plus the starting areas of MAP29 and MAP30 are fairly symmetrical but nothing like MAP06.

 

The first map I created for WOS was MAP12 back in 2006. Makes me feel old right now.

 

My next project (Doom Odyssey Part 2) will be focused on a less symmetrical (some rooms are) and more overlapping and interconnected layout. You need belief and imagination while staring at the screen in Doom Builder saying to yourself I will make the next area right here and connect it to here. Although I rarely sketch an entire map layout on paper, sometimes I do a sketch of a particular area.

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29 minutes ago, pcorf said:

And expect it to continue as the height variation is not that vast until you reach the later levels in the megawad. I'm also warning you that MAP09, MAP10, MAP18, MAP23 and MAP26 plus the starting areas of MAP29 and MAP30 are fairly symmetrical but nothing like MAP06.

Granted that some years have passed but I already played this until MAP15-31, iirc, to some extent I know what to expect. But looking back now the overall flatness contributes to create a boring experience for me, among other things. But I'll get in detail with each level later when the time comes.

 

MAP08: Some mixed feeling on this one. The visual quality isn't getting lost as this another techbase is again very well detailed but Basment Jazz is hampered down by two big issues. First the layout is too heavy with corridors, long corridors that often are dead ends with a switch and you have to go back from the same way while the open areas (like the large T shaped room before the RK) are barely used. This lead to have a gameplay that features mostly frontal combats in cramped places, not particularly interesting. Second I think that Kristian Aro already showed us everything that he could, or wanted, to make with this specific theme on MAP05-06. I keep to see the exact same kind of details, copypasted details, the same texture choices, yet another crate storage. In short this episode is very repetitive, maybe it needed more Pcorf's maps to break, or maybe not, but it's trapped way too much in its thematic consistency.

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I'm very grateful for all the comments :) In retrospect, I was going through very tough time in my life when creating WOS, and it was a way to forget what was going on. My girlfriend was in the hospital after a serious accident which later claimed her life and I'm sure it reflects on some of the work done there. Hell maps were mostly done after her death so things were already getting easier after that long time she was in the hospital waiting to die. Horrible story but also the best thing that happened to me. Made me a very strong person and helped me to realize that nothing lasts in life so try to make the most of it, and the limits we might have are only in the mind! :)

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MAP06 - “Covert Operations Facility” by Paul Corfiatis wos06-S01-UVmax-1000.zip

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So there's this map; a symmetrical romp through a gloomy, underground techbase. Besides the repetitive gameplay, limiting the player to the SSG and Chaingun for 95% of the map does not do it any favours. SSGing Hell Knights gets really dry, especially the 3 that spawn when you go down after grabbing the red key. Having some Revenants instead would have made for more engaging SSG gameplay. But since I'm doing these saveless, none of the above comes close to the frustration of the last secret Soulsphere. I died three times at the very end while trying to straferun back onto the bridge. So basically, I played the map four times back to back. :P That's more of a comment really and not a complaint against the map. I am the one self-imposing restrictions and I don't believe that mappers should exclude death pits because some schmuck that doesn't save and is bad at platforming ends up dying at the end. I do like the setting and dark atmosphere as well as the midi, which seems to have a familiar sounding hook heard in a couple other pcorf compositions. 

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MAP07 - “Death Alley” by Kristian Aro wos07-S01-UVmax-924.zip

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I somehow did this in one go despite doing everything wrong at the start. Those Chaingunning snipers can really do a number on you if you're dumb about taking them out and eating a Manc volley while trying to kill four of them in one BFG shot isn't always the smartest idea. Doesn't really feel like a Dead Simple map either despite the presence of Mancs and Trons. Probably because plenty of other enemies are used, it's not a symmetrical arena setting, and killing one group does not make the special tag unleash a wave of the other. The Mastermind is pretty cool but often ends up losing to his smaller companions during infighting. Continuous players will be happy since they'll always have that BFG due to there being no death exits. I also like the Vile at the end which requires you to save at least 40 cells for a clean kill.

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Posted (edited)

MAP06 - “Covert Operations Facility” by Paul Corfiatis
Ah, so this would be the apparently rather maligned map06. I briefly read the summary and apology by @pcorf; perhaps an advance acknowledgement of shortcomings like this invites one to look past them, and here I found myself rather than thinking it was lame, smiling inwardly as the author's description mostly came true. Yes, this is clearly Symmetrical with a capital S and that makes it repetitive, but with Paul's comments in mind, it more ended up amusing me in an ironic fashion than anything, to the point that when room 4 contained a baron rather than a hell knight, I was bemused that the perfection of the symmetry was now broken.

 

Having the author's intent in mind that there was meant to be an atmosphere, I actually appreciated somewhat the idea of the dark techbase descending into black void, and in this respect the lookouts and final area with the darkness are pretty effective. I do think there could be mileage in the aesthetic theme of the level, albeit not in the execution.

 

The second lift down to the pack of Hell Knights below is probably the most concerning part if you don't collect the secret SSG from the beginning, although I guess there is space to manouevre with the pillars but it's certainly a less appealing prospect with just a single shotgun. One slightly more subtle criticism would be the long descending final lift to the last area. I respect that this could be there to build tension, but frankly (particularly after playing something like Nihility) it isn't sufficiently spooky enough to achieve this and just takes a lot of time.

 

The starting area with the rock scenery and the water actually seemed quite promising, as it gave the impression there would be much to explore: down the lift; a side entrance into the base via the water; a quick E4M6 style jaunt through the scenic rocks perhaps? As it was these possibilities very quickly evaporated and fell victim to the evil mapper's block. And really I think the block certainly shows in this map - the repetition of constantly go to one side and press a switch, then the other and do the same, then proceed feels like the essence of many a level, but with all the variations in layout boiled away, as though there was no elaboration on that coming to mind. Having completed zero maps myself, I hesitate to criticise as this must be quite difficult to deal with - I think that on the whole Paul is quite creative, given his large body of work, but overall, yes this is definitely the sort of thing I think you'd do when ideas aren't forthcoming.

 

I actually quite like the concept of the map, but less so the execution and think it could yield fruit as a rather unique techbase map if revisited. And crucially this map wasn't offensively awful to play either and was still moderately fun, so in some sense it is successful.

 

MAP07 - “Death Alley” by Kristian Aro
This played like a faster-paced mix of Nebula's greatest WoS hits so far - we have the an attractively detailed but repetitive corridor, followed by a more scenic outdoor area and a crates section, along with pretty, but inaccessible exterior areas. More specifically in this level though, we expect and seem to have a successive mancs/arachs battle, but it's relatively low-key affair, as opposed to being the entire purpose of the level a la the iwad map, and all it's imitators. Instead we get something more akin to a normal map, but with more of a general theme of battle.

 

In fairness, it's not actually that fast paced, as the monsters are only released in stages controlled button releases, so if you're methodically minded you can simply deal with the releases piecemeal. Also few of the monsters were very surprising, with the exceptions of the mastermind perhaps (although the close quarter cover left it easy prey for the SSG) and that rather nastily placed penultimate cover-less arch-vile which wrecked my intended continuous 200 health/armour. Still, it is all fine to have a few releases of bigger monsters to play with now that that maps are ticking on. And of course, any map07 that does something more than just a manc then arachnotrons fight deserves respect in my book. Also, I didn't find the secret in spite of a good of searching the level (other than the descent to the ending archie).

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MAP08 - “Basment Jazz” by Kristian Aro wos08-S01-UVmax-1800.zip

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A rather lengthy triple key map compared to the wad's previous offerings. This entirely indoor techbase map has some very nice detailing, particularly in the various ceiling lights and pipes. Pistol start balancing is not at its most exciting and full of single Shotgun gameplay against rather beefy opposition before you can finally rush the SSG. Things definitely pick up in the second half and grabbing the secrets is a must if you're not playing continuous. Or at the very least, they give you additional resources to make killing faster.

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MAP09 - “The School” by Paul Corfiatis wos09-S01-UVmax-1514.zip

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A controversial setting considering prior incidents involving schools and Doom. This one appears to have Barons and Hell Knights educating former humans in the art of demonic warfare. A rather original concept which I haven't seen too often; although similar cases of churches and congregations make a semi-frequent appearance in PWADs. This map has one bitch of a pistol start, both the immediate opening and the two large classrooms pictured above. There is no armour and very little health until you get the secret past the yellow door which makes it quite difficult to take out those large rooms full of hitscanners, especially without a Chaingun which needs to be pilfered from one of the students inside. The key trap with two Pain Elementals and a Hell Knight is also malicious if you don't expect it, which I somehow manage to skip the trigger for and come back later with some armour. The difficulty plummets dramatically after going down to the basement beyond the yellow door as there is plenty of SSG ammo and little in the way of combat that can catch you off guard.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, FrancisT18 said:

@pcorfDo you hold DT3 or WOS in higher regards, personally?

 

DT3, just had fresher ideas and motivation. Was younger, knees were not as sore etc LOL.

Edited by pcorf

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MAP09: The School

 

This one doesn't really do a lot for me, taking the boxy rooms and repetitious nature of MAP06 and scaling it all up to a larger area, a more crowded population, and a longer experience.  The layout feels tree-like, set up in such a way that you're constantly passing through a succession of forks whose branches you have to explore and then backtrack from; I'm left feeling as though it really wants surprise interconnections, shortcuts, and ambushes upon the player's return to previously explored territory and it's just not happening.  It's a logical enough arrangement of spaces, split into discrete levels - ground floor, basement, the clear division of classrooms from the utility areas beyond the red door - but the southern basement wing especially, beyond the yellow door, feels almost Wolfenstein-esque in its orthogonal layout and the extension of a single scheme of wall, floor, and ceiling textures through almost the whole space.  If a WAD consists of maps that are hits and maps that are misses then this one, for me, is one of the misses.

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MAP09: Well the music was good, and that's it. I also liked the aesthetics on the lowest floor with the greenish stone walls, but after coming from Aro's map that had a great attention to detail this level looks bare in comparison and the shift makes a bad impression that it's amplified by the same problems: flatness and most of all the repetitiveness, which also includes symmetry. It's a school so of course all the rooms are the same, with the same monster placements, with the same closet opening, each one with a switch that you have to press. I think that realistic settings where it's required to have many identical rooms can work if put in the right context and this isn't the way to do that. Change the monster composition, make some rooms even empty and not everyone has to be mandatory, maybe put a secret in one. The setting is a very clumsy attempt at following a concept and the result is very generic, school wads from 1994 are more believable and probably more fun to play. All those copypasted stuff that I'm seeing here and in the next levels is starting to reek of low effort too. The fact that the area after the red door isn't a mirror of the yellow door area was a great subversion of my expectations.

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If I recall from my play Levels 6-11 have the weakest overall work from pcorf, IMO...

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MAP10: Playgrounds of Caesar

 

Now this is a stronger offering, with less symmetry and repetition and an environment that diverges wonderfully (though not jarringly) from what's come before; if the preceding few maps have suggested Doom II's city episode in general, then this one calls to mind especially MAP14: The Inmost Dens.  While it hasn't been as direct as one level's start room replicating the precious map's exit room as some WADs tend to do, there's definitely been an attempt at continuity here from one map to the next (witness the long descent at the end of MAP07 followed by the underground activities and eventual return to the surface of MAP08) and so I suppose the implication here is that the player has emerged from some sort of tunnel in the school's utility sub-basement into the midst of this flooded jungle gym of a level?

 

Given the early availability of the super shotgun and the balance of the level's ammunition this is absolutely a map where the focus of the action is on jamming your boomstick's double-barrels right into the enemy's gut before you pull the trigger; it's not claustrophobic, necessarily (not with all those open spaces and grand urban vistas to enjoy!) but instead feels intense, immediate, intimate in the flavour of carnage it serves up.  The slow points in the gameplay come when the spectre of repetition rears its head; I'm thinking especially of the southern complex here, when you're going through the same motions twice or even four times as you slowly pick open your path to the exit.

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MAP10: Just a bit better than "The School", mostly thanks to the good scenery and the moody music that made this map more pleasant to play despite all the bad things we already encountered are still there. The main courtyard, and the southern brick chapel with the separate areas at east and west looked pretty cool. I also appreciated that the inside of the chapel, where there's the BK, looks something reminding the first map of Hexen, and with similar breakable glasses that hide some secrets. It doesn't take long to see the same stuff over and over. To get the YK there are 4 switches to press in 4 identical rooms. The RK little platforming bit was interesting, for once the author was able to think of a nice way to progress. The symmetry of the southern building is something that in toher circumstances I would have appreciated it more. In some case going for symmetry is required but there's more than enough copy-paste even inside a single map in this wad that it looks boring. Going to the separated areas was nice, sometimes we do something different. The western part is the weakest, with redundant switches just to open a single room. And about redundant switches there's even the exit with 4 switches to press, and you have to go through 4 identical rooms with hell knight and the mandatory av at the end. The 4 obstacles-barons (a-la HR) were enough, I don't know why there was the need to do that shit after.

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Posted (edited)

I've fallen behind slightly - hopefully I ought to be able to catch up again tomorrow.

 

MAP08 - “Basement Jazz” by Kristian Aro
Although this map does have a little less flatness, it seems to instead replace it with early WoS Aro-ism by being very corridor heavy. Moreover each of the many corridors is highly copy pasted with repeating details. The details are individually fairly nice, but when repeated so much their effect is lessened. I have always felt that the use of large amounts of repeated detail can end up coming at the detriment of interesting and varied architecture. Speaking of which the map seems to be re-using previously seen tropes with another crate area and the use of marked monster closets making play more predictable and diffusing their surprise value.

 

I will complement the map though on making a reasonably interesting layout with it's corridors, with the initial key door passage looping back via the door near the green armour pillar. It's a good bit of area re-use, with an area that, given it's balcony created by the starting area is a little more varied and interesting than much of the map. Additionally the release of the arch-vile at that point with the possibility of a few arachnotron and low level resurrections is fun, and a reason to whip out a heavier weapon.

 

Also the red key trap with the two mancs and rev is a little more interesting as they are released at opposite ends of the 'L' shape, meaning the player must be aware of attack from another angle which is good stuff. Generally though because of the corridors, a large amount of the level's gameplay involves straight ahead shooting what's in front of you.

 

I found all three secrets and once more I found one of them (the blursphere secret) more by accident - I don't see that the different texture is much of a signifier, given that there are other slightly different textures which might equally have signalled a secret but did not. The other two secrets were better though.

 

So the map is overall a bit staid and formulaic, but in spite of this I broadly found it satisfying because of the feeling of progression garnered from returning to the initial hub/balcony area with each new key and proceeding on to the next door. It needs some fresh ideas, but I still found it enjoyable.

 

MAP09 - “The School” by Paul Corfiatis
This is a rather wacky, mid-nineties theme for a map, which I would argue is kind of bold in the post-nineties 'Doom is serious business' era. I was thus amused to see the kitschy little classrooms and locker areas beyond the first door with hell nobles teaching former humans. Unfortunately, the mid-nineties free-spiritedness occurs in the theme only and the areas begin to assume the dreaded S word and things consequently get quite repetitious: dive left into identikit classroom area, chaingun zombies (or door camp), SSG noble, press switch; go right into mirrored classroom area; repeat. Connecting these are several corridors which are essentially bare-bones and dull architecturally and also detail wise, so taking the weaker parts of the last map but discarding the somewhat prettifying details. The fights are similarly repetitious, being largely shoot things right in front of you, or abuse doors for cover if you wish. And I would agree with much of what @TheOrganGrinder has said about the layout too.

 

Highlights exist though, and these include the yellow key trap with the PEs and Hell knight, and the ending area, both of which introduced an element of interest in to the game play via unorthodox situation in the case of the latter (I didn't raise the shootable bridge first) or genuine surprise and limited manoeuvre room in the former. Also the start (more so for pistol starters) is a little more dangerous with the initial local monsters pressing in whilst you seek the shotgun.

So the map isn't the greatest and sadly the wacky, anything goes 90s ethos wasn't carried through to give it more interest.

Edited by Sui Generis

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MAP10 - “Playgrounds of Caesar” by Paul Corfiatis wos10-S01-UVmax-1020.zip

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A pleasant and relaxing "city on water" kind of theme. The starting courtyard doesn't actually give you enough shells to kill everything with the SSG so you're given the choice of either using the Berserk to punch some fools or ignoring some of the Cacos and Hell Knights to ammo up inside the upstairs building. This also provides access to a very powerful early secret with 40 shells and a Soulsphere. The Imp n' Hitscanner trap beyond the first teleport has the potential to be quite potent, although going in there with almost 200/200 from the secret loot makes it far less dangerous. A couple of the weapons are in a weird spot, like the RL in the pentagram room for which you're barely given any rockets, or the final secret BFG obtained right before the exit switch after everything is already dead.

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MAP11 - “Cyberfunk” by Paul Corfiatis wos11-S01-UVmax-845.zip

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An interesting break away from the more classic-style maps, this one throws four Cyberdemons at you appearing at various progression points in the map. Knowing the secrets, or playing continuously, helps a lot here since 2/4 of the Cybers can be nullified through secret telefragging and an invul sphere. The first one is likely to be the most dangerous as you shotgun him from close range. The "drive-by" method is pretty safe though as you strafe from cover to cover taking one or two shots depending on his distance from you. The final one can be safely hosed down by plasma from the top of the stairs, assuming you have enough cells from backtracking to a secret that opens up. Pretty memorable map and a decent boss closer to end the first third of the wad.

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Posted (edited)

MAP08: Basement Jazz

99% kills, 1/3 secrets

 

As others have said it's nice looking, but feels a bit passe given that we've seen the same scheme used already multiple times in this WAD. It's also very corridor-iffic, with the entire map feeling like a variation of "walk to end of corridor, hit switch, kill enemies that teleport in or pop out of closets on way back." The overly rectangular nature of it doesn't help things either. And I agree with @Sui Generis that I think some of the detailing is undermined by being repeated over and over, especially on those rectangular corridors. There are definitely some design bits I appreciate though - the wavy corridor with the skulls at the start is cool, and there's some good use of smaller sections of textures to paint smaller surfaces (like cutting the computers in half, or making the really small blue triangles on the green metal walls near the red key). Best gameplay moment was the AV ambush, he didn't actually play his sound upon activation but I figured the map wasn't gonna give me a blue armor for free, so I wandered back out and thankfully was able to slay him before he caused too much of a ruckus.

 

MAP09: The School

100% kills, 0/2 secrets

 

This one is... not good. Certainly the blandest level so far, and chock full of that much-hated symmetry, and unlike MAP06 it doesn't have a cool visual setting to save it. And a school should probably have some symmetry, you might argue, but it feels like there's no real attempt to use the theme to overcome that - the lockers at the start are cute, but where's stuff like a gym, cafeteria, library, swimming pool, PE track/field, etc? I'm not even sure what the non-classroom areas are supposed to be, they just feel like abstract Doom areas. Definitely a weak point.

Edited by Magnusblitz

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MAP11: Cyberfunk

 

So this is pretty neat, if repetitive, linear, and "bitty" in overall structure; it breaks down neatly into four chunks, each with a key, a locked, and a Cyberdemon to complicate your acquisition of the former (okay the final chunk has no key nor locked door, just the exit, but the pattern still holds).  Texturing is consistent throughout (lots of BROWN1) but aside from a couple of points where things like multiple switches to open one set of doors rear their head agian, the layout's pretty varied, providing a lot of different encounter scenarios to fill in the gaps between Cyberdemon duels, sections of the level wrapping neatly around each other and connecting progressively via windows to give a sense of consistency and solidity that's stronger in hindsight than on your first guns-blazing charge along each passage, through each room, up or down each flight of stairs.  It's a solid note to end the episode on and I'm looking forward to what the coming "Plutonia-esque" episode might hold.

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MAP11: Is this supposed to be a sort of intemission before the next episode? Heh I'm not at all sold on the gimmick of boring cyberdemon fights, idclip to skip the first that blocks a corridor and on pistol start you have to kill it with the SSG. At least the other can be telefragged as a secret and the third you have a secret invuln. but for making this kind of stuff this isn't enough silly. Be careful that the secrets in this was are either not hidden on the automap or almost impossible to find. It looks a bit generic despite few courtyards and windows, and the corridors with Dr. Sleep lighting.

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MAP10: Playgrounds of Caesar

100% kills, 5/7 secrets

 

Bit of a thematic shift here as we go away from techbase and start to drift into some sort of stone/water temple with lots of Heretic/Hexen stained glass windows. A bit off but if it means less brown I'm all for it. There's still lots of unnecessary symmetry but this map is a bit stronger since it's more interesting in spots (as @gaspe mentioned, a good example is the bars raised to the red key).

 

MAP11: Cyberfunk

100% kills, 0/5 secrets

 

The first fight against the cyber with the SSG combined with this WAD's penchant for symmetry had me worried it would be like that one WAD (which I can't remember) that had four fights against stuck cyberdemons with the SSG and was just pure grind. Thankfully there's not really any symmetry in this map, though we are back in boring brown town and there's not much interesting to look at.

 

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MAP12: Blood Station

 

So we begin the "Plutonia-esque" episode with a map that feels as though it alternates between the deeply vicious, viz., revenant sandwich, and the fairly laid-back, with the western node of the level offering up a trap that's readily defanged (twice!) just by dashing out of the room, and the eastern node offering an alternate approach that, due to Doom's monster navigation code, tends to have mancubi wandering clumsily into crushers while you circumvent their den via secret passage, picking up a rocket launcher on the way.  I'm not generally a challenge-oriented player but there was definitely a sense that the early-map viciousness was swiftly dialed back to a steadier tempo of low-key cruelty once I'd made my way out of the starting southern spoke of the hub and into the level's lower portion.  I won't claim to be as familiar with The Plutonia Experiment as with the Doom and Doom II IWADs but if this level is an attempt to invoke Plutonia's brick-heavy texture this, its aesthetic that is neither Hell nor techbase nor quite a city, then I'd say the map author has succeeded in that at least to my untrained eye.  I can't help but be left wanting more by this style of level, though, with its limited sense of place and hubspoke layout and fairly workmanlike delivery of the action; it's introductory to this aesthetic, or transitional from the preceding episodes into this one, but it's not substantial, there's not a sense of very much for me to get my teeth into.

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