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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Whispers of Satan

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5 hours ago, Magnusblitz said:

that one WAD (which I can't remember) that had four fights against stuck cyberdemons with the SSG and was just pure grind.

I bet you are thinking of Level 17 in Kama Sutra...

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MAP12: So this starts the Plutonia-styled mini-episode. The visuals are fitting, then you have symmetric areas that are built around the symmetric hub. Gameplay wasn't bad as the other levels, the trap at the YK when you reveal the courtayrd was good. That first cheap trap with the revs and the hell knights was bullshit. More os on pistol start where you have a mandatory chaingun pickup there so you'll have an unexpected weapon switch but you can't see the chaingun. THe balance on pistol start was weird, I was wondering if the ammo was enough to kill eveything (and skipped all the monster that teleport at the YK pickup) until I found the secret plasmagun. We are slightly improving and I was less bored this time. Maybe there's still hope for this wad.

Edited by gaspe

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13 hours ago, FrancisT18 said:

I bet you are thinking of Level 17 in Kama Sutra...

 

Yup that's the one!

 

MAP12: Blood Station

100% kills, 2/4 secrets

 

I don't really care for the Plutonia aesthetic (at least not the brick part of it) but there's more color to it that all the brown we've had so I'm for the switch. Agree that the first trap with the revs is pretty BS, but I guess the soulsphere (and blue armor if you find the secret) helps take some of the sting out. Everything after that is fairly ho-hum but inoffensive, didn't even really notice the symmetry later on though there's still a lot of having 3-4 switches where one would do. Also felt strangely short, I was surprised when I got to the blue key and only had a couple monsters left.

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MAP12 - “Blood Station” by Paul Corfiatis wos12-S01-UVmax-839.zip

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Rough start with closets full of Imps and hitscanners followed by the infamous Rev sandwich. Seems like it's possible to skip that lock-in if monsters are blocking the bars, as seen in the UV-Max run of this map. Speaking of bars and lock-ins, the area pictured above could have benefited more from one, as the two fights which happen there are simply nullified by the block-line at the entryway. A bit of a Bloodstain moment in this Blood Station. There's also an obscure BFG secret which requires you to navigate the dark tunnel to the RL a second time. From a pistol start, all it's really good for is killing three remaining enemies before the exit. 

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MAP13 - “Traps of Torment” by Paul Corfiatis wos13-S01-UVmax-835.zip

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Cheeky Megasphere at the start, which is easy to miss if you don't take a step back in the first second of the map. This map is both brief and inoffensive regarding its combat. Progression follows the classic three door hub in which you grab a key from beyond one door, backtrack to the hub, and open the next one etc. Seeing the area you later teleport to on your way to the basement is cool, but otherwise nothing is actually interconnected. The progression is perfectly linear and shows no pretense of being otherwise. My favourite part is the excellent midi, particularly the strings section. That's some good stuff. That fake 3D bridge with the Imps is also neat an worth a mention.

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MAP13: I almost can't believe that after endless boredom and a stream of bad maps that didn't seem to end I finally played something good. The wad still doesn't give up on the symmetry that it keep to looks bad, it was already overused so much before that it's like hearing the same stale joke over and over. But the combats were more engaging. Sour notes at the repeated chaingunners on the stairway, that was predictable, and the exit that is the same of the previous level (a bridge and mancubus inside a tower). The music track was really good, and when you start a level always try to open the door at your back if it's there.

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MAP13: Traps of Torment

 

So on the one hand this is a breezy, fast-paced level that doesn't overstay its welcome and varies its bestiary and encounter setups nicely, even if it's heavily dependent on the chaingun/super shotgun combo for most of its running time.  And on the other hand, hubspoke arrangement with a left-right-forward pattern of progression?  Didn't we just do this in MAP12?  The commingled patterns of brown, green, and red are pleasing to the eye but can't do much to divert me from the sense that I've seen this all before in the very last map.

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MAP14: The Wasted Dens

 

We deviate from the established pattern of hubspoke levels here with this rather more involved offering, which doesn't radiate outward from a central point but instead unfolds with each new key acquired to reveal more of a sprawling complex of rooms and courtyards that's as reminiscent of a medieval city or fortress as anything else, even if it's not consciously trying to invoke any of the stereotypes of Doom castles.  That sectioning-off by locked doors denies some of the potential for interconnection the map possesses, but results in a wonderfully dense and intricate automap that allows areas of quite different aesthetics to sit side-by-side like new construction layered atop the old.  I do feel that the level rather runs out of steam beyond the red door, serving up a passage that winds back on itself as it delivers a series of repetitive encounters, but on the other hand, the map's six secrets are a lot of fun to go hunting for.

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MAP14: This felt fresh because after a good while it isn't used the layout formula of the hub + side areas and this kind of abstract city-esque/castle setting wasn't done before. The layout is more intricate and the exploration to do to unravel the level coupled with the secrets that were nice this time made this into a very solid level. The gameplay was adequate. When I saw the monster count at first I was worried, playing a long map filled with all the repetitive stuff that this wad loves to do doesn't sound fun at all but thankfully that was done in a bearable ammount here. Like @TheOrganGrinder I feel the same way about the last part of the map: the long corridors after the red door. Also the exit is the same of the previous maps, take a bridge to a tower with a mancubus that blocks the exit switch, Paul likes to copy his exit rooms too.

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Catching up:


MAP10 - “Playgrounds of Caesar” or "Ancient Playgrounds" by Paul Corfiatis
Did somebody kidnap Paul Corfiatis and replace him with a doppelgänger? I cannot believe this map is by the same author as The School. This level, with it's open and interesting architecture, height variation scenery and detail is everything that The School isn't and is far more interesting. To be sure the S word still occurs here in the shape of structures, but this tends to be quite localised - crucially, with this map's more open plan style, then one symmetrical structure overlooks or is in proximity to some other different symmetrical structure, and in composite the whole becomes asymmetrical, and then balance is brought to the universe and peace on earth is achieved. In seriousness though, as a general rule I find that maps made of these sorts of composite areas tend to be far more visually rich and become more interesting to explore. The starting courtyard is really the poster child for this, but to a degree the next exterior area with the two mancubi is too, due to the overlooking side quest areas. The low walls mixed with tall structures are well employed with the cacos also.

 

One other thing that remains strongly in evidence is the trope of pressing two switches to progress. This was present in map06 and 09, but sticks out most prominently at the mancubus side building before the blue key switch - after the player takes out a handful of imps and a revenant, there are two switches on either side required to open the double door. How superfluous! The incentive to defeat the monsters could quite adequately have been achieved with just a single switch and a single door, or even just a bog standard normal door. Really, I think this is a sign that PCorf has been in an unthinking rut with these pairwise symmetrical switch/key quests, as it often leads to repetitive mapping and in scenarios like this is a bit silly, in my opinion. The single speed-bump baron behind the door in the side area before this one is a bit pointless also, although I did appreciate the warp in of low level monsters before it.

 

Finally, the penultimate area with the arachnotrons and barons is ok I guess, although now that I think of it that would be another switch pressing quest. The single arachnotron per press is no threat with SSG in hand, given all the room to gently circle-strafe - in fact they actually come in handy for eliminating the barricade barons if you short of ammo and are happy to wait whilst they infight. Then at the very end is the hell knight corridor finishing with an archie. If you're reasonably prompt though you can easily bottle the AV in the final area and then just thump away with the SSG till it drops. The last secret for the BFG is of scant use if you've nearly finished on pistol start and probably not helpful if you're playing continuous either as you'll already have it from a previous map - perhaps the secret should be available earlier in the level.

 

MAP11 - “Cyberfunk” by Paul Corfiatis
As with the School, this map also feels to me a little mid-nineties-ish too, due to it's use of Cybs in a kind of implied gimmick way, that they're a trap or punishment you must avoid. I wasn't sure if the intended play method was to sneak past as a pacifist or not so spent time luring demons into the starting area and shutting doors behind me before killing monsters. Later though there are cybs that I see no alternative but to disturb anyway, at which point they teleport away to various points and become turrets.

 

So beyond the semi-gimmicky use of Cybs (which turns out to be less gimmicky than I first thought) we have a brownish kind of techbase map. It's not too bad, but I agree with @TheOrganGrinder's comment that it is 'bitty', in that the areas are somewhat compartmentalised - moreover it fairly quickly becomes evident that certain rooms are re-used, so the map seems almost as though it's been assembled from pre-fabricated pieces a la snap map. That's a tad unfair because there are some areas that are unique in the map (although the helipad was present in map01 and Simply Phobos) and there is some interconnection and this isn't a bad map, but overall repetition and compartmentalisation prevail.

 

I do appreciate a good shoot-switch secret though - thanks for that PCorf :)


MAP12 - “Blood Station” by Paul Corfiatis
Although the the last map did include some Plutonia textures, this is the full-blooded plutonia look, along with traps to match. It doesn't take, long for the map to make a statement of intent with the rather nasty revenant trap, itself  preceded by a trap within a trap! I started with 200/200 from the previous level but burned through much of that pretty quickly. The S word and one side then the other progression mechanic are still very much in evidence here around the E1M3 style blood pit, but the change in scenery and knockabout gameplay instead of grinding really helps change things, so the symmetry was made far less noticeable to me.

 

I think the map does lose a good amount of it's danger after the revs trap - the yellow key certainly throws monsters at you but in space and in-fighting is fairly straightforward to instigate. The blue key trap with demons in the dark is even less threatening (to me) - the crusher corridors remain illuminated and provide convenient bottle-necks to chainsaw the demons once you kill the nearest ones to clear the way. I did quite like some of the secrets too. The BFG secret was especially tricky, placing it in a secret that I only visited again by chance, and the plasma rifle secret in particular has a good clever solution which I liked. I got lucky with the initial blue armour though, intuitively tapping the right wall by chance.

 

Overall, this is a brisk little map and the gameplay helps compensate for the still remaining layout shortcomings too. I don't feel the music is so suitable though. Still with this and map10 PCorf's maps are looking up

Edited by Sui Generis

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MAP13: Traps of Torment

100% kills, 3/3 secrets

 

Not really that trappy aside from the chaingunner closets on the way down to the yellow key, aside from every key being trapped but that's pretty par for the course in Doom (more surprising when a key isn't trapped these days!) But it's a short level and I think that helps, with nothing but a PCorf-standard hub connecting the three key areas. Nothing exciting but it's a quick one to blast through. The combat is weakest in the last leg of the map though which is a bit of a bummer.

 

MAP14: The Wasted Dens

100% kills, 3/6 secrets

 

Agree with @TheOrganGrinder and @gaspe that this one feels fresher at first since the layout flows more naturally without just being a simple hub/spoke design. It's still pretty linear with the keys and switches but doesn't feel so in a bad way until the area behind the red door (which slips back into the rather obvious 'go down the hallway, hit the switch, return' design). Didn't find all the secrets but at least got the soulsphere to make up for the blood sapping at my heels every time I wanted to use the yellow lift.

 

One particular flaw, the demons that teleport in near the yellow door on the baphomet floor mural can't actually walk up the stairs to attack the player... no block monster lines, so maybe the stairs just aren't wide enough for them?

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MAP14 - “The Wasted Dens” by Paul Corfiatis wos14-S01-UVmax-2035.zip

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Despite the name, I do not see many similarities to Doom 2's map14 aside from the brown brick and metal texture scheme. Got a rather lengthy max time, largely due to ammo conservation. From a pistol start, this map doesn't give you much resources until you start grabbing the good secrets (like the one with 4 Backpacks and a Chainsaw). I feel the meaty weapons are introduced a bit too late and there is more focus on Shotgunning and Chaingunning than needed for a fun experience. The 2 identical sections with Imps and Sergeants are noticeable, as are the repeated corner closets in the hall by the exit. I like the detailing beyond the boundary of the blue key with the Cacos and marble face pillars.  

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MAP15 - “Temple of Water” by Paul Corfiatis wos15-S01-UVmax-1854.zip

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This map feels much better with the resource balance and provides access to rockets and plasma relatively early. Ammo is still tight during the opening bit but relaxes past the midway point as per usual. None of the combat is particularly tricky, provided you don't let four Chaingunners shoot you in the back while down in the caverns. This one's also got plenty of secrets and taking the secret exit early allows you to skip the majority of the map. Otherwise there's a good amount of content if going for a max.

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MAP31 - “Space Station Skywalker” by Paul Corfiatis wos31-S01-UVmax-2654.zip

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Luke, I am your... Yep, this is a Star Wars themed map on an Imperial space station. Good use of <insert Star Wars FPS> textures to give the map a distinct and authentic visual style from Doom. My main problem with this map is how it plays from a pistol start, which is dreadfully boring. This level does not hold back on casually using mid-to-high HP demons while there is no Rocket Launcher in sight and the Plasma Rifle is obtained near the end of the map, likely used to kill the Cyberdemon and mini-swarm of Cacos. Everything else, such as groups of 8 Cacodemons or rooms with 4 Mancubi require slow and painful whittling down with the SSG or Chaingun. It's not difficult, just time consuming and entirely uninteresting. I do like the trap past the Revenant hallway with the giant Pinky/Spectre stampede + 4 Mancs. The placement of the Cyberdemon is also in an environment where you are likely to take splash damage, making him dangerous to kill (although you can simply run past him). There's also a one chance super secret involving a Megasphere that is likely to evade anyone not knowing exactly where to run once it triggers.

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MAP15: Temple of Water

 

We're back to the hubspoke layout here, as seen in MAP12 and MAP13, but this is a bigger, bolder, less symmetrical, and more varied experience than either of those levels provides, with greater depth to each of its three radiating paths.  There's a little bit of repetition within the second area (beyond the yellow door, containing the red key) with two pairs of switches needed to open up access to the subzone's key (one pair in the storm drains, guarded by arachnotrons; the other pair in the reservoir, guarded by chaingunners) and the hub itself is fairly symmetrical but that isn't offensive within the temple setting.  Once you get into the final hunt for the blue key there's a clever subversion of expectations, with a winding tunnel packed with repetitive encounters that can't help but call to mind the final act of MAP14, only to subvert it at the last moment when the walls pop open and imps by the dozen are unleashed into your path, transforming a twisty tunnel into an arena cluttered with torches and the steaming bodies of the slain.  There's something that feels experimental about the fact that you can access the secret exit from such an early point in the map's progression, allowing you to skip the lion's share of the level should you so desire; I certainly don't have any complaints about what feels like a deviation from the practice of burying the secret exit deep within a map's structure, but instead putting it just beneath the surface as here.

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MAP15: Another long level that offers a decent adventure overall. There are some bits of repetition here and there but it wasn't a big deal. I think this map lacks something that is actually memorable, it's kind of a big mash. The north-western courtyard was cool but it's more of a brief visit while most of the map takes place in corridors and the surprise of the imps at the BK was a cool moment but it's the only one that can shake you after a slow crawl of generic combats. The secret exit is stupid and you can skip most of the level if you take it.

 

MAP31: How to waste a potential good theme and the secret level slot. It was fine like, in the first 2 rooms. The gameplay is probably the worst so far. Pistol starting is abysmal, maybe on continuous having the heavy weapons you can make everything to flow faster, but still all this level has is flat, frontal combats, lots of monsters with high hp and often put in stupid positions. Why would you place arachnotrons behind doors, in rooms where they can't get out or aim at you? Before the RK I was hoping something could happen at the 4 doors, like they will all open at the same but it was too much and you have to open 1 at the time, just to kill 3 imps at each room. The long-ass square spiral to unlock the super secret exit was bad, this kind of tongue-in-cheek stuff works IF the rest of the level is actually good. Then there's another long-ass corridor with revs at each corner to have at the end a boring "trap" with a horde of pinkies on a flat ground but thankfully you are close by the key, so picked the key and skipped the encounters. The final part is even worse with the good old copy-paste of rooms because Paul already ran out of ideas like 5 maps ago. Skipped the cacos closets and the pointless cyberdemon.

On the visuals it wasn't done justice to this theme. The map it's all corridors and rooms with the same greys so the freshness of the "exotic" theme runs out quickly. The extreme verticality that is used just a couple of times was something that I wanted to see more.

 

MAP32: OOOhhhh it's Wolfenstein, and after a quick noclip check this level is totally flat. Like hell I'll play this, idclev16...

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MAP31: Space Station Skywalker

 

This is a neat theme that I can't help but feel is "undercooked," with too much real estate stretched between too few distinctive ideas and dressed up in not quite enough different textures to make the whole thing work.  If the map had been maybe half this size and length I think I'd have enjoyed it rather more, but as it is I found myself wanting it to be over somewhat before it actually was.  Repetition of ideas didn't help here, either from previous levels (the section leading up to the switch that lowers the yellow key is entirely too similar to the trapped hallway adjacent to the blue skull key room in MAP15, for example, and so feels like a lo-fi retread of something the player has already experienced) or within the level itself (the "control room" with the blue-carpeted alcoves stocked with health potions appears, what, three times?).  And the square floor tile with a question mark next to the Obviously Super Secret Exit door made me think at first of Super Mario Bros. and its mystery blocks, but nope, Nazis.  I'll get to that tomorrow.

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MAP13 - “Traps of Torment” by Paul Corfiatis
Surely the name of this map would have been better assigned to the last? Here we have a straightforwards plus-shaped hub arrangement with sequential key quests off each spoke - it's a simple arrangement but actually feels a little more elaborate than it sounds because of the interconnection via windows, foreshadowing the red key area - glimpses of future areas always add to a map in my opinion, as there is the feeling of recognition you gain as you actually arrive at the previously glimpsed landmark.

 

There are indeed promised traps in this map, although I find that they are much tamer than in Map12. Also, they are way more predictable too, the repeated chain of opposing chaingunners in monster closets was reasonably apparent after the first one, let alone the second and third times! Surely at some point there was an opportunity to do something different and exploit the player's expectation of chaingunners with something unexpected? The gameplay as before is broadly a chain of arenas with various traps, so it's simplistic but also brisk, snappy and fun.

 

I felt like some more secrets wouldn't have gone amiss here as the existing ones are pretty straightforwards in my opinion, at least in comparison to the previous map. The different skull texture for the berserk secret is certain to be pressed immediately and pressing the entry door at the start of the level in case it's a secret is surely second-nature to most doomers now? Still, I don't dislike a dash of well-worn tropes in a map when the result is still broadly enjoyable and inoffensive. Certainly I will compliment PCorf on his use of switch texture and marble face decorations, for which he has a pretty-well honed vocabulary and knack and which certainly give the level a generally polished appearance.

 

MAP14 - “The Wasted Dens” by Paul Corfiatis
We now graduate from a hub-spoke arrangement to something rather more intricate; we do still have some 'go to one side, then the other' switch quests, and there are some mirrored and repeated areas, but it's less frequent now, or perhaps the side-quests are more elaborate so it's less noticeable. Several of the areas are once more locally symmetrical but often lead into each other and this helps reduce the perception of it and makes the map more varied. In fact there's some nice area re-use early on and We're getting to a pretty good layout design. There is also some more interesting progression with things like the raised walk-way early on and the map is replete with tasteful decoration as before.

 

In keeping with the two maps prior to this one there are a good deal more traps. Although some of the traps can be anticipated (particularly those at keys), I don't see this as a problem, since even a trap that is anticipated varies the tempo of the level and makes it seem more dynamic. And better still there are traps which aren't so easily anticipated (at least by me), including: the manc trap behind the player on the way down to the blue door; the PE early on; some of the teleport traps, or; the first monster closet after the red door. Although as others have said, that corridor after the red key door was too repetitive - it's like the repeated chaingunner closets on map13 - the bad old mappers block seems to make authors into a broken record. We also finish up with an identical exit containing a single manc. The manc doesn't serve much of a purpose since it can be easily SSG'd and the door abused if necessary to kill it so it's a bit of a speed-bump, but I guess it gives it some consistency. And I appreciated the secrets to find, even if the backpacks one was identical in location to the blue armour one on a mirrored structure. I still feel that the design tropes of previous maps are present here, with the two side quests to proceed past an area, but in this map the side-quests are generally more elaborate and varies, which helps disguise this tendency. The result is an encouraging improvement and a more enjoyable map.

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12 hours ago, gaspe said:

MAP32: OOOhhhh it's Wolfenstein, and after a quick noclip check this level is totally flat. Like hell I'll play this, idclev16...

I'll probably skip on maxing this one for the sake of my sanity also. Imagine Doom 2 map31 but 5x larger with 5x more secrets...

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MAP16 - “Undervilla” by Paul Corfiatis wos16-S01-UVmax-1319.zip

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One of the best opening shots from this wad.

 

These next 4 maps all have a rather gloomy atmosphere and melancholic midis compared to the rest of the wad, as well as plenty of Heretic/Hexen textures. Undervilla is driven purely by the foreboding midi and visual presentation as gameplay is again limited to SSG/Chaingun with the occasional melee for ammo conservation. There is also a bit of a gimmick with turret Mancs shooting you through evil-looking doors. The bookshelf which moves back for the Soulsphere secret is a neat Boom effect too.

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3 hours ago, Spectre01 said:

I'll probably skip on maxing this one for the sake of my sanity also. Imagine Doom 2 map31 but 5x larger with 5x more secrets...

MAP32 - “Ultimative Geheimnis” by Paul Corfiatis wos32-S01-UVmax-3415.zip

NSFW secret area:

Spoiler

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That Cyberdemon also doesn't fight back and makes moaning sounds when you shoot him.

 

As I mentioned previously, this is a massive take on the Wolfenstein tribute map with a whopping 26 secrets to wallhump your way through. @pcorf was friendly enough to not hide any of them from the automap so the interactable walls are visible. At the very least, I managed to get everything without consulting Doom Builder by occasionally stopping to check the map. The level itself looks a bit nicer than the usual Wolf3D map with some outdoor areas and additional detailing. The bulk of the 300+ enemies are still Nazis but regular Doom enemies show up occasionally, including both bosses. Provided you aim well and Chaingun-tap, the SS Soldiers will refund most of your bullets, while grabbing secrets gives you more resources than you need. I can definitely see the desire to skip this level if Wolf tributes ain't your thing.

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MAP32: Ultimative Geheimnis

 

So, yeah, it's a Wolfenstein map, doing Wolfenstein things, not a whole lot to write home about except for the frankly bizarre anime sex dungeon with Lum of Urusei Yatsura adorning one wall and a Cyberdemon expressing his affection for a painting of Adolf Hitler?  If mowing down SS troopers by the dozen is your thing, then the level offers up satisfyingly endless numbers of them, whether you want to sweep your chaingun across them and watch them fall like wheat before the scythe, or get up close and personal and see how many you can drop with a single squeeze of the super shotgun's trigger, or just tease a few stray shots out of them and then sit on the other side of a door giggling at the sounds of gunfire and screaming as they rapidly whittle down their own numbers.  Except for the exit to a ZDoom-exclusive additional secret level, though, there's very little here that will surprise anyone, and if MAP31 felt undercooked and overlong, then yeah, that's a feeling that persists here.

 

MAP35: Ein Lustiger Ort

 

Oooookay then.  More Nazis to shoot and Wolfenstein textures, and there's another anime sex dungeon tucked away somewhere en route to the (counts) super, super, super secret exit, which I declined to take because at this point I'm just a little bit done with secret levels?  Most of the gameplay here involves playing with a voodoo doll, and there's an easy sequence break in Room 4 where it's possible to open up the six shootable switches and then the crusher-activating switch without knocking the voodoo doll far enough forward that it passes through the teleport and is in position to collect the yellow key when the crusher triggers its sequence of barrel explosions.

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MAP16: And now we shift to a depressive mood. The mancubi shooting behind the skull doors were cute, it's like Hexen were those portals shoot fireballs as a trap sometimes. Same for the bookshelf that gets pushed to reveal a secret. Very boring map otherwise.

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Because this wad is boring.

Edited by gaspe

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MAP16: Undervilla

 

After the rather lengthy and substantial secret levels, and even the intricate and challenging MAP15, it's nice to have something a bit more modestly proportioned to get my teeth into; this is by no means a small map, but it's a pretty tightly focused experience built a theme that's equal parts crumbling castle and haunted house.  All three keys are in use and I'm left feeling as though that's not strictly necessary, since each key only opens a single door, though on the other hand, the layout often locates those keys too far from the doors they open for a simple remote switch to take their place while maintaining clarity of effect and navigation.  As @gaspe notes, mancubi play the roles of Hexen fireball traps, though they're introduced in a controlled enough environment that they pretty quickly are demoted from traps to simple environmental hazards, to be efficiently pumped full of buckshot or ignores as the player sees fit.

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MAP15 - “Temple of Water” by Paul Corfiatis
Well this is a good fun map that moves quite far from it's earlier symmetric forebears - this map is large and elaborate with a general stream of enjoyable combat. The plutonia grey textures and blood red sky can be used to form great, contrasting vistas and that is employed here, helping the map look polished and nice. The large, open watery area on the blue key branch is particularly noteworthy, although it is a pity that more of the map does not take place in such a striking area.

 

Although this is worlds ahead of some of the earlier maps in terms of layout sophistication, we do have a hub spoke arrangement here but on a grander scale, although it seems fairer to describe it as more like a tree structure because of it's elaboration. I can sympathise with @gaspe saying much of the combat takes place in corridor like settings, which is fair enough, but the increasing number of larger areas and asymmetry is all to the good. Personally I find the incidental combat to be quite pleasant, and I'll go along and say that the post-red key door corridors are initially a bit dull, the mass wall drop down is good and @TheOrganGrinder's point is well made.

 

I spent a long time looking for the secrets in this map, scouring it even after the last of the opposition is killed, frustratingly I found everything except the secret exit and I had to check the doomwiki for it - well done to the author for a pretty cunning secret that certainly beat me.

Incidentally on checking the Doom wiki I see that Map12 was made first, which is a little surprising but kind of makes sense given the simplicity of that level. It's surprising, given the mappers block that this level seems better than some of the earlier techbase ones - I had assumed that all the levels were built roughly in map order. Hey @pcorf, what order were the maps made in?

 

Overall this is a decent map and it's looking more and more like WoS is getting it's act together, although I find the name a tad underwhelming. Surely the temple could be of something more exciting (temple of absolute pure evil or some such) than just water..!

 

MAP31 - “Space Station Skywalker” by Paul Corfiatis
Oh look we're on the death star! So clearly the novelty of the texture theme is, for someone like me who hasn't played many Star wars themed maps, obviously quite fun. In particular A New Hope happened to be on TV recently, so it's quite fortuitous that I get to play this now. The grandiose external vistas with silhouettes of the vast station are really quite special. Indeed, this void element (well space I guess) is more the kind of thing I would have hoped for in the Map06 theme with the tech base hanging in the void kind of thing. The sort of tall circular platforms put me exactly in mind of Obi Wan having to sneak around to disable the tractor beam generator, albeit with rather less sneaking of course.

 

The aesthetic is all good fun, however the gameplay is a little bit indifferent if I'm fair - the repetitiousness is dialled up a bit again after being more muted in the last two maps: starting with the big room with the four sequentially opened imp rooms for the first key, we get four rather mundane sequential identical releases of three or four imps per closet and mostly empty space - I was at least expecting all four closets to open simultaneously and be more monster filled, but alas, excitement gave way to pedestrian repetition. As @gaspe said a large portion of the map involves shooting monsters straight ahead at the same height as you. The neat little elevated imp closets beyond the red door in map15, for example, are nowhere to be seen here. Generally, there's also often a closable doorway to cover snipe from so it's a bit grindy rather than exciting. And later in the map we start seeing the same rooms repeated opposite one another symmetrically with the same monsters in the same position which frankly just seems lazy with the copy pasting - really, it's just like being made to play the same part of the level twice, but being flat, untrapped and having only one source of angle from which one is attacked is means it wasn't that interesting first time.

 

There are some better moments: the lowering maze with the big demon release with mancs was a cool trap; having to dash to manoeuvre around, getting the monsters to infight and the demons to munch the mancs whilst trying to avoid getting cornered was good fun - also the release of the cyb, although signalled with it's awakening roar did catch me somewhat by surprise in one of the circular caco trap stair rooms. It's a good use of the corridors to exploit the cybs rockets and the circular stair room is also way too close for comfort with a cyb. I felt quite fortunate to be carrying full cells for my continuous BFG with which to urgently deal with it. The caco traps themselves were ok, although in common with some other traps they were quite easy to back away from and lure out and deal with the monsters piecemeal. I found all but one of the secrets in this map including the secret exit, so presumably the one I didn't find must be the one time megasphere. However there was one that opened with cells and a PR near the red windowed catwalk across the death pit, so that suited me fine as an ending health top-up.

 

Overall this is a level with a great aesthetic and spectacular views, but the gameplay is rather more mixed and needed some more variety to the rooms and encounters. Also, if the map is doing a star wars theme, I would have liked a few more locations/scenes referencing the films - why not go all out and have a millennium falcon, for instance? I respect it would be difficult to make, and the circular bridge window would have been problematic, but I imagine a view from above might be doable, perhaps followed by a silent teleport to an identical area from whence it is viewed below to accommodate the lack of the 3D floors) and entered into below. Maybe a crusher to simulate the trash compactor from the films? Or the prisoner cell block where they rescued Leia? Perhaps the textures were not suitable, but it does seem a pity of having gone to this much trouble not to take it further. Still, what's there looks good, and it's certainly a good choice of theme for a secret level.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, gaspe said:

Becasue this wad is boring.

 

Yes I was bored when I made some of the maps. Esp MAP09.

 

There is a huge, hidden easter egg within the depths MAP16. Let's see if you can find it?

Edited by pcorf

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MAP17: Mines of Despair

 

This map does its best to get away from accusations of symmetry and orthogonality through the use of cavern environments, with a generally upward trend in its progression that has the player clawing their way out of some Stygian pit and escaping toward feeble sunlight and questionably fresh air.  The theme's a classic one, and well enough realised in those parts of the map where it's allowed to take centre stage, but it's undermined (no pun intended!) a little bit by the fact that it's crowded out in terms of both running time and real estate by other areas (a slime reservoir, a library, even the office where the player starts out) that don't seem to have anything to do with that theme, to the point that it feels less like a mine or cavern complex with other structures embedded in its fabric, and more like those other structures were built first and the titular mines are more like connective tissue put into place later to stitch the whole thing together.  There's a neat sense of ever-present dread that arises from the fact that right of the start of the map something in front of you is instantly teleported out of sight; maybe you know (or can guess) what it is, but what you can't predict is when it's going to pop up again and re-enter play, though as it turns out it wats until the very last moment to put in its appearance.

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I'm not playing through WOS because I played it not that long ago, but coming through just to dump this screenshot. I don't know why I find it so funny, but there you go.

 

Screenshot_Doom_20190717_220839.png.d8b5343b4afbd6853b010c560f649320.png

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