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The Map-Four Test: A series on the importance of first impressions. Submit WADs here!

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like a really fun idea! Especially for full 32-map megawads, these videos would probably serve well as little sneak-peaks for players who weren't sure about diving into them.


As far as suggestions, I'd honestly just love to see how the classic bunch actually stack up next to each other, from the perspective of a "first 3 maps impression"... so, I'll fire away with:


Knee Deep in the Dead

The Shores of Hell


Thy Flesh Consumed

(maybe the first 3 maps of Knee Deep would count for all of Doom 1, I'm not sure)

Doom II: Hell on Earth

TNT: Evilution

The Plutonia Experiment


Wish you the best of luck with the series!

Edited by RonnieJamesDiner

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Persephone, if you're doing GZDoom and haven't already played it. If a "Best of" can't get you with the first three maps, then I did something very wrong.

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Not completely without shameless self-promotion - what about Eternal Doom? ;)

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I’d be willing to try heretic maps as well, no problem!

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Hey this is a really cool idea! This would be a fun way to discover new wads I haven't heard of and see if they pique my interest.

And hey, if you want to check out Lunar Catastrophe I would love to hear your first impression! :)

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@hella knightIt’s just like that, maybe that’s the first place I heard of this general concept actually. I think it translates over to Doom maps quite well, but I’ll see once I actually start doing this.


The concept could probably be broadly applied to most art that asks the user to sink a lot of time in, really - The basic premise is essentially how I decided that WoW wasn’t for me, several hours in I was still bored so I tapped out. Maybe I missed out on the greatest game of all time. Thanks to the worlds most boring first impression, I’ll never know!


@Miss BubblesThanks for the suggestion!

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Interesting idea! I think there are some pretty noteworthy examples out there. Something like Ancient Aliens is famous for having a very representative opening level, it goes out of its way to educate you about what kind of wad it is.


Likewise Sunlust and Sunder are pretty indicative in their opening levels. But something like Scythe, a little less so.


Eviternity for a recent release would be interesting to look at too. While being pretty small and simple levels, its first three maps are pretty good representations of the style of most of the maps.

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Posted (edited)

It's fun to see this on mapsets that do have a rough start, like Survive in Hell or Hell Revealed. Survive in Hell can be kind of sketchy in the beginning episode, and doesn't really hit its full potential until the third episode. The knock-off HR2 levels really don't help with this impression. Meanwhile, Hell Revealed's first episode is honestly pretty bad (even by 1996 standards), and an awful representation of what HR will become later. You could skip ahead to MAP11 and you really wouldn't miss much, at all.


Compare this to Hell Revealed 2, where the first few levels, and the first level in particular, are a very good representation of HR2 in general. Sure, at MAP15 onwards, the scale of the levels becomes much larger, but the key components of HR2 are still there: high difficulty caused by sadistic monster placement and extreme monster density. You may or may not like HR2, but at least you will find out very early on.

As for the the 3-map rule specifically, the one I would most like to see you do it on is Hellcore 2.0. MAP01 is one of the worst opening levels I've ever played, and MAP02 is very barren and dull. MAP03 is a bit better, but still pretty dull. MAP04 on the other hand, is easily the best map in the set, with good gameplay, and extremely strong visuals and sense of place; it's a damn fine map. Sadly, the rest of the maps (outside of maybe MAP10 and MAP11) have amazing visuals, but gameplay ranges from "boring" to "some of the worst gameplay I've ever seen in a major release".
Now that I read that paragraph, perhaps the first 3 maps are a good representation of the rest of the set. MAP04 seems more like the outlier...

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