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Szuran

My gripes with Doom II

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Some time ago I said in one of the confession topics that I never bothered to finish Doom II. Well, yesterday I did, for the first time ever, and even though I consider Doom (1) probably the best game ever, Doom II is just... painful.

Hear me out, I don't want to provoke anyone, it's just what I feel. If you like Doom II, that's totally cool.

 

So, Doom II has the best weapon ever (the super shotgun) and it alone makes it worth the price of admission, but other than that this game is outright mean and cobbled together with what looks to me like minimal effort. I'm all-gameplay-guy and don't care about the story, but the level progression and content in Doom II is just so random. It feels like a collection of random WADs rather than a complete game.

 

In Doom 1 everything was very basic, but I had this clear feeling that I actually progress and levels kinda-sorta make sense. I know when I'm on Mars, I know when I'm in hell. Here, it's like I'm in a randomly generated environment that doesn't represent anything. The gunplay is cool so I can have some pleasure playing, but there's not mood, no atmosphere whatsoever. And the level design is sometimes outright awful. Oh sure, now walk 3-pixel-wide catwalks. Or see this room where Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind duke it out. Or Barrels O'Fun. This is downright experimental, like some early maps they were testing the engine on, or like something a newbie modder would make because it's fun to push the engine to the limit. These just don't feel like proper levels.

 

And then there are traps, simply mean parts that suddenly trap you surrounded by 2 pain elementals, a hell knight and a chaingunner. If you're playing for the first time, you simply CAN'T get out alive. This makes the game a trial-and-error experience and this just isn't fun. It's not that it's impossible - I beat it after all - but it doesn't have anything to do with skill. You need to PREPARE, you need to KNOW WHAT'S COMING, otherwise there's simply no chance at all to survive, even if you're the best gamer ever. This is BAD design.

 

Pain elemental is also such a pain in the butt, every encounter was, to me, like: 'ehhh, this again'. I just wanted to get over with it. And that's the feeling I had through the most of the second half of the game. There were some honestly enjoyable bits and maps, but the overall level of quality of design was low. If not for stellar mechanics, the levels themselves wouldn't be able to carry the experience.

I'm done with Doom II and don't plan to ever replay it for the reasons stated above. Final Doom is times better, I can't express how much I like Plutonia, which feels like an actual game, even though an overly hard one.

 

I just wanted to share and know your opinion about the game. Am I alone in disliking Doom II?

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The problem with Doom 2 are the secrets and difficulty when advancing. The secrets are a joke, and the game gets easier as you go on near the end. The Chasm is my favorite map. Maps in Doom 2 are more designed for deathmatch rather than single player. I'm more of a Strife QFTS fan, but Doom 2 is great. :)

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I like the experimental maps. Doom level design has always been abstract anyway. I don't think it feels any less "random" than Doom 1, except the Hell episode, which admittedly has very few "Hellish" looking levels.

 

I don't have any problem with the traps- except that one in The Factory that teles you between 4 imps in a tiny lift. I do think it's strange that you criticized that but said you liked Plutonia so much when its traps are a lot harder IMO.

 

The biggest problem, besides the lame final boss, is some of the maps are ugly, particularly the city maps and Nirvana, but there's some great ones too, like Refueling Base, The Living End and The Inmost Dens.

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1 hour ago, Death Egg said:

I still think the wall of flesh that you need fo shoot to progress in The Spirit World is stupid.

 

THIS, I spent a lot of time going in circles before I accidentally shot the switch. This was possibly the worst design decision in the entire game.

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I, too, found the PE to be a pain in the ass (apologies, Maddox). It's even worse if you try playing with the -fast parameter. NOT FUN.

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Doom II was mostly about throwing stuff at the wall and see what sticks. It shows that it was a commission work ordered by GT Interactive, mostly done as a quick cash grab. Motto basically was "People liked Doom, let's give them more". Just without the shareware episode this time, a pure retail product.

 

I hate many of the new monsters in the D2 lineup, especially Revenants and Mancubi when they appear in large numbers. And the Archvile, THE ARCHVILE! Gratefully, the Super Shotgun was added to compensate for these bullet sponges, and mostly it works fine. In D2 slaughterwads I usually reduce monster health by 50% to have a blast. 

 

Levels are kinda OK, nothing special, but there are some really sloppy ones. I still like "Downtown", really feels like conquering a city building by building. If Romero is doing a D2 expansion as he did for D1 with Sigil, I am sure it can be a lot better. But let's be honest - many of Doom's later levels in ep.2 and even more so ep.3 weren't that great, either.

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40 minutes ago, NightFright said:

Doom II was mostly about throwing stuff at the wall and see what sticks. It shows that it was a commission work ordered by GT Interactive, mostly done as a quick cash grab. Motto basically was "People liked Doom, let's give them more". Just without the shareware episode this time, a pure retail product.

 

I hate many of the new monsters in the D2 lineup, especially Revenants and Mancubi when they appear in large numbers. And the Archvile, THE ARCHVILE! Gratefully, the Super Shotgun was added to compensate for these bullet sponges, and mostly it works fine. In D2 slaughterwads I usually reduce monster health by 50% to have a blast. 

 

Levels are kinda OK, nothing special, but there are some really sloppy ones. I still like "Downtown", really feels like conquering a city building by building. If Romero is doing a D2 expansion as he did for D1 with Sigil, I am sure it can be a lot better. But let's be honest - many of Doom's later levels in ep.2 and even more so ep.3 weren't that great, either.

Uh ACKCHYUALLY the Archvile is the best Doom monster. /unpopularopinion 

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7 hours ago, Szuran said:

- So, Doom II has the best weapon ever (the super shotgun) and it alone makes it worth the price of admission, but other than that this game is outright mean and cobbled together with what looks to me like minimal effort. I'm all-gameplay-guy and don't care about the story, but the level progression and content in Doom II is just so random. It feels like a collection of random WADs rather than a complete game.

 

 

 I love both Doom and Doom2, and the default levels for both have unique qualities that I admire. The only real problem I had with both games was with the level design. The levels sometimes felt too "generic" and had not much to do with the real world. In Doom 1, the 'Hangar' and 'Power Plant' levels did not look or feel like their namesakes. Even the 'city' level in Doom 2 hardly felt like any kind of real world city, and you would have skyscrapers with just one or two bare rooms in them, and no furniture. I know this was due in large part to the engine limitations at the time (no rooms over rooms, visplane overflow errors, etc...) but even with these limits, I would have expected a chair, road signs, traffic lights, or something that indicated "Yes, this really is a city". The only thing that kept this level from being a bunch of weird blocky buildings in the middle of nowhere was the burning city texture used for the sky. These issues were 'fixed' later on with various mods and ports, and the people who created the Brutal Doom Starter Pack levels really did an outstanding job of making these places look like what they are supposed to be.

 

 Interesting enough, the game that ID originally planned and wrote about in the "Doom Bible" was going to be much more realistic, and there were murmurs of having features such as a rideable train! In the second Doom Alpha(IIRC), you start out in a room with playing cards on a table, and other such realistic touches.   The reason for the game having so much of what was in the Doom Bible cut was because ID wanted the game to be able to fit on a couple floppy disks, and the limited processing power of PCs at the time may have had something to do with it too.

Edited by plateshutoverlock

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11 minutes ago, plateshutoverlock said:

The reason for the game having so much of what was in the Doom Bible cut was because ID wanted the game to be able to fit on a couple floppy disks, and the limited processing power of PCs at the time may have had something to do with it too.


While I'm sure they had PC limitations in mind, I think the decision to not take a more realistic approach with the level design was more to do with them wanting to have a fast and frantic game, and things like marines playing cards and mapping out furniture went against this philosophy. Levels were designed to serve the gameplay rather than be filled with pointless detailing that would also just slow down the development of the game.

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Part of why I like Doom more than Duke is the abstractness, it's more fun. But also Duke is too hard on the easiest difficulty when coming from id Software shooters.

 

I tend to like Doom II mods more than UDoom for the bestiary rather than the armory.

 

But why do I like Doom II more, maybe nostalgia, since I did play it on the GBA before I played much of later episodes of UDoom. I, however, think it's the level design, mainly McGee. Also I have much more fun blasting through "The Space Station" than "Knee Deep in the Dead." And I played a lot of shareware doom before anything else.

 

Also: Doom never took place on Mars. That's 3/NuDoom.

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Perhaps by the standards of current mods DooM II might not shine. However, when it was released (1994) there was very little by way of FPS games available, and really only DooM to compare it with. There were clearly some significant additions (and, arguably, improvements) - new bestiary, new weapon, new textures. In addition, the type of gameplay was also expanded, with devious/tortuous new ways to bring the player to his/her knees.

 

When I first played it in 1994 I absolutely loved it. I was not bothered by the lack of a coherent story, seemingly bizarre environments, the often-abstract nature of the map design, and the "randomness" of each map in relation to the next. Even some of the more frustrating enemies, such as the archvile and pain elemental I viewed as challenges to overcome. In other words, for me the game was a journey of exploration in much the same way that the original DooM was. With virtually no FPS alternatives, DooM2 was a thing to be savored. In short, my memories of DooM2 are entirely positive.

 

[Having said that, I almost never go back and play maps of DooM2 any more. But that's not because I think they are bad; rather, it's because there are such excellent other offerings available on a constant basis.]

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DooM 2 certainly has flaws. For one it introduced 3 really annoying enemies. Chaingunners, Arch-viles and the potato.

 

i wont lie that DooM 2 has some wonky map designs. Map 10 to me always felt like a needless spike in difficulty (especially when it's surrounded by easier maps). Map 08 and 24's exit rooms are just cruel, and my biggest issue is the TP trap in map 12. God how often I'd died to it is unbelievable. Who knew 4 imps would be so deadly?

 

With that said I do enjoy some of the maps like Map 23's usage of barrels or map 09 for well... 99% of it. (screw the chaingunner trap though). My only real MAJOR complaint with DooM 2 is how forgetful the late maps can be. The final stretch feels boring and un-inspired compared to the first 15-18 maps.

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Out of all 4 main iwads (ultimate doom, doom 2, tnt and plutonia),

Doom 2 is my least favorite but yet I still find it to be pretty great.

visually its the least appealing of the 4 main iwads...

but its still fun and enjoyable to me gameplay wise.

and it has a lot of nostalgic and memorable levels. 

 

Id say my favorite levels are inmost dens, living end, and the citadel.

but my least favorite level is nirvana.

 

Doom 2 also did bring us a lot of great things that are always used in wads to this day...     

the new monsters (the archviles and revenants being my favorites) and the new ssg weapon and some of the new textures and probably a bunch of other things. 

I don't think doom wads would be the same without the stuff doom 2 brought us.

 

maybe Doom 2 could of used bosses like how doom 1 had but then again tnt, plutonia, and dozens of megawads out there could use bosses. 

(which is why if I make a megawad I'm gonna put bosses in it :3)

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12 hours ago, Szuran said:

I'm done with Doom II and don't plan to ever replay it for the reasons stated above. Final Doom is times better, I can't express how much I like Plutonia, which feels like an actual game, even though an overly hard one.

 

I just wanted to share and know your opinion about the game. Am I alone in disliking Doom II?

 

Is Hell On Earth the only Doom 2 game you're talking about or did you also play Master Levels and No Rest For The Living? Those are Doom 2 games too. 

 

Anyways, right now the only thing that pops into my mind when thinking about any gripes I have with Doom 2: Hell On Earth is that I feel it ends too early.  I feel like about the time I reach Refueling Base, I am pretty much on auto pilot and all the 32 maps just fly on by.  I guess it just boils down to I know that game far too well. 

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No Rest for the Living is alright, I was talking about Hell on Earth. Master Levels are... well, masterful - I own them in the Final Doom pack so I consider them a separate thing.

 

I see many people agree that especially the second half of Doom 2 lowers the quality. That's exactly what I felt - I started to notice it around Downtown. And I don't hate the game. It just becomes tedious, and the fact I don't know what half of the levels are supposed to be is just my special gripe, I think I could dig the surreal design if it was more... careful? There are a lot of shapes that are asymmetrical because, it seems, the map designer was in a hurry. Unaligned textures etc. These little details added to the feel the game was rushed. All the while Final Doom (Master Levels, TNT, Plutionia) feels really good, like they thought out everything.

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15 hours ago, Szuran said:

In Doom 1 everything was very basic, but I had this clear feeling that I actually progress and levels kinda-sorta make sense. I know when I'm on Mars, I know when I'm in hell. Here, it's like I'm in a randomly generated environment that doesn't represent anything. [..] The gunplay is cool so I can have some pleasure playing, but there's not mood, no atmosphere whatsoever.

I get this. Doom 2 has what I call an "arcadey" feel to it that isn't there at all with Doom 1 - It's like a series of challenges more so than traveling through a coherent campaign in a lot of ways. I like that about it but definitely see where you're coming from.

 

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And the level design is sometimes outright awful. Oh sure, now walk 3-pixel-wide catwalks. Or see this room where Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind duke it out. Or Barrels O'Fun. This is downright experimental, like some early maps they were testing the engine on, or like something a newbie modder would make because it's fun to push the engine to the limit. These just don't feel like proper levels.

Even more reason to call the Doom 2 experience more arcadey than that of Doom 1. Gotcha! exists purely to be an arena where a Cyberdemon and Mastermind fight to the death. Sure it doesn't really make any narrative sense or add any element of cohesion, but damn, I found this to be way more badass than any moment in Doom 1, rivaled only be the fear the 2 barons instilled in me on E1M8 back in the day.

 

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And then there are traps, simply mean parts that suddenly trap you surrounded by 2 pain elementals, a hell knight and a chaingunner. If you're playing for the first time, you simply CAN'T get out alive. This makes the game a trial-and-error experience and this just isn't fun. It's not that it's impossible - I beat it after all - but it doesn't have anything to do with skill. You need to PREPARE, you need to KNOW WHAT'S COMING, otherwise there's simply no chance at all to survive, even if you're the best gamer ever. This is BAD design.

I can't agree that this is bad design, but it pisses me off as well. The most irritating part of any map is the "haha gg hope you saved!" traps that you have to know about before hand. The thing is though, this pretty much defines Plutonia! I'm also the type of guy who gets irritated but then that makes me want to beat it, so in a sense it helps to reel me in. Better to be frustrated than bored, and frustration usually results in getting 1% better as a player anyway.

 

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Pain elemental is also such a pain in the butt, every encounter was, to me, like: 'ehhh, this again'. I just wanted to get over with it.

Total agreement there. The only Doom 2 enemy I don't like. It's creative and I see the appeal, but they're probably the rarest monster in my maps, even moreso than Archies.

 

For me personally, if Doom 2 simply looked better on the whole, some texture uglies were fixed up, it would be more or less the perfect classic Doom campaign.

 

13 hours ago, TheMightyHeracross said:

The biggest problem, besides the lame final boss,

TOP 10 MYTHS ABOUT DOOM 2

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I felt like the additions to the bestiary and the super shotgun were great, but the maps were pretty tepid. There were a couple standouts but for the most part the campaign is forgettable.

 

I personally don't care for vanilla wads released now. Without the SSG and archviles etc. the game feels much more limited. 

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57 minutes ago, Szuran said:

I don't know what half of the levels are supposed to be is just my special gripe

Why does this not apply to Doom and Final Doom for you?

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@Super Mighty G Because I didn't feel like this playing them. There were map names that set the theme and the designes in most cases followed. Spawning Vats. Unholy Cathedral. Ok, I get it. But what's a "Gotcha"? What's "Barrels O'Fun"? What's "The Gantlet"? In Doom 1, you had realistic places first, then you descend into hell and have some twisted hellish structures, and in the end you have a set of maps based on emotions - it seemed like a natural progression into hell, you go to the heart of darkness. In Doom 2, there's a complete mish-mash without any thought or theme or sense of progression whatsoever.

 

Even in these names you can see the lack of care or thought. It's no longer a place, no longer a level associated with some kind of an idea appropriate for Doom's themes (like the levels named after Bible verses). It's just "Gotcha", a place with no purpose, some experimental thing that someone once made, so let's put it in Doom 2 because why not. Anything goes. It's no longer a journey towards a goal, it's just a variety pack of Doom engine's equivalent of sticky notes.

 

That's how I see it and I don't like it. These maps don't feel like places, they feel like someone's themeless experiments with the engine. Something you would add to a challenge mode that you unlock after beating the campaign.

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To me, Doom2 was the finished product, and Doom(1) merely the prototype. Doom2 is far and away the greatest of the iwads in every meaningful respect. If it hadn't been for Doom2, I wouldn't have played the Doom engine games much at all, and it would have ended up meaning no more to me overall than, say, Wolf3D.

 

Just posting so you're aware that not everyone agrees with you, even though a lot of the people who bother posting in threads like this might seem to. Others of us just think "Oh god, this stuff again." and move on to some other topic.

 

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Szuran wrote:

In Doom 1 everything was very basic, but I had this clear feeling that I actually progress and levels kinda-sorta make sense. I know when I'm on Mars, I know when I'm in hell.

Irony alert.

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@Grazza

I appreciate your opinion and I expected that some would react like this, nonetheless I think this is an interesting discussion and even fans who like Doom 2 shared their gripes. And yes, not Mars, moons of Mars. You know what I meant. :)

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1 hour ago, Szuran said:

@Super Mighty G Because I didn't feel like this playing them. There were map names that set the theme and the designes in most cases followed. Spawning Vats. Unholy Cathedral. Ok, I get it. But what's a "Gotcha"? What's "Barrels O'Fun"? What's "The Gantlet"? In Doom 1, you had realistic places first, then you descend into hell and have some twisted hellish structures, and in the end you have a set of maps based on emotions - it seemed like a natural progression into hell, you go to the heart of darkness. In Doom 2, there's a complete mish-mash without any thought or theme or sense of progression whatsoever.

That's honestly nonsense. You seem to be placing importance on names when both games are just as abstract. Why isn't Mt. Erebus a mountain? Why is Containment Area a warehouse full of boxes? What is Pandemonium supposed to be? What even is a Slough of Despair? (the answer is a claw hand with a booger btw)

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I really liked the abstract levels in Doom 1 and 2, but didn´t like the brown look and the "realistic design" of the city-levels. I just recently played Doom 1, followed by Doom 2 and then Sigil. In my opinion, most of the levels in Doom 1 were better, also because they didn´t try to imitate Earth. I really like to run around in caves, abandoned bases, etc., like in Quake 1 where it´s clear that this is an artificial place which has nothing to do with reality and the lack of realism and high detail is unimportant. My feeling also was that they used more brown textures for Doom 2, which i also kind of dislike, though i prefer more contrast. For me, Sigil really stood out in level design, where you could see the improvement in the tools that have been used, the time he took to finish it and his grown experience as a designer. You could see that it was done because of his love to the game and he also enjoyed working on it a lot.

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You seem to mistake theme and progression for storytelling. Doom 1 to me is: you start from a base and go through hell to stop demon invasion. There is a clear progression, level 1 couldn't be level 20. Doom 2 is just a bunch of levels, and if Level 20 was Level 5 and Level 8 was Level 28, I wouldn't notice a difference. I don't notice a clear difference between cities and hell and whatever in this game. These are just randomly textured obstacle courses.

 

Doom 1 is coherent in its setting and in the general flow of gameplay. It's like Mario: you start in the meadows, go through sewers and reach a castle where the princess is kept. Simple but undestandable. The technology didn't allow for much more. Meanwhile Doom 2 is you start in a place that's even hard to describe as a place and then go through a bunch of obstacle courses that don't represent anything in particular. I don't feel like anything is changing or like I am making any progress, it's like I enter a new experimental WAD with every map. Obviously you don't need a narrative framing, but I do. Slough of Despair was a visual representation of hell. There wasn't a map like that before, on the station. You clearly knew you were in a new place, and the fact it looked like a demon hand made you know you are now in hell, in demons' grasp. This was fitting, it showed the change in setting, in difficulty, in the theme. It showed another stop in your journey and I felt the progress. There's nothing this deliberate in Doom 2.

 

However, you can mix nonsense in a coherent manner and Quake 1 showed it. You go from military bases to castles with grenade-throwing butchers, and I don't mind. I think it's because these levels were still more coherent than Doom 2's and each chapter had its own theme. There weren't levels that were simply testing the engine, like: would Spider Mastermind or Cyberdemon win? There weren't mean parts, I didn't once feel any situation was impossible to get out from on your first try. It all just meshed together way more effective and still gave me this sense of journey and not a set of individual challenges.

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I agree with most of that, particularly about the levels slots being more or less interchangable. For me though it just comes down to the fact that I find Doom 2's abstract obstacle courses more fun from a gameplay perspective than what Doom 1 throws at me. There is undoubtedly a better sense of both progression and theme in D1, at least for me, but simply describing the Doom 2 maps as mere obstacle courses undercuts them. The whole campaign of Doom 2 ends up testing so many of your 'doomer senses' that Doom 1 does not, even setting aside those small handful of bullshit traps where you're surrounded with nothing to do.

 

I love the challenges: Can you cross a tedious catwalk over a damaging floor? Sure you can dodge projectiles, but how about when they start following you? Also no Doom 1 enemy puts you on edge like an Arch-vile, the way he zips around so much faster than anything is unsettling in itself, then that attack is just brutal. But, once you know how it works, you can plan your moves around it - It's so satisfying to dodge that fucker's attacks and then lay him down! He's so much more dynamic than the Hunks O' Meat known as the Barons and Cacos as well. I'm not dissing those guys, they're awesome, but the addition of faster enemies, bigger enemies, enemies with unique attacks like homing missiles, waves of missiles in the case of the Manc, weird explodey-flame things from the Arch-vile.. It all just makes the gameplay experience so much more dynamic.

 

I also think describing the Spider VS Cyber battle as a mere engine test is just so.. Robotic! To me it was an awesome spectacle to sit back and watch when I first found it. I was sort of in awe at what I was seeing, no infighting was that fun to watch - not even the wave of Barons VS the Cyber on map08, which had already taken the cake as the most fun I'd had watching monster infighting. One man's engine test is another man's fireworks show!

 

EDIT: In fact, speaking of map08, it essentially proves your case - A challenge called 'Tricks and Traps' really has no place in any narrative, what the hell could it possibly be from a story perspective? It's nothing more than a fun test of your Doom skills, a series of encounters, Doom for the sake of Doom. I could easily see how that wouldn't be immersive enough for those who need a sense of progression beyond just seeing a lot of dead bodies lying around before you press the exit switch.

 

I love dissecting what it is people like and dislike about the various classic Doom campaigns.. I know some people hate talking about it, but I like diving in.

Edited by Doomkid

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