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Szuran

My gripes with Doom II

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@Doomkid I love your perspective, it's just that to me it's not exactly what I look for in Doom. It's closest to these funny vidoes "100000 cheese rolls in skyrim" or "blowing up 200000 barrels in Crysis". Or these insane Mario mods that are almost impossible and require perfect timing. They're fun, but I wouldn't build a game around them. But I respect a lot of people like it.

BTW, one of Doom 2's best traits: sound. The sound of super shotgun or Macubus is just epic, it's so memorable and full of character.

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I can't say I appreciate the level design in Doom 2 much. It's indeed random and abstract in a bad way. I think the biggest problem comes down to not wanting to spend money on better graphics assets. The texture set they used is plain and simply not appropriate for the theme they were shooting for. As basic as the city maps are, for example, just having better texturing would have gone a long way to making them less appalling.

 

There's also a handful of levels that are downright crap visually, for me the worst offenders are MAP08, MAP09 and MAP21, which are essentially a random collection of rooms stuffed with monsters with absolutely no coherent theme. MAP09 also suffers from some very bad monster placement (Using Pain Elementals with more Lost Souls than the limit allowed, rendering them all utterly harmless, and worse - making the map's difficulty depend on this limit.)

 

So, if someone mentions cash-grab I'd have to agree. The only part here where some genuine work was invested were the new monsters and they are clearly the best part of the whole package. And some of the new sounds are also really good.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Doomkid said:

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.

 

Well, I basically agree with what my man Doomkid has said in this topic so far.

 

The only problem Doom 2 might have is the worse visuals which can make some levels look ugly, the city ones being the worst offenders but even there, after learning that a certain texture might actually be a nod to the building where Doom was made kinda changed my mind.

 

The maps may not be as realistic and with the same sense of progression, but they do have much more replayability than anything the original could hope for, thanks to the SSG and the extended bestiary. In fact, Doom 2 is probably underrated at this point considering how much hate it gets.

Edited by seed

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3 hours ago, Szuran said:

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.

 

I agree with @Super Mighty G... this is nonsense. Seen Hell and the moons of Mars with your own eyes have you?

By this argument you could also ask yourself "What is Phobos Anomaly supposed to resemble?"... "Where is the supposed tower in Tower Of Babel?"...
Hell, what are Cacodemons just floating heads? What's a BFG9000? Why are Lost Souls on fire? Why do Soulspheres exist?
Seriously, its a game. It's art. Does it have to be 100% literal to enjoy?

By the way, "Gantlet" is another spelling/pronunciation/annunciation of "Gauntlet".

 

/ˈɡɔːntlət/

noun: gantlet

1. go through an intimidating or dangerous crowd or experience in order to reach a goal.

 

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1 minute ago, DoomSpud said:

By the way, "Gantlet" is another spelling/pronunciation/annunciation of "Gauntlet".

 

/ˈɡɔːntlət/

noun: gantlet

1. go through an intimidating or dangerous crowd or experience in order to reach a goal.

 

 

This is true, but you could name any level a Gantlet. That's what I'm talking about. No sense of progression here for me, the levels are interchangeable, I'm not getting anywhere, just going through a number of challenges.

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13 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

MAP09 also suffers from some very bad monster placement (Using Pain Elementals with more Lost Souls than the limit allowed, rendering them all utterly harmless, and worse - making the map's difficulty depend on this limit.)

 

I've seen this fuck unsuspecting players who have neglected to take down the Pain Elementals early because they posed no initial threat, saving ammo... only to come back through the area toward the end after killing the lost souls and suddenly the Pain Elemetals are unexpectedly active and the place is swarming with Lost Souls again. I don't think that was intended in The Pit's initial design more so just "something that can occur depending on the play conditions in relation to that bug".

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That issue in MAP09 looks like a classic case of a rush job to me. The mere fact that the PE's are incapacitated on UV only tells us something about the time when the limit was added, i.e. late in the game - the mapper apparently had no knowledge of it when building it.

 

On the other hand, my suspicion is that the map was never properly playtested with active PE's on Ultra-Violence, because in that case there's simply not enough ammo present early in the map to handle the flood of Lost Souls that can get spawned.

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20 minutes ago, Graf Zahl said:

That issue in MAP09 looks like a classic case of a rush job to me. The mere fact that the PE's are incapacitated on UV only tells us something about the time when the limit was added, i.e. late in the game - the mapper apparently had no knowledge of it when building it.

 

On the other hand, my suspicion is that the map was never properly playtested with active PE's on Ultra-Violence, because in that case there's simply not enough ammo present early in the map to handle the flood of Lost Souls that can get spawned.


Either Sandy didn't know about the limitaton or was simply an oversight and put too many Lost Souls by accident and never playtested it properly. Even though The Pit is one of my favorite Doom II maps I do agree it is a definitely flaw in the level's design.

In regards to the lack of ammo early on, the map may have been designed with the progression from the pevious map in mind? With my current WAD I'm trying to link progression from map to map with respect to "what sort of ammo levels/stocks would the average player end the previous level with?" If the average playthrough leaves me well-stocked, I won't map in a lot of ammo early in the next map... if im left with very low ammo supply which could hamper early progress in the next map, I will map in early ammo supplies. Without actually being able to ask Sandy about it I guess we can only speculate... but it IS a flawed map, no denying. A flawed map I fondly adore.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Super Mighty G said:

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)

I don't really agree with this. I always assumed Mt Erebus took place in the crater at the top of the mountain, there could be who-knows-what in those boxes and the purpose of the Hell levels is to be more abstract to begin with. I can see "Pandemonium" supporting your point but in D1 it's the exception, not the rule, which imo improves the perception of Hell unlike in D2 (that said, most levels in D2 do have a clear theme and identity so you could say it's also the exception in that game, but there's a lot more of it). And a rock valley shaped like a hand seems like something fitting for the Hell presented in Doom, I get that it's cheesy but I still think it's cool.

P.S. I learned recently that "Slough" is a real place and that everybody hates it... coincidence?

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1 minute ago, Kapanyo said:

I don't really agree with this. I always assumed Mt Erebus took place in the crater at the top of the mountain, there could be who-know-what in those boxes and the purpose of the Hell levels is to be more abstract to begin with. I can see "Pandemonium" supporting your point but in D1 it's the exception, not the rule. And a rock valley shaped like a hand seems like something fitting for the Hell presented in Doom, I get that it's cheesy but I still think it's cool.

P.S. I learned recently that "Slough" is a real place and that everybody hates it... coincidence?


Yes Erebus is a region in hades (hell) but there's no historical or religious literature to suggest it's even a mountain. The only REAL Mt. Erebus is a volcano in Antarctica. And E3M6 certainly isn't set in Antarctica... so there goes any name-to-theme connection with that. Calling it simply "Erebus" would actually be more accurate... but so what?

"Slough" actually has several meanings including:
1. Mud, marsh or mire... ie: "Marsh Of Despair"...
2. Cast-off, dispose or shed away.
3. Glove. (Hence the hand design of the map).

Combine the 1st and 3rd meanings and you're basically "in the grip of hell".

You need to take into account that this is 1993/94 and the most powerful computer available is a 486. There was no way to accurately map a lot of stuff "as per what it was named" on those sort of systems. They couldn't handle the demands of intricate 0.125 grid sizes etc. that systems can these days, which is why a lot of the IWAD mapping of D1/D2 seems "bland" compared to modern mapping... there were reasons for it. Mostly technical.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, DoomSpud said:


Yes Erebus is a region in hades (hell) but there's no historical or religious literature to suggest it's even a mountain. The only REAL Mt. Erebus is a volcano in Antarctica. And E3M6 certainly isn't set in Antarctica... so there goes any name-to-theme connection with that. Calling it simply "Erebus" would actually be more accurate... but so what?

"Slough" actually has several meanings including:
1. Mud, marsh or mire... ie: "Marsh Of Despair"...
2. Cast-off, dispose or shed away.
3. Glove. (Hence the hand design of the map).

Combine the 1st and 3rd meanings and you're basically "in the grip of hell".

You need to take into account that this is 1993/94 and the most powerful computer available is a 486. There was no way to accurately map a lot of stuff "as per what it was named" on those sort of systems. They couldn't handle the demands of intricate 0.125 grid sizes etc. that systems can these days, which is why a lot of the IWAD mapping of D1/D2 seems "bland" compared to modern mapping... there were reasons for it. Mostly technical.

That's not what I mean. It doesn't have to be a real place in history or literature, but in this fictional reality presented in the game. We can accept that the level Mt. Erebus takes place in the crater of the fictional mountain, but to echo OP's points, what is "Gotcha" supposed to be?

 

Now, I'll say right now that I personally don't have any issue with this detached naming style of D2. It still looks like a real place that could exist in the Doom universe, and I were to try I could say it's maybe a base built into a mountain or something. But for the sake of discussion, I think OP is right in saying that it doesn't feel as much like a real part of the journey as a lot of the other levels, and more like a digital construction made solely to be a level than a place. It certainly feels a bit strange in the city but it is the future I guess. Or maybe the presence of Hell transformed the area.

Edited by Kapanyo

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1 hour ago, Graf Zahl said:

That issue in MAP09 looks like a classic case of a rush job to me. The mere fact that the PE's are incapacitated on UV only tells us something about the time when the limit was added, i.e. late in the game - the mapper apparently had no knowledge of it when building it.

We actually have proof of this. In the beta versions of Doom 2, Pain elementals were just cacodemons with a new skin. The idea to make them shoot skulls most likely came after the map was already built, when they still shot projectiles. Even aside from that I’m 99% sure there’s a screenshot released by id themselves of the Doom 2 beta where the player is on the top level of The Pit and a Pain elemental is actually mid attack, and sure enough it’s a caco ball rather than a skull.

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2 minutes ago, Kapanyo said:

what is "Gotcha" supposed to be?

 


A fun Doom map? The first time you ever see a Cyberdemon and a Spider Mastermind in the same map, in the SAME room...

The two ultimate badarse enemies against you at once (unless you exploit infighting which allows you to see your two most powerful opponents descending into an all-out war in front of you). I can't imagine this was something that many people had seen at the time of Doom II's release due to the community being in it's infancy. It's a beautiful concept and I've always considered "Gotcha!" to be a reference to the unexpected appearance of them both, early in a mid-WAD map. A surprise, a cruel joke, an unexpected scare to make the player go "FUCK! Cyberdemon AND a Spider!?!". Yeah, ya got me... well played id. Screw you.
 

12 minutes ago, Kapanyo said:

I don't really know what the "the hardware was underpowered" explanation is supposed to convey, unless it's an addition to the general discussion and not a reply.


Well it explains why certain things don't look accurately like what they're named as. Why does the "Tower Of Babel" (E2M8) not extend vertically into the sky infinitely like it's supposed to based on it's biblical description? Because systems couldn't handle it. That's why there's no tower. It's a flat map with very little verticality... hardly what you'd call a "tower"... same as why you don't see elaborate accurate looking altars in the Unholy Cathedral... they couldn't map it. You could overhaul that map these days and actually make it look like an accurate cathedral with gridwork at 0.125 and systems can handle it fine. Everything had to be simplified back then to it could actually run... which is why a lot of maps don't immediately resemble what they're called. I've never seen it as an issue. As long as it plays well and has good atmosphere, I couldn't care less what it's called.

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3 minutes ago, Doomkid said:

We actually have proof of this. In the beta versions of Doom 2, Pain elementals were just cacodemons with a new skin. The idea to make them shoot skulls most likely came after the map was already built, when they still shot projectiles.


I was not aware of this, and it would explain the oversight. If the map was built before the code for spitting Lost Souls was implemented then it would make sense that it "broke" the map. It obviously wasn't checked over.  Pretty sure GZDoom patches the bug because I haven't encountered neutered Pain Elementals for years.

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad No Rest for the Living and Sigil happened. Without them, I wouldn't be a big fan of this game. Honestly, Doom I takes a nosedive after episode 1. There were some gems like Containment Area, or the brilliant Against Thee Wickedly, but overall, it was a nonsense hodgepodge experience with Tom Hall's uncreative Wolf3D tier visuals (imagine the game without Romero, it would have been another flat Wolf3D sequel). Doom II isn't any better, again, it had great maps like The Crusher, Circle of Death, Monster Condo or The Living End, but overall the uglyness/WTFness clearly overwhelmed the good parts. Plutonia looked much better, but the levels were mean back then, and it's not a mapset for an adventure, but for some arcade style challenge, which is good and all, but it's not something to jump unto any day for some fun.

 

NRFTL and Sigil really were the adventures I wanted after episode 1. Maps look real, they play adventurous, progress is sensible, and tight, nothing dragged too long, like in many megawads.

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54 minutes ago, Kapanyo said:

 what is "Gotcha" supposed to be?

 

 

According to the following text, it's the "corrupt heart of the city" - emphasis on 'corrupt', i.e. the place where the demons came in and warped reality. Therefore it's the one level where realism does not matter, it's supposed to be a twisted and hostile place.

 

It could have been designed better, though, like many maps in Doom 2.

 

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4 hours ago, Szuran said:

 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.


Maybe you should stop playing with your eyes closed?

This is a techbase

maxresdefault.jpg

This is a city

13.gif

And this is hell

hqdefault.jpg

I agree that the progression is a bit random from level to level, but there IS an overall progression. I feel that people are seeing in black and white because they like one thing better than the other. Maybe your bias toward doom 1 is causing you to judge doom 2 more harshly. Episode 1 is coherent mainly because it has no progression at all. You go from techbase to techbase to techbase. But E2 and E3? Shit gets out of control, the themes become more random.

Saying Doom1 is coherent in its setting is ridiculous. E2M5 is supposed to be a "command center." Apparently the peeps in charge commissioned marble walls to go with the light panels on the ceiling?

hqdefault.jpg

I would say that doom 1 is creepier and does give a better sense of place for the most part, while doom2 has the coolest enemy ever (archvile) and cranks up the action in a pretty good way. Both of them have horrendous end bosses... at least the icon of sin was more creatively done than the stupid mastermind. Both of them have flaws. Saying doom 2 has "just bad design" as if doom 1 doesn't is crazy. Map design has progressed a little bit in the last few decades...

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12 minutes ago, magicsofa said:


Maybe you should stop playing with your eyes closed?
 

 

No need for this.

 

You also have lava in your city. You also have the same rock textures in your city as in hell. Wood textures are used everywhere, and the general feel to the levels is samey. It's not like the sudden switch from panels and computers to rock and lava in D1.

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1 hour ago, Szuran said:

You also have lava in your city. You also have the same rock textures in your city as in hell. Wood textures are used everywhere, and the general feel to the levels is samey. It's not like the sudden switch from panels and computers to rock and lava in D1.

 

Dude... DOOM II: HELL ON EARTH...
Do I REALLY need to spell out why there is lava in the city maps?... like... really? Does the game's title not give you enough of a hint of what's happening?
You are reading WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much into this realism thing mate. It was 1994, on hardware and an engine that predates what could play a fucking .mp3 file...

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2 hours ago, magicsofa said:

But E2 and E3? Shit gets out of control, the themes become more random.


E2 is set on Deimos which is floating above hell (shown at the end of E2E8)... it's an amalgum of what came before (E1's techbase theme), and what it's next to come E3 (hell's theme)... it's a deliberate mix to show that hell is slowly taking over... I thought that's been common knowledge for like... a quarter of a century... ??? lol
 

2 hours ago, magicsofa said:

Saying Doom1 is coherent in its setting is ridiculous. E2M5 is supposed to be a "command center." Apparently the peeps in charge commissioned marble walls to go with the light panels on the ceiling?

hqdefault.jpg


Please refer to my previous response...

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2 hours ago, Szuran said:

You also have lava in your city. You also have the same rock textures in your city as in hell. Wood textures are used everywhere, and the general feel to the levels is samey. It's not like the sudden switch from panels and computers to rock and lava in D1.

Containment Area is a techbase with a marble center room, gargoyle faces and a room full of blood. Look I'm not saying you're in the wrong to dislike Doom 2, but the line of reasoning that Doom doesn't follow the same formula of mish-mashed themes or that every Doom 2 map is interchangeable because they are samey makes no sense.

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The only things that bother me nowadays are the secrets you can't reach and the item you can't take in Monster Condo. The other are minor issues I can deal with or forgive.

 

Off topic: Doom 1's end boss level (E3M8) is not that bad. It's definitely more challenging than E2M8 which is just too easy once you master circle strafing. /unpopular doom opinions

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6 minutes ago, unerxai said:

The only things that bother me nowadays are the secrets you can't reach and the item you can't take in Monster Condo. The other are minor issues I can deal with or forgive.

 

Off topic: Doom 1's end boss level (E3M8) is not that bad. It's definitely more challenging than E2M8 which is just too easy once you master circle strafing. /unpopular doom opinions

 

I found E3M8 easier, even on pistol start. I just stayed on the outer ledge and collected all of the items there. By the time I get halfway around, they're already starting to infight, though I might take a few shots. I continue on around behind the distracted spider mastermind until I reach the entrance, and then head to the center to get the plasma rifle. It's so big that I don't even have to move from behind the cover to hit it if it's close.

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2 minutes ago, Ichor said:

I might take a few shots.

But at least there's that

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Just now, unerxai said:

But at least there's that

It all depends on when they start infighting. There have been times when I go around the perimeter unscathed.

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22 minutes ago, unerxai said:

Off topic: Doom 1's end boss level (E3M8) is not that bad. It's definitely more challenging than E2M8 which is just too easy once you master circle strafing. /unpopular doom opinions

 

 

Coming into Tower of Babel with a plasma gun is nowhere near the advantage as coming into Dis with a BFG. So continuous, Dis is trash for obvious reasons. But yes, with pistol starts, Dis is much more interesting. The ammo is more scarce and much more scattered. You have to find cover rather than just dodge, but you won't have enough ammo if you stay in the main cover location. And Tower of Babel has 200 in health pickups, whereas Dis has 0, I'm pretty sure.

 

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5 hours ago, DoomSpud said:

[Snip]

Yes, I know how and why "Gotcha!" is true to its namesake, what OP is referring to is the fact that it doesn't seem to be trying to be a specific fictional structure/location/anything other than a level. Though as Graf pointed out it technically sort of is.

 

The limited hardware definitely has a hand in making levels less authentic to their intended representation but I think all of them do a passable job at trying (Tower of Babel takes place at the top of the tower like Mt. Erebus in my eyes and Unholy Cathedral felt sprawling and varied enough as-is). The focus of the subject was levels that aren't trying to be anything in particular, like Barrels O' Fun.

To reiterate, I don't have a problem with them and think they're fun but I agree with OP to a certain extent that they feel kind of out of the loop with the rest of the themed levels. All this said, I'm gonna 180 myself and say that I can't imagine Gotcha any other way or in any other slot since it's so iconic and fun.

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3 hours ago, HAK3180 said:

 

 

Coming into Tower of Babel with a plasma gun is nowhere near the advantage as coming into Dis with a BFG. So continuous, Dis is trash for obvious reasons. But yes, with pistol starts, Dis is much more interesting. The ammo is more scarce and much more scattered. You have to find cover rather than just dodge, but you won't have enough ammo if you stay in the main cover location. And Tower of Babel has 200 in health pickups, whereas Dis has 0, I'm pretty sure.

 


It's a lot more fun with pistol. But your first time through, I bet you had your BFG, and it was over in 2 seconds.

 

7 hours ago, Szuran said:

 

No need for this.


So, you won't stop playing with your eyes closed? I'd actually enjoy a video of that...
 

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On 7/10/2019 at 5:37 AM, Doomkid said:

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. 

Well said - and that's exactly why I disliked Doom II intensely - for me it was work, rather than pleasure.

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