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MAP04: Translocation Research by Memfis

99% kills, 3/5 secrets

 

Another IWAD-ish map from Memfis (though the E2M1 music track adds a lot in that regard) but much bigger and bolder than the preceding map. Almost too big, in a fashion... the rooms are so macro-sized that a lot of the challenge is removed, and only the hitscanners pose any real threat. It is fun to explore, I reached the end without having found any of the secrets and managed to find three of them after some searching (including the south bunker). Bit disappointed the large outdoor eastern space had nothing in it (that I could find at least), alas.

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Hey there, my first time here. Hope to get as deep as possible in this WAD. Liked this map04 a lot. Lots of hitscanners to mow down with the chaingun and nice to have optional routes for plasma, rockets and health from the main hub. Not a fan of the secrets though, a few were a bit too obscure.

 

Here's a uvmax run if anyone's looking for all those secrets :) https://youtu.be/hcWhAsaktts

 

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MAP05 fda: A very good looking level with some cool architecture with an almost perfect ammount of detail, not too bare or simple but even not too much and everything is where it should be. This toxic techbase still retain a lot of E2 influences, particularly in some visual combos and the slight presence of hellish details, but it has a distinct feel that it shows that the mappers did a personal take of the level instead of following the tropes. Tricky start without safe zones until you clear some areas and deciding where to isn't easy thank to the low resources you have initially. You can't lower your guard for a moment.
You can get stuck on the top-right corner on the western room from where you lower the BK pillar (sectors 542-547), you can see that at the very end of my demo.

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L4 - Translocation Research

 

Another vanilla-style map from Memfis, but this one is much bigger and better. It's clear much more time was put into this one, and it paid off. I died twice in this level (annoyingly, the second time was right near the end, I wasn't paying the revenant enough respect...). Some non-linearity which is welcome (the rocket launcher I got the second and third time round made the arch vile area easier for sure). I got 3/5 secrets. The teleport secret was pretty neat as it both helps you (with the backpack) and hurts you (with monsters you could otherwise avoid). Only thing I would say is that the monsters that appear from the far southern part of the map as you enter the outdoor area could have done with some tweaking - a bunch of different monster types packed really close together made infighting evitable and lessened the challenge. But overall pretty fun map 9/10

 

L5 - Devil's Joy

 

Oof this map raises the difficulty significantly over the first four maps. The darkness is used to great effect on this map to ramp up the tension as you work your way through each trap. The plethora of poison also forces you to be quick on your feet. Health is tough on this map but not too tough. I ended up 22% health at the end. Died 4 times and made one (unnecessary) save. I didn't find the secret sadly (typical that a map as tough as this one has only one secret!). Another strong map 8/10

 

15 hours ago, eirc said:

Hey there, my first time here. Hope to get as deep as possible in this WAD. Liked this map04 a lot. Lots of hitscanners to mow down with the chaingun and nice to have optional routes for plasma, rockets and health from the main hub. Not a fan of the secrets though, a few were a bit too obscure.

 

Here's a uvmax run if anyone's looking for all those secrets :) https://youtu.be/hcWhAsaktts

 

 

Welcome to the forum! What were your thoughts on the other maps? I must admit I'm not big into secret hunting, if I see a visual cue I'll check it but I certainly don't aim for 100% secrets.

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MAP04 – Translocation Research by Memfis

 

Memfis again, this time with a supersized non-linear map. A bit too big, like @Magnusblitz mentioned, and with too many hitscan enemies for comfort. At a certain point I was ready for the map to end, yet it still came too soon with all the optional areas and secrets I missed. A fine map, if not too memorable.

 

 

MAP05 – Devil’s Joy by Chaingunner / Plut

 

This map’s opening is... well, let’s say a lot of profanities were said when I grabbed the super shotgun because that was the LAST thing I wanted to happen. I could make a comparison to MAP02, but this map is a) a lot nastier to begin with, b) kept said nastiness as it went on. And yet all of this was still manageable, with just the right amount of health available to keep me on my toes while having some form of comfort.

 

Still, I now hate arch-viles and chaingunners a bit more than I did yesterday.

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MAP05: Devil's Joy by Chaingunner and Plut

97% kills, 0/1 secret

 

After last map's open spaces comes a constricted tech base of a map that immediately brought to mind some of Chris Hansen's work last month. Lots of phone booth fights here, with some good ambushes - I too fell prey to rushing headlong to grab the SSG and was swiftly punished for it, making me realize the better approach was to work slowly and carefully. Still quite easy to take a lot of damage, but there's also plenty of health to heal up between fights, which is the kind of balance I appreciate for my constant saving/reloading style. My only real complaints are that it's a bit aesthetically drab (mainly texture choice), and that I might've liked the end goal of collecting both keys for the exit to be a bit more visible from the get-go (probably by showing the exit and accompanying red key 'lock' instead of hiding it behind the blue door) but those are minor complaints. Fun map.

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12 hours ago, Horus said:

Welcome to the forum! What were your thoughts on the other maps? I must admit I'm not big into secret hunting, if I see a visual cue I'll check it but I certainly don't aim for 100% secrets.

 

Hey, yea I'm definitely a uvmax kinda doomguy so I cannot rest until I find all secrets and monsters.

 

About the other maps I loved the black/green biomech style on map 01 and was kinda disappointed it was just for that map (later realised the wad's a compilation). Map 02 was kinda meh, I think a chaingun instead of the blue armor in the secret would improve it. Blue armor (especially combined with the soulsphere) made it too easy while a chaingun would add some cool action. I love me some Deimos labbing and tomato crushing so Map 03 got some easy points there but the Vile fight was easy but cool too.

 

Map 05 is currently kicking my butt with that start and the SSG vile fight but while it is very tough (to me) it feels kinda fair. The red key vile seems a bit too easy but that's contrasted with the blue key vile who I've yet to beat.

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MAP06 demo: Another familiar map even though I wished to remember it better after the starting courtyard but nonetheless I was able to survive. It's a very fun map that obviously owns a lot to Plutonia. I liked a lot the iwad-esque level of minimal detail that rely all on the architecture and the lighting contrasts. Neat idea the timed exit so the player can't rush to it without really locking him.

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L6 - Sprint

 

Well it was certainly a sprint to get to a safe space after the level started!  The starting arena was decent except the arch vile inside the RK door was frustratingly placed making it hard to kill. Like the last map health is balanced well, tough but not too tough. The cramped battles when dropping down into the water and in the RK door area were a bit too close for comfort...luckily I just about made it without dying. The final battle was the easiest of the lot, with the HKs placed mercifully on slightly elevated platforms each side halting their advance. As @gaspe said, the timed switch to the exit was a neat touch (not that I was tempted to rush it anyway). Different feel from the first five maps with the heavy use of rock textures. Still a decent map, but just about my least favourite of the six so far 6.5/10

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MAP02

Solid nukage techbase with occasional diversions into other textural themes, especially in the exterior areas.  A bit heavy on the single shotgun grind for my tastes: I would have appreciated more chaingunning opportunities.  The SSG followed by a forced close quarters HK fight was nice, though.  Took an in principle quite routine encounter and made it a feature.

 

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MAP04 - “Translocation Research” by Memfis

A significant improvement over map03, Memfis delivers a massive E1-ish tech complex full of oddly-shaped rooms and large outdoor areas. Even with over 200 monsters, the density is very low and areas that could fit some kind of slaughter fight can have maybe a dozen enemies. Reminds me of some TNT maps in that regard. The actual detailing remains minimalist and there's little in the way of decoration in these large spaces, though textures are generally aligned to keep visuals inoffensive. Good stuff.

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MAP05 - “Devil’s Joy” by Chaingunner, Plut

Do you like getting shot by a Revenant in the back while grabbing the Shotgun in front of you? I don't but that's how this map starts. What follows is largely a sequence of "Got 'em!" traps, usually involving some combination of Viles, Revenants, and hitscanners popping up in your face. These can be dealt with by not sucking but it's not something I personally find enjoyable.

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MAP06 - “Sprint” by Memfis

Lots of mileage achieved from a modest monster count of 70. Short and challenging map with some interesting small-scale encounters. Aside from dying to the hot start, it's the double Baron trap past the red door which managed to get me. The finale is cool too, though free compared to the rest of the map if you spam rockets at enemies moving towards you and then take out the turrets at your leisure.

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MAP03

I normally like Memfis maps but I wasn't a huge fan of this one.  While I liked the old school progression and some of the environments, there were rather too many chaingunners in wide open spaces for me to find it fun to play.

 

MAP04

Made me think of "The Silos" from Memento Mori 2, even though in practice they are not that much alike.  Not a huge fan of some parts.  A lot of wide open and blandly lit spaces, like that wide staircase that leads to the multi-stage switch flickathon.  I did like the end, though: specifically, that it supported a "rush it" kind of approach where I plunged in, killing just enough monsters to nab the yellow key and then scamper to the exit with frustrated hordes behind me.

 

MAP05

Ugh, insta-pop monsters out of solid surfaces, right in your face.  It's cheap and it looks shit.  Hard pass.

Edited by Capellan

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Falling behind thanks to real life!

 

Map02:

 

 

Map03:

 

 

Fairly neat little maps. Of the two, I probably enjoyed #02 the most - I have a thing for narrow little sewer maps.

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MAP07 fda: Visually there's a good sinergy with the stock textures and the places that have "that" classic look with the custom resources that give an additional welcomed edge to the map. The title seems to be have more to do with the plasma rifle room with all those cylindric machines and the BK blue and silver tunnels. The rest of the map is mostly bricks and stone that fits naturally with the city outside the YK area. AT the plasmaguun room there's also the biggest fight of the map where lots of teleporting monsters will fill the area with no so much space around or to dance betwen all the pillars. The rest of the combats are more easy going and involve few monsters at the time. A thing that I didn't like so much is that the level falls a bit too much into the "monsters will teleport each time you do something". There's a also a very nice hunt for the secrets, 12 of them to find.

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L7 - Nanotechnology Experiments

 

When I saw 12 secrets I thought this map would be very large, and although its the longest of the set so far its not that long, and most of the monsters come in two teleport traps in the YK and exit area. The latter was a bit lame - the usual massed revenant + arch vile combo (I recommend saving before it, I'm sure glad I did). But the YK trap was fun, trying to clear the demons and imps with the rockets before they closed in too much. The outdoor city was also a nice touch, I gave it a little explore with idclip once I completed the map (I assumed it wasn't one of the secrets). The rest of the map is dark, very dark, and definitely made me pace more carefully around the map compared to the others (that plus the MIDI gave for quite an eerie atmosphere), even though there weren't so many monsters outside of the main two traps. Good map 7.5/10

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MAP06 – Sprint by Memfis

 

Grand disclaimer: I kind of forgot to pick up the rocket launcher until I had the red key. Made that initial section a lot more tense. That arch-vile is aggravatingly placed too.

 

Memfis returns! As is becoming habit the map opens with immediate danger, and the first minute of the map was spent getting enough firepower and realising I’m supposed to flip that switch, dodging overhead fire in the progress. Like Spectre01, one initial death trying to thread the beginning, another at the double baron ambush. The last fight was the easiest of the lot, although it didn’t feel that way – I still get a bit of unease using a rocket launcher when I could get splash damaged out of existence by a stray lost soul.

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Map 05 -- Devil's Joy - 111% Kills / 100% Secrets

Ah, now for a bit of real action, about time. The two authors' styles mesh quite naturally here, I thought. Both tend to work on a very similar sort of scale and use a lot of height changes as a form of condensing/compressing a lot of play possibilities into small spaces, and there is seldom not something going on in this map, whether you're the type of player to proceed very slowly and cautiously or more of a freewheeling brawler. The map is essentially split into two wings, one for the red keycard and one for the blue, but I didn't get any real sense of "this half was by Plut, and this half over here was by Chaingunner" or anything like that, which is often one earmark of a good collaboration. Of course, it's also possible that the contribution is split in other ways -- say, into layout on one hand and thing placement on the other -- and in contrast to the very mild map 02, this smacks quite a bit more of what past experience leads me to expect from Plut in particular, brief but heated gunfights in small chambers and a lot of traps, many of which center on the appearance of an arch-vile at some tactically distressing position.

 

Personally, I tend to prefer a wider variety of room sizes/scales than the consistently squat/compact build style seen here, but for the most part I felt that the small scale and complex blueprint are here generally used quite smartly to drive the action rather than hinder or limit it, which is perhaps best summarized by how the traps tend to go down -- unless one is rather naive, I reckon most all of the traps are pretty obviously traps, but them being obvious doesn't tend to limit their effectiveness much in this case, by dint of a careful and skillful (if somewhat uniform) balancing of dangerous implements playing off against dangerous creatures in dangerously enclosed spaces. Making some good guesses and being quick on the draw with the RL might possibly win you a couple of these fights before they start, but none are as simple as merely holding a doorway or other threshold, as so often tends to be the case in this kind of geometry.

 

The tight-packed construction and a wide range of textures from all across the tech/military/refinery spectrum give the presentation something of a busy look, though never distractingly so, I thought. The overall impression reminded me of something that Karthik Abiram might've made 'back in the day', though I suppose this is a mite darker/grittier and somewhat less wildly colorful, though that same feeling of "this is what the Shores of Hell theme looks like in Doom II" certainly dominates, with practical industrial chambers contrasting openly with medieval/occult details or some oddly eerie-in-microcosm places, particularly in the RK wing. Some of these oddities--stairways to nowhere, etc.--may be a byproduct of the speedmapping process (that most of the interlocking complexity of the RK wing unfolds only after you're done there leads me to suspect this), but if so, in this case the overall effect works pretty well, regardless.

 

Map 06 -- Sprint - 102% Kills / No secrets

Hmm, yes, this does have something of a Plutonia vibe, both in terms of how it's framed/staged per se (particularly the starting quasi-Caughtyard-ish area) and its free hand with slugging matches vs. squads of mid-tiers in some small-to-moderately sized spaces, though ideas like the twin-Baron 'corral' fight or the kind of 'micro-Hell Revealed' rear guard fight featuring blocks of stationed creatures at the exit (or the exit itself being a light 'puzzle', for that matter) communicate variously more modern or more personal sensibilities. On that point, while I kind of doubt this will be a map I'll be likely to remember in intimate detail long after this playthrough has concluded, it is nonetheless and as usual good to see confirmation that Memfis can still make real action and some tighter fights........when he feels like it. The fight at the drop-down into the watery aquifer/cave area just before getting the red key was my favorite bit; if you're smarter than me you can take some of the complication and congestion out of this little scuffle by means of some careful scouting and sniping, but it makes for a nice little row if not. Incidentally, I ended up overlooking the SSG in the starting yard until returning from the RK area, but as the RL is promoted so readily in the thing balance this was more of an interesting/enjoyable wrinkle than a tactical problem.

 

 

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L8 - Symphony of Darox

 

I don't know about symphony, this MIDI was an assault to the ears. Map starts off as hitscanner and imp central, but it's innocent enough. The lost soul trap within the BK door is a nice idea but too easily avoidable. Picking off the 2 Barons and Hell Knight before you get to the RK is frustrating (since I don't use freelook, it's just too risky using the rocket launcher). Not that the RK is necessary because the RK door isn't marked as such (just as it wasn't on map 1). I would have preferred it if the trigger for the crusher was further away - my first death was down to me walking through that area too quickly not realising it was a crusher until it was too late. Nonetheless, the actual puzzle itself is well done, though I would have preferred it if the linedefs were a bit wider to help stop inadvertently triggering it (and the barons on the way back were a frustrating kill too). The YK area was pretty neat. The cyber battle at the end is pretty easy with ample room and BFG ammo. Not my favourite map 4.5/10

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MAP06: Sprint

100% kills, no map secrets

 

Not a fan of the opening... it's fine to be hot, but this one felt a bit like luck could easily doom you if the chaingunner or AVs at the start get a quick lock on you. There's also a bit of knowing what to do (if you hesitate too long to go into the teleporters you'll be in trouble), which, at least it's at the start of the map so a quick reset isn't the worst thing in the world. After that it cools down a bit and there's some decent close-range encounters in a Plutonia-esque setting. Not a huge fan of the shooting gallery at the end but on the whole the map isn't too bad, and looks pretty good too in that IWAD fashion. Certainly feels a lot more polished than Memfis' first map in this set. I like the music choice here, goes well with the theme of the map being a quick play.

 

MAP07: Nanotechnology Experiments

99% kills, 9/12 secrets

 

Good idea to end the last level with a death exit, as this one is quite a departure from what comes before - not only just the last map (go from an action-packed, rocket-fueled affair to a gloomy, creepy techbase) but also in size and detail. I think the next chunk of maps is a lot bigger than the rest of the WAD, and this map makes me wonder about the "speedmap" descriptor as it's obviously quite detailed and polished, both in gameplay and aesthetics, with lots of cool lighting and even a 3D bridge. I liked this one a lot, there are some nicely designed fights, and the areas all work together and give a good sense of place while also varying in aesthetic so as not to blur together. Lots of nice secret hunting too, didn't find them all but a lot can be figured out by either sound, visual cue or just thinking about where something might be.

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Map 07 -- Nanotechnology Experiments - 100% Kills / 91% Secrets

As is customary: Not a Dead Simple map, +1000 bonus points.

 

Those who've played a number of past projects originating from the Russian community may have come to expect a certain type of map from Dragon Hunter, and "Nanotechnology Experiments" very much fits that bill, a sprawling, slow-burning, Doom-meets-urbex sort of tour of a run-down and abandoned research facility, moldering away in the heart of some nameless lost city half-submerged in a mudslide or such, like some poorly-buried corpse. Compared to the other maps in this first part of the game, which are all more or less 'gameplay-focused' (i.e. focusing immediately and consistently on the loop of combat), this one works more around establishing both a definite setting and a persistent sense of atmosphere, where extended periods of wandering quietly through the dust and must and gloom are punctuated only occasionally by brief spates of battle, and where the flavor of encounters is very often defined by the methods and timing of monster reveals, rather than on how said monsters function once revealed.

 

For the most part the creatures often seem as lost as we ourselves might perhaps feel, and their distribution is markedly uneven, with something like half or more of their total number of 200+ appearing in a dovetailed pair of teleportation waves in the YK wing, and a significant portion of the rest trickling out piecemeal in dribs and drabs through the many secret areas. Taking the tack of only lightly peppering monsters over larger maps with more back-and-forth progression like this one does often runs the risk of said map feeling unfinished (though it's just as easy to make the opposite mistake I suppose), but the level of surehandedness here shows that the approach can work well, with enough commitment.

 

Most of the playtime is comprised of very light, simplistic ambient encounters, with the optional (and highly recommended for enjoyment's sake) side pursuit of secret-hunting, as you wander to and fro through the facility, bumping into obstacles, retracing your steps to some earlier/now cleared obstacle, and repeating until you eventually rattle your way out, like the last kernel through a sieve. From the word go there's a sort of sense of expectancy, of some big "something" waiting to happen, feeding the mood, and the many dead ends are almost never 'just' dead ends but also treated as foreshadowing opportunities for later stages of progression. There are any number of maps which make a point of focusing on mood by creating this same sense of expectancy but then never delivering on it, through inability or disinclination or any number of other things, but the YK ambush here contrasts starkly enough with the rest of the outing that this feeling of unresolvedness is handily, well....resolved!....making the sparse placements and backtrack-heavy progression serve the map's aims, rather than working against them.

 

I was able to attain 100% kills (the vile died first, no resurrections) and 100% items on this outing, but only 91% secrets, suggesting (though not guaranteeing of course) that one of the secrets might be easy to inadvertently skip officially registering, if not actually broken/untriggerable.

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Can't attach the demos I recorded for the next maps because my other computer is having some problems and so I can't access the files until it's fixed.

 

MAP08: Not sure how to call this theme, it's an absract almost castle-like brick mansion. Very pleasant level overall with tricky parts but nothing too dickish. I agree with @Horus that the BK trap is easy to cheese your way and the 2 barons on UV at the RK are more of a time-waster. I really like to see that you won't give up on your puzzles in this set (and there will be others in the next maps too) and put that deadly crusher where the way is hinted. I tackled it by disabling the run and it was a wise decision, trying it again later the linedefs to trigger the crusher are very close and you can't step out from the 64x64 walkable tiles. The ending is a bit underwhelming, the spiderdemon could be fine but it has the syndrome of the "mandatory cyberdemon before the exit", that you can easily skip.
Another map later has it and this is isn't related to this mapset but I think that these kind of plain final cyberdemon battles are overused too much, especially on community projects. On paper it's a good idea but then everyone does it and it loses its effect.

 

Edit: fda attached

Edited by gaspe

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6 hours ago, Demon of the Well said:

one of the secrets might be easy to inadvertently skip officially registering, if not actually broken/untriggerable.

 

All secrets are obtainable, in my personal case I missed one significant artifact hidden in the finale room, that after checking on GZDB, saw no visual/audible hint for it. Otherwise, if my memory is right another secret is invisible from the automap, unlike the rest (well, aside from that one in last part), but found it with smacking every wall perseverance. But where you can't score them all is in map 10, due to one tiny sector next to another that you can't step on.

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8 hours ago, galileo31dos01 said:

 

All secrets are obtainable, in my personal case I missed one significant artifact hidden in the finale room, that after checking on GZDB, saw no visual/audible hint for it. Otherwise, if my memory is right another secret is invisible from the automap, unlike the rest (well, aside from that one in last part), but found it with smacking every wall perseverance. But where you can't score them all is in map 10, due to one tiny sector next to another that you can't step on.

Right you are, the one I didn't find was the one you mentioned in the final room -- a radsuit. I should've known, that there would be a suit somewhere seems logical enough given the setup of that last fight.

 

Map 08 -- Symphony of Darox - 104% Kills / 100% Secrets

Yes.....that BGM track is pretty hard to stomach, indeed. Sounds like a questionable midi cover of something.

 

This is by an author as of yet unfamiliar to me. Its structure, architecture and visual theme are its best assets, depicting some sort of old stone/wood/mortar villa of sorts, including a few modern electrical fittings and with some unlabeled industrial equipment kept in storage. The level's name is evocative, and could be interpreted in a variety of ways (including "it doesn't really mean anything and was just the first thing to come to mind", of course), but if you look at the outline of the whole layout on the automap and try to imagine what it might look like viewed outside/from a distance, I reckon it might well resemble a sort of opera house or performance theater of sorts. Perhaps the central terraced core where the red key is found is a sort of unorthodox concert hall....?

 

As also seen on the automap, most of the geometry of the main building is starkly orthogonal in cast, while more curvature and varying degrees of radial symmetry characterize the outer cupolas, which incidentally often serve as major progression milestones in the layout's generally east-west flow. Given the speedmapped background of the level, my impression is that a lot of the structure arose like a fractal, basic shapes mirroring basic shapes at different height levels and in different arrangements to create an expanse of geometry. Despite this relatively simple skeleton, though, for the most part I feel that the geometry has been fleshed out, textured, and tastefully detailed (directional lighting, small touches like the RSK note, etc.) skillfully enough to create a believable sense of location, in contrast to the style often used in speedmaps or less ambitious maps by Shadowman, which (IMO) often seems a little too obviously squared-off or grid-aligned to achieve a similar level of immersion, no matter how nicely textured or detailed. Where this level is most heavily squarish, it owns this and uses it to a variety of ends, ala the aforementioned red card terrace hall or the simple chessboard puzzle in the eastern annex.

 

The action aspect of the level is functional, surely, but rarely goes beyond that. The opening moments after you first leave that internal storage space are the level's best in this regard, with decent potential for a lot of variable monster-pathing and monster-roaming, but as the level proceeds it loses a lot of steam, largely emptying out the main area and halls before progression is even a third of the way complete, and with several/recurring instances of somewhat dubiously employed hell nobles, acting almost entirely in that infamous role of 'doors with health.' There is a rocket launcher available relatively early, but very little ammo for it, and so the SSG tends to be the dominating weapon, regardless of the enemy. There are also a few pronounced instances of monster-blocking lines needlessly and brutally castrating action (particularly at the threshold of the YK study), and the finale reads as a bit uninspired, though again, functional. The most memorable single encounter is the big lost soul swarm near the placed chaingun in the westerly cupola, but like @HorusI didn't really read the room's possibilities right (I think you're supposed to immediately take to the spiral stairway?) and so also ended up just camping it out from the safety of the exit-blocking pit.

 

I think this is a map I personally would have liked more if it had simply had a fair few more monsters to kill (chiefly of the fodder variety, mind) in the main building, either through initial placement, or through refreshing the population with warp-ins at various points or such.

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Map 09 -- Point of Accident - 100% Kills / 92% Secrets

Ooh, this is a genuinely good one, isn't it? Folks who like Doom more for the exploration and the atmosphere than the combat should be quite at home here, but a bloodthirsty simpleton like myself found a lot to be entertained by, too. The opening moments, and the music selection (the evergreen "Plasma" from Duke3D) now that I think about it, give the impression that this map might be looking to reference Alien Vendetta -- "Lake Poison", "Toxic Touch", etc. -- but quickly sprawls out into another moody, dilapidated, quietly haunting iteration of the ruined techbase theme which this author seems to relish. Some kind of massive industrial disaster has occurred--the eventual appearance of another spider mastermind suggesting it was no accident--and so many of the map's main throughways connecting disparate monitoring/sampling and other research modules are flooded with toxin, which both flavors the initial period of getting to know the map's basic layout while contending with its initial compliment of roaming monsters with an interesting twist, while also underwriting a sense of isolation which pervades the entire runtime.

 

In a sense, we might characterize this as being much like m07's bigger, more accomplished brother--very much the same stock in trade, but stronger in all respects. Whereas m07 as a setting carries a similar sense of isolation as a single location, here the nature of the disaster amplifies this so that not only does the whole location seem hopelessly doomed, but its different sectors seem isolated from one another as well, setting the stage for satisfying inflection on this idea when, later on, unforeseen connections between them begin to open up, once again particularly if one gets involved in finding the many secrets, which often involve ducts and drainages and other clandestine side-routes. The map is also more genuinely explorable than its predecessor as well; whereas m07 had a starkly linear route with only one place to go to make anything happen at any given time (masking this with a lot of visual foreshadowing etc.), here there's a lot more scope for moving about at will, always feeling as though you're accomplishing something or seeing something new, even as the core sequence of progression milestones remains fundamentally linear.

 

As aforesaid, in addition to a more potent atmosphere, I found the actual moment-to-moment play more entertaining as well. The majority of the action again revolves around a lot of fairly straightforward skirmishing, but there are more traps (a couple of them managing to catch me legitimately off-guard) by far, and the more flexible nature of the map's experiential route means that player armament and monster distribution don't necessarily scale in static or predictable ways, which I tend to consider a plus. Again, a surprisingly large portion of the total monster count (which is ~100 higher than m07) appear all together in a single encounter, in some kind of temporal/dimensional anomaly-zone sealed deep within the flooded facility (definite shades of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. in this in-world framing) where a horde of them wells up to blink and swarm about chaotically as the spider mastermind sardonically blankets the area in minigun fire from afar--nicely climactic, also the first encounter in the set I'd be inclined to describe as genuinely challenging, which is unexpected from this author but certainly most welcome. Once again, I found all but one of the fourteen secrets; suffice to say that if you enjoyed the secret-hunting in m07, this map offers more of the same.

 

So, yes, quite liked this one. I imagine it's probably too large/long and perhaps too convoluted in navigation/progression for everyone to unanimously enjoy it, but it certainly did the trick for me.

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MAP09 fda: With prboom+ there's a bug at the 3D bridge before the RK, in the middle there's a pit you can fall and get stuck, my demo isn't so long for that.
For the music, the similar theme and the emphasis on "scenic corridors" it's impossible to not think of Toxic Touch from Alien Vendetta. And this isn't a complaint, the map has its personality and it's a work that can't be dismissed for wanting to reference an inconic map. Combats are sparse with simple skirmishes for the most and many places are empty but I thought this was a very strong point of this map that created a sense of loneliness. This is also accentuated by the backtracking, backtracking to do to understand where you have to go perhaps but like @Demon of the Well I enjoyed a lot the ride. Another thing that I liked a lot were the various views to unreachable areas that you'll visit later, or the places that you won't never visit, above all there's the mysterious  structure at the south-eastern ring.

Dragon Hunter provided another funny hunt for the secrets, I couldn't get the first plasmarifle though. I wonder if this map is a remake of MAP14 from Speedmaster, it starts in the same way, it has the same theme and even the music.

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L9 - Point of Accident

 

This map seems like a continuation of the theme of L7 rather than L8, albeit with a (lot) more poison. It is also very long, large and detailed map, which makes it all the more impressive that it's a speedmap, to me it looks like it must have taken ages to create (EDIT: looks like this megawad is a mix of speedmaps and non-speedmaps, so I guess this is the latter). Despite all the poison, rad suits are plentiful and not a problem. They felt almost too plentiful, but I'm guessing the rationale is to incentivise the player to explore to try and find all 14 secrets. Alas I'm not that kind of player, and discovered a measly 1/14. Most of the combat is pretty trivial, and rarely did I feel like I was going to die. However, I feel like I got payback at the end of map for not discovering secrets. The final showdown was very hard and my measly 40 plasma was not a great help, even if I did have 200% health. It took me a great many tries to finally clear it. However, if you do get the secrets, they only help you for this map, at the end is another forced death. Up until that final encounter it was an enjoyable map 7/10

Edited by Horus

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MAP07 – Nanotechnology Experiments by Dragon Hunter

 

Beginning with the end, the final fight with revenants and a lone arch-vile. Specifically, this combo and the radsuit secret hidden in a nukefall, which I realised was here when the aforementioned vile incinerated me through what I thought was a solid column.

 

Pleasant.

 

It’s a shame this moment soured me on the map, because otherwise, it’s a nice change of pace from the immediate murders seen previously. Lights-out laboratory in a flooded city, with small scale encounters hidden in its darkness, waiting as I went back and forth. That, and the experiment itself, a fine arena fight. Did not find a lot of secrets, but what I found was more than helpful.

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Map 10 -- Last Hangover - 101% Kills / 85% Secrets

I got a strong CChest vibe from this map, particularly something of a CC2 or CC3 vintage. It's a sprawling, occasionally meandering slow-burn base-crawl adventure, using primarily stock textures (IIRC a few small details in the village to the northeast looked custom, but they may well be made from creative alignments of stock stuff too) in a vaguely representational style, ranging from straightlaced industrial/factory trappings to straight-up Doomcute meat-sofas. My initial impression from the early going was that the map was loosely based on an office or university building or some other real-world location, and though this theme gets a lot more Doom-y as the map goes on (underground lava-caves, a sort of bewitched garden, etc.) I suppose that still might be the case in some capacity.

 

The action is consistently mild, elementary room-clearing fare for the most part, with a few mild traps and a final area (the aforementioned village) which can be significantly more or less monster-dense depending on when you first approach. Little stands out as memorable in this regard--there is one instance of a relatively close-quarters battle with a surprise mid-map spiderdemon (not a big deal, as there's ample cover), and also another end-level cyberdemon which is largely superfluous and easily skippable, much like the one from map 08 by the same author. While nothing here exactly blows the doors off in terms of encounter or level design, the leisurely safari is surely something some players will like, and generally avoids the problems of over-repetition or severely simplistic encounter design simply by dint of the large variety of room shapes/sizes which the level offers.

 

Also similar to m08, there is another iteration of a 'find the path' puzzle, this one less dangerous (if you mess up you just get bucked back to the start instead of getting crushed) but also slightly more complicated, with a tricky secret soulsphere as a bonus for the particularly perceptive (or determined). Generally speaking, the map's best asset is, yet again like m08, its sense of setting--if you've played any significant number of PWADs there's nothing here you've not seen before, but all of the different areas are distinctly different enough to stand out from one another, but also connect logically enough (by Doom-logic standards anyhow) thematically to build up something of that "greater than the sum of its parts" impression. Versus m08, which gives the impression of having been made by drawing shapes and working out a flow/setting after the fact, this level seems to have a more conventional/linear part-by-part sense of arrangement; hard to say which is better, as the author seems pretty comfortable with both, though for my part I feel that the two share a similar fault of underdesign or in some cases simple underpopulation in the encounter department.

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