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The DWmegawad Club plays: Plutonium Winds & Master Levels for Doom II

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Map 14 - Deadly Intentions

 

pw1final-wad-MAP14.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

Looking at Slade, I really liked the strangeness of the layout, especially the large room getting darker and darker in the western part of the level. Deadly intentions begins slowly with little monsters assisted by viles who teleport while our ammunition is very limited. Towards the end, on the contrary, we face a group of cyberdemons and revenants in a pseudo-arena with a BFG and lots of ammunition.

 

I can't really define a precise gimmick in this level but I have the impression that the majority of traps consist in lowering walls revealing monsters in the most unexpected moments. For example, on the way to the blue key, there is a false lift that instantly lowers the wall when activated. Or, the walls forming the corridor with the two barons are lowered to free imps and arch-viles.

 

Like map 02, the level is quite tense but I still don't classify it as "Hard" because I didn't need my saves to finish it. On the other hand, it is obvious that the final battle with cyberdemons is quite deadly at first sight. On the other hand, when I played, I was able to do "circlestrafing" quite easily once the revenants woke up.

 

A quite significant level like map 02. I have a penchant for the monotextured "U" shaped tunnel in the eastern part of the level. I also love the shades of light on large spaces such as the empty room on the left or the large waterfall that allows you to access the blue key in a different way. There are two passages leading to the blue key, which is quite interesting.

 

On the other hand, the last area is rather incoherent in my opinion. There is green liquid with large signs indicating that it is poisonous but does no damage.

In short, a rather violent level with rather improbable traps.

 

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MAP14: Time for a techbase. I liked the texturing and despite the map still has a very simple layout and visuals like the previous maps here the impression is a bit better thanks to the windows that help to make everything feel so connected and there's more attention to the details. Archviles still have a big spot as they are featured in (almost) all the major encounters, thing that annoyed since that was done on the previous level too. The av at the starting area is just a harmless target waiting to be killed, same for the av and the rev snipers at the final area. Maybe they have more sense if you want to speedrun? But I didn't see the point in those monsters. The av at the RK is nasty, you have only the SSG and with so much meat around it takes a little while to clear the area. Gibbing the imps after getting the BK was very funny.

Rdwpa noted it and I also think that this map has few things that show that darkreaver changed his mind while making the map. The poison signs in te final area are ood since the nukage isn't damaging, maybe they were chaged later? On of the secrets is a BK that you can find and skip a part of the map, pretty cool, and from the secret key side there's an inaccessible trigger to unlock the room with the non-secret RL and reveal the secret invuln. Didn't try this but the invuln. secret maybe can be picked with av-jump on the BK sector. Then it's also weird that the first secret is a soulsphere and the nested BK secret has a mandatory soulsphere to pick up to get out.

In the final area we have the company of 4 cyberdemons on uv, with some revs too that they are never missing.

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1 hour ago, gaspe said:

from the secret key side there's an inaccessible trigger to unlock the room with the non-secret RL and reveal the secret invuln. Didn't try this but the invuln. secret maybe can be picked with av-jump on the BK sector.

 

Those lines can't be triggered cause they are flagged as impassable ^

 

Map 14 is awesome for me, one of the maps from this set I replay the most: texturing, layout, visuals, gameplay (and a cool fitting midi). 5/5

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MAP14 - "Deadly Intentions" (100%K/50%I/33%S)

Weird jump from Plutonian landscapes to a techbase, (MAP22 reference maybe?) This one is more of my liking, it has a mediocre start, and it still stays like that until you finally access to the Hell Knight room. I hated the U shaped room with that bland corridor and the revenants, I died most of the times at this place, because when the wall lowers, I can help to get always cornered because of the several amount of imps and demons, this room was awful.
Luckly, the map just got better from this point.
This map has its moments, like trying to steal the Rocket Launcher from those pesky Revs, or the final cyberdemon fight with all those Revs, and finally, a BFG to withstand all this slaughter.
One thing to say is that the first half of the level is an Arch-Violation to my human rights, as when I kill one, another one would appear, and this was a constant treat in every room until you finally get outside, and kill the last one.

Deaths: 45

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

MAP14
MAP12
MAP13


Did I mention the U-shaped room should not exist?

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MAP14

 

Changing the theme of the map probably brought a variety, at least visually. For some reason, the starting closet reminded me of Doom's E1M8. In general, the beginning is not as hectic as in the previous maps.
There is a gray computer corridor, and 4 revenants in it. Because you have SSG and chaingun, it’s advisable to lure the revenants one at a time and use chaingun.

In the red key area, you can grab the red key and skip through the crowd. But in this location there are the necessary first-aid kits.

Near the blue door, there were several times cases where you could farm a bunch of shotguns and chainguns (arch-viles enlivened this cannon fodder).

After the blue key, a passage opened where I remembered a funny picture from the vastness of the web:
3hACYPi.png
Only in this case were imps instead of revenants. It’s best not to let arch-viles go further than this computer room.

I left the first cyberdemon behind, and the blue door closed forever.
In the end, I skipped the last three (or four?) cyberdemons and jumped down into the exit pit. I think that we will see a lot of cyberdemons in the next maps.

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MAP14: Deadly Intentions (Plutonium Winds)

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HMP-PS, no saves, 100/75/66

 

Wow, this was a thrill from beginning to end! In the starting room you're given a super shotgun, your main weapon for about half the level. After exiting the starting room for the first time, you arrive in a tunnel containing some revenants. It can be tricky to kill them, since there's no armor yet and the tunnel is quite narrow. Fortunately, since most of them are set as ambush, it's easy to cheese this section by luring one at a time. Moving forwards comes the red key area, with an arch-vile that can be annoying to kill, but otherwise this room poses little danger due to the ample space you've got to evade the monsters.

 

After flipping the red switch an evil trap is deployed, with two arch-viles spawning behind you, along with a pain elemental nearby to prevent camping in its alcove. A quick retreat is a good move in order to increase your chances of survival. A hell knight fight follows, and now you've got two paths to the blue key. The path I took requires finding two secrets, but is much safer, along with providing two supercharges to boost your health pool. Beyond the blue door lie some more encounters where you have to kill some cacodemons and pain elementals before tackling the cyberdemons and revenants with your newly acquired BFG9000.

 

The exit is now unlocked, but for maxing purposes there's still the normal blue key path to mop up, which contains the two nastiest traps in the level. However, both the heavy weapon dude and imp hordes (including three arch-viles in total) are made toothless by using the weapon #7. A very fun level, that unfortunately contains both an inacessible secret and invulnerability.

Edited by Andromeda

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MAP15 - “Memories of Blood”

 

Only 46 monsters, must be easy right? Hell no this is the hardest level yet, with most of those 46 coming from heavy-tier monsters. It’s a bloodfalls themed map centred around a cyberdemon guarding the BFG and plasma gun.

 

The trick I found here was to not get too far ahead of yourself – trying to get the RK before clearing the preceding monsters first (cyber excepted) is a deathwish. Instead I first cleared the arachnotrons and arch vile, then cleared the hell knights and the revenants at the bottom of the blood pit. Once you do that, taking care of the revenant cluster guarding the YK is pretty easy – same for the arch vile that then spawns. Here would have been a great moment to go for the secret – however I only realised the way to get it once I already had both keys.

 

So onto the RK area I went. The chaingunner spam is easy work for your rocket launcher, then the key to the next battle is you need to press the switch straight away – then the cyber that lowers from the RK does most of the work for you.

 

Then with both keys, I worked out how to get the secret, which was very cleverly done by darkreaver. I saw a teleport on the automap that was outside the arena, and the barrier was too high to get there. Therefore, logically the only way to get there was via arch vile jump. So I let the one arch vile that spawns after you press both keyed switches jump me over.

 

I had a feeling where the teleporter was going to take me and I was right. It telefrags the central cyberdemon and grants you the BFG, then with a bit of straferunning the plasma gun too. Which makes finishing off the remaining hellspawn much easier.

 

Great map.

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Map 15: "Memories of Blood"

 

Calculated resource balance meets lethal opposition. This is structured a lot like a 'one megasphere'-themed restriction map. You are tempted to get cocky early -- 200/200, 46 monsters? easy -- but while the soulsphere and armor will get you to 200/200, not much else will even hold you aloft once it is gone. Pity whoever grabs the berserk early because 'we're at 150/150 anyway, probably won't need it for health'. Outside of a gimmick project where the theme is shared knowledge prior to mapstart, this is precisely the type of map to explore this concept. It is so tiny I doubt anyone would be too upset about restarting with a clean slate if they hit a wall.  


A vilejump to the surrounding blood sea grants a cyb telefrag and the BFG. Although, if you are feeling cheeky, you can get that BFG straight-up. (I mean literally 'cheeky': pressing your face into the butt of the cyb as it's momentarily distracted by a nearby arachnotron or, if lucky, perennially distracted by a revenant that hits the cyb early and maneuvers out of sight into the pit.) The plasma rifle can be accessed after dealing with the cyb, or earlier with a precise SR40 or an easy SR50 off the jutting out ledge. It is clear darkreaver doesn't want you to have one of those easily, so it is fair to analyze how the map plays without them. And it is actually quite doable; it requires equal parts semi-pacifism and guerrilla warfare around the red key and afterwards, which is pretty fun. Quirky balancing aside, there isn't a great deal to say about individual combat setups; the map is defined more by how it all plays together. Also, there is something beautiful about that fleet of chaingunners rising out of the blood.

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2 hours ago, rdwpa said:

The plasma rifle can be accessed after dealing with the cyb, or earlier with a precise SR40 or an easy SR50 off the jutting out ledge

 

Ha! I tried to SR40 that plasma rifle quite a lot of times, eventually I gave up - I gathered it was most likely possible but I wasn't precise enough. I've never tried SR50 before, it sounds complicated

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Starting Plutonium Winds on UV, we'll see if I need to bump it down.

 

MAP12: Sacrificial

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

As to be expected I suppose from anyone mapping for the Plutonia IWAD, this one pulls no punches, and as an intro map does a good job setting the stage for that. Lots of monsters packed into a small area, but it is pretty well balanced, including the two times you'll be compelled forward for weapons/ammo. Main key is just prioritizing the hitscanners in the first area. I tried to clear out as much of the first stage as possible since I feared what would come in the blue key fight, but eventually had to run for it. Thankfully it's not so bad, quite easy to run back out with your prizes and get some infighting going. Rest is pretty straightforward (and the AV pretty predictable). Not much to look at, the texture usage is decent enough but it's very flat and blocky... gonna be largely combat with this one I think.

 

MAP13: Infestation of Evil

78% kills, no map secrets

 

Revenants and AVs, didn't take long to fall back on that old combo. The start didn't have me interested but the way the blood area rose up into the rest of the level was pretty cool, and the second half looks decently nice. Unlike last map, I don't think it pays off here to run ahead and open up more encounters ... it's pretty much just more revenants and more arch-viles, so you're just making things harder for yourself. I decided I wasn't gonna take the time to try and properly take out the AVs first and clean up the rest, so after getting everything riled up and in the main area I beelined for the exit.

 

MAP14: Deadly Intentions

98% kills, 2/3 secrets

 

Revenants and AVs, but generally not together and instead with other monster groups (which I greatly prefer). Techbase theme this time, still for utility over looks but it still looks decent, including some nice lighting work. I really like the red key fight with the AV mixed in with the imps and pinkies. Seems like the first couple of secrets let you grab the blue key and RL earlier, and bypass the middle fights, but I forgot about it and just ran ahead and completed the level 'normally'. I let all the revs out for the final battle and let the various rocket hurlers battle it out for rocket supremacy while I ran to the exit. Fun map.

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Map 15 : "Memories of Blood"

 

pw1final-wad-MAP15.png

 

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

At first glance, darkreaver wanted to draw diagonally since the architecture is very straight, not requiring such maneuvers. The Plutonia spirit is more common because of the low number of monsters in the way the layout is built with some enemies representing a real threat.

 

Here, we find a quite common gimmick which is to use a cyber as a sniper to cause infight with other monsters. On the other hand, we are always well armed, so the infight is not extremely essential even if it is very useful.

 

Nothing really difficult in this map, there are many hiding places. The red key trap is quite violent, but it is easy to survive by fleeing. It's quite strange that the BFG is slightly easier to access than the plasma gun. Indeed, it is necessary to kill the cyberdemon located in the tower to obtain the BFG.  The plasma gun is located just after.

 

I don't have much to say, it's a small map. The architecture is quite impressive and the choice of textures is relevant. I think this is a level I will remember especially for the visual.

 

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MAP15: Memories of Blood (Plutonium Winds)

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HMP-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

Don't let the small monster count fool you, this one packs a serious punch! At the start, you get 200/200 which is a godsend, since there's no armor afterwards and health is scarce as well. One good idea before you proceed further is to let the cyberdemon attack the revenants in front of you so they will retaliate. This will enable you to get the BFG9000 and the plasma gun while the cyberdemon is distracted, giving you a decent ammo pool to tackle the rest of the level. Moving forwards, there's two paths to go from here, one leading to the red key, the other leads to the yellow key.

 

I like to go for the red key first, killing the cyberdemon first, then clearing the arch-vile & arachnotron along with the imps and dealing with the heavy weapon dude horde that raises from the blood floor as you descend the stairs. Slowly approaching the switch area raises the arch-vile right behind you on an elevated platform - dispatch it quickly. Now you can trigger the trickiest trap in the level, featuring a number of arch-viles and a cyberdemon on the red key perch. On its platform the cyberdemon causes more danger to you rather than the monsters - pressing the switch lowers it to the ground so that it can wreak havoc on the other monsters. Of course, staying in this area is suicide, so drop down and let the monsters infight, then finish off the cyberdemon.

 

By now, your health should be severely depleted, so go get the yellow key. The revenants guarding it should pose no problem, allowing you to grab the berserk to bring you to 100% health again. As you grab the yellow key, an arch-vile spawns behind you, dispose of it. Finally, press both key switches to unleash the final wave of monsters - an arch-vile, pain elementals and some revenants. If you still have rocket or cell ammo use it to kill the monsters before they overwhelm you, otherwise chicken out, retreat to the yellow key area and slaughter the monsters as they arrive with the super shotgun.

 

I have to mention the detailing, it's simple but effective. All in all, this level is short, fast paced and deadly, an absolute blast to play through!

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MAP15: A short and simple map than more than the other has a "speedmap" feel and the encounters are well thought. You are granted a megasphere to start but the level has no health, barring a couple of medikits. The prominent feature is to exploit the infighting: the cyberdemon guarding the BFG, the overall low supplies around encourage that and the RK which seems to be intended to run fast to the switch that frees the cybie so you can use it to deal with the chaingunners, very pesky chaingunners when there isn't health around.

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MAP15

This level is more balanced than the previous ones, at least in terms of ammunition and places for temporary shelter.

Here we can use the scheme “two steps forward, one step back” because you can visit all accessible places at any time - there are no traps that block the retreat. Spawning arch-viles can only prevent you, but we are already used to the fact that they can appear at every step.

Cyberdemons who are mostly snipers do not pose a great danger, but make the player be more attentive.

Do not try to find a secret exit, there are no secret maps in this mapset.

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MAP15 - "Memories of Blood" (100%K/I/S)

A candidate to best map in the wad, quite possibly, this one is not as hard, I mean, it is still hard, but this one for good reasons, since map is shorter, it does not spam you enemies, and we could say that it has more of a plutonia-esque feeling than the previous three maps. In terms of aesthetics, it just looks again, different to any Plutonia map, just like the previous one, and maybe a little bit more boring with all that brown.
You can get the plasma gun by SR-40ing in the lift in front of the "main" Cyberdemon guarding the BFG. Talking about it, weirdly enough, that sector is tagged as a secret, for some reason, but the plasma one not.
You can totally avoid the cyberdemon from start to end, and you should do so, so it causes havoc around the map and creates some infights. If you manage to create infights properly, this one should be a cake.
Being honest, this one feels like made by a totally different person.

Deaths so far: 51

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

MAP15
MAP14
MAP12
MAP13

 

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MAP16 - “Salvation By Extermination”

 

The only secret of the map is triggered as soon as you spawn, which is weird. Then there’s a neat two-step triggering mechanism that first lowers you down then removes the barrier between you and the first main battle. As you clear the opening area and teleport to the next one it’s clear the theme returns to the jungle theme seen in early Plutonia.

 

Basically the map is structured around three main battles, with a series of mini-battles in between them. The second main battle is right after the YK door and is pretty damn mean. If you run in all guns blazing you will get slaughtered. It’s a time consuming approach but I ended up tackling it bit by bit, with a lot of hiding from the revenant rockets. Then it’s safe to drop into the blood pool and start tackling the enemies on the ground, including more chaingunner spam.

 

That gives way to two spheres, one helping you on entry to the BK area and another on exit. Through this area is a brief, odd, return to a techbase environment, before returning to an area more in keeping with the rest of the map. Leaving the BK area with rockets left is handy as it helps to pick off the arch viles before they manage to hurt you.

 

Finally backtrack to the starting area for what is the first real foray into slaughter for the map. Though there are roughly ‘only’ 150 monsters left, there actually ends up being way more thanks to the plethora of arch viles – I ended up with a monster count of almost 300 more than I started.

 

But as far as slaughter goes it’s pretty lenient – the map is swamped with ammo, hiding places, spheres and stimpaks. And this suits me as someone who isn’t a great enthusiast of slaughter – it was quite fun trying to pick out the arch viles one-by-one before they could totally rip me to shreds. Many many BFG shots later, the pack is finally down to a cyber plus a few stragglers – no problem.

 

Overall, it’s a fun map. But some of the battles, especially the one after the YK door, rewards conservative, camping play a bit too much. And the starting area violates the key John Romero adage – always change floor height when changing textures. The opening teleport is the same height as its surrounds, as is the grassy area to the back of the final battle compared to the blood.

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I'm pretty crunched for time this month, but apparently I own the Master Levels (thanks, Steam bundles!), so I'll try to at least play a few of those maps in the coming weeks.

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Map 16: "Salvation by Extermination" 

 

This is the largest map yet, with more of an exploration component. It relies less on foregrounded gimmicks or scenarios, and instead features a lot of well-tuned scraps that test your ability to juggle a few different vectors of threat and remain nimble. The larger battles have a tendency to use a wide assortment of monsters, which stood out as a possible 'theme' of the map. Resources are a lot more generous than usual, still not enough to be too sloppy. 

 

I'll do a tour of my favorite encounters: 

 

1) After teleporting out of the start, right out of the gate we get an archvile fight, but there is a lot else going on than the lone archvile. You have to juggle threats at two different ranges: HKs meatshielding the vile and a manc nearby; and revenants sending in projectiles from far away. I pretended dropping into the pit wasn't an option; it's more fun to stand your ground.

 

2) The blood area with the red key is a great example of a complex dual-tier playspace in which both tiers are strategically balanced options. Accomplishing that as a mapper can be tricky; what often happens is either the upper tier is safe high ground, undisturbed by threats below, or the lower tier lets you glide past projectiles with impunity -- inclination makes projectiles easier to dodge. Here, perched monsters are situated such that they control both tiers, and pinkies and lost souls in the blood to interfere with your movement and make the projectiles from above less trivial to dodge. Archviles at the top can also catch you in crossfires if you drop immediately. The top level has more instantaneous lethality regardless, but to compensate, you retain the option of bolting out of the room.

 

3) Last but not least, the closer throws the kitchen sink at you: imps, chaingunners, revvies, hell knights, pain elementals, cacos, pinkies, barons, archviles, cybies. Every time you run for cells or a megasphere, monsters reclaim the North and threaten to leak out and overwhelm you. There are so many cells that you can and should spam the BFG liberally, rather than try to maximize efficiency or use the rocket launcher at all. 

 

Each species adds their own flavor, but the most important are the usual suspects. The revvies lead off, and dealing with them quickly is an essential part of establishing good momentum. Cybs are more scary than dangerous. Killing them quickly is the best course; you have too much ammo to need their infighting capabilities. The archviles are the main threats, unsurprisingly. They spend a lot of time resurrecting corpses, so get in there and spam your BFG, even if there are a handful of viles visible; they won't all attack. 

 

The other species exist for the variable stew of emergent behavior -- small events will occur in one attempt but not another, like a pain elemental getting loose, chaingunners at split angles getting you in their sights simultaneously, or the meatwalls appearing in oddball configurations. This tests improvisation and general fighting ability, rather than calling for proficiency in a highly specific technique, fitting with the core approach of the map.

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MAP 16: "Salvation by Extermination"  (100%K/48%I/100%S)

This is a map more than a real arena, even though the main focus of the level is the central arena itself, where you start, and where you end. Liked the Plutonia 2 style of this one, the starting sector was tagged as a secret for some reason, I thought I just grabbed the secret exit on MAP15...
The map starts with the main arena full of imps and some other hell monsters, with 4 mancubi in 4 "Towers". As always, try to produce some infights. This was not a hard fight, but the level gets harder when you exit the arena, and reaching its hardest point on the valley with arachnotrons and AV's. You'll pass through this area one more time before returning to the arena with the red and blue keys. 
I liked the last fight because you have tons of supplies, and of course, a BFG. It consist of monsters spawning constantly and you have to make some time for the lift to come down, so you have no choice but to fight. You can rush to the exit teleport when it's down without killing every enemy, of course, but I suggest you to do so, since there are so many archviles and 3 cyberdemons spawning at the end, the meat wall is going to be excessively strong, and the revenants would make your way impossible, too much hellfire on your screen.

Deaths: 68

 

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

MAP15

MAP16
MAP14
MAP12
MAP13



I enjoyed this one, not as much as MAP15, but this was more of a map than the ones before them.

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Map 16 : "Salvation by Extermination"

 

pw1final-wad-MAP16.png

Difficulty : Medium

 

As highlighted by previous reviewers, this is the longest map yet. Looking at the layout, we can divide this map into two distinct parts: the exploration part with small rather dangerous fights worthy of a plutonia map and the arena part located on the left with big combats that we can find in a Slaughtermap.

 

The right part is probably the most interesting area. What I have to say mainly is that there is surely a subtle inspiration from Death-Destiny's maps with notably the tendency to make monsters teleport behind the player. Map 17 is clearly inspired by the style of this mapper by having taken a quick look at it.

 

In any case, the difficulty is still quite moderate for me. The final battle is obviously the most dangerous but the player should not hesitate to do some BFG spam since the ammunition is extremely numerous. I must also conclude that Plutonium Winds is partly detached from the PLutonia spirit on this aspect. Most of the Plutonia maps consisted of maps with few monsters but well placed to kill the player. Here, darkreaver likes to conclude his levels with pure slaughter phases.

 

Aesthetically, it remains classic Plutonia but I really love the landscape with the large black crosses near the spawn (also visible in other maps). Having talked about the inspiration of Death-Destiny's maps, it reminds me one of his maps , "Grime" made more than 10 years ago.

 

In short, a good level more substantial than usual with a big memorable end fight.

 

A screen of "Grime" with the same black crosses.

doom3213.png

 

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MAP16

At the very beginning, it is noticeable that the platform is moving using the Boom trigger, but the author did not specify the format in the text description of wad.

The first encounter is like a mouse movement, where the easiest way for us is to circle around the location near the walls. A bunch of weapons hint to us that later there will be a great slaughtery.

After teleporting to the next zone, it becomes a bit crowded, and the nukage pit where the radsuit is located becomes the safest place.

Behind a yellow door again you also had to jump into a pit, but only this time with safe liquid. In this part of the level there is a shortage of body armor, although there are a sufficient number of first-aid kits.

After taking the blue key, on the way back behind the yellow door, the arch-vile couple restore the many killed monsters. I guess I was lucky that arch-viles went behind bars and I managed to deal with them. Otherwise, I would not have enough ammunition.

In the last battle, we have a huge amount of weapons and ammunition, an army of hostile monsters and exit platform that slowly goes down...

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MAP16: Salvation By Extermination (Plutonium Winds)

GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HMP-PS, no saves, 100/88/100

 

Wow, this was a tough cookie! At the start, the ground starts moving and throws you into an arena with many imps, some revenants and mancubi on elevated platforms. As your ammo is limited, making the monsters infight is a good move to clear this arena. Afterwards, press all four switches on the platforms to lower the teleporter into the next area. This section contains a heavy weapon dude, some nobles, revenants and an arch-vile with limited space to manoeuvre, as well as revenants attacking from a further vantage point and a mancubus on a pillar nearby. However, there's a nukage river flowing below, containing a teleporter back into the higher ground, so what I did was alert every enemy, lure them out of the starting structure then drop into the nukage, grabbing the radiation shielding suit if needed, then teleport back and mow everything down quickly with the plasma gun. After killing the mancubus, the only stragglers are the distant revenants.

 

Flipping the switch in the room nearby raises the blocks in the middle of the river, allowing us to cross to where the revenants are, so dance a little bit while slaying them with your weapon of choice. Moving forwards, there's a super shotgun which is guarded by three spawning arachnotrons - you can drop in the room nearby to get some cover and kill them. The bruiser brothers guard the switch that raises the stairs to the yellow key and one of them will teleport behind you, so employ good movement to deal with this minor threat.

 

After the yellow door comes the first serious challenge in the level: an arena containing several threats on both high and low ground that is likely to kill you on a blind run. After killing the surprise heavy weapon dudes, grab the ammo nearby and haul ass to the switch on the other side of the room, lowering bars that blocked access to the safest place around. From here, with the 200/200 you've grabbed, you can pick off the enemies as they arrive to your location. When the coast is clear, mop up the rest on the ledges, grabbing a supercharge near the red key if needed.

 

Up next comes a techbase section with a stairway leading to the blue key. As you progress, some traps will be triggered, however they shouldn't pose much of a problem. Backtracking into the previous arena reveals arch-viles that should be killed ASAP. After flipping both keyed switches in the starting arena, the final battle will commence. At first it seems largely toothless, with a few revenants and heavy weapon dudes, however the arch-viles soon arrive trickling in. With their fast speed they're bound to be of utmost priority to kill, as they can lock you in the surrounding chambers of the arena. Thankfully, there's lots of supplies, but extreme caution is still needed to survive this onslaught. When the cyberdemons arrive the tide turns, as you can effectively get rid of the arch-viles via cyberdemon rockets. Then it's just a matter of wiping out the cyberdemons with the BFG9000. I actually survived this on my first attempt, but I had a lot of luck as when the arch-viles spawned I just ran around in the moat of the arena, killing what happened to block my path, grabbing supplies when low on health/armor and prayed that the arch-viles would get killed quickly :P

 

I liked the way the ground moved to reveal the first arena at the start and the seemingly neverending lift that lowers the exit teleporter adds a lot of tension to what is already a nerveracking battle - in fact, I was still shaking after killing the final cyberdemon! There's an health bonus near the yellow door that I didn't grab, it seems to be reachable only with an arch-vile jump - in that room there's also a teleporter that leads to a BFG9000. A great level, with some challenging scenarios and a fantastic finale.

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MAP16: What a nice adventure. The starting area has a cool scenery with the hills (a-la Mount Pain heh) around and the blacked inverted crosses, it was also very befitting for the ending slaughter. Speaking about it was easier than what I expected at first, there's lots of cover and supplies around. Before that though you will be sent to a separate section where a hunt for the 3 keys will take place. I liked the simple surprise at the BK. I also appreciated a lot the visuals and the theme with the mixture of tech, hell and vines.

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MAP15 - “Memories of Blood”

Cute little map which compensates for its <50 monster count with frequent Viles and other high-impact enemies (i.e. Revenants). The potential issue with turret Cybers, and something I ran into myself while mapping, is if they piss off a monster which shoots them back and then wanders down where neither can hit each other, the Cyber is basically out of commission. This happened during the map's opener and resulted in 3 angry Revenants down the blood stairs and a confused Cyber pacing around above. I was able to grab the BFG with no issue and breezed through the map. There are plenty of rockets as well, and with your 200/200 starting stats, this map is far less punishing than the previous 2. Not that there is anything wrong with that, as I found this to be a short and fun map. 

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MAP 17: "Diabolism"  (100%K/97%I/100%S)

Is this an Eviternity map? For some reason this map reminded me to that wad, I hope I'm not the only one that thinks like this, maybe because of the 3 key switch gimmick to finish, or the cavern like structure of the map.
MAP15 got quickly dethroned by this one, again, more Plutonia-esque difficulty going on, and that's why I like it. This map does not look like an arena, it's just a normal level with a central hub, I loved the platforming involved in some parts, and the secret to the soulsphere was pretty clever. I also like to telefrag Cyberdemons, so yeah, I really liked this map overall, specially the dark stairs at the end leading to the switch in the darkness. It was kinda weird for it to be guarded by a zombie, as you would expect a bigger threat, like a cliché AV at the end, but no.

I found one problem with this map, this is that you can trigger the effect of raising the AV platform at the YK part two times, making it raise to the next floor which is the box top, and producing a HOM since the sidedef if not texturized.

image.png.4130eca8428744c30e553e4f55e52a27.png

It's a small detail that passed throughout testing unnoticed, but not a big problem.

Deaths: 76
 

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

MAP17
MAP15 

MAP16
MAP14
MAP12 
MAP13 


I really liked this map, I hope for the next one to be even better, so we can close this mapset with a golden ribbon.
 

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Map 17: "Diabolism"

 

Throughout this playthrough, I have said little about visuals because, while previous maps haven't been ugly, aesthetics weren't a big focus -- and besides, the combat offered no shortage of talking points. But this map is gorgeous. It is festive, one might say, painted in Christmas colors, as Ribbiks would put it. The Death-Destiny resonances are unmistakable. What I'm detecting is a lot of Disturbia-like implements (the silver and metal structures), with the traditional brimstone of No Chance, Abyssion, and Grime being D-D writ general. Scale is atypical; the caverns are narrow but also tall. I have always found that juxtaposition cool. [As mentioned, I did the write-ups in October, so this observation isn't adapted from Roofi's on m16!] 


In the gameplay, oversight is the driving force: a cyberdemon lobs rockets indiscriminately from its central perch, and the cavern splinters into tunnels staffed with a contingent of perched archviles, each gazing on their own plot of land. Fitting in like a jigsaw piece, the revenants, knights, and spiders occupying sidepaths act as bruisers, challenging you to stand your ground or get pushed back into the cybie's sights. Notably, there are hardly any lock-ins.

 

The closing fight is what the ominous display of archviles has been building to. The three general ways to tackle it are as a turtle, as a maniac, and as more of a schemer, using a middle-of-the-road hybrid approach. Turtling is doomed to failure if you hold on too long. You can grab the ammo cache next to the three-key mechanism and return to that cubby, but eventually ammo will run dry. The maniacal approach works if you are in great shape. A BFG, lots of cells, and a soulsphere all become available, and the idea is to grab those quickly and blast away at the densest packing of viles, being willing to absorb 3-4 hits in the process. A mix works too and proves the most versatile generalist approach: turtle early, rush out later.  Additionally, you can flee to side paths, as you even have enough time to grab the BFG beforehand. But this is highly inefficient and not worth it; the roaming archviles will take ages to trickle up to you.

Edited by rdwpa

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MAP16 - “Salvation By Extermination”

Pretty tough map with plenty of nasty AV surprises and ambushes. The outdoor area past the yellow door is especially hostile, taking me several attempts to find a safe and consistent way of handling it. Killing the first PE and then dropping down to the right worked for me. There is nothing mobile down there save for a few Pinkies, which allowed me to snipe off the dangerous turret enemies and then safely pull the hitscan army from a distance. The final fight deserves a special mention due to how many Archviles show up to the party. Luckily, there is so much health and ammo around that you can recover from anything that's not a one-shot. Still a harder fight than I was expecting from a Plutonia-style project, but that's cool. 

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MAP17 - “Diabolism”

Oh baby... We've got some serious verticality, interconnectedness, and looping progression! All wrapping around a central area which naturally gets repopulated as you progress. The visuals are quite wacky; with red rock combined with vines, green slime, and some tech thrown in. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a notable map where nukage is the liquid of choice to combine with red rock. The start forces the player into danger to get enough ammo, though the avid puncher can use the secret Berserk and beat up the Hell Knights + PE as they follow you up to the spawn area. There are enough shells to kill the turret Cyber early on, though as expected, he is simply telefragged later. Speaking of turrets, there are plenty of Revs and Viles standing on computer equipment as you make your way up the various tunnels. Nothing a few rockets won't solve, which are spread out in adequate amounts as you progress. The final wave reveals a BFG with plenty of ammo in at least 2 places, which may not be entirely obvious without prior indication. I like the candle path to the exit with the cheeky drop half-way.    

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Prepare to hate on map18 everybody!

 

I'll write a short post with my thoughts on the reviews and PW in general when its finished.

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Map 17 : Diabolism

 

pw1final-wad-MAP17.png

 

Difficulty : medium

 

I have trouble seeing this map as anything other than a good tribute to Death-Destiny's maps. I guess I wasn't the only one who really liked his maps, it seems. :) In any case, Diabolism is in my opinion an interesting mixture between "Grime" and "Disturbia".

 

Like Darkreaver, D-D was working on a megawad of Plutonia-themed speedmaps called "Dark Plutonia" before his mysterious disappearance.

I think Diabolism is a good example of a map that may have leaked from "Dark Plutonia".

 

First of all, the colours used immediately reminded me of Grime with the omnipresence of green and red and also the very red sky.

On the other hand, the progression, the gameplay and the atmosphere reminded me of Disturbia. The progression in the cave with tech elements is rhythmed with melancholic music ("Mist ache" by ROTT, also used in Disturbia). There is  a cyberdemon that can be telefragged and many monsters that act as turrets too.

 

On the other hand, darkreaver is in my opinion much fairer by giving an SSG from the beginning (Disturbia had no SSG or Shotgun). The items are less rare and above all much more scattered so that the player does not have to make too many dangerous comings and goings. Likewise, the turrets are not infinite, unlike Disturbia where we could only "destroy" them by finding a secret located towards the end of the level.

We find this gimmick frequently used in D-D maps which is to put monsters behind an invisible wall and make them teleport to different places once keys are collected (or at least activated something).

 

My favorite level of Plutonium Winds for now. I don't know if the next one will be better.

 

 

 

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