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

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The Catwalk

 

In the beginning, these moving platforms were a bit annoying. What is their purpose if they do not raise the player anywhere? Just to delay the progress...

If you are risky, I suggest immediately going to the left. There, although it is more difficult, you can pick up chaingun and green armor, with a bunch of different ammo.
On the right side is something like a "mountain pass in a technical room." The first baron is too grindy because we do not have a strong weapon at that time.

In the "wooden basement" it is easy to fall into the inescapable pit, which just happened to me this time.

Towards the end, it is important not to pay attention to imps in the cages and run to the end of this catwalk, because the floor collapses. In the final room there are two secret passages on the sides (activated by a shot) which contain a bunch of goodies and several shotgunners. I don’t know why these locations were added, but probably just to make the shape of the level look like a rectangle (just look at the map and see for yourself).

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The Catwalk

 

417px-MasterLevels_Catwalk_map.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

Catwalk is a conceptual level that you love or hate. This map in several aspects can remind you of Doom 2's map 24, but in any case, as the name of the map indicates, you must enjoy walking on the edges like a cat...

 

I liked this map, but I have to admit that it is a bit badly designed. It can be frustrating if you play for the first time without a save. The large straight passage can only be used once, without being able to go back. This is not a bad idea, but it is important to know beforehand that you must have collected the red key, at the risk of being condemned to die.

 

The ground that rises and falls at the very beginning is annoying, especially for speedrunners who can lose precious seconds in these passages.

 

I don't have much to say, like "Canyon", the architecture and progression are worthy of a very classical Doom 2 map. The two secrets at the end are very useless.

 

A rather nice gimmick map but a little badly designed.

 

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Yeah from an overall inspection to Christen Klie maps, all his maps work the same, made in a rectangular canvas just like Tom Hall maps. Wasting little to no space in between sectors, often leaving 8px wide walls in between big areas. Pretty weird mapping style, reminiscent to that era.

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I've been wanting the Master Levels to be played by the DWMC for quite a while now. Once I got less school shit going on I'll make some writeups for them.

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combine.wad

Should have been called backtrak.wad, because I expect most people will be doing a lot of it.

 

If the map re-populated with bad guys and ammo whenever you had to do so, I think it'd be a pretty good time.  Unfortunately, there is rather too much strolling through empty rooms for this to be very compelling.

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The Combine

 

525px-MasterLevels_Combine_map.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

The Combine is in my opinion a memorable level only by the use of a starry night sky instead of the standard sky. Apart from that, it is a good map but quite classic in its execution.

 

As mentioned above, Christen Klie tends to make "A4 Format" layouts where the whole thing seems to fit in a large square. The layout is sometimes quite well built with some clever nterconnections but also very strange, with the room on the far right where there is a large staircase leading to a ravine as well as a mini passage that you could find in "The Chasm" or "The catwalk". Unlike Capellan, I didn't feel like I was doing a lot of backtracking.

 

The level is not hard but there are a lot of hitscanners including a pretty brutal start with randomly teleporting chaingunners. Health is a bit rare, you have to be on your guard. The plasmagun trap is very treacherous and can easily kill a low-hp player.

 

Aesthetically it's pretty basic, nothing special to say, fortunately there's a new sky otherwise it would be much too generic.

In short, a nice level with a new sky but nothing really noticeable.

 

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MAP01: The Combine (Master Levels)

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

This is a pretty short level, I finished it in 5:59. At the start, there's a cool teleport ambush to punish you for grabbing the super shotgun. Thankfully, there's also armor nearby to tank some of the hits. From here, you can go to your left to progress further. In this room, hitscanners from 3 directions will snipe at you from the stairs, so be careful. If you're feeling cocky you can rush for the megaarmor that should last until the end of the level. At the top of the stairs lies a door leading into a large (compared to the rest of the level) room with lots of enemies, mow them down quickly.

 

In this large room you can go through the door to your right to grab a rocket launcher and the blue key. The elevated passageway in the previous room is actually a lift that can be lowered, preventing some backtracking. With the blue key in your possession, return to the first red door and take the door to its left. After traversing the nukage river, you arrive at a "dead end". However, if you pay attention to the textures, you'll notice some tiny stairs that allow you to escape the nukage. The teleporter here just takes you to near the start of the nukage, so open the blue door(s) and take the teleporter to grab the red key. If you haven't explored this room previously, there's a plasma gun below a sneaky fast crusher (I actually managed to skip the linedef that activates the crusher) and a relatively well hidden partial invisibility (would be a good candidate for a secret instead of the starting sector).

 

Another red door is nearby, but backtrack to the previous one and go through it. Follow the path to a switch, being careful not to fall in the inescapable pits. This switch is required for progress beyond the other red door. After a neat sequence of switches you can pick up the yellow key. Finally, backtrack to the door to the right of the start, once inside shoot the switch to the left, open the yellow door and flip the switch to exit. This is a good level by 1995 standards, however there's some questionable stuff. The megaarmor and the supercharge felt unnecessary, the rocket launcher doesn't get much use here and inescapable pits could have been avoided altogether. I'm neutral about the lowerable passageway in the large room, I don't get why it would be lowerable but on the other hand it reduces backtracking a bit.

 

I think what makes this level for me is the plasma gun trap, very cheeky and made me laugh the first time I played this :)

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP25: Black Tower

MAP07: Bloodsea Keep

MAP01: Canyon

MAP01: Attack

MAP01: The Catwalk

MAP01: The Combine

Edited by Andromeda

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The Combine

This level is not difficult, but there are such tense moments as the sudden appearance of chaingunners as well as inescapable pits. Good thing there is affordable blue armor. Do not visit the nukage pool until you find the blue key.

The sequence near the yellow key is quite interesting (I mean, how do the computers-doors go up). I did not get into the plasmagun trap, because this is not the first playthrough and the memory of crusher is still fresh.

 

Want a story?
In the late 90s, my friend started going through Final Doom on PS1, which partially included Master Levels. He was indignant at being stuck at The Combine level, and eventually ragequits and abandoned the game (as he said). Now I guess that he just didn’t shoot an intuitive switch near the exit. Given that he was a noob in this kind of games. Indeed in Doom, one of the basic principles: "if you can not reach - then shoot!"

 

6 hours ago, Roofi said:

Aesthetically it's pretty basic, nothing special to say, fortunately there's a new sky otherwise it would be much too generic.

In short, a nice level with a new sky but nothing really noticeable.

By the way, in the Eternity Engine, the “night” levels in Master Levels show the usual sky, although the graphics are present in the original wads (if Master Levels are launched through the built-in start menu where you choosing wads). Bug or feature? We would like to see a comment by Eternity Engine officials. Paging @printz and @Altazimuth maybe they can explain.

2euB0Oh.png

 

 

Edited by riderr3

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MAP01 - COMBINE.WAD - "The Combine" - Christen Klie (100%K/I/S)

Another compressed map from Christen Klie, who likes to design maps on a rectangular space and leave little to no space in between rooms to maximize space as much as possible, You can notice this on the RK-room, which is annoyingly narrow and it's just there.
The starry skybox gives this map a cool look, reminiscent of TNT E2, and actually, if you ask me, this map just looks like a TNT outtake, and that's why I liked this mostly, as I felt kinda nostalgic. Again, progression being weird on Master Levels had just become a staple at this point, since you have multiple doors leading to the same room and multiple ways to tackle this map.
It's short, not that difficult apart from some chaingunners here and there. The amount of low tier hitscanners get denied since you have a green armor and a blue one pretty early on this map. Also, there is a tricky Plasma Rifle on a crusher, which, if you can grab, the map is going to become piece of cake. 
I hated the little catwalk on the RK Door, aswell as that weird staircase to press the switch. On the catwalk, you have aswell some random imps that block your path on vanilla, since they are infinitely tall  and can "melee" attack you, without you even noticing them. Annoying section, and some annoying narrow unescapable pits are present here too.
The shoot-only switch is also unnecesary, I think, it adds nothing to the gameplay.

Deaths: 12 


 

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

 

MAP01 - Canyon

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep

 


You kinda start noticing similarities in between maps of the same author at this point.
Also I wouldn't think this map would've looked the same without the night sky.

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The Fistula

 

570px-MasterLevels_Fistula_map.png

Difficulty : Easy

 

FIstula is a level that I really liked for its layout. When you go to the outer area to the south, I presumed that you are in a sort of building.

 

Several notable things in this level:

- The spawn with the pointy stairs that contrast very much with the general architecture of the level.
- The elevator to the east imarked by a arrow pointing to the north, which is the intersection of three different passages.
- Light effects with interesting use of moving lights.

 

The level is not hard, you advance and shoot with plenty armor. The only dangerous moment is at the lift marked with the arrow because we wake up a lot of monsters during the descent.

 

The progress is interesting with a certain emphasis on exploration and in particular the differents keys to collect.

In short, a rather well executed level with a fairly high utilization of elevators.

 

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fistula.wad

What's with these maps and the penchant for pointless busy work inflicted by the architecture?  First the moving platforms in catwalk.wad, and now the parkouring you have to do to access the various key wings.  It's not hard but it's also not interesting.

 

Gameplay here is generally very mild, with only the multi level lift to deliver much of an adrenaline spike.  Which the map rather undercuts by then throwing a lot of health and armour at you right after.

 

It also feels like a very OG Doom map, with only a very small number of Doom 2 monsters among the E1 riff raff, and a very heavy reliance on the single shotgun unless you happen to go to the right at the start (and as someone who grew up with Ian Livingstone gamebooks, I almost never go right).

 

Despite all these quibbles, I'd rate this as an inoffensive map.  It looks fine - if a bit sparse - and the play is casual but not annoying (apart from the parkour).

 

I'm driving for 11 hours tomorrow, so no further reviews for me until at least the 16th, my time.

 

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Alright, this should catch me up:

 

 

Combine. Neat little level. Those steps towards the blue marked doors need to be way more obvious. You can see where I whip my phone out to check where I'm meant to progress to. Progression doesn't seem to be a strong point in any of the levels so far. However, it was the 90s.

 

 

Next we have Fistula. Short, compact level with a nasty start, that gets easier from there. Some weird platforming in that "Hub" section for some reason, as mentioned above.

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MAP01: The Fistula (Master Levels)

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

This is a rather quirky level, I like it! The first thing worth mentioning is the hub, where you have to parkour a bit to access the different wings. A lift found shortly after drops you into a tricky spot, with a pain elemental in a wide open area and hitscanners all around. I've complained before about excess of weapons, but here I feel a super shotgun somewhere would make this room much easier. There's a switch nearby to lower some bars, but it's not required to progress. Using the lift again, this time going to the bottom level, we find a room with some interesting light effects. As you move forwards, hitscanners will teleport both in front and behind.

 

After this there's another lift, allowing you to go either left or right. To the right you find some armor, so grab it and move to the left. Making your way through the corridor, a trap will spring as you cross the middle, revealing a ledge full of hitscanners on the right and another full of armor bonuses on the left. A switch here will raise a step allowing you to access both ledges. At the end of the corridor there's a wall with an arrow pointing to it on the ground. Open it to find a megaarmor (making the armor you grabbed earlier useless) and a circular nukage pit (again, inescapable). Carefully go around the pit into the teleporter that brings you back to the starting room, where the yellow key located behind you at the start is now accessible. As you pick up the key, you're teleported to the previous room but you don't have to backtrack, instead inch yourself away from the teleporter and enter it again.

 

Now, it's a matter of entering the other wings at the hub, grabbing the next keys for progression and going through the door located to the right of the starting point to reach the final section. Worth mentioning the dark room where you find a rocket launcher above a computer terminal, with two ways to grab it. You can either bump into it, or the intended way: use the switch to its right to lower the lift, as the lift raises jump to the weapon. Before the exit, we find a big room with a large stairway in the usual style of the author. The outdoor section with the exit door reminds me a bit of TNT MAP10.

 

This is a short but sweet level, I finished it in less than 5 minutes. The only thing I don't like here is the useless megasphere secret, I feel a plasma gun would be a better reward, making it easy to pulverize the arch-vile at the end.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP25: Black Tower

MAP07: Bloodsea Keep

MAP01: Canyon

MAP01: Attack

MAP01: The Fistula

MAP01: The Catwalk

MAP01: The Combine

Edited by Andromeda

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The Fistula

Another generic level with a generic name. I think if this wad were released by an unknown author these days, few would pay attention to it. But in the old days it was different, especially from a technical point of view, this level is designed with dignity.

Of the noteworthy things at this level, one can note the “broken” stair steps that are located behind the starting left door. They are so designed as if they had fallen down and we have to move around the edges.
There is a slightly tedious elevator that leads to 4 "floors". While I was busy on the lower floor, in the "execution room" PE got into a fight with others and released a bunch of lost souls that created problems for me later.


I didn’t even need blue armor, because the secret megasphere is enough until the very end.


If the arch-vile comes out from exit room, then you will not have a place to hide, so take a rocket launcher and do the thing so that it does not come out.

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MAP01 - FISTULA.WAD - "The Fistula" - Christen Klie (95%K/97%I/0%S)

That name is funny, it sounds like "Count Fistula" or something like that. I actually thought this had some "fist" action with a Berserk pack, due to its name but I was wrong.
Finally we got a non-compressed layout by Christen Klie, we are not having a rectangular map such as the rest of Klie's levels, and I actually liked it a lot. Amazing quirky design at the entrance, weird that you can pull that out on vanilla. What is also weird it's again, the level itself. Why are those doors lifts? Why the inverted stairs in that room? why the fake walls with a computer texture? Progression here stays true to the rest of the maps, with so much interconection in-between rooms, and strange key-to-key progress. It presents some quirky '95 designs here and there, like the 4-way lift, those are annoying things from the past, pretty common on Maximum doom.
It was a really fun map, noneless, it was not hard, it lacks any trap whatsoever, the AV at the end, more than a trap, is just a cliché that was old even on 1995. It actually works more as a Megawad's first map, than Attack.
This is the best so far.

Deaths: 12

 

Maps in order of preference:

Spoiler

 

MAP01 - Canyon

MAP01 - The Fistula

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep

 


Oh nevermind, I just found what a fistula is...

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Hello! I've been playing along slowly and instead of doing map by map write-ups, I'll just give my general thoughts (I'm at GARRISON.WAD)

 

Willits's stuff strikes me as the most... how shall I say... needless? It's visually good and entertaining to play, but he's the bottom of the pack thus far. A lot of his stuff is MAP01-05 worthy, and because of that it doesn't leave a long lasting impression (from a 2019 standpoint.)

 

Kvernmo's maps are fascinating. Beautiful, high-concept and... unfortunately a little too frustrating at times (hello red key in BLACKTWR and secret fireplace passage in BLOODSEA, thanks for doubling my playtime!) It's unfortunate that we seem to be playing these out of order, as it would've been cool to close out on BLACKTWR instead of starting with it. But I think that speaks more to the failure of Master Levels to collate these properly and less on me for saying "let's not organize these maps for authenticity's sake" ;)

 

Klie's maps are fantastic. They're fun and unorthodox and a lot of fun to play through from pistol start, largely thanks to some really unconventional setups (hellloooo chaingunners!) I also like how much he uses sectors as steps and the moving lifts at the start of CATWALK. He's definitely a mapper I wish was around nowadays, since his style is quite memorable

 

If there's anything I have to fault the set for thus far (besides its alphabetical map structure) is that it's really hitscan and SSG focused. When I think of 90s mapping I think of both of those qualities, and so far BLACKTWR is the only map that has gone against the grain (Klie curiously includes a PG quite frequently but by then you grab it it's too late to use it.) I'm wondering if we'll see a curve ball soon or maybe I'm doomed to fight former humans for the rest of my life...

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MAP01: The Garrison (Master Levels)

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

This level is interesting because at first glance it fools your perception - it looks bigger than it is when observing the layout through the various windows. It's simple to explain: while there are numerous large areas, they are sparsely populated by enemies, allowing you to dash through the level. The most dangerous section of the level is actually the start, where you're an easy target for the various roaming hitscanners nearby or in the distance. There's a fair amount of environmental hazards like crushers and an inescapable nukage pit. While the crushers are easy to avoid altogether (just walk near the wall and they won't ever be triggered, although a trap that is deployed as you approach might make you inadvertently move below them, a clever bit of level design), it's easy to fall in the inescapable pit as there's a tiny bridge in particular that falls off as you cross it - if you backpedal you're dead.

 

The secrets here are well hidden and some supplies inside them are unlocked by the switch after the tiny bridge, which is a neat touch. There's an excess of cell ammo and lots of BFG9000's that the level could have done without, as well as a plasma gun found after you've killed every monster in the level. The yellow key is not immediately accessible and I can see some less patient players would just noclip to it. The cue is that the railing of the stairs and the key pedestal are the same texture, so what you have to do is simply use the steps to run to the railing, then drop to the pedestal to grab the key.

 

The ending provides a bit of ledge walking, after which you open individually the key bars to exit. I think despite its monotextured nature this is a fine level, although there's some dubious things like the wall of imps that pose no danger and are easily pulverized with 40 cells, the inescapable pit and the easy to miss red key. The checkered floor pattern used in some places is kind of cool.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP25: Black Tower

MAP07: Bloodsea Keep

MAP01: Canyon

MAP01: Attack

MAP01: The Fistula

MAP01: The Garrison

MAP01: The Catwalk

MAP01: The Combine

Edited by Andromeda

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The Garrison

The level which in style is a bit reminiscent of Plutonia, mainly because a lot of wooden beams are used as well as the presence of water. A little tough start, but that is not a problem if you find shelter.

You can even get outside the blue door without the blue key - if you lowered the pedestal with the megasphere in secret, you can jump out of it.

One can only guess why in the secret is 4 units of BFG, instead of packs of cells. Some authors do this simply so that their levels have some differences and are memorable.

Interesting getting the yellow key - you need to go along the edge and go down at a certain angle. For those who play for the first time, it's not so easy to guess.

It is also one of the few levels where you can guess in advance where the crushers are located and prevent damage.

Edited by riderr3

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Combine is probably my least favourite of the Klie levels. I mostly remember it for a lot of deaths at the beginning, and the starry sky. Theres also a dickish plasma gun trap. Its generally a Map 2/3 in the combined Master Levels releases, and its easy to see why.

 

Fistula has that striking starting view and the memorable connecting elevator, which is probably what the level is named for. Several moments though where I expected a big fight and got nothing.

 

Garrison is notable for being the only Klie level missing from the Playstation conversions, and it has some problems that make me not suprised about that. The red key is buggy on ZDoom ports and requires noclipping to free yourself, and the yellow key is frustrating and makes me want to go back in time and smack the dude. I did have fun with the BFG secret, you get a big wall of imps to blast with it right after pickup, so its not entirely wasted. (On PS4, this is where I got the trophy for killling a lot of dudes in one BFG shot)

 

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MAP01 - GARRISON.WAD - "The Garrison" - Christen Klie (100%K/I/S)

Another of those Klie's compressed-in-a-rectangle maps, this one looks and plays below average most of the time. Tons of big open areas with quirky progression that relies mostly on secrets. Well, I actually don't know, since I'm in Chocolate Doom without even noticing when did I get a secret, and I was humping walls most of the time finding clues on how to get the yellow key (by precisely running from the stairs). There is a secret room that makes the map easy and rather pointles, 5 BFG's at the same spot? just to kill some imps?
For some things, I think this was intended to be a DM map, that was converted into an actual single-player map by brute force. Specially because of the ugly texturing that reminds me of old Dwango5 maps (e.g. Old Dario Casali DM maps looked like this aswell). Tons of DM mappers loved that awful STONE texture in their maps for some reason.
This map features some ugly catwalks here and there specially the one at the end, interesting to know, since every single Klie's map features a catwalk of some sort (CATWALK.WAD the obvious biggest example) and it makes me think that either Christen was the only person to like The Chasm, or he was a fashion model. Not to mention, if you fall from the catwalk, you'll have to get into a teleporter that takes you BACK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MAP!
Ugly, quirky, not that fun at all, starts really hard, in fact I died mostly at the start, but the BFG secret negates all the challenge. A let down from the previous Klie maps, and I think that was one of the reasons this was not featured on PSX's Final Doom.

Deaths: 18 

 

Maps in order of preference:

 

Spoiler

 

MAP01 - Canyon

MAP01 - The Fistula

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep
MAP01 - The Garrison

 


Tomorrow we'll check a map from one of the better authors of that era.

Edited by DJVCardMaster

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The Garrison

711px-MasterLevels_Garrison_map.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

Garrison is a typical Klie level with his rectangular layout.  We find ourselves in a stone castle with many courtyards. A level I appreciated for its spaciousness.

The whole is characterised by a square architecture and the repeated placement of perpendicular stairs.

 

The progression was a little obscure for me since the button allowing access to the first teleporter  where the imps come out of the ground is very badly placed. Indeed, it is located just above the lift that leads to the underground part. I thought for a moment that it was the switch to activate the lift.

 

The level is not hard but pretty dangerous. In fact, you have to take a path that collapses when you walk on it, without falling into the unescapable pit with slime. In addition, you cross a small passage with crushers, which can be deadly if you are not careful with the trap with pinkies.

 

Aesthetically, I found it simple but enjoyable. I think the strong point of this level is the spacious outdoors.

 

 

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MAP08 - GERYON.WAD - "Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO" - John Anderson (Dr. Sleep) (100%K/97%I/0%S)

Ahh, Dr. Sleep, probably the best early 90's mapper. He was one of the best to replicate Inferno-styled maps, and had really great ideas at that moment for his maps. Today, some of them will look ugly sometimes, just as Sandy Petersen's maps, but they are still fun, challenging and memorable to this day.
This map is maybe pretty straight forward, nothing too weird that stands out, it is just a good map to play, as I mentioned, it may look ugly, but it's fun, it looks like an Ultimate Doom outtake more than a DooM II one. 
The only thing I did not like is the crusher at the western part of the passageway, since there is no need to press that switch, the only thing it does is turning on the light of an arrow-shaped sector that points out to a secret door that can be opened by monsters inside of it. Pretty weird.

Not too much more to say, I liked the last fight. I think it was not that hard with a BFG in hand.

Deaths: 20

 

Maps in order of preference:

 

Spoiler

MAP01 - Canyon
MAP01 - Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO

MAP01 - The Fistula

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep
MAP01 - The Garrison

 

 

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garrison.wad

I'm surprised the YK gave so many people trouble on this one.  I immediately noodled off the stairs onto it at the corner there.  It's a simple enough thing to do, though I did wonder at the time if it was the intended way to get it.  I guess it was!

 

Pretty simple gameplay here on the whole.  A bit of a hot start, but it soon starts to shower health and shotgun shells on you, and there is plenty of room to dodge fireballs.  My only death came from crusher + sergeant, and to be fair to Klie, he made the crusher obvious enough that it should not have surprised me.  Overall, it's not all that memorable but fun enough to romp through, though the final catwalk feels a bit superfluous.

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Geryon

There are useful items in the initial dark room, so take your time to get out.

This level was breeze-through, except for a few places: a baron in a cramped room with a plasmagun (he really get out and chasing you), a raid in the final area, and of course an arch-vile in a nasty place where you have nowhere to hide (a rocket launcher saved me in the last split second). For the rest, low-tiers roam in terms of level, where we have to fight back from them like from annoying flies.

Look at the automap to find many secrets; these are mostly hidden doors, and they usually show in yellow color (until the mapper mark them as "hidden"). I think that the security of the BFG was still weak: revenant, cacodemon and mancubus.

Also, the PSX version of Geryon was very memorable because of its music track similar to the "boiling kettle".

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MAP08: Geryon (Master Levels)

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

So after a slew of easy levels comes a more challenging level. Here Dr. Sleep crafted a memorable level, with details such as the blood river leading to a backpack at the start, the E1M3 homage with the supercharge or the lift that leads to a area that resembles the yellow key section in E1M7. The secret is well hidden, and finding it helps immensely with tracking down other not secret but well hidden areas that contain important supplies. There's a sneaky crusher near the start of the level but it's one that will only trouble the slowest players.

 

It has a rather high monster count (when comparing to the previous levels) and their placement can often cause trouble to the player, requiring less reckless play to avoid dying. The final fight presents a respectable challenge however there's the possibility to tackle this aggressively, charging in and destroying barrels to kill the hitscanners, then mopping up the mid tiers. This final section is also very neat looking, with simple but effective detail. I think this level is just as enjoyable when playing it for the first time and marvelling at the scenery as it is when rushing to the exit.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP25: Black Tower

MAP07: Bloodsea Keep

MAP01: Canyon

MAP08: Geryon

MAP01: Attack

MAP01: The Fistula

MAP01: The Garrison

MAP01: The Catwalk

MAP01: The Combine

Edited by Andromeda

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Geryon:

 

734px-MasterLevels_Geryon_map.png

 

 

Difficulty : Easy

 

Here is the first map of Dr Sleep, great mapper of the 1990s, that we meet in the Master Levels. It is a notable level in my opinion for its atmosphere and like "The Combine" , for the use of a starry sky.

 

We venture into a complex made of wood with rooms with very different shapes. There are many memorable areas to know:

- The big narrow corridor that leads to a secret chaingun.
- The oval courtyard with two long stairs leading to a soulsphere
- The large circular area at the end.

 

Nothing very difficult in this level, I did not lack resources. The final battle is much weaker than what was initially planned, it seems. Indeed, towards the end of the level, two megaspheres are obtained in a relatively short period of time.

 

The progression is a little obscure with doors that do not use conventional textures. On the other hand, it blends well with the omnipresent darkness. I have a little bit of a feeling I'm seeing Black Tower gimmicks again, but in a more conventional way.

 

Probably my second favorite map behind Black tower. Geryon offers a rather dark atmosphere but with a more conventional gameplay.

 

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First up we have Garrison.

 

 

Tough start, but again I've watched a BMD playthrough so I'm not going in completely blind. Still a lot of weird progression, and I completely forgot how to get over to the BFG room. I'm sure it was something simple I missed though.

 

 

 

Then we have Geryon. This is a tricky little level: When I say tricky, I mean lots of doors and whatnot in places you don't expect, progression is through traditionally what I would expect to be secrets. That's the maps plus side and its downfall.

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After doing a bit of mapping, I can try and get back into the Master Levels.

 

MAP25 - BLACKTWR.WAD (“Black Tower”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

This is a very cool map for its time, both visually and conceptually. The progression of having a large central structure with courtyards surrounding it can be seen in other games, such as Serious Sam. Teleporters create the illusion of ascending the tower by warping you to several circular arenas. On that note, the initial tower you see from the starting area seems like it's only tall enough to accommodate the stair climb within and not the additional levels you warp to. The initial monster count of 375 is also huge, eclipsing every map from the 4 IWADs including the infamous Mount (Ass)Pain. I would honestly be surprised if there is a larger body count elsewhere in this set. Combat feels closer to Plutonia in difficulty and there is some relentless use of hitscanners on one of the floors. The roof of the tower is my favourite section, as you find yourself surrounded by Imps, Cacos, and a BFG duel against a Cyberdemon. Not everything works that well, with infinite-heighting pinkies at the bottom of the stairs (and partially blocking the tiny Chasm-like bridge from the teleporter) being both annoying and entirely pointless from a combat perspective. The progression, while straightforward, is somewhat hindered by the unusual textures that happen to act as switches. All things considered, this is still likely to be one of the standout maps in this set.

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MAP07 - BLOODSEA.WAD (“Bloodsea Keep”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

This one's gonna get a big NO from me. I guess it's meant to be Berserk-oriented, as the only real weapon I found was the RL by the Manc in the damaging blood. I didn't find the combat particularly fun, and the overabundance of PE's and Lost Souls did not enhance the experience. The cages with dudes were not engaging either, not to mention annoying to open one by one for some measly items. Also, cool slow crushers in that hallway, bro. And by bro, I mean never my bro.

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