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

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Paradox

 

371px-MasterLevels_Paradox_map.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

This map reminded me a little bit of the previous one in its gameplay. We explore a map with a very symmetrical architecture without being an arena.

 

This map is not hard but rather dangerous. Unless revealing the secret of the megasphere , there is no armor in this level, forcing the player to play slowly because of the many powerful monsters such as the mancubus or the revenants.

 

Like Nessus, this map seems to have been designed for deathmatch, especially because of the absence of real traps except some monsters teleporting just after a key. The main advantage of this map is the possibility for the player to explore the castle in all ways.

 

The architecture is very classic with omnipresent brown. On the other hand, the lawn as a floor makes this level visually very pleasant. Architectural elements such as the arches made in sectors, this time less subtle than in Sverre Kvermo's maps, attract attention. The large corridor leading to the yellow key is probably the most striking area. Without this part, the level can be described as a large square.

 

A nice level marked by a certain non-linearity.

 

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CATWALK.WAD (“The Catwalk”) by Christen Klie

This looks and plays like a Chasm-lite, with some narrow ledge walking which is not quite as annoying. There are some inescapable pits, such as the one to the left of the stairs descending to the SSG and Megasphere teleporters. I found one of the secrets to the right of the exit, which was a metal maze full of goodies very much unnecessary at that point. Otherwise, the map is largely inoffensive with decent 90's detailing here and there.

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COMBINE.WAD (“The Combine”) by Christen Klie

I do not appreciate the 4 Chaingunners in the opening when I have yet to grab a real weapon. Finally a custom sky. I was afraid these would all use Doom 2's stock SKY1. Now if only there was a new midi too. Right, this map is super hitscan heavy. In fact, there are only low-tier enemies present: largely Sergeants, Chaingunners, and Imps. Kind of like Doom 1 E1, but with Chaingunners! There aren't any other rude traps besides the opener, so it's largely a matter of checking your corners and using cover while minimizing hitscan damage. There isn't much in the way of health pickups, and I spent most of the map hovering around 50%.

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FISTULA.WAD (“The Fistula”) by Christen Klie

I really expected something else with a name like Fistula but this is another standard techbase. Similar to the previous map, enemies are mostly fodder with the exception of the PE and Vile at the end. I like the staircase leading down to the grassy outdoors, but otherwise this map isn't exactly hot stuff I'll remember tomorrow.

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MAP01 - SUBSPACE.WAD - "Subspace" - Christen Klie (100%K/84%I/0%S)

We are back with a Christen Klie's map, this one is yet another simple techbase, which in some form, resembles some of my old maps I did as a kid, so I kinda felt nostalgic in some way.
This map is short, and it has a questionable progression which I did not like at all, for example, shooting the door to enter into the RK room, and force the Lost Souls to awaken and annoy you while you are trying to fight demons in the RK room, or having to walk to point "x" to activate secret "doors" to progress. Again, the "Chasm"-lover and Fashion Model showed us again another of his catwalks in the YK room, with inescapable pits. The outdoor section was weird, and sometimes I felt like playing a TNT map, since it has quite that style.
Not a difficult map, not an interesting one, I felt like it's just kinda there, the exit was aswell anti-climatic. The level was filled with low-tier enemies aswell, so it felt like one of those Could work as a start level-maps.

Deaths: 34

Maps in order of preference:

 

Spoiler

 

MAP05 - Minos' Judgement
MAP01 - Canyon
MAP01 - Paradox
MAP01 - Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO
MAP07 - Nessus

MAP01 - The Fistula

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP01 - Subspace

MAP01 - Titan Manor
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep
MAP01 - The Garrison

MAP07 - Mephisto's Maosoleum

 

 

Edited by DJVCardMaster

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So I don't end up triple-posting again, I've compiled 4 hot takes into one post! Only one of these maps comes out unscathed; the rest contain various degrees of salt and humour:

 

GARRISON.WAD (“The Garrison”) by Christen Klie

The most noteworthy aspect of this map is that I finished with 3/5 secrets and 76% kills, despite giving it my fair share of exploration time. Other than that, it’s a very boxy map which looks and feels empty. You can stick entirely to orthogonal lines on the grid and still make something visually interesting, and this map does not attempt that at all. Gameplay is stronger than the visuals, though I didn’t find any armour until the blue one like halfway into the map. I also hit a minor progression snag after grabbing the first key. I naturally hit the skull switch when going down that lift and didn’t realize it opened the satyr head door nearby. This is further complicated by there being a trigger line when walking over the lift, and since vanilla format and ports don’t have Boom’s pass-through action, you cannot actually press that switch in PRBoom+ without triggering the lift lowering first. Another Chasm-lite walkway exists between you and the exit. Maybe 1 of those 4 switches does something cool, but I checked 2 and they all ended the map. Good enough for me. 

 

GERYON.WAD (“Geryon”) by John Anderson

First map in a while with some interesting progression and non-techbase theme. This is a solid adventure map, reminding me of the larger exploratory maps in TNT, such as Crater. The night sky texture and general darkness adds a lot to the atmosphere. Both secrets were relatively easy to find, with the BFG being very much overkill for this level. Even so, taking out Barons in one shot is good fun. I don’t really care for the donut section with the 20% damaging nukage that’s required for opening the blue key. Most of the map is good fun though.

 

MANOR.WAD (“Titan Manor”) by Jim Flynn

I finished this map with 87 rockets and 540 cells. You know why? Because despite finding 5/7 secrets, I never did manage to gain access to any weapons capable of firing such ammunition. Would’ve been nice though, what with all those Mancs, Cacos, and Arachnotrons. This is a smart map for smart people. A high IQ journey with puzzles woke enough to launch pyramids into space. The mapper is generous with ammo, especially rockets and cells, taunting the plebs too stupid to find the relevant weapons. Variety is strong here, with nearly every major Doom theme explored, aside from the red-everything of Scythe E3. Green marble, library, techbase, wood, MyHouse.wad, and even MyHorseStable.wad – the first of its kind. I’ll cut this short since my mind cannot fully fathom the four-dimensional nature of this space. Woke/10

 

MEPHISTO.WAD (“Mephisto’s Mausoleum”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

The outdoor area looks absolutely hideous due to fullbright lighting with zero variation, blocky natural terrain, lack of texture alignment, and total symmetry. More horrifying than any hellscape created in Doom. Indoors is another symmetrical arena with 4 identical quadrants and IoS faces – by far the most interesting visual aspect of the whole thing. There are like 3 small waves of symmetrical gameplay featuring Revenants, Hell Knights, and Barons. Just drop down into a quadrant and shoot upwards. The introduction of an actual monster spawner is neither welcome nor a surprise. Luckily, you can fry the 2 Barons and just pump rockets into it from the spot where it activates. I don’t know where the remaining 30 enemies were, but I wasn’t about to go looking for them while the Icon was shitting up the map. Got all 5 secrets, so I leave with at least one positive takeaway.

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Subspace :

 

596px-MasterLevels_Subspace_map.png

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

Subspace is an another strange level from Christen Klie. As Cardmaster said, the aspect is much more classic, reminiscent of a map made for Ultimate Doom.

 

I really liked this level for several reasons. First, the rather twisted progression with doors that look like a wall or the first door that opens with a shot. There are many varieties in the shape of the rooms. We start in an oval room to explore other rather rounded rooms and also the outside areas.

 

There are quite a few memorable places in this level, but I found the switch above the SSG quite amusing. The floating switch is a bit like the blocks in Super Mario. The room to the west recalling the map "The Chasm" is totally useless and irrelevant in my opinion.

 

The level is a little rough at first because of lost souls and zombies. Life is rather rare until the blue armor is obtained. Other than that, nothing special to say. It reminds me of Ultimate Doom in part.

 

In short, a classic level with a rather strange progression whether you like it or not. I expected to see the starry sky for this level because of its name , but the classic one fits pretty well.

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32 minutes ago, Spectre01 said:

The introduction of an actual monster spawner is neither welcome nor a surprise.

 

That is probably the funniest description I've seen of Mephisto.

 

===

 

 

Subspace. I don't really have anything to say about this level. Pretty straight forward all around, nothing exciting.

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Paradox (Master Levels)

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

 

So much brown! This is an outlier in Tom Mustaine's Doom portfolio, as he is mostly known by his smaller techbases (with MAP14 from Memento Mori being the other notable exception). Enemy usage really puts pressure on the player, with several hitscanners taking potshots from all directions, with the safespaces guarded by mid tiers with no armor (other than the secret megasphere) to go around. Despite its symmetrical appearance Tom managed to make the level slightly non linear, with some paths providing better supplies than others. For instance, I forgot all about the super shotgun until I had almost cleared out the first area!

 

The yellow key area is as well detailed as the first one and contains a Catacombs style secret with the green torch, leading to the outside area with an overkill BFG9000. Also of note a large teleport trap triggered upon picking up the key. Beyond the yellow door is a rather dull area, where you can make an arachnotron infight with a baron of hell. There's also a sneaky heavy weapon dude ready to mow you down. After this comes a teleporter sequence to grab the other keys, triggering some more teleport traps in the process. All that remains between us and the exit is a pitiful pain elemental.

 

One thing I don't like about this level is its monotextured nature, otherwise it's a solid level, with good layout and detailing. It provides some fast paced gameplay as well, something that has been rather lacking so far.

Edited by Andromeda

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Subspace (Master Levels)

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

 

I like the effect provided by the lost souls raising from below in the beginning. There's an incredible amount of health and armor here, so you're unlikely to die here - in fact, I purposefully placed myself between some barrels and let the enemies blow them up to spice things up a bit. There's many questionable design choices made here, for example the two secrets, each providing an absurdly large health/armor pool being so close to each other, the floating four way switch, the randomly opening walls (that are not marked on the other side so you have to wallhump) and the only rocket launcher of the level is placed on the exit teleporter.

 

I do like the doors that don't open normally in the beginning, giving the impression that this is an old techbase and the equipment is starting to malfunction. The Chasm bit is cute. I also like that from the yellow key area you can see the exit teleporter. There's an armor and a berserk that are rather well hidden in plain sight. In short, I don't dislike this level but I'm not a big fan of it either, there's neat and bad stuff here in equal measure.

Edited by Andromeda

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Playing catch-up after a few days away from the PC.

 

mephisto.wad

I am not particularly a fan of either Dead Simple or the Icon of Sin, so this is two meh tastes that go even meh-er together.

 

minos.wad

This, on the other hand, I liked a lot - Sleep continues to track comfortably above the rest of the pack in his offerings thus far.  Though in some stages, the decor did make me feel like I had accidentally stumbled into the secret map from "Spectrum"!  He liked his brown.

 

nessus.wad

Looks a lot like the other Dr Sleep maps - you've got the same main texture set, and familiar lighting elements - but it's a weaker offering.  Basically symmetrical and heavily laden with resources, its few moments of menace come from unimpressive tricks like illusory walls.  And then it is over before it really gets started.

 

Edited by Capellan

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Subterra.

 

I've got a few maps recorded and ready to post for each day, and I played this one originally on the 19th. I had to rewatch the video to remember what the hell this map was. A bit of a forgettable map - Nothing wrong with it as such, just a lot of brown and relatively easy combat.

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paradox.wad

Ah, the old "teleporter that goes to different places depending on which way you come into it".  Not a fan of using that in required progression (and even in secrets, I think there should also be a textural hint), but I grokked it fairly quickly here.

 

Looks-wise it is fine if a bit uniform.  Some contrasting insets (green marble, red rock, flesh) would have helped it 'pop' a bit.  Monster load-out is generally fine, with a lot of potential for hitscanner attrition.  The teleport traps are not well implemented, generally being way too slow.

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Subspace
 
An interesting trap with a shot at the beginning, and it also shows the mappers how to properly position lost souls.

I had an incident when I fell into an unescapable pit because I was pushed by an imp that had previously fallen there.

The rocket launcher located on the final pedestal looks strange. Given that it will not be useful to us, since we begin the next level without equipment- the question remains why is it there? I have suspicions that this map was planned to be made larger. Or maybe a piece was just cut out.

Subterra

Well, here the initial recesses reminded me of those that were in Canyon, but from another author. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
It is not at all necessary for you to step on all teleporters, where the revenant has slipped away from you.

You can overtake a group of revenants by taking the invul sphere, but in this case you need more powerful weapons.

A less favorite location is a pre-final dark room with a nukage pit and soulsphere, by the way it can be taken if you use strafe-running.

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Subterra

 

669px-MasterLevels_Subterra_map.png

 


The second level starting with "Sub". Here, on the other hand, it makes more sense because we are exploring an underground part.

 

I'm really starting to appreciate Christen Klie's levels and his way of making square-shaped layouts. For my part, this level reminded me more of "Fistula", especially because there is also an elevator leading to various places at the beginning.

 

It is far from being the most striking level: it is brown and generally dark.  There is no really memorable passage. On the other hand, I liked how doors requiring a key are marked with a sign on the floor. We can probably remember this level by its small platforming phases, especially towards the secret of the soulsphere.

 

The level is really not difficult, it's very classic.

 

In short, a classic but nice underground level.

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Subterra (Master Levels)

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

 

Now this is a great level! You start underground, and upon moving the ground starts to rise up slowly, an effect similar to the one seen at the beginning of Canyon. The doors nearby open automatically once you step on the shadow, revealing hell knights which you have to either ignore or dispatch with the shotgun. There's another instance of a multiple floors lift like in Fistula. The colored marks in front of the keyed doors are a neat touch. The invulnerability is useful for traversing a room full of revenants without a scratch.

 

Later comes a tedious section where you might have to wait a long time for lifts, fortunately it can be skipped via a teleporter. The caged enemies are weird, they would be more dangerous if they were able to roam. The secret is interesting and is accessed by entering a teleporter from different sides. There's also a BFG9000 hidden in the nukage, which is probably meant for deathmatch. This level looks like it has some speedrunning shortcuts but they don't save time when compared to the intended route.

 

If I had to find a negative in this level it would be the tedious lifts section, otherwise this is a really solid level and very fun to blast through!

Edited by Andromeda

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24/11/2019 - MAP31 - TEETH.WAD (“The Express Elevator to Hell”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

 

Another concept map from Sverre, this time a map split into 8 parts connected by a central lift (the express elevator to hell…) that automatically goes up (but you need to trigger it down). Each of these 8 parts contain traps, most of which are pretty challenging, this isn’t one to try saveless unless you know it like the back of your hand. Despite the level containing ‘hell’ in the name, this map is very much a techbase.

 

Unfortunately the concept also makes it a real grind to play in parts, so much time is spent waiting for the lift to lower and raise, which isn’t really much of a problem in itself until Sverre decides to add hell nobles to the connecting corridors, which takes ages to clear given how quickly the lift raises and falls. Which is boring.

 

Combat is all very much close quarters and a bunch of the traps like the chaingunner one on section 6 can erase your health in no time. The secrets are well hidden but can be found with careful study of the textures and automap. You don’t need any keys to finish the level, but you need all three to find the secret one.

 

In section 8 you find one of the earliest cases of the ‘mandatory arch vile jump’, in the sense that to get to the secret exit you need one of the arch viles to help you up. If you kill them first then no secret exit for you unless you idclip.

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subspace.wad

I'm starting to wonder why Klie made a map specifically named "catwalk" given how often he uses the things. Overall, this is a harmless but not exactly memorable map.  There's a huge surfeit of health, such that it felt like a "training wheels" affair.

 

subterra.wad

A little more aggressive from Klie this time around, but only a little, with the toughest fight being handily neutered by an invuln.  That room would be better with some pillars to hide behind (with non-damaging floors around them) so that you actually had to fight the revs instead of just monochroming them to death.

 

It's interesting to see how consistent almost all of these mappers have been in using D2 monsters as a seasoning, and not the main course.  Klie's handful of revenants here is notable for being one of the few cases where anyone other than Kvernmo has given use more than a couple at a time.

 

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teeth.wad

Not a fan of this kind of highly gated, 'solve area A to access area B, with no other options' kind of progression, especially when reaching those areas is configured around a lift that monsters keep triggering.  Also not a fan of maps which are 90% narrow corridors.  Slogged through it all eventually but made no effort to find the secret exit (and from reading above, would not have done so if I had).

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The Express Elevator to Hell (TEETH)

 

616px-MasterLevels_TheExpressElevatortoH

 

Difficulty : Medium

 

I think this map will be the subject of very divergent opinions. I wouldn't be surprised if many players hate this map. For others, including myself, it is an extremely gimmicky map.

 

The concept here is to navigate through 8 different floors. The eighth contains both exits. Really, the main difficulty of this level is the generalized narrowness . Navigating the floors is a real hell, not to mention the different annoying doors and lifts. This level is memorable for its chaotic progression.

 

The beginning is very brutal during the descent with the hell knights and chaingunners. More generally, it is difficult to avoid projectiles. There are many box of shells in the main lift, but it is hard to save them efficiently because of the tightness. There are many vicious traps, especially chaingunners who can attack via small holes carved in the walls.

 

As mentioned above, you have to do an AVJ to access the secret exit (and find the yellow key beforehand...).

 

Aesthetically, it's not ugly even if there's nothing really striking about it. On the other hand, I find that the layout of this map is a certain achievement given the limitations . I'm not an expert in 90's mapping but I guess it must have been very difficult to make diagonal rooms and small details.

 

In summary, Teeth is another gimlmicky level from SK but somewhat difficult to appreciate because of its chaotic progression.

 

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Teeth. What the fuck.

 

After the previous maps, this was like going from a nice relaxing run through E3 on UD to E4. Holy crap, that start was brutal, and the progression confusing. I get completely lost, and you can see me stop to have a look at doomwiki. Except Doomwiki didn't guide me well either, so I tried to IDCLEV to the start so I could cheat to see if I had broken the level (I hadn't) or if I was missing something (I was).

 

I had to look up how to get to the secret level as well. Very confusing and needlessly tough level.

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4 hours ago, Roofi said:

I think this map will be the subject of very divergent opinions. I wouldn't be surprised if many players hate this map. For others, including myself, it is an extremely gimmicky map

 

My favorite map in the master levels set of maps. A map you can really sink your TEETH into! It took me a while to learn how to uvmax the beast. I agree it is very gimmicky. It also has several gotcha traps too that can ruin your run. Even after learning how to beat it, the opening few minutes is always challenging, as @Magicanahas just discovered! I still think the way the different floors are connected is quite ingenious and devious. This map is the one I always think of first whenever the topic of master levels for doom comes up.

 

I hope everyone is thoroughly enjoying their master level playthrough!

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The Express Elevator to Hell (Master Levels)

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

 

This is a nice concept for a level. Unfortunately, gameplay leaves somewhat to be desired, with the biggest problems being cramped hallways stuffed with mid tiers and lots of boxes of shotgun shells that are almost impossible to avoid, leading to an incredible amount of wasted ammo. This level is very challenging, with a number of nasty traps that will make you suffer. Health and armor are very well balanced here which is great to see. The start is relentless and there's a 30 second barrier that prevents you from finding a safe space so you have to fend off the monsters while waiting (it can be cheesed however, making it a bit easier).

 

The normal exit requires no keys to access while the secret exit requires all three keys, which are really well hidden. It's also probably one of the earliest instances of using an arch-vile jump to access otherwise inaccessible areas. I fully expected to die here, since it's rather awkward to go for 100% kills and the secret exit at the same time with no saves but I managed to do it first time, it helps that the arch-vile jump is really simple. The arch-vile kept resurrecting a stuck imp but eventually I managed to lure it out and up the stairs, so I could kill the baron of hell behind the normal exit before going for the secret exit.

 

I did die once as I stupidly tackled the sixth floor recklessly, being reduced to 62% health and no armor, afterwards I forgot about the revenant trap that opened up so the bastard launched a homing missile at me and the RNG was merciless. Next attempt I cleared that room without getting hit :) There's a cool bit consisting of a touchplate that activates a crusher, which helps to deal with the mancubi in the fourth floor. The regular exit is neat and reminds me a bit of Hell Revealed MAP26. In short, this is a level that plays better once you've beaten it and it can actually be quite fun, on a blind run you'll struggle but I guess there's a certain sense of accomplishment each time you conquer a floor.

 

+++ Hell Revealed II

Edited by Andromeda

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25/11/2019 - MAP32 - TEETH.WAD (“Bad Dream”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

 

wow.wad

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I will be doing another catch-up at the end of the month. Long distance commuting plays hell with gaming schedules!

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What the fuck.

 

It's like Nuts.wad combined with The Crusher.

 

The first half of the video is me playing the map continuous. The majority of the video is me autistically trying to pistol start it. As you can tell, I didn't manage that very well (Getting to the map with just the pistol).

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MAP01 - SUBTERRA.WAD - "Subterra" - Christen Klie (100%K/94%I/0%S)

I'm about to feel like a black sheep by saying I did hate this one, but yes, I actually hated this map. Another of Klie's compressed maps, kind of a trademark from him. This map plays similar to Garrison, a little bit of interconnections here and there, and brown all around the place. This map felt like a Memento Mori map, certainly. Not that difficult, there is a Invulnerability Sphere that negates all the challenge, and encounters are not that heavy on high tier enemies.
I felt this map was boring, and I actually hated the end, trying to traverse that weird (catwalk?) room that is all dark and if you are playing vanilla, you have no mouse look, so you have no way to see where to go, if you fall, you fall to a damaging nukage pit.
There are weird things like a Sphere and a BFG right at this room, the last one of the map before you can cross the nukage pool and end the map, so this BFG and sphere can be really useless to get, since there aren't any more encounters until the end, where you'll find only two more shotgunners.

Deaths: 35

Maps in order of preference: 
 

Spoiler

 

MAP05 - Minos' Judgement
MAP01 - Canyon
MAP01 - Paradox
MAP01 - Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO
MAP07 - Nessus

MAP01 - The Fistula

MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP01 - Subspace

MAP01 - Titan Manor
MAP25 - Black Tower
MAP01 - Subterra
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep
MAP01 - The Garrison

MAP07 - Mephisto's Maosoleum

 


I'll see if I have time for the rest of the maps from TEETH today.

+++Congestion 1024
 

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