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

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The Express Elevator To Hell

I think that the correct name of this level is "Bad Dream", because you can dream of this elevator and corridors in nightmares, because of being cramped and tedious.

There are a lot of distracting machinery and grunting monsters that protrude from various dark holes and crevices. The musical accompaniment exactly complements the nonsense that occurs in these corridors.

If the size of the map was just simply doubled, it would be a completely different matter. If I rated this level in different ways, I would give 4 of 5 for the idea and 1 of 5 for the gameplay.
Getting 100% kills and at the same time get to the secret level will be very difficult, because the baron is sitting near the top floor near the exit. A hidden invul sphere can help with this.

Bad Dream

Another gimmick-based level, this time simple and more fun. The main thing here is to turn on the light in the only secret that is in the start room and quickly pick up the invul sphere so that you can easily take the keys. Crowd control is also important to keep the path clear.

 

 

P.S.

+++Congestion 1024

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Bad Dream (Master Levels)

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

 

Ugly, but incredibly fun! Here Soundblock crafted a level in which you can kill a couple dozens of cyberdemons in about a minute. The secret is quite useful, since it lights up the abattoir and gives you a megasphere in case you eat a rocket. The trick here is to rush for the invulnerability, collect the three keys and go back to the start. You can wait for the cyberdemons to get crushed if going for 100% kills or you can just go straight to the exit. What I like to do here is to dodge past the monsters guarding the exit, grab the BFG9000 and shoot, killing all three monsters in the process.

Edited by Andromeda

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MAP31 - TEETH.WAD - "The Express Elevator to Hell" -  Sverre Andre Kvernmo (93%K/96%I/50%S)

Well, this is just Tricks and Traps lite.
Agh, how I hated the Elevator itself, where you can get "vertically" killed by enemies constantly, there is little to no place to fight, forcing you to straight shot enemies and hoping they die quickly. This map is not suitable for claustrophobic people. Tons of short passageways and hard encounters, I just died a lot on this one. 
Collisions on the last room were fucking buggy, I could not transit that room freely, and considering you have to fight two AV's and two Revenants, and being careful of them not dying on the door, so the AV does not revive ghost monsters... Worst room in the master levels for sure. I did like some things, other things I did not.
Classic Cranium difficulty here on this map, there is some good and some bad things you can get with this one. A really mixed feeling.

MAP32 - TEETH.WAD - "Bad Dream" -  Sverre Andre Kvernmo 

I won't even bother wasting my time on this map, this is, hands down, the worst official ID Software Doom map ever (Ultimate Doom, Doom II, Final Doom, Master Levels, NERVE, Doom 64). MAP22 Habitat called, he want his place back. This map consists of figuring a way of getting into the center of the map, grab an Invulnerability Sphere and get the 3 keys, then exit the map. Your only weapon to maneuver is a Chainsaw, used only to kill the revenant at the start, to turn on the lights. Creative? maybe for two days when even back in the day this got old enough. It's ugly, it's spammy, and not fun at all. This probably inspired the Cyberdreams megawad, and probably nuts.wad too.
What was Cranium thinking? is this his first map? Was he smoking something funny? I don't know.


Deaths: 58

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

MAP31 - The Express Elevator to Hell
MAP01 - Subterra
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep
MAP01 - The Garrison

MAP07 - Mephisto's Maosoleum
MAP32 - Bad Dream


 


Having a bad day combined by this two maps, killed my patience a little bit.

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26/11/2019 - MAP01 - TTRAP.WAD (“Trapped on Titan”) by Jim Flynn

 

What a frantic start! Mere movement unleashes the wrath of chaingunners on you, against which your reflex is to retreat but there lies more chaingunners and a certain death. The best tactic is to press the switch and shoot the barrel.

 

After that, the level calms down a little and goes back to a more classic Jim Flynn Titan-style. Which is a lot of green rock, and a lot of platforming. Thankfully, unlike Titan Manor, the progression on one this is fairly straightforward, without having to spend ages working out where on earth to go next.

 

The area guarding the rocket launcher is fraught with danger, but worth it because those rockets come in so handy later on. Thanks to the blursphere, the room with the raising/falling pillars is easy enough, especially if you found the megasphere secret (this level is in general pretty generous with spheres).

 

There are some fun battles to be had in this map, my favourite being those in the outdoor area. It’s not hard (being 1995 and all), but it is enjoyable launching all those rockets and plasma and beating the hoard to a pulp.

 

In the final area a bunch of barrels are generously placed to help you clear the mancubi. The barons are also killed for you if you find the crusher-activating switch. The map ends with a cyberdemon but it’s in a room easy to strafe around so easy enough to finish off. Overall it’s an enjoyable level even today.

 

Hope your day is better tomorrow DJVCardMaster

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Cancelled flights mean unexpected opportunities to play Doom!

 

ttrap.wad

Not at all what I expected from Jim Flynn, this is a stonking, brash and unapologetically nonsensical mish-mash of experimental Doomisms and mini arena battles, with doors that look like walls (okay, that I expected) and weird little nooks and crannies filled with goodies, and monsters popping out of everything like jack in the boxes while ammo and megaspheres are vomited across the place like five other maps exploded in here and scattered their loot around.

 

By all normal metrics of what I like, I should hate it, but I actually had a great time!

 

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Trapped on Titan. After playing through Teeth, this doesn't feel as bad as it might have otherwise. I also watched the BMD playthrough (Not in preparation, but of course parts of it stuck with me) so I had a reasonable idea of where to go and where the secrets were, as well as where some of the traps were (Which I promptly forgot and still got surprised by).

 

I enjoyed this one.

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Trapped on Titan (Master Levels)

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

 

What an adventure! The start is evil, with the annoying lifts leading to even more heavy weapon dudes, but once you survive you can establish a foothold from which to tackle the rest of the level. The left lift at the start brings you to a megasphere and a decent ammo pool, provided you can kill the enemies in cramped rooms with the shotgun. There is a neat parkour section to reach the blue key. The right lift at the start allows you access to a rocket launcher for which ammo is provided in industrial amounts, making it my weapon of choice in this level.

 

As you drop off from the rocket launcher platform a new area opens, with some nasty crossfire encounters. Fortunately there's lots of supplies and a (not quite) secret megasphere to help you mitigate damage taken. The red key area is extremely memorable albeit ugly, with many heavy weapon dudes on automatically lowering platforms that will punish you if your invisibility ran out already and an arch-vile guarding the red key that is awkward to take cover from. Grabbing the red key reveals revenants on a higher ledge while picking up the megaarmor lowers the floor, revealing even more enemies. If you trigger every trap at once you'll have a bad time, but when tackling this slower it's not too tricky.

 

Beyond the red door there's a couple of buildings filled with enemies, with more monsters on the ground level. This area is great to clear with the rocket launcher. There's more parkour involved to be able to access the switch (heavily guarded) that lowers the final area, with a surprise arch-vile to make things more interesting. The last section has some more fun encounters and there's many ways to clear this room. There's barrels, a crusher and even a teleporter that can be used to telefrag the cyberdemon on Ultra-Violence for an easy kill.

 

This is a great level on the gameplay front, it's switch heavy but the progression never really feels obscure. The secrets are odd, one of them is easy to find and the other one is a bit tougher, requiring some ledgewalking and the use of an unmarked lift. There's a mishmash of textures, making the level seem like it was born from the amalgamation of different levels and that's okay in my book. There's an excess of ammo which I usually complain about but not here as it's well distributed across all the weapons. As for negatives, only the annoying lifts at the beginning, really.

Edited by Andromeda

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+++ Congestion 1024

 

Back with three short takes:

 

MINOS.WAD (“Minos’ Judgement”) by John Anderson

A solid map, reminiscent of the gloomy techbases appearing in E2 of Alien Vendetta. Nice mix of indoor and outdoor areas. Plenty of traps to keep you on edge, while not being dickish enough to murder you. Resource balance felt spot-on and the 5 secrets were intuitive enough to find on a first playthrough.

 

NESSUS.WAD (“Nessus”) by John Anderson

Brow, symmetrical techbase with a secret I wasn’t able to trigger because it’s too thin. And you call this a commercial release? Real professional, Mr. Anderson and id. Otherwise, this map’s ok. The layout and progression are not exactly interesting, and the Revenant behind the fake wall is thankfully a trope which didn’t stand the test of time.

 

PARADOX.WAD (“Paradox”) by Tom Mustaine

This one’s fine. It’s very monotextured brown, but I do like the vertical aspect with the looping stairs and Revenant towers. The Megasphere secret is tagged 3 times, because this is a professional release and not some maps by some dudes that id chose to sell. I also go the BFG, which has little use in this map. I killed the Rev and PE before the exit with it.

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MAP01 - TTRAP.WAD - "Trapped on Titan" -  Jim Flynn (100%K/100%I/50%S)

The other Titan map from Jim Flynn. This one felt like one of those tedious Hell Revealed maps, (That's why I didn't vote for Hell Revealed II, since I never played it, but I'm afraid of feeling the same way with it than with the first one). After a hectic start, starring two several chaingunners, you have then two paths to take, one takes you to the Blue Key, the other one is a dead end if you don't have the BK. As with the Titan Manor, this map presents quirky progress, like parkouring, humping suspicious walls, etc. It looks like just another 1996 map.
You'll never run out of ammo since it's all over the place. Overall placements look primitive and the result is not a fun map.

Deaths: 72

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

MAP31 - The Express Elevator to Hell
MAP01 - Subterra
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep

MAP01 - Trapped on Titan
MAP01 - The Garrison

MAP07 - Mephisto's Maosoleum
MAP32 - Bad Dream

 

 

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SUBSPACE.WAD (“Subspace”) by Christen Klie

The start is interesting, what with the mandatory shoot doors and the swarm of Lost Souls you don’t have the resources to deal with. The rest of the map is weird in that the strength of your opposition does not increases as you acquire more resources. There is still mainly fodder as you progress, with the occasional Hell Knight. As this is by the same author who made the earlier Catwalk, a mini Chasm reference is included. Maybe that map was a huge hit back in ’95? Who knows?

 

SUBTERRA.WAD (“Subterra”) by Christen Klie  

Do you like platforming in Doom? Do you like inescapable pits? If you answered yes to those two questions, this still isn’t a good map. None of the platforming is particularly satisfying or engaging and neither is the combat nor teleport trial and error.

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The "teeth" maps deserve their own post.

 

TEETH.WAD (“The Express Elevator to Hell”) by Sverre André Kvernmo

This map is fucking terrible. From those stupid slanted hallways, in which you can’t even dodge consistently, to the rest of the awful geometry that finds you stuck on something, or infinite heighted at every turn. I’ve played maps with a central lift and multiple floors as a concept and they were all lightyears ahead in quality over this syphilitic puddle of rat vomit. Everyone involved in making this be part of an official, commercial, release should feel terrible. I award this my lowest rating of Ass2Ass/10, as there is nothing redeemable here.

 

TEETH.WAD (“Bad Dream”) by Sverre André Kvernmo 

I’ve been tricked. People said this was the bad map, not 31. While certainly well in the joke map territory, complete with 0 detailing, a stuck Mastermind, and shitloads of Cyberdemons; at least it plays out as a rather simple puzzle map.

Here's my walkthrough (experience may vary and not guaranteed to work):

  • Chainsaw the Rev. Just run up to the guy and saw him down. If he punches you out, try again, but there’s a good enough chance to kill him with 100HP.
  • Alert Cybers and stand behind the closed door while you leave for a few minutes to use the bathroom, drink a beverage, or check the mail. This is to make sure the navigationally-challenged ones don’t get stuck around the middle and make it to the other side.
  • Take the teleport, chainsaw Zombie, grab keys and invul, while eating no more than one rocket, and run back through the starting door.
  • This next step is important as you want to wait 2 crusher cycles for all the Cybers to die. So, leave the game running and get up to do some stretches, pushups, or cardio.
  • Take door portal, shoot 2 rockets at the HK and pistol the rest down. Chainsaw PE and any Lost Souls. Blow one BFG shot on the Baron and exit map.

It’s dumb, but largely inoffensive.

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Vesperas. Holy shit this map kicked my ass - Admittedly mostly because I didn't know where I was going. Really tough map - And the progression again is weird. Apparently I'm meant to know to look for an invisible walkway to a megasphere that seems more suited for an oblique secret rather than progression.

 

Once I looked up how that worked and got the megasphere (And the armor it gives) the rest of the map fell into place relatively easily.

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Trapped on Titan

Wow, the beginning is something like if you get out of bed and hit the back of the head against the wall, fall and hit again... Well, at least there’s body armor and first-aid kits at the bottom of the pit.

This level is similar to others in the "Titan" series from Jim Flynn, including those not included in Master Levels. Therefore, if anyone likes this design, you can check them out.

A lot of soulspheres, berserk packs and megaspheres are scattered in level (I even lost count). I had to leave one blue body armor in the red key zone, though I forgot whether it is possible to get into that location again.

The only serious confusion after taking the yellow key. Because the wall leading to the north is not marked and for those who play for the first time it will not be easy to find it.
At the end, a theatrical action takes place where we are some kind of bullfighter who lures a cyberdemon into a teleport, behind which there is a crusher, and then we make a telefrag.

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Vesperas (Master Levels)

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

 

Also known as the unabridged version of Nessus. At the start, make sure to take all the items (there's four of them) hidden behind seemingly decorative satyr faces as they are a godsend to tackle the substantial teleporter trap in the outside area. Once that's cleared, time to get the yellow key on a seemingly inaccessible alcove in the nukage area. However, there's an invisible ledge bordering the wall that connects the entrance platform to that alcove, so hug the wall and make your way to it. The red key platform is interesting: The wall protecting the lift lowers first upon triggering the walkover line. However, if you press the switch that lowers the red key before the wall is fully sunken the platform will only lower to the point where the wall is currently, which is especially annoying in speedruns.

 

The blue key area is neat, very atmospheric. However, the invulnerability present in higher skill levels ruins its potential, making what would otherwise be a very tricky fight a piece of cake. Barring this detail, this is an amazing level, with lots of nasty traps, good architecture, nice detail and as usual in Dr. Sleep's levels great lightning work.

Edited by Andromeda

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TTRAP.WAD (“Trapped on Titan”) by Jim Flynn

Quite different from the puzzle-ish approach dominating the Manor map, Mr. Flynn tries his hand at making a large map with tough combat. And it's certainly aggressive by '95 standards and succeeds at being challenging. My favourite section has to be the city area with the yellow key. It's a nice looking place with the backdrop of the night sky and the building interiors do a good job with lifts and moving floors to create a 3D space. Health, ammo, and weapon progression is very generous, with multiple Megaspheres scattered around. I was at 200/200 after reaching the exit, and had to grab another sphere to trigger the optional section with the blue key. In your face Chaingunners at the very start kind of suck though. 

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MAP09 - VESPERAS.WAD (“Vesperas”) by John Anderson

What the Mickey Mouse shit is that yellow key progression?! Oh, I'm sorry, am I seriously expected to walk a 4 pixel wide ledge that's hidden behind a midtexture to move on with the map? After wasting enough time trying to find what I was missing, I had to look at Doom Builder to confirm that it's actually that idiotic. I've played quite a few maps with obscure progression, but this is pure lunacy. For a secret, fine. But a mandatory secret like that to complete the map? Absolute garbage! Oh yeah, the map itself is good otherwise.

 

MAP03 - VIRGIL.WAD (“Virgil’s Lead”) by John Anderson

This is a map which also happens to be the last map. Amazing!

 

Final Thoughts

The Master Levels do not stack up to the 4 main IWADs and can be safely skipped. Them being a collection of individual wads arranged in no particular order really shows how much id cared about this release. The least they could've done was compile them into a megawad with new music and other resources. No, instead it's all stock stuff (save for the night sky) with D_RUNNIN playing on like half the maps. Extremely lazy cash grab. Play any other well-known 90's megawad for an oldschool experience. I'd give this a 2/5, but I've enjoyed other sets I rated that a hell of a lot more. Final score: 1/5

 

Hit maps: Black Tower, Geryon, Minos

No: Bloodsea, Mephisto, Teeth

Edited by Spectre01

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Vesperas

To facilitate your trip, in the initial room it is recommended to search all the lockers for useful things.

A strange decision was to hide the yellow key in this manner, I agree with @Spectre01. If my memory serves me in the PSX version there was just a narrow beam that was slightly noticeable, this seems to me a more favorable option.

In terms of gameplay, this level can be called one of the best in Master Levels, although in some places there is crowding. The visual design is similar to other works by John Anderson - there are a lot of symmetrical locations, as well as good lighting work along with instant traps.

Virgils' Lead

A level with a similar design as the previous one, only more relaxed - this skill is absolutely optimal for me at this level (I played Master Levels on UV this time).

It seems like there are no special features here, but it plays quite nicely.

Of the attractions here can be noted the twin room in which the blue key is located. This is a bit like the Wormhole from TNT, where we penetrate the “wormhole” into the twin location. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Overall verdict

This map pack includes decent levels that are qualitatively executed in technical terms. It also included gimmick-based levels, which were quite innovative in 1995, although this is a controversial idea these days. I think back in the days it's should be released in 32-map megawad format with levels from the same authors, without adding a bunch of mostly amateur levels called "Maximum Doom".

Master Levels raised the standards of Doom level design, and it influenced the Final Doom that came out next year, but that's another story...

Most favorite maps: Virgil, Black Tower, Titan Manor, Trapped on Titan.
Less favorite maps: TEETH, Mephisto, Nessus.

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Virgil. A fitting end to the Master Levels - Fairly similar as mentioned to the previous level, and again some weird progression (I eventually figured it out WITHOUT needing to use Doom wiki. Proud of myself).

 

Overall The Master Levels were pretty hit and miss for me. Context is important though - The 90s tropes were a result of not knowing better. We have better level design now, and looking back these maps are rough. Very square, and often very cheap in their 'Things' placement.

 

I'm glad I've now played through them though.

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Been absent for a while doing other stuff, so ive got a lot of stuff to post huh.

 

Minos: This is a great level, probably my favourite of Dr Sleep's work. More of those void windows are seen here, making you feel like your in some sort of other world. I thoroughly enjoy the journey of this map pretty much every time I replay it.

 

Nessus: The lamest map of the entire Master Levels. A deathmatch map hastily converted to singleplayer for the Master Levels and it hows, it wasnt even playtested properly as there is a broken secret. Its so short that its a little sad theres an exclusive track for it on the PS1 version.

 

Paradox: The only map of Mustaine's to make it in, this one is a brutal little map, something like Sverre's work in challenge. I died so many times on the PS4 run of this map just trying to get a foothold on the map. This other submissions to the Master Levels ended up in TNT, as the opening map, and another early map, neither of which would feel all that good in this project. And then theres his Map 14 ripoff, which is literally a Wonderful Doom-esque remix of Inmost Dens.

 

Subspace: Subspace is the opener of a planned trilogy of maps, and its mostly forgettable to me. There is a cool moment at the start with the 'shoot the door' puzzle (which causes lost souls to slowly float up and attack from the windows). This map is more memorable in the PS1 version, as it was changed to use the night sky and darkened considerably. It was also meant to have an exclusive music track, but due to the cashgrab nature of PS1 Final Doom, the music track wasnt ready in time.

 

Subterra: Subterra is the Klie map with teeth. Harder than his usual maps, and part two of his planned trilogy. The third map, Subderma, never appeared, sadly, much like Dr Sleep's final map. This is easily my favourite of his maps due to how the difficulty actually ramps up, I actually die a bunch in this one. Like Subspace, this map on PS1 was intended to have a special exclusive track for it.

 

The Express Elevator to Hell: Oh dear lord, this is easily the final map of the set by any stretch of the imagination, due to its insane difficulty, and sure enough, it is the final map on the list for he PS3 and PS4 versions. Its actually meant to be a middle of the road map in the Cabal storyline, im imagining on his map 15 original idea, he would have had the option to just go straight to hell on an elevator, only for it to obviously get fucked with by the Cabal. The start of this map is extremely difficult, with a struggle to get a simple foothold, and so little space to dodge attacks. I love the multi-floor system, and how there are a few ways to make upcoming floors easier via clever secrets. Not really a fan of the archvile jump secret exit though.

 

Bad Dream: Ha. This map was snuck into the Master Levels, shows how little effort id put into checking submissions, they didnt even notice it was a two level wad. Bad Dream is a jokemap pretty much. I wonder if @Soundblock included it on purpose, or if it was actually gonna be present in his Cabal megawad? Amusingly, in the PS3 version, due to a bug this ends up the final map, the secret exit in TEETH accidentally takes you back to Attack.

 

Trapped on Titan: The most normal of the entire Titan series. I love the big old adventure this map gives, and I always look forward to this one. Even people that hate his brainstretching work, tend to enjoy this one. You even get a cyberdemon to fight, with several ways to take it out if a frontal assault isnt your thing (appreciated back in 1995)

 

Vesperas: Vesperas is the final map of Dr Sleep's episode and it shows, being the only map in this set to field a Cyberdemon (albeit having the fight ruined by invincibility), this map tears me a new one everytime I play it. I do hate the yellow key though. Was intended to have a special track on PS1 Final Doom, and was the finale map for the Master Levels there.

 

Virgil: Actually the first of the Dr Sleep maps you should play in this set, as its the easiest of the lot. A good old map which feels like it would be a good early map in a Doom episode.

 

I highly recommend people play Klie's rejected Master Levels, and the missing maps from the various series these Master Levels tend to be part of, to really get the 'megawad' experience, as there is roughly enough to get a full megawad's worth.

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Virgil's Lead (Master Levels)

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

 

Interestingly, this is the only level in Master Levels that doesn't have all difficulty settings implemented (only UV and HNTR) despite stating otherwise in the text file. Here we find intensive usage of wall textures as doors, which can slow down progression a bit. There's also two instances of walls that actually serve as lifts. Traps are small but challenging, featuring some cleverly placed teleport lines that allow monsters to attack you from behind. One of the most nasty traps here is in an almost pitch dark room, where you'll have to work for the supercharge and megaarmor.

 

The blue key room is almost identical to the starting room, giving some TNT MAP04 vibes. The final courtyard with the pool of blood is visually very interesting and provides a decent crossfire finale. Lure the mancubus away from the lift before riding it or you'll have a bad time. The exit is unusual, as you have to jump to the teleporter before the bars raise again. Solid level, short but sweet but by no means toothless, with simple but imposing architecture and detail.

 

Final thoughts:

 

Master Levels feature a slew of levels for Doom II released in late 1995. If taken into account that these levels were designed by amateurs of the craft at the time, with access to tools that were much less powerful than today's editors, it's remarkable to see the quality of the levels featured here. Of course, most don't hold up much today, but the same can be said for most WADs this old. While I wouldn't recommend a full playthrough to a more casual player, there's something for everyone here so you're bound to enjoy at least a couple of them.

 

Favourite levels, in order:

  1. Bad Dream
  2. Vesperas
  3. Virgil's Lead
Edited by Andromeda

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MAP09 - VESPERAS.WAD - "Vesperas" -  John Anderson (Dr. Sleep) (100%K/86%I/100%S)

This one is just a harder version of Nessus, it looks similar, but this one has tons of traps, several ambushes, and overall a Dr. Sleep style. This map is just a pain to play in UV, probably one of the most difficult/yet enjoyable maps in the mapset. It obviously loses some points because of the ammo and overall suplies shortage, and having to get mandatory secrets to progress (the stupid catwalk at the YK catwalk, as mentioned before). 
As with Nessus, the new sky gives it a different charm which I like.
Don't forget to grab the secret goodies at the starting room, since there is not much ammo and health on your progress through this.
What I like is that you can tackle this map in many different ways (although I'd suggest you to find a SSG soon). You can get your entire arsenal, yes, even a BFG, before grabbing the first key. So try to explore as much as you can, and try to not waste your ammo.
Fun map, but as I said, some things lower its score.

MAP03 - VIRGIL.WAD - "Virgil's Lead" -  John Anderson (Dr. Sleep) (100%K/80%I/100%S)

We finish our journey with probably one of the best maps in the mapset, and the one I enjoyed the most. This one is also the one I remember the most by playing through PSX Final Doom in my friend's house. At first I thought, this was made by Tim Willits, but then I realized that was made by Dr. Sleep, anyways, this map feels weird coming from him, and looks like it's one of his earlier works, just like Geryon. Simple, fun and easy map by mr. Anderson, which has been probably the strongest point throughout all this mapset. a characteristic thing on Anderson earlier maps, is that he loved green and brown textures (Specially the green/gray marble ones) that gave his maps an Inferno feeling, and you can notice this both at the start and the end.

Deaths: 80

Maps in order of preference:
 

Spoiler

 

MAP03 - Virgil's Lead (Very Good)
MAP05 - Minos' Judgement
MAP01 - Canyon (Good)
MAP01 - Paradox
MAP01 - Geryon: 6th Canto of INFERNO
MAP07 - Nessus
MAP09 - Vesperas

MAP01 - The Fistula
MAP01 - Attack
MAP01 - The Combine (Average)
MAP01 - The Catwalk
MAP01 - Subspace

MAP01 - Titan Manor
MAP25 - Black Tower

MAP31 - The Express Elevator to Hell
MAP01 - Subterra (Bad)
MAP07 - Bloodsea Keep

MAP01 - Trapped on Titan
MAP01 - The Garrison

MAP07 - Mephisto's Maosoleum
MAP32 - Bad Dream (Awful)

 


It has been a fun journey, but tomorrow I'll make my comments on my full experience, both from PW and ML.

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I can vote despite not playing this month right? In which case, I vote one of my favorites ^_^

+++ Hell Revealed 2

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Look, even if I haven't participate in this month megawad club, can I put my idea for next month megawad?

 

I want to be the outsider here, but since it had its birthday "recently", how about

 

+++ Doom 2: Hell on Earth

 

The other options fells or too short (Congestion 1024) or too monotonous (Hell Revealed 2). It's been very long time I haven't played both of these megawads, but my impression are that.

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@Walter confetti of course you can! EDIT: Missed @3saster’s post obviously same applies to you
 

Regarding the voting, I hear that Congestion 1024 is short, but my personal criteria is that (a) I want to play it, (b) I am reasonably confident of finishing it in that month; both of which are true for Congestion

 

Hell Revealed 2 is definitely on the list of megawads I want to play, but I don’t think I have enough time in December to finish it

 

I’m surprised Doom 2 hasn’t been played already by the club. Definitely up for playing it with the club at some point

Edited by Horus

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Well, I'll throw my final thoughts on both Plutonium Winds and the Master levels:

Plutonium Winds - Christian "Darkreaver" Lian

I'm not into arena maps or slaughtery levels, but this was a solid episode wad built in just "speedmapping" times, 10 days. There are some ups and downs here, as you would expect from a mapset that has been built probably at the rate of one map a day. Gameplay sometimes can be hurted by the fact that this had little time to be playtested. It's a really hard experience that reminisces more to something like Speed of Doom or newer maps rather than Plutonia. Yeah, Plutonia is hard even to this day standards, but is not hard in the same way, Plutonia is clearly the "oldschool" type of hard, in comparison to PW which is more newschool. Some features that may resemble Plutonia on this mapset is the architecture and texturing of some of the levels, but not by much, the "Plutonian" landscape feeling sometimes is lost.

The best map for me was MAP17, both aesthetically and in gameplay, the map that looked like an arena the least, and played more like an average level. I just felt like this wasn't just a map which throws you absurd amounts of enemies in your face for the sake of it.

My least favourite was MAP13, it has an awful start, and a hectic progression with little to no place to avoid attacks, having so much revenants blocking AV's that way is hard to deal with, and is not bad if you do it well, but I think this was poorly implemented. Also, I don't like arena maps.

Nice job for a speedmap episode, but fairly speaking, I think this is mostly average, on the good side.

Score: 55/100 (Average)

Master levels for DooM II - Various

A really old mapset with maps that have no actual relationship in between them, maps that you can actually play at any order, made as a response from ID Software to those companies that sold back in the day compilation disks of maps found on the internet. Featuring some of the best mappers of the era. The result is something that has really strange maps, that back in 1995, they looked really nice, but they aged worse than milk outside the fridge. Still, some of them are both fun and good looking, specially the ones from specific author. Talking about them, I'm going to review every single one in order of the ones that liked the least to most.

Jim Flynn: His two Titan-set maps were for me average/bad, both with quirky progression and stupid combat. Wasn't that fun. The Manor map looked well at times, but TTRAP surely looked ugly and played worse. I did not enjoy his style.

Sverre André "Cranium" Kvernmo: He made average/good maps that could not stand the test of time, back in the day, Cranium maps were some of the finest in the Doom Community, sadly, playing through most of them today, is just not as enjoyable. Most of his maps today, look like just a Frankenstein monster of early Doom experimentation. He liked to make nice landscapes that resemble something, and he clearly inspired most authors in the mid 90's with his work. Some of his maps made me remember of EARTH.WAD, which I did not enjoy that much on the gameplay side.

Tom Mustaine: Tom just came with only one map, and that's why I rate him lowers, as I would have enjoyed more maps by him, sadly, he came with this map, which was actually good, but nothing more.


Tim Willits: He has set the mood for the Master Levels, sadly with only two maps, that look and play really nice to this day, and that's why I enjoyed them. Sadly he only created two maps and nothing more, but his work was clearly more solid than Tom's.

Christen Klie: I think Klie's works were the ones that set the standard for the mapset. He liked to make maps in a Tom Hall style, just making something in an imaginary canvas, trying to occupy most of it, and creating weird maps with weird progression. Some of his design choices were pretty questionable, and full of personal rehashed gimmicks, just like the several catwalks and rushed rooms to fill blank space on said "canvas". He is mostly average, with some good maps,and some bad ones.

John "Dr. Sleep" Anderson:  Clearly, Dr. Sleep is the most solid author on the mapset, he has made several maps, which could look pretty samey, but they play, look and feel the best on the mapset. He has made some solid entries on this, and I enjoyed most of the playthrough when dealing with his maps.

The best 3 maps for me were Virgil's Lead, Minos and Canyon.

The worst were clearly Bad Dream (unplayable), Mephisto's Mausoleum and Garrison.

Average set of maps to this day. Just a mixed bag of good and bad, the good thing is that in a normal playthrough, you can choose what to play, so is like blindly getting a map from the bag and playing it. Anyways, it is probably the lowest scored of the ID official maps.

Score: 60/100 (Average)

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vesperas.wad

The action's good, but the yellow key is bullshit.  Minus all the stars for that.

 

virgil.wad

This was decent enough but a bit too set-piece focused for my tastes, and it could have done with a bit more "Dr Sleep Lights", especially in the marble bits.  Some cryptic progression again in the sense of non door/switch things you have to push, but nothing like vesperas.wad's invisible platforming YK nonsense.

 

Edited by Capellan

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Congestion 1024 and Hell Revealed 2 are STILL tied, with 5 votes each.

 

Finished the rest of the Master Levels set.

 

Both Klie and Kvernmo wound up disappointing me the most. The rest of Klie’s efforts didn’t impress me nearly enough (The start of GARRISON was pretty explosive but that was the last notable map by him), and Kvernmo went pretty bonkers with TEETH and the end of MEPHISTO. The former is just a cramped hellhole full of beefy foes with a terrible ending, and the latter was a fairly impressive and cool map that ends on an absolutely abysmal, broken-ass encounter where you’re flanked by barons with the chance for mancubi and AVs to spawn in right next to you (2 specters are all you need to block the IoS! TWO!!!) Dr. Sleep’s stuff was alright for the most part, being better than Tim “I like MAP01” Willits but no where near Klie and Kvernmo in creativity and skill. The last two Dr. Sleep maps in particular had a downright bizarre progression that made me glad to finish them, just so I never have to play them again. Mustaine’s map was fantastic and did nothing to annoy me.

 

You know who I really enjoyed here? Jim Flynn. MANOR vexed me to no end, but it was tightly designed with a lot of fun monster clearing at the start. TTRAP also was imbalanced beyond belief (it starts you with a chaingunner death gamble and ends on an easy peasy cyber fight), but it’s probably my favorite map of the set just because Flynn throws rockets and megaspheres at the player like there’s no tomorrow. Also most of the “puzzles” in TTRAP were just simple linedef triggers, and I only had to look up where to go once (it was the switch on the red key pillar.) The red key room is fun and chaotic, and the big city section was the highlight of the wad, giving you a small army to test your arsenal against.

 

Besides him, I guess Kvernmo would be my second favorite, just because he kept towards the beefier end of the bestiary and his levels actually had a theme to them. The problem is that most of his maps were obnoxious and overly strict, demanding you play it a specific way or find all the secrets, which isn’t my playstyle. He’s very technically competent and creates cool spaces especially for 1995, but his design does its damn best to keep me out.

 

Overall, I’d say the Master Levels are faaaaar from a must-play. I think it’s neat seeing “early” stuff from Flynn and Mustaine, but nearly every “big name” 90s megawad that came out afterward easily eclipses this set of maps. I don’t really care for TNT but I think I’d rather play that again than this. Besides the obvious lack of any kind of set cohesion, only Flynn and Kvernmo tried making maps with ambitious monster diversity, as everyone else was bedazzled by E1’s bestiary. On one hand I always feel bad judging old maps with my modern “please-lean-away-from-SSG-gameplay” lens, but on the other hand I can’t pretend like I enjoyed these maps.

 

Favorites: TTRAP.WAD, CATWALK.WAD, PARADOX.WAD

 

Least favorites: MEPHISTO.WAD, TEETH.WAD, VIRGIL.WAD

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