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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Hellscape & Preacher & Deadly Standards 2

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What is the DWmegawad Club?

This is a place where we settle down, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice) and take a month to play through a megawad on our own, together! Any keen observations, criticisms, or frustrated ranting about it goes here in the discussion. As long as you want to say something about what you've played, feel free to speak your mind.

 

Can I join?

Sure. The only rule is that you have to play at least some of the levels in our monthly megawad to contribute, but you're generally encouraged to finish the whole thing, even if you've played it before.

 

What levels am I allowed to post about?

Whatever day of the month it is, is the upper limit for the map you can post on. So if it’s the 6th, you may discuss up to MAP06.

 

Do I have to post an entry every day?

Nope, not at all. This is only for our more enthusiastic members. As long as you play through it with us you’re part of the club.

 

When do we vote on the next month’s megawad?

Voting begins on the 25th of the current month. Remember to add one “+++” before your vote to make it easier to count. For example:

 

+++ Ultimate Doom

 

Note that you can only nominate up to three separate wads for a single month, and the wads must contain at least three maps each. The winning wad must receive at least four votes for a thread to be made. Ties will be decided by RNG.

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>>>DOWNLOAD HELLSCAPE HERE<<<

>>>DOWNLOAD PREACHER HERE<<<

>>>DOWNLOAD DEADLY STANDARDS 2 HERE<<<

 

We got a grab bag of episodes this month, friendos! First up is Hellscape by Lutz, the guru of gorgeousness, which reimagines Doom 2’s E3 into bigger, bolder maps. Next up is an adventure into the mad world of Preacher by Darch, filled with heretics, demons, and one zealous protagonist. We close out February with Deadly Standards 2, a fun and modern Ultimate Doom E2 remake.

 

We're starting Hellscape on the 1st, Preacher on the 11th, and Deadly Standards 2 on the 20th

 

Maplist for Hellscape:

MAP21 - "The Suffering"

MAP22 - "Catatonic"

MAP23 - "Cask-It"

MAP24 - "The Caustic Depths"

MAP25 - "Veil of Blood"

MAP26 - "Quarry"

MAP27 - "Condolences"

MAP28 - "The Spirits Within"

MAP29 - "The Dying End"

MAP30 - "Iconic"

 

Maplist for Preacher:

MAP01 - "Pagan Temple"

MAP02 - "Babel"

MAP03 - "Sacrificial Altar"

MAP04 - "Dark Tower"

MAP05 - "40 Days in the Desert"

MAP06 - "Noir"

MAP07 - "Sanctuary"

MAP08 - "Witch Hunt"

MAP09 - "Crown of Thorns"

MAP10 - "Judgment Day"

 

Author & Maplist for Deadly Standards 2:

E2M1 - “Outpost Lima Charlie” by Liberation, Crunchynut44

E2M2 - “Vulpine” by Capellan

E2M3 - “Ore Refinery” by The_Slovinator

E2M4 - “Underground Prison” by Walter Confalonieri

E2M5 - “The Star Child” by NeedHealth, Walter Confalonieri

E2M6 - “Dynamo Hum” by SteveD

E2M7 - “Lost” by Roofi

E2M8 - “Shipwrecked” by Roofi

E2M9 - “Soul Converting Centre” by riderr3

 

BONUS CONTENT

kmxexii reviews: Hellscape

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OLD THREADS

Spoiler

The DWmegawad Club Metathread

 

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

 

Edited by dobu gabu maru

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PrBoom+, HMP, continuous, no music, frequent saves, infinitely tall things are ON (Best Doom!)

 

Hellscape MAP21

I'm not generally a fan of Doom 2's IWAD maps, so "episode 3 except prettier and harder" does not really fill me with enthusiasm, but I shall play until frustration kicks in and then probably play -nomonsters to look at the pretty sights.

 

Anyway, this is ... fine?  I've not played the IWAD maps enough to say how closely the whole level cleaves to the original (and I don't plan to open GZDB to find out), though obviously I do recognise the opening room.  I like how the deep water effect is used to keep monsters quiet until you get close to them, there.  I'm less enamoured of the large open areas with distant chaingunners that dominate much of the back half of the map.

 

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MAP21

 

I think I'll have a go at this again, at least for the first wad.

 

Playing on UV continuous in GLBoom+

 

I've tended to be an adherent of traditional mid-late 1990s style Doom over the more 'new-fangled' modern stuff, but playing the original level immediately before tackling the 'remake' did get me thinking. One does realize just how staggeringly crude is the former by comparison with the latter, both in graphics and gameplay, when sampled 'back to back' like this. 

 

Really did enjoy this opening map, especially the vast lava-filled pit in the closing sequence. Died three or four times from start to finish, despite making some use of saves. 

 

By the way, I did look into the possibility of switching off the 'infinitely tall' business in GLBoom+ (as recommended by the wad author), but could find no means of doing so. Can anyone shed any enlightenment here?

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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39 minutes ago, Summer Deep said:

Can anyone shed any enlightenment here?

 

Yea, that is not supported in prb/glb+. To have finite tall actors, in this case for boom you might want to use (g)zdoom or derivatives.

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Uh @dobu gabu maru, it seems the map names in Hellscape are actualy different :P The maplist is:

Spoiler

MAP21 - The Suffering

MAP22 - Catatonic

MAP23 - Cask-It

MAP24 - The Caustic Depths

MAP25 - Veil of Blood

MAP26 - Quarry

MAP27 - Condolences

MAP28 - The Spirits Within

MAP29 - The Dying End

MAP30 - Iconic

 

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PrBoom+, HMP, continuous play.

 

DOOM II: Hellscape.

 

MAP21

This is not often when pwads do not start on the first map. When we see familiar places in MAP21, we understand that the order of the maps was organized for a reason.

The internal locations resemble Quake-like shapes, many arches and scenery, sometimes you just stop to look at all this architecture. What can not be said about the external rocky locations: there are a lot of places where it is not entirely clear whether it is necessary to climb the ledges or not. This applies to the pre-final location, where it is especially likely that you will be faced by a passing fireball and fall down.

Another point is that against the background of high detail on the map there are almost no secret places, I assume that this trend will continue on subsequent maps.

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    GZDooM, probably continuous, HMP. Maybe I'll do pistol start if I feel like it.

 

MAP21: The Suffering (HMP, Deaths: 0, Saveless: Yes)

    I like it how you can recognize the specific encounters from Nirvana, like the Mancubus/Imps staircase and the Shotgunner/Imp encounter after the first teleporter. It was weird how the Megasphere was not tied to a timed switch you had to press and then run trough the teleporter like in the original. The final area was something I decidedly did not enjoy, I do not particularly like Romero-esque "fighting on tiny ledges above lava" encounters. This was also the toughest encounter, especially with chaingunners peppering you from everywhere, the beginning requires you to quickly asses your surroundings, carve yourself a small niche and work from there. This is also the part that felt the least like its source material. I guess that's what will happen when the Petersen's iconic IDGAF approach to texturing is taken out.

    I also encountered a bug, the pillars the chaingunners were on (on path to the Red Key) did not raise 128 units, but only 64 units, so I had to Noclip to the Red Key. Opening up GZDooM Builder, the switch is tagged as "S1 Floor Raise by Shortest Lower Texture", but the texture on the pillar is METAL2 (64 by 128), so I have no idea what happened. 490755006_Beznaslova.png.515788248d5937c99b14ce85b829c1d9.png

 

    Impressions? It felt kind of average, I did not particularly enjoy it. Did I like it more than the source material? Hard to say. Final verdict: A definite "Meh".

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I played Hellscape for the first time about 2 years ago. I don't think I finished it though, only got to map 28. I remember enjoying it, particularly the visuals and the idea of modernizing some of the most controversial of the original id levels. For some reason I always like seeing things done up all new and modern but with a recognizable framework underneath.

 

Map 21 - The Suffering

Starting off with what began as "Nirvana," one of the oddest levels of Doom II, we get another group of ragtag rooms connected by teleportation. They are more well-integrated here than in the original (Not a high bar, though) and the texturing makes more sense between them. For the most part I enjoyed the level, although traversing the final section wasn't always the easiest, could have used some impassable linedefs on those rock faces to keep doomguy from constantly bouncing up onto them. Visuals are great, amazing what the right people can do with stock textures. Also I like the MAP21 music (But I like "Into Beast's Belly" from TNT too, so take my MIDI-related opinions with a grain of Salt).

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1 hour ago, Pechudin said:

   I also encountered a bug, the pillars the chaingunners were on (on path to the Red Key) did not raise 128 units, but only 64 units, so I had to Noclip to the Red Key. Opening up GZDooM Builder, the switch is tagged as "S1 Floor Raise by Shortest Lower Texture", but the texture on the pillar is METAL2 (64 by 128), so I have no idea what happened.

 

 

I expect that the pillars don't have lower textures on both sidedefs, and you have GZDoom set to emulate vanilla behaviour somehow, which treats empty lower textures as 64 high.

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1 hour ago, Capellan said:

I expect that the pillars don't have lower textures on both sidedefs, and you have GZDoom set to emulate vanilla behaviour somehow, which treats empty lower textures as 64 high.

    Hm, I tried it in GLBooM+ and it works. I do not remember EVER screwing around with compatibility settings in GZDooM (by that I mean the compatibility is GZDooM's default). By both sidedefs I assume you mean the front and back sidedef? Indeed, the back one is untextured and the sidedef is tagged as "double-sided", if that could be it. Maybe I'll try untagging "double-sided".

 

    MAP22: Catatonic (HMP, Deaths: 2, Saveless: No)

    Gah, this one annoyed me with tons of small detail you can get caught on, this alone would not be a problem if the map was not filled with nukage pits. I am not complaining about the nukage though, as that was the theme of MAP22 in DooM 2, and Romero loved to have maps centered around nukage/lava pits. The map feels more closed than the original, in the original the central area was under open sky, but here we are in an underground cavern. The map also is quite a bit longer than its source material, MAP22 is a very short map clocking in at around 50 monsters, but here we have about 150 monsters (on HMP, presumably more on UV).

    The gameplay was quite slow-paced, especially initially in the central area as almost no angles are safe. I was incredibly unlucky with Revenants, must've eaten 5-6 max-roll rockets during the run of the map. I quite liked the Red Key trap, the instinct was to run to the cave entrance to bottleneck Cacos/Pain Elemental but Revenants/Hell Knight were placed in your way, this was smart encounter design. I also liked the FIREBLU portals the Cacodemons/Pain Elemental spawn from.

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1 hour ago, Pechudin said:

  By both sidedefs I assume you mean the front and back sidedef? Indeed, the back one is untextured and the sidedef is tagged as "double-sided", if that could be it. Maybe I'll try untagging "double-sided".

 

 

Don't do that. It is likely to cause worse problems. Just make the back lower texture the same as the front one.

 

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MAP22

 

This is a massively expanded take on the very much more compact 'Catacombs', of which some essential design features and individual details are clearly recognizable, not least the extensive use of chaingunners. In combination with a supporting cast of Revenants and others, these provide a potentially lethal crossfire situation in the central arena, and you'll be lucky to get to the first main building in one piece. On the first couple of attempts, this was more like the battle of Stalingrad than conventional Doom, with the player repeatedly being pinned down in various areas as ammo and health ran short, and hoping to avoid annihilation in the dash for the next power up. Only when I grabbed that carelessly abandoned plasma rifle on my third start did the pressure let up somewhat. At the end I initially ran straight past the gallery of chaingunners towards the exit, but then decided these murderous bastards were going to pay for all the havoc they and their colleagues had wreaked, but they then proceeded to infight and blow each other to shreds, so there were only a couple left to deal with.

 

Points of interest: this is supposed to be the map where the player is most severely encumbered by the 'infinite height' issue, but I didn't find it a very big deal at all here, so hopefully it shouldn't be a problem in the rest of the wad. Also, I was expecting to find a secret area close to the starting point, as per the original (which has a hidden Soul Sphere and Green Armour), but all I found were two empty passageways opened by skull switches - was the mapper trolling his customers here? More likely I just missed something, and there was definitely a plasma rifle visible in the room where those chaingunners were right at the start. Finally what did that shootable skull switch do? Maybe opened up a secret area, but if so I didn't find it....

 

Another very testing but engaging and enjoyable level.

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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Glad to see Preacher here! I've seen some authors joining the club and talking about their ideas and map making process, so when we get to Preacher, I'll share some stuff too, if anyone cares 

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MAP21: The Suffering

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

Nirvana is one of my lesser-liked maps and so there are parts I didn't remember well... I think off the top of my head I'd remember the opening room, and the final exit area with the three key doors and the 'cavern', and that's about it. Playing this one, the white rock area with the shotgunners and revenants also rang a bell, but the wooden area sure didn't. Playing the original again, I can see why that one got changed so much... weird triangular staircase and such. Things look much nicer in that regard (though it does border on being too overly detailed at points, I think it manages to stay on the right side of that line) and generally play better, too. Certainly nothing as obtuse as the magically-lowering rock pillars in the original. I did have the same pillar-raising bug that Pechudin had though, which is a bit strange since the readme says it was tested primarily with ZDoom, which is the port I'm using. C'est la vie. 

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Hellscape MAP22

My two main takeaways here are:

1. I really don't remember IWAD map22 at all.  The only thing that's at all familiar is the 'chaingunner slots'; and

2. This WAD likes distant chaingunners a lot more than I do

 

I didn't have much trouble with infinite tallness, here, though I do as a rule tend to clear out pits before trying to cross them.  The marble pillars room with revenants all around it looks very cool and is easily the most memorable location in the map.

 

The trap on the red key is pretty easy to ignore, as you can slalom back to the exit past the various monsters.  That's what I chose to do, since there did not seem much point in sticking around to fight.

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MAP22

This map is more to my liking than the previous one, except for the hub-like location with invisosphere in the middle. The fact is that it is annoying to hide in one room, and baddies are scattered all over the place at different heights and at that moment you are out of ammunition, this forces you to rush into the unknown. I myself, as a mapper, try to avoid creating such "grindy" locations in my last maps.

I completely skipped ambush after the red key, because I already knew where to go. In these cases, some mappers set up blocking trap bars or cut off the retreat. But not at this time.

I believe that this wad needed custom textures and flats more if such detailing is taken into account.

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First time playing Hellscape.

 

MAP21: So this is wad is a remake of Doom 2 3rd episode ravamped with Lutz's extreme detailing. All the parts of the original Nirvana are here and recognizable despite the new look makes this almost turn into another level. The starting area is more expanded and it became a very dark and gloomy brick palace that has a Quake feel. The Suffering keeps the layout feature of teleporting into separated areas. I think the original did a better job at making a weird trip into abstract areas if I can find something good about Nirvana. The last area looked annoying at first but it was less tedious than what I was thinking, apart from the chaingunners but I liked how you can frrely climb the rock to snipe the monsters. Gameplay was unremarkable.

 

MAP22: At least I was able to find the secret SSG at the start while trying to see if like the original you can get that secret plasmarifle. Looking back at the original for a comparison it looks so bare-bones and tiny that Lutz had to put more of his own but you can see that all the parts draw some inspiration or even have certain details (like the door that locks you on the way to the RK) are the same that shows how well the author studied the id levels. I was so confused about those 2 lifts near the start that do nothign. I didn't so much fun with this map. The hub area was very annoying with all those snipers around and the caged revs, you can bump on the spectres below and fall into the nukage while doing the back and forth platforming to clean the areas and at first I was thinking that the nukage pit was inescapable since the brown ashwall stairs to get out are almost impossible to notice in the darkness. The lack of armor gives lots of troubles as the health goes down quickly and there are a lot of chaingunners used. Thankfully the gameplay gets more torelable as you progress. The area before the RSK, when you first enter into those big and dark caves was very cool and scenic. Like the other I skipped gasbags that come after you pick the key. And I did that also at the exit room where you can skip all those chaingunners and lost souls. The tasteful architecture and lighting combine with the geen marble and nukage gave me sone Toxic Touch vibes.

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MAP23

 

Based, of course, on 'Barrels O' Fun'. That level is one which initially seems exceedingly tough, but after two or three attempts the player can develop a strategy (by using the teleporters and the blocking lines in the upper gallery, for example) whereby it can be managed in a straightforward way. The adoption of such an analytical and methodical approach does tend to make the map a less than enthralling experience though. Here Lutz manages to rework the layout and dynamics in such a way that one can play with far more freedom and enterprise, and it's a lot more enjoyable as a result.

 

The map follows its predecessor more closely than was the case with the previous two. There are three visits to barrel-filled rooms, which are easily negotiated, and you only stand much chance of taking damage in the last one. It was amusing to see that the Mancubus at the start is more explosion resistant than his predecessor. Then there are the encounters in the pair of 'wings' off the central hub. Both are very manageable, and the more engaging of the two is against the Spider Mastermind, which has the assistance of a horde of chaingunners, sergeants, imps and Arachnotrons. If the SM gets caught in the crossfire between the Arachnotron guarding the yellow key and the Revenants and Hell Knights in the courtyard below, your role may be reduced to one of a spectator in the later stages.

 

Finally, I found the Megasphere puzzle/secret really frustrating. Took ages to work out exactly what the skull switch did, then there was the timed run round six right-angled corners and up a flight of steps to grab it before the gate was raised again. This puzzle could only have had about a quarter of a second of 'slack' in its timing, and any player whose reflexes and co-ordination are significantly less than 100% can probably forget all about getting the powerup. It took me about ten attempts, by the way.

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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Alright, after a few busy days I'm back to tackle this trio of wads starting with Hellscape. It's a levelset in the style of episode 3 from Doom II by Chris Lutz, whose only work I've played was P:AR, specifically the first level. I remember it being extremely well detailed so I'm expecting more of the same here.

 

MAP21: The Suffering (Hellscape)

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

 

We start in a familiar room, complete with the super shotgun, imps facing away from you and hanging bodies all over the place. It follows many of the ideas of the original such as the teleporting sequences, but feels a lot more spacious. There's a cheeky armor placed inside the deep lava in the second area which is tricky to grab without taking damage. While the monster count is not too high the enemies are very well placed, clearly some thought went into encounter design.

 

Also of note is the excellent lightning work in the first room, it might be a bit subtle but makes an otherwise bland area really pop out. The area after taking the teleporter beyond the yellow bars is done more liberally when comparing to the original design, yet it's certainly more interesting for it. It looks deceptively simple to clear, however I got reduced from 200/200 down to 10-ish health before finding some supplies. I did play it extremely recklessly, but still. Seeing how Nirvana got vastly improved here despite being one of my least favourite levels in Doom II, I'm eager to see what follows.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP21: The Suffering

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Hellscape MAP23

I enjoyed this map more than the others, though in terms of gameplay I am not sure exactly why.  It is just as fond of distant chaingunners as the last two, and adds "chaingunners teleporting in all around you" to further compound the annoyance factor.  Possibly it's just because it is so darn pretty, that whenever I did clear out an area I would often take time to just enjoy the scenery.  Possibly it's because it is pretty generous with goodies (even if you miss all the secrets, like I did), so it remains quite achievable even if you are occasionally flayed down to minuscule health by nonsense chaingunners.  And possibly it's just because slaloming through those barrels was pretty fun :)

 

As previously, I will be away from my PC for the middle of most weeks, so I will have to play catch-up on weekends.  Fortunately, I have a week of vacation at the end of the month, so there's some additional opportunity to play then.

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bDe7deU.png

MAP21: The Suffering (3/5)
Skill: HMP | Time: 14:00 | Kills: 111/120 | Items: 126/129 | Secrets: 0/1

I have always believed that a remake, to be good, must start from a map with a good layout; otherwise you are just polishing a turd. I have always thought the original "Nirvana" was a turd, and Chris Lutz's polish makes "Nirvana" look better, but it doesn't really make "Nirvana" better. The original's inherent suckage drags down all attempts by "The Suffering" to rise above it. The brown brick interlude looks and plays the best, while the platforming cavern is made infuriating by the added detail, which obscures the intended routes. I died several times just figuring out where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do while chaingunners gave me a new ventilation system, but once I did get my bearings, beating the level was fairly straightforward, if annoying. The red granite texturing, while more uniform and logical than the complete clusterfuck that was the original level's ending, still looks messy. And I think "Veil of Maya" would have been a better map name, both as a pun on Buddhist cosmology and a pun on the Cynic song.

 

iJkXYff.png

MAP22: Catatonic (4/5)
Skill: HMP | Time: 16:14 | Kills: 147/159 | Items: 53/57 | Secrets: 1/4

"Catatonic" takes considerable liberties with the original conception of "The Catacombs", expanding American McGee's tight, boxy romp into a sprawling marble ruin flooded with nukage. The central chamber is initially thickly populated with entrenched revenants and chaingunners who will make your first foray a hazardous ones, dashing among pillars and between catwalks looming over a toxic soup below. Like in the original, it involves a "four corners" layout, but the plain, flat platform is now a fancy marble gazebo surrounded by irregular rocky outcrops that punish the tiniest misstep with the loss of precious health as you scramble to find the lift to get back up. If you haven't dealt with the chaingunners yet, you're probably toast. But it just wouldn't be a Lutz map without some fiddly sector crap to get caught on, eh?

 

Of course it looks gorgeous, but Lutz's detail here is more restrained than his Phobos: Anomaly Reborn days. Lutz makes this (slightly) simpler architecture look beautiful through a total mastery of lighting. Light propagates realistically and seems to bounce off surfaces, like a Quake lightmap--a really good one--drawn in sectors, with a lot of the architecture seemingly built to support the lighting rather than the other way around. The standout fight is the two-stage radsuit brawl for the red key, which sees you getting down and dirty with arachnotrons and then a horde of mixed fliers while overlooking revenants provide fire support. However, I can't help but wonder how this map woukld play in Quake, given how it looks.

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MAP23

It’s not necessary to run through these barrels and take risks, you can hide in a corner of the room and blow up the barrels with almost no damage. Perhaps this was even an omission from the author.

The most dynamic at this level is the spiderdemon area, where we first need to deal with teleporting groups, and then we are "locked" in a room with a subsequent siege. By the way, I didn’t even touch spiderdemon, since the 'trons did it for me.

A funny moment was waiting for me right behind the yellow door near the exit: I did not notice the hidden barrels on the sides, blew up the front ones followed by a chain reaction - and it cost me significant damage.

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MAP22: Catatonic (Hellscape)

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

 

Here we have the Catacombs reimagining. The starting area contains two secrets, much like the original but one of them is only accessed much later in the level. The elevator usage is better, as they connect the various areas much less abruptly. Clearing the hub area is tricky, but it's fun to hop from platform to platform and kill the enemies quickly. I found the red key area quite obnoxious, especially due to the far away heavy weapon dudes and pain elementals. My favourite section was the ending walkway, it's gorgeous and reminds me a little bit of TNT MAP13's second to last room. Very good stuff and surprisingly deadly!

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP22: Catatonic

MAP21: The Suffering

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MAP23: Cask - It (HMP, Deaths: 0, Saveless: Yes)

    If there were no barrels in the opening/closing area, I would probably have a hard time recognizing this map as inspired by "Barrels 'o Fun". Architecture is much grander, transforming the dull opening of its source material into a kind of skeleton of a gothic cathedral, and combat is generally more fun than the original. Did the map lose something with this? Part of me wishes the map stuck to the barrel meme a bit more, since this enlarged scale diluted the few barrel-themed encounters the map has. Does this go against the Petersen's gimmick idea-focused design? Maybe, but to be fair the author did not go for TWID-like philosophy, but a reimagining.

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MAP23: Terrible. Where are the barrels? Where's the fun? To be fair even the original had the barrles mainly at the iconic start and the exit area but here they are used even less turning the expanded areas into a slog. Even the outdoor with the blood pit worked better in the original since there you can't go back and the few snipers used already works well, while here you have to camp nad slowly take them down. The spiderdemon encounter was better and making it infight was the only fun part. What's the point of making this super detailed gloomy citadel and keeping the goofy midi arrangement of "Them Bones"?

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MAP23: Cask-it (Hellscape)

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

 

Barrels galore! The starting trap is a bit meaner than the original, here I try to make the mancubus blow up the closest barrels, then I quickly grab the shotgun and blow it up. The second room isn't much easier, but the chaingun placement screams "grab and retreat", which is a good strategy to defuse the trap. The path to the switch raising a bridge to the other side is pretty chill, with just a pain elemental and a few hitscanners coupled with the benefit of a supercharge.

 

You'll need the extra health for after you cross the bridge you'll be in the middle of an intense crossfire - the heavy weapon dudes are surprisingly good snipers. The megasphere secret found afterwards is very cool, it tests the quality of your movement but it's still pretty forgiving. Soon after we'll have the iconic Spiderdemon fight, this time backed by some hitscanners. The strategy is the same, try to make it infight with its arachnotron minions.

 

It's a little trickier to achieve than in the original due to the less open layout, but still pretty doable. The BFG9000 wing has a neat structure above the blood, reminding me a little bit of the stairway with a caged arch-vile in the middle found in Doom II MAP17 for some reason. The last trap can get a bit hairy, especially if the heavy weapon dudes in the back of the room don't die to the barrel explosions. The detailing and lightning work in this level as in the previous ones is excellent. All in all, a great level with NRFTL vibes and a lot of barrels providing lots of fun!

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP23: Cask-it

MAP22: Catatonic

MAP21: The Suffering

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QOf00yM.jpg

MAP23: Cask It (3.5/5)

Skill: HMP | Time: 16:29 | Kills: 198/214 | Items: 42/42 | Secrets: 1/1

 

The barrel gimmick of "Cask It" is pretty subdued compared to the original "Barrels O' Fun", and many of the barrel scenes that remain are effectively neutered by the grandiose scale of this map, leaving plenty of room for an adroit player to avoid the explosions. Here Lutz's representationalist, gothic stylings are an uneasy match for Petersen's surreal, nonsensical layout. In "Barrels O' Fun" everything was about the gimmick and nothing had to make sense any other way. Here one half of the map becomes a Notre Dame-esque cathedral and the other half a big, circular track where the projectile-dodging NASCAR Racing circlefest is disrupted by an onslaught of shotgunners and chaingunners who are far more dangerous than the spiders themselves. Indeed the whole map is crawling with hitscanners, and the central courtyard is a huge killzone into which a narrow corridor funnels you blind, to which the only rational response is to draw the ground-pounders back into the entry tunnel one by one like a coward before laboriously digging out the entrenched snipers, especially because dodging past them means you'll be under fire from chaingunners and an archvile on every lap of the spider racetrack. The final major fight was a cramped clusterfuck where I could not even see most of the enemies attacking me, so I simply ran past it and into the teleporter to the final barrel room, which is the closest part to Petersen's original, but again watered down by the urge to make everything bigger and more elaborate. Petersen's map is better.

Edited by Woolie Wool

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MAP24

 

Well, as one veteran contributor to this thread might put it, I'm 'definitely not a fan' of this level. The main reason for this is that, somewhat surprisingly, it doesn't improve on the dire layout and frustrating gameplay of the original in the vast area behind the blue door - still the very similar narrow walkways (with a bit of a kink in them, lol), and well before the end I was sick to the teeth of hearing that appalling retching sound when the player (ie me) fell into the nasty stuff! At one point you're teleported straight into the fists of a Revenant, and before you have time to get your bearings, will usually fall right back into the slime or even into some sort of crevice from which there's no escape. At least the mapper dispensed with that unintelligible nonsense involving the invincibility sphere though, and he did make the selection of goodies on the central platform easy to get.

 

The map follows the original far more closely than the previous three, including the vast numbers of pink and spectral demons. I usually love punching these things, but even that grew to be a bit tedious here, and the encounters seemed to lack the intensity and desperation of the originals. It is possible to finish the map without visiting at least two significant locations (the one on the far side of the opening area, accessed via platforming, and the room with the two radsuits and megasphere), but they're worth a look and are more fun than the rest of the map, if perhaps blander than their equivalents in 'The Chasm'. It was pleasing to find the well concealed secret Soul Sphere in one of these rooms.

 

I think I missed one more area, as I was a dozen or so kills short by the end. I'm assuming it was probably one which corresponded to that very secluded section of nukage in the original which contained the BFG. Looked everywhere, but couldn't find it.

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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I feel Lutz's design style is suited especially well to an enhanced re-imagining of anything, really, because it kinda feels like an enhanced re-imagining of itself. If you analyze his rooms at the broadest scale, abstracting away all the fractal-like steps, they tend to have simpler core shapes and architecture than is in vogue today: lots of rectangles, lots of symmetry, lots of pillars. But he embellishes these simple plans sublimely. 

 

I feel like what makes Lutz a real master, though, isn't necessarily pimping up the stats count -- which, frankly, is the easy part. It's that he has a very good taste for when it's attractive and when it's tacky, and steers clear almost entirely of the latter. Everything can be tacky of course, but I feel this style, in its heyday a decade-plus back, was especially prone to bungling in the hands of authors who viewed quantity as an end to itself. Lutz is certainly not one of those. 

 

Also, you can't spell Chris Lutz without "lighting gradients." The way they dip into gloom, how that is so common, is a huge part of the appeal and is amazing.

 

On to the maps. prBoom+, UV. 

 

21: The Suffering

 

"Nirvana" was the oddest map in Doom 2's Hell episode, not because it had a bizarre theme but because it lacked any real theme. Even by the standards of Sandymaps, it defied structure and coherence. With "The Suffering," Lutz has swapped the rushed drug trip for normalcy. Loose references to the base map are everywhere, but if this were deposited somewhere as a standalone, my mind likely wouldn't go there. 

 

I enjoyed just about everything before the last area: the SSG cluster kills against imps in the dark, the hectic front-loaded setpieces. The outdoor hellscape does what I imagine to be a great job of modernizing how Nirvana's platforming might have felt to a green FPS player in '94 with sub-optimal controls. I also appreciate the artistic touches. But I can't say I enjoy it. It feels protracted and awkward, without a big payout in satisfying combat.  

 

22: Catatonic

 

I... enjoyed this? Parts of it, at least. Stuff I like and dislike seems to be twinned in the same location: platforming that rewards nimbleness, yay, hugging a corner, nay; cathartic power-level shift at the end where you get a mega, yay, half the monsters are in a pit difficult to aim into and infight, uwotm8? There are parts that make me imagine I'd DNF in an instant if the aesthetics weren't as good, and parts that actually play dynamically... like the gunner snares, and that clever point-blank push-forward baron at the end. I rushed back to the teleport sounds of the revvie and HK pack triggered by the BK pickup and killed them swiftly, but it was a mixed blessing because of PEs buried among cacos, making a mess behind gratings. Sums up the mix. It looks neat at least. Play geometry is understated and the most striking sights are often in the near distance, like the high metal grating overlooking the four-spoke hub. The marble floor tiles are very pretty.

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