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dobu gabu maru

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

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Preacher MAP09

 

 On my first attempt at this I got to 340 kills, then ran into an AV who seemed to appear from nowhere - game over! Well, in a sense I wish it had been, because that first run through was probably as good as it got for this map. It really did drag on for too long, with quite a lot of repetition and 'filler' material. Only towards the end, with the imposing yellow key temple and its lethal monster menagerie, did things perk up again (I liked the Cacoswarm, by the way). Then there was the IoS, one of the toughest I've encountered along with those of Hell Revealed and Hellbound. I often find these rather alienating experiences, and a poor 'reward' for keeping faith with a wad right to the bitter end, and this was no exception, but it played fair and was imaginative. I was in despair when the third rocket struck home to no effect, but thank goodness the next 'hit' brought things to a conclusion!

 

Couple of other observations: on my first playthrough, there was definitely a chainsaw early on, a welcome, if long-delayed, development. On subsequent starts, there didn't seem to be one, to the detriment of the gameplay in this level, I felt (no Berserk pack found either). Also it's worth noting that if you do a bit of shimmying around in front of the barrier before leaving the starting room, you can instigate some infighting in the far distance - difficult to see exactly what was going on, but on one occasion this got rid of over 30 monsters, including a Spider Mastermind. SMs didn't fare too well in this wad, but at least there was a reasonably effective one later on.

 

The last map has no monsters, and apparently no day set aside for reviews, so I'll leave it there.

 

Preacher - a way above average playing experience, far more enjoyable in my view than the first one in this month's selection. Just about the right length, plenty of variety and imagination in the gameplay, challenging but not too hard, and no mind-numbing puzzles (except maybe for secrets not needed for progression, which is fair enough). Favourite maps were 07 and 08. A good 9++ out of 10 overall.

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MAP08

If you go to continuous play, you can try your luck and deal with the first cyberdemon. This level is basically similar to an arena in which there are a lot of moving elevator platforms, as well as a lot of lying objects - in this case we will have to run a lot to collect them.

Do not forget that behind the two optional bars (red and blue) there are many cells that can come in handy.

I still left one cyberdemon and preferred to go out, as it was clear that again the final pedestal was locked with three keys.

MAP09

This map does not present us with something unusual, but merely multiplies what was in the previous one, on a ridiculous scale. Even just to pick up ammunition and things you need to spend a new amount of time running around. After so much opposition, I expected not to meet a monster spawner, because it would be just tiring. I still haven’t come across decent maps that were both long and at the same time contained IoS fight with spawner.

About the final location. My rockets constantly either did not hit the target, or simply disappeared upon contact. Only when I get to a certain place on the stairs, I found a comfortable position. There was mostly a lack of armor.

Overall verdict

I approving this wad, there are many open spaces for movement and resources complement the feeling well. But still, MAP09 was the quintessence of oversaturation and repetition of what was already shown on previous maps, including IoS fight when a player was already exhausted.

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MAP09: Crown of Thorns (Preacher)

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

 

This is it, the finale of Preacher! We have quite a journey in front of us, with a monster count just shy of 800! The starting location is very imposing and to me perhaps the visual highlight of the level, but the rest is not too far behind and looks great as well. Difficulty wise, this is actually easier than the previous levels, but still poses a challenge. It never pits you against insurmountable odds however, which is a good sign considering you'll be spending about an hour here if you're going for 100%.

 

There's plenty of prayers to go around but the Preacher's staff doesn't show up until the very end, which means you'll be using the plasma spellbook a lot. It's a weapon that I find myself underusing, so if the level gives me a reason to use it then I'm all for it! Regarding secrets, they are all well hidden, but not at all rewarding - instead, most of the supplies you'll need are within view, so the secrets are there for emergencies. There's two Spiderdemons that you can easily make infight and reduce their threat level immensely.

 

The lone Cyberdemon can actually be quite dangerous despite the vast space, since if you decide to ignore its presence it has surprisingly good mobility and can surprise you at the opposite corner of the level. I had one scary moment when I saw a rocket coming in my direction from across the map, thankfully my dodging skills were on point today. The other key traps were not that interesting, with the red key trap feeling especially meaty.

 

So far so good, but the level takes a nosedive with the Icon of Sin section. I can see the amount of work placed in this section, but the setup to kill the boss fast is not too intuitive. I eventually figured out that all the rockets fired when standing on the fourth step from the top hit the target. However, it's an encounter that a fatigued player will probably try to bruteforce rather than understand - I think a more orthodox approach would work better. All in all, a great level that I feel drags on for too long, namely the Icon of Sin section, without it I would've enjoyed it a lot more. I still had a great time, though!

 

MAP10: Judgement Day (Preacher)

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

 

A credits level, there's not much to say. It looks gorgeous and fits its purpose well, so yeah.

 

Final thoughts:

 

I think Darch yet again succeeded in delivering a TC that provides a very Doomy experience in a completely different environment. The new textures really fit the context of the WAD and the weapons got a new look but retain their functionality. The levels are formulaic to a small extent, in that they all feature cold starts with a pentagram teleporter that brings you to a random location, which is something that I feel works better with pistol starts since you have to improvise to survive. Have to say, well deserved cacoward and perhaps even better than Pirate Doom!

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP08: Witch Hunt

MAP03: Sacrificial Altar

MAP07: Sanctuary

MAP02: Babel

MAP04: Dark Tower

MAP09: Crown of Thorns

MAP01: Pagan Temple

MAP05: 40 Days in the Desert

MAP06: Noir

Edited by Andromeda

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Preacher MAP08


A lot more open craziness, but now with Cyberdemons. Not sure what you're supposed to do from pistol start other than run around a whole lot and hope most things take each other out. A lot of enemies kept getting stuck in the blood area around the middle column, so I guess it would work if you got Cybie in there with some friends. I guess the yellow key, and then the BFG, could be nabbed pretty early if you knew to do it and managed to not die in the process.


I got the Jesusphere secret by running over the platform, I assume that was the intended method?


Another map where there was lots of chaos and I left a lot of items until the end. I guess that's just how it goes with continuous play sometimes though.

 

MAP09


Like the previous ones, but a lot bigger! Really it was a nice change even if the scale is the only thing that was really different. I managed to get stuck once, unfortunately, but that's what IDCLIP is for. Not a fan of IOS fights though, and so I didn't like the end of it very much which was a bit of a downer. I think it does a good job of providing a frantic IOS fight so it's a success in that regard, but I just didn't enjoy it.


MAP10 - Nice endmap.


Preacher Overall: Atmosphere/aesthetics 5/5, gameplay 3.5/5 with lack of variety being my biggest critique by far. It might have been better from pistol start, but other than the use of cyberdemons most maps felt like they had the same kinds of setups. Still enjoyable to play through, and a good return to playing Doom after a few years for me. It probably won't leave as lasting of an impression on me as Pirate Doom, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a good time.

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So I've started playing Deadly Standards 2 now, and...

 

Spoiler

Aq9QY4Wl.png

 

(picture is from JPCP.wad)

 

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Preacher MAP 09 - Crown of Thorns

 

This is almost an "open world" doom map, with basically everything we've seen so far taken to gigantic (or ridiculous) proportions. Call it repetition, or cohesion :P
There are tons of starting spots for the initial teleporter, platforms going up and down, and more than 800 monsters that can move anywhere in the map. There is one single Baron of Hell placed in this map, and I've meet it at many different locations while testing.

I don't remember exactly, but I think it took more then 8 months to build this map (yes I'm slow). It was long and painful for me too, pals. 

The last fight was an attempt to make a dynamic IOS fight, so it moves up and down, and bars also move protecting it from mouselook players, hehe

Sometimes, rockets don't hit IOS properly. I didn't notice that while testing, I probably should have raised its height in dehacked, apparently it doesn't match the sprite size. 

 

Preacher MAP 10 - Judgment Day

 

A credit map. When I was a kid a loved a Sega Genesis game called "Toe Jam and Earl", and was amazed that I could still control my character in the ending sequence, instead of cutscenes that were shown at the end of 99% of the games. That works fine in Doom, IMO. 

 

So that's it, thanks for playing and sharing your opinions here at the megawad club!

 

  

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On to Deadly Standards 2, an episode 2 replacement for Ultimate Doom. I can say it's my favourite episode in the original, so looking forward to see if this manages to improve upon it!

 

E2M1: Outpost Lima Charlie (Deadly Standards 2)

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

 

A fairly short level, though still longer than Deimos Anomaly. The shotgun is near the start and will be your main weapon. It has almost 100 enemies, though there's not really any threatening moments, which is adequate for an M1 slot and allows for blazing through the areas. The secrets were easy to find, although I didn't like that I had to backtrack for the second secret. In terms of looks, it emulates E2 closely while still feeling like its own thing. All things considered, a good start and an appetizer for the next levels.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

E2M1: Outpost Lima Charlie

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Deadly Standards E2M1

 

Playing in GLBoom+, going to be doing UV pistol starts for these maps, not sure how that'll work out...

 

Just a query about the sourceport: I've played through the first couple of maps on the 'Default' compatibility setting - I'm assuming that's 'Boom' and that it's Complevel 9 (but stand to be corrected on that, as my grasp of these matters is hazy at best). However, as this is an Ultimate Doom mapset, should it perhaps be the 'Ultimate Doom' compatibility (Complevel 3?)? Or is all of this irrelevant?

 

Anyway, on to the map. Not much to say, the layout and gameplay seemed very generic and no location or battle was very memorable. The only obvious allusion to the first map of 'Shores Of Hell' was that bright red archway structure. I was puzzled by one particular switch, which didn't appear to do anything:

 

 

108522591_Standards2resized.png.dda9d5742429cff4c8006ebf187a0ab9.png

 

 

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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Deadly Standards E2M1

Gentle opener, where you stroll through a hell-tainted base murdering the demons that present themselves for execution.  There are quite a lot of them in total, but they're generally broken into lots of easily managed clumps: I didn't take a single point of damage until well after the blue door.

 

It looks pretty nice, and I appreciated the floor transformation that made the place fill with blood.

 

E2M2 will continue this relaxed, low key theme to the action, so you don't have to expect a change in tempo at all.  Really, would I lie to you?

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DS E2M1: It was a fine enough level but I barely remember anything about it, other than a few homages to the original. So nothing too exciting.

 

BTW it seems like all the included demos (not the internal ones) desync for me. Were they recorded on an older version of the wad?

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Yes I recorded demos on older versions months ago but it was included , oddly.

 

The purpose of the demos was just to show how to beat the last two maps.

 

The third demo seems to be a demo from Aquila Chrysaetos.

Edited by Roofi

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Do you happen to know which file to use to watch them? There are a couple versions on the last page of the project thread. I mostly want to just see E2M8

 

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Deadly Standards 2

 

E2M1

It was a kind of journey through visually different locations. Some moments really remind Deimos Anomaly, such as red harmful gate.

It is also interesting how original flats can be used: from two flats (gray and red) we got a “warning” flat which was in the first location.

The area before red key is the best for make infighting between cacos and imps. Strangely enough, bloody floors is not harmful, but it's all right in this case.


Secret behind red door is very essential, because if you do not visit it, the next map will have difficult times for you.

E2M2


Let's start right away by listing the drawbacks that were essentially unchanged and this absolutely coincides with those that were present on E1M2 in Deadly Standards 1: grinding gameplay (a crowd of "extra" monsters that only slow down the gameplay and make the player run back and forth due to lack of necessary ammunition), a waste of time just to lure into infighting, the lack of medkits after major fights, also a lack of armor (again, considering the ratio of monsters and ammo, I usually take into account the ratio using the wadspy utility).

I'm not going to teach anyone how to construct maps, but here is an obvious example which also used in original maps: if a player lacks ammo, it is logical that he can go back in search of more hidden secrets to find ammunition and first-aid kits in them, and if he finds them, this is very pleasant bonuses (as example secret behind red door in previous map).

Among the few positive moments I can note a decent visual part of the level and the accompanying midi-track.

It would be much more pleasant if there were 1.5 times fewer monsters and more secrets were present.
Best designation suitable for this: "thorny map"

 

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E2M2: Vulpine (Deadly Standards 2)

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

 

Just like Capellan said, a relaxing level similar to the previous one... oh, that was just the starting room. 166 enemies populate this small level, 200 of which are cacodemons (or so it seems). Thankfully, there's plenty of rockets here to slowly whittle down the tomatoes and give you a little wiggle room to navigate the level. You have to be constantly on the move, while dodging fireballs and collecting the scarce supplies that barely keep you alive.

 

The secrets are easy to find but are not very rewarding, except for the supercharge before the blue key. If you survived this far, you've beaten the level since the rest of the monsters shouldn't pose much trouble and you have a respectable amount of health/armor/ammo to tackle the last encounters. There's also a plasma gun, probably meant for emergencies but I never needed to use it, as I always died too quickly before managing to draw it out. The crate section of Containment Area is present, but compressed to a fraction of the size. In terms of looks, it's not particularly detailed, about on par with E2, but the gameplay more than makes up for it. In short, a fantastic, adrenaline pumping level filled to the brim with flying fireblu.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

E2M2: Vulpine

E2M1: Outpost Lima Charlie

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Deadly Standards E2M2

 

The title Vulpine fits well here, as this map was clearly designed by a crafty old fox. Utterly unforgiving from a pistol start: no armour to be seen (a Capellan trademark), ammo and health in very short supply, and in certain sourceports the 'infinitely tall' factor creating additional difficulties with all those Cacodemons and Lost Souls flying around. Even a fairly moderate misjudgement in the first two areas will often mean a restart.

 

Matters improve after you get the armour and more firepower (thankfully the plasma gun secret is an easy one), and the second Cacoswarm can be thinned out by a rapid response with rockets. By the final section you have more than enough resources to see off the final wave of Cacos and Lost Souls.

 

I only got two of the five secrets. That Soulsphere mentioned by Andromeda would've provided a welcome extra safety margin in the middle phase of the map.

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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I played Vulpine this morning but I will give people more time to try it before I post about what I was doing here (other, that is, than really annoying riderr3 :) )

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Deadly Standards E2M3

 

(From UV pistol start). This one's all about choices (presumably that makes it 'non-linear'?) - and that can have quite a bearing on the playability. The best option in my view is to take the right-hand teleporter at the start, which gives you a tougher initial task (especially if you press the green button before collecting all supplies!), but then you have the opportunity to get to the blood lake (assuming you choose the correct route). This gives you the backpack (or even three of them), loads more ammo, and the chance to engineer some spectacular infighting between the Cacos, Barons and assorted others in the area below, following which you can pick up the plasma rifle and some green armour. After that, it's plain sailing, at least as far as resources go.

 

The only potentially dangerous moment after this comes when you pick up the blue key - you need to move smartly, or risk being cornered by the two Barons who then emerge. All very neat once you work out the layout. The map's tricky in a few places as opposed to being genuinely difficult. Although I only found two of the secrets, I still finished with 280 plasma cells, 100 shotgun shells, and a fair amount of rockets and bullets. A commendable map, the best so far.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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E2M2: Have some fucking cacodemons!

 

I did this from pistol start on UV and no saves, and it took... longer than I want to say, really. Lack of ammo plus the constant swarm of cacos made things pretty tricky, and I did a lot of luring/infighting/waiting at the beginning to try to thin the opposition a bit before it got too chaotic. Unlike Andromeda I thought the plasma gun was essential to stay alive, I just didn't have enough firepower without it unless I wanted to chainsaw everything, which I definitely did not. Anyhow I ultimately didn't mind the challenge but I was very glad to see that the next maps weren't so miserly with the supplies. Visually it's fine, good alternating interior/exterior areas that gave it a proper sense of space.

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Didn't have so much time to replay Preacher and comment, but I'm glad that Darch came to do a mapper's perspective for each level. Now, on to Deadly Standards 2

 

E2M1: I really liked the opener, it sets well the feel of the twisted techbase of the original E2. There are some callbacks to Deimos Anomaly too but more in the kind of tasteful homages that are a plus instead of building the whole around the rip-offs. It's very well detailed, the hazard stripes done with the stock flats were nice, and it was "cute" to see the techbase transforming after you come back from the BSK area. The secret RSK come so late that I got the plasmagun when everything was over.

 

E2M2: After I saw the monster count and who is the author I thought "wow, maybe finally I'll play a map by Capellan that will last longer than 3 minutes". The pistol start is hard as the ammo is barely enough for the first big wave and there's a good dynamism between the gasbags that come from multiple directions and the monsters patroling the ground that will often block your way while you run in the between to crates to search for ammo. You can't really camp there. I missed only 1 secret but the soulsphere was very appreciated. Same for the plasmarifle. The final way of cacos is so easy compared to the previous parts because you can easily run back in the cave. Very solid and fun map.

 

E2M3: The gameplay was very basic for the most but still fun. The big brawl at the plasma rifle was the funniest part, I went first for the hellish part so I didn't even had the chaingun at that point and had to make the monsters infight. I liked the iwad-esque feel and the progression that isn't so immediate to get. Things like the RSK and teleporting to the blood lake that at first looked like an area just put for scenery were cool moments as well.

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1 hour ago, gaspe said:

"wow, maybe finally I'll play a map by Capellan that will last longer than 3 minutes"

 

I'm guessing you haven't played SPECTRUM yet.  Or apparently Memento Mori II :)

 

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I came here for Deadly Standards 2 because I've never played the entire mapset, and that's unacceptable. So on with the show.

 

GZDoom, UV, Pistol Starts, Savescumming, Keyboard only

 

E2M1:Outpost Lima Charlie by Liberation and Crunchynut44

Kills:99%  Items:100% Secrets:50%  Death Count:Zero

 

Nice, friendly opening map. Good-looking with a fun layout and cool transformational elements. I like the crate-handling details in the beginning. Combat is extremely easy, but will keep you engaged, and it's nice to see Cacos as in the original E2M1. The only secret I found is the almost un-missable Soulsphere. A shame I couldn't carry it with me into the next map. All in all, a nice opener.

 

 

E2M2:Vulpine by Capellan

Kills:100%  Items:100%  Secrets:100%  Death Count:4

 

I was on the playtesting crew for this map, and given that I haven't played it in ages, I knew I was in for a serious asskicking. I've playtested a lot of Adam's maps, about half of Doom 404, all of Spectrum, and several others, and IMO this is among his most vicious. It's a beautifully crafted series of murder boxes delivered with Adam's famed mean-spirited mercilessness. It's an absolute symphony of hitscanner bushwhacking and Caco Cloud smackdowns, served with a side dish of ammo, health and armor starvation sufficient to make a Cyberdemon cry. I cried, I sobbed, I raged at the cruelty of it . . . 

 

What a great map!

 

The hardest part, for me, isn't surviving the first crate room, it's making headway after you've cleaned it out and find yourself at 40% health with 10 bullets. Oh, man. I achieved survival when I switched to the Plasma Gun leg and snagged the Green Armor out in the crate yard. From that point I made my way to the Soulsphere Secret -- thank you, memory! -- and to the absolutely exhilerating BK fight. I've seldom been so happy to see a key trapped. It was glorious.

 

Despite knowing better, I successfully died at the end fight. Had to laugh at myself over that one, given that I'd beaten the much tougher BK fight on the first try. D'oh!

 

Overall, this is what you expect from Adam -- well-done old-school visuals, vicious gamepley, and virtually survivalist levels of resources. This map is a fine iteration of that design philosophy.

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49 minutes ago, Capellan said:

 

I'm guessing you haven't played SPECTRUM yet.  Or apparently Memento Mori II :)

 

I didn't play Spectrum yet. MM 2 is one of my favourites and I remember your map but it's quite an exception since most of your output is short and sweet maps (Demonfear, Requiem, Darkening, Doom 404...), at least of the things I played.

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E2M3: Ore Refinery (Deadly Standards 2)

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

 

This level is centered around the concept of teleporters that bring you to different places, letting you choose the way you're going to play it. I prefer to take the left teleporter at the start for a shotgun and some shells, as it's my weapon of choice to use against the hellspawn. There's a few cacodemons and even a baron of hell at the exit, but there's a plasma gun available to dispatch them quickly so you don't have to slowly shotgun them to death.

 

There's some optional areas that are filled with goodies and the secrets tend to be very rewarding (even an invulnerability is provided, I suppose it's more useful at higher skill levels). You can glide past the bars at the start to get the blue key really early, though this is only useful for speedruns. There's some good detailing here, it's the first level that I feel is a step above E2's standard in this regard. I was less wowed by the gameplay however, there seemed to be little thought behind the enemy placement and as such the player rarely feels pressured - perhaps I should've played on a higher skill level. Either way, it's still a good level and I enjoyed its concept.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

E2M2: Vulpine

E2M1: Outpost Lima Charlie

E2M3: Ore Refinery

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8 hours ago, gaspe said:

I didn't play Spectrum yet. MM 2 is one of my favourites and I remember your map but it's quite an exception since most of your output is short and sweet maps (Demonfear, Requiem, Darkening, Doom 404...), at least of the things I played.

 

I do tend to smaller maps, but there are a few bigger ones in there (this one, MM2 map15, Requiem map11, CC4 map06, Nuclear Halls, Deadly Standards E1M2, and most of SPECTRUM.  Also something that isn't out yet but I am pleased to say killed Steve D a lot :) )

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1 hour ago, FrancisT18 said:

@Capellan And Darken2 Level 3. :) Your last level for ten years too if I'm not missing something!

 

I tend to think of that as one of the 'small' ones, personally :)

 

Deadly Standards E2M2

The core theme of this map is about forcing the player to move, preferably forward.  Threats can come from all directions, making it hard to occupy a chokepoint and dominate a fight, and resources are deliberately distributed such that you have to go to them.  At least in part, this was about forcing myself out of my comfort zone.  Give me the opportunity, and I will find a place where I can funnel the monsters in from one direction and mow 'em down.  Try that here, and you'll either get ganked from behind or find yourself out of ammo well before you are out of demons.  Push forward, find stuffIf you don't, you're in for a rough time.  Be more aggressive.

 

Probably the only fight you can reasonably camp - if you have been careful with resources, e.g. using the chainsaw - is the exit battle.  That whole area beyond the lift was a late addition - originally I had the map end after you go through the blue door, but then I decided we level needed one last cacoswarm :)

 

The plasma secret is easier to get than I originally intended: when I set it up, I was not thinking about the fact that monsters can set off WR lower lift lines.  That's why sometimes, the secret opens while you are looking straight at it: monsters moving in the courtyard are activating it.  In fine Doom tradition, I decided to Leave It In.

 

 

Deadly Standards E2M3

Suitably diverse E2 texturing here, with a wild melange of vines, computers, wood and blood.  Seemed a little bitsy and backtracky, progression-wise, but was mostly quite a fun romp.  Significantly easier than my map, I would say, but I also see nothing wrong with a difficulty curve sometimes dipping downward.  One change I would have made is to have a baron teleport in around where the blue "door" is, when you open the way to the exit.  As is, the end ambush is just smashing two harmless goatboys as they slowly walk up the corridor toward you..

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11 hours ago, Steve D said:

GZDoom, UV, Pistol Starts, Savescumming, Keyboard only

 

E2M2:Vulpine by Capellan

snagged the Green Armor out in the crate yard

 

I'm not sure you set your difficulty right, Steve.  That green armour is only there on Easy :)

 

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