Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Hisymak

Is Spider Mastermind a lowly threatening boss monster?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

As a sort of reaction to this topic: https://www.doomworld.com/forum/topic/113487-whats-the-deal-with-archviles/ I would like to discuss an opposite thing: why I think Spider Mastermind is not really a threat it might seem to be?

The Spider Mastermind could be considered being the "final" boss of Doom. I mean, Cyberdemon is boss of 2nd episode and Spider Mastermind is boss of 3rd, the final original Doom episode. It is also a huge monster that might seem to be extremely strong and dangerous at a first look, and one would feel satisfied from doing a big thing after killing such a boss. However, the fact is, that not only it's a piece of cake to kill a Spider Mastermind, but it cannot even hurt you seriously if you move fast and can hide behind some wall, and moreover it can even be actually HELPFUL by helping you kill the other monsters, even a Cyberdemon. On the other hand, the Cyberdemon, even through being a boss of 2nd episode, is factually much much more dangerous, fast, threatening, and much harder to kill, being about 10 times more difficult boss.

Here I would summarize 3 main reasons why Spider Mastermind is so inferior boss:

1) It's very slow and extremely clumsy. It takes some time to it to lock on you and start shooting. If you are fast enough and hide behind walls, it is even unable to start shooting at all and won't cause you any damage. It also moves slowly, and in combination with its hugely wide size, it cannot even get into narrow corridors and follow you, it basically mostly stays on a fixed place. On the other hand, a Cyberdemon is very agile and once it only barely sees you it starts spamming rockets like wild, and easily follows you into any place.

2) It's very easy to kill. One close shot with BFG9000 directly into its face = instant death. What else to say! Due to its insanely wide hitbox it's very easy to hit with any weapon, most importantly SSG: You can shoot it from quite a long distance, but still 100% or most of the SSG shots will hit it, causing highest possible damage. So if you do not have BFG or want to save cells, a few casual shots from SSG will take it down. And AFAIK (correct me if I'm wrong), it's not immune to rocker's splash damage contrarily to Cyberdemon, so can be killed with a RL too.

3) It's a king of infighting! Due to its huge chaingun that highly spreads into space, there's very high chance it will hit any other monster that's nearby. And oppositely, due to its insanely wide hitbox, it's very likely to be hit by other monster's shot. So unless it's not only you and SM in the battlefield, but there are lot of other monsters around, you can expect it would be much more a fight of SM versus monsters instead SM versus you. You can just wait hidden somewhere SM doing all the job, eventually if there are too many other monsters they would kill SM, so it won't cost you any effort but even cause you an advantage. Lastly, I've seen SMs infighting against each other!

So, do you think the same? What's your experience with Spider Mastermind?

I also noticed that SM is less likely to appear in maps. I mean, in harder maps, there is one or mostly several cyberdemons you need to fight, but a Spider Mastermind is rather something more rare to see. So is it considered by mappers not to be an appropriately threatening and useful monster?

Edited by Hisymak

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

ZDoom has too high BFG damage.   In vanilla it should take at least two though there may be a chance of one killing it.   I think maybe they ran out of time to fine tune the difficulty of the final boss.   It's like a rapid fire shotgun guy's shotgun, which is weaker than the player's shotgun.   With lower pain chance and/or  faster rate of fire and/or more powerful gun and/or more advantaged level design for it, it could have been more of a challenge.  Or if it had whatever additional magic attack was planned, and it apparently got something like in Doom 2016.  It's hilariously easy to beat E3M8 on nightmare pacifist.   I think the Spider Mastermind is immune to explosion damage, otherwise it's like killing three barons.

Share this post


Link to post

It feels like a leftover from Wolfenstein 3D, I'm surprised that the mastermind wasn't used in MAP32 instead of the cyber.

Share this post


Link to post

Actually the Doom 2 chaingunners remind me more of Wolfenstein without having anything to do with the secret maps.   But now that you mention it, the spiderdemon's chaingun is kinda wolfish.    After having so many chaingun bosses in Wolf3d, they had to have at least one in Doom.   Then Doom 2 chaingunners have more of the classic chaingun and are closer to proportions of the Wolf guys wielding them.   But guess they wanted a strong boss and the Cyberdemon is more like the boss larger proportions to the player like the Wolf bosses, and some Wolf bosses have rocket launchers, though Hans Grosse didn't.   Funny enough, early versions of Maps 31 and 32 had chaingunners instead of the WolfenSS.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

The situations in which a spiderdemon can be effectively used are pretty few due to the special treatment that it requires. However, it can be used well in some situations and in those, it can be a real threat.

 

Here's a few:

Crumpets Map09 has several in turret positions that will be a constant thorn in your side until you build your arsenal (though there's a telefrag secret).

Base Ganymede E1M5 is another I played recently, where you have very little safe cover and less firepower than would probably be comfortable.

The Darkening Map04 puts the player in a similar situation to the last one.

Sunlust Map12 and Map13 have some cool spiderdemon encounters as well, though they do tend to get torn up from infighting in these cases.

Galaxia has probably my favorite spiderdemon usage, starting you off trapped in a room with one. They're also used, um, decoratively in one of the segments.

Edited by Spie812

Share this post


Link to post

SMMs are far and few between the rest of the bestiary because they need a lot more support than any other monsters to even work: lots an lots of space to move, certain enemies around that don't interfere in a negative way for it, a good expansive view from doomguy to shoot while something that can be used to protect yourself for as much as the mapper allows it, otherwise it isn't fair damage/death. Not too many mappers find all those factors attractive when designing for reasons each one knows better, and not too many players like them anyways so or still view them or cybers as the "bosses" when that's a very obsolete concept imo. There it's known to be for "hardest-to-use monster", but I think the rare deadly spiderdemon can be more gratifying to kill than if it was regularly used in most maps out there.

 

Cybers on the contrary have attributes that make them more versatile in multiple roles, most essentially a much smaller hitbox, and not to forget that a rocket shooter is usually more dynamic to fight than a hitscanner, or that cybers won't infight each other. That being said, as a projectile spammer, if you want it to be a credible threat you still have to consider the context like with every monster type, because no matter how fast a rocket flies to your face, if the player can just move a bit to the sides without any pressure around then it can be nothing but a low threat moving sponge. But let's see your points:

 

4 hours ago, Hisymak said:

1) It's very slow and extremely clumsy. It takes some time to it to lock on you and start shooting. If you are fast enough and hide behind walls, it is even unable to start shooting at all and won't cause you any damage. It also moves slowly, and in combination with its hugely wide size, it cannot even get into narrow corridors and follow you, it basically mostly stays on a fixed place. On the other hand, a Cyberdemon is very agile and once it only barely sees you it starts spamming rockets like wild, and easily follows you into any place.

 

Avoiding damage is what anyone with common sense would do, which brings back to what I said above about context. Every means of danger to the player requires context, and what you do to increase or diminish that danger is reflected in the practice. So if you have avoided SMMs very easily contrary to cybers, it could simply be that the examples you faced were intentionally and contextually low and high threats respectively, because babysitting1 was absent for SMMs and cybers are indeed more agile thanks to proper attributes, or because the rng was less operating for one than the other. Personally I've seen approximately 50/50 actually good/meh cybers and good/meh spiders, of which I don't need to be killed three times to know they were used effectively, and if I'm being mocked too many times then I start doubting (e.g. end2 e3m8). 

 

4 hours ago, Hisymak said:

2) It's very easy to kill. One close shot with BFG9000 directly into its face = instant death. What else to say! Due to its insanely wide hitbox it's very easy to hit with any weapon, most importantly SSG: You can shoot it from quite a long distance, but still 100% or most of the SSG shots will hit it, causing highest possible damage. So if you do not have BFG or want to save cells, a few casual shots from SSG will take it down. And AFAIK (correct me if I'm wrong), it's not immune to rocker's splash damage contrarily to Cyberdemon, so can be killed with a RL too.

 

Yes they're quite fragile to BFG even at a certain distance, but it looks to me you're talking about zdoom's RNG. In vanilla it's very rare that a SMM falls to one shot. Regardless, due to their slow reaction a second point blank shot is low risk, unless you are under 100% health and no armor. If I'm not mistaken I think the people who made the game intended the SMM to have a second attack, but that they introduced a weapon that can slap a SMM without effort most of the times has always intrigued me. Cybers are also fragile to BFG, but the requirements to kill it in two shots minimally put them a step above the SMM in terms of "threat level" in, generally, BFG-centric fights, or even around the plasma rifle. I like to play against this circumstances in my own maps :)

 

Also, SMM take more than "a few SSG shots", around 15 to 20 shots if blockmap gets too noisy, that's a lot to consider it a true grind. It actually is immune to splash damage, the number one reason why it can overcome a cyb in close quarters infighting pretty much 100% of the times.

 

5 hours ago, Hisymak said:

3) It's a king of infighting! Due to its huge chaingun that highly spreads into space, there's very high chance it will hit any other monster that's nearby. And oppositely, due to its insanely wide hitbox, it's very likely to be hit by other monster's shot. So unless it's not only you and SM in the battlefield, but there are lot of other monsters around, you can expect it would be much more a fight of SM versus monsters instead SM versus you. You can just wait hidden somewhere SM doing all the job, eventually if there are too many other monsters they would kill SM, so it won't cost you any effort but even cause you an advantage. Lastly, I've seen SMs infighting against each other!

 

*queen ;)

I'm personally not against that, because infight is cool when things go well, but it's true that once they are caught into an infight loop they'll likely take a while to get back to you or just never. Due to its horrible attributes a SMM rarely comes out alive or kills more than three hell knights before it's stuck. A simple solution to that is editing the size of the hitbox and it might kill up to 25 hell knights - true story. Unfortunately it's impossible to prevent a SMM to hit another one and completely neutralize their threat levels. Cybs sometimes epic fail in infighting too, the difference is that in practice a cyb is most likely an infight gladiator while the SMM an infight generator, so mappers obviously choose cybs.

 

5 hours ago, Hisymak said:

So, do you think the same? What's your experience with Spider Mastermind?

 

I see cybs and SMMs differently and prefer not to compare them just because each appears in end-of-episode levels. I also don't think of "tiers of monsters" but "roles" instead, because every monster type has all the potential in the world to work in the right context. The SMM is, however, a case where OG designers didn't foresee how bad it'd be to give it such counter-productive attributes, so it is what is though it's one of my favourite monsters because of how with some simple edits (while keeping the hitscan attack) it instantly becomes a lot more flexible.

 

1 all rights go to @Nine Inch Heels

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Spie812 said:

Galaxia has probably my favorite spiderdemon usage, starting you off trapped in a room with one. They're also used, um, decoratively in one of the segments.

Yeah, there's like seventeen of 'em in like a 'prison' area, although only two of them can shoot at you.  The idea is to hit the button near their 'cells' to lower them out of sight and run down the corridor to avoid getting hit (there's nowhere near enough ammo to take them out).  

Also, this level is a goddamn Deep Cut.

Share this post


Link to post

Never seen an arachnotron stun lock her to death? Definitely not the queen of infighting. (Every single monster with a melee attack can also stunlock her, same with cyber but much more harder to do). Chaingunners can also kill her.

Share this post


Link to post
16 hours ago, Maximum Matt said:

Yeah, there's like seventeen of 'em in like a 'prison' area, although only two of them can shoot at you.  The idea is to hit the button near their 'cells' to lower them out of sight and run down the corridor to avoid getting hit (there's nowhere near enough ammo to take them out).  

Also, this level is a goddamn Deep Cut.

 

Oh, wow. I just thought of Galaxia a couple of days ago, after not thinking about it for probably 10+ years, and now this thread. What are the odds?

Share this post


Link to post

Worse final boss ever. She barely can do anything other than just sit there. Her attacks are so easy to dodge since that little tower is there and she has much less health than the Cyberdemon. took me one try with Spidermastermind, like a hundred with the Cyberdemom. 

Share this post


Link to post
22 hours ago, joe-ilya said:

It feels like a leftover from Wolfenstein 3D, I'm surprised that the mastermind wasn't used in MAP32 instead of the cyber.

Yes! I know! That was a terrible mistake! You have the best comments!

Share this post


Link to post
37 minutes ago, LiT_gam3r said:

Worse final boss ever. She barely can do anything other than just sit there. Her attacks are so easy to dodge since that little tower is there and she has much less health than the Cyberdemon. took me one try with Spidermastermind, like a hundred with the Cyberdemom. 

On UV from pistol start it's not so easy, although that's hardly how most people play during their first run.

Share this post


Link to post

Personally, I've always struggled with SMMs more that Cyberdemons, primarily due to the fact that she carries a hit scan weapon. In most cases, you can just strafe around a Cyberdemon while firing your weapon to kill it, while the Mastermind forces you to find cover. Though I agree that she's a joke of a boss for Episode 3 since you can kill her in a couple seconds with the BFG.

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, Hunting4r2d2 said:

Personally, I've always struggled with SMMs more that Cyberdemons, primarily due to the fact that she carries a hit scan weapon. In most cases, you can just strafe around a Cyberdemon while firing your weapon to kill it, while the Mastermind forces you to find cover. Though I agree that she's a joke of a boss for Episode 3 since you can kill her in a couple seconds with the BFG.

Any place where you have a BFG and can get close, then the Spider Mastermind is usually a joke. You can just run straight up to it and wipe it in 2 BFG shots. Because of the high pain chance, it is extremely unlikely you will be killed (unless you are very low on health). With the Cyberdemon, running straight at it is certain death; you have to strafe around the rockets.

 

On the other hand, take a large arena where cover is scarce and you don't have the BFG, and it's suddenly very different.

 

I think it was DooMBoy on this very forum that suggested the idea that swapping the Cyber from E2M8 and the Spider from E3M8 makes both levels more challenging.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, dr_st said:

I think it was DooMBoy on this very forum that suggested the idea that swapping the Cyber from E2M8 and the Spider from E3M8 makes both levels more challenging.

 

The problem is that neither E2M8 and E3M8 is good for a "challenging" boss map, and swapping both monsters would make them even worse, because one is full of rocket ammo and cover, and the other is a huge open box that even a careless player would beat two cybers in it with more ammo. If there's a difference as to why the SMM does work a little more in DIS than the cyber in ToB is the pistol start alone. ToB would need at least 10 cybers to be able to talk or 4 and random line teleporters, while DIS a complete overhaul, creepy atmosphere and full of hazards, while the SMM spams hitscan from a vantage point.

 

A very cool legit cyb boss map is Monument's e2m8 by Chris Hansen. A scary SMM boss map that I can think of right now is NEIS e3m8. I'd even go further and mention e3m8 in "end2.wad" if you really want to bash your head on the keyboard out of frustration :)

Share this post


Link to post

I think the Cyberdemon would've been a more suitable 'final boss' for Doom, and have the Spider Mastermind appear on E2M8.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, User Name said:

I think the Cyberdemon would've been a more suitable 'final boss' for Doom, and have the Spider Mastermind appear on E2M8.

Then the battle wouldn't have been as iconic.

Share this post


Link to post

The thing that makes the Spider Mastermind less effective is the same thing that makes it impressive to see (the first time). It's so big! If you halve the radius it has, making it roughly the same width as the Cyberdemon, it gains a lot of manoeuvrability and then suddenly the fact that it's firing what are effectively shotgun shells at chaingun speeds is very, very dangerous. The relatively high pain chance is a decent balancing step against what is a very powerful weapon, but due to it's size and propensity for infighting, it's difficult for a mapper to use and easy to overwhelm for a player.

 

Still, if the player has no armour (or even only green armour), no soul sphere and no BFG9000 or Super Shotgun, they're pretty fragile and they are going to need to rely on cover or infighting to survive. To me, it's a good choice of boss to make DECORATE mods from - change the weapon it has, or make it fly (Arachnophage sprites are a good starting point here), or make the radius smaller and you find it becomes much more useful. Afterall, nobody thinks the Arachnotron is useless and that is a logical modification from the Spider Mastermind.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×