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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

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MAP29: The Armoury

Penultimate maps are often some of the best in the WAD. I don’t think that’s the case here, but this was still a very good map. Didn’t really feel “big” in the same way many other MAP29s do, but not really any of the maps in this WAD save maybe for 18 really felt big at all. The opening of the level was a nice tough fight, and all the other little fights later were nice too. The Arch-Vile up near the yellow key door was a welcome surprise. The dark maze area behind the red doors was not my cup of tea at all, navigating in there was a damn bitch. Luckily I found the lite-amp goggles eventually, I only wish they were the first thing I happened across in there rather than the last. Hearing that there was another door closing away from the lite-amp cubby is what eventually led to me getting the BFG, which was nice. Blasting those imps with it was fun as hell. Might just go continuous into the next map to make sure I get to keep it, I spent enough time trying to find it that I don’t want it to go to waste.

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MAP28: Broundry 3 (25 Years on Earth)

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

 

This level reminds me of MAP13 in terms of looks, due to the predominantly metal texturing and the lava moat. One of the level's stronger suits is the freedom given to the player, in terms of allowing multiple approaches to deal with the opposition effectively. For example, if you have the patience for it you can snipe the fodder on the outer circle right off the bat, or you can ignore them until later when you can use more powerful weapons.

 

The secret backpack is a godsend to carry the abundant rocket and cell ammo that won't see much use until the second part of the level, where beefier monsters appear in significant numbers. Almost at the end I got careless fighting the arachnotrons protecting the supercharge and fell in the inescapable lava moat - no biggie, the level's fairly short so I didn't lose much progress. Second time around things went even more smoothly, though I wasn't expecting the pain elementals and the arch-vile at the end: nothing that a well stocked plasma gun won't solve, mind. Sort of a breather level, perhaps a way to throw a curveball at the unsuspecting player on MAP29?

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP27: Press Gang

MAP32: The Waiting Room

MAP09: Skulking Death

MAP17: Entrance Made

MAP06: Destination Defenestration

MAP14: Water Treatment

MAP19: Fester

MAP08: Constriction

MAP13: Caldera

MAP12: Emerald Fluid

MAP22: Power Trip

MAP11: Bloody Denial

MAP24: The Front Line

MAP18: Meat Grinder

MAP04: Wasted Luxury

MAP20: Reclamation

MAP26: Upper Management

MAP07: Rat Run

MAP05: Skyline

MAP25: Middle Management

MAP31: Holiday

MAP28: Broundry 3

MAP02: Bunker Buster

MAP15: Spaceport

MAP01: Drop Pod Excursion

MAP23: Corporate Hell

MAP21: Security Station

MAP03: Urban Renewal

MAP10: Haste Keep

MAP16: Unruly Cargo

 

MAP29: The Armoury (25 Years on Earth)

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

 

Not the epic that usually appears in the MAP29 slot in modern megawads, far from it - not that I'm complaining since I have a strong preference for shorter levels anyway. The start features an interesting trap where the few hitscanners serve as bait: shooting them makes two hell knights and two cacodemons appear as if from thin air, making for a fairly tricky encounter even with the provided plasma gun. Above all, it's a forewarning of what awaits you throughout the level - pain.

 

Even the environment is hostile, with forced walks on damaging floor and a dark maze that makes spotting the lurking enemies difficult. Fortunately cell ammo is provided in generous quantities, so you can hold the trigger on the plasma gun to deal with emergencies. The secret BFG9000 is probably the most well hidden secret in the whole wad, only found it because the computer area map gives an important hint. The timing to access the yellow key is quite tight and took me a few attempts to get it right, the light amplification visor really helps too. At first I thought that the BFG would be useless for me as I'm not playing continuous, but Phobus read my mind and provided a wall of imps to use the ultimate weapon on. I fired three shots that annihilated all but one imp, I suppose that's the famous Great God Imp from The Sky May Be. Solid level.

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP27: Press Gang

MAP32: The Waiting Room

MAP09: Skulking Death

MAP17: Entrance Made

MAP06: Destination Defenestration

MAP29: The Armoury

MAP14: Water Treatment

MAP19: Fester

MAP08: Constriction

MAP13: Caldera

MAP12: Emerald Fluid

MAP22: Power Trip

MAP11: Bloody Denial

MAP24: The Front Line

MAP18: Meat Grinder

MAP04: Wasted Luxury

MAP20: Reclamation

MAP26: Upper Management

MAP07: Rat Run

MAP05: Skyline

MAP25: Middle Management

MAP31: Holiday

MAP28: Broundry 3

MAP02: Bunker Buster

MAP15: Spaceport

MAP01: Drop Pod Excursion

MAP23: Corporate Hell

MAP21: Security Station

MAP03: Urban Renewal

MAP10: Haste Keep

MAP16: Unruly Cargo

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MAP29: Coming close to the end with a good texture salad, every room has a different look. It feels like to play some very old wads, coincidentally it reminds me of some bits from Mars War since that one was played recently. I also welcomed the less gimmicky gameplay and more standard rooms and corridors crawl to explore the place. I think it lacks of a real standout moment, even though the BFG encounter is a viable candidate. Ad about that hhe YSK was very nasty to find, I lost the count of all the attempts to pass the door in time.

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MAP29

 

This is a pretty well put together level and a very challenging one, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's particularly enjoyable. I certainly didn't find it so. As usual, I played it first in HMP continuous then from a UV pistol start, and on neither occasion finished with over two thirds kills, obviously because I hadn't a clue how to get the yellow key. On the second run through, I died quite a few times in the opening area and outside the door to the central hall, as an assortment of overweight bastards blocked the narrow corridors and generally created mayhem. You have a much better chance if you can somehow engender some infighting in the vicinity of that latterly mentioned doorway. Incidentally the Arachnotrons aren't much use in that connection, as they struggle to get their angles right from their raised platform.

 

What really alienated me from the map though was the damaging floor with apparently no radsuit to be found. I died several times within a matter of seconds while trying to work out what to do or where to go. Repeat after me one billion times 'This sort of thing is NOT fun' LOL. Clearly the red button opened the door to the switch which gives access to the exit, but what did that green button do?

 

Je ne suis pas un lapin heureux.

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7 minutes ago, Summer Deep said:

Clearly the red button opened the door to the switch which gives access to the exit, but what did that green button do?

When the first platform is raised, you can no longer access the stairs out of the damaging blood pit from one side, so the green button is a lift action for that. I was trying to be nice and avoid inescapable damaging pits appearing in the map!

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Map 28 --  Broundry 3 -- 107% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA

Wow, I really shouldn't have gotten away with this one. Just more proof: fortune favors the bold. And also, perhaps, the stupid.

 

I enjoyed this map, it has that intangible sense of bloodiness to it which seldom fails to satisfy. In part this probably stems from the relatively fast/hot start (which there is no reason whatsoever to play as dimwittedly as I did, mind), but the violence has at least a couple of very pronounced additional 'waves' to it, which can be rare in something so small. Perhaps a bit of a "Dead Simple" case in that, while the overall layout is very simple, it happens to make a good frame for the action precisely because it's so intuitive; I was pleased to see that more and more monsters were gather amassing on the outer walkway as I was spazzing about in the center, and I found the square walkway + lava moat setup was naturally inviting for both zooming along and pulping things with the 'zerk fist (refresh my memory, this is the only map which gives the berserk pack freely right at the start, yeah?) and for slinging rockets around.

 

I've seen the comments about how plasma-rich the map is, but my experience was different: after picking up the rocket launcher from the lights-out trap, I made frequent use of it, and had actually already killed all of the active creatures and opened the exit before I picked up the plasma gun (the plasma gun ambush itself is appreciated and made a good topper in this regard). The map plays well with the RL, and thankfully the supply of rockets is nearly as generous as the supply of cell charges, proportionately speaking. I personally find the RL more fun to use than the PG as general rule, so no complaints there, and I would not consider the latter being easy to miss until later (apparently) to be a problem.

 

The one aspect of the map that I don't think works all that well is the spider mastermind. Its positioning is sensible enough 'on paper' as a kind of big bad guardian of the level's second important switch, but in practice another simplistic game of peekaboo vs. this enemy type (which the mapset has already had more than once by this point) isn't terribly thrilling, and slows the map's pace a bit. If I were to play it again, I would probably try to get the spider distracted with one of the other enemies in the room, then slip behind it to the aforementioned switch, and then make it gun-turret down all of the other creatures that charge the breech shortly thereafter.

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MAP29: The Armoury 

prBoom+ 2.5.1.7um, skill 4, continuous with saves, no complevel specified

 

I'm back in E2M1! Not really.

That pathway drop into the blood was straight out of MAP12 The Factory.

Many enjoy levels that look like Doom 2 but to me it just brings back bad memories of playing MAP12 The Factory lol.

 

Dark mazes are always a thrill (at least to me) and this one didn't disappoint.

After peeping around for shoot switches for a while I caved and looked in doombuilder to see how to get behind the starting door. It was surprisingly hard to get to the door in time, but if you time the door just right it's doable of course.

 

 

Spoiler

 

 

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prboom+, no saves, uv pistol starts  
map 29 

 

you'd think after all this time i'd be accustomed to hot starts, guess not!  it's a good feeling, though.  nothing like a good bit of action to warm up the nerves and get sharp for the rest of the map.  i'm typically not a fan of deep, dark mazes but this was short enough for me to not mind.  playing in glboom+ also meant easier spotting of the spectres, can only imagine the chomps i would've taken playing in software.  of course, i find the light amp goggles at the very end :l  

 

i also saw maybe half the map before exiting?  i wasn't keen on the audio cues that others mentioned, i never saw another key besides red.  seems like i also missed a good fight involving the bfg, i think i'll watch a couple of demos and see how everyone else went about this.

25years-29-loveless.7z

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@DuckReconMajor what is this soundfont you're using?  it vaguely reminds me of the YM2612 from the sega genesis. 

 

holy shit, grasshopper over here with THE HOPS.

Edited by loveless : small side note added

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prboom+ options > general 

at the bottom of the page "preferred midi player" choose OPL2

 

Probably you knew the steps but for future reference anyone who doesn't.

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59 minutes ago, DuckReconMajor said:

After peeping around for shoot switches for a while I caved and looked in doombuilder to see how to get behind the starting door. It was surprisingly hard to get to the door in time, but if you time the door just right it's doable of course.

 

One thing that I found contributed to the sense of awkwardness of that particular run is the combination of the 64 unit high archway in front of the door proper and the platform on which the player starts, 16 units higher than the surrounding floor; a player traversing the platform at high speed is probably going to clip their head on the lintel and come to a dead stop, and I don't know if that alone is enough to scupper an otherwise good dash for the door, but it certainly can feel like that's what made the difference between success and failure.

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Yeah on a few failed attempts I hit my head there, but oddly enough the successful attempt and a couple other close tries the door timing was just right and I slipped right through and didn't hit my head. When I tried to time the door myself and consciously slow down on the platform I was way off.

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Map 30

This is easily my favorite level, which means I end the wad on a great note! The multi-stage combat, wave after wave, was a lot of fun. The boss fights were well placed. I think it was an excellent map 30 and thank goodness it wasn't an IoS map! Although I do like the nod towards the IoS.

I enjoyed this wad a lot, so thank you for that @Phobus! I do believe I'll be mentally adding this to my "play again" list, although my backlog is quite long.

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Map 29 -- The Armoury - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA

I was going to remark that this might seem like a bit of an odd or 'nontraditional' choice of map for the m29 slot, but it occurs to me that perhaps that's not necessarily true, at least not these days. Looking at a lot of mapsets that I've played the past few years, be they great or small, it seems the notion that m29 (or whatever a set's penultimate map happens to be) should be an epic with all of the gameplay/scenery dials turned all the way to full is something of a declining trope, with more authors/teams preferring a relatively understated 'calm before the storm' sort of approach. More "Limbo" than "The Living End", if you will.

 

After the clean, somewhat squarish and orderly look of m27 and m28, "The Armoury" again feels more thematically in line with the 'corporate minisode' from earlier in E3, i.e. kind of a simple, slightly roughneck melee of bodies in the action department, with a very Deimos-on-Earth flavor to the backdrop. This latter aspect is maybe more pronounced here than an in any other single map in the WAD. The texturing here is Doom II all the way, and there's a combat shotgun and a full compliment of demons from Doom II about; yet, the map itself, with its very loose collection of visual themes from room to room and old-fashioned dungeonesque layout including a dark mini-maze and a BFG 'altar', is very The Shores of Hell, I think. The choice of midi drives this OG Doom feel home all the more, and its presence gives me some confidence I'm not just wildly reading into things here. An uncommon choice of track for reference here, incidentally, very funky/upbeat, a tone which I think really is pretty unusual for m29, regardless of era.

 

Proportionally speaking, a lot of the monsters here skew towards the heavies, but it's not really a map defined much by fights, or really even by danger per se; the single most assertive encounter is the ambush which occurs moments after mapstart. From there, the path forks off into two, eventually meeting up again in the dilapidated-looking blast chamber I've referred to as the BFG's altar; one of these has a security vest, and the other has an SSG. Perhaps somewhat unusually, if survivability is your main concern, the vest may actually be the better tactical choice (or if you know the map already you could just double back and get both before entering the altar), since the plasma gun from the opening + some smart play is enough to afford you a decisive entrance without the SSG, which requires you to soak a not insignificant number of ( likely un-armored) hits from damage-floor in order to reach it and continue on. Assuming you're not weakened to the point of succumbing to a single high-rolled attack from one of the mid-tiers in the altar room, from there proceedings are pretty routine, the biggest diversion being rattling around in the dark little maze sandwiched between the two red-locked access doors in the middle of the map.

 

This mini-maze is also key to the optional BFG sidequest, which could prove very significant to continuous players if they don't already have this weapon -- the BFG makes quite a difference in the balance of m30, I'd warrant, maybe even bordering on what I'd call a drastic one. Knowing this, Phobus has taken pains to make actually reaching this most coveted piece of UAC engineering fairly involved, just as he's made sure that you'll be aware of the BFG's presence from the goings-on in and around the altar room. Assuming you can puzzle out where the yellow key actually is, and what actually opens the door to it (the computer area map from the other secret is of great value in this), there's still the matter of actually making the timed run there; the overall distance and time window is not quite as tight as the similar blue armor secret from way back in m10, but the actual run there is a lot more awkward, doglegged, and convoluted, so precision is at a premium. Even if you're a pistol-starter and don't get to take the big gun with you to the final map, at least you get a moment of catharsis dispatching what can only be described as the 'sacrificial offering' found in that mysterious pit.

 

Map 30 -- Final Test - 111% Kills / No secrets - FDA

I passed. Like, a C-, at best. That's still a pass!!!

 

There are some minor technical issues here with the initial segment in the tower interior in prB+ -cl 2 (and in some other ports as well apparently), mainly involving monsters being stuck because their hitboxes overlap/are initially positioned on gaps between different sections of floor. Fortunately, this is probably a pretty simple fix with a bit of fine-tuning and pixel-bitching in the editor, hopefully much less of a hassle for the author than figuring out something for m27's issues is apt to be.

 

So, yeah, I play like total shit here, but the map gives you plenty of resources for success, and so most players should be able to win the day, regardless of personal playstyle (most will probably also be pleased that it's not an IoS setup, presumably since this new Icon is not yet complete/active in the game's storyline). After having no real trouble in the tower interior, I get cocky and don't take the revenants on the outer stairways anywhere seriously enough, scoff the megasphere too soon, and then end up on the back foot for the rest of the map after screwing up a dodge vs. one of the cyberdemons, so it's mostly being careful and pecking what remains to death from afar after that (though I did have to take a dangerous risk rubbing elbows with the other cyb for a few moments to get some more cells). Though the struggle here is mostly a result of my own hubris, it's good to see the final map has the capacity for pronounced adversity. As my commentary on this and other WADs probably suggests, I think one often tends to find the sweetspot of fun at the point where things are just about to, or are just past the point of, getting actually legitimately out of the player's immediate control (as opposed to the player being able to maintain full control and having boundless options at all times) , and this did accomplish that; IIRC I was trying to burn down the first cyber so fast, thus putting myself in a series of dangerous situations, because I was worried the other one I had foolishly stirred up was going to come down the stairs and flank me. This is good; these kinds of possibilities are good.

 

Once again, though, the spiderdemons here are something of a misfire, I feel -- as is, literally the only way to deal with them is to snipe them from afar, peekabo-style yet again (my lack of real patience for this at this point is probably reflected in the play here). This is quite anticlimactic as what is literally the last encounter in the game, my suggestion would be to have some more monsters teleport in on the stairs at the same time the spiders appear, so the player at least has to contest for cover for a few moments.

 

I also totally brain-farted about the final pair of gunswitches. There are certain rationalizations that could be made here -- i.e. the classic 'the switch texture starts in the on position rather than the off position', etc., but this is probably mostly on me. It is perhaps worth noting that pistol-starters receive no hitscan weapons and no hitscan ammo other than the bullets from the backpack item (thus, the final two shots you fire in the game are necessarily from the pistol, which is quite a quirky little detail); it might be worth putting some clips or something near the final corpse with the soulsphere as an additional hint about the pair of gunswitches.

 

 

These were my personal top 5 from the mapset, no particular order:

Map 18 -- Meat Grinder

Map 19 -- Fester

Map 21 -- Security Station

Map 23 -- Corporate Hell

Map 28 -- Broundry 3

 

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MAP30 - Final Test

Who needs a stinkin' secret BFG when you've got a shit-ton of rockets and plasma, eh? EH! That was one hell of an epic finisher, Phobus. I actually only died once to the majority of it and all my subsequent deaths were from unfortunate Cyberdemon rockets to the face (the bastards got lucky damn it bahaha). I think I only died about 4 times :P but I survived the bulk of the onslaught and survived the Spider Mastermind Duo. I think I liked the first part best with the ominous rising arena and the flooding in of all the demons while giving me just enough room to maneuver around the horde and practice some more infighting and crowd control.

 

Okay, time to round off my top favourites in no particular order:

  • Skyline
  • Broundry 3
  • Unruly Cargo
  • Security Station
  • Holiday
  • Caldera
  • Meat Grinder
  • Reclamation
  • The Front Line
  • The Armoury

And finally, time to cast my vote for the next megaWAD. Because I'm so late to the party, it seems the club has already blasted through a lot of megaWADs that I'm really interested in so I'm also going to have to nominate:

 

+++Akeldama

 

since that's the newest release that I'm really interested in. Anyways, thanks for the adventure, Phobus. This was an excellent megaWAD with some really fun and exhilirating moments full of intrigue and delight. Be proud, fam, be proud. I can't wait to play more new maps from you.

Edited by Biodegradable

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Crispy, UV, continuous.

 

MAP30

I've been critical about some of the music choices, so I feel it's only fair to start out by saying that "Painkiller" is perfect for this level. The drum intro complements the somewhat-intimidating huge tower we start in, and that main riff fits the masses of enemies that flood in with each stop, and the requisite slaughter, perfectly. Just when I thought the map was going to let up a bit, we get revenant staircases topped by cyberdemons. The staircases were a lot of fun to blast through and the cyberdemons were probably the most threatening ones in the WAD given the relatively tight confines (at least, if one is trying to be efficient).

 

I messed up dodging one of the cyberdemon rockets and had to take the second one, and the masterminds down, with 18 health or so, which was a bit of a thrill. Unfortunately, the masterminds are almost entirely trivial and pointless; a bit of popping in and out of sight on the steps takes care of both of them without much difficulty. Had one—or both?—of them been mobile it would have been a bit more intense and fit the map's theme of a constantly escalating challenge. As it is, after the cyberdemons, the final area is very much a damp squib. I had enough fun with the rest of the map that I didn't mind it, but I couldn't help but entertain a "what if?" question or two in my head.

 

Like @Demon of the Well, I had some issues with the final gunswitches. I don't know whether it was a brainfart on my part or just that they weren't very intuitive. If you ask me (and I know nobody's asking, but hey), if the solution has to be spelt out explicitly in an accompanying text file, there's probably a better way to go about things. But maybe that's just me.

 

Overall thoughts

I really enjoyed my time with this WAD. It has some standout moments and is generally of high quality. Even its lesser moments aren’t all that bad—barring MAP07, really, which is just a wee bit pointless—and I never felt like I wasn't enjoying myself. Some of the progression can be either fuzzy or outright obscure, and I was annoyed by some elements that arose from the WAD’s conceit of having to use every line/sector action at least once, but these weren't deal-breakers at all. I thought it was a good, and occasionally great, set of maps. Good job @Phobus!

 

Top 5 favourites in order of appearance, based on haphazard and possibly inconsistent criteria (or just, you know, "feel"):

MAP14 - Water Treatment

MAP17 - Entrance Made

MAP18 - Meat Grinder

MAP25 - Middle Management

MAP30 - Final Test

 

Edited by ironicmoustache

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prboom+, no saves, uv pistol starts  
map 30 

 

i only have one complaint about this map and it is the forced berserk pickup prior to hitting a switch.  there's something about forced pickups and forced wastefulness that irks me.  generally, i think things like that only belong in the realm of points of no return, but that's just a feeling.  i noticed a few spiders liked to get stuck on particular sectors from room expansion, i am not sure how this could be worked around.  regarding the outer rim revenants, are all these steps joined sectors?  it seemed like awakening one side would do the same to the other and result in a pinch.  a few attempts, i was able to make it through swinging back and forth with plasma.  the attempt resulting in an exit was the only one where i returned to the previous area, letting a couple filter in through the doors.  i agree with everyone pointing out the tiered combat, it was nice to get a strong sense of progression in such a small area. i'll fully admit to feeling a bit foolish until realizing there were shoot switches behind the spiders, another time i'll have to say "but that's on me."  bravo @Phobus this wad was enjoyable beginning to end! 

 

i do have one more thing i'd like to say.  this is my second month participating in DWMC and i've enjoyed myself more than i thought i would.  i'm playing maps far out of my comfort zone or even desire.  i'm watching demos/videos of people playing the same maps and enjoy the variety in playstyles.  my only regret is being part of this community since 2016 and only participating in this four years too late.  friends, this is a good thing going on here.

25years-30-loveless.7z

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MAP 30: Final Test. Played on UV with Brutal Doom and LZDoom.

 

And its over!

The final test is a real test of skill, without being too demanding or ultra difficult. But the ultra-violence does not stay behind! One of the most exciting maps thanks to its starting area where hordes after hordes of different combinations of enemies are sent to us in an arena of brutal combat. I love this kind of design, where an elevator works as the set for the battles against the demons. Just as the map design is pretty good, so is the action and power. Pain Killer is a great extra point to put an end to it. The battle against the Cyber Demons was a bit easy compared to other battles, but the Spider Mastermind duo offered a more satisfying challenge. I have to say that the map offers a great challenge, however, it is somewhat softened by the fact that there are items to spare. I ended up with over 100hp and some armor, but that doesn't mean it's easy, it means I'm very good. *cough cough* I should make a note that I also found a mistake. I don't know if it was because of the mods or my actions, but I got stuck in the elevator in the end area, probably because I pressed the last switch in the middle of the battle, but after that, nothing else happened and I couldn't go up anymore. I had to use the cheat fly to be able to continue with the map, but I won't let that completely ruin my experience, because in the end, it was quite pleasant.

 

25 Years on Earth gets a big plus in my book! 6jsDuBx.png

 

A megawad that favors my style (metal and short but intense maps) with excellent variety, combat and designs simple enough to be attractive to the eye and a combat challenging enough to put us at the edge of the seat.

Full of action, full of smart secrets, full of excellent combinations of enemies and varied maps to offer different flavors, this has been one of the most fun megawads I've tried in my career.

Congratulations, @Phobus ! You have done an outstanding job that will end up in the annals of the ''great megawads'' of 2020! Thank you for bringing such satisfaction and work in these hard and boring times. You were part of the experience of all the members here so that only doubled the experience and insight into the work you did.

 

This has been a satisfactory month and I look forward to the next one, my vote has already been given and I think we all know who the winner will be, so, go ahead Dobu, give us ours!

 

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30: Really good closer for this wad. I'm glad we didn't get another generic IoS fight. Loved fighting in the main central hall with all the enemies, then the archvilles. Wasn't a big fan of the Cyberdemons, but I suck dealing with them. Surprising end with the two SMM and then just a few shots to kill the IoS. Loved it. After the subpar map 29, this one was a deserving closer for this megawad, and the MIDI was really fitting.

 

Final thoughts: That has been a pretty fun experience overall, and a perfect wad to recommend to someone that has finished the IWADs and want something new to play that is both similar to them but also a bit more difficulty and unique. I felt some levels could've been expanded a bit more (7 and 26, for example), but in other hand, a megawad is already a lot of content. 

MAP 9

 

Map preference:

 

18, 21, 17, 11, 14, 30, 3, 28, 27 24, 20, 19, 22, 13, 6, 26, 12, 25, 29 8, 23, 16, 5, 15, 9, 10, 2, 4, 1, 7

 

TOP 5:

 

18 - Really memorable map, with nice E2 architecture, good encounters and strong non-linearity.

21 - Very TNT-ish map in a good way, with lots of exploration and incidental combat.

17 - Very setpiece focused map and one of the most difficulty due to the first setpiece. Very memorable visuals too with all the lava.

11 - A great closer for the first episode, with a nice and large coutyard, SMM setpiece and crawling through the surroudings of the main area.

14 - A short but great non-linear map, with two options to the exit that changes how you deal with the final encounter.

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MAP30: Final Test

 

And so we finally arrive at the tower promised by the last intermission text screen and begin our ascent to the pinnacle of slaughter and, ultimately, triumph.  I find that I often struggle to have much to say about a WAD's MAP30 and about boss levels in general because it can feel like this is one area where Doom's array of encounter components leavs the map author with only so much room for variation and creativity; you're fighting the "bruiser brothers," or the Cyberdemon, or the Spider Mastermind, or you've got large-scale slaughter encounters, or you're blowing up the Icon of Sin as monsters spawn all around you, or some combination of the above, but those are all things that players have seen before, multiple times over multiple WADs, and it can feel like there's little more to do than identify the tropes being invoked and assess how well a particular boss map executes them.

 

With that out of the way, this is a fun level that goes through escalating pitched battles (I'll leave it to better players than I to judge whether the numbers and deployment of the hell knights, revenants, and cacodemons genuinely reaches the level of "slaughter") before handing you a couple of Cyberdemons to blast your way through and wrapping up with a pair of Spider Masterminds standing guard over the inevitable Icon of Sin - who doesn't demand a ballistic explosive lobotomy this time and instead submits meekly to the press of a switch.  I don't know that I'd have found it as fun without the recouse of the previous level's BFG at certain points; the rocket launcher and the plasma gun are effective, and they're certainly kept generously supplied here, but the ability to quickly pop the Cyberdemons or thin out the horned horde helped a lot in maintaining this level as a breezy and enjoyable experience rather than potentially a slog.

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I feel I wasn't fair to MAP29:The Armoury, playing it in a sort of bad mood. Thanks to alternative saves I could play it with the continuous arsenal I had up to that point. It's still a pretty standard map, but I had an easier time appreciating the combat. While being on the easier side, it's no pushover either. Though, the northern route to the back of the red door is an infinitely worse path to choose compared to the southern one. Compare going to a switch and back (while on a damaging floor!) with shooting a shotgunner and getting into his hiding place. On my initial playthrough I looked in builder to find the secret, but that was probably due to the mood. I do think it could use a more noticable audio cue, but it doesn't have to. Overall a fine map, I suppose....

 

...but nothing compared to MAP30:Final Test! Really enjoyed how the floor raised as you progressed in the early stage, and demolishing the icon in the late stage. It was very exciting for me, fighting the hordes as the map escalated both the combat and it's physical location. They end up not being too tough to deal with, but it's the sense of finality that counts! Around when the cyberdemons come into play, if you're one to be more campy, the cacodemons can potentially attack you from the back. I like that because it's an example of how Doom's monster movement can create interesting events. Speaking of interesting happenings, One of the cyberdemons somehow got stuck with an angered revenant punching it. Needless to say, that one didn't pose much threat :P

The final section was a bit awkward to fight the masterminds with, but the placements work for what they are.

Overall, a great end to the megawad!

 

Map ratings:

Spoiler

Maps get rated on different lists (which I'll add as I deem necessary) depending on which part of the map I liked most, and the placement on said list is dependent on what I think of the map as a whole.


Maps I liked for their simplicity:
MAP26:Upper Management
MAP08:Constriction
MAP01:Drop Pod Excursion
MAP22:Power trip
MAP07:Rat Run


Maps I liked for their aesthetics(visuals & music combined):
MAP19:Fester
MAP13:Caldera
MAP17:Entrance Made
MAP02:Bunker Buster


Maps I liked for their sense of place:
MAP31:Holiday
MAP15:Spaceport
MAP16:Unruly Cargo
MAP03:Urban Renewal


Maps I liked for their creativity:
MAP27:Press Gang
MAP18:Meat Grinder
MAP06:Destination Defenestration
MAP04:Wasted Luxury


Maps I liked for their gameplay:
MAP30:Final Test
MAP21:Security Station
MAP11:Bloody Denial
MAP32:Waiting Room
MAP25:Middle Management
MAP24:The Front Line
MAP29:The Armoury(moved up)
MAP23:Corporate Hell
MAP28:Broundry 3
MAP05:Skyline
MAP14:Water Treatment
MAP20:Reclamation
MAP12:Emerald Fluid
MAP10:Haste Keep
MAP09:Skulking Death

 

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@Demon of the Well I've been aware of the stuck monsters on MAP30 since I made the map. The problem with mitigating it is that I want the Arch-Viles to be freely mobile and resurrecting everything (like they do), so that rules out any major usage of block monsters lines. I did have a couple of ideas watching your and @loveless' demos, though, so I'll stick those in the notes. I feel like I don't want to be too cruel with the spider masterminds, particularly as, on lower difficulties, the soulsphere is swapped out for better power ups that give you more of a chance to just stand your ground in the middle there.

 

The shoot switches are also awkward, because in ZDoom-based ports (and I think anything Boom-compatible), those shoot switches also activate when hit by a projectile, so I made them nice and wide so that your plasma or rockets are likely to trigger the switches anyway when the Spiders die. I think a clip on a little pedestal by each ledge might be a good option to make the shoot switch nature more clear, maybe...

 

 

Thanks for the overviews and getting through the megaWAD, everybody who's made it so far! It's been really good to see all of this get played and discussed over the course of the month. Something of a dream come true, in a way!

 

I'll hit up MAP30 tomorrow (my time) before moving onto the next DWMC thread and doing MAP01 there. I'll probably do a brief summary too, and post up a final list of changes to make/investigate before the WAD gets archived and I can move on to my next project.

 

 

MAP29: The Armoury

Is it fitting that the penultimate map uses a MIDI from the same band who did the title track? How about if it's a song that was also used as inspiration by Bobby Prince? Hell, it might even be Prince's early version of this track - it certainly sounds close. I'll have to check that, because if it is, I don't think I credited it...

 

Anyway, this map, the second made for this project, is a pretty standard, old-school approach to having a map. As others have said, it's not the traditional "big hitter" MAP29, where all of the stops are pulled out. It is, instead, a pretty short and simple map with a major secret in it that requires some decent footwork to achieve. Vaguely industrial, vaguely hellish and reasonably threatening, I thought this made sense as a corrupted facility that houses The Big Gun, and your last chance to grab it before you take on the tower this whole map set has been building up to.

 

My play through was basically just me with the plasma rifle the whole time, although I couldn't resist using the BFG for the rising offering of Imps that comes after you pick it up. I don't think I have any interesting developer tidbits for this one - it just came together and worked pretty nicely, as I remember it. The secret door to get the yellow skull obviously took a lot of testing and refining, but I think it was more about me getting good enough at the movement to do it in prboom+ that took the most time, as it seems pretty comfortably achievable in GZDoom.

 

As this map was made after MAP30, the choice of line actions and sector actions was very wide. I think I ticked off quite a few here anyway, with the various one-time switches, monster teleports and other functions.

Edited by Phobus

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MAP30

 

Wasn't in the mood for replaying this from a pistol start - I tend to get sensory overload from the slaughterish stuff that features in the third phase of this map, so I'm going off my recollections from a few days ago. I felt that it was a pretty decent finale, plenty of variety and nothing too difficult or baffling. I did make a save when I saw that Megasphere in the final location, expecting something truly cataclysmic, but was paradoxically both relieved and disappointed when the two Masterminds showed up. They played their accustomed part dutifully as sitting ducks, and could easily be sniped from cover with the RL: I don't think it was even possible to have a bit of fun by getting them to fight each other....or was it?

 

A very worthwhile experience overall. I haven't regretted my decision to participate this month, just as I don't regret 'missing out' on Marswar the previous month. The wad is clearly put together in a thoughtful way - it's apparently designed with continuous play in mind, as can be seen from the provision of a couple of 25% health packs at the end of each level, but the mapper takes some trouble to ensure that pistol starters are catered for with green armour always located near the start, as well as a couple of better weapons. Provision of resources is well balanced - invariably adequate but not excessive. I liked also the way that horrible features like damaging floors are relegated to their proper place in a wad, ie as occasional nuisances rather than as a major factor. Another awful design feature, the 'action start' is also avoided as the player is nearly always given the chance to assess his or her surroundings before the fun and games start, or at least is not faced by anything overwhelming (maps 26 and 27, for example). The levels are generally of an ideal length, and the megawad as a whole can perhaps be regarded as a modern version of something like Perdition's Gate.

 

The only maps I disliked were 17, 21 and 29. Everything else ranged from okay to excellent. My favourite section was the middle third, with maps 11,13,14 and 18 being the strongest contenders.

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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MAP30: Final Test (25 Years on Earth)

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

 

One final task awaits us in this level. First we have to ascend the tower, killing enemies along the way while the floor raises. At first it almost seems like a Dead Simple remake as the first monsters we face are mancubi and arachnotrons, but after collecting the BFG9000 the threat level rises, deploying pain elementals first and later a couple of arch-viles to undo all your hard work. The rest of the level is much easier, as it gives you two invulnerabilities to nuke the duo of Cyberdemons and Spiderdemons along with the remaining monsters completely risk-free. That said, it's not a disappointing final level since the gimmick is interesting and the fact that you're breezing through the monsters certainly gives credence to the fact that they couldn't fix the Icon of Sin in time. Hellspawn is no more and Doomguy can now enjoy his vacation in MAP31 in peace :)

 

Final thoughts:

 

Short and sweet levels that pack a punch. It's admirable how Phobus was able to give a purpose to every single linedef action from vanilla Doom in this wad, even more so since you'd be hard pressed to find one that appears shoehorned in. Ignoring the gimmick the levels hold up well on their own, providing some IWAD-like gameplay with better looks. There's some subtle thematic consistency but with enough variety in how the levels play that you can binge through a large chunk of them without getting tired, which is always a good thing in my book. Solid release!

 

Levels in order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP27: Press Gang

MAP32: The Waiting Room

MAP09: Skulking Death

MAP17: Entrance Made

MAP06: Destination Defenestration

MAP29: The Armoury

MAP14: Water Treatment

MAP19: Fester

MAP08: Constriction

MAP13: Caldera

MAP12: Emerald Fluid

MAP22: Power Trip

MAP11: Bloody Denial

MAP24: The Front Line

MAP30: Final Test

MAP18: Meat Grinder

MAP04: Wasted Luxury

MAP20: Reclamation

MAP26: Upper Management

MAP07: Rat Run

MAP05: Skyline

MAP25: Middle Management

MAP31: Holiday

MAP28: Broundry 3

MAP02: Bunker Buster

MAP15: Spaceport

MAP01: Drop Pod Excursion

MAP23: Corporate Hell

MAP21: Security Station

MAP03: Urban Renewal

MAP10: Haste Keep

MAP16: Unruly Cargo

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MAP30: Perfect music choice to get into some blood pumping action. The first part where all the floors raise to reach the top of the tower was very fun and it was nice to see the wad going almost exclusively with the tougher part of the bestiary. At the outer ring with the revs the map gets less fun, I think it was mainly due to the battlefield that from an open arena turns into a corridor. The cyberdemons are so awkward to kill so I managed to steal the keys while they were distractred by the revs. And the last 2 spiderdemons are just static turrets that you have to slowly take done from the stairs, I don't think you can make them infight. Maybe it end a bit with a sour note but all things considered it's a good final level.

 

Overall it was a very nice journey. I guess it's a wise decision the stick with mostly short levels so you can avoid more the burnout while mapping. Though it has the drawback, and this is my main criticism of the wad, that it happens too often that the maps lack that something that really standout even if they all have their concepts (probably helped by the quest of having to use all the vanilla actions and effects too) and there are really few levels that feel like filler. I would say that the difficulty curve was done very well and I guess that players that don't like to suddenly overwhelmed will have a good time here.

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