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StevenC21

What's the consensus on The Master Levels?

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I've known about these for a long time, and the idea was always somewhat interesting. It's not a perfectly accurate description, but to me they always seemed like a bizarrely implemented proto-expansion.

 

For those who don't know, The Master Levels was a collection of WADs officially released by id in response to D!Zone and the likes - basically, id didn't like the shovelware wads that were getting very popular, so they... did the same thing and released it.

 

Unlike most level collections, The Master Levels were actually released as a folder of individual wads. Yes, that's right. That means forced pistol start on every level, having to quit the game and restart to get to the next level, and even then it was just jarring due to poorly named WADs that made you work to find the next level! The worst bit was, the longest "string" of levels was only 5 maps long. By "string" I mean levels that were connected/related to each other. Most of the levels in the pack were just random wads thrown in to fill it out the collection.

 

Despite this, there were a few gems. One level, known as 'The Black Tower', was relatively well received - even if certain other levels *cough* Mephisto *cough* were ridiculed. Even still, a few gems in a heap of trash won't save it, and for the most part the levels faded into obscurity. If you want to check them out for yourself, they are available on Steam for $5.

 

A real shame how it all turned out, honestly - as I said before, I do think it's an interesting idea. But what do you guys think? Do ya like em, hate em, or something in between?

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Having completed them for the first time just last month, I would consider them non-essential to play. I only played them because they are somewhat official and I'm also highly unlikely to ever play them again.

 

The absolutely worst experience was the level where you have to walk over an invisible ledge to get a keycard to progress (can't remember the name). I had to look it up (that there is an invisible ledge) or I would have been wallhumping in that level to this day. The way forward being harder to find than most hardcore secrets is not a good idea.

 

My favorite was the level with the central elevator in which you sequentially unlock the floors until you reach the top one (again, can't remember the name).

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Dr. Sleep and Mustaine's work is not to be missed. 

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4 hours ago, idbeholdME said:

The absolutely worst experience was the level where you have to walk over an invisible ledge to get a keycard to progress (can't remember the name). I had to look it up (that there is an invisible ledge) or I would have been wallhumping in that level to this day. The way forward being harder to find than most hardcore secrets is not a good idea.

 

Vesperas

 

4 hours ago, idbeholdME said:

My favorite was the level with the central elevator in which you sequentially unlock the floors until you reach the top one (again, can't remember the name).

 

The Express Elevator to Hell.

 

Posting on android's web brower is hell. I'll fix this later

Edited by PaquoCastor

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I'll be honest, I made this thread in part to see if I should go back and play through them again haha. I did a partial playthrough once, but it was quite a long time ago and I don't remember much. 

 

So far it looks like I'll be passing.

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I haven't played them yet. I'm a bit annoyed that I'll have to load them up individually rather them being layered together in a single file I can play continuously. Regardless, I think I'm most interested in the late Dr Sleep's levels in particular as I heard he was a very talented mapper and I should make the time to explore them.

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I tried some of them out awhile back, and I had issues running them on GZdoom, so I think I used Zdoom??? or Zand? Not sure. Some of them were cool, I liked how most of them were simple in design(because of limited abilities and tech back then, so everyone worked with what they got.) It was entertaining. And also amazing to see how wads have Evolved from then to now. Very cool. 

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An exhausting set of levels to play through in a sitting that you really have to pick and choose. There is arguably more good than bad but the overall consensus is "average". My favorite is Black Tower by @Soundblock.

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Of all the big level collections released in the 90s, this is one of them.

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Quite a classic, but not as important from a ''quality'' point of view. I haven't finished them all yet, but the very first five or four are vanilla that it hurts.

Btw, anyone knows how to get the Master levels in GZDoom ?

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Well, all 4 of the iwads are better, and so is Memento Mori.. but if you like old-style 90's era Doom maps, they are still fine for what they are. People who aren't too interested in plain ol' vanilla stuff should definitely give it a pass, but lovers of the antiquated will feel right at home.

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I'm largely indifferent to their existence honestly. They're nothing more than a collection of maps made by various people, some more interesting and all around better than others, but still nothing too special either. Some maps were quite creative though. Some.

 

I like, however, the PSX version of them, which I consider to be the definitive edition of the Master Levels. The PSX enhancements make the maps more charming, and they're also played more like a continuous episode this time around, with some sense of progression, than the randomness of the original, where you'd get massive power ups or weapons near the end of the map.

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Every map is like tossing a coin IMO.

 

Some like Attack.wad land Tails and I love the map.

Others land heads and I hate them.

 

Then there's Teeth.wad that decided to be edge-y and not land on either side. ._.

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For the most part, they're terrible. I found myself wall-humping and navigating entirely by automap way more than should be necessary; and combat often wasn't satisfying enough to be the payoff for that. Some are okay. Notwithstanding, putting a mandatory (not secret) channel of access behind a damn fireplace happened more than once, fair warning and all.

 

I played these via the PS4 port for the trophy and, lemme tell ya, I wasn't sick of D_RUNNIN til then.

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7 hours ago, Biodegradable said:

 

Really appreciate you showing me this, mate. Thank you. From the instructions, it seems there's a bit of fiddling I'll have to do to get the thing working but doesn't seem too complicated.

Yeah, basically that's there just so that the PWADs aren't being pirated by it - essentially all you're doing is inserting your own copies of the PWADs into the PK3 or whatever it is and then it's good to go.

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I'd never played them until last year. As one could expect from a compilation of maps, I liked some of them, but several others I didn't really care for,

 

I only knew Dr. Sleep from And Hell Followed before. I liked his work here, and he definitely has a distinctive style. Orthogonal walls, plenty of brown textures, and a specific style of positioning and drawing light sources. I wouldn't say his maps are remarkable --I still prefer his map for Ultimate Doom--, but they're competent and pleasant to play.

 

I also had a good time playing Jim Flynn's Titan Manor, with the highly interconnected layout and the large windows, as well as the numerous secrets. The mancubi in the dark sector surrounding the map made things hectic, but manageable. I didn't care so much for Trapped on Titan. The look of the map wasn't as appealing to me.

 

I didn't really like Christen Klie's maps, from what I remember. Too many large, empty rooms.

 

I really enjoyed Sverre André Kvernmo's Bloodsea Keep; not too demanding and great to look at. Black Tower is pretty cool, and the concept of going floor by floor is great and well executed. TEETH has a good concept as well, but I don't care for that style of gameplay; too many traps that require split-second reactions. The last room with the Arch-Viles was especially complicated for me. I didn't like Mephisto's Maosoleum either.

 

Mustaine's Paradox is friggin' awesome.

 

Willits' Attack and Canyon were good, as well.

 

So you see, on the whole, the Master Levels are kind of a mixed bag for me. Several of these maps I wouldn't play again. My favorite levels would be Bloodsea Keep and Paradox.

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8 minutes ago, mattjoes said:

Mustaine's Paradox is friggin' awesome.


I will echo this. Best map of the lot. Given that I think his three Evilution maps some of the strongest in that, and my general love for Perdition's Gate, I'd say I'm a fan.

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It's a mixed bag. There's some gems in there (particularly by @Soundblock and Dr Sleep) but the rest is mostly below average when compared to the IWADs.

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I'll give you the zombie response. 

Master Level Good, Demon bad! Kill demon!

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Like most mapsets made by multiple different people, it's a mixed bag. I personally like it and there are very cleverly made maps like Bloodsea Keep and Black Tower which really reminds me of an early Xaser type mapping. It's definitely worth checking out in my opinion.

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I like them actually. I know that they are just seen as levels made by random people, mainly because they are, but if you didn't have the internet at the time they were a great buy for more decently made Doom levels.

 

Instead of wading through the other shovelware packs that were out at the time you had a Doom release that had pretty decent maps instead, even though it did come with a shovelware disc as well lol!

 

Now there were other great maps and even some megawads out at that time but like i stated before, maybe if you didn't have the internet, this was a good buy imo. I don't think it was priced that high at release either, at least not as much as Doom II was.

 

My fav maps are Willits' maps (Attack and Canyon), Dr. Sleeps maps (of course!) and Bloodsea Keep. Titan Manor is pretty fun too.

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I don't typically play them as often as the 4 main IWADS but as some others have said earlier, Dr. Sleep's and Mustaine's work is definitely the best of the bunch and is worth purchasing the Master levels just for those maps alone in my opinion. In fact I think i'm just a big fan of Tom Mustaine's mapping style in general since I really enjoy his work on Master Levels, TNT, and Perdition's Gate.

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Eh, I like most of the maps, I think it's worth playing, as a mapper.

 

I've been playing the Switch ports of Doom and Doom II with my sister. When we got to the Master Levels what she didn't like were Klie's no escape pits, and the two levels that lock out progression in co-op, Trapped on Titan and Black Tower.

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A mixed bag. Some good levels, some okay, some terrible. Not sure it's worth playing in this day and age unless you're especially keen to play the old releases.

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