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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Akeldama

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6 hours ago, valkiriforce said:

 

Actually the map is by ZaBigBoss, I only made the map vanilla-safe and added the exit area as it's originally from his GZDoom mapset Back To Thunder Road.

Thanks! Totally overlooked, I apologize.

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MAP04

The inter-connectedness and options for progression are quite nicely done here.  There's also a good mix of encounter types and tempos, though I do think there are a few too many monsters in cages, and not enough consideration has been given to the limits of auto-aim when you don't have up/down mouselook.  Which is vanilla behaviour, after all.

 

Also, my pet hate; monsters popping out of solid floors right in front of you; is in full effect here.  Don't do this, peeps. 

 

Still, overall I would say the good outweighs the bad. 

 

I only got 37% secrets, but one was the blue armour, so pretty happy about that.

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MAP03: Renegades (4/5)

Skill: HMP | Time: 6:04 | Kills: 100% | Items: 98% | Secrets: 0%

This short but sweet map is set in some sort of gothic cistern flooded with nukage and water, but paths above the drink are provided so you never have to cross a damaging floor. While this map hands out your first SSG, there are no bigger demons to use it on, so with your new toy you get to plow through imps, zombies, pinkies, and the occasional caco with total impunity. It moves fast and is over fast, with the only fly in the ointment being another awkward MIDI built around an exceptionally weak guitar riff.

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MAP03: Renegades (Akeldama)

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

 

A cute wood & metal level with plenty of switches and usage of some unorthodox line actions, reminding me of Jens Nielsen's work on MM/MM2. I found the opening vista to be quite striking, something about the combination of nukage, the damaged walkway and the scale of the room just ticks all the right boxes for me. The level does a good job at showing the optimal route to the exit, while having a few optional areas to satisfy more exploration-minded players (one of which I thought was harder to find than the level's only secret). Combat is still pretty easy, the hell knight gets introduced here on HNTR but it proves no match to the newly acquired super shotgun. It does have a few traps that can catch you off-guard, but they serve more as a mild inconvenience than actual pressure. Pretty good level!

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MAP03: Renegades

UV - Brutal Doom - LZDoom

 

The design of this map reminds me of a pretzel, split in half, sweet and tasty, full of pinkies, pools with acid and many imps, just the way I like it.

It seems like the maps will start to be more complex now, leaving behind the previous simplicity, this one still keeps a simple path but a bit superior to the previous ones. I like the detail and the way the paths intertwine. The challenge is increasing in terms of the number of enemies and their locations, but I think this map was much easier than the previous ones because there are a huge amount of items (premonition of the future?) so it was quite simple in UV, but that does not stop making it fun. Good map, probably my favorite in terms of layout and looks.

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And another post for today because I missed yesterday while preparing my Knee-Deep in ZDoom review for my thread.

 

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MAP04: Chillwell (5/5)

Skill: HMP | Time: 14:40 | Kills: 94% | Items: 21% | Secrets: 12%

Man, I'm sucking at finding the secrets in this wad. "Chillwell" is where Akeldama stops fucking around and begins to offer an actual challenge. Resources are scarce, especially ammo, and I ended up using melee a few times to conserve what precious little ammo I did have (in one case, entirely running out). From the beginning, "Chillwell" offers three potential paths, each offering a weapon and a dangerous combat scenario in which the new weapon will not be able to deal with entirely on its own, so improvisation is critical to your survival. Chaingunners make a more prominent appearance here, and are always the most serious threat to your health, although the canny monster placement will give even the trash the chance to get some damage in. To top it all off is a reflective, stately midi by AD_79 that reminds me of the esselfortium's work in Back to Saturn X and makes up for the obnoxious rawk midis of the previous two maps. Great map.

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Map03: No deaths, UV-Max FDA in 6:35

It's probably the easiest map so far, as once I found the secret soul sphere, I don't think my health dipped below 170% for the rest of the map. I can see the value of having so much health on the map, though. Probably allows for more reckless and interesting play by speedrunners.

It's also the most action-packed map so far, and perhaps the most fun. Even so, I'm not sure if it's my favorite, since I'm a sucker for snowy aethstics in general like in map01, but it's definitely cool.

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MAP04 - "Chillwell" - Daniel "dt_" Trim (97%K/54%I/37%S):

Here is where difficulty goes up to "expected" levels, and where the challenge really starts. As said by some people before, this map is really scarce on ammo, so you'll have to manage your weapons pretty well, but no worries, you'll find a berserk pretty early depending of which path you take. Talking about paths, there are several ways to tackle this map, and that's what I really love about it. The map is actually a keyhunt for the exit with so many connections in between paths that you will always find a different way to play this map. I thought I would not like this, but luckily this was a joy to play, maybe I felt this way because I remember this map having many changes early on.
The icy canyons are great, and I'm pretty sure they were inspired by that episode in Eviternity, fights happening on this place are probably the best moments of this level. What I did not like that much, was the end of the stage, where, at least on HMP, the fight was not that big, and it felt kinda lacking and cramped, it's nothing too bad but I spected a bigger arena, maybe. Anyway I think it gets an apology, since this is still early on the megaWAD, it's just the fourth map, so there isn't any problems with big arenas lacking here.
Also the cages at the east side of the map looked like a The Crusher tribute or something from TNT Evilution, loved the secrets here.

Deaths: 0 (HMP Playthrough - Chocolate Doom)

Order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP04
MAP03
MAP02
MAP01


 

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Map04: 148/153 kills, 3/8 secrets, no deaths, FDA in 26:54

 

This one is probably painful to watch after a certain point because of the amount of time I spent wandering around looking for the missing secrets and monsters. The map itself is the longest so far, and maybe the hardest, but I think the first map is harder to survive on a first try in a 'blind' run because of the chaingunner trap near the beginning. In this run, the ambush at the exit is what had me feeling the most alarmed, partly because of some unexpected chaingunners again, but the rest of the run was fun too. As others have stated, it's great that there are so many viable options for a route through this map.


I did an unrecorded second playthrough with help from the wiki to find all the secrets, and a few of them are particularly clever, like those colored buttons that blend in with their surroundings. There are a couple of weak enemies hidden in corners that made for a nice little surprise on the 'blind' run, but on the second playthrough, I think it made the map a little annoying to max. Forgetting about them (as I did) can lead to a lengthy search. After I found the last secret, there was one enemy left, and I spent like 15 minutes trying to find it before I eventually gave up and typed IDDT twice (I won't do this in any of the FDAs) to see it on the automap. Turned out to be a zombieman in a cave with health bonuses which I'm pretty sure I found on the first playthrough, but forgot about.

Edited by Pseudonaut

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MAP04: Chillwell

Excellent map, in my book! Really nice atmosphere brought on by the music and green "thawed out" areas complementing the otherwise frozen exterior. Very nice use of non-linearity, interconnected layout and directional shadows to make a map that both looks great and flows well. I agree with @Capellan that the insta-popping enemies are a blight on any map, but was so enamoured by the map itself that I didn't let it drag my opinion down too much.

 

In a way, this reminds me of Cold Reception (MAP08 from Community Chest 4), as a nice, snow/ice themed level with an open layout and plenty of secrets. Much like with that map, I went digging for secrets after getting only 2/8 on a normal run through. I ended up spending about 20 minutes on that map and doing a little light IDDT work to home in on where I was after. I see the author went to the same school of secret switch hiding as @dmdr! The trick of blending little coloured switch blocks into computer displays or other textures where they match the predominant colour is one I've employed myself once or twice, and at least the author had the decency to keep them visible on the automap, which I'm not sure I necessarily always did. The misaligned textures were much easier giveaways, but I think I simply didn't go near them until very late, as I didn't need to.

 

I opted to go for the rocket launcher first, and then barely used it, as continuous play has furnished me with plenty of shells and bullets already. I'll be going into the map very well-equipped, as there's some serious goodies tucked away here if you spend enough time digging! Difficulty being reasonably low meant that I could keep hold of most of my plunder, too, which will probably do me good in the near future.

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MAP04 - Chillwell

HMP | Continuous Play with Saves | Running on GZDoom + Hellrider

 

Aha, now this one had a bit more MEAT to it, more challenging and it's the first one to almost kill me thanks to the fake-wall trick at one point where I clumsily ran into a densely populated area (nothin' a few fireworks can't solve!) and that other packed close-quarters area filled with spectres and imps. This is the first map to offer a less linear experience than the previous maps and following the lead of MAP03's inter-connective nature with the multiple paths you can take to complete it. I quite liked the use of switches that lowered/lifted multiple things at once and utilising monster closets within it was a nice touch, along with having the rug pulled out from under me at the exit too was a nice cherry on top of this enjoyable map.

 

Gameplay footage:

Spoiler

 

 

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