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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Three is a Crowd

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What is the DWmegawad Club?

This is a place where we settle down, have a cup of tea (or drink of your choice) and take a month to play through a megawad on our own, together! Any keen observations, criticisms, or frustrated ranting about it goes here in the discussion. As long as you want to say something about what you've played, feel free to speak your mind.


Can I join?

Sure. The only rule is that you have to play at least some of the levels in our monthly megawad to contribute, but you're generally encouraged to finish the whole thing, even if you've played it before.


What levels am I allowed to post about?

Whatever day of the month it is, is the upper limit for the map you can post on. So if it’s the 6th, you may discuss up to MAP06.


Do I have to post an entry every day?

Nope, not at all. This is only for our more enthusiastic members. As long as you play through it with us you’re part of the club.


When do we vote on the next month’s megawad?

Voting begins on the 25th of the current month. Remember to add one “+++” before your vote to make it easier to count. For example:


+++ Ultimate Doom


Note that you can only nominate up to three separate wads for a single month, and the wads must contain at least three maps each. The winning wad must receive at least four votes for a thread to be made. Ties will be decided by RNG.




As National Novel… WAD.... Month? comes to a close, we’re going to celebrate all the brave mappers that participated by playing a fully finished Novel megawad by community member Scypek2, known for his inventive design! We’ll be playing his refined NaNoWADMo 2019 effort, Three is a Crowd, a thematic vanilla megawad that changes up the typical Doom progression in a number of different ways. Can these three “marines” fend off the evil that awaits them? Download this ebook zip file to find out!


Author & Maplist:

MAP01 - “Under Control”

MAP02 - “Empty Handed”

MAP03 - “Band Head”

MAP04 - “The Mantle”

MAP05 - “Murder Machine”

MAP06 - “Emergence”

MAP07 - “The Pinnacle”

MAP08 - “Under Control Still”

MAP09 - “Futile Ascent”

MAP10 - “Down in the Dark”

MAP11 - “Lightbringer”

MAP12 - “Diode”

MAP13 - “Area Zone”

MAP14 - “Outpost Processing”

MAP15 - “Outpost Refinery”


MAP31 - “The Way Forward?”

MAP32 - “Wrong Turn”


MAP16 - “Risk Factor”

MAP17 - “Deadlift”

MAP18 - “Nowhere Fast”

MAP19 - “Crossfire”

MAP20 - “Rocky Road”

MAP21 - “Flushed Away”

MAP22 - “Treasure Hunt”

MAP23 - “Quartered”

MAP24 - “Dirty Dealings”

MAP25 - “Perturbator”

MAP26 - “Unlikely Ally”

MAP27 - “Pushback”

MAP28 - “Reunion”

MAP29 - “Sheer Poison”

MAP30 - “Extinction Burst”



Doomworld thread




The DWmegawad Club Metathread












Edited by dobu gabu maru

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I haven't played a full megawad in a while. Why not? I'm playing GZDoom on UV with saves.


MAP01: Under Control

Where did all the resources go? I got the one secret after everything was dead, so there was enough health. Ammo was the bigger problem. When I finally cleared the level, I used every single bit of ammo I picked up, except one rocket because there was no launcher. That's just too tight, especially with this many archviles. And yes, I did utilize the chainsaw. Otherwise I wouldn't have had enough ammo for the last wave of enemies. Is the rest of the wad better? This was brutal. On the other hand, I enjoyed how screwed up the progression was. That kept me playing even with the ammo strangulation. No doors other than key doors? One opens without a key. Get a key? Oh you thought you were going to use it? Not this time. The death exit was wonky for me, but after all the enemies were dead, I was cracking up.


100% Kills and Secrets

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Hey! I did MAP01 on Trivial Trip (because I suck) with 100% items,secrets,and kills.

Loved the "Get key, but don't use it." and death exit.

I might have found some cheese, but it's really hard to explain. I'll try anyways.

You can run on the ledge right of the boxes, to get to the switch.

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Always cool to see levels that don't hold difficulty scaling and arsenal the same boring way most wads do (Shotgun/Chaingun > SSG > Rocket Launcher > Plasma > BFG. How many times have we seen that?)


MAP01 - 111% kills, 100% items and secrets


Really cool map. Ammo is somewhat scarce compared to what most are used to in Doom levels, but it's definitely enough to be beatable. The little arena this map mostly takes place in is simple, but does its job, and allows for several different ways to tackle the fights. Four Archviles in a MAP01 is definitely uncommon. The combat was very refined, and the progression funny. Was surprised to see plot twist, even more so to then know that it was the ending.

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Map 01

This is an interesting start to a wad. I have a feeling we're in for it this month! I'm using Argent again and using the equivalent of UV but all my favorite settings to make it more casual, such as double ammo, jumping, crouching...Anyway, I did get to chainsaw a mancubus.

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Map 02 is a bad time, even on trivial trip.

No weapons except the bezerk.

AND having to dodge a cyberdemon's attacks almost the entire time.

Goodness, this map is interesting but pretty difficult.

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Maybe I'll be able to keep up with this this month, I've been wanting to try this one out for a while anyway.


Playing in Pr-Boom+ on Hurt Me Plenty (or "Thrilling Threat")


Map01: If the game of "Scribble" doesn't clue you in, the progression will; this is one quirky wad. This unorthodox introduction takes the player down a hallway, to what seems to be an impassible door, until another opens behind our hero leading to a small puzzle box. This room is not shy about handing out munitions as well as mid-tier enemies to use them on. For the final encounter, the marine recieves a BFG making quick work of the archvile and arachnotrons. And with that, the blue key is secured and the door from the beginning can finally be opened, however, the map has one last trick up its sleeve, dropping our hero into a cave with the only way out being an inverted cross of fireblu (Oh! The horror)!


This map was a nice introduction to what seems to be a very interesting experience, the combat wasn't terribly interesting but the twists and turns were. There are a lot of small details I really appreciate, such as the crates in the opening room precariously placed on the edge of the platform above, and, of course, the game of "Scribble." Not too much more to say, a wacky opening that bodes well for what I hope is a wacky mapset. Also, I like to think The blue key door was the bathroom, and the marine was simply pausing their game for a Bathroom Break (An alternate title I hope you will consider).

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Three's A Crowd

I confess, I'm feeling a bit doom'ed out right now due to last months doubly whammy. I'll join for at least a few maps of this very interesting wad and see how I go. I'll be following reviews quite closely.

Playing with gzdoom 4.4.2 on UV or "Torturous Trek", pistol starts and attempting uvmax'es and reverting to playing with saves for the difficult maps.


Anyone up for a game of Scribble? The first map is small and perplexing. Blue doors that initially open without the use of a key and a red door there's no key for with a non death exit inside (discovered by idclip).

A plasma rifle is provided with ammo but 4 archviles and friends on the map quickly chew up that ammo and spit it out at you. A bfg is given later with just enough ammo for one choice blast at the tag team archvile finish. A berserk is also handed out that you may well need due to the extreme lack of ammo. The map has a death exit to make absolutely sure you start map02 Empty Handed.

This wad is not going to be a pushover.


Empty Handed is right. A tenacious cybie is chasing our poor marine yet again and someone forgot to hand out weapons and ammo. Terrible oversight by the map designer! Doomguy would like to lodge a complaint.

The map turns out to be easier than you might expect once you discover that the big bad cybie can be telefragged from the first teleporter you reach. There is a tell for this when you first teleport and telefrag the 2 imps in the reddish trapezoidal sector. You need to first discover the soulsphere secret and then use some timing and finesse (clever kiting) to make it happen. It may take several attempts once you know what to do but after that, the map can be explored in a much more leisurely fashion.

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Map02: A map that immediately proves my suspicions for this wad, in that, its a short, gimmicky map. The map doesn't feature any weapons, and for the most part, no power ups. My favorite moment is the room with the crushers, cacodemons, and hell knights. Really, the best strategy is to press all the switches, releasing everything at once, but I like that it lets you introduce the elements of the encounter at your will. I wish the map had a bit more stuff like this, forcing in fighting and whatnot, but I can't really fault what's here. Another good one.

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Since I've been wanting to do a proper playthrough of 3IAC for a while now, I think I'll join in this month.


I'll be playing from pistol start (when the wad doesn't force it to begin with) on "Torturous Trek" (UV) and making liberal use of the save function. I'll be using Crispy Doom for this adventure, mostly because it keeps track of secrets and monsters to please my inner completionist.


Under Control - 100% kills, 100% secrets

You know, I normally don't like introductory maps much. Typically, they either represent a boiled down version of the wad's style, or have little to do with experience at all. This is not the case with 3IAC. From what I've played of the rest of the megawad, this odd little piece is a perfect introduction, setting the stage for madness yet to come. The first thing you see is an in-progress game of "Scribble", played between yourself and the other two members of the titular trio.





This is the kind of thing you'd expect to see in one of those atrocious over-scripted zdoom wads, but, being vanilla, there is no generic shooter dialog, nor any forced interaction to speak of. Your mates just stand there, watching, giving the scene a dream-like quality.


Right out the gate, Under Control gives you a plasma rifle and SSG, along with ammo for both and a backpack. This is possibly the strangest starting load-out I've ever seen, and further helps to set the map apart from most other starters. The next surprise is the map's first and only encounter. As soon as you enter this rather austere room:





You are greeted by a host of monsters, consisting of free-roaming specters and cacos, some imps and a hell knight in sniping positions, and a random lonely shotgunner. This fight all but demands a bit of door cheesing, since trying to run around the central tower just brings you face to face with a mancubus. After killing everything on the ground floor along with the surprise archviles and pressing the switch on the far side of the tower, you are faced with a problem: there is no capital-O Obvious progression. Instead, you have to scurry along this little ledge here:





This informs you that the progression in this wad is going to eccentric, or even obtuse. Another oddity is the (highly welcome) presence of the BFG, which you'll need to kill the two archviles that spawn after you grab the blue key. Also, I don't think this map has a single health item apart from this 'secret'  berserk:





This tells you to expect deprivation to be a running theme. Once the ambushers have been dispatched, you head back down the corridor only for this to happen:





At first, I was confused as to how this was achieved in vanilla, since I had already crossed over the trigger linedef. I soon realized that it must be some trickery involving control sectors, and sure enough:





Ah ha. Simple, but clever. After you fall down into the hole, there is no way back, so you are forced to advance deeper into the cave. You are soon greeted by a good old fashioned upside-down cross, which also doubles as the level's death exit:





So, overall, a very good introductory level. Two things in particular stood out to me:


1. The map has a distinct and original vision behind it.


2. The map does not give a single solitary shit about mapping conventions.


To me, these two points encapsulate the (albeit limited) experience I've had with 3IAC.



Good introduction to the wad's themes, does not care about convention.


Edit: Hmmm, I'd better spoiler those images.

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Three is a Crowd

Scypek2, when a brand new, shiny member of the community, introduced himself with two maps in MAYhem 2012. Whilst they mostly stood out for being very "beginnerish", they showed an experimental mind with non-conformity as a clear mapping goal. Lots of sector machinery and awkward progression hinted at some real potential for some decent, left-field stuff. Now, eight years later, we get to find out what experience and time to build a whole megaWAD adds to that initial recipe. Big shout out to @P41R47 for recommending this so much this year, and making the status bar. I'll be playing in GZDoom 4.4.2, UV, continuous with mouselook and always run, plus my usual visual enhancement setup, but no jumping or crouching. I'll definitely save as and when I like.


MAP01: Under Control

Starting us off in front of a board game and a couple of voodoo dolls (I was briefly surprised to be greeted by two shotgun guys with dark green staining and heart boxers on, before I remembered I was using the NoPants2 skin). There's plenty of equipment in that first room to get you started off, and a blinking console that clearly activates a lift somewhere, but I couldn't work out where that was. Never mind, I've already read there's a death exit, so I'm not too committed to the secret in this map! The bulk of the action all takes place in one room, which gets pretty hectic. Unfortunately, I got the BFG with just under 40 cells left, so I only got one surprisingly ineffectual shot off with it before having to try and isolate the last AV and plasma that, then tidy up with the SSG. The map looks nice enough, has decent progression and has a decent reveal at the end. A decent start - pretty tough, and not exactly traditional 32-map megaWAD fare, but we've all seen that a lot of times by now, so it's a welcome change.


MAP02: Empty Handed

Ah, ye olde Tyson Cyberdemon puzzle map. A pretty common setup, but with plenty of variance in execution. Like @tmorrow, I opted to telefrag the Cyberdemon as soon as I worked out how it could be done, and after that just had to struggle my way through the two wings of the map. There were a fair few deaths with trial and error here, which gave me more time to try and form an opinion on the music (it's pretty unusual... not necessarily bad, though). It all seemed thoroughly beatable, though, so I didn't mind. The bit that did bother me was the final switch on the way to the red skull key, as I simply didn't notice it becoming available as I was still trying to avoid a few Hell Knights and Cacodemons (also a couple of crushers) and opted to GTFO of the room instead. Once I'd got the secret berserk I came back to check it out and eventually got there. I did quite a lot of non-berserk punching on the yellow skull wing, which wasn't as bad as I thought. I guess the enemies infighting and the odd barrel explosion helped me out a lot.



Early indications are that this is going to look pretty nice for vanilla and be a pretty interesting playing experience. 

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The finnest and most carefuly tangled vanilla maps that i played in a good while.


To elaborate a little on the vanilla extremes of the mapping design, if Eternal Doom is the big maps big puzzles, and Demonfear is the short masterpiece of condensed challenge, then Three is a Crowd is something on the middle that tries to mess really hard with your head and perception, but also offers really good puzzley and challenging maps.


This megawad is my favorite of all.

Good and really varied gameplay, Incredible storytelling, balls hard but fair, spooky, scary, and undoubtly alien.

Somethings i see on this wad i didn't even know they were possible on vanilla setting.


A massive achievement for sure.

If this doesn't win a Cacoward this year, i don't know what to think.


Thanks, @Phobus for the call ;)

My involvement on this megawad is little and makes no difference aside from cosmetics, but i want to thank @Scypek2 for the opportunity to work with him, and i hope everybody feels as insolated, confused, disoriented, and happy as much as i felt while playing this masterpiece.


Happy Dooming, guys and girls!


Edited by P41R47

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well. I've played it all before but might as well give a replay now, with the DWMC.

I'll play in the easiest setting, with saves aplenty and continuously. 


MAP01 : grab the starter kit, kill a imp, waking up the imps on the other side of the blue door so that they open the door for their death and then enter the room. Cacos must be dealt with swiftly, grab the chainsaw and kill the manc. After that, we have some indoor-parkour to do.. And after getting rid of the rev, we now have a chaingun and a BFG. Kill the spiders (yey, no archies in this dif setting) and we are ready to go die. The floor falls bellow my feet! And then the inverted fireblu cross opens beautifully. 3m30 seconds, 100% K/S/I, 0 deaths.


MAP02  I know this wont be such an easy ride.. We start staring at this organic hellish mass and things are  about to get weird. Run from the cyber into the barrel filled room and kill everything with the few pistol sots we have properly applied to the barrels. Punch lost souls. Grab yellow key, pres switch. Teleport, run from cyber and now that we have the YK, let's telefrag! Done, now it's easier. Grab the secret soulsphere and red key room time. Rev switched to death. Open door, press switches and run TF out. Now, back to get the invun and red key room it is. Done. Now.. I'm missing the berserk secret and a caco and a hk, so I'm going back. Caco and HK dealt with. Ok, I don't get it. And then the lift went up. Good. I am done here. 10m38 seconds, 100% K/S/I, 0 deaths! 


so far, 14m08s, 0 deaths.

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MAP02: Empty Handed

I hate maps like this. It's all trial and error until you figure out how to blow up the cyberdemon. Unfortunately for me, I got the YK and zerk second, so that compounded my frustration, since most of the level was over when I was able to trap and telefrag the cyberdemon. There are good ideas here, but the design is obnoxious. I'll stick with it for now, since it's so different from anything I've played, but the urge to quit is starting to rise, even as early as this.


83% Kills 100% Secrets

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Second time through this megawad for me, hindsight is going to be really useful especially in the first arc. I find the first maps a lot more cryptic and difficult than the rest.


MAP01 - Gotta be really careful with ammo here and lean heavily on the chainsaw or you will struggle to clear the archviles out. I used a lot of infighting to conserve ammo, managing to get almost the entire room cleared out. Falling through the floor and the cross are both really cool effects.


MAP02 - Prior knowledge helps a lot here, I managed to get an early cyberdemon telefrag which felt great. The caco and HK room is a real struggle, lots of luring into the crushers and encouraging infighting whilst being way too close to them.

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me playing doom for the first time:

1 enemie:quite a bit

2 enemies:group

3 enemies:a crowd

4 enemies:woah chill down

5 enemies:slaughter map

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Already after not being able to return fairly to what are the two Megawads of last month, this time I decided to try my luck this month and see if I managed to get from the beginning to the end of this strange but interesting Megawad that has been put on the table, I hope everything goes well.







Three is a Crowd


Ultra-Violence mode || GZDoom || Final Doomer+





Map 01 (Under Control):



*Deaths: 0

*Saves: none








(Dude, this is weird...)





The map really has a very ugly start, there are quite a few Archviles in this part, and the ammunition is not enough to kill them all, but going back to the map in general, its structure is interesting because it is mostly a kind of room placed on top a platform and that has boxes on one side that at the top, there is a berserk, and at the end of the level, it is simply a cavern that leads to an inverted cross-shaped portal, nothing special if you have already played SIGIL. With the difficulty is where it stands out the most, for having several enemies such as the Revenant, Mancubus, Imps, Hitscanners, Archviles, Arachnatrons and Pinkys, as I said at the beginning, the ammunition is really scarce in this part, and it is not as if the BFG 9000 I will fix things, but really, this way of playing the level is ugly, but even so, I survived the match so, that's what really matters at the moment.



Map 02 (Empty Handed):



*Deaths: 0

*Saves: none








(This is strange and awesome)






This map is rare, both structurally and playable, since the structure in which it was created here is extremely small at the beginning, and with a large space outside, to later make areas of regular size in the following rooms, for example, in the room where the yellow skull key is, but as in the case of the other room with the other key, it has a narrow room at the beginning, to later bring a room a little more spacious and extended In addition to that, in this map we will find several traps that crush things, really useful in some places, there are also lower grounds that have floors with very hot ashes, and a strange secret that I really had no idea that was accessed through the switch to side of the yellow key, almost everything on the map has decorations with blood, viceras, and mutilated bodies.



With the difficulty it does not disappoint either, unlike the first level, here there is practically no ammunition, and with no weapons, there will only be the pistol and the fists that the marine possesses, the enemies here are not a big deal, There are Revenants, 2 or 1 Chaingunner, Many Hell Knights and Cacodemons, Imps, Pinkys and 1 Cyberdemon, at this point one would think that death is just around the corner, but the reality is that it is not as complicated as it seems, it turns out that you can spend this map only having the Invencibility Sphere at your disposal, but without achieving 100% Kills, also, as other users said, killing the Cyberdemon using the teleporter is really useful, and by sheer luck I managed to kill it in the second I try after the first one did not calculate well, avoiding an attack from that huge beast, I waited for it to be placed in the middle to kill it, and in the end it worked, where if I got bored a bit it was in the part of me Targeting the Hell knights and Cacodemons with the Crushers, whenever there were fewer left they didn't want to go to the pillars to be crushed so I decided to kill them on my own to avoid a long wait. In any case, I had a great time and enjoyed the encounters I had at this level, even if later I ended up being confused by the secret of the Berserk on that wall in the center.

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1 hour ago, AFallingObject said:

MAP02: Empty Handed

I hate maps like this. It's all trial and error until you figure out how to blow up the cyberdemon. Unfortunately for me, I got the YK and zerk second, so that compounded my frustration, since most of the level was over when I was able to trap and telefrag the cyberdemon. There are good ideas here, but the design is obnoxious. I'll stick with it for now, since it's so different from anything I've played, but the urge to quit is starting to rise, even as early as this.


83% Kills 100% Secrets


Heh, finally. I've expected a lot more people to hate this map, and eventually someone delivered. All I can say is...


6 hours ago, Omniarch said:

This tells you to expect


...try not to jump to conclusions. And if any of the maps gets annoying enough to give up on altogether (this may happen a couple more times), I very much encourage you to skip ahead, and maybe find something more palatable on the next level. This megawad violates a lot of conventions, and that includes the so-called difficulty curve. I just hope the rest of you won't be too disappointed once the difficulty dips down here and there...


 * * *


By the way, I've been meaning to write down some thoughts and notes about the maps of this megawad for a while... and this may be a good place. I hope you find it interesting.


MAP01: Under Control
This has been the 5th map I made for the project. I tried to get the storyline-important maps out of the way early, and this was definitely one of them. Just about everything you can see in the starting room is going to become relevant at some point... but for the first map, I wanted to start off by subverting one of the most omnipresent tropes of them all: beginning your mission woefully underequipped for no reason. Here, the three of you notice some disturbance, so to make sure you'll address it properly, you grab two heavy weapons, fill them with ammo, and don the best armor UAC has in stock. Playing on skill 2 is actually the most canon version of this particular map - your two buddies don't even need to get up from the table, cause you got everything under control... until the surprise. But then I guess I figured the whole point of skill 4 is to get your ass kicked, so on Torturous Trek I turned the map into a resource management puzzle instead, with the starting room loadout comprising the majority of what you can use in this map.


This map features the following technical gimmicks:

  1. There's the big lift in the main challenge room, with a pile of crates on top that moves alongside it. I just put a couple of untextured, untagged sunken sectors inside the crates to make them all lower to the correct height... and made sure there's no way to obstruct the lift's movement in any way, which would desync the three separate sectors and mess everything up.
  2. There's the big surprise, with a linedef that only does something when you cross it later! For that, I used a repeatable "lower to highest" action, but then also used a reference sector to change what "highest adjacent" means over time.
  3. Something minor, but just as important to get the feeling right: midtextures can only be 128 tall in vanilla, so the center bit of the giant cross is actually three different linedefs right behind each other.
  4. Death exit! AKA the oldest trick in the book, but the most common way to do it is simply making the player telefrag a voodoo doll and a Romero head at the same time. Here, I went with something more optimized: telefragging the four players' voodoo dolls (co-op compatibility!) as well as a barrel that pushes another voodoo doll over a W1 exit line. This makes the death exit happen instantly, making sure the player won't accidentally reset the whole map before the exit event triggers.
  5. This is less technical, but I think it's noteworthy how I used the precariously protruding stack of crates to fit a small receded door under a perfectly solid and 3d walkway in the starting room.


MAP02: Empty Handed

It looks like the hellish portal somehow stripped you of all your precious weapons along the way. You're lucky you still got your clothes on! This has been the chronologically 2nd map I made, eager to try out that awesome red sky I stitched together from @129thVisplane's, @Chaingunner's and @torridgristle's textures. I put two chasms on the sides of the main area just so you can watch it tile vertically.


The caged chaingunner and shotgunner make an interesting addition to the gameplay, but I put them there mainly to tease you with the possibility of taking their weapons, before you press a switch that crushes them along with their guns. If you choose to avoid that particular switch, a walkover trigger later on is just gonna crush them anyway.


This level is less story-focused, but it still tries to evoke a particular mood. You just got unexpectedly thrown into a hellish dimension, so of course things won't be going well for you. You have to use all your wits to survive against an overwhelming force...


 * * *


Last but not least, I just want to thank everyone involved - @dobu gabu maru for hosting the Club, everyone who voted for me and everyone currently participating, as well as everyone who contributed to 3IAC's genesis. I never expected it to turn out like this, and the positive response continues to amaze me.

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MAP02: Empty Handed - 100% kills 100% secrets

This map fascinates me. Tyson + Cybie maps have the potential to be either among the most interesting or the most aggravating experiences. Empty Handed lands firmly in the former category for me. Why? Well, several reasons:


1. Gimmick(s). It would be easy to simply make an arena, plop a cyber in there, scrawl some lame-ass busy-work areas on the periphery and maybe throw in a telefrag secret for generosity's sake. This map does none of that, and all of that at the same time. Firstly, the cyberdemon is this map serves as more than a simple turrent or annoyance. It both helps and hinders the player in equal measure. On the one hand, it acts as the map's driving force and centerpiece, keeping the threat-level high and providing a constant source of background anxiety, while on the other has the potential to dispatch a good half of the opposition if the player manages the situation correctly. Secondly, the peripheral areas are neither boring nor frustrating, and each contain their own gimmick. The crusher room on the eastern side of the map is the MVP of these, and a legitimately interesting encounter, if a bit fiddly. The compartmentalized room with the barrels is a tad more questionable, but its short so I can't really complain. The mirrored key rooms are also a bit irksome, since it so easy to get scammed by the cyberdemon. Still, the side areas do their job well and don't drag. Thirdly, the telefrag secret is actually good, making use of an existing teleporter in tandem with another relatively intuitive secret. Lowering that AA_SHITTY platform and maneuvering the cybie into trapping itself is both tense and satisfying.


2. Progression and length. One thing about these sorts of map is that it is very easy for them to overstay their welcome, or else be too short to do anything substantive. Empty Handed manages to strike a fine balance. It is a small, compact level with a relatively simple set of objectives, but being able to accomplish these objectives or even figuring out what to do in the first place is where the meat of the map's runtime lies. I have played it three times in total, once shortly after the wad's release and twice for this here club, and each run was successively shorter and more enjoyable than the last. There are a surprising number of decisions to make while playing, giving the map a high replay value.


3. Aesthetic and atmosphere. In this type of map, a striking yet simple appearance is key. While I like fine detail as much as the next guy, one doesn't really have time to admire the scenery with a cybie in hot pursuit. This doesn't diminish the importance of aesthetic: a boring-looking map is still boring-looking, even if you don't notice it as much. This map is simple, even ugly, in appearance, but in a way that meshes with the gameplay and layout. And that sky! I wish my nightmares were that interesting. Also, I really like the music. It adds to the otherworldlyness of the experience.


Overall, a great map, the one that made me decide to play the megawad in full. Amusingly, I've been avidly watching the megawad club for the post fortnight, hoping 3IAC would win out so that I could play it and write about it the same time, and so I could join in on the conversation.



A great little map, taking a potentially divisive gimmick and taking it in new directions.

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MAP01 - Under Control

Already an interesting time… An AV and a BFG in the first map, what a show. Nothing here was hard yet, I never died and I even forgot to save for a much longer time than I normally do. The visuals were interesting as well. The “Scribble” game was amazing. I love the atmosphere of this map, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this WAD’s plot unfolds.


MAP02 - Empty Handed

The name was spot-on in this Tyson map where even the berserk is a secret (I think). We have a cyberdemon clunking about and nothing but a peashooter. You have to figure out where to go and how to use the strange environment to help kill shit, all while worrying about the cybie and all the other monsters around. I actually enjoyed this very much, and I’m very interested in what other sorts of unorthodox gameplay is waiting for me. I like the visuals, they feel similar in style to the hell maps from 25 Years on Earth. Simple and based on the same themes as classic Doom, but with modern details and sensibilities. Maps that feel very familiar but also very modern at the same time.

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Map 02

I'm using Argent so I went pew pew and pistol'ed the Cyber to death in order to get my railgun. It was an interesting level and it definitely seems like this wad will be a unique experience. I had a crash the first time through the map maybe 3 minutes in, so my recording below doesn't have any surprise jumps from the revenant or cyber.


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A marvelous map. Everything you need is made available, you just need to pick when and where to use it. You will want hunt out all of the secrets. They provide super shotgun and shells, megaarmor, invulnerability, partial invisibility and megasphere. Quite a haul.

Once you reach the dark hub, you can choose to take the red or yellow key path in either order. The red key path has the most goodies and easier fights. The crusher section is probably the trickiest but those crushers can be used to pacify the revenant opposition on the return trip. The yellow key path is only bad if you screw up or don't expect the cacoswarm attack.

If you save the partial invisibility for trip west toward the exit, then the chaingunner ambush is much easier. Don't get crushed by the invisible crusher covering the entire penultimate room before the exit!

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MAP03: Bang Head

I suspect playing in GZDoom helped me out with the rocket usage and berserk punching that thoroughly dominated my experience of this map. I never found the SSG, Invulnerability or Partial Invisibility secrets, but made it through the map comfortably enough anyway, just being sure to take it slow, prioritise targets and make sure my supply of rockets never dwindled too much.


Quite an abstract map that somehow still looks good - visual cues for stuff like the crusher near the end were well-implemented and immediately noticeable. I went red skull key first (not deliberately, I just happened to stumble upon that route) and came out of it pretty well - I don't see any reason why going yellow skull key instead would have gone much worse for me, particularly as I didn't notice the soul sphere until late. I made it through with no deaths and no real moments of "huh, what am I doing now?" to slow me down, either. All told, it's a really good map, with another competent alternative take on some familiar ground (that of limited weaponry). The strong start continues!


Music was, once again, not bad, but pretty unusual.

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played this recently in survival with a friend. won't dedicate to the whole month but i'll pop in/out for maps i remember being fun.

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MAP03: BANG HEAD - 100% kills 100% secrets

love this map. The bizarrely-named Bang Head is a bold combination of one of my favourite map archetypes (hell mansion) with the highly underrated rocket launcher and berserk combo. Three things in particular stood out to me about this gem during my two UV-Max runs:


One, immersion. In my book, creating a strong sense of immersion is probably one of the most critical aspects of game design, and individually the most important to me personally. All my favourite non-strategy games rely on immersion. So, that said, how does Bang Head create such a strong sense of it? Well, I'd say it comes down to theme. What do I mean by this? Each and every visual/spatial aspect of the level works together in tandem to create a distinct setting, from the textures to the layout to the progression. As I said before, hell mansions are one of my favourite archetypes. Such maps rely on a mixture of wood and hell textures, labyrinthine layouts and devious traps and secrets to inspire feelings of alienation, isolation and confusion. Bang Head embodies all of this, and executes it with a characteristic mad genius. For example, take the north-western loop hallway:








It's a simple addition, but highly effective at giving the map an alien feel. Also on the western side is a nice little mini-hub, a bright rectangular room ringed by bare, dark little boxes:






I like the suggestion of familiarity here, with the shape feeling almost like a real room, contrasted against the hellish decor. Another example of dedication to theme is the progression, best exemplified by this little room here:





Not every map has the balls to hide progression behind an (admittedly very simple) puzzle. There are many other examples of dedication to theme, mostly in the decoration. Take a look at this little faux-room-over-room effect here:





Probably the most surreal part of the map is the hub area. The invisible staircase, the contrast of the torches and various alcoves against the inky black makes for a nice, visually distinctive hub area:





And how could one forget the crushing sky in the far north. Best asshole trap of the year, though its also good for killing monsters:





The second thing that stood out to me about this map was the combat. Berserk is under-utilized, in my opinion. I find it to be one of the most interesting weapons in the game, with a high-risk high-reward dynamic shared only with the rocket-launcher. Fitting then that these two weapons are the only (non-secret) ones available. The thing is, its so easy to cock-up this style of play, especially in Doom II with its many un-punchable monsters, and in maps with tight layouts like this one. Whats so impressive about Bang Head is that it manages to limit your space enough so that the splash damage from the rockets is still a threat, forcing you to pay close attention to the map's geometry, whilst still maintaining a sense of momentum and avoiding that fiddly feeling that can easily ruin such maps. 


It also makes extensive use of pinkies and specters, some of the most infuriating enemies in rocket-oriented combat, and makes them a challenging and fun part of the combat. Mancubi also feature heavily, and are used to great effect by combining their slow speed and vast size to create the most interesting corridor shooting I've ever seen. You can neither bypass nor ignore them, but their ponderous pace allows you plenty of time to blast them with rockets. Lost souls are used sparingly but effectively, and imps make up the bulk of the fodder, ready to be punched or rocket-gibbed at your discretion.



The third and final aspect of the map that caught my eye was the secrets. I found all the secrets in my first playthrough, though it took me a full ten minutes to figure out how to get that megasphere. One of the thing I like about the secrets is the difficulty curve, with the partial invisibility being the easiest and the megasphere being the hardest, requiring a keen eye and a bit of lateral thinking. The invulnerability secret is a great example of the "where the hell is that sound coming from?" archetype of secret, and the SSG secret appeals to my sensibilities (I love secrets that use a non-secret moving part of the map, like a door or lift, as part of the puzzle). Also, nice E4M1 reference you got there:





The American McGee torch switch is just the icing on the cake. I love it.


The advantage of structuring the secrets in such a way is that the map is able to avoid common problem of difficult or obtuse secrets just causing players to give up. Having such a curve gives struggling players hope and confidence in their ability to 100% the map by letting them have small victories. Its a brilliant way of handling on of the most hit or miss aspects of Doom map design.



So, overall a fantastic map, with a great sense of adventure and immersion, along with engaging combat and intriguing secrets.

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MAP03 : Let's bang head! So, the only weapon we have is the rocket launcher... Oh, a different torch. Should I press it? NO. Second time I don't open the barons and just shoot a rocket into the marble passageway to get me some bullets, then run all the way up to the berserker and punch some skulls to death. Now.. There's a soulsphere protected by mancs.. Done and restocked on rockets, back to the dark room and let's follow the blue torches and port into a room with many demonface pentagrams. Kill the mancs, kill the hidden cacodemons (thanks targetspy!) and press the eyes, which brings us to a balcony with a nice view into insanity. On the other side of the room, a room with a bit of platforming and the path to the yellow key. And back to the start. Better armed, I open the NO trap and get rid of the barons. And then I go for the secret blue armor. Back in the dark room I follow the green torched this time. Obvious bluesphere secret in hand, a pinkie says hi and I manage not to kill him with a rocket blast, so I punched him instead. Now, to climb the new stairs and we are in a wooden corridor. I punch the trap pinkies and move forward, to meet the barons. Many rockets fired and barons killed after, I'm ready to move on into the cage room. Press a button and we reach the crushers room. Good footwork takes us to a chainsaw and a pain elemental. And also, the red key. On the way back to the dark room we chainsaw some cacos and fail to understand ow to reach that megasphere. We open the YSK door and HKs teleport and start to dance. We give them rocket music and only after move to towards the exit, where the fireblu crusher gets rid of a baron and now, three doors. And all enemies dead but I?m way bellow on secrets.. Oh, NOW I find the SSG.. And I'll call my self happy with 3/5 secrets.

1 death, 100% kills, 60% secrets, 31m35s


Totals : 1 death, 45m45s

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MAP03 - What a great map, quite crazy in design and I found it really difficult until I got good routing down. Beserk use is always great because it is such high risk/reward. The secret SSG was an absolute game changer though when I found it only my second play (I died on the first!).

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9 hours ago, Omniarch said:

So, overall a fantastic map, with a great sense of adventure and immersion, along with engaging combat and intriguing secrets

Great review, pal!
Totally agree!

Scypek2 made really good unconventional maps, full of different kind of feelings.

And this is just the beggining, guys!


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